Monday, December 19, 2016

Victoria Christmas Cracker Company - Christmas crackers from Victoria, B.C.

Earlier this year I came across a Facebook post from a Popular Mechanics Magazine. The magazine was part of an online collection. The entire magazine had been scanned, so I scrolled through the it and was surprised to come across this article about the Victoria Christmas Cracker Company. About twenty years ago I was given some items from a woman whose mother had worked there.

Right click on this image to enlarge it so that you can read the article.

These are a sample of the foils that were used in the making of the crackers.

Crepe paper fringe to decorate the crimped area of the crackers. The long section would cover the end of the cracker and the scalloped edge would fill in and decorate the crimped area of the cracker.

These scraps from England were used to decorate the centre of the cracker, they are most likely from Mamelok Press.

I don't have any hats that were placed in the crackers but I do have this sheet of jokes and riddles, right click this image as well to read sentimental poems and terrible jokes and riddles. The great rule of Christmas crackers is that all jokes and riddles must be so bad as to make you groan.

I wonder what happened to all of the machinery that was used to make the crackers? If I had the money I would the machinery and get that company working again.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hallowe'en 2016

Oh boy, am I late in posting this!

There is not a lot of room in the home so the mantle and fireplace is where I focus all of the seasonal displays. Christmas is the one exception to the rule. The living room and dining room are totally over the top Aladdin's Cave overwhelming!

This year I decided to display most of my paper Hallowe'en items. I had a lot more than I realized, this is about half! After putting all of the decorations away I discovered a box that had been overlooked, more cardboard and paper items!

This poster hung on the wall above my computer. It was tucked in a drawer, forgotten about, this is the first time that I have displayed it.

Here is a photo showing the whole Hallowe'en display. The only item moved from the Thanksgiving display was the small green stool. It went from under the marble top table onto the hearth on the right hand side.

Walking into the living room you can see a few items that are not completely visible from the front, the black cat on the pumpkin, the owl fortune telling game, and the side of the wooden box.

I hesitated in putting this picture in the post but decided to anyway, it's just a little closer look at the top half of this year's display.

The bare branches that were added into the mix of faux autumn leaves have been used to hang the Japanese rice straw leis, paper masks, gauze masks and the orange party hat on the right. The Mr. Peanut mask I purchased a couple of months ago. The four paper masks between the American Indian gauze mask and the paper black cat mask, my favourite, I think are villains from the Dick Tracey comics.

Here is a better look at the vignette that I created inside the Hudson's Soap box.The owl on the roll of dennison serpentine is an antique cloth tape measure. The witch candy container was made in U.S. zone Germany. the cat in front of her is a plaster filled celluloid cat.

Here's a closer look at the left side of the mantle, I love the cascading moss like effect that the leis give to the scene.

This picture shows some of the previous picture as well as some of the following picture. I wasn't certain if I should include it but you get a better look at the celluloid witch lantern, the black teapot and the smoker.

The black cat teapot looks extremely well behaved unlike the yowling black cat smoker or worse yet those mischievous black cat salt and pepper shakers.

The little fellow with a face on each foot is a Victorian match holder. The top of his head has holes in it for holding matches as do each of his toes. I suppose the burnt matches were placed in his mouth. He is not a Hallowe'en item but I have seen a lantern in the shape of a foot with a face on each toe, I love this little guy and used the likeness to the lantern as an excuse to showcase him.

I plonked an old paper party hat on the owl cookie jar. He stands next to a black cat teapot. The orange piece of card stock with the woman's face on it has recipes for Hallowe'en candy on the reverse side. My friend Karen gifted me with the bird jug, are you noticing as I am just now, that a tea party theme is emerging.

The wooden plaque above the German pumpkin is a pyrography or wood burning picture of "Cornish Litany".

My sculpture "Ready to Party" is hanging on the wall down in the righthand corner.

Here is a close-up of my sculpture "Ready to Party". It is available, go to this blog post for more information about it.

These plastic disguise glasses are from my youth, once I put them on absolutely no one recognized me!

Below the mantle are more treats, that lovely big German J-O-L with orange glassine paper inserts in the eyes nose and mouth, the happy family look of the pumpkin garland, and four paper plates behind the garland. Hanging on the left is a felt and cloth made in Japan witch.

This vignette features an early crepe papier table cloth resting on the brown stool. The black ebony dresser set has been put use to display various goodies. The two small bowls are filled with candy, the lidded box has place cards and seals in it, while the large tray holds the two candle sticks, an early doily, a corn cob pipe and J-O-L stickpin.

There are party nut cups, invitations, coasters, two orange and yellow milk bottle caps with ravens on them scattered about. There is also a small cloth witch standing beside a pair of brown Victorian walking boots.

The cast iron bowl is filled with bridge tallies and postcards. It is standing on a crepe papier napkin. The silver cat and moon diecut Is most likely from a party hat. Beside it are some black cat stickers and a very tiny but detailed witch on a broom.

On the marble table are two children's readers, a book of party ideas for the Hallowe'en host or hostess, and a copy of Tasha Tudor's book, "Pumpkin Moonshine" that I purchased in the early 1960s.

The black cat is a wind-up toy. He chases a butterfly so other than being black and a cat those are the only qualities that allow him to be present with his comrades, they are quite forgiving.

The box of cookie cutters are reproductions bought in the late 1990s.

The ceramic pumpkin candy dish is Japanese and stays on my dresser year round, he is a favourite.

This view shows the hearth and its contents of paper table cloths, paper plates, and a brown vintage basket filled with paper napkins of different designs. There are pictures following with close-ups of the rest of the treasure trove.

And here we are, a silk screened cloth trick or treat sack, another commercially printed cloth sack with exotic Egyptian pictures resting on a fez. The brown envelope in the back is a pattern for a clown costume dated 1919.

On the right mantle ledge in front of a New Yorker magazine and two children's magazines are some soft plastic candy containers, the witch still has some of her candy. The tiny black cat is made of wooden pieces held together with string. A vintage made in Japan mustache made of crepe hair used in theatre make up and two paper mustaches, all guaranteed to make one totally unrecognizable. The little pumpkin, once you push in his nose makes a very unscary wooing sound, and his eyes light up!

A closer look at the paper napkins and other tableware. The paper gun was an advertising give away from the Army and Navy Store. It is printed on card stock with a glassine paper insert attached inside. When it is brought down with a quick snap of the wrist the glassine paper shoots out with a loud snap.

And finally a close-up of the right hand side of the hearth only to show my nod to Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th, with the English children's book by Alison Uttley, "Hare and Guy Fawkes".

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

  Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends!  

Thanksgiving has come and gone in Canada. We celebrate it on the second Monday of October, this year it was on October 10.

Here are pictures of this year's Thanksgiving display.

This photo shows the entire display. I don't own a lot of Thanksgiving items so I have stretched the collection by adding in anything autumnal.

All of the background material goes up first and this year I wanted to have an easy transition into the Hallowe'en display so the needs for Hallowe'en were also being considered. A mix of various faux autumn leaves went up and over the mantle mirror. In with the faux leaves were added some bare branches that I had made several years ago. The colours of the trees in and around Victoria were my inspiration for the abundance of faux foliage that were used.

Here is a close-up of the left side of the mantle. The turkeys, pheasants, and roosters, are almost hidden in the foliage.

This scarecrow was made about 30 years ago for our oldest boys scarecrow birthday party, two place card holders from the party are on the scarecrows left beside the dill pickle horn that he is holding. The crepe paper zinnias are vintage, possibly 1950's. Gurley candles stand beside turkey, grouse, and chicken salt and pepper shakers.

The rest of the mantle is filled with more turkeys, chickens, pheasants, ducks, squirrels, I love squirrels, and acorn related items, I love oak trees.

Here is a look at the display below the mantle. The vintage stools add interesting height variations to the display.

The large stool features a wood carving by a French Canadian sculptor that my parents bought in the 1970s I believe. That large ceramic turkey is also among my favourite Thanksgiving items. A large plaster plaque with a horn of plenty and a raised inscription saying, "GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD", is in behind the farmer and his turkey.

Salt and pepper shakers, turkey florist vases, and a turkey cookie cutter are on the small green stool.

My collection of Thanksgiving postcards are in a large plastic fruit dish made in England. The dish is a large oak leaf with acorns that mimics a hand carved wooden dish, it is quite beautiful.

These earlier blog posts here, here, here, and here, show most of the antique Thanksgiving postcards.

On the mantle ledge in behind the wooden carving of the farmer with his scythe are some nut cups, two Gurley candles, and two squirrel nodders. The small squirrel nodder is an early plastic while the larger squirrel is composition made in Japan. He has a rabbit fur tale that is a little tatty, but he is delightful none the less.

This last picture shows a group of squirrels on top of the tall green florist vase. On top of the fireplace screen and in front of it are various paper table cloths, seals, and other paper items.

Don't forget, everything in my Etsy shop from November 24 - 28 is 50% off. Spend a minimum of $25 and get 50% off of your purchase at checkout, shipping is not included in the discount.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The October EHAG Emporium is Open! Happy Hallowe'en!


You just never know what is going to happen when you are getting ready for Hallowe'en. We were working in the studio, I'm sorry, the we I'm referring to are Barnie, Benny, and Bob, known as the "Three Musketeers", and myself. We were going to test out the new rattle that they were going to sit in and the top just fell off to the studio floor taking with it a lantern and the one garland that we had hung up earlier that morning. More decorating was going to happen later on that day, I getting off the topic, it startled us when it happened, I suppose I am still a little shaken up about it.

"Disaster, at least no one was hurt!" - $395.00

Barnie and Benny are lifting the top part of the rattle to see if anything else was damaged while Bob is inspecting the break. We couldn't believe what had just happened.

I thought that you would like to have a look just after what later became known as "The Event".

I was very surprised at how strong Barnie and Benny were as they were lifting the top end of the rattle. Barnie reminded me that they weren't just a pair of good looking guys but that they have been working out at the Jollity Village Gym and Fitness Centre.

Here is a closer look at Barnie and Benny lifting the top part of the rattle. We did start to laugh after a while, especially when we realized that no one was hurt. The expressions on each of our faces was quite hilarious.

Bob is inspecting the break realizing that this is the end of the glorious rattle.

"There is no way that we can repair it", he informed us.

So there you have have it, you just never know what is going to happen when you are getting ready for Hallowe'en.

The overall size of this mixed media sculpture is 18” wide, 7 1/2” high, and 7” deep.

$395.00 not including shipping, let me know where you live so that I can calculate the shipping charges.

I'll carefully pack this sculpture to ensure that it arrives safely to your home to become a treasured part of your collection.

This sculpture arrives duty free into the US.

Please contact me at to purchase this sculpture. I accept Paypal as well as credit cards through Paypal.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The September EHAG Emporium is Open! Are you "Ready to Party"!

Hello! Thanks for stopping by to have a look at the sculpture that I have for sale in this month's Emporium.

"Ready To Party" - wall sculpture - $450.00

Sigmund and Tolly, his Jack-O-Lantern friend, have cleaned the house and decorated everywhere with garlands; they've even hung lanterns in the Maple tree outside. There are apples for roasting on the bonfire after the fireworks have been let off. Alistair, the Jack-O-Lantern on the left, is under the Maple tree resting for a moment before all of their friends arrive; he showed up several hours ago to help with the food preparations. The tree is his favourite spot.

A view of the righthand side showing the basket of apples and the vegetation under the frame. There's a piece of glass in the window frame and as with all windows, it's causing a reflection.

The lefthand side shows Alistair resting on the ground under the Maple tree.

I love the controlled flourish and shine of the vintage Italian metal frame contrasted against the natural organic forms of nature.

This sculpture is to be hung on the wall, the base is uneven. There is a self levelling picture hanger on the back for hanging.

The overall size of this mixed media sculpture is 13” high, 8 1/2” wide, and 4” deep.

$450.00 not including shipping, let me know where you live so that I can calculate shipping charges.

I'll carefully pack this sculpture to ensure that it arrives safely to your home to become a treasured part of your collection.

This sculpture arrives duty free into the US.

Please contact me at if you wish to purchase this sculpture. I accept Paypal as well as credit cards through Paypal.

Have a look at the rest of the artist's work in tonight's EHAG Emporium, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Studio update, and better late than never, the Easter display.

My last blog post was April 18, more than 3 months ago. I had likened my life to a 3 ring circus; Ring #1, moving my studio, Ring #2, landscaping the yard, Ring #3, making new sculptures.

Ring #3 quickly went dark as I had no time or space to work on anything.

Ring #2 had a few moments in the limelight but my wife did 99% of the yard work. She did an amazing job, it looks fabulous.

Ring #1, the easy-peasy, quick-as-a-flash job of moving my upstairs studio into the garage took me by surprise, it turned into an overwhelming job at times. Ring #1 became its own 3 ring circus!

Inadequate shelving was taken down with new shelving replacing it and doubling the available shelf space; it filled very quickly. The garage doors were insulated and new weather stripping replaced the old weather stripping. I went through my vintage department store drawers, 18 of them, one at a time, purging and organizing each drawer. The sorting, organizing, and purging was also happening upstairs in my studio. The upstairs items were assimilated into the drawers in the garage.

The unwanted items were sent off to Salvation Army or to the Victoria Operatic Society.

I didn't post pictures or have anything to say because at times it was like watching paint dry, I was progressing so slowly.

Enough about the studio, it is almost completed. This is my overly late post of this year's Easter display.

This year I pulled out some of my favourite pieces from my Easter collection.

The blue plastic rabbit was mine as a child. The purple and yellow tea-cosy with hand-painted wisteria makes a great backdrop for the celluloid friction toy and the ceramic salt and pepper shaker rabbit couple.

The chenille rabbit standing on the box that once held a large chocolate covered candy egg is a favourite rabbit, I have a soft spot for items covered in or made with chenille.

The two ceramic figures although not Easter are Spring and so they have been making appearances each year on the mantle. I picked up this vintage flower basket last year and turned it into a landscape featuring the two figures.

In behind the ceramic vase of a little girl sitting on a fence, is an early chenille covered rabbit head that once belonged to my Mum. The body is long gone, it may have been a hollow chocolate egg.

The cardboard train with plastic eggs is Australian. The net bag with plastic eggs is possibly some of the first plastic eggs sold in Canada as the label tells you to "LOOK! They're plastic!"

Two chocolate moulds and two rabbits each pulling its own cart are on the lower ledge of the fireplace. The front rabbit and cart is silkscreen printed wood, the other is printed on very thick cardboard.