Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Few Things I Know About LIFE...

LIFE Magazine: I have been collecting old copies lately, through tag sales, thrift shops, and eBay. At first, I just bought them for the great pictures, which make outstanding cigar and wine box projects.

Sophia Loren wine box. 1963 LIFE "Part Goddess, Part Imp, All Woman"
Mick Jagger Worship/Mockery Box, 1972 LIFE
"I said, 'Is there something on MY HEAD?'"
Johnny Cash box (get it? get it?) 1969 LIFE

Cigar box purse "The Swinging Life of Yamaha" LIFE 1966

Back side of purse: from ad, "I said if I found a better tasting cigarette, I'd eat my hat!"
Imagine how fabulous this project will look...
Jane Fonda as Barbarella, LIFE 1968. I really need to see that movie one day.

I HAD to have this one, red X at the top at least kept the price under $10.
Lauren Bacall, LIFE 1944

And, so, one thing leads to another--I'm hella competitive when it comes to auctions of lots on eBay--and now, I find myself in possession of a library of LIFE.

Don't lets pretend this is the entirety of my collection.
Weeks ago, scrounging for images slowly turned into diligent study of this collection. So, here are some things I've learned about LIFE... 

1. The articles are fascinating-- in 1934, Albert Einstein stares you down from one page as you read a not-too-dumbed-down version of the theory of relativity; in 1942, military wives show how to reinvent yourself while he's off to war; in the 1950s, twenty pages are devoted to explaining the allure of Existentialism in a post-WWII world; in 1970, new fathers burble about their desire to be a new kind of father, earnest and involved.

"Lonely Housewife" December, 1942 LIFE
2. Nobody's that innocent, ever, of gawking at girls...and I mean girls. I look at these pictures and suddenly I can hear Pink Floyd groaning, "Ooooh, I need a dirty girl."

"Shirley Temple Grows Up," LIFE 1943

Cool it, Humbert! Lolita--I mean, Shirley--is just 13 years old.
Shoot, this isn't even trying to be subliminal. "Extra Pleasure" from "17% Extra Smoking"?
Sure, sure. That's what you're selling.
"Blackstone Cigars--the choice of successful men."
Insert your tired Bill Clinton joke here:_________
 By the 60s, the girls start looking back at ya, Mr. Blackstone, and they're not entirely pleased with what they see.
I think the blonde is Cheryl Teigs, but check out the resting bitch face on the redhead. I love her.
 3. We've got a drinking problem.  And advertisers were alllll over that scene.
1966 again: After Smirnoff vodka martini #3, the old barman magically turns into this fine cowgirl.
Ed McMahon says: Pick a Pair (I'm in emotional despair)
4. We've got a constipation problem.

Europe. The Pacific. North Africa. The Bathroom. The American Struggle for Success in each of these places was EPIC.

No War Job for Nora. She's all blocked up and can't remember how to set fire to things with her welding tools.
On the other hand, "Mildred Makes the Grade" thanks to her highly effective laxative. It promises to get your pipes clean in "less than an hour." I imagine that Mildred's movement felt as comfortable as the tequila worm scene from Poltergeist.
I wonder how many times the police got called by neighbors who worried about the screams of scatological success coming from Mildred's place.
5. The early 1940s LIFE Magazines are treasures.

The 1942 Christmas ads alone will show you an America that resembles my mother's Syrian upbringing more than the good old Gotta Get It USA that raised most of us.

Mend and make do, Honey.
Santa says: I'm Sorry Son (you are NOT getting that bike).
And little Jimmy thinks, "Just for this, Old Man, I am going to buy EVERYTHING I want when I grow up." 

I really don't know what to do with all of this LIFE. It's absolutely cliché, but they've brought history back to life for me. I bought them to pillage, but now I want to protect them.

Copyright 2015, Tanya Monier

Saturday, March 14, 2015

You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money: a Lesson in Delayed Gratification

Before you read, it's--Shameless Self-Promotion Time!
Until March 25, 2015, buy Happy Badger products and SAVE 20%! Just type in HAPPY1 when you check out from my Etsy store: HappyBadgerInd.

I cannot wait until all this ice melts and people crawl out of their dens again, ready to throw out good stuff on trash day and to buy good stuff on the cheap from craigslist. This winter has been an absolute craigslist disaster--still haven't sold one item since the Pottery Barn Teen Desk Experiment.

I've lowered prices, so much that one smarty pants wrote, "Why so cheap?" I wrote back, "I need to move things out of my home, so buy it!" No reply, but I did immediately start getting unsolicited porn come-hithers. Salt in the wound.

Trip-For-Trash #3 (Ireland!) is coming up, and I am $2,000 short of my goal. The point of these trips is to pay CASH. But the weather gods have decreed otherwise, so...VISA, Baby!

My new Partner in Craft, Jonelle Greene, who sells her brilliant upcycled clothing under the name FREEload Apparel, reminds me to use my down time to prepare my Happy Badger brand for the summer's craft fairs in Philly and Trenton and Brooklyn....

Sassy! Love it! Visit FREEload Apparel on Etsy!
Other than making so much stuff that my burps now smell like Mod Podge, preparing for my vast summer sales has so far mostly entailed spending money.


Making a badger look happy and badgerish is harder than it sounds.

Here were my three best attempts:
#1: Heyyy, is that something edible in your hand? I want it, NOW.

#2: I visited and discovered that Granddad was actually a Tasmanian Devil with ADHD... this explains everything!

#3: How do I keep my dentures looking so bright? Polident!
Interestingly, most of my Facebook Friends liked Badger #2. I'm still holding it in reserve, but I decided to salvage #3 by adding fangs.

Revised Happy Badger: I love sunrises, long walks in the woods, and eating garden snakes!
Fine. Then came digitizing the image. Turns out: I don't like digitizing. Pixels are evil. But I did come up with a reasonable image to send in to

Ever the good-deal shopper, I bought 500 cards for $20 (coupon!), then found that I had to spend $20 more to have them delivered (sigh). Aaaaand, here it is!

I'm shy about sharing my phone number...
How to attract customers at the Punk Rock Festival?


60+ buckaroos to get it from Dream to Door. If you expand the image even more you can see that EVERY SINGLE pixel I assumed I did not have to white out has come back to haunt me.

I'm going to tell customers that she has fleas.

So, I'm $100 further in the hole, which irks. But, as I have written in the past, I Am Not An Accountant.

We will travel, and I will pay it off...probably by stalking your sidewalks at night, so start Spring Cleaning, Folks!

 copyright 2015, Tanya Monier

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DIY Taxidermy Repair

As a kid, I was never allowed a pet for allergy reasons, but I remained obsessed with furry creatures.

Age 2: I followed a friendly cat into a poison oak-laced hedge (I blocked all memory of the resulting agony, but everyone assures me it was bad).
Age 9: my mother lost me in Liberty House Department Store because I snuck inside a circular rack of rabbit-fur jackets...

They were rabbit jackets a la Cagney and Lacey opening credits.
Really, nothing has changed.

Apply thrift shop mink hat and I become Comrade Tanya

Since our family is between cats, I try to provide the Badgerettes with "pretend pets." Like this one:
I've seen real cat-sized versions of this mini, and they "breathe." Beyond terrifying.

On a whim, I brought home this unique Goodwill find:
Comrade Chipmunk

I was certain that Chippy here was just another craft fair toy made from scraps of god-knows-what fur. But The Man knew instantly: "Why did you buy someone's amateur taxidermy project?"

"Wha--? mean it's a REAL chipmunk?" I sputtered.

He nodded, confident, noble, and a little disappointed. I don't call him The Prince of The Forest for nothing: the man knows a chipmunk when he sees one.

After carefully examining Chippy, I had to agree. No seams, hard interior form. It was indeed a taxidermy chipmunk. After a wave of giggly embarrassment, I felt a little grossed out and somewhat guilty.
I mean, who doesn't want a woodland creature friend? But, you know, LIVING.

Suddenly, I remembered devastating rear view mirror images of a chipmunk I mashed years before because I so feared slamming on the brakes and waking up my first-and-never-napping-unless-continually-driving-6-month-old.

I intended to rid myself of this little bit of road kill, but Badgerette #2 was instantly, deeply in love, so Chippy stayed.

Then, the inevitable happened: Chippy lost his tail in an incident of excessive childhood affection.
It's an old story: Girl meets taxidermied Chipmunk, Girl cracks off taxidermied Chipmunk's tail, Girl cries...
Chippy joined the ever-growing box of broken toys, mugs, and jewelry that The Prince and I always intend to repair...and occasionally do.


1 broken amateur taxidermy chipmunk
1 sheet of wax or parchment paper
1 rubber band (not too strong)
A bit of Gorilla Glue
A drop or two of water, (Gorilla Glue directions insist on water to start curing process)

Assemble your items.
 Dampen chipmunk derriere. Put a drop of Gorilla Glue on chipmunk derriere...
 Dampen tail. Put drop of glue of the broken end.

 Hold two parts together until glue becomes gummy and bubbly.  This is not a quick process. Use your time to contemplate the error of your ways...

Wrap rubber band around chipmunk parts, nestling them together so the plastic interior is hidden.

Let it dry overnight.

After the kids go to bed, make up tasteless jokes about your new movie idea--50 Shades of Chipmunk.
"Bound and kneeling on the wax paper floor, Chippy suddenly realized that they had forgotten to set up a safe word."
In the morning, I released Chippy from his bonds. Ok, I realize that I probably didn't repair him the right way, but it's done. Other than the rock hard tufts on his tushy, he seems ready to play again...gently. 

This morning, I found myself humming,"I got 99 problems--" 

(like this busted pin table)
"--but Chippy ain't one."

VISIT HappyBadger

copyright 2015, Tanya Monier