Thursday, March 7, 2013

Memoirs of an Eclectic Shorebird:Happiness and Starched Cotton, Mid-Century Pattern People Images and Flashcards

Happiness smells liked starched cotton, sunshine and crisp white sheets flapping on the line. My brothers and I are shrieking with laughter because Buttons, our  poodle/terrier mix is chasing us around the clothesline.  


 Our grubby hands grab fabric and we roll, wrap ourselves in the sheets, sending clothes pins springing. The clothesline bounces and sways, we are lifted and set back down; it feels like riding a wave. It is Spring and we have been loosed on the world again.

These Pattern Cover girls would look right at home with Sally, Dick and Jane. don't you think?

I print out multiples so I can layer up the image. 
 Looking up at the world of adults is dazzling, half blinding, the sun seems to rest on their shoulders. They are giants, the sun is always on their shoulder, and I can't quite see their faces.

My mother's bathroom shelf holds a jar of Noxzema, a bottle of Beige Cover Girl foundation, and  a brow pencil.  A shoe box full of bristly rollers and bobby pins is stored under the sink.  With her dark brown curls and pixie cut, her cornflower blue eyes, and petite figure she is a stunningly beautiful woman.  She is beautiful to us because she is ours, and we worship her.  Her happy smile lights up her face, our hearts, our home.  We throw ourselves at her, bury our faces in the full skirts of her starched cotton dress and cling like burrs.

Pretty in Pink!

One day I have a starched cotton dress of my own. And soft white gloves, ankle socks and dainty shoes. There is a hair band and - be still my heart - a white patent leather purse! 

I cannot wait  to show off my finery! Foil wrapped pots of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths edge the wide porch steps at Grandmother's house. The side garden is a carpet of violets and cascades of bridal wreath. Lily of the valley perfumes the air.
My older cousin Vicky and I work hard at being very lady-like.

It will not last. Soon we are racing around the yard, our faces sweaty, our socks bunched down in our shoes. We are loud and rambunctious, our knees grass stained and our dresses wet from gulping drinks of water from the hose. Still, there has been a shift, and soon patterns come home with pictures of  Girls in Spring Finery  and our thoughts turn to  starched cotton  dresses - complete with colorful rick rack trim.

The flashcards pictured above are from a set I purchased on Etsy from Hudsonsholidays, but flashcards are fairly simple to make using Microsoft Word. After opening a new document go to Insert, click on Shapes, drop down Shapes menu. Choose desired shape. I used Rounded Rectangle below. After sizing your shape, Click on Insert. Click on Text box. Add text box to each shape. Choose desired font, size etc.  The items below were saved as a pdf, then converted to png, or jpeg.   You can also save then manipulate the image below.

Shared on Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen




  1. Hi Susan,
    Those girls are so sweet! Thank you for sharing those cute flash cards. I tried to edit the definitions because when I printed them they were so light ...I could hardly read them, but I couldn't get it to work.

  2. I meant to tell you I enjoyed your post ....Cute story :)

  3. Ahhhhh, a 50's girl. I remember those outfits. I remember white patent leather shoes and easter outfits with little coats and hats and purses that all matched. And especially I remember going to grandma's so Mom and Dad could shoe off there gloriously dressed brood of children.[8 of us]
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  4. I have to say you brought back memories of my childhood, Susan! I remember getting a new little white purse for Easter {and the gloves} when I was very young, growing up in Brooklyn. Love your images. They also reminded me of cutting out images of people from catalogs to use as paper dolls. I've saved your flashcards; thanks for sharing those!

  5. I found your blog through "Vintage Betty's". I'm sure glad I did! I love this darling project. Thank you so much for sharing the images. Everything is darling!

  6. Hello Susan! I wanted you to know that Michele was ecstatic over everything you sent,and we did a post on it today :)...she mailed yours out today...

  7. What adorable and original Easter pretties. I love the vintage graphics and flash cards you so creatively incorporated.
    What a darling and thoughtful gift for your Easter Swap.
    Bunny hugzzzz,
    Carolynn xoxo

  8. Thank you for visiting my blog. I remember being dressed like the first little girl in your post. I had a little white hat, purse and gloves. I also remember my mother telling me that she had to be dressed to go grocery shopping. How civilized. Thanks for nudging a few memories.


  9. Oh how I enjoyed the images of these little girls along with the story. It was if you were describing my own childhood days. Thanks so much for sharing them with Share Your Cup.
    p.s. I did not see where to follow you and I'm sure it's not intentional, but I do not see a link back to the party.

  10. Your post brought tears to my eyes as it brought memories to my heart. I was born in the early 60s, but we still read from Dick and Jane, and these prints are so familiar. And watching my grandmothers hang laundry and helping when I was older was almost a spiritual experience. Thank you for sharing with my Vintage View Sunday party. I had been thinking about showing vintage images and your post is more than perfect. Beautiful writing. Thank you again!
    Laura from

  11. You are featured today on my Vintage View Sunday.


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