“Best Garage Sale Ever!”

Not my words – this is what I was told several times this weekend during my big pre-move garage sale.



Thanks for all your help, Marlena. I don’t know what I would have done without you.



This oak desk didn’t sell. Still up for grabs @ $125 o.b.o.


None of this stuff sold either. I’ve asked Marlena to turn the bureau into “art”.


The Tiki mugs and barware flew off the shelves Friday night. Here’s what was left on Saturday morning.


Records also sold very well at a buck a pop.


The jacket generated a lot of conversation but not a sale.


Portrait of Liz. She sold, as did the world’s worst Elvis painting.


Happy Apples sold by the bushelfull.



IMG_4409 IMG_4410 IMG_4412

Judie puts her lips together and blows.

A Sneak Peek

I know you’re all curious about my new condo. Here’s a few pictures I took during a showing. Keep in mind that I haven’t moved in yet – the furniture is the seller’s and (sadly) won’t be staying.

click photos to enlarge in a new window


The striking entry features plank flooring, a staircase topped by taupe-toned carpeting, and a vibrant wallpaper that leads the eye up.


Living room. Note the zebra chair. You could play giant chess on that coffee table. With candlesticks as chess pieces.


Den. Perhaps the owner can be persuaded to leave that leopard sofa behind.


The “conversation pit” has carpeted steps and a window seat. Patterned shades are an intriguing accent.


I guess Thanksgiving dinner is at my place this year, what with my gas range with double ovens.


Architectural oddities are delightful when treated with verve. This niche is both intimate and sopohisticated, with foil paper on angled walls.


Living room. A lively pattern on the floor, such as this medium-scaled geometric design, enlarges and unifies space.


Ktichen. My goodness, someone sure is fond of zebra.


Supergraphics and scary clowns – two of my favourite decorative elements.


Dining room. Did you notice the zebra? Waldo’s in there too somewhere.


Guest room/study. I can tell that my new favourite game is going to be “find the door”. Or perhaps “find the window”. Or “find the lamp”.


It took me 45 minutes to find my way out of this dining room. Good thing I have others.


This feminine bedroom has all the charm of a sentimental valentine.


A bit of whimsy in the kitchen.


There just aren’t words to express my feelings for all the shiny silver wallpaper in this house. Note the armadillo. Where do these people shop?


An old mail-sorting cabinet resplendent with many cubbyholes is perfect for creating unity with many colourful, small-scaled delights.


Family “fun” room. No one will ask “Where’s the phone?”


Yes, this is the 4th kitchen. So what? Liberace had seven.


An old bathtub gains renewed respect with a new paint job and a red and yellow supergraphic background.


Because secret passages aren’t just for castles.


Fabric-covered walls isolate sounds in this working office, where concentration is necessary. Good lighting and plenty of space are important for both art work and office work.

It’s rare to find such a perfectly preserved time-capsule home. It’s something you’d expect to see in a Better Homes and Gardens decorating book from the 1970s more than an actual Edmonton apartment.

So, what do you think of my modest bachelor pad?

Thrift Item of the Moment Revisited #3

I’m revisiting some of my favorite “Thrift Item of the Moment” posts from my previous blog Bowling Trophy. The original text is reprinted with More! Bigger! photos and Updates!

Drumheller Dinosaurs (originally posted July 12, 2012)

Some thrift store items are a mystery, others tell you their entire life story.


This cute little guy was made with lots of love and green paint by Eugenia Lippolt, a lady wrestler from Drumheller, Alberta (“Dinosaur Capital of the World”), who supplemented her income by making ceramic novelties to sell to tourists. One summer, she sold an entire lot to the Waldorf Hotel who put them on their guests’ pillows instead of chocolate mints until the guests started to complain of broken teeth.


Uncle Ray, in town for the wedding of a second cousin, took his dinosaur home and gave it to his sister’s kid for her sixth birthday. Little Julie, hopped up on chiffon cake and pink lemonade, was furious that Uncle Ray would give her a present he so obviously got for free. She threw it against a cinder block wall causing the head and a few smaller pieces to break off.


Ashamed by her outburst, Julie glued the pieces back on with Elmer’s Glue-All. Little Julie grew up to be a world famous paleontologist. Coincidence? Probably.

Long story short: A bunch of years passed, I bought the dinosaur at the Salvation Army collectibles store for 99¢ and took it home to meet its new shelfmates:


Not marked, but it doesn’t take a handwriting expert to recognize Eugenia’s printing.


Not by Eugenia. You can tell by the raised lettering on the beautifully mottled base…


and by the label on the back. Elizabeth was Eugenia’s main competitor in the cutthroat multihundred dollar ceramic souvenir industry in Drumheller. They loathed each other and often lobbed overripe crab apples into each others’ yards (they were neighbours). Eventually, cheaper and more durable plastic dinosaurs from Japan put them both out of business.

Some parts of this story may not be true. I couldn’t find any info at all about Eugenia Lippolt on the internet. Odd, considering how unique that name is and how many of these figures must be out there (I’ve been coming across them long before I started my collection).

Eugenia Lippolt. Eugenia Lippolt. EUGENIA LIPPOLT. Now anyone googling Eugenia will find this page first. Maybe that’s how you got here. What do you know about Eugenia?

Elizabeth Simpson is also an enigma. A pity. These pieces have so much more character and charm than their modern equivalents. These two ladies should be documented and celebrated.



In the past year-and-a-half I’ve added these two handsome airbrush-painted Drumheller dinos to the collection. I love the bright red gash of a mouth on the one on the left.



Neither is marked with a maker’s name. My guess is that they’re not by Eugenia or Elizabeth because they’re such a different style.

Thrift Item of the Moment Revisited #2

I’m revisiting some of my favorite “Thrift Item of the Moment” posts from my previous blog Bowling Trophy. The original text is reprinted with More! Bigger! photos and Updates!

“How to Draw” Books (originally posted April 1, 2007)


No. 11 – “How To Draw Horses”


No. 11 – “How to Draw Horses” front and back cover spread

I’m not a visual artist, but I’m really drawn (sorry) to the Walter Foster “How to Draw” books. They’re large and beautiful and the pages are crammed with luscious color illustrations, black and white sketches and a bare minimum of helpful instructional text.




Reading these books I can almost believe that with a few lines and circles and a little bit of shading I too can draw a horse/leaping buck/tastefully disrobed woman.


No. 78 – “How to Draw and Paint Hoofed Animals”


No. 96 – “The Nude”


No. 96 – “The Nude” back cover

I’m not sure when they were published because they’re not dated, but my guess would be late 50s or early 60s. The earlier ones (I presume) have a cover price of $1.00 (“Not more than $1.25 in any foreign country”) and later ones are priced $2.00. I bought How to Draw Horses last week for 69¢.


No. 26 – “Animation”

My sentimental favourite is Animation by Preston Blair. I loved it as a lad and was delighted to find it again recently.


No. 26 – “Animation” back cover

My career as a cartoonist never happened but I wonder how many animators were spawned by this book.






This post has probably brought more visitors to Bowling Trophy than anything else I’ve posted – variations of “how to draw horses” are a perennial search term leader.

Here are a couple more “How To Draw” books I’ve added to the collection in the intervening years:


No. 1 – “Drawing Simplified”


No. 9 – “How to Draw and Paint Seascapes”

Next time: Drumheller dinos.

Thrift Item of the Moment Revisited #1

It’s been more than a month since I’ve posted anything new and at least one person has complained that they’re tired of looking at Grace Jones when they come to this site. I’ll have some new content soon, but until then I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite “Thrift Item of the Moment” posts from my previous blog Bowling Trophy. The original text is reprinted with More! Bigger! photos and Updates!

Plaster Wall Fish (originally posted March 28, 2007)


Just bought this lovely set at Goodwill. I’m inspired by a picture in the book Kitsch Deluxe of a wall covered with 300 sets of plaster flying ducks to do the same in my bathroom with fish. Here’s the rest of my fledgling collection:





The collection is no longer fledgling – it’s grown a lot (but it’s yet to make it to the bathroom wall).








Here’s one that was in its original packaging:


Next time: How To Draw.

A Voice (O-Graph) in the Badlands

Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) is one of my favourite films of all time. I hadn’t seen it in many years until I watched it on Criterion Collection DVD a few weeks ago. I vividly recalled many of the images but there’s one notable scene I’d completely forgotten – the one where Kit (Martin Sheen’s character) makes a Voice-O-Graph record shortly after killing his teenage girlfriend’s father. I find this scene totally fascinating now because I have a few Voice-O-Graphs in my record collection and it’s very cool to see how they were made back in the day (the film is set in the late 50s). Here’s the sequence (click images to enlarge):


Kit puts two quarters in the slot…


and selects the recording speed (exactly the opposite of what the instructions say – but he’s a rebel).

He begins to speak:


“Uh… My girl Holly and I decided to kill ourselves, same way I did her dad. Big decision, huh? Uh… The reasons are obvious. I don’t have time to go into them right now, but uh… One thing though… he was provoking me when I popped him. That’s what it was like… Pop…”


Time is running out.


The lathe cuts into the soft surface of the record blank.


“Now we’re sorry. I mean, nobody’s coming out of this thing happy, especially not us. I can’t deny we’ve had fun though… and that’s more than I can say for some… That’s the end of the message… I’ve run out of things to say… Thank you.”


We see the shattered door of the Voice-O-Graph recording booth.


Kit takes his newly minted record…


places it in his mouth (not an ideal way to treat a record) and leaves the (train? bus?) station.

Here are some real Voice-O-Graph recordings from my collection:

“The Chicken”

German voice letter

This is super cool: Jack White’s record store in Nashville has what may be the world’s only functional, publicly accessible Voice-O-Graph machine.

Record Cover of the Week


Various: Motorcars In Concert 1970

The name and cover art suggest a concerto for horns and hubcaps. Nope – nothing nearly avant-garde happening here. It’s a promo for General Motors new cars for 1970. The gatefold sleeve originally came with a booklet of glossy photos of GM’s new models (it’s missing) plus an LP of 10 easy-listening instrumental cuts from the Canadian Talent Library. It’s a pretty good compilation that includes two of my CTL favourites – Peter Appleyard’s Soulful Strut and Ben McPeek’s Kapuskasing Kaper (listen to them here), plus numbers by CTL stalwarts Jimmy Namaro, Jerry Toth, Rob McConnell, Bill Badgley and Lucio Agostini.


click to embiggen