Thrift Item of the Moment Revisited #3

I’m revisiting some of my favorite “Thrift Item of the Moment” posts from my previous blog. 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. 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.






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. 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.

Thrift Item of the Moment: Christmas Balls


I’ve been snapping these up at thrift stores and rummage sales all fall. I got this entire box for 2 bucks. I like to get them in their original boxes with price tags from Woodward’s or Zeller’s or other defunct stores.These were made in Poland, but most of the ones I own come from East Germany (obviously they’re from another era). My objective is to have as little (fake) tree showing as possible.

Thrift Item of the Moment: The Paintings of Ada C.


This remarkable painting, labeled “Daniel In The Lion’s Den”, is by Ada C. – her name, address and phone number are printed on the back. I found it at a thift store last week and was immediately taken by the cubist/art deco style. I didn’t have my camera on me (what was I thinking?) so I had to come back the next day to take a picture. I’d love to buy it but I don’t want to pay the $30 sticker price. I tried haggling with store staff but they wouldn’t budge on the price. They said it might be marked down in a few weeks if it doesn’t sell, so I’ll be checking back.


Ada also did this painting (of a Roman soldier?). Nice, but it’s no “Daniel”.

Thrift Item of the Moment: Miraculous Virgin Mary Baseball Cap


Nothing says pious devotion quite as much as a Virgin Mary baseball cap, right? That’s what I thought when I saw about a dozen of these babies at Value Village last month. I immediately notified my friend Marlena who has something of a Virgin Mary collecting festish as evidenced by the “Mary corner” of her studio:


She thought the caps were quite beautiful and bought a couple.


Just look how she glows when she has it on.

And speaking of glow, check out this video that Marlena sent me demonstrating a special feature of these hats that she discovered entirely by accident:

It’s a miracle!

Thrift Item of the Moment: Freeze Dried Pork Chops


Keriann, I’m sure you remember the can of freeze dried pork chops I bought at a thrift store years ago and gave you as a gag (pun intended). Well, when I was at your baba & dido’s house yesterday, the can was on their kitchen counter…


open and empty.


I asked dido if they ate the pork chops and he said no, but I suspect otherwise. In the fridge I found one and a half dessicated pork chops on a plate with some leftovers. (the can says there were four).

Now I don’t know how old these pork chops are, but there are no metric weights on the label, just ounces. Canada introduced metric product labeling by the mid-70’s, so that makes them 30+ years old, but they could be as much as 50 years old, because Freeze-Dry Foods Limited of Oakville, Ontario (which is still around) was established in 1963.

According to the internet, freeze dried food can keep 25-30 years unopened. In any case, it’s been two days since they did or didn’t eat it, and baba and dido are still alive.


No word on how the chops tasted. They don’t appear to have been reconstituted, so I’m guessing a little dry and crumbly. I have to say, for food that’s older than you, my dear, they don’t look totally unappetizing.