Given the current situation, the dreaded coronavirus, we’ve seen an explosion in DIY and crafting — including a throw-back to Victorian hobbies, such as scrapbooking.

We’re no different; we’ve been putting in a lot more hours in the studio – and not just for custom pieces, but been listing items in our handmade Etsy shop, LunaTiqueBazaar, too.

And we’ve been keeping busy with our crafty-DIY supply shop, KindnessOfStrangers, including restocking with new old stock embroidery kits featuring kitsch-tastic wishing-wells, owls, & mushroom designs!

NOS retro vintage embroidery craft kits

But I, the wifey, came here to blog today to share some images of a sweet old scrapbook we once had in our possession. It was a book compiled by a woman who clearly had spent a long time in 1955 recovering from a hip injury.

vintage greeting cards in old scrapbook

Along with the kitschy old “get well” greeting cards, and an odd note from well-wisher about her icky toe (see below – if you wish!!), the maker of the book had created delightful drawings, including this “stepping stones to recovery” one.

Stepping Stones Leading To Recovery old scrapbook art

Note that this vintage scrapbook page below combines drawing or coloring with glued in images – charming & so much like today’s junk journals, right?!

It’s no wonder so many people today have joined in the junk journal craze!

For those who are not familiar with the phrase “junk journal” – it’s a handmade book, usually made & embellished with found & vintage items, the pages of which you fill with writings, artworks, clippings, doodles, stickers – whatever you wish! Rather combining the best of scrapbooks, diaries, & art journals. So many creative options!

red velvet junk journal
handmade vintage junk journal

(I’ve also written a bit more about junk journals over at The FARM’s blog – there’s a video too!)

The junk journals I sell are often called “naked” because they are created with plenty of blank pages to fill in. As you can see in this video I made. (I am so much better at making journals than videos lol)

Because so many of my extended family members are unable to see one another now (unless it’s on Zoom or something), I have spent most of April making nearly a dozen junk journals & mailing them out as gifts. In fact, we’ve often shown-off some of our junk journal pages in Zoom chats!

The journals were so well received, that I’ve spent the past few weeks taking custom orders for handmade junk journals their friends! Proof that everyone loves – & needs – a creative outlet.

Art is good for the soul.

Like Kevin Smith says,

Only someone who doesn’t understand art tells an artist their art somehow failed. How the fuck can art fail? Art can’t be graded, because it’s going to mean something different to everyone. You can’t apply a mathematical absolute to art because there is no one formula for self-expression.

It’s a quote I put into each one of the handmade junk journals I made for family & friends the past few weeks – hopefully, they find it as inspiring as I do!

For those interested… The icky toe news!

Dear Cousins - icky toe letter
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A few weeks ago, my husband & I attended an auction at the Cass Country Historical Society. The museum was deaccessioning hundreds of items in order to raise funds to replace the historic St. John’s Lutheran Church which had suffered too much damage from a fire. On one trailer full of guns & ammo, I spotted this beauty:

showofftintypetree

It’s a folk art family tree of tintypes! (At least we believe they are tintypes; without prying the frames off, we can’t fully inspect them to say for sure.) The “tree” is made from a six-sided wooden base pyramid, covered with plaster used to hold the shells, photos in frames, mirror etc. in place. There once was a ring of old tokens at the top as well, though those were apparently removed awhile ago (you can still see the impressions of them in the plaster). The bottom has four metal caster wheels. Measures 27 inches tall; 18 inches along the widest part of the base.

This unique piece still bears the museum’s original paper label which reads “Pyramid Showing Family History Of The Charles Pollocks; Gift of Mrs. Charles Pollock, Fargo, N.D.”. (We prefer to call it what it is – a family tree!)

I’m amazed by it. It’s not like Godey’s Lady’s Book had their own Martha Stewart columnist suggesting a “how to” for such things. (If they did, I would think these folk art family trees would have become as popular as the Christmas tree the magazine made de rigueur.) At the time this was likely made, circa 1880s (1910s at the latest), North Dakota may not even have been a state yet, and Fargo may have only had a population of less than 6,000!

As promised on our Facebook page, I’ve posted more detailed images of this true piece of Americana. Among the notable antique photographs shown below: A gentleman who appears to be in a Civil War uniform, with a colorized stars and stripes flag, and a woman who looks to be Native American.

This is what it looks like in our little “nook” space at Exit 55 Antiques (Fergus Falls, MN) with the antique French candelabra. We also have it listed for sale in our Etsy shop. I believe the photos here and in the listing should answer all your questions, but feel free to contact us if you’d like.

victorian folk art tintype family tree antique americana

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We’re working at Exit 55 Antiques today. (The store is open until 5pm.) Not only are we looking forward to seeing you, but we’ve brought in more new-to-you-but-old-stuff, like this vintage wooden folk art shadowbox shelf. Don’t you just love the zig-zags?! Handmade, slightly primitive, and just $69. If you can’t come in, call and see about having it shipped to you: 1.218.998.3088. And keep an eye on our Facebook page for more photos of our other unique antiques and vintage collectibles.

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