Thrift stores are great... or, at least in California, they used to be great. I can't find beautiful 50s and 60s dresses like I used to, and even the knick knack sections, usually good for a weird 70s ashtray or two, seem to be picked clean. Is it ebay? What is it? But even with this drought of great finds, I often end up snagging an old craft book or two, which always makes me do the thrifter dance of joy and acquisition.
Vintage craft books please me on so many levels - the color combinations, the (sometimes) goofy poses of the models, even the design and layout of the books, and their many illustrations, make me happy. They are a window into the lifestyle and aspirations of a time and place.
I got this one recently, it's the Sunset Craft Manual, published in 1946. For those of you not familiar with Sunset Magazine, it promotes the artsy, laid-back lifestyle of the American West - idealized, of course. Big, open, modern ranch-style houses with lots of natural materials and big windows, big gardens and good food cooked on a grill, that sort of thing. I love the simple, elegant design of the cover, with the abstract leaf motif - it sums up the whole Sunset aesthetic, past & present.
Compare that to these images from the Creative Hands series from the 1970s - a really fantastic set of books (I have five, I have no idea how many volumes were released) featuring articles on sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery, dressmaking, lacemaking, and crochet. I've seen books from the series for sale online. I doesn't get much more 70s than this.
Yowza. How about those creepy dolls?