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The Smoke that Cheers?

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When you have an old house you never know what will pop out of it. This empty cigarette package was under the floorboards on the third floor. I googled the brand name and found four advertisements that sold on ebay:

  • In a 1913 advertisement from the March issue of Country Life in America magazine a package costs 15 cents. The tag lines are “The smoke that cheers” and “Distinctively Individual”. (See a copy after the jump.)
  • A 1949 ad with actor Basil Rathbone showed the same package design (“Now at length – quality in a long cigarette –Fatima! First Quality for 30 years. If you like a long cigarette, buy the best of long cigarettes. Buy Fatima . . . it’s MY cigarette.” signed Basil Rathbone)
  • A 1950 ad from the Saturday Evening Post shows the same package design. (“Sales reports show these sensational increases in smokers: NEW YORK DIVISION—UP 132%, CHICAGO DIVISION—UP 453%, LOS ANGELOS DIVISION—UP 545%.)
  • A 1952 Life magazine ad showed a different design for the package. And they’re now called “King size” cigarettes rather than “long”.

I guess my package is at least 55 years old. I've never been a smoker, but looking at these ads ("pure and wholesome" — if they only knew!) and the exotic packaging (even though they are from Richmond, VA) are enough to make me long for ". . . the little luxuries in life."

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Is Junk Your Ultimate Landscape?

What is the crowning glory of your civilization . . .
the symbol as clear a statement as the pyramids,
the Parthenon, the cathedrals? What is this symbol?

What is its name? Its name is Junk.

Junk is the rusty, lovely, brilliant symbol of the dying years of your time.

Junk is your ultimate landscape.

George Nelson (1908-1986; considered to be a founding father of American Modernism), at the International Design Conference in Aspen, 1965


I am resolving to try and de-junk and de-clutter my life so that beauty is my ultimate landscape . . .

Continue reading "Is Junk Your Ultimate Landscape?" »


"Stay on the Book Beat" Floorcloth

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Stay on the Book Beat Floorcloth / New Jersey July 2006 / vinyl, newspaper, Modge Podge

This summer I took an online "design-aerobics" course from DesignBoom. The course was called:D.I.Y. do it yourself  the past, present and future of making your own surroundings

Our first project was to used recycyled newspaper to make a piece of furniture or a home furnishing. This floorcloth, "Stay on the Book Beat" uses pages from the New York Times Sunday Book Review and a checkerboard pattern turned on the diagonal (the checkerboard or diamond shape is a classic floorcloth pattern). I like to think it will inspire me to read more.

Floorcloths were very popular in this country as a floor covering until the Industrial Revolution made mechanical replacements in the form of things like linoleum cheap and easy. A well-constructed floorcloth is very useful and will provide years of wear. They are water and stain resistant and a great way to express yourself artistically.

To make the floorcloth, I started with a black vinyl fabric (this eliminated the several coats of gesso and the black paint that I would have needed to apply to the heavy-weight cotton canvas which is frequently used to make floorcloths). In keeping with DIY-aesthetic I spent very little money, paying only USD $1.30 for one piece of vinyl fabric that I cut to make two floorcloths; I had all of the other materials in the house. I taped off my boundaries and cut images and text from pieces of the New York Times. Using Mod Podge (a white glue used for decoupaging) I glued the newspaper pieces to the cloth and then coated the whole thing with another coat of the glue.