Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oh, the Novelty of it All (TheLovelyandStrange on Etsy)

Good morning!

I was looking for "novelty items" (when I am not looking for novelty items?) to order as possible attendant gifts for our wedding, when I came across the Lovely and Strange on Etsy, which may be the greatest Etsy store of all time. Operating out of Madison, WI, this store has EVERYTHING-- I seriously could not get over how charming and lovely each little vintage novelty favor in the carefully collected shop was. I want it all! I want it now!

Shop owner P. Bailey puts forth the idea for the shop in her "about me":

I have a long-standing obsession with tiny trinkets, old dime store treasures, and paper ephemera of all kinds. My shop is filled with unusual and beautiful toys, trinkets, and small objects. I am very selective about what is listed here. I avoid "filler" items, so my shop will come together slowly as I unearth just the right things. My hope is that the shop can succeed while remaining curated, cohesive, and special. I want to always be proud of what I sell. This space is truly a collection that reflects a little bit of me.
I love tiny things, especially those with spectacular graphics/packaging, and items that are made out of more tactile materials than plastic - paper, wood, tin, clay. I am especially drawn to 1930s - 50s trinkets and things from the Japan penny toy era.
If there is something not to love about this, I couldn't tell you what it is. The shop reminds me of nothing so much as pre-Bieber, pre-Backstreet (I know, I'm taking you back here, as well as showing my age) children's party favors. Do you remember those jointed snakes that would undulate at their tiny-nail-fastened hinges? My grandmother had one in the junk drawer of her laundry room, and it was both an object of fascination and an object of horror in my formative years. Who thought to make this?! Why does it look so much like an actual serpent? That "magician's toyshop" feeling of curiosity and delight is present in The Lovely and the Strange's etsy shop.
Incredible magic trick novelty book
I feel like all the items in this store would be something you would send in for using an order form in the back of the latest issue of Weird Horror Tales-- 52 plastic baby dolls for $1! Real, living sea monkeys shipped to your door at no cost to you! Except these things would have all the graphic bang promised in the advertisements, and none of the "Why! Why did I spend my paper route money on this dreck!" Hope springs eternal! This Hindu Magic book reminds me of the main plot device in a Ray Bradbury short story-- little did the twelve year old protagonist of that hypothetical story know that the folding wallet contained real magic properties.

Tin movie star toy watch from 1930s Japan
I spy, with my little eye, Gary Cooper, Susan Hayward, and Gregory Peck. Could that be Miss Gardner in the lefthand compartment of the closest watch? I can't tell. Based on the tiny publicity photos, these look to be from the 50's rather than the 30's, but the charm of the toy watch is no less diminished by dint of this fact. A toy watch! With movie stars!

Miniature 1940s starlet pocket mirrors
I love the bright graphics on these penny-sized pocket mirrors. Why is everything cuter when it's tiny or miniaturized?

Lucky tattoo book - old stock toy
I feel like these tattoo pages would make a beautiful framed display. Look at the army men and the travel stamps! Also, I want to see the Annie Oakley tattoos going on in the background! So cool.

Paper cigarette whistles from Japan
I know smoking is bad for you, but what could possibly be cuter than a completely innocuous penny whistled SHAPED like a cigarette? These are obviously the answer to my frequent conundrum, "How do I project Lana Turner like glamour without the exposure to carcinogens?" And if I needed anything, I could just put my lips together and blow, as the famous line goes. LOVE. IT.

Vintage screen printed half mask from Japan
Spooky dudes! Years ago, two weeks into dating, Matthew and I tried some of these on at Music City Thrift (totally hygenic, I'm sure)-- half masks like these are surprisingly scary in real life! [Sidenote: due to the wonder of Facebook, I have found the exact date of that outing to be July 14, 2008. And here's the photo to prove it!]:

Camel paper ring toss game
Look how peaceful the little camel looks! He doesn't even mind being used in this manner.

So! Check the shop out for yourself. What are your favorite items? Do you have any novelty tricks up your sleeve? What is it about these cute little things that are so appealing? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow for Photo Friday. Take care, I'll see you then!


  1. oh I can't agree with you more! I don't know what I like most... but because I have a naughty side I do like them cigerettes! x

  2. what a great shop! i LOVE that little camel! and the pocket mirrors! and the watches!!!

    1. I want everything in the shop, EVERYTHING!



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