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Archive for vintage design

collect . My Childhood Christmas in Vinyl

I don’t remember us having a record player at our house until I got the little green and blue kids version from Santa one year. He brought my eight-track cassette player with the removable speakers too, and my first stereo. The turntable took a back seat to the double cassette deck in that one. But as far as vinyl goes, Christmas music was synonymous with the big white record player at Grandmother’s house – and the small collection of classic Christmas albums we kept there. I can clearly remember lifting the cover of the record player, choosing the speed, moving the arm, and hearing the scratch of the needle, an experience practically lost to my children and their digital world. I’m slowly trying to pique their interest these days with our little orange Crosby.

We’ve been at Mom’s this week, making merry with an updated set of traditions. But, yesterday I pulled out the records from Grandmother’s and found so many of my favorite songs and memories staring back at me. In fact, some of my first memories of music center around this collection of Christmas records. Each year growing up, we spent about two weeks at Grandmother’s house on the farm, and the records served as the background score for a lot of holiday traditions and fun. They are an odd mix of unnamed choral singers, big band crooners, and old school country – with a little pop and folk thrown in, courtesy of Aunt Betty. Most are classics now. Some were already classics in the second release versions we had. And not only the music. The album covers! Like favorite book illustrations, they instantly send me back to childhood Christmases.

The Little Drummer Boy (late 60s?) and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1962) compilations — those illustrations! I don’t know the singers, but I’m pretty sure this is where I learned most of the Christmas carols I know.

No Christmas is complete without Elvis’ Christmas Album (1970 re-release of 1957 classic) and the classics, “Blue Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” in his one and only style. I think everyone in the family took a turn as background singer on this album each holiday season. I’m betting this album is also why I know my mom saw Elvis at the Tupelo Fair before he reached iconic status. Stories just seem to abound around old Christmas albums.

I attribute a lot of my love of show tunes, crooners and the big band sound to Saturday evenings at Grandmother’s watching “The Lawrence Welk Show” on E-TV… and to The Dean Martin Christmas Album (1966). For sure, it’s the reason why I sing ” Marshmallow World” every time we make hot chocolate! My grandmother loved the Perry Como (1961 reissue) and Bing Crosby (1973 reissue) albums, with their rich voices. My favorites were “C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S” and Bing’s iconic rendition of “Adeste Fidelis”.

My Aunt Betty loved records. She always brought new ones home. The old John Denver and Olivia Newton John LPs she handed down to me where my favorite childhood songs. I have most of her records now, but her love of classic country music didn’t really stick. I’m sure she’s responsible for the country and folk albums that were part of our Christmas collection… Tennessee Ernie Ford Christmas (1971), Glen Campbell’s That Christmas Feeling (1968), Christmas in My Hometown (1970) from Mississippi-native, Charley Pride, and Emmylou Harris’ beautiful Light of the Stable (1979). I love Tennessee Ernie’s version of the Negro Spiritual, “Children Go Where I Send Thee”, along with Charley Pride’s “They Stood in Silent Prayer” and Glen Campbell’s cover of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper”. I also remember thinking as a little girl how cool The Partridge Family Christmas Card (1971) was, since it was so obviously a younger sound. I felt like I was a girl in the know listening to it — even though it was really before my time!

Memories, memories! When I look through the issue dates on all these records, I realize what classics many of them already were before I ever heard them in my 70s childhood. I realize it every time one pops in my head in response to some family activity. It’s fun to think about what the sounds added to how we celebrated Christmas. I’m already humming them again!

collect . childhood card games

I’ve been slowly cleaning out the storage closet in the studio this summer and realizing what a packrat I am! I’ve been finding all manner of art supplies, paper ephemera and cast-offs from various attics that I apparently couldn’t part with. It seems that I come by my packrat-ness naturally, since there are several boxes that have been transported from my parents’ attic. I’ve shared some of the randomness found in “the closet” on Instagram, so you can follow the adventure there. Meanwhile, I came across several sets of vintage playing cards from my 70s childhood, and the illustrations just made me smile. Gotta love Fifi Fluff, Diver Dan, Fickle Frankie and Fly Boy Floyd! Do you remember any of these?






“Go into ORBIT and soar into space
Be lucky — be lively — and win the race”
Aarco Pla-More Creative Cards


client work . Starkville’s New South Weekends 2014

No, watercolor painting is ALL I’ve been doing this summer! I thought it might be good to share some of the client work that has recently launched. This is my fourth year to have the opportunity to design the New South Weekends design suite for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Fall series centers around annual Friday evening events held during Mississippi State University home game weekends.

This year, I wanted to design something that had a very “college football” look, but also a little edgy to follow some of the flavor of the Starkville brand we’ve established. I went on a search for vintage football imagery for inspiration – very fun. I ended up taking an illustration from a 1938 Amhearst College football program that I found in the public domain, and giving it a more maroon (go Dawgs!) and modern feel. Here’s a look at the vintage illustration and a couple of the 2014 New South Weekends pieces. I hope to see you in Starkville this Fall for some of the great events!


[1938 Amherst College Football Program]


[2014 New South Weekends Poster – Starkville, MS]


[Mobile Site Graphics]


inspired by . Vintage Vogue Covers


Recently, I stumbled across the online Vogue UK Cover Archive, and I was excited to find a showcase of cover art dating all the way back to 1916. While it was fun to see some of the styles of past decades documented in the cover photos, the real treasure for me was the older illustrated covers. The evolving illustration styles, innovative compositions and “Vogue” typefaces were an inspiring tour of fashion history and design. The archive includes information about the various issues as well as the illustrators.

My favorite period this week… art deco from the 1920s.

inspired by . Saint Nick

I *might* be a packrat. In my defense, I get it naturally from my mother who is actually the one who kept these Santa specimens. Each year when we unearth the hoard of Christmas boxes from my attic, I search down all kinds of yellowed pages like these. They are infused with memories and wonder that have been layered since I was a child. I pulled a few to display in my office last weekend and I’ve been inspired by the nostalgic illustrations this week — ca. 1969-ish. Enjoy!

[Programming note: If you are connected with the Pond through my Facebook Page, you may have read about the changes in our lives over the last three months. I’ve taken a hiatus from Plop! and many other things as we continue to adjust. As we move into 2013, I hope to get back to posting with more regularity and to see with fresh eyes the inspiration that comes from simply living. I cannot express how my heart has been blessed by the support and patience of so many of my business colleagues. I’m convinced more than ever before that good business is human. Thank you.]

inspired by . WPA Posters

It was very nice to spend a little extra time playing with my little ones over the Labor Day holiday, and to enjoy a break from my normal design work. It was also nice to take a few minutes to recognize how blessed I’ve been with such incredible clients to work with! I was looking back through some posts from the first year of Small Pond Graphics, and I was inspired again by posters designed through the Works Progress Administration. In my 2010 Labor Day post, I highlighted a few from the “living archive” of the Posters for the People website. This weekend, I enjoyed another look through their collection and found a few more designs highlighting the value of work that so much of our country has been built on. Enjoy!

inspired by . Eames Chairs

I came across this US Postal Service stamp set in my bookmarks featuring the creative work of Charles and Ray Eames. I’ve always been inspired by how they applied their design sensibilities to so many different disciplines. The commemorative stamp set was released in 2008 and is a very fun glimpse at some of their iconic designs and maybe their personalities. Of course, the Eames chair designs play a big role in any overview of their work and these tiny images spurred me to search down a few other well-designed products inspired by the chairs. If you’re an Eames junkie like me, I think you’ll love these…

1. Eames Chair Letterpress Coasters from Green Bird Press
2. Eames “Hankies” from The Honey Press
3. Eames Chair print from Weavers of Southsea

favorite things . Rockin Recycled Journals

I’m so impressed with this product. I just wanted to get that out of the way right off the bat. The Sahabo shop creates handmade books (a personal favorite craft) in a variety of flavors that are all spectacular, but this particular variety is so fun. The 100-page journals are made from repurposed vinyl records and their sleeves. The binding looks top-notch too. I love this creative way of recycling a bit of vintage goodness into something beautiful used to record thoughts and ideas. The great part is that an extensive list of album titles are included in the Etsy shop so you can pick your own album to reflect your own inspiration. Honestly, I can’t wait to get one.

favorite things . Holiday Leftovers

If you’re ready to get in to the Christmas creative spirit, check out Collage Lab! I just ordered myself a pack of their “Holiday Chock Full of Paper” packs. It’s leftovers and scraps from old paper ephemera with a holiday theme — vintage papers, cards, ribbons, etc. You never know what you’ll get, but that’s such a HUGE part of the fun. I also love these packs of red, green & black letters and numbers from old graphic designers’ text kits (before the days of computers, kids). Oh the possibilities for holiday fun!

favorite things . October Treats

It’s October! The temperatures and weather in my neck of the woods are finally beginning to feel Fall-like, and I have an excuse to indulge my appreciation for orange. Over the weekend I was looking through Etsy.com for vintage Halloween ephemera (because I’m quirky that way) and I came across these great examples of old treat bags. Get inspired by the orange and black to kick off the month, and dream of your favorite candies filling them!

[Tricky Retro found at TheIDConnection | 30One | Tinsel and Trinkets | AppelJar Vintage]

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