Thursday, February 27, 2014

Betty Crocker Award

How About a Betty Crocker Award?

When my children were growing up, we had a silly banter that would be bounced around the kitchen at dinner time.  ”Good Dinner Mom, you can keep your Betty Crocker award”.  Little did I or they know that there actually was a “Betty Crocker” award.

170The award started sometime in the  1940′s or 50′s as far as I can tell and was actually awarded by General Mills.
I recently found a  Betty Crocker Award Pin in a box of jewelry I purchased.  I didn’t think much about it until after Tom took pictures and I prepared to list it.  I started to do some searching and came up with some sketchy information, mostly from some posts on Pinterest.  I listed the pin in my shop on Etsy and was very pleasantly surprised when a fellow Etsian Laura Fisher, responded to my listing with the following information, (used here with her permission)

“I recognized this immediately. I was the Betty Crocker Family Leader of Tomorrow at my high school in 1975. I started high school in 1971 and that was the name of the award program then. Betty Crocker had changed the program to be more unisex and modern so this pin is much older than the 1970s. My award was a small silver charm with the hearth symbol on it.
High schools who want to participate give a test on a specific day to students who are interested. The highest score on the test wins for the school and some of those students go on to compete for scholarships. Although I was a winner from my school, I did not advance in the competition so I don’t know anything about that.
At this point, I asked permission to use the information she had shared.  ”Of course it’s OK! We learn about history through stories about things. I was a science and math student mostly and it was a shock when I won. I’m really proud of it actually. It was like an affirmation that I had a handle on living in the real world. The test questions weren’t about perfect cakes. I remember being tested on home health and safety, personal finances and economics, home and possession maintenance and upkeep.
I felt almost guilty to beat the girls who took eight semester of home economics. There were two groups of us taking the test. The home eccies and the honor students trolling for every dime of scholarship money we could get. This was during a time when college funds were tough to come by and the Betty Crocker scholarship was one of the most prominent awards that was available. By 1975, when I took the test it was evenly divided between male and female students and home ec students were in minority of test takers.
I sometimes wear my charm as a necklace and still think it’s one of the more interesting little known facts about me. And, hahaha, I sometimes threaten myself with revoking it when I do something stupid around the house.
And…as I started to share earlier…”The Betty Crocker Award” is still prized by many recipients I’m sure.  And, I still get a thrill when my 45 year old son says to me…”Mom, you get to keep your Betty Crocker Award”…

About the Author
Carolyn O'Bayley is one of the founders and administrators of Got Vintage Shops. She and her husband Tom have two wonderful shops:
COBAYLEY their own stand alone site and COBAYLEY on Etsy
True Vintage, Only Vintage, that's what COBAYLEY sells. Vintage jewelry,accessories,silver,vanity and dresser items, textiles, mid century modern, retro, fun, funky and all things old and interesting. We are adding new items almost daily. Stop by either shop to see what treasures you will find...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Vintage Fabrics Steiger

Discovering Harwood Steiger

One of the best parts of being a thrifter or vintage seller is the education you receive. Discovering an item and then returning home to see what can be uncovered about its past is intriguing!


Take for example, this piece of fabric.


Having a title and a signature makes research a lot easier.

I got on the computer that night and learned that the signature on my fabric belonged to Harwood Steiger, a mid-century silkscreen artist who worked out of a studio in Tubac, AZ for about 30 years.

And then I learned how prolific he was as a designer.
Squash Blossom                                                       Owls                                           Summer Rain                                                     
I came across a blog by a woman, Cynthia deVillemarette, who is writing a book about Steiger.

She says in her blog that Steiger designs were produced in 3 categories: 

Desert Table Cloth

 Table linens such as this example,

...dress panels such as the one shown below, and fabric yardage.
Saguaro Dress Panel

Steiger's designs are usually based on nature, particularly scenes from the Southwest however he did work on some mid century abstract designs as well.

From the blog:
"Harwood Steiger textiles became enormously popular with visitors traveling through Tubac.  Because of that, examples are being discovered from as far away as Canada.  They were no less popular with locals, as well. A recent trip to Tubac turned up nearly 100 examples held by local residents all these years.  The colors remain bright, almost as if only printed yesterday.

Harwood Steiger textiles remain popular today and are prized among collectors of fabric.  The cactus, roadrunners, quails, and botanical subjects of his desert designs are quintessential Harwood Steiger.  Less easily recognized are the wonderful abstracts, tropicals and Aztec designs, which are non-the-less wonderful."

Courting in the Cholla
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Steiger's designs number in the hundreds. The research on this was fascinating and I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for more Harwood Steiger fabric.

All images are the property of Cynthia deVillemarette and are used with permission. 

About the Author
Shannon Paasch is an active member of Got Vintage Shops. She owns and operates two shops on Etsy.

An eclectic mix of mid century modern, farmhouse chic, industrial and a bit of kitsch.
 -and- for all your ephemera needs.