Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snot Noel, ovarian panchos and other godawful '70s crafts for Christmas

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

Decorating & Craft Ideas and other craft magazines & patterns from the early '70s

Discovered at: Methodist Thrift Shop, Cortez, Colorado

The Cover Promises: When you look in the mirror, you see a sad, bloated beast pretending to be merry with a mouth crammed full of Christmas.

Just like the Native Americans with the buffalo, suburban housewives of the 1970s used all parts of the egg-carton. They lived in the golden age of American crafting, an era shaped by two key economic factors:

  • Twin paychecks had not yet become mandatory for every single family in America, so some people had time for "hobbies," a word you hardworking folks should spend your break looking up on Dictionary.com

  • Wal-Mart or China or NAFTA or whatever hadn't yet glutted us with useless, chintzy crap, so can-do Americans rose to the challenge by taking up macramé, appliqué, needle-point, and shadowboxing.

Recently, your Crap Archivist happened a stack of '70s craft magazines of breathtaking awfulness. It's a Christmas miracle!

First, from the December '71 issue of Decorating & Craft Ideas: Snot Noel!



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This Decorating & Craft Ideas is packed with tips for making egg ornaments, velour angels, and something called a "jeweled chalice tree." With just a little felt and a couple of candles, you can make Satan's choir.



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If you don't have time to whip up your own Happy Warblers, why not just add a wick to this fellow?



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One advantage mass production has over the handmade: Even Hallmark junk has been tested and studied so that, at the very least, it isn't accidentally terrifying. The same can't be said for this grim Santa, suitable for burning on the lawns of enemies.

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Speaking of scary Santa, here's the old elf looking oafish, war-painted and decapitated.

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And look closer at that other guy!

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Inuit legend tells us that this is the last thing you see before winter takes your soul.

Happily, this issue offers occasional relief from all these Christmas crafts.



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Yes, it's Gwyneth Paltrow in a sweater onesie.

We'll have more Christmas below. First, though, a couple other finds from the same remarkable Crap pile that yielded Decorating & Craft Ideas.

This one demonstrates the power of today's hipster culture.

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Every friend I showed it to agreed it was funny ... but also totally fashion-forward awesome.

Not so for this one:



It's like someone managed to translate the taste of Kraft Mexican-Style Shredded Cheese into the medium of poncho!



One more poncho, this one from Family Circle's 1973 "Christmas Helps" special issue.


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​You, too, can make a holiday tradition out of assuming a Christ-pose to show off your poncho tribute to the ovaries.



That '73 Family Circle is a testament to the low overhead of yesteryear's magazine publishing. It's 160 pages swell with every craft pleasure from beaded belts to sand sculpture candles ... but there's only three ads.

The cover promises "100 Great Gifts" for everyone from "mothers & moppets" to "grandpas & glamour girls," a pairing that I wish had seized the imagination of role-players like Dungeons & Dragons did.

In fact, some of Family Circle's "Christmas Helps" live up to that billing: Here is the perfect combination of grandpa and glamor girl.




Drape your sexiness in drapes!

One cool idea: arranging flowers to look like a chunk of raw flesh.

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Here's half of a gift-of-the-magi situation: you sold your husband's shame to get him an apron.

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And, finally, what kid hasn't dreamed of baking up a Christmas cookie crime scene?

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Hey, if you're one of the 8 percent of the American public on Twitter, you may as well follow the new @studiesincrap!

The mighty Studies in Crap e-mail list updates you whenever a new SiC post hits. Sign up at studiesincrap@pitch.com.

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