I was just remembering how years ago, at least 20 at this point (whuh???) when I was selling paintings on eBay (which I no longer do, the market changed and is not a place for self-supporting artists anymore–or at least not *this* one) I would now and then get an email from someone asking something along the lines of, “I love your art but can’t afford to buy it, would it be okay if I used this digital image as my screen saver?” which I thought was awfully nice and charming. Who wouldn’t like to be asked? Of course I said, Go Ahead. Because it is so easy just to right click and drag to your desktop and hey-presto, the digital image is yours now.

That was before Pinterest. Nowadays, I don’t think anyone thinks twice about saving an image–we just do. Twenty years ago when the internet was still new, people were concerned about copyrights, and stealing. Nowadays, well, it is what it is.

One of those times, I received an email from someone who said she was a high school art teacher and she wanted to use one of my images in a slideshow to demonstrate something to her students–would it be okay if she used one of my digital images? I said yes, and again was charmed to have been asked.

I never did ask her what point she wanted to demonstrate–back then I was painting in yellow/red/blue. I thought it must have been something to do with primary colors, because it was so obvious.

Anyway, fifteen years and half the country away later, two missionaries came visiting, and I let them in. I think if a missionary is driven enough to knock on doors and share the gospel, I can make a few minutes to hear about it. It must be hard having everyone say, “No,” and shut the door all day. I figure I can give encouragement wherever I can.

One of the missionaries noticed a painting on my wall and asked, “Did you paint that?” and I said I did. By this time I was painting in all colors, not just red/blue/yellow. He asked if I had let an art teacher use my images for her class, and I vaguely remembered having done so. I don’t remember if he asked me if my name was Sandra Spencer, but he might have. I just remember being stunned, and he said he’d been in a high school class and remembered seeing my paintings. He was happy about the serendipitous meeting, and said his teacher would get a kick out of the story when he told her he’d come to my house and talked to me.

I don’t know how that all ended for him.

I just think it’s a *really* small world.

snow day


We have had more snow than we’ve had for the last 20 years. It’s been awful. Plus ice.

So to break up the monotony of snow, here’s two snowmen for you to vote on. Which is cuter? Snow man, or snow Totoro? There’s a dinner riding on this. Please leave a vote in the comments! We’ll tally the votes on the 28th.


Family Circle, 1970: the fashion

I finish off the 1970 issue of Family Circle with the fashion. Particularly because of this ad. It makes me think of the men of Mad Men sitting around the table with the Simplicity patterns bigwigs, palavering over the ad campaign.


The Simplicity men say, “I don’t know. What are we selling? Is that one of our patterns? I don’t think that’s one of our patterns. Why would we have an ad showing a dress that is NOT one of our patterns?”

Because that is what they should have done. There is no pattern number. But maybe it is one of their patterns? Let’s look at the print part of the ad:

    “If you want to look different these days you have a choice.
    #1. You can look ridiculous.
    #2. You can look like you came off an assembly line.
    Well, we think the secret to looking different is really looking like yourself. Because that never goes out of style. And that brings us to #3, the perfect answer. A Simplicity pattern.”

I still do not know if that shoe lace dress was a real pattern. Or an example of looking ridiculous. I’m stymied.

We move on to this hair spray advertisement. Nothing at all has changed in hair spray in 44 years!


You know the sauna belt must not have worked, or else they’d be worth millions now.


These last two I show as examples as how the photography itself hasn’t evolved. Maybe all that can be done with photography has been done? I’m not complaining, just interested that these are the same layouts used today.


And that completes our journey back to 1970. See also, here, here, here, and here.

Family Circle, 1970: home tour

We look around the restored home of Olive and Richard Brose. “Says Richard: ‘We lived on the porch while we stripped the inside bare.'” And, “One of the masons even discovered a handsome fieldstone fireplace hidden behind a brick facade in the living room. When linoleum was ripped from the floors, lo and behold! lovely tulipwood boards lay beneath.”


Who wouldn’t love to move into this home today? Those timber beams? Hello? Me!


Man, they’ve done the restoration, and I’m sure in the 40+ years since these photos some lucky person has changed the color scheme. (You can never go wrong with white. Just saying.)


Look at that lovely hooked bird rug! The latticed cabinets, not so much.

And then a look at the owners who raise sheep. And Olive spins! Swoon!


The more things change, the more they stay the same, am I right?

Family Circle, 1970

Our library has a bin where people put their used magazines so other people can pick through and take what they can use. Needless to say, we come home with ARMLOADS of magazines to be cut apart and used in craft projects. On the one hand, yay, and on the other, all those bits of paper on the floor….

We found a gem from 1970. You and I will spend some time with it this week!

Can you imagine 20-cents for a magazine? I wonder what the gas price was per gallon in 1970? I wonder if the price of a magazine today is not twice the price of a gallon of gas?


Look at that daisy afghan! The gizmo that makes the yarn pompoms ought to totally be re-marketed for today’s crafter, because this thing would be a hit again! The colors changed a little, maybe in pastels? I would totally make this! There’s no instructions in the magazine, you had to mail away for a kit: $17.95. Again, what is that in today’s dollars if the price of the mag is 20-cents? Whoa! You had your choice of colors: yellow, shown, or blue, rose, gold, or orange. After you made all the pompom daisies, you crocheted them together as demonstrated by the woman on the cover. Can you imagine that model could be a great-grandmother now? It makes your head spin! Or mine, anyway.

I remember a friend’s mom had this afghan in the works and we would sit and make pompoms. Or just fool with the yarn, I don’t quite remember. I don’t think she ever finished the afghan, or at least I don’t remember ever seeing it displayed. Hmm, maybe I do remember it on the foot of her bed….in the yellow daisies, as shown.

Next up, a tawdry headline:


Fake counselors? How could that be? The article says there were only 15 licensed therapists that year, and you knew you were seeing a quack if he tried to persuade you to “go outside your marriage” to find personal satisfaction. Particularly with the therapist, if you know what I mean, wink wink. Good thing these things are regulated now so that would never happen!

And then an ad. You would think this was an advertisement for tea, maybe, wouldn’t you? The pretty model chilling on the photoshoot set? No, it’s an ad for Tampax.


I mostly bring your attention to it because: Keds! And also, don’t you think that looks like Jodi Foster? She’d be about the right age, and didn’t she start out as an actress/model?


What do you think? I think so.

More Family Circle goodness to come!

Heads up in your holiday shopping

Here is this year’s post about buying direct from the designer via etsy, rather than the mass-produced rip off items you’ll find sold in major department stores.

One of the designers whose work was copied said she has a record of selling an item to the mass-producer directly, by name and address! Sheesh. When you’re ripped off by China, they usually use a PO Box in America and then have the item shipped over by an employee. But when you’re ripped off by a US company, you send your item directly to the copier!

I know everyone who sells on etsy knows this happens, and expects it to happen to them eventually. All we can do is ask people to buy directly from the artist, and not pick up a last-minute-impulse item at the department store.

I see/hear people complain the government doesn’t do enough to support the arts. Well, the government shouldn’t be in the business of supporting any business. You and I are. And this is how we do it: buying from an individual artist, one purchase at a time. has fabulous, unique items at very fair prices. You are directly supporting the artist/creator and helping bills be paid this month. No middle man. Take a look.