Thursday, May 30, 2013

Signs of the Times: Cozy Corner Drive-In

It wasn't until we were asked by our pal Charles for a guided tour of our hometown that I truly appreciated our sleepy little hamlet.  Forced to look at everything with fresh eyes and a renewed interest, I came to realize that every town has treasures of which it should be proud (and preserve).

Locked in my own routine, I drove by wacky tacky-worthy landmarks everyday without so much as a second glance.  While Cozy Corner Drive-In isn't in my city, it is a sign that I drive by frequently.  Each time I pass, I make a promise to myself that one day I will stop for a photograph; it is a promise I have been making for years.  Well, tonight I finally made good on my oath.

Cozy Corner Drive-In, Santa Ana, CA
The surrounding neighborhood might leave a little to be desired but the twinkling lights, glowing neon that flashes on and off, the starburst and giant bent arrow, and the promise of tacos, burritos, AND hamburgers makes our mouths water - literally and figuratively.  Plus it's all in the name, "Cozy Corner;" something so simple yet so charming makes me wish that I had thought of it first.

Cozy Corner Drive-In
426 N Harbor Blvd
Santa Ana, CA


Mr. Tiny

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sew What?! Pineapple Princess

For as much sewing as I do, the sad fact is that I kind of hate it - the cutting, the pinning, the hours spent hunched over the sewing machine breaking needle after needle because I am too lazy to remove pins (which only results in more work/time changing the needle).  When the mood strikes, however, you will always find me hunkered down there in the "treadle trenches" armed for battle with my disappearing-ink pen and scalloped shears.  Never knowing when inspiration will come, I of course shroud surround myself with an endless supply of fabric, thread, and notions so that I will have everything I need (except, of course, that one thing for which I will invariably have to make a last minute run to the fabric store).

As organized as ever...

As reluctant a seamster as I may be, the prospect of designing garments is my ideal.  The challenge of designing/constructing something with very little time and very little material creates enough motivation to rouse a little fire in my evidently-dormant competitive gene.  Last Saturday we were headed to our pal Emily's birthday barbecue.  Having just created one of my floral, basket purses as her gift, I still had some residual creative energy and found a scant yard of vintage, pineapple-printed material that we had picked up in a homemade, roadside, thrift shop on one of our desert adventure days.  Confounded for about a year over what to do with the material; the answer was really a cinch - a gathered bra top and bolero!

The yardage was just enough to eke out the top and the outer shell of the
 short-sleeved bolero (I had to piece together leftovers to make the string halter).
  Wanting to line the bolero with a solid grey like the one found in the pineapple
 print but knowing that I really didn't have enough time to go to the store AND
finish the project, I lined it with a remnant of white cotton that I had on hand.

I can't show what she wore on the bottom because I didn't have time to make ANYTHING!!!

The teal, grey, and white color story was one I had never used before and
I quite like it.  Next up will be some kind of coordinating skirt, shorts, or
combination of the two - inspiration might have struck but the clock was
 striking too and we didn't want to be late for the party!  

It is often believed that Annette Funicello never wore a two-piece bathing suit but the clip below not only provides thematically-appropriate musical accompaniment but also proof to the contrary.  YOWZA!!!

"Pineapple Princess" - Annette Funicello


Mr. Tiny

Monday, May 27, 2013

This Ain't No Chicken Dinner but We do Have a WINNER!!!

Well folks, the Great Random Number Generator in the Sky has spoken and the winner of our third, and most thrilling, giveaway is the incredibly-stylish Wendi at Haute Rockabilly Fahionista!

Congratulations Wendi!  We hope that you'll be able to find something to wear with this crazy "bag-sket!"  To claim your prize simply email me at wackytackytiny {at} gmail {dot} com with your shipping information and the size of wacky tacky t-shirt you would like (Child's XL-Adult XXL).  

Thank you to all who entered and to all those who read and support wacky tacky!  Until our next giveaway, I wish you all good luck.


Mr. Tiny

Monday, May 20, 2013

201 Reasons for a GIVEAWAY!

Well another milestone has been reached here at wacky tacky and true to our word we are having a giveaway!  We are now in the 200+ followers club and it is our pleasure to show our appreciation by offering our third, and may we say, most exciting giveaway to date!

You might remember that for our first giveaway, we offered a handmade basket purse of Mr. Tiny's own design plus our entire selection of wacky tacky collectible pinbacks.


Our second giveaway saw the debut of our wacky tacky signature tee and the set-of-four wacky tacky collectible pinbacks.


For our third giveaway, we are upping the ante and giving away our wacky tacky signature tee, our set-of-four wacky tacky collectible pins, AND a handmade basket purse by Mr. Tiny!!!



A-tisket, A-tasket, a green and yellow basket!
A yellow, rectangular basket in a traditional basket weave is topped by a lined,
green, burlap upper, and trimmed with vintage brocade ribbon and three yellow roses.
This weird yet wonderful basket purse is the must have accessory for spring and summer.
According to our sources, "Goes with nothing" is the new "Goes with everything." 

This giveaway has something for everyone!  The t-shirt is unisex.  The purse is ideal for a woman, a gift, or an adventurous gentleman.  And the pins can just as easily be applied to the lapel of a fine suit as they can be to a denim, biker vest.  To win all of these great prizes, all you have to do is enter!


1.  All entrants must be an official follower of wacky tacky, meaning your face must appear in the followers section over here ------------------------------------------> somewhere.  If you are not yet a follower, don't be ashamed; quickly become a follower and you too will be eligible for the prize.
2.  All entrants must leave a comment in the comments section of this post indicating your desire to be part of the giveaway (worth one entry).
3.  Entrants may share the giveaway on another social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.) to earn additional entries (each share is worth one additional entry; you must leave a link in another comment on this post).
4.  All entrants must have a valid mailing address that is deliverable via the USPS (foreign or domestic).
5.  All entries must be made by 12am (PST) Sunday, May 26, 2013.
6.  All entrants must be able to play the tuba.  This point is negotiable pending a valid argument in the comments section of this post and/or the ability to play the kazoo.

On a serious note, I would love to broaden our base (figuratively speaking, of course); if you know of someone who would enjoy our type of fun, please spread the wacky tacky word.  Also we are always looking to feature cool houses, cool collections, cool shops, and cool people; if you have any or all of these things and would like to be featured on wacky tacky, please email us: wackytackytiny {at} gmail {dot} com.

Stay tuned; one winner will be chosen at random and announced here after all entries have been collected.  Thank you for your support and participation; I've got plenty to be thankful for!

"I've Got Plenty to be Thankful for" - Bing Crosby


Mr. Tiny

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Donna Loren Dreaming

Do you ever have a moment about which you wish you had dreamt your entire life so that when it happens you can honestly say, "It's like a dream come true?"  A few weeks ago I had such a moment when I heard that sweet siren of 60's, surfside song, Donna Loren.

Donna Loren

Donna Loren is probably not a household name unless you and your family are total nerds about 60's television programming and the brilliant movies produced by American International Pictures.  A featured player in many of AIP's best, Donna Loren gave voice to the lovelorn, beach-bound "teens" of such cinematic wonders as Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, and Beach Blanket Bingo.

"Love's A Secret Weapon" - Donna Loren in Bikini Beach

"Among the Young" - Donna Loren in Pajama Party

"It Only Hurts When I Cry" - Donna Loren in Beach Blanket Bingo

To be perfectly honest, I did not have a lifelong dream of meeting Donna Loren.  Then again, I never dreamt that I would get the chance to meet her.  Those bashful doe eyes, that pert little nose, the plaintive voice - Donna Loren is a living dream.  As boring as I think my life can be, I only have to review a month's worth of photographs to realize how very fortunate I am.  One moment we're on a wacky whirlwind road trip and the next we're meeting a contemporary of Frankie & Annette!

I have said it before but for the sake of this photo, it bears repeating; I have never gone through
 a "goth" phase; I'm just too goofy.  For Donna, I could definitely change my ways...if'n there was
 a horror hootenanny!  Dig that crazy spider!

Saturday, April 13, 2013, marked the Los Angeles benefit for Norton Records (another victim of Hurricane Sandy).  Organized by three Los Angeles-based music aficionados, DJ Howie PyroThe Real Boss Hoss, and Deke Dickerson, the benefit show featured many incredible bands - The Phantom Surfers, The Go-Nuts, Untamed Youth, and Thee Cormans (ahem).  As awesome as all of the acts were, the real highlight of the day-long concert was hearing Donna Loren.  Never having had the chance to meet my dancing idol (and Loren's fellow AIP star) Candy Johnson, and coming on the heels of the inimitable Annette Funicello's passing, it was a real moment for me to see and to meet Donna.

May I say that she looks INCREDIBLE!!!
Unfortunately, my pictures didn't turn out well, but she was an absolute
stunner in a gold mini skirt that she made for herself in the 60's.

"Muscle Bustle" - Donna Loren backed by Deke Dickerson
Of course, the sound quality on my camera is weak
 but I still had to share her performance with you.

"Muscle Bustle" - Donna Loren in Muscle Beach Party

Ms. Loren's acting credits extend far beyond the beach party movies.  With regular and guest-starring roles on The Monkees, The Milton Berle Show, Batman, Dr. Kildare, Gomer Pyle: USMC, and others, she was a fixture of the 60's small screen as well.  And now she is a fixture of our wacky tacky scrapbook!!!

Our pal, Teresia, of The Mentalettes, Donna Loren, Mary, and Mr. Tiny
Donna was gorgeous, gracious, and extremely generous for the .003 seconds that we
had to meet her and snap a quick photo.  Understandably, there was a major line
 forming to behind us to do the very same.  

You know it is a pretty wonderful life when dreams you didn't even have are coming true!  Thanks to the fellas for putting on a great show!  And thanks to Donna for an incredible performance and some great memories!

Do you have a star encounter that would be a dream come true?  Let us know; until then, we'll be doing the "Muscle Bustle."


Mr. Tiny

Friday, May 10, 2013

The PASSWORD Is: "Mother"

You know you really must be some kind of monster when people look through your family photos and with genuine, thoughtless sincerity exclaim, "That's your mom?!?!?!" - as if they could never fathom that something so hideous (me) was born of something so fair (she).  What can I say, not every project you work on, even one on which you've spent nine months, turns out the way you expected.  Fortunately, I was born just past the days when people would've immediately tossed me in a sack with a couple of bricks and flung me in the river like so many unwanted kittens.  I think my parents still question their own judgment until I remind them of my alternatives.  Would they have me swinging from the bell tower of a famed, Medieval cathedral or haunting the singers of a Parisian opera house OR would they prefer to have me under their constant supervision, thus minimizing the trauma wreaked upon an unsuspecting public?

This is my mom...
channeling the spirit of Tammy Wynette

My mom will hate me for saying any of this because I have brought this very scenario to her attention and she does not approve the theory; she doesn't think I'm ugly (the phrase "A face only a mother could love," comes to mind).  Yet, the only reason I mention it is to wish my Mom and all of the mothers out there a very Happy Mother's Day!

Looking at these photos makes me truly sorry for all the terrible things I've put my mom through.  It makes me realize that she was once inexperienced and idealistic and could never have imagined all the torment that five weird children and thirty eight years of marriage can bring.  It makes me see her as a real human being who never considered the seemingly-insurmountable obstacles that would be placed before her, who never realized that in the face of these obstacles she could summon the strength to laugh through her tears and persevere.  My mom had a life before I did.

Would you be able to tell this face
 how hard life was going to be?

In looking for proof of my Mom's pre-child life, I finally uncovered something for which I have been searching years and years - evidence!!!  In 1972, three years prior to her marriage with my father, my Mom appeared as a contestant on Password.  Password is the game show famous for bringing Betty White together with the love of her life, host, Allen Ludden.  My mother was lucky enough to play with White, but as much as I have combed over the Game Show Network archives and Password clips on YouTube, I have never seen any kind of documentation of her appearance.  I thought I had sorted through all of the family's slides but I found a few small boxes that I had never seen before.  Surprised and ecstatic when I held these up to the light, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

Unfortunately, I broke the one slide projector that we had and I haven't the faintest idea how to scan these into the computer.  In my desperation to share the slides, I was reduced to holding them over a lightbulb and snapping a photo.
On the left you can see my mom's competitor and Betty White.  The host, Allen Ludden, is in the center with my Mom on the far right.  I'm still trying to figure out who her celebrity partner was during this round.

*Update: My Mom informed me that her partner was Ross Martin from The Wild, Wild West.

Wearing a pink dress of her own make and design, my Mom was a big winner, earning enough money for a trip to Europe.  There are so many things that I wish after viewing these slides.  I wish that I could see the show (I would love to see how she acted, how she spoke, and how she behaved on her TV debut).  I wish that she had won enough money to set us all up for life (Haha!).  More than anything, I wish that she had kept that dress!

I can't wait to get these transferred into a more easily viewable medium.
Yet, I'm really glad to have these slides that my grandparents took of
the television while they were watching their daughter win big money!

I wish I knew whose hand scrawled the message, "Real cute?"
on the back of the slide mount...perhaps one of her five brothers?

She reminds me so much of Hayley Mills in these photos.
I really enjoy how all of the slides were placed into the card-
board mounts upside down (and sometimes backwards). 

I said she won "big money," but I think she ended up with a
total of about $2,000.  I guess that's not too shabby for 1972.

It is funny, people (particularly Mary, who regularly accuses us of "Like, being the same person" ) tell me how similar my Mom and I are - in personality, in temperament, in orneriness.  For as alike as we might be, I am constantly learning something from her.  I have discussed in some length my Dad and his particular brand of challenges, but the fact is that none of that would have been a story if not for my Mom.  It is my firm belief that my Dad pulled through because she gave him something to live for.  This is evidenced by anyone who stands in a crowded room and sees that, for my Dad, the room is completely empty except for my Mother.  Every time she walks past his gaze, he sighs like a lovesick schoolboy; he brightens at her every movement.  This is no accident.  She has been a steadfast wife, a tireless worker, and the type of partner for which most people would kill.

From her I learned what it means to work.  From her I learned the meaning of unconditional love.  From her I learned how to tie my shoes, butter toast, sew on a button, crack an egg, and a million and one other things that I take for granted every day.  From her I learned that life really isn't fair. From her I learned that even when life isn't treating you fairly, it is important to rely on faith, family, and one's own fortitude to carry on.  It may seem corny but my favorite song about mothers comes from a cartoon; in a few simple phrases. "Your Mother and Mine" expresses all that "mother" means.

"Your Mother & Mine" - Walt Disney's Peter Pan

To all the moms out there, I hope your children are providing you at least one day that makes you glad that you didn't throw them in the river.  To my own Mom, I love you.  I am proud of you.  I am in awe of your bravery.  I respect your commitment and admire your consistency.  I hope to find over my lifetime half of the determination and love that you exhibit daily.



Mr. Tiny

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Collecting: Vintage Tablecloths

As our wacky tacky signature t-shirt states, "We dig old stuff" - particularly old stuff that is attractive and has a history of use.  It only makes sense then that I have an affinity for vintage tablecloths.  I love the colors, the prints, and even the spots/stains that chronicle the life of each piece.

We are one of those weird families that views a bare table as an abomination - a missed opportunity if ever there was one; our dining room table is perpetually set for a dinner party that has yet to happen.  We grew up entertaining often but rarely sat down to a formal dinner around the dining table.  That tradition carried with me wherever I moved, including my first, tiny, studio apartment (on the second floor of an 1879 farmhouse).

Not too thrilling or too wacky tacky, but proof that
even when you live alone, it's still a party of four.

As the tablescape changes often, it is nice to have a stock of supplies to give the table a quick wacky tacky makeover.  The quickest way to a brand new table comes from my modest collection of vintage tablecloths.  I am always reticent to post my collections because I lack an expert's knowledge on any subject; I become all kinds of self-conscious knowing that there are people out there with real collections that could easily put mine to shame.  Anxiety aside, here are my tablecloths.


Although they don't subscribe to traditional themes like flags, eagles, and fireworks, the generally-patriotic color scheme of these cloths makes them ideal for use during the Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veteran's Day and pretty much any day in between.


These border prints probably border on the politically incorrect but I love them.  Living so close to the gateway between our two countries, I'm surprised I haven't found more of these out in the wild.

Orange, brown, and green - a wacky tacky
color combo if ever there was one.


These two are printed on crisp, Irish linen.

Among the floral bouquets, the cloth on the right has a little nest full of robin's eggs.
Can you spot it?


These cloths get a lot of use during the summer months.  While it is hard to choose a favorite, this blue and orange, tropical tablecloth that I picked at a shop not too far from the Cabazon Dinosaurs, really makes me happy.  I think my next hypothetical business will be textile design and printing based on vintage examples.

The cactus print on the right has definitely seen better days but I really
 love the washed-out overprinting and brushstroke cactus flowers.

If you've been following us for a while, you
might recognize this one (another favorite).

We used it to set a tiki-style table for our
 Pineapple Upside Down Meatloaf


It seems Christmas cloths are the hardest to find because they are so collectible (read: expensive).  If you don't know by now, I only buy things on the CHEAP, so it seems my options are limited to the occasional swap meet score or hand-me-down.

The floral number might not be a "Christmas" print but the red and 
green (set off by chartreuse) certainly puts me in the holiday mood.


Oh sure, the printed cloths are my favorite but I won't shy away from a hand-embroidered or cross-stitched example of tabletop finery.  It seems weird but I like seeing the blue lines of the iron-transfer pattern behind the stitching; it makes me think of the person threading the embroidery floss through her needle and the hours and hours of work she had ahead of her.  Oh, and how I would never have the patience or attention span to accomplish so time-consuming and labor-intensive.

So how do you dress your table?  Do you collect vintage tablecloths, place settings, or dinnerware?  Are you focused on a certain style?  I am not at all persnickety when it comes to focused collecting or caring too much about certain styles, values, etc.  I just buy what is inexpensive because to borrow a phrase from our pals at My Baby Jo, "A table's gotta have options."


Mr. Tiny