Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catalog Love

My lifelong fascination and downright love of catalogs was nurtured in my childhood. My grandmother was infatuated with catalogs. She had one of those large stuffed pillows that resembled the back of a chair with armrests. Do you know what I'm talking about? From this queenly perch she would read through magazines cutting out interesting articles and ads, placing them in tall teetering stacks on her bedside table.

But the most time, energy and dreaming power was spent in the pages of catalogs. When money was tight, dreaming took on greater meaning. What fun it was to sit on her bed with her and think about ordering beautiful new coats or matching curtains and bedspreads. Dreaming has always been free!

"Basic Catalog Dreaming 101" involved a new Sears & Roebuck catalog. At some point Spiegel became the dream book. Over the years others came on the scene, some with merchandise certainly out of my reach financially but never out of the reach of my imagination.

No matter how beautiful their websites might be, I want a print version. I can't quite prop my large desktop computer on my chest when I'm sitting in bed at night. Give me paper and ink every time.

Here are some of my favorites from over the years:

Ballard Designs - Cool home decorating stuff lots of which is French inspired.

Horchow - Definitely high end dream level. I don't think I could even afford their clearance specials.

Williams Sonoma - I've banned myself from their stores, after my last pricey cake pan purchase, but the catalog is not off limits yet. Their catalog has always contained wonderful recipes.

Crate & Barrel - I've been shopping Crate & Barrel since the '70's.

J.C. Penney - Now that Sears no longer publishes a catalog, Penney's has filled with void. I'm currently looking at some embroidered silk drapes for the family room.

My new favorite is King Arthur Flour. If you like to bake, this is a terrific catalog filled with wonderful and affordable items. Woe is me because they carry at least ONE pricey cake pan.

I'm loving this cinnamon bear. He holds cinnamon and sugar for toast.


You know I love pie, so I want these pie chains.


I simply must have this gadget. You squeeze the handle and that swirly thing opens up. You scoop up some flour and close the contraption. You shake it over your work surface and just the right amount of flour comes out.


Who doesn't want some candy ladybug decorations?


Candy bumblebees are very useful......


....if you purchase one of those pricey cake pans.


PHEW....I'm virtually worn out and virtually broke but I'm in love with King Arthur.

How about you, do you read catalogs? Do you have a favorite? Is the online version OK with you or like me, do you need the hardcopy version?


lifeinredshoes said...

My name is Red Shoes and I am a recovering catalog addict. I promise to dispose of all catalogs dating back to 1995 and and keep only those I plan to order from, (that is an outright lie, but I'll save that for another support group).

Suzanne said...

HA - Red Shoes, I thought Chocolatechic got up early. Or maybe you hadn't been to bed at the time you commented. Anyway, I hear ya.

I still can't believe you didn't wear red shoes to the wedding. The pics are wonderful. I hope we can do as good a job.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

bekahcubed said...

I was crazy about catalogs in my earlier life--then I went through a stint of online catalog window shopping (saving pictures of clothes I liked to assemble a computerized wardrobe, then playing dress up with them.)

Now I'm too busy for either--so my JC Penney catalog holds up the corner of a broken desk, awaiting the day when I can peruse it again.

chocolatechic said...

We got our King Arthur catalog yesterday, and the first thing I squealed over were those little lady bugs and bees.

Aren't they just the cutest???

I slobber all over that catalog.

Texas Gardener said...

My favorite catalog that I actually buy from is High Country Gardens. They do have good plants. I was a little worried about mail order plants, but it worked out great.

I read the King Arthur blog too. They have a great recipe for steakhouse brown bread, in other words the Outback bread. It taste great, but to get the dark brown color you have to buy a certain ingredient from their catalog. I don't so my bread is light.

I also like the Coldwater Creek catalog and dream that those clothes would fit me!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh no. I love King Arthur, too. Haven't used anything but King Arthur unbleached unbromated for thirty years.

I receive several catalogs. I find it comforting to curl up with one. L.L. Bean catalogs are fun. Anthropologie, too...I sent that to my daughter as a gift knowing full well that she could afford some of their stuff. She has been grateful ever since. Pottery Barn had a special catalog on yellow...oh yes, had to have that one. Odd and sundry seed catalogs with my favorite being Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Why am I writing a post in your comments? LOL!

Have a great day, Suzanne, now that the old gov is gone and the weekend is here, things are looking up!

Lynn said...

Suzanne, who knew that King Arthur Flour had all those things? I love King Arthur flour.

I had great aunts who could catalog dream like that. It was amazing, and tempting. I later fell prey to gardening catalogs.


GreatAunt said...

I love catalogs and I'm an ink and paper person, all the way! As a matter of fact, I publish catalogs (though nothing fun or interesting). :)

Marilyn said...

I can't even tell you the excitement over the Sears catalog....when the Christmas catalog came, it was without a doubt one of the best days of the year!
Growing up in a very small town on an Island with a two hour ferry ride to anywhere, the Sears catalog was our window to the world : ) Furniture, jewelery, shoes, you could even get a horse catalog, not near as big, but it had all the new saddles, bridles, halters, and blankets.
Orders came in on Wednesdays and if you were expecting something you would race downtown after school with a friend to pick it up (if you mother didn't beat you to it!)

Look, I've written a post in your comments.
Thanks for the memory :)

~ Sara ~ said...

One of my favorite catalogs is the National Geographic catalog. I just go oh wow through the whole thing. And wish I had just a little extra $$ to buy something.

King Arthur has been a LONG time favorite. I think I have been ordering from them since the early 90's... boy does that sound strange. Doesn't it seem just like yesterday?

PS. I just adore your blog!

Jenni said...

I want the cinnamon bear and the beehive cake pan!

Lori said...

I love the flour shaker thingy. I get their catalog too but missed that item. I just love gadgets. It you want to make my day, just give me a new kitchen gadget to play with and I'm happy as buttered toast!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

A Boyfriend pillow (also known as the husband pillow) is a large, high-backed pillow with two "arms". It is used to prop the user upright while in bed or on the floor, as for reading or watching television.

My mother always called them husbands.

jmmyndlnd said...

I love to look at catalogs, I didn't know they had them anymore, thanks so much for giving the links in order to get the catalogs, I ordered a bunch of them. Linda

Sally said...

I'm with you. Catalogs are a weakness. I have a huge basket in which I store catalogs. I go through it regularly to update it but it takes so long to do it because I have to study each catalog before I throw it into the recycle bin.
It's nice to know I'm not alone. However, thanks to you I now have an on line order with King Arthur. I do think you should get a commission from each business you listed on your blog today. You know they have had hits from people who do not receive their catalog. I don't get the K.A. catalog so there is one order credited to you.
By the way, about the pie chains. They look great but I use two bags of great northern dried beans. Put them in a double foil lined pie shell and prebake as usual. They are easy to lift out and I save them in a zip lock bag to reuse. Now that you can save money from that item you have more to spend on that pricey cake pan or candy ladybugs or bees:)
I bought the little cinnamon bear years ago. He makes me smile. Anything that makes you smile is a keeper.

Silvia said...

I cant find the bear! Where did you find it???

Mary Rex said...

Hey Suzanne, I used to work for Williams-Sonoma at a call center they had here until about a month ago. Do you know they own Pottery Barn? They also had the beehive cake pan a couple of years ago. I loved working there, though it was not my calling. I met the most wonderful people, many who are still my close friends. I too am a catalog nut. All of the window *treatments* in my house are from JC Penney!