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Tag Art

Christmas in March came to Whiskey Creek when I won the bid on e-bay for five volumes of St. Nicholas Magazine (St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks). These were monthly children's magazines published by The Century Company and edited by Mary Mapes Dodge.

The magazine was published for many years, but my favorites are the ones before 1890. The five volumes I got were from the 1880s. About 1890 photographs became more commonly used in magazines, replacing many of the etchings, so I am always looking for the older publications.

As I was perusing my newly arrived treasure trove, I ran across an article in the November 1885 issue on "Home-Made Christmas Gifts." The author, Ella S. Welch, notes there has been a "large advance in artistic ideas and designs within the last eight years" since the previous hints for Christmas presents had appeared in the magazine.

The author tells us "all of the articles here named can be made by industrious young folk possessing taste and discrimination; and gifts, both useful and ornamental, may thus be prepared, at a very moderate expense for material, but in a way that will well express affectionate good-will."

Directions are given for a jockey-cap twine and scissors holder, a star match-receiver, a pocket-book of alligator skin ("a few cents will purchase two pieces of "scrap" at any shoe factory where goods of alligator skin are made"), pocket pin cushions -- and a trunk tag. trunk tag

With all the stamping interest in tag art, I thought stampers might enjoy the directions for creating a trunk tag.

Take a "scrap" of alligator skin, and cut two strips, each five and a half by three inches; clip the corners to a "tag" shape. Cut out the center of the upper string, leaving a margin half an inch wide; stitch this margin to the under strip on three sides, leaving the clipped end unstitched; fasten on this end a little strap and buckle for attacheing the tag to the trunk handle. Cut several blank cards to fit the frame, and slip them in, ready for use.

Alligator scraps, I'm afraid, are no longer a few cents each, but I can't help but ponder how things seem to go in cycles.

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