Sunday, August 4, 2019

Vintage photos are intriguing

Do you have a fascination with photos from times long gone by, before everything was instant gratification when it comes to a camera? I do. I study old photographs with the intensity of a chemist who seeks the answer to an elusive formula, like a botanist who located the rare flora surrounding him that no one knew grew where he now stood. You get the picture, yep, pun intended!!

 I have marveled over the faces of people never met. Often hundreds of years separate their life from my own. I wish their images could speak to me and tell the story of their name, what they did for happiness, where they lived and worked, their talents and interests, things they survived when they felt fearful, and all their successes. What is unknown to us today behind their moment in time that the camera shutter captured their life so that it could be a time-stand-still-for-eternity treasure.
Old photos are artifacts of society. Proof of existing. Endless fascination for me.
 I have been a seamstress since a young age, thanks to my grandma on my mom's side of the family tree teaching me and inspiring the fabric bug to spread its wings inside of my curiosity. She was the queen of mend and make do and save everything that can upcycle into new greater items. She was a creative homemaker before her time and would have been a social media sensation with her reinventing one ready to toss thing into another far better keeper, had she not lived in an orphanage as a child and on a farm as an adult and learned her ways and skills from the trenches of the depression era.

My other grandmother was from more privilege and opportunity and was busy from college age thru retirement birthing babies as a nurse, hundreds of them. She had two of her very own, one of them turned out to be my dad. She did some sewing in her busy life. In fact, I own a childhood photo of my dad and his older brother wearing corduroy fabric suits with knicker pants or knee britches (like what the mystery boy in the pictures below is wearing) and matching jackets. It must have been expensive fabric for the era and I am sure they were not allowed to play and be rough and tumble in the outfits. I am also sure by looking at the photo that the fabric was not easy to sew upon.
 When I look at these photos on this post I study the clothing and the people. I know what it took to make the design details on the dresses. Many of today's fashions have retained the same elements and we incorporate them into our modern day attire. Some sewing techniques are ageless. I find the patches on the girl's dress skirt to be interesting since they look to be not of the mended type patches, but instead a true accent which is unusual for the time period. The footwear, especially high button style shoes, are a source of interest to me as well but I would not want to be struggling in a hurry to get them on to be out the door for an appointment time deadline or other schedule necessity...yes, modern day friends, flip-flops are a person's salvation when in a hurry to 'hit the road'. I doubt people were in such a rush a hundred years ago to join the hamster wheel non-stop days' schedule like we have. Though, life of factory working before child labor laws and working a family farm for your livelihood came with its own pressures and deadlines.
 I'll bet this family was well to do as their clothing seems to give clue. Don't you often think about body language as well, with studying old photos? I do. This woman and young man seem to hold themselves with an air of confidence. The studio photographer was skilled at posing people but the people in front of the camera lens still give us clues as to how they felt being put into poses. Some people seem at ease and others seem out of their element and extremely uncomfortable. That comes through with body language and expressions on faces, whether photo developing was done in black and white, sepia, or color, regardless of the time period from which we observe the people.

 This vintage photo below is very tiny (as the wooden ruler shows for a comparison) and has foreign writing stamped on the backside. I believe it is German, though the writing is cut off a bit. I am not sure what their clothing indicates. Is it a religious order, a regional or cultural standard of dress, teachers, nurses? I am sure the standard uniform type repetition means something, without any doubt.
I continue to find photos that peak my curiosity and make me ponder many aspects of my own life and of theirs in comparing so much about the world and how each of us make a mark upon those around us. I wonder how this digital, password protected era will affect generations ahead of us when it comes to moments of ordinary days in pictures kept and pictures lost.

All of these photos are listed in my Etsy shop and you can visit them by clicking the photo Etsy area in the right margin of this blog.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Full bloom and full steam ahead for my revisited projects

The summer time heat is in full swing. The humidity is thick. The rain has been plentiful. We have not used the hose so far this season for anything growing related. No need. 

The vegetables are thriving. Baby sized tomatoes, green peppers, and zucchini on the vine so far.  The gourds and the watermelon doing their thing and loving the rainy weather. The weeds are doing their best to show their motivation for growth also. 

The flowers are making the hummingbirds, dragonflies, bees, and butterflies very happy. So fun to see them visit daily. Marigolds, purple Cone Flower, Tickseed, and wild orange Tiger Lilies are in full bloom. The Bleeding Hearts are still blooming though they are usually done by this far into the summertime. Their plants have become as big as bushes, I have not ever seen them be so exuberant in their size. The blooms were amazing and the abundant quantity of beautiful delicate little hearts were memorable for about 8 weeks' time span.

 My original watercolor painting now offered in the Etsy shop. Simple bright cheerfulness.
 The paint brush has returned to my hand and the art supplies have come out of hiding. Far too long without doing fun creative things that have been ideas tumbling through my brain. If you are an artist of any sort you will know this hurdle- that ideas are only half if the urge to make them come to life is not the other half. Inspiration cannot be forced, it has to just flow. Starting out with one or two projects and following them through to completion is like oiling the far too long resting Tin Man. It feels good! It feels alive and new.

I have been busy delving into getting my Etsy shop up and productive full time once again. I pulled away from it for a few years and then found that so much in the formatting had changed in my hiatus so I had to sort of relearn. It had seemed more streamlined and simple and quick to add each listing for all the many years I did it so effortlessly. Once back at it I was painfully slow at entering my listings but each new one became a bit easier and faster as the days went by. I am getting back into the groove, thank goodness. Seeing what sells is fun and I enjoy the excited customers.
 Vintage botanical book pages perfect for framing or scrap crafting. Fabulous colors and crisp detailed images. Available in the Etsy shop.
I have found some really great things to list in the shop. So much variety. Living in a three generational home there is always more to let go of to allow it to find a new loving home!! Great vintage stationery, unused vintage greeting cards and used vintage greeting cards so very beautiful and whimsical for display or as creative supplies, unique old postage stamps, crafting and art supplies, vintage book page papers to frame, sewing and yarn work patterns, some vintage decor pretties, and a collection of original art items I hope to grow to offer many selections. I am filling the photography store also. So much fun to offer both original photos and vintage photography too.

You can click into the Etsy shops over in the right margin of the blog and look around a while.

What have I been up to?
1. Being creative every chance I can.
2. Being motivated to not just start but to finish.
3. Enjoying the air-conditioning whenever I can!

What do I want to do?
1. Go on a day trip as an escape.
2. Explore a place that is all new to me.
3. Discover wonderful places far enough away from the same old pot hole roads I encounter each day!

What do I need to do?
1. This week's knee surgery so both knees are healthier for adventures.
2. Clean the three seasons room. Where does that stuff come from that everyone sets down in there?
3. Drop off the box of donation items, and then start filling another box.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

altered vintage book pages

I have been finally doing some of those ideas stuck inside my brain; the ideas rolling around waiting for time to be put to use.

The items shown would be fun as part of a collage or decoupage or altered book project... or super cute as a framed display.

I have a love affair with vintage books and if they are falling apart I still love them. What to do with a great book that is not whole anymore? Alter the pages! This page is from a vintage French book and it needed a smashing fashion image print to make it live on, reinvented, to be loved for years to come. What caught my eye was how she is clutching her gloves. I always clutch my fashion gloves like that when I am rushing into the grocery for a gallon of milk--- well, don't you?

These next few pages are from a vintage Honey Bunch book. Have you ever read Honey Bunch? The covers of these books usually are simply adorable themselves. The text on this page is about how Honey Bunch is in a department store with her mother and aunt where there are beautiful fur scarves and muffs. The print turned out better than I expected as the word muff is just under the image of the muff. So cool.

This book page talks about a sweet little dress and describes it in detail. This dress print is not identical to the one described but is sweet none the less, yes?

This page talks about a rag doll...thus I used a Raggedy Andy print. These altered book pages were so fun to make and they are one of a kind due to the fact that they are the original book pages and not copies.

On the page below, the story tells about snow and a snow plow "running up and down the trolley tracks". A very precious red snow suit fits this page well. Don't you love the bonnet style hat and the spats style leggings?

Here we have a story line about a baby carriage and I was lucky enough to have an image with that theme in my ephemera scraps collection to print.

Then I got this idea to print some of my original colored pencil bird art on some vintage French grammaire book pages. They are actually antique pages as they are 100 years old! So fun to do this and now my brain cogs are really spinning!! I have to find time to do all the others I have figured out in my mind. Stay tuned!

These are avaiable in my Etsy and you can enter though my right sidebar link to the shop. Happy Browsing!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January Rain Day

     Today started out foggy and wet. For nearly an hour there was unusual January thunder and lightning. I happened to be inside a tall building with big windows during that time and was treated to a wonderful view of the lightning show against the late morning storm-darkened sky. A lightning show is fabulous to watch as long as you are safely inside. Being dry instead of rain-soaked is also a nice feature, and today that was a challenge! The rain poured for hours and even blew sideways a bit. I couldn't help dreaming of some fun pink puddle duck boots and a cute pink paisley umbrella.  I managed to accomplish all my errands and attend all appointments for the day, then the rain stopped after I was done.

     Tomorrow A. has her 21st birthday. She has no classes but is on the schedule at work. I will assemble a decorated birthday table for her to come home to. Instead of a cake, this year the sweet treat will include her favorite tiramisu and cannoli desserts.

What have I done?
  • The 2 Etsy shops are filling back up with curiosities, and lots more on stand-by to be listed soon. Stop in and peek around a bit. You can find the links in the right margin.
  • Managed to shred lots of computer desk/file cabinet paperwork for January clean-out. Feels freeing!
  • My fingers and toes are nicely polished red. Would be nice to have a sports car that same shade of red!

What do I need to do?
  • Do some last minute birthday prep and wrapping.
  • Continue purging unnecessary paperwork.
  • Tackle my closet and organize it the way I have it in my mind.

What do I want to do?

  • Have my camera in my hand more frequently so I can capture more every day magic.
  • Play among the fabric in my sewing room.
  • Frame some favorite family snapshots.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Count down

 I am counting down the days till a birthday. I have found the months leading up to this event have brought many deep thoughts on life, analyzing what things mean the most to me. I mentally inventory things I have done and yet wish to accomplish and enjoy. It is the stuff that I thought I would have had opportunity to do thus far but not yet had the chance or time to that seem to most of all dominate my thoughts. I hope I can still do many of those things.

 I find I am a young-thinking person, I am younger in my imagination than the mirror shows me (although, many people swear I don't look my age. I thank them for the compliment... or the good talent of being a great liar!).

I was shopping the other day, with my daughter. I love to have one-on-one time with each of my 3 kids. She reminds me a lot of myself in many circumstances. And I swear it was just only yesterday I was her age at her same school. Really! I was on the hunt for new work shoes for me (boring, ugly ones- darn it!).  In one store we found a great dress for her. I like that she enjoys pretty clothes and pretty shoes, in addition to her fun casual wardrobe.

We also included a visit into a rather off-beat store that sells everything from pin-back buttons to novelty t-shirts to dresses to funky jewelry. It was at my request. I love almost every item in there and told her if I were 20 years younger I would buy nearly one of everything!!.... and she said "Wow Mom!, I would never guess you like the stuff in this store!" She did not say it in a way that she was shocked, but rather that she was happy I liked it!

She bought a dress, very unique and perfect for her.  I bought a dress for myself (which I wore already last night for a birthday dinner out) that is basic, pretty, and age appropriate in style for any young-thinking girl. I think dresses are a super wonderful part of a closet collection, especially when they can be worn for varied occasions. I love empire waist, hemline above the knee-styles.

 I ended up finding some (ugly) perfect for work shoes-- non-slip bottoms, comfortable to wear 9 hrs-on your feet, moving constantly --kind of a deal. My new job of about 6 wks' time has been a learning experience and fun too. I am back to full time work after not having that since last June. What an ordeal that was to live through. Finding you are wa-a-a-y older than your co-workers, and even your bosses too, is a sobering revelation. Middle age has its advantages. I have discovered many. What I have decided is this-- having accumulated more life experience helps me more greatly understand responsibility, prioritizing, and understand what is important and what really isn't, whether on the job or in every day life.

The resume/job search world has changed since my first days in the workforce. The days of face to face meetings and firm handshakes and a well appointed paper resume offered in person seem only an event that occurred in past history, now frequently replaced with fill in their online formatted one size fits all resume and see if a computer program decides to let you be worthy of further consideration or be dumped in the "sorry, no go" bin. My opinion is that many programs of weeding out inappropriate candidates only prove to weed out a certain amount of very worthy ones as well. Real life setting problem solving, strategizing, organizing, and budgeting is acquired through years of first hand experiences. That degree comes only with age, and some failure, and learning day by day to be better, and learn from mistakes. Some online resume applications do not lend themselves to showing complete attributes of one's skills and talents.

My blog used to be a place to sort out my thoughts and review my dreams for days and years ahead. I fell away from that for a time, many times over the years, since my blog started. Maybe this week I will (try to) get back to that, as I do my count down.

I found these ads for products I've used and loved at one time or another. I am a scent-driven person, and I can recall in my memory the way these items all fed that sense. The F.O. shampoo/conditioner was one of my all-time favorites and I used it on my long blonde hair until the product could no longer be found on store shelves. Wish it could come back like some of the retro soda pop brands that have made their returns for nostalgia. I would love that, I would buy a case worth!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

time to pull the batteries

What do you do with your time? Do you fill time with a balance of work and fun, needed activities and wanted activities? Do you live by your watch on your wrist, clock on your phone, clock in the car, or on the kitchen wall? I live by all of these... and the calendar on my phone and the calendar as big as my whole freezer door in the kitchen!!
Sometimes I watch little kids play and think about how time is nowhere on their minds. That is bliss. Why is it that when we are young we can't wait to be grown up? When we are grown up we find we are missing lots of what we left behind .... things we did not realize we had so nice!
I have a list on my refrigerator that reminds me of things I want to do.
One thing is --do watercolors. Painting.
That wish has sat on that list in just alphabet letters for far too long... time to take the batteries out of the clocks and fill the tabletop with paper and paints and water and brushes and pull up a chair!!

What have I done?

  • recycled old book illustrations into craft projects
  • disposed of (donated, gave away to friends) more magazines than I cared to count...only kept a stack of torn out interesting pages equal to about an inch, instead of piles and piles of mags!
  • took down some collectible plates from the front hall, washed up in prep for selling
  •  continue to look around at things in the house with new eyes, deciding what can go
What do I need to do?
  • tackle my closet mess
  • take more deep breaths and loosen my shoulders when I find myself tensing up
  • make more Sunday meals that last as left overs throughout the week
  • take longer walks and be more patient about waiting to ride my bike when the windchill won't freeze off my face
What do I want to do?
  • watercolor
  • purge more from my file cabinets
  • decide on a color for my kitchen cabinets
  • find out that the interview I have coming up is for full time work

Monday, January 7, 2013

on to new partying

The new year is here and the celebrating is done for the holidays... but at our house the partying continues with A.'s birthday. She will be 17. I wish I could have stayed eternally age 17.

I love this image above. It speaks to me somehow. I enjoy vintage images-- and black and white is special in photos like it was in television. I think kids now miss out a lot on using imagination. They don't need to. They don't have time to.

Watch an old movie or TV show on DVD and see how your brain turns the images into color without even trying.... that's why we were so good at using imagination. We also played outside EVERY day-- it was not an event, it was life. Playing outside meant using your imagination. The things we did and played with rarely used batteries, and never used electricity. It was all powered by imagination, an endless power supply!!

What have I finished?
  • sorted more books(fiction and non-fiction) and magazines to send other places to live
  • moved the TV to a new location within the family room-- it seems to be a hit with everyone
  • reorganizing the pantry, and finding I am shopping even more carefully than ever before
What do I need to do?
  • find the top of my desk, it is suffocating under paperwork
  • use the ham bone for a batch of homemade bean soup-- I never know how to make just a small pot of soup
  • make some apple crisp to use up the apples before they go bad
What do I want to do?
  • paint my lamps in my bedroom to be gloss black, the lampshades will be perfect
  • have lunch with a friend I have not seen in 10 years or more, it may be soon if we can mesh schedules
  • hang a big mirror in a spot I have been plotting out

Saturday, December 29, 2012

double exposures

I have a fascination with double exposure photos. 
I have had a curious nature in the area of photography throughout my whole life, probably because my mom was an avid amateur shutterbug. I was her most frequent subject.
I have a lot to learn about cameras, photo-taking, and such. A lot I want to learn, a lot I should learn, a lot I may never learn or master, and a lot I do not care to worry about.
I just love capturing moments in everyday life and I love old photographers who did the same.
But still, I have to say that double exposure photos hold the most interest for me. I can study them for hours and revisit them over and over and still have the same thrill each time.
I need a real life, you say? Probably so.
You can find a double exposure of me in the photos in my right side margin. I am playing the child-sized piano, and it seems, rollerskating at the same time, like a clone. Pretty neat-o, since I often need to clone myself to get enough done or be in 2 places at once, as a mom.

Here is one in my collection. I don't know these people.
You may click on the photos to enlarge them for a better look.
What's fun about this one is that the double exposures are each at different placements- one at vertical or portrait, the other at horizontal or landscape. This makes the images easier to study as they are not doubled on top of one another. It makes it easier to find which arm goes with which person and so on.

So, here we go... a well dressed, pleasant enough family unit, I think you'll agree.
Of note is the  interesting toy boat in the son's hand that I have outlined on the scanner to bring into focus. As some boys did, he is wearing a sailor-type shirt. Imagine his weary mother trying to keep that bright white and crisply ironed !

Flipped the other direction... and now you see a photo which includes additional family members or friends in an area of extensive brick. It begs the question: Is the floor bricked also? Take another look at the first photo and see if the floor in the 2nd photo is an optical illusion in that it is actually the wall in the first photo? What do you think?
Of note: I have outlined on the scanner, the boy in front is holding a string in his hand that is being pulled by something outside the view of this photo; a dog, maybe? Also outlined is the fact that an adult woman is sitting in a rather un-lady-like manner with her knees spread wide, like mother always said not to sit. Maybe they should have considered that Aunt Mable couldn't join in the proposed pose due to her arthritis, huh?

Have you stopped to think that double exposures are a thing of past photographic eras with the digital camera age? I don't think it is a possibility to have this accident of the photographer happen. Then there is the topic of the delete button and how many everyday snapshots are deemed not worthy of being keepers... like those that we treasure from long ago society.

 I have other great antique and retro era double exposure photos I should share later. In the meantime, check out my photo Etsy and also Studio blog, links located in right side margin.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

our first real snow of the season

How wonderful the world looks around me, in the first snow to stick for this season! 
The trees look like they are carefully frosted. 
The night time is brighter in the white glow.

  • the fireplace heating up the brick kitchen wall
  • watching old vhs movie favorites under a down-filled quilt
  • ham leftovers for lunch and dinner
  • all the glow of the Christmas tree lights  
  • planning for bowling and ice skating with the kids
  • my car which gets me safely around and stops well in the snow
  • a warm bed to curl up in with soft blankets and cozy flowered pillow case
  • a connection to a dear friend at just the right times 
  • the newly organized pantry
  • switch to my new computer desk area set-up
  • continue weeding out Christmas decor
  • sort more magazines that were hand-me-downs
  • hear from a long not seen friend I have reached out to
  • set up some clearance sale item listings in my Etsy shop

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas greeting

Merry Happy Christmas
May your new year be filled with 


I have been looking through my old posts about my home and collections.
I think it is a good thing to chronicle the every day things in one's life, it gives perspective.
I have changed.
A lot.
My priorities.
My tastes.
My interests.
My expectations.
Looking at past snapshots of my home tells me a lot more than what is seen in the photos.
It reveals a lot about me... to me!

But on the surface, and as far as what is in the photos, this is what I find--
I have eliminated lots of things in my life mostly by choice, but a tiny few by other circumstances.
For example:
1. Two ugly blue plaid love seats (always hated those), gone. Same for ugly red and blue plaid couch from other room, gone. Both were inherited and they provided a place to sit and no more than that as an attribute.
2. Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and related paraphernalia, also gone for the most part and what is left (about 5% of the original collection), packed away.

3. Dishes, dishes, and more dishes... all inherited and some dragged in the house by other means. Now given away, or donated to charity. Out of my life.

4. Teddy Bears and dolls, but SO much more to get rid of by a variety of means. Always hated the inherited Teddy Bears. Sorry. The dolls, well, way too many. and besides, the girls don't want all those when they are out on their own anyway. Both Teddies and dolls have a lot of emotional guilt attached to them as far as feeling obligated to retain. No more. The guilt curse must be broken. Saying is way more easy than doing. So much guilt of the money that was spent (not by me) on such a non-useful item.

5. Why is it that people ( some direct person in my family tree) felt that spending money on certain things was to be considered an investment for when the stuff came to be mine? I say it was foolish wasteful use of funds. There, I said it. The economy may have been different once upon a time, but I have 2 sayings to conclude this point.
First-- What things are supposedly worth and what people are willing to pay for them are two VERY different points of reality.
Secondly-- Having a lot of useless "valuable" things means you just have to leave more behind when you are homeless.
Don't get me wrong, I am not planning on being homeless. Just sayin'. Think about it, and I think you will agree. In the height of the foreclosure era do you ever drive through an unfamiliar neighborhood and see empty houses and lots of stuff out at the curb? Did they choose to move out of a rental situation and simply did not want all that to follow them to their new destination? Or was it that a well settled family who went through unforeseen unfortunate times and a home foreclosure and had to leave stuff they had (like the 4 kids' favorite games and trophies or family heirlooms from 3 generations ago) because they had just so long to pack what they could fit into their cousins' basement who was kindly enough to take in the family under their crowded roof until something better comes along? I think of this stuff. A lot of my kids' friends have faced this. It's sad.

6. In general, as I look at the past photos of my home, I see that I have lightened the load of thinking that everything that comes into my life, by means other than my choice, does NOT have to stay in my life...or home. I have begun to look at purchasing ANYTHING with a different mindset. I continue to struggle with lightening the load even more. Time is the main factor in this. Sorting is the process. Things need different categories, you know the drill... sell, donate, give away, keep, trash it. Sometimes I think it is easier to just bring in a dumpster like the ones they use when you get a new roof and grab a snow shovel and open a window, start scooping and chuck it all out. YES I AM EXAGGERATING... yet, you get my point.

7. There are many more specifics regarding changes about which items have been used, displayed, or stored within my environment, but the conclusion is... at this stage of my life, less is more. I am utterly and completely comfortable in other people's homes that have lots of furniture and knick-knacks (chatchkies), or paper build up (I will never be free from that myself!), or a lived in slightly untidy cluttered (yet clean) atmosphere. I am absolutely and completely 100% comfortable with that at other people's homes....just not mine...because to me it represents my own expectations with myself and what I want to accomplish for my life.

My family and friends all live somewhere in the middle between an episode of hoarders vs. a sterile surfaced, temperature controlled, air filtered bubble. I don't know anyone personally at either extreme end of that scale. I could never be comfortable anywhere that is an ultra minimalist-type home. I could never live that way nor could I feel cozy to sit for 5 minutes at a home that does live that way. You know the kind... 1)where there are no pictures anywhere, 2) no mail or bills sitting about needing attention, 3)no kid art gracing, maybe, the front of the refrigerator or displayed proudly somewhere prominently, 4) no blanket tossed over the end of the couch, 5) no dish or two waiting to be washed after Sunday brunch ( but if they sit one minute too long I go crazy), 6) no laundry waiting to be done, or 7)no trace of dust (temporarily!!)somewhere near the wood burning fireplace to write your name in along side a smiley face, or..... you get the idea, right?

Holiday Cheer

What Have I Been Up To?
  • Trying to secure a job that fits. (failing miserably)
  • Trying to tidy (3 kids, remember) and decorate the house. (failing miserably)
  • Trying to maintain a smile so everyone can see the me they want to see. (failing?)
  • Trying to put myself first on the list for a change. (or anywhere on the list, number 1,001 would be even acceptable)
What Do I Need To Do?
  • Prepare, serve and hostess a dinner for family and friends.
  • Be a wonderful wife, mother, and all the rest.
  • Make it through another holiday season.
What do I Want To Do?
  • Bask in the joy of observing anyone other than me, today, clean a toilet (or anything else) around here.
  • Disappear for 24 hrs and see if anyone notices.
  • Relax for any amount of time, do nothing for more than 30 seconds, not look at a calendar for a day, have no appointments for 24 hours...... in other words, BE SELFISH.