We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sepia Saturday #213 Trunken Treasure

Here's our theme photo (illustration) for Sepia Saturday this week:

When I start thinking of a Sepia Saturday post, I usually take the theme very literally. Let's see, do I have a trunk similar to this? Do I? Sure I do.

Here it is.

It's an old Shirley Temple steamer trunk that I spotted in an antique store in Denver, Co. several years ago. When I opened it up I found the real treasure - several Shirley Temple doll clothes. Some of the items have the Shirley Temple logo, others seem to have been handmade by a long-ago mom or grandma.

I couldn't find a photo of Shirley wearing the yellow slicker. But here she is with an umbrella:

The trunk was full of cute little outfits, some on hangers and some in the pull-out drawers and cabinet - some in very nice condition.

But not this one. This little sailor suit has seen better days. It was hidden away in the trunk far too long:

Shirley's suit is a lot cleaner and spiffier:

I wanted to add the video of Shirley dancing in her little sailor suit, but then I ran across another video that was much more interesting. This video is so wrong on so many levels. It's so politically incorrect that I didn't want to include it. But it's so bizarre that I had to: 

According to Shirley's autobiography, the director of this shocking short film, Charles Lamont gathered the children together prior to the filming and said "Kids, this is business. This isn't playtime, it's work." He didn't allow the parents on the set. There were two 6' x 6' sound boxes on the set. One was for sound the other for punishment. If one of the tiny actors (most were only 4 years old) acted up, he or she was put in the box and had to sit on a large block of ice.

Shirley wound up inside Lamont's black box several times. She said:
"Take one small, obstreperous child, heat it under bright Kleig lights until perspiration starts. Remove child directly to the chill of the box. Close access door tightly and leave child in box until sufficiently cooled and chastened. Remove child, reheat under the Kleig lights and carry on with the work. The box proved the ultimate enforcer. Increased obedience followed as night follows day."

Can you believe that? I don't think a director could get away with that these days. There are child labor laws that protect young actors and actresses.

It's funny what opening a trunk will lead to - a Pandora's Box to be sure.

To see what's inside other trunks and suitcases, click here Sepia Saturday.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sepia Saturday #210 What's Inside a Book?

Here's our theme for this week's Sepia Saturday - photographs that you find in old books.

I've checked my entire library and didn't find one photo in any of my books. But while looking I found some other interesting things.

Like the lovely inscriptions that people write in gift books. Dan and Sherry gave Kathy this book but they had no idea when her birthday was.

Translation:  Dear Kathy,
The fresh hell is that we thought it was your birthday. It's obvious that you have fewer than most people. Hope you enjoy reading about Dorothy. Happy Birthday, whenever it is - Dan & Sherry Eaton.

I really like Elmer's message. It's short, to the point and relates to the book.

From a friend who hopes your odyssey will be as exciting as the original. Elmer

This book seems to be a gift from a teacher to a student.

 Presented to Lola Phipps for highest merit in spelling and _____ matters (?).

Can you make this one out? I'm having problems. 

The next three books are all related to film in some way. What Makes Sammy Run was all about the film industry (in case you've never read it). (Sorry about the fuzzy copy).

Dear Hazel
I meant you to have something to read on your way back but you fooled me. This won't make your hours any happier but it will make you squirm a little - love and kisses. How are you liking it by now?

And this one has a curious label stuck in it. Do you think they were trying to sell this book to some producer? I don't remember ever seeing a film about Louisa May Alcott -  I guess it didn't interest anyone - not enough sex and violence.

Maybe Miss Alcott didn't make it on the silver screen, but Smoky sure did!

I love this inscription. After I read this book, I was dying to go to London and visit Marks and Co. I never made it, but Floyd and Maytsie (?) actually visited the shop and found a copy of this book in the basement. Amazing. Margaret must have been thrilled.

I think this is my favorite inscription. I have no idea what it means, must be some kind of an in-joke.

Flip through the pages on Sepia Saturday to find other hidden treasures.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sepia Saturday #187 What To Do With Your Old Books

On Sepia Saturday this week the photo prompt is of some old bibles. I don't have any old bibles, but I sure have a lot of old books.

I'm a real sucker when it comes to old books, especially children's text books. But sometimes these books are literally falling apart. Can I throw a falling apart book away? NO!

So what can I do with these old books? Just lately I've been using the book covers as art. I carefully tear off the cover of the book (saving all the old pages) and then do a collage on the back of the cover. Besides old books, I have stacks and stacks of ephemera that can go into the collages.

When I saw the photos of the old bibles, it reminded me of one of the collages I did. You know how people keep track of their births and deaths in the family bible? Well I found an old book (here it is)

It's called Poetic Jewels. Someone had used the inside front cover to record the births of their family.

I thought this was kind of unusual. Maybe the Duke's didn't have a bible. They used this poetry book to record their little "jewels" instead. There is Landis, Charley, Virgie, Winnie and Elvin, all recorded in the poetry book.

So I decided to make a collage incorporating this family information. We looked up all of these people on Ancestry and found all of them.  So I used the census listing of the Dukes in the collage. They were all listed - Landis, Charley, Virgie, Winnie and Elvin. Isn't Ancestry wonderful?

Here's the completed collage of the Duke's "family bible".

The photos aren't really Dukes. I couldn't find photos of them so used some old yearbook photos instead. I'm thinking he looks like a Charley and she looks pretty much how I picture Virgie.

So that's something you can do with an old falling apart book. It's fun, it's creative and it's recycling. And I thought this was just going to be a hobby. But Barbara posted some of my book cover collages on her blog and one of our local art dealers saw the blog and wanted to purchase four of the collages!! So I guess it's not just a hobby anymore. I'm going to have to get serious.

For other stories about vintage books and bibles see Sepia Saturday

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sepia Saturday #186 Women with Sticks

When I saw this week's photo of the woman warrior, I immediately thought of this photo in my collection. There is a similarity, isn't there? Although the woman on the right doesn't hold a spear and shield. Instead she holds a banner for K. Lundberg Clothing. Let me introduce you to the model - her name is Alice Staten. I could find nothing about her. I thought she might have been the Christi Brinkley of her day, but if so, there are no traces of her. 

I also could find no trace of K. Lundberg Clothing. But there was a K. Lundberg listed on a 1900 census for Marinette, Wisconsin and he had a boarder named Edward Staten. Mmmmm. Could Alice have been Edward's sister? Mr. Lundberg in urgent need of a model for his new clothing line offered Alice $2.00 to pose for this photograph. Do you think her gown was a Lundberg creation? And why the funny crown? There's writing on the crown but I can't make it out. Maybe some of you photo sleuths can figure it out. 

In the meantime you might enjoy this You Tube video that goes along with this week's theme. It's from Wagner's Ring Cycle. I thought the opening scene was spectacular. Is Busby Berkeley still alive? Only he could have rigged up those popsicle stick-looking slides for the Valkyries to make their entrance. Genius. But don't watch the whole video if you don't enjoy opera, just the opening number. (And when you're finished watching, click here for other stories about women with sticks Sepia Saturday.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sepia Saturday #185 Parapluies, Umbrellas & Bumbershoots

Whatever you want to call them, umbrellas are a necessary and functional tool in all our closets. But they're also colorful and arty and make for some nice photographs.

Here's a group of people from a tour we did in Ireland. It was a little wet that day as we viewed the Wicklow area.

That's me with the red umbrella.

While on a visit to the wine country in Northern California I encountered this little bus stop - it's not quite an umbrella - but it's there to keep you dry.

Here's my favorite kind of umbrella. The type that shelters you from the sun as you sit around a pretty pool having a glass of chardonnay. This was from the same trip to the wine country.

While traveling around the internet, I found these other umbrella photos which are quite fascinating.
This is a colorful canopy of umbrellas in the streets of Agueda, Portugal.

And this one is really amazing - cement figures dangling from umbrellas within an office building in Prague by Czech artist, Michal Trpak.

I'll end this umbrella blog with the trailer for one of my all time favorite movies - what else but the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I'd suggest that you just view the first minute of this video, unless you really like watching two forlorn lovers singing into each others faces for about 5 minutes. But the music by Michel Legrand is beautiful you'll have to agree.
For other umbrella-related stories click here: Sepia Saturday.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sepia Saturday #184 Beware of Ticks

This week's Sepia Saturday is very timely for me. It's about the discovery of the rabies vaccine by Pasteur. I'm not concerned about rabies right now, but another deadly disease called Babesia. This dog disease is caused by those deadly little insects called ticks.

Unfortunately my poor little dog is suffering from this tick disease. She's been under my vet's care for the past month and it's been a real roller coaster ride. Her blood platelet count has seemed like a yo-yo going up and down drastically depending on the medication she's taking. She's had pills, shots and 3 days in the hospital.

She's very pitiful and looks at me like she's saying "Please help me":

Babesia is a tick disease more commonly attacking cows. It was discovered in 1888 by Dr. Babes. It's transmitted by the brown dog tick. Babesia affects red blood cells, and as a dog's immune system tries to eliminate the infected blood cells, anemia, pallor and general weakness results.

Luckily, Tootie (sorry, she was named by my late mother-in-law before she died and willed her to me and I didn't think it would be proper to change her name) is doing lots better. She has one more treatment and then hopefully she'll be back to normal. I have my wonderful vet, Dr. Jones to thank for her recovery. He's been absolutely obsessed with treating and curing her. 

If you have a treasured dog, you'll appreciate this video which is a little corny but very apropos:

So keep Advantage or Frontline on your dogs and cats. Those little tubes might seem expensive but in the long run it will save you lots of money. I can't even tell you how much I've spent so far!! But it's worth it, especially when I see little Tootie getting stronger and better each day. It's been a crazy month.

For other rabies related stories, see Sepia Saturday.Sepia Saturday

Friday, May 31, 2013

Sepia Saturday #179 What in the Heck is Boho Style?

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt is a photo of a gypsy caravan. I didn't have any family photos of caravans, so I've decided instead to write about fashion.

Lately I've been hearing Boho Style this Boho Style that. Boho Jewelry, Boho Look, Boho everything. Just what in the heck is Boho Style? I consulted Wikipedia and this is what they said:

"Boho" is an abbreviation of bohemian. Vanessa Nicholson (granddaughter of Vanessa Bell, one of the pivotal figures of the unconventional, but influential "Bloomsbury Group" in the first half of the 20th century) has described it as a "curious slippery adjective".[1] Although the original Bohemians were travellers or refugees from central Europe (the French bohémien translates as "Gypsy or Roma people"), the term has, as Nicholson noted, "attached itself to individuals as disparate as Jesus Christ, Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes". The writer and historian A. N. Wilson remarked that, "in his dress-sense as in much else", Winston Churchill was "pre-First World War Bohemian", his unbleached linen suit causing surprise when he arrived in Canada in 1943.[2]  

Does this look bohemian to you? Maybe a little unconventional and might I add, very wrinkled.

But just in case you want to get on the bandwagon (the gypsy bandwagon, that is) here is your guide to dressing Boho:

No, I don't think I'm Boho. But I do remember dressing kind of this way in the 60s. It sure is true that everything old is new again.

My sister, Barbara, was way ahead of this trend. Back in the 50s she was already dressing Boho, but I don't think she knew it. Here she is on Halloween in her Boho (er, uh Gypsy costume):

I guess my brother and I hadn't yet gotten on the Boho bandwagon.

Check out other gypsy caravan stories here Sepia Saturday.