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.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sepia Saturday 101 - My Beloved, Short Lived Chevrolet

My very first car was similar to this one. It was a 1951 chevrolet and I didn't actually have it long enough to have my picture taken with it. I know, a picture of me standing in front of the car would have been more interesting for Sepia Saturday. But as I said, this car didn't last long. More about that later.

I purchased the car in 1961 for the sole purpose of moving from the small town of Pomona, California to  the big city of Los Angeles. I had an appointment with the phone company for an interview. So I bought the car for around $800.00. It was in very nice shape, no dings or dents or broken windows. But that would change soon. More about that later.

I was so excited about the interview and the prospects of a new job. What would it be - a phone operator, a secretary, or what?

 I jumped in my car and headed for downtown Pomona to remove the remaining money from my bank. I was in the left lane waiting for the light to change so I could turn. Barreling down the street toward me was a giant gravel truck, kind of like this one.

The light turned yellow, and being new to driving, I thought, surely that big truck is going to stop for the yellow light. I waited a little longer, not sure if he would stop. Then someone behind me honked, so I thought I better go. I sure didn't want to upset that driver behind me. That was a big mistake. The truck had no intention of stopping. He just keep barrelling. Then, CRASH. I was flipped around a bit in the car and then landed on the floor on the passenger side of the car. My new chevy was totalled. I didn't make it to the interview. I never became a telephone operator. And now I have a mortal fear of making  left turns. And also:

by-the-way, this isn't me. I found this photo when searching for gravel trucks.

    I never got another chevrolet. My next car was a volkswagon beetle.

Click here for more Sepia Saturday stories.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sepia Saturday - 100 years of Typing

I know, typewriters are a bit older than 100 years. But they've been around for 100 years so that's what I'm going to typewrite about. The model above is from 1907. I couldn't find a 1911 version but I'm sure they're out there somewhere.

The typewriter has come a long way and now it's on its way to extinction, which is such a shame. I just disposed of 2 IBM selectrics. I used to love the selectric with the bouncing balls of type.

I've always loved to type. I started with a portable manual typewriter in high school and used it to type all my papers. It's still in my garage in the original case. I was a really fast typist, and still am, for that matter. But there's something about typing on a real typewriter and swinging that carriage and hearing the bell. You know what I mean?

I can't believe how well this man types to the music. He happens to be a percussionist with the orchestra, so I guess he knows how to practice and to master his instrument.

But Jerry Lewis does him one better or maybe worse as the case may be:

So after 100+years typewriters are slowly filling up landfills and we're saying a tearful farewell as we type away on our computer keyboards and don't even look back.

And what has the typewriter come to, but this:

and this:

So farewell, goodbye to the typewriter, hello computer keyboard. Wonder what some person will be posting on Sepia Saturday 100 years from now.

For other Sepia Saturday stories click here sepia saturday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I love Ikea

I recently visited the San Diego Ikea store. I wish there was a closer Ikea and I would go more often, not once every two years. Because I love Ikea. I went looking for a new kitchen. I wanted all new countertops, a new sink and maybe some new cabinets. I'd love to have cupboards with all kinds of pull out shelves and lazy daisies and things like that. So I looked and looked and finally chose all the the items I wanted. Then the salesperson said "If you'll just wait until the end of the month, all of this is going on sale and you could save about 20%."  That really got my attention. So I decided I would wait.  But, of course, I waited too long because I don't go to Ikea weekly, I go every other year. So, no new kitchen. Oh well, I didn't want to spend the money anyway.

So instead I made just some tiny purchases.  I got this lovely embroidered pillow that goes so nicely with my red room and red and white striped chair. Isn't it beautiful:

and then I spotted this set of spice jars.  I had to have them too. I took them home and filled them all up with spices that were littering my cupboards in little plastic bags.  Now they have a new home in their own little jars.

The jars are great. They can sit tipped or straight up. However you want them.

I also purchased a floor mat for my kitchen, but I'm not sure I like it. It's a bit ugly and not comfortable under bare feet. So I won't show you that. 

But I will share this youtube video with you. It's pretty amusing - all about Ikea:

My next post is going to be about why I love Big Lots. I don't love it as much as Ikea because you have to sort thru so much junk to find the little treasures. But it's a lot more challenging and when you do find something great, you feel so darned good about yourself and your bargain hunting prowess.

Do you also love Ikea? Any special buys that we should know about? Leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sepia Saturday 99 - Violin Mania

From the sublime:

To the ridiculous

I'm trying to keep with the theme this week. But I had no family photos of any kind that featured a musical instrument. It seems not one member of my family, extended family or friends were ever caught on film playing an instrument.  So instead I'm featuring two photos of women with violins. I don't know who these ladies are but I sure love the juxtaposition - the first woman so lovely and the second one so silly.

When I think of violins, I think of a scene from the most panned movie of all time - Heaven's Gate.

Have you seen it? It's pretty awful. But there is one scene that is so wonderful that I suffered through the film twice just to see it. It's maybe 4 or 5 minutes long and worth every minute. I thought, if I could just watch this every morning, it would start my day off right because it's so fun and catchy and happy.

The violinist is David Mansfield, a very talented musician and composer. He also composed the score of the film. I emailed him once and asked him if he knew how to roller skate before taking on this very difficult role. Can you imagine skating and playing a violin at the same time? He very graciously emailed back and said that, no he wasn't much of a roller skater, but Michael Cimino (the director of the film) had a roller skating camp set up to teach all of those involved how to skate. Imagine how much time, money and energy that must have taken. He also had the roller skating rink built especially for the film at huge cost. No wonder the film lost so much money!!  Anyway, here's the scene (be warned, it's almost 4 minutes long). Enjoy.

For other Sepia Saturday stories click here sepia saturday

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sepia Saturday 98 - A Religious Outing in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Here's a happy group, all dressed up and on their way somewhere. They're not exactly in a bus, but a big observation car from the BCE Railway.  The photo was taken Aug. 2, 1910 and it's a group called the St. Andrew's Y.P.S.C.E. (Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor). This is actually an interfaith religious group whose goal was to promote religious understanding. We could use a group like that now, couldn't we? At one time they were 1,000,000 strong with over 18,500 societies. I found societies on the internet that are still in existence today.

The photograph isn't signed by the photographer, but doing some research on the Stanley Park area, I discovered that the most prominent photographer of that era was Phillip Timms. Could he have taken this photograph? I'm not sure, but the time is right and the area is right.

"Phillip Timms was born in Toronto in 1874. He lived to one month short of his 99th birthday having lived a long life filled with many interests and considerable accomplishments.

He considered his greatest professional accomplishment to be the photographic record that he created of Vancouver between 1900 and 1910. The photographic record that he left behind affords us a valuable glimpse of the province during its period of growth from a frontier outpost to a well-established center of industry and tourism.

All of Timms' photographs have a certain recognizable quality about them; much of the kindness and gentleness of the man himself comes through. His shots are candid and uncluttered and capture dramatically the feeling and mood of the time.

He closed his shop on Commercial Drive in 1968 at the age of 94, after 70 years as a photographer."

So does this photograph seem candid, uncluttered and have the feeling and the mood of the time. I think it does. So I'm going to say it's by Timms. What do you think?

For other Sepia Saturday stories click here sepia saturday

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sepia Saturday - My School Mate Has Become Famous

We were never the best of friends. We didn't run in the same circles. He was a jock and I was (actually I'm not quite sure what I was). But we were forever bound together because of the first letter of our last names. Mine was Finwall, his was Flanagan. We always had to stand next to each other in school every time we students had to be in alphabetical order. Our school pictures were always right next to each other.

Here we are as Sophomores in 1958 (Pomona High School) Pomona, California:

Since Pomona High School burned down, we had to enter a new school for our Junior year. So here's Mike and I as Juniors in Ganesha High School, 1959:

 And now as mighty seniors in 1960:

Now several years later (like 51 to be exact!) Mike Flanagan is one of the attorneys in the Michael Jackson manslaughter trial. He's one of the defense attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray. I see him on the news almost everynight. And I'm always so amazed when I see him sitting there on Dr. Murray's left. He's just a kid like me from Pomona. Amazing. He hasn't changed a bit - except he and I both ended up with white hair.

You just never know what's going to happen to your classmates in life, do you? But I must say I'm pretty impressed with my classmate from Pomona. He's come a long way.

For other Sepia Saturday stories click here sepia saturday

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sepia Saturday - My Brush with Celebrity

In keeping with the theme of chairs for this week's Sepia Saturday, here I am sitting in a chair, next to none other than Dan Dailey.  I don't remember much about this photo except that it was taken at a catholic church which was having some sort of fund raising thing. Dan Dailey was a friend of the priest so offered to suffer through sitting and having his picture taken with lots of snotty nosed kids. He really doesn't look too happy, does he? Don't you just love the backdrop that was made for this occasion? - lots of tin foil stars to represent the real Hollywood glitz and glamour.

For lots of you, Dan Dailey might be unknown. So here's a little bio about him. He was born in New York in 1915 and started his career in vaudeville. He was signed by MGM and made many musicals during the 40s and 50s. He was a frequent costar of Betty Grable. As the musical genre waned in the mid 1950s, Dailey moved on to dramatic roles and later his own T.V. series. He died in 1978.

One interesting thing I found out about him - he costarred with Donald O'Connor in "There's No Business Like Show Business" and later married O'Connor's wife, Gwen. That's Hollywood for you!

Here's a little sampling of Dan's talents:

Did you notice that the opening dancers are all men? The scene is from "Call Me Mister. I'd love to see that movie! I'll have to check and see if Netflix has it.

Don't forget to check out the other Sepia Saturday posts at http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

These Will Make You Laugh

After posting about my "Augh" sign I found in the trash, I checked out Etsy to see if they had anything better. I found so many "Live Love Laugh" things that it literally made me sad. Why do we need so many signs to remind us to live, love and laugh. Shouldn't that just come naturally? But I did find some things that were either interesting or funny. See what you think:

I really liked this bracelet from Sparkee 8z12. I like anything made with old typewriter keys. And I especially like this bracelet because everything is spelled a little like my sign. Just a little off - Laf, Luv, etc.

Wouldn't this look nice on your wall?  It's a collection of handpainted signs with wooden letters from All Spelled Out

Here's some more artwork for the wall.  You have to look very closely to the individual photos that make up these words. Really, really clever.  These are from The Hidden Alphabet.  These would make a great wedding gift, wouldn't they?

   Isn't this the truth? Love this garden sign from Bedlam Country Crafts

Oh, Marilyn! Do you think she really said this? Well, even if she didn't it's a pretty good quote. Another great idea for a wedding present.  It's from Empire City Studios.

I can think of about 10 people I could send this card to.  It's from Squidy Ink. It really made me laugh. Oops. Excuse me a second.

I'm back. Hope you liked the laugh choices. I sure did.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Great Avocado Truffle Challenge

Helen and I both were interested in a blog post from Golubka where avocado truffles were featured!! I gave Helen the challenge of trying them and she was game. She even invited Barbara and I to her house for a fabulous luncheon featuring, what else?—avocado truffles.

We were amazed at what Helen came up with. Here she is in the gorgeous kitchen of her gorgeous home:

Here's the plate ready to receive the mystery truffle:

then, here's the avocado all coated in various nuts and seeds:

and here's the pan full of the seeds and nuts with the avocado swimming in all that goodness:

open it up and see the beautiful center, chock full of a lovely mango salad:

Here's one of Helen's secret ingredients which wasn't in the original recipe. She thought it would give the truffle some color:

The truffle was beautifully served with some other luncheon items - honey baked ham and turkey and asparagus with dried orange slices:

It was all lovely and I think Helen should get some kind of award for winning the challenge. Haven't figured out just exactly what that will be yet. But I'm working on it.

The next challenge for her is to try something else using that mysterious powdered purple yam. Sounds like an ingredient that would turn up on Chopped!!
O.K. Helen - are you up for that challenge?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Restaurants Should Employ Proofreaders

Last night we went to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. What a spectacle. If you've never heard of it - it's where live people (all volunteers) act out famous paintings. Actually, they become the paintings. They have to dress up in costumes and stay perfectly still for several excrusciating minutes. It's pretty amazing.

But getting back to my topic. Before the show we decided to have dinner at a pretty nice restaurant in Laguna. My friend Jane had just come back from a trip to Washington and had visited Dungeness Bay, so of course when she saw Chilled Gazpacho Soup with Dungeness Crab on the menu she knew that's what she had to have. Wait did the menu say crab?

Have a closer look. See if you can spot the typo:

Jane was pretty happy with the gazpacho (which actually didn't look much like gazpacho to me). The menu gaffe didn't stop her from enjoying it.

We're used to seeing these kinds of typos on foreign menus - that have been translated into English with all really funny mistakes. But at this nice restaurant in the U.S!  This is kind of inexcusable if you ask me.

Have you seen the two guys that go around the U.S. correcting typos on store signs, road signs, menus, etc? They've just published a book about their experiences:

The Great Typo Hunt

I guess they never ate at the Lumberyard in Laguna!

P.S. I hope there's no typos in this post

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wormy things from Etsy

Yes, Curtis ate a worm (see previous post). And he's mighty proud of this accomplishment. I thought that he should have something to commemorate this feat, so I've selected some items from Etsy that I thought he or anyone who has ever eaten a worm might enjoy having.

Here are some lovely glasswork worms from Emmagerard  that can be made into any kind of jewelry. They look just like candy, so be careful where you put them, like NOT in your mouth:

I absolutely love this card from Kate Berube. Her artwork reminds of Bob Blechman, a real favorite of mine from year's past. It's just the perfect sentiment for a worm eater, don't you think—nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I'm going to eat a worm?

You're going to love this wormy item. It's from Dbabcock, a really unusual place to rest your soap:

And here's a wormy item for the person who has everything. It's from Emergent Glassworks
a wormy marble!

This is a piece that's sure to be a favorite. I absolutely love it. It's by Gathered Together. What an interesting altered book to set on a coffee table or bookcase.

And last but not least, a wormy teapot from Antware Pottery.

The next time you're presented with a worm in your ear of corn, don't be alarmed. Confront your fear. And think of all the wonderful wormy collectibles that are available to honor your bravery.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My friend eats worms!!

My friend, Curtis Hamilton, just sent me an email that I thought I should share.

Here's what he wrote:
"I have a food item for you. Found a big worm in an ear of roasted organic corn from the farmer's market and to impress my grandchildren, gross out my squeamish son-in-law and out of curiosity I ate it—and found it quite delicious!

I have long found the presence of pests in produce to be welcome reassurance that it is at least relatively free of agricultural poisons but always cut around them. I will definitely look for wormy ears in future."

Other's reactions to finding such a worm differed.

"I put a husk in the microwave. I removed the husk. The ends looked weird but the middle part was ok, yellow and fresh looking. As I was eating, a long worm dropped out of the end. I almost had a heart attack. I am going to avoid corn for the rest of my life. I threw the remaining corn in the trash. I'm thinking about throwing everything out of the fridge. Uggghhh!!!"
Curtis responds:
(Maybe, to be on the safe side, this person should throw out the fridge too.)

Here's another comment:

"Not only is the corn safe to eat, but so is the worm. Corn ear worms are listed as edible, safe for humans, and having a light nutty flavor."

What do you think? To eat or not to eat the worm in your next ear of corn?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chocolate Avocado Mousse!!

There was one thing that really interested me when I read my FREE copy of Redbook. It was an article about Cheryl Crow.  She mentioned that "at dinner parties, I serve a healthy version of chocolate mousse—it's actually made with avocados".

Now that really caught my eye. But did they give the recipe? NO. So frustrating. Inquiring minds want to know.
So I looked online and found several recipes. Thought I'd share this one with you. I haven't tried it yet because all of the avocados I've picked are hard as a rock and heaven forbid that I should actually purchase some. 

This recipe is from Doctor Oz. See what you think.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Serves 6
12 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1 large California Hass avocado, pitted & peeled
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 egg whites
Combine the chocolate with the cinnamon and chili powder and melt in a double boiler over hot water and set aside.  Mash the avocado and add the brown sugar. Or puree in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, pour in the chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks using an electric mixer of whisk. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Pour into 6 serving bowls and chill for 1 hour, or overnight.
Optional - add a mint leaf