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, 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.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sepia Saturday #178 Family Portraits

When I saw the photo of this beautiful woman, our photo prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday, I thought about portraits and most particularly portraits of my family members. I've posted the portraits along with photographs. Can you see the likeness?

My mother and father both had these drawings done when they were in their 20s. I have no idea who the artist was. Maybe a friend of theirs. Unfortunately they're unsigned.

A later photograph of my father, but still looking a lot like the drawing:

Here's the one of my mother:

and a photograph at a similar age, but without the reverse roll hairstyle:

Barbara, my sister, was in a show recently where everyone had to enter a self portrait. Here's her entry:

And here's the photo she used as her inspiration:

My uncle Glen started painting in his late 70s. He had a wonderful career as an artist, entering shows and winning many awards. He kept painting well into his 90s. Here's his self portrait with a photo alongside. Glen was my father's older brother. You can see the resemblance.

After a trip to California, Glen decided he wanted to paint a portrait of my daughter, Megan, but he didn't have a photograph of her. So he used a photo from one our books in which she had modeled.

Here's the photo from the book cover:

To see other artistic offerings, click here Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sepia Saturday #176 My Brush with a Scientist

It was 1964 and I was browsing through the classified ads looking for a better job than the one I had. I spotted one that sounded interesting - a secretary for a geophysicist at Cal Tech (Californa Institute of Technology in Pasadena).

I went on the interview which was conducted by the scientist himself. He asked if I took shorthand. I said, "sure". Which of course I didn't, but I wanted the job really bad. Cal Tech is just such a beautiful campus and I thought it would be interesting to work there.

 So, what do you think? I got the job. Then I had to deal with the fact that I really didn't take shorthand. I had two weeks to figure out what to do. Not enough time to learn shorthand. That takes years and years.
Real Shorthand

 So I took a two day course in Speed Writing (a cousin to shorthand). There, I was ready for the job.

Speed Writing
At least I thought I was ready. The first day on the job the good Dr. dictated an 18-page letter just chock full of scientific jargon that I couldn't even spell in Speedwrite. I was sunk. I thought for sure I'd be fired after only one day on the job. But no, he decided to keep me on the payroll. He admitted that he didn't care whether I took shorthand or not, he just liked my mini skirts.

No, that's not the Dr. or me. But it will give you an idea of how we dressed in the 60s. Not near as short as the skirts now. But it turned out that the professor was a real letch. It was my first experience with sexual harassment on the job. Only in those days there was nothing you could do about it. Just grin and bear it, which I did for a whole year.

He once asked me to come to his house to work. What could I say? I was really scared, but I didn't want to lose my job. So I went to his house and met him in a guest house in the rear. He opened the door with an African mask on his face! Talk about panic. But since his wife was in the main house, he behaved like a gentleman.

Here he is, the mad scientist. He's the one on the left, groping the meteorite.

Check out other scientific stories on Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sepia Saturday #175 What's A Prisoner to Do??

I'll bet almost every prisoner smokes. But after they finish that last pack, what do they do with their trash? Here's what they do, or at least some of the prisoners do. They make lovely pieces of art. You can call it prison art or tramp art but whatever you call it, you've got to agree that it's pretty darn creative.

This is a piece that I bought at a Thrift Shop for 50 cents. Can you believe that? Look at the amount of work and hours that went into this cigarette pack heart. I've always loved this and so continued to look for more prison art. I now have a small collection.

I'm not sure what pack this is made of. I'm not a smoker so I don't recognize the brand. Here's a closeup in case any of you want to take a guess.

My next purchase was a little purse. I got this at a swap meet and I think I paid quite a bit more, maybe $10.00.

I love the design of this purse. Especially the way it closes around that square tile and also the addition of the beads. This makes me wonder if it was actually made in prison. I'm not sure if the beads would be available in the prison store. I often wondered if some prisoner made this purse and then gave it to his girlfriend.

Here's a closeup of this one since I also don't know the cigarette brand used:

There's a very informative article about all different types of prison art  that may be of interest.

It's amazing how many different types of art prisoners are into. So many amazing pieces are made from matchsticks, toilet paper, cardboard and just about anything else an inmate can get their hands on. But by far my favorite (besides my own pieces) is this wonderful work of art by Michael Harms. He must not be a smoker because his medium of choice is Ivory soap. Here is one of his intricately carved chairs:

I understand that they're trying to ban smoking in British prisons. Is this true? Then what will those inmates do to while away their time. I guess they'll have to start hoarding their soap!

For other stories about vending machines, cigarettes or the dangers of smoking, click here Sepia Saturday.