Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursdays--The Place Where I Live

Today's post isn't about anything I own, but rather a place I love to visit. I find the old Mission Valley Mill heartbreakingly beautiful. The huge spread of buildings is tucked between the Guadalupe River, railroad tracks, and just a block off of I-35, you would think this now-defunct mill property would be a hot commodity. In a way, I'm glad it's not, so that I can have the occasional morning with the place all to myself and the wildlife. Yes, wildlife. This morning we saw an egret, a blue heron, a crane, coots, grebes, Muscovy ducks, turtles, and butterflies. I know our area depends on toobers (as in, floating the river), but I do love to see an empty river. Well, empty except for birds, turtles, and fish.

Unfortunately, the day took a turn for the worse after I shot these photos this morning, so I won't take the time to write captions. I will plan for a post about the mill another day. I must say, I was happy to look back over these photos after the day I had, so I hope you get some enjoyment out of them, too. Oh, and no worries. Everything is ok now! But I'm tired!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Web Wednesday--Vintage Fashion Guild

If you haven't explored the incredible resource that is The Vintage Fashion Guild, I won't be upset if you leave now and spend the rest of the day over there.

The label resource is unbeatable and comprehensive. The fabric resource is growing and I can't do without it. The forum is a constant source of information and surprises. And questions are answered by experts almost faster than you can keep up with. If you sell or buy vintage clothing or accessories, or simply love them from afar, this is the web site that covers it all. 

Treasure Tuesdays--Rotary Telephones

I have an addiction to old telephones. I love a dial wheel on a phone, even if there doesn't seem to be anyone to dial these days, what with texting and e-mailing.

I know that a lot of people have gotten rid of their land lines, but i cant imagine doing that. I love the weight of the old phones and the jangling rings. What about you? Does the idea of an old phone make you think this:

Carol Lombard (from Tumblr.)

Or do you think of this? Especially if you ever had to get along on a party line!


I have this solid 1970s phone in classic beige in my Etsy shop. Even though there's no call to use the phone like there used to be (remember all those hours on the phone in your teen years? I never see my kids on the phone...and it's weird!), I love my telephones. I love the weight of them, the jangling rings of them. I know a lot of folks are getting rid of their land lines, but I just can't imagine it. I will soldier on, and pretend that I look like Ida Lupino:

which I don't... But I can dream! And on a completely unrelated note, if you want to see some great World War II-era photos like this one of Ms. Lupino, check out this Atlantic article here.  Don't miss photo 19, where Veronica Lake uses her famous hair to show women the importance of the head scarf! Lest you think the era was all about women looking pretty and men being brave soldiers, these photos will change your mind.
If you love the photos, why don't you pick up the phone and tell someone else about them? Happy chatting! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Movie Monday--The Night Fighters

Full disclosure: I wrote my doctoral dissertation about Northern Ireland, and I love Robert Mitchum. Therefore, when I discovered the movie The Night Fighters, from 1960, that includes a balanced look at early 1940s IRA activities AND Robert Mitchum... Well, I think everyone should check out this film.

The movie apparently didn't make a dent at the box office, and, to be fair, the movie probably does take some prior knowledge of the historical situation to make sense, but I think it's a good movie overall. Robert Mitchum's accent isn't even the worst, although the crazy variety of Irish accents alone (on the actual Irish actors) who are supposed to live in the same town and/or be related to each other is fairly entertaining! I think I heard exactly one actual northern accent in the whole thing... Ah well, such is Irish filmdom.
A young Richard Harris (this is his fifth movie in the first two years of his acting) is another bright spot in the film, for sure. Mitchum and Harris make a great pair of friends, and the great little twist of Harris' character being a Protestant among the IRA men is a perfect touch, historically speaking.
Unfortunately, the film is not available on You Tube (nary a trailer or anything). Amazon does have it. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday--The Woman's Fedora and the winner is...

Fun fact--the fedora started out as the height of women's fashion. Famous--and rather infamous--actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) wore a new style of hat in her play Fedora (1882 by Victorien Sardou) that became the rage of fashion.


Of course, Oscar Wilde and his wonderful fashion sense couldn't stay away. Look how sharp he looks in a fedora! source

The fedora, in a variety of iterations, really has remained a style that adapts to the times, and suits men and women. It's a flattering style that remains a timeless, classic and classy topper that can go casual (just Google photos of current actors and actresses in their fedoras and shorts!), and quite formal (although probably more dressy on a man than a woman, for some reason...). The Metropolitan Museum of art has these three women's fedoras in their collection. The brown one, above, is described as:
The treatment of felt in this hat from French milliner Rose Valois shows the extreme refinement of French millinery. While the overall scale and crown shape follows the fashion of 1938-1940, the designer cleverly employs different techniques of shirring and braiding to adapt a men's hat style, the fedora, for a sophisticated female client. The asymmetry of the design and the different treatments of the felt, including the leather-like tassel, make any additional trim superfluous. The exaggerated and arched curving lines of the brim give the hat panache, without overshadowing the face of the woman who wore it. source

This one:
The sobriety and frugality of the 1930s made the suit an essential element of female dress. Feminized fedoras and other masculine-derived styles provided a tailored look that worked well with suits. This well-made hat illustrates a typical incarnation of the type, and embodies the jauntiness of late 1930s styles. Feminized versions of mannish hats in this period frequently featured rich colors, tipped brims, and a somewhat high, close-fitting, tapered crown which was often finished at an angle.source

This one:
During the 1930s, '40s and the early '50s, when hats were considered required accessories for well-dressed women, Sally Victor was among the foremost American milliners. Creative and very successful for almost 40 years, Victor began her prolific millinery career in 1927. She was one of the original members of the Edward C. Blum Design Laboratory, and often used the Brooklyn Museum's varied collections to draw inspiration for her designs. She was so connected with the Design Lab that she participated in several collaborative exhibitions and the museum often used her designs in publicity materials to exemplify how the Lab could benefit designers by providing inspiration. Her work is characterized by a special quirkiness that could often be traced back to interesting sources such as Native American tribes, the artist Henri Matisse or Japanese armor. She also combined traditional hat-making materials such as felt and silk with new synthetic materials in unique ways. According to her May 16, 1977 obituary in the "New York Times," Victor described her mission simply as "designing pretty hats that make women look prettier."

A perfect accompaniment for the man-tailored architectural suits favored by the 1930s woman, this architectural hat combines geometry and asymmetry in one fashionable design. The non-conventional construction, particularly of the crown, is demonstrative of Victor's innovative and whimsical aesthetic. Victor has taken the masculine fedora form and wittily executed it in bankers gray felt, commonly seen in men's suits. Many women’s hats of the period were sweetly feminine, incorporating flowers, veiling and bright colors, and, with this design, Victor offers an alternative to the ultra feminine styles. source

No one rocked a fedora quite like Ingrid Bergman. Here she shows an example of that 1930s menswear look. Yet there is nothing "manly" about her...she so feminine in this look, and so beautiful. source

And, of course, Casablanca... source

If you'd like to rock this look yourself, I have the perfect one in my Etsy shop. If it fit my giant head, it'd be mine, but, alas... someone with a more normal size head will benifit! This fedora is available here. Sadly...
The give-away has come to an end... Since I only had a couple of comments (shrugs shoulders...), everyone's a winner! Bo Peep already has something in the mail. So, Miss Fairchild, I will contact you for a mailing address so I can send you a couple of flowers for your hair (or hat or scarf, or label, or children or lampshades!).
All the best, folks, until Monday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursdays--The Great Outdoors

We have barely had any winter here, which is a bad thing when it comes to bugs. But it's a good thing when it comes to being outside--although I'd like to wear one of my pretty vintage coats just once this year!

This morning is so lovely I thought I'd grab a few shots of the things in my little piece of the world that make me smile.

We have a huge Rosemary bush that we cook with all the time. It smells fantastic and is bothered neither by drought or snap freezes.

This is our fig tree that is a bit confused as to time of year...again... It's budding out, and I'm not sure what's up with the tiny fig forming on this branch. But just look at that pretty blue sky!

This is a pineapple sage plant I put in my little herb garden. It took over, and makes the most gorgeous red flowers. It's probably completely useless for cooking with, but it sure is pretty. I'll probably move it out of this little bed, to make room for more culinary herbs!

Our neighbor has a large ranch with longhorn cattle and, in the spring, a ton of wild flowers that we can ogle through the fence. See my deck chair? Found it in someone's trash! All it needed was a dowel in the canvas seat to make it perfectly sit-able. 

I've posted before about my love of our native agarita bushes. Here's a tiny little one that a bird probably "planted" for me. They make wonderful bright red berries that are great for eating out of hand or to make a jewel-toned jelly.

The horses weren't in the mood to be photographed today. They're mad because I haven't let them out for hay yet! But I enjoy finding signs of where they hang out. This is in the back where they get a good view.

The prickly pear cactus is showing signs of winter with those spots around the prickles. These can be a pest, but I like to keep some around for the pears, or "tunas" that they make in the spring. Again, good jelly. This year I'm determined to make that jelly!

Tiny little plants are poking through the ground. Can you make out the tiniest little clover? So cute!

More cactus. And all the rocks. I admit, they don't make me smile!

We have a lot of lovely trees, and I love our little shaded path through the woods. It's awesome in the summer time!

A canopy of oak is the best!

Our little quail sing sweet songs and give us the best little spotted eggs. The white one is hiding. Like their glammed up feeder? Found it at an estate sale.

The lacy asparagus plants don't look like much now, but they are making us tasty little spears under ground right now.

The Carolina Jessamine is getting ready to bloom like crazy. I'm excited because I just planted this last year and wasn't sure it was even going to live.

Gotta love a big fat hen. This is our Buff Orpington, called, well, "Buffy."

My daughter's pet rooster. His name is Pingu, and he thinks he is "all that."

Eggs! We also get gorgeous green and blue ones, but those girls hadn't hit the nests yet.

The amarillys has busted out. 

I'm not a big one for bedding plants, but I love me some Johnny Jump-Ups. This pot was on sale.
So how are things where you are? What makes you smile?