Saturday, January 31, 2015

Upcoming Madness

This next week is sure to be a blast....for those who are not me.  My folks head out to Seattle for a few days before heading to Maui for a mechanical contractor convention.  I get to watch the dogs which I'm okay with, but it's been cold.  Today it warmed up to -30F.  It just makes it a pain in the ass to get out to do anything.

My sister and her boyfriend will be heading to Maui as well.  My sister has to go to a bunch of meetings.  Ha ha!  I, in turn, get to watch my nephew for a week while they're gone.

If you have been a reader of mine, then you know that I love Hawaii.  Instead of letting this get me down, I have a bunch of things planned.

This next weekend will be filled with Star Wars Day and a Sunday Hawaii Night.  My nephew has never seen the original trilogy, so we'll be marathoning that.  I'll change his life forever.  Since we're both going to miss out on a trip to Hawaii, I'm making a Hawaiian dinner.  I am going to make pineapple teriyaki pork chops, mashed taro, spam fried rice, broccoli, and some kind of fruity smoothie.

During that first weekend we have to put together Dylan's Valentines Day cards for his class.  They're dinosaur themed and are "Dino-Mite!"

The rest of the week will be filled with board games and probably movies, but maybe some kid crafts.  I'm always open to suggestions.   I do plan on taking my nephew out for Valentines Day, breakfast or brunch or something.

In other news, I'm hoping to move to Harrisburg really soon.  I'm applying for work.  Looking for other rockabilly people in the area.  Waiting for my guy to have his divorce finalized and move there with me.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Book 30: The Day After Roswell

The Day After Roswell by Col. Philip J. Corso

It's been a while since I read this book.  I was having trouble figuring out what I should post as my last book of this 30-day Book Challenge.  I love paranormal topics and it occurred to me that I should post something about Roswell, one of the biggest UFO events in American history that took place in 1947.  Its effected film, fiction, art, music, and even technology.  I'm pretty sure I've seen rockabilly tops and skirts and jewelry with UFOs on it.  This book lays out the confusing incident that happened in Roswell and the definite government cover-up.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book 29: Gardening Made Simple

Gardening Made Simple by Better Homes and Gardens

This is a great book for beginners who want to start gardening.  It goes over flower gardens and harvest-able gardens.  It goes over the basics of everything.  As you may recall, Victory Gardens were a big deal during WWII and even into the 1950s.  Take some time and start your own garden, big or small.  You'll absolutely enjoy the rewards of eating what you grow.  It definitely tastes better.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book 28: Bowling Alone

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam

I have not actually read this book, but I do have it coming from Amazon.  I came across it on accident and read the blurb on Amazon (see below).

Drawing on vast new data that reveal Americans’ changing behavior, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures—whether they be PTA, church, or political parties—have disintegrated. Until the publication of this groundbreaking work, no one had so deftly diagnosed the harm that these broken bonds have wreaked on our physical and civic health, nor had anyone exalted their fundamental power in creating a society that is happy, healthy, and safe. 

Like defining works from the past, such as The Lonely Crowd and The Affluent Society, and like the works of C. Wright Mills and Betty Friedan, Putnam’s Bowling Alone has identified a central crisis at the heart of our society and suggests what we can do.
 I think that one strong reason why the rockabilly subculture is strong is due to the strong sense of community that we have.  It doesn't matter if you're more psychobilly or hillbilly or a square or a greaser or a lounge lizard.  If you show up to a car show or a big rockabilly event (like Viva Las Vegas), you are accepted.  We have car clubs and craft groups and cooking clubs and game nights and bowling teams.  We have a growing and developing sense of community that is severely lacking in today's world.

I know this is like a backwards book review, but I really am looking forward to it....and I think it should be in my mailbox today!  Hooray!

Book 27: Bottomless Cocktails

Bottomless Cocktails: The Art of Shag by Shag

Its not a cocktail book.  Its an art book.  Shag is a modern artist who has a very MCM/Cartoon Modern style.  If you have never seen his stuff, check out this book.  I love his work and totally want to eventually buy an original...when I have the money and a house. 

Book 26: Naked Lunch

Naked Lunch by William S Borroughs

This book is crazy.  Its a social critique of the oncoming drug culture.  If you don't read the book, you can check out the movie that was made in 1991.  I watched the film first to be honest.  I have to admit that I had a definite "gross out" factor to deal when it came to this book.  Bugs and bug spray (pesticide)....ick.  I both liked and disliked this book and I cannot quite place why.  Maybe it's because it goes against my ideal of the American Dream and my definite hatred of drugs.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book 25: The American Dream

The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation by Jim Cullen

I have this book on my kindle and I refer to it all the time.  I know this doesn't seem blatantly rockabilly or anything, but I believe this is a core to our rockabilly culture - the American Dream (not this book).  I like how this book explains how the American Dream has evolved over the past 240 years of American history.  I also think that the American Dream is in the midst of fading out.  I highly suggest this book.  Its interesting, intellectual, and will help you form some opinions on what the American Dream is, do we still have one, etc.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book 24: Salad Bowl

Salad Bowl by Mary Hunt

This book came out in 1939.  I borrowed a copy from my aunt a while ago and took some photos of various salads to try out.  I like how strange these salads are to me because the conception of salad is different than our modern day salad.  I also like how the book tells you how the salad should be presented.  It seems like we lose a bit of plating frou-frou when we are at home.  It would be fun to try a bunch of these.  I am especially interested in trying out some of the various dressings.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book 23: Waikiki Tiki

Waikiki Tiki by Phillip S Roberts

This little book is all about tikis, but I'm guessing you figured that out.  My mom picked up a copy of this for me on one of her trips to Hawaii.  Its a cool book to flip through.  If you like tiki modern culture, then at least flip through it at the bookstore.  This book goes over the 4 major gods of Hawaii, a history of tikis, and has great art/photos.  This book makes me want to have a luau.

Its kind of funny, but I named my puppy Lono.  This last summer (Lono was born in June) was the rainiest on record or something like that.  Lono is the bringer of rain, which means agriculture and fertility.  He is also the god of the east.  I have plans to go east to Pennsylvania.   Funny how things work out, isn't it?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feeling Inspired

Yesterday my day got a little less blah, then my boyfriend called and totally helped me out of my depressive pit.

I haven't written a regular blog post in a little while, so I thought I should post an update.

  1. My friend Deanna is putting together a new retro blog called Nostalgia A La Mode, "a modern life with a vintage scoop on top".  When she lets me know that it's up, I'll post something and let you know too!
  2. In the looks department I've dropped 5 lbs and cut off about 8 inches of hair (so now its at my shoulders).  I won't get hair wrapped around my neck when I sleep now!  Woohoo!
  3. My parents and my sister and her boyfriend are going to Hawaii in February, which means I get to watch all four dogs and my nephew.  We're going to have a Hawaiian night, a Valentines Day meal, and I'll probably have to help him with his classroom Valentines Day cards (1st grade).
  4. I noticed on Pinterest that Going Reno has a CHaOS 52-week project going on.  This is kind of inspiring me to do something grand.  52 weeks of something.  I'm not sure what I'd do yet.  I'll be moving at some point to Pennsylvania

Book 22: Last Train to Memphis

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick

I really loved reading this biography on Elvis.  I felt like I had a special inside seat in the story that was the King's life.  It wasn't a fast read, but I think I may have read slowly to savor the book.  The way it was presented was very intimate, more-so than other biographies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book 21: 1984

1984 By George Orwell

This is one of my favorite books on a dystopian future.  If you have never read this book, you need to.  I'm pretty sure that society is heading towards this novel.  Its a novel about a man who breaks many laws in this future, including thoughtcrimes and sexcrimes.  I must warn you if you pick up this book...Big Brother Is Watching You.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book 20: Jellymongers

Jellymongers by Bompas & Parr

I've had this cookbook for a few years now.  I love making gelatins.  I love eating gelatins.  I have to admit that this book was even one of my nephew's favorite books to flip through when he was over.  He even helped me make a few.  Since Jello, gelatins, and aspics were so popular in the 1940s and 1950s, I would highly suggest this book.  There are simple gelatins, creamy gelatins, GLOW IN THE DARK (how awesome!) gelatin, etc.  This is gelatin on a whole new level!

I am so depressed right now.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book 19: Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

This is a very funny book that is set in 1952 in the south.  Its not my usual type of novel to read, but it had a few things going for it:
  1. It was a quick read.
  2. It was pretty funny.
  3. I felt pretty happy after reading the book; a little sad that it was over.
I would recommend this as a great book for traveling.  Its not super serious, it is funny, and it should bring enjoyment.  I picked up my copy at a used bookstore in Portland.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book 18: On The Road

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

I picked up a copy of this book because it is considered essential reading for the beat culture and I wanted to understand the beatniks a little more.  I did not like this book.  I wanted to slap most of the characters and kick the main character in the butt for being a lay-about.  I always had this notion of beatniks being artists and jazz musicians, but this book shattered that image.  I wasn't able to finish the entire book.  I just couldn't get past how ridiculous I felt Kerouac to be.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Want To Start Prepping?

I have to tell you all that I am a prepper.  My current plan depends on the season since I am up in Alaska.  If its warm enough, I'll hoof it.  If its too cold, I'll stay put and hole up.  I know that sounds very indecisive, but I promise you it is not.  Its simply being prepared for different situations.

I feel that prepping has some strong roots with the rockabilly subculture since so many people either
had bomb shelters or cellars where they kept prepared foods - canned veggies and fruits, jams, smoked meats, etc.  People were continuously worried about the Reds and nuclear/atomic bombs/war.

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few handy tips on how to start prepping, in case you feel like starting, no matter what your reasons may be.

  1. Keep medical files for everyone in your household.  This should include: Name, Birthday, Photo, Medical Conditions (at least for the last 10 years), Medications, Blood Type, Food Allergies, and any Hereditary Conditions (whether you have them or not).  The reasoning behind this is that you need to figure out what exactly you might need if something does happen.  Can you make something to help little Johnny's asthma or little Suzie's eczema?  After you put together these files, be sure to add how-to's to help with any medical condition, preferably a natural method (plants and herbs).
  2. It is wise to keep a binder of useful how-to's such as: edible plants in your area, making antibacterials, making antiviruses, making antifungals, making soap, making lotions and balms, basic first aid and cpr, creating electricity (kinetic, solar, etc), purifying and filtering water, canning, collecting seeds, etc.
  3. Keep a collection of fire starters.  Books of matches, stick matches, lighters, magnesium fire sticks, etc.  You may also want to keep a handful of candles.
  4. Have a few knives handy.  When something happens and you need to make decisions, its awfully wise to have a knife around.  You can clean animals, gut fish, cut rope, defend yourself, and do a whole lot more.
  5. Shelter is a necessity.  You need to have a plan for an extra shelter option.  This could be a tent and sleeping bag, a tarp and emergency blankets, or whatever.  Maybe its a cabin in the woods.  Just be sure that you have something ready.
  6. Everyone needs a victory garden.  If you're going to be successful, which means staying alive, you'll need food.  Its worth it to have a strong supply of heirloom, non-gmo seeds.  Heirloom seeds grow plants that have harvest-able seeds - meaning that you can regrow them.  Herbs and leafy greens grow fairly fast with typical harvest time within a month.  Other veggies might take two or three months before they can be harvested.  It would be wise to have a spade and/or a hoe on hand where ever you decide to hole up.
  7. Emergency food is a good thing to have on hand, at least a week supply.  This means canned items, pickled items, jams and preserves, smoked meats, etc.  Be sure to have a plan for obtaining more food if your supply runs out.
  8. Entertainment.  Its funny to mention this because most people don't consider it to be important.  It could be a book, a deck of cards, a travel game, drawing pencils and paper, chalk, jump rope, jacks, etc.  What this does is allow you to have a way to break the tension and to have a little time to unwind.  A stress-breaker will keep people from hurting each other and will reduce yelling and disagreements.
That should be a good platform to start from.  As you start to think things over and collect your odds n' ends, you'll start to find more things to do for prepping.  I would suggest checking out pinterest for ideas.

Do you do any prepping?  Share your thoughts and tips!  I'd love to hear them.

Book 17: It

It by Stephen King

I know that this book doesn't seem very retro or rockabilly, but it takes place in a few different eras.  The main two stories are in 1958 and in 1985.  I love this novel.  It is creepy and its very relate-able - which is why people really like it.  In case you've been in a cave, this book is about a group of friends who take on the task of destroying It (who shows up as Pennywise the clown).  I don't want to give too much away if you have never seen the movie or read the book, but in the book you actually get more info on the background of Dick Halloran from 'The Shining'. 

Book 16: Frank R Paul: Father of Science Fiction Art

Frank R Paul: Father of Science Fiction Art by Stephen D. Korshack

I love science fiction and pulp magazine art.  This book is about both.  We had this at my mom's bakery and I've had a ton of conversations about the art and ideas.  I highly recommend this book not because it is directly rockabilly, but because it is a big influence on rockabilly culture.  UFOs, aliens, new technology - all big influences on 50s culture.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing A Book

I am working on writing a book about the rockabilly subculture.  I'm looking for a little input from my readers.

Here's my question to you:
If you were going to talk to someone (who presumably knew nothing) about the rockabilly subculture, what one or two things/philosophies/stylings would you absolutely mention?

I have a lot of this manuscript written, but I just feel like I'm forgetting something.

Leave me some feedback.  PLEASE!

Book 15: The Great American Pin Up

The Great American Pin Up by Charles G Martingnette

This is a big, heavy book full of absolutely gorgeous pin up art!  I love flipping through this which usually takes me an hour or so.  What's hard to believe is how many people in the art community view this art as "low brow", but the skill behind it is phenomenal!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book 14: Vintage Hairstyling

Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennells

This book is INCREDIBLE for hair.  There are SO MANY updos.  It is a little more advanced then the last book mentioned.  If you practice, you will get good and quick with these hairstyles.  I still haven't been able to get my hair, my curls really, to be all perfect and smooth.

How to practice these updos:
  1. Use a light amount of hairspray when you practice.
  2. Sit at a table with a mirror and all your supplies.
  3. Put on a movie or some music.
  4. Spend a half hour or an hour practicing, then put everything away.
  5. If you're hair is really gummed up with hairspray, wash it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prison System

A chain gang
Lately I've been having a few political-based discussions, mainly with my mom.  One that we talk about fairly often is in regards to the prison system.  I thought I'd mention something on here, though I wouldn't be surprised if I get flack for it.  I'm not a big fan of how it is set up.

What I would suggest doing:
  1. Bring back chain gangs and prisons that mass produce something.  The money brought in by the goods sold can help to pay for the prison system.  In Eastern Oregon the brand Prison Blues are produced by the prisoners.  Let the prisoners earn a little money (severely reduced pay) for their work.
  2. People who are put on 'Death Row' need to be killed in a timely fashion.  Shoot 'em, gas 'em, drug 'em, hang 'em, etc.  You hear about these people on death row who have been on death row for YEARS, decades even!  Crazy!  What a waste of money.  Just shoot the bastards and lets move on.
  3. Reduce the prison luxuries.  No cable television.  No chance to get a college degree.  Keep the meals real basic.
  4. Increase availability of jobs by hiring psychologists for group therapy sessions, artists for art therapy sessions, and even English majors for literary therapy (people like books).
  5. Teach prisoners some basic skills: carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, etc.  Not a full apprenticeship or anything with a union, but just some useful skills so they can go out in the world with good skills.  Hell, working in a factory setting can produce some good factory workers...which is what America needs.
  6. If people really want to have an inescapable, hellish type of prison then please use one of the remote Aleutian Islands out beyond Dutch Harbor, Alaska.  The water is INSANE!  The weather is shitty.  You can only fly or boat in at certain times.  Don't plan on swimming because you'll just die.
  7. Castrate and tattoo rapists (especially serial rapists) and pedophiles.  I think these people are sick and need to be more easily identifiable.
  8. I also believe that harsher punishments, none of this PC crap, will start to make people afraid of going to jail/prison.  It would also help to not have tv shows create heroes from villains all the time.  Yes, all the time.
  9. I know this is really extreme, but what if we take Running Man and the idea of the Roman Colosseum and just broadcast it?  Fight to the death, maybe you'll live another day. LOL  Okay, I know no one will ever go for that.  I just happened to watch Running Man a few days ago and wanted to bring that up.
I don't know if anyone shares any of these same views.  I just felt like I needed to write it down.  Let me know if you feel strongly one way or another.  I'm always interested in various perspectives.

Book 13: Style Me Vintage

Style Me Vintage by Belinda Hay

This is a fun book that goes over a few vintage hairstylings from the 20s to the 60s.  I learned how to do The Poodle (I Love Lucy) from this book.  I also learned that I have to cut my hair in order to do it because hair too long can be an issue.  If you're just starting out or if you kind of suck at doing your hair, this is a great book to have.  Follow the instructions and practice!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book 12: Mid-Century Modern Mania

Mid-Century Modern Mania by Jenn Ski

One of the few MCM coloring books that is new to the market!  This one is set up as pictures from or regarding a MCM house.  You can see the dresser and stuff on the cover.  Have fun with this book!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paleo Rant - What Is and Is Not Paleo

The BASIC Paleo Pyramid
I need to spout off about paleo recipes and cookbooks and shit that I keep finding.  Its supposed to be a diet, a way of eating, that involves the avoidance of grains, legumes, sugars, and starches.  I cannot tell you how many times I see corn or potato or sweet potato or soy or tapioca or something in a recipe.

Who is letting idiots put PALEO on shit that isn't paleo?  ARGH!  It makes me mad.

Here is a list of stuff you SHOULD NOT eat if you are on the paleo diet:
Wheat, wheat/ap flour, sugar, rice, tapioca (made from rice), bulgur, quinoa, buckwheat, beans, peas, corn (a grain), oats, rye, kamut, teff, spelt, barley, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, carrots, potato, sweet potato, milk, most dairy (at least keep it limited), and processed food.

Need a supplement for something listed above?  Try these:
Potato - Yam, Taro, pureed cauliflower (in place of mashed potato)
Basic bread - Look for recipes involving coconut flour bread, cauliflower pizza crust, or spinach bread
Rice - Look for recipes on cauliflower rice and chopped broccoli (good substitute)
Potato Chips - Banana chips, apple chips
Noodles - Zucchini (cut long and flat for lasagne, spiral cutter for spaghetti), eggplant, miracle noodles (noodles made from mushrooms), spaghetti squash
Milk - Almond milk, coconut milk, other nut milks.  These are found in rectangle boxes usually.

The paleo diet doesn't mean that you don't have any kind of flour that you can use.  Try these flours/meals:
Almond meal, coconut flour, other nut meals, and chestnut flour.     The list is definitely limited because PALEO DOESN'T USUALLY USE FLOURS.

Need a sweetener?  There is a big debate over sweeteners, but I figure that if you really cut back on sweeteners and aim for those that are more natural and not processed you'll be good.  Here is a few you can try:
Agave nectar, raw honey, coconut sugar, fruit sweet by wax orchards, and stevia (you can grow your own!).  Also, you might want to try using fruit as a sweetener, like dates, prunes, or raisins.

Sticking with the paleo diet is not hard if you are actually committed to it.  One of the best things to do, if you decide to go this route, is to get rid of all the food you are not allowed to eat.  Don't go out for a few weeks.  Just make your own food.  Make a menu plan.  Make some food that will last a few days like crockpot stews or lasagne or something.

If you have any questions about the paleo diet, look to the man who started the whole thing: Dr. Loren Cordain.  YOU CAN GET HIS BOOK HERE.   It outlines everything, provides some medical and scientific background, and gives you a bunch of recipes.  Its the book I started out on.  I got it after finding out that I have a hypothyroid.  I went through a natural medicine doctor and this was a third of my cure.  Paleo diet + 5 days a week of exercise + powdered pig thyroid (for my first few months) = Me becoming healthy and regular.  My body temperature became normal, I was able to lose weight (I went from a 14/16 to a size 4), and became more mentally sharp (a bad side effect with hypothyroidism).

One thing I will say: Carbohydrates are a severely hard addiction to break away from.  Its mental though.  Don't think of it as "yummy sugar" or "yummy bread", etc.  Think of it as "mashed cauliflower is good" or "I need something sweet, I'll have some prunes or dates".

Book 11: The Hot Rod Reader

The Hot Rod Reader by Peter Schletty and Melinda Keefe

This is a book that is full of stories from people who build/work on hot rods.  It gets into the culture behind hot rodding, how people got started, etc.  I haven't finished it due to moving and the book getting misplaced, but I found it again and need to finish it.  If you don't have a hot rod, but appreciate the culture or want to learn more about it, then check out this book.  It offers a great social and cultural commentary.

Book 10: The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister

The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister by Chris Nichols

This is a cool book that talks about the architectural work of Wayne McAllister.  Since I draw a lot, I tend to run through architectural books.  This is one that I go through fairly frequently.  If you appreciate MCM architecture, then check this book out.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Want To Buy A MCM Property?

Arne's Royal Hawaiian Motel in Baker, CA is up for sale.  Its a 43-room motel done in a tiki modern motif (note the main building roof).  It is going for $450,000 on Loopnet.


The site says (the following are not my spelling errors):
The compound consists of 43-motel rooms, swimming pool, a 3,200 sq. ft. garage with office, a 3-bedroom, 2-bath manager's residence, recreation room with pool tables, two laundry rooms and a single mobile home space. Active motel from 1957 to 2009. Needs extensive renovation - perfect site for franshise food restarurant/motel.

Visable along I-15, an hour south of Las Vegas near Dumont Dunes, with 30 - 50,000 cars passing daily. Easy Interstate exit/entrance. Two lots - APN 0544-452-02 (1.22 acres) and 0544-281-14 (3.45 acres).

 This would be a cute investment property for a rockabilly couple who don't mind a little hard work.  If you purchase this property, let me know.  I would love to come visit and maybe help arrange a rockabilly retreat.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Vintage Sewing Pledge

I didn't hear about this until too late this last year.  Now that its January of this year, I'll make the pledge.  If you want to look into it, head over to A Stitching Odyssey and check it out.

During 2015, I, Jessie Desmond, will sew up at least seven of my vintage or reproduction sewing patterns.

Book 9: Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book

Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book by Betty Crocker

 My copy is from 1950.  This is a great cook book whether you are new or experienced with cooking.  I highly recommend this.  I first discovered it at my aunt's house.  She had a reprint from the 90s.  I flipped through it and within about 5 minutes determined that if I was ever going to teach a cooking class, I'd use this book.  I'm not a teacher though, but the thought ran through my head.  The reprint is exactly like the original, just new.  Nifty little pictures, menus, recipes, holiday items, etc.

Book 8: Modernism Reborn. Mid-Century American Houses

Modernism Reborn.  Mid-Century American Houses by Michael Webb

Interesting, but not my favorite.  Its more of an architectural book.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book 7: Cartoon Modern

Cartoon Modern by Amid Amidi

Cartoon Modern is a term for cartoon style heavily influenced by MCM.  The awesome part about it is that YOU HAVE SEEN AT LEAST ONE OF THESE CARTOONS!  Before this book, I had known that there was a change in style, but I didn't know that it had been given a name.  I have poured over this book for hours.  I have even youtubed a lot of the cartoons just to watch them, which makes the book almost interactive!

You can check out Amid Amidi's Cartoon Modern blog by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book 6: Googie

Googie by Alan Hess

This is a great book for people new to googie architecture.  It gives some great examples and good definitions.  If you want to nail down the architectural style, check this out.  I would recommend checking out a few other books on googie architecture to obtain a more well-rounded knowledge base.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book 5: Eames

Eames by Gloria Koenig

If you appreciate midcentury modern design, you absolutely need to have a book on Ray & Charles Eames.  The husband and wife duo were responsible for so much major design work.  This book gives you a basic biography and information on work they did, also features some great pictures.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book 4: 50's Decorative Art

50's Decorative Art edited by Charlotte & Peter Fiell

This is a small book, but it has SO MUCH great design information and pictures (576 pages worth).  This book gives a look into decorative arts like textiles, ceramics, glass, dinnerware, statues, and even some house floor plans.  If I need to work on a design or if I'm looking into things to purchase or make, I like to flip through this book.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

10 Ways For Vintage Living in Modern Times

If you are a vintage-enthusiast, rockabilly, or someone who is just curious on retro life, you may want to give these a try. For some of you, these will be more or less everyday ways of living. This list of ten activities are geared towards the American Dream, a more hands-on time, and living a fuller life. If you are new to vintage/retro living, then gives this list a try for two weeks, see if you like it.

1. Wear vintage or retro-inspired clothing everyday.
It takes a strong person to wear clothing that is not mainstream. Wearing vintage or retro-inspired clothing will usually get you compliments. If you are a woman, you will feel feminine; if you are a man, you will feel handsome. I prefer retro-inspired clothing from the 40s and 50s because I do a lot of sewing and that means I get choices. Lots and lots of choices. If you go for this same time frame (I highly recommend it) then you’ll find the styles flattering and very functional.

2. Cook every meal.
Cooking is very cathartic for me. My mom had me start before I could talk, though it was very simple (like rice krispie treats). Living the vintage life means that you’re going to do some cooking. If you don’t think you’re all that great in the kitchen, don’t fret. Get yourself a slow-cooker and a slow-cooker cookbook. Meats, soups, stews, chili, veggies, etc can all be done in a slow cooker. If you can cook, then you shouldn’t have too many issues with this particular activity. You can get meals prepared early like lasagne. Also, don’t forget some of the classic ’50s staples: Jello, various pie, coffee cake, meatloaf, and tuna casserole.

3. String or Yarn Art.
Its kind of a strange title, but it does incorporate knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, and embroidery. A lot of women in the 40s and 50s were able to do at least one of these things. It could add a bit of flair to a blouse or be a way to create delicate doilies or even mean the creation of a new piece of knit wear like a scarf or sweater. If you already know how to do one of these, stick with it and start a new project! If you want to learn, this would be a great time to do it. If you are not a knitter or crocheter, like me, then give embroidery or cross stitch a try. I have found that I really like embroidery.

4. Make it or fix it by sewing.
Sewing is an essential skill for those living the vintage life. We buy retro or vintage patterns, fabric and notions, and sew our own clothes. If anything, we at least know how to patch a pair of trousers and sew on a new button. Take the time to make a new addition to your wardrobe.

5. Victory Garden
If the season allows it, start your own victory garden. This is typically a vegetable and fruit garden that often has some herbs. You can create or buy a vertical planter to save space. If you have a yard, you can build a raised garden bed. There’s something very satisfying about growing and harvesting food from your own garden. If you do this, you will find that if you mention that food you serve came out of your own garden people will be more eager to eat it. For the first time gardener, I would suggest starting small with the following 6 plants (unless you’re allergic): Lettuce, Strawberries, Tomato, Zucchini, Onion, and Snap Peas.

6. Work on that updo
Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you want to live the vintage life, you have to rock the hair for it. Men should obtain some kind of hair cream, oil, or tonic and figure out what they like. Maybe its a Pompadour or a DA. For women, there are so many various updos for various lengths, its mind-blowing! You probably won’t get it overnight, so practice practice practice!

7. Host a dinner party
Hosting an actual dinner party is not an easy task. Typically, dinner parties consisted of three parts: Pre-Dinner Socializing, Dinner, and the Parlour/Dessert Time. Pre-Dinner Socializing is typically filled with appertifs and appetizers. Its usually done in the parlour and there is a lot of socializing, similar to a meet & greet. Dinner is usually done around a dining table. Sometimes help is hired for the night - this could be a great job for any teenager trying to make a few bucks. Dinner can be served in courses or all at once. After dinner, during the Parlour/Dessert Time, you might want to have a group game in mind - charades, cards, trivia, etc. Its during this time that cocktails are usually brought out, along with dessert.

8. Unplug
While the internet is a great tool and we’re all addicted, its nice to have a day during the week that you set aside to become unplugged. Use a radio or other low-tech items if you want, but try to have a single unplugged day.

9. Enjoy Simple Things
Its important to enjoy the simple things. It can lower blood pressure and relieve stress. It could be enjoying lemonade on the porch after dinner or enjoying an after-work walk through a park or flipping lazily through a magazine while listening to an old radio show or even enjoying a bubble bath. There are a lot of things that you can do. When you’re spending time enjoying the simple things, try to remain unplugged.

10. Venture Out!
There are events all the time, all over the place. It may be a car show, a tattoo show, drag races, or a band gig. If you can’t find anything in particular, grab some friends. Go out somewhere in your vintage/retro stylings. If you’re new to it, have your friends dress up and make it a fun group lunch and trip to the antique store. Living the vintage life doesn’t mean staying at home all the time.