Friday, May 28, 2010


Hello, gorgeous beautiful glamorous campers! This weekend my family and some friends are entering that glorious Memorial Day tradition of the camping trip. Where to, you might ask? We're going to a beach on the Pacific, if that narrows it down for you. 
I got to thinking about why so many of us chose to fill our leisure time with sleeping under the stars (well, the hidden stars here in Alaska if it's Summer - we're pretty much getting Midnight Sun at this point), and remembered that I had this little fledgling site that I'd filled with a few (but not all from my vault) reference databases that I could play with. I felt like looking at vintage Kodachrome and the like photos and related ephemera from the 30's-80's or so. I wanted to see some examples of vintage camping, in photos, to tie our experiences with our bug spray-wielding and hot-dog grilling forefathers. 
I mean I flippin' love camping, but I'm a bit specific and fickle with my love. It must be in (usually) a state or national park campground, meaning it must be beautiful and serene. But I don't want it to be off the grid too much (i.e. some sort of toilet either flush or porta is essential), because I am a delicate, shy type person with my grooming and functions and also do not want to be eaten by a bear or taunted by a wolverine. On the flip side I don't want something so posh that it's ridden with RV's and pricey fees. I'm camping for goodness sake, I'm doing it because it's cheap and I like roasting marshmallows. I don't necessarily need a shower because showers in camps are usually either anemic or like something out of a TVA dam and nowhere in between. 
So anyway, I used my little magic tricks to find a few pretty little reminders of the type of camping I love: the kind with lipstick and a clean toilet, the kind with park rangers and day hikes. I found some random: 
1971: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Thank you, Shorpy. 
Just look at that happy camper up there (1971). Read the description on the Shorpy page, too. I love this guy's self-depreciating humor. I look at all the details in the shot and I think of all the preparations I just did for our impending trip. Will we look at our photos 30 years from now and marvel at the "vintage" Sigg water bottles and Bodum french press? Probably. 
Cold Camp: 1967
Thanks again, Shorpy.
Please. Just look at this shot. Can't you just feel it? The flames licking the black night? I've missed that! Like I've said it stays light until almost midnight now and it's not the same. I loved the enveloping night camping down south and in the midwest. When I was little it felt like such an adventure to be staying outside after dark. To sleep in the moonlight. Nothin' doin' up here unless you're willing to camp in the winter and snow. I don't mind winter camping, in the south when it gets to maybe 20 degrees at night in most areas. Up here is another story. This photo, though. Look at that coffee pot! We actually are bringing one almost just like it, a back-up french press one. We go through a lot of coffee when we camp (and when we don't). I love the lady's orthopedic shoes, too. 
Vintage Camp COOK BOOK outdoors and camping cookbook1974
Thanks, Girly Q. 
Etsy sellers have some wonderful vintage camping ephemera (of course they do!), and I found this cookbook on Girly Q Vintage's shop. Looks like the lady in the kerchief is cooking up some beans or something, but the cookbook also guides you in "cooking game birds" and "cooking for survival". I have a vision of the lady in the kerchief frenetically cooking Dutch oven meal after Dutch oven meal for the man in the insert - because he is holding her hostage. That's what comes to my mind when I see "cooking for survival." I have seen too many Lifetime movies. 

Thank you Vintage Warehouse 
Another etsy print, the above from Vintage Warehouse makes me happy in about thirty kinds of ways. The lady doing the pouring's shoes. The gentleman with the plate's hat. The Model T. Whether it's a campout or picnic or a combo of both I want to be there. Look at that jug of milk. They're moving along and happy and young and wearing good clothes in the grass. 
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground Amusement Parks
Thank you, (you can buy the postcard by clicking on the link)
Let me start this out by saying that my mother and father were given an identical picnic basket as a wedding gift. We used to take it camping and picnicing. My mom gave it to me years ago and I used that beautiful thing, and then we moved to Alaska and couldn't ship it so I sold it to a friend at a garage sale. And now I see that sweet basket and I feel like crying - for my lost youth and for my lost picnic basket. But, hey Boo Boo! It's a Yogi Bear Campground postcard! I love the cart, the kids, the guy in the Yogi suit! If you aren't aware, the Yogi Bear Campgrounds (called Camp Jellystone - just like the cartoon!) provide safe camping, activities, and nostalgia. They are oh so still around and I just found out that there is one in Gatlinburg. I was not aware of this when we lived in Knoxville! Another reason I'm glad to be moving back home! Majestic scenery and wildlife is one thing, miniature golf and a Yogi Bear golf cart is another. 

Was going to wrap this up nicely, with a little bow even, but am now so full of ideas and plans and excitement for our trip tomorrow to Clam Gulch (no Jellystone Gatlinburg, as you can see below, but it will do - and yes I am implying a wink), that I'm just going to sign off. So goodnight!
"Feathered Sea Foam, Clam Gulch, Alaska, from the Monolith Series" by Hal Gage is the award for this year's Mayor's Arts Awards.
Photo by Hal Gage

Hope you have a majestic, campy Memorial Day. xoxo

PS! This, and this and this and this and this and this.
 Good night!
Oh, and this. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Artist Worship

I don't typically bow down too much in supine position to worship celebrity ground. I don't even look at TMZ or Perez Hilton anymore, or flip through People magazine in waiting rooms. I guess I just went into sugar coma over all the high fructose corn syrup false pleasure I received from it. I follow a few working actors and writers on twitter, but it's mainly those that share interesting links and stuff. I think they're the bees knees still, of course (I'm looking at YOU, David Lynch), but I try not to allow such activities to take up too much of my limited time. I'd rather be pretend-shopping on etsy or World Market or something. 

But there are some. Some beauties that just entrance me. Like the Sigur Rós Official Site, Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise.  I don't know what it is with me and Iceland, but ever since we moved up in latitude I am flat out obsessed. I even discovered a story in my brain about some kids in 1940's Iceland. It was turning into a young adult novel until it tumbled back down the well of my imagination. Here that is if you're interested. Anyway, Sigur Ros' site is totally beautiful, mesmerizing, and well designed. I can't read a lot of it. I love Sigur Rós, but if I didn't? This site might be just another boring something that I barely glanced at. 

Another love, as I've said above, is David Lynch. I've been circling around his site for years, contemplating joining to get all of the dark, eerie, and sometimes epiphanic photography and video inside. But I usually forget about it and watch his weather report.

I just really love his brain, you know?

Another well designed site with good layout is Augusten Burroughs'. If you're a fan of his work (and God knows I am), please do yourself a favor and play around here a bit. Especially his photo galleries. Especially, ESPECIALLY the Dry: In Pictures section.  Broke my heart and put it back again, it did. Follow him on Twitter and you'll sometimes get little Augusten-sized chunks of insight. You know what's weird? I totally thought I saw him at the Bear Tooth the other week. I know it wasn't him. Because why? Why on earth would he be way up here? Maybe as a tourist. Maybe he was doing an Alaskan adventure trip or something.

And I have time for one more tonight. The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights  is a Jack White-agasm for me. Although (sorry Meg), I wish he had some sort of central location where I could sometimes just see stuff about Jack and Jack only.  A central place where all things Dead Weather, Raconteurs, It Might Get Loud, and White Stripes are joined in harmony, so I don't have to take five minutes to google search and click them all.  But I'll take what I can get, central location or no. And this site is pleasing in so many ways. Here's an interesting interview with Jack on Relevant magazine: Relevant - Jack White's Many Sides. I just really, really am enamored with him, too.
White Stripes photo: Jack White and Meg White

So celebrity worship and celebrity sites. I guess I could justify by saying that these folks are all serious artists, that I enjoy keeping up with their body of work. Or I could simply label myself an obsessed type person who has what I feel is good taste in music, film, and literature. Maybe part of me is still a twelve year old girl with Johnny Depp posters on the wall. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ranger Rick and I know I've been gone a while...

I've found something else so totally amazing that I'm just busting at the seams to share it. Not sure if I've mentioned it but my husband is a nature photographer/videographer. I stumbled across this today on the ALA's Great Sites for Kids. It's National Geographic's Wildlife Filmmaker, and since my son wants to be just like Daddy I'm so so excited to have him experiment on it! We obviously love National Geographic, as have generations of folks before us. Remember that bit in It's a Wonderful Life where little girl Mary and little boy George are at the soda fountain? And little Mary says, "A new magazine! I never saw it before!" and little George says, "Of course you never! Only us explorers can get it, I've just been nominated for membership in the National Geographic society."
Oh, love love love. 

Anyway, enjoy it! I'll share more soon. Have been working an awful lot on some other projects. 
PS - Have you noticed Ranger Rick lately? He's blissfully still around, albeit modernized. I love the old Ranger Rick images. Here's that site and the first I mentioned: 
NWF Kids/Ranger Rick (the magazine is still really good)

National Geographic Animal Wildlife Filmmaker

When I cleaned houses in my very early twenties my favorite job was a mansion in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. Built in 1850 or so it was a four floor wonder, and the original and subsequent owners LOVED children and incorporated little bits and bobs for their kids all over. There were little play trap doors, secret passages, a swing in the upstairs hall between the children's bedrooms, and a staircase that turned into a slide. In the back nursery closet door (and there were pocket doors in almost every room! Swoon!) there was still a fading, peeling off Ranger Rick Membership sticker - probably from the thirties. Super charming. Found out recently from a friend in the neighborhood they've subdivided the mansion and made it into condos. No! But it had a ballroom! And an inner mahogany octagon shaped study with inlay of stars on ceiling. Progress is not always a good thing. But oh, well! Ranger Rick is still cool and I have my memories!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I haven't been here in a while. I promise to come back soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poor little chickie

Poor fledgling blog! I've been back over here much of the time, and doing some finishing touches on a six month long project. I've found loads more beautiful things, and will be back on here soon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inspiration in the form of a 1960's Television Witch

   Yesterday, after watching Betwitched for the first time in probably twenty years, I threw myself into a bit of a tailspin, totally fixated and in love with the interior design and fashion on that show. It's an era I don't think much about (mid to late sixties), in movies from that era and movies about that era I tend to focus on plot and/or the relevance of the historical event being represented. But when plot is a little thin and silly (as in Betwitched) I can detach myself and just view the design glory that was the set and costumes of that show. I'm not going to bore you or myself and dive into a deep examination of the design of the era, I'm just going to share some of the beautiful retro goodness resources that I have learned of recently. I've chosen to focus a bit of my search on the mid to late sixties, as it reminds me of family photos of my mom as a young adult as well as the decor of the interior of my grandparent's home. It's not rocket science, what I'm doing, just decent searches with lots of "" and + and relevant words thrown in. I do seem to have a bit of the eye for skimming past the sites that might not be "perfect" for me. 
   I just keep looking and looking and looking at this episode. The plot is cute and everyone's fantastic but OH MY GOODNESS THE BUTTONS ON the real Samantha's coat @ 1:45!! That green dress! That aqua chair @ 4:38! Total swoon. 

  Now with the rising popularity of Mad Men this particular aesthetic is starting to creep back into popularity (though it's always had its stalwarts). It's mid-century modern but the later edge of it (correct me if I'm wrong, design expert who might be reading this), less atomic and more 2001: A Space Odyssey (but a bit less "mod"). 
2001: A Space Oddysey Interior Set Design

Here's the "Best of the Sixties/House Beautiful. 
House Beautiful

Modern Dig, a site with rare and collectible Mid-Century Modern Design books and objects.
(I actually have this beauty)

TV Party! Classic television shows for those who obsess. 

Twenty Five pieces of Retro Design Inspiration from Vectroave. 
Retro Inspiration Vol 2(courtesy Vectroave)

Retrospace, a well put together retro gamut blog (mainly 70's, but some 60's, too). 

Ultraswank - Talks about old and new influence of sixties design here. 
eero saarinen twa jfk 2 520x713 Eero Saarinens JFK Terminal(Ultraswank - JFK Terminal by Eero Saarinens)

If you're looking for a more polished and professional inspiration source, The Mid Century Modernist is a sleek place to start. If you're just wanting to breeze casually through the era, and float onto green Astro-turf to your white wicker laced veranda, go to flickr and search "sixties" + "vintage" + "interior design" and you'll be treated to image collections from design lovers all over the world. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kicks to the head

    I know it might not seem like it but my time on the internet is blissfully limited now that I'm no longer working outside the home. I have a small person that I'd rather spend time with, and I might be online looking, researching, writing, and communicating but it's dotted time, not really focused. I'm constantly up playing games, have long times in between where I'm cooking, cleaning, organizing, teaching Xander, taking walks, riding bikes, giving time outs, creating forts, making art, doling out clay and paint, etc. etc. etc. Just as I'm writing this I'm holding an intense conversation about the dreams we had last night, and we're also discussing whether Yoda can swim or not. 
    Late, late, late in the evening I have more focused time, but by then my contacts begin peeling off my eyes and I'd rather turn to my more ethereal writing and haiku. I also work on a project that my husband and I are working on during the wee small hours. So my point is (though this is a wavering point because I'm still fielding questions about Yoda and am a bit distracted) that I squeeze a lot into a little bit of time. 
     Like all of us I need reassurance and guidance in my professional (ha) life, in my case writing. I hunt and gather different sweet smelling books, magazines, and websites to boost up morale and siphon advice and tips that I might not have known about. And of course, I'm fixing to share some of them here. 

Zen Habits: I have a blog crush on Leo Babuta. He's taken his personal life changing journey and turned it into an empire of simplicity. His articles are peacefully written and helpful. His Simple Links hop over to interesting places, people, writings, tips. His other blog Mnmlist hearkens back to the original blogs of yesteryear: simple and straightforward. His Zen Family Habits  offers practical and reassuring articles from someone who's really a parent, and is totally non-judgmental. You'll like it. 

Margaret Atwood's blog: Now I know that this might not do something for everyone. It just so happens that she's my favorite writer and it just so happens that she has a blog. It also just so happens that she offers tips and helpful advice from time to time and I love her even more for it. The Queen of Introspective Science Fiction (and regular fiction), the Poet Laureate of the Smirking People of the World is also an approachable, amicable, tweeting person. Check out her Ten Tips for Writer's Block. 
(Image Courtesy CBC)

Brainchild Magazine: If you're a mom or dad or caregiver who's ever felt a little bit preached to from all sides of the spectrum (Holy hell the scare tactics of Last Child in the Woods  and the Focus on the Family - how's that for two ends of the spectrum - and everyone else who blathers on and on about how we should be raising our children or the world will implode). Brainchild is smart. Funny. Subversive. Love. It. I need balance and slaps on the wrist back to reality daily and this magazine offers it all. 

Deepak Chopra - Chopra Center blog: I really love the "Laws of the Day". You don't have to be a spiritual person or anything to use these words of wisdom. Here's an example, The Law Of Attachment: "Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are. I will not rigidly impose my idea of how things should be. I will not force solutions on problems, thereby creating new problems. I will participate in everything with detached involvement."
Of course we all KNOW this and it's not anything NEW but sometimes we need reminders and blows to the head to bring us back to balanced living. 

That's unfortunately all I can share today, as I have a particularly high strung kid today and it's taken me an hour to write a paragraph. Every 30 seconds some small disaster strikes and I am being called to active duty.