This Ain’t My First Rodeo

Oh my, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, and then it actually rained for a couple of days. But last week I tagged along with Patrick when he went into Redlands for work two days, and did a bit of shopping. Surprisingly enough, Redlands has quite a few antique malls and a few thrift stores, where I found a handful of things, but nothing too crazy, mostly practical items, like hatboxes and buttons. Then the following day I decided to head into Riverside after dropping Patrick off at work. I moseyed down aisle after aisle at antique mall after antique mall and wasn’t finding anything! It was sorely disappointing, then at my last antique mall my jaw hit the floor. There in the window was quite possibly one of most magnificent skirts I have ever seen. A western themed border print skirt I had never seen before, so I rushed to the counter to request them to take the skirt off of the mannequin, where I quickly whipped out my tape measure and check to see if it would fit, and it was perfect! I continued to shop, clutching and, a few times, petting the skirt, looking quite possibly like James Bond’s nemesis, Blofeld stroking his cat.

I couldn’t wait to wear the skirt, so it was an easy option when getting dressed to go out for brunch at Arthur’s Coffee Shop, a western themed breakfast joint here in Orange. Sadly my purse strap broke as I stepped out of the car, and it instantly turned into a clutch. The skirt is a most welcome addition to my growing border print collection, as well as to the western themed items. Another new addition is my Siesta jacket. I’ve been wanting one of these wool fringed beauties for awhile, along with a Chimayo, and recently scored this on Ebay. I’ll openly admit, I loathe buying on-line, and it could honestly be a blog post within itself, but sometimes there are items you will have better luck finding on-line, and a Siesta is one of them. And despite how much I love this jacket, and its reasonable price, it still perpetuated my hate of purchasing on-line, as it arrived reeking of cigarettes. Despite shoving it in a paper bag of newspaper and baking soda and letting it sit for a few days, it still smelled. It’s now being shot with Febreze daily, and sitting outside on our shaded patio.

Sadly, the skirt features no label, which doesn’t surprise me, as I believe most of these border print skirts were homemade, and whoever did make it, did a great job, and the hem has one of the best blind-stitch jobs I have ever seen. Additionally, the folded over twice, so the edge is hidden, which is where the makers text would have been. I haven’t come across this print anywhere else, and I would love to know who made it! So, please, if you have any ideas, comment below!

Outfit
Siesta Jacket: Ebay
Blouse & Tooled Leather Flats: Simply Vintage, Portland, Oregon
Skirt: Guerrero’s Treasures & Collectibles Antique Mall, Riverside, California
Saddle Brooch, Horse Brooch, & Rodeo Queen Ring: Gifts
Turquoise Shadowbox Ring: West of Texas, Redlands, California
Turquoise Bracelet: LA Vintage Expo
Belt: Thrifted
Tooled Leather Purse: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California

Case Study House #22

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Janey got the weekend before my birthday off we decided to do something special just in case she had to work during my birthday. We decided to take a tour of the most famous of the Case Study houses, #22 the Stahl House. Unlike most of the other Case Study houses the Stahl House was made famous by this Julius Shulman photograph, which depicts two women sitting and talking while appearing to hang in midair over the LA skyline. Among the Case Study houses the Stahl House has by far the best story.

In 1954 “Buck” Stahl was driving through the hills above Hollywood when he saw the site which was being used as a dumping ground for dirt and concrete. He saw the developer who owned the plot and bought the land on the spot for $13,500, about the price of a small house at the time. Over the next two years Buck and his wife Carlotta hauled dirt and concrete to the spot and an idea for a house began to form. Buck made a small model and began to show it various architects who all told him it couldn’t be built.

Finally in 1957 Buck found Pierre Koenig, who was designing the glass and steel Case Study House #21 and took on the task of turning Buck’s dream into a reality. In early 1959 Koenig suggested the Stahls submit the house to the Case Study program. The story goes that they crumpled up the application and threw it away only to pull it out of the trash and smooth it back out again. Later in 1959 just before groundbreaking the house was accepted into the program, but not because it was affordable (it cost $37,500 to build) or easily reproducible (the house is incredibly specific to the site) but because it pushed Modernist architecture to its limits and showed what was truly possible with the best materials and design of the day.

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The house is all glass on three sides and every room has a sweeping view of LA below, every architectural design decision has been made to increase the view as much as possible to the exclusion of everything else. Nothing is load bearing except for the posts between the enormous panes of glass which were the largest available at the time of building. Koenig was also extremely clever with the designs, maximizing morning sun to warm the house and providing long eves on specific sides to keep in cool through the afternoon.

In 1960 Julius Shulman’s photos of the house appeared in Arts & Architechure as a part of the Case Study House program and launched the house into the spotlight. In 1962 an article appeared in Life, “Way Up Way of Living on California Cliffs” that featured several photographs of the house including one of Buck Stahl dangling off the edge of the cliff with a rope around his waist planting ivy to reenforce the hillside. The house has been used in dozens of movies, tv shows, commercials, and photo shoots since then.

In some ways I think the Stahl house captures something uniquely American, that Buck Stahl, a sign painter and graphic artist could devote 6 years to an idea and create it from literally the ground up. His famous quote “Nobody famous ever lived here” really sums up something about the classic American dream.

The Stahl House is open for tours on a regular basis and is one of only 2 that you can take a tour of. I really recommend the evening tour if you can make it, since you get to see the house in daylight, sunset and night. They let you take photographs only with cell phones and photos are for personal use only.

Etsy Shop Sale

Since being cast at the Disneyland Resort I have been contemplating closing my Etsy shop, The Atomic Hideaway. First of all, I have only listed a handful of items since I began working for the mouse. Additionally part of the reason we moved to California is that there is simply so much more to do down here. So, during my time off, we are off exploring, or I am doing necessary chores around our home, and of course blogging. This leaves little time for the lengthy process of sourcing, sorting and listing patterns. Also  I have amassed quite the fabric stash and personal pattern collection as of late, and I haven’t done any personal sewing since our move, with the exception of a few essential repairs.

So what I have decided to do is to take an indefinite hiatus from selling Etsy. I love selling patterns, and I would love to reopen my Etsy shop one day, but for the time being I am offering a coupon code to help clean out my patterns.

If you are interested in any of the patterns in my Etsy shop, please use the coupon code “HIDEAWAY” to receive 40% off your purchase.

I will deactivating listings two weeks from today, May 15th, and then possibly officially closing it. The nice thing about Etsy is that you are able to reopen your shop at any time, and it will be just as you left it.

To those who have been customers of mine over the years, thank you so much for your support! I love that I have been a part of your sewing journey.

This Year’s Smartest Headress

During my birthday getaway in Joshua Tree I couldn’t help popping into the handful of antique stores in Yucca Valley. At one store I came across something I have never seen before… a Visor-ette.

Part snood, part visor, the Visor-ette came with a slip of paper boasting “The year’s smartest headress. Hides curlers, pins and unruly hair. Attractive, practical, washable. Visor-ette will take care of wind-blown and unruly hair.”

The item reminded me possibly of something a gal might wear while gardening, or even perhaps while horseback riding, and I thought it may work well with my adventurer chic looks. Along the bottom of the paper it noted that its patent was pending, and it was trademarked 1952, and funny enough it was produced by Ellis (which is my last name) Manufacturing Company of Glendale, California.

Sadly I can’t find anything on the internet about this unique accessory. But for now I’ll just enjoy it. So, what do you think? Have you ever stumbled across one of these? Would you wear a Visor-ette?

You Had Questions, I Have Answers

Awhile ago I did a shout out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter asking those who follow me if they had any questions, and if I received enough I’d do a little Q&A post! Well, I did receive a good number of questions, and I got a little carried away with some answers!

Alicia from Facebook said “I’m dying to know what attraction you work [at Disneyland]!”

Well, I don’t work an attraction actually, I simply work in retail in the various shops Disneyland has to offer, but mostly in Fantasyland. I would say though that if I did move to attractions, I would love to work the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, especially since they get to wear moccasins.

Akram’s Ideas on Facebook asked “Since I know you are such a Disney fan, I’m curious what Disney character you feel you relate to the most?”

That’s a tough one. I have a few. Mainly though I would say Anna from Frozen. She’s gloriously awkward, loves chocolate, and doesn’t really think a whole lot before she speaks. The moment when she says “This is awkward. Not you’re awkward, but just because we’re…I’m awkward. You’re gorgeous. Wait, what?” is so easy for me to identify with. I also totally identify with Mabel of the Disney show Gravity Falls. Like Anna, she is awkward at times, plus she loves crafting! I would also say Jessie from the Toy Story films. She is opinionated, loves to laugh, but also has this fear of being abandoned, which I think many of us have. And I would also say Slue Foot Sue, from the Pecos Bill short, not that I’m a headturner or anything, but I love how determined she was to ride Widowmaker, and I can be determined and stubborn at times. Plus, ya know, both her and Jessie are redheaded cowgirls.

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fgradowski on Instagram asked “When/how did your love for all things midcentury begin?”

Great question! I have always loved classic cars and oldies music, as I grew up with them. My dad was involved in car shows, and my parents were in the antique business, so I was attending antique shows and flea markets my entire life. As I walked the aisles over the years I began to fall in love with the design of the furnishings of the 50s and 60s. In middle school I began to dabble in vintage clothing. I expressed to my mother that I wanted to dress like Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie (post-wedding episodes), and she pulled out some her clothing from the 60s and 70s. In 2001 I found my first piece of Franciscan Starburst. Somewhere along in there is when I fell in love with Heywood Wakefield and began buying up pieces, and storing them at my dad’s until I got a place of my own.

Fellow blogger Emileigh of Flashback Summer asked via Instagram “I know you love incorporating Western and Native American style into your look. How do you navigate being PC and still midcentury? Are their certain items you would just never wear, even if they are historical?”

This is a wonderful question. The PC issue is one I give a lot of thought to when I look at vintage garments that have these elements. However I feel like some items that initially made read as offensive, should not be, deep down. However, I will admit I have a garment I have yet to wear for this very reason, despite feeling like I have a good “defense” of it. Perhaps I will make its debut as a post of its own discussing this issue! With regards to still being midcentury with my dress, in all honesty, I have begun to disregard wanting to go period perfect all of the item, and enjoy wearing what I like, and thus mixing and matching decades in outfits. One thing that I think is important when wearing real Native American jewelry is to know if anything you are wearing is of any symbolism, and what that symbol represents. This is where I believe the PC/negative cultural appropriation line is. It’s important to understand and respect icons. For example, I make a point of learning about the kachina dolls and their significance when I purchase items depicting them.

Megan over on Facebook asked “How did you learn to style your hair with vintage flair and how do you decide which hairstyle works best for each outfit?”

I had a lot of difficulty with vintage hair styling, and still do to this day, which is why I have yet to post any tutorials on hair-dos, as it is still very much a trial and error process with me. I learned a lot my basics from a woman named Kristen Behlings who I met through AlexSandra of AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium, when I modeled with her. Kristen offered vintage hair style classes, and I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity to have great hands on experience, and I highly recommend attending a vintage hairstyling workshop if you can. Then I began to look at books offered on the subject. I know many people have had success with Lauren Rennells’ (of Bobby Pin Blog) book Vintage Hairstyling. I did not have a great deal of luck with it however, but did do quite well with the hair book from the Style Me Vintage series. YouTube is also a great source of information. I haven’t latched onto a YouTuber who I constantly go to for dos, I just type in whatever I’m trying to do and watch a variety of videos.

When deciding what hairstyle works best, at lot of my hairstyle choices comes down to practicality. I think about what I will be doing for the day, and plan my hair around that. If I’m just going out to lunch or dinner, I can plan a rather outrageous hair do. If I am going shopping, and thus putting on and taking off clothing frequently I may choose a less cumbersome hair-do. Same goes for if I am spending a day at Disneyland, or another amusement park. I also take weather into account, especially wind. I still try to think about periods for my outfits, and hats can also play a role in deciding what to do with my hair.

Kate-Em asked on Facebook, “If you had a chance to time travel which specific historical event would you like to witness?”

Believe it or not this is something I have thought about. Time travel is a very interesting thing, and I like the idea of witnessing something, rather than experiencing it. The one thing I would do, if given the chance, is to actually go to Disneyland, but on a day when Guy Williams, along with many fellow Zorro cast members, were there during one of several “Zorro Weekends” that were held there. Guests got to see a stunt show, as well as meet the stars of the show. While not a major historical event, it is my number one choice.

Cindy on Facebook asked, “Your outfits are always perfectly put together. Do you plan an outfit in advance and go shopping for the pieces, or have you just collected so many awesome items over the years that you draw from your closet for a particular look you want for the day?”

Thank you! Most of the time I pull together outfits from my closet. I wouldn’t say I have ever planned an outfit without having the items, since I never know what I am going to find out there. However I have on occasion purchased an item and realized I didn’t have anything that went well with the item, and then shopped for items to go with it. A great example of that is when I purchased this silver and pink dress. I didn’t want to wear it until I found the perfect pair of shoes to match the dress.

Twinpineapplescruff asked on Instagram, “I would love to know about your favorite albums.”

Great question! Well, as indicated by my recents posts, I’m a huge Gram Parsons fan, and I adore The International Submarine Band’s one and only album, Safe at Home, and of course Parsons’ work with The Flying Burrito Brothers, especially their debut album Gilded Palace of Sin, and Parsons’ two solo albums GP and Grievous Angel. I honestly listen to those on repeat constantly. I’m also a big Brian Setzer fan, and love Ignition. While Social Distortion is a great band I really adore Mike Ness’ solo album Under the Influences. I love Zombie Ghost Train’s album Dealing the Death Card. Not only are the lyrics great, the band can really play! I also love this album of covers that The Misfits did called Project 1950. I also love soundtracks to films and musicals. The soundtrack to Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a riot. And while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I love the music from Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge! I also adore film scores, and especially the works of Danny Elfman and John Williams. Elfman’s score for the 1999 Tim Burton take on Sleepy Hollow is nothing short of gorgeous, and Williams’ work on Catch Me If You Can is my favorite. Additionally the score for the first Pirates of the Caribbean film is amazing, which was done by Klaus Badlet.

Thank you to all of those who asked questions! And I hope you enjoyed this little round-up of question. There were a few questions I couldn’t really answer, at least not at this time. But please remember, I’m always open to questions! So if you missed out on answering a question for this round, feel free to leave a question in the comment section below, and I can do another round of these in the near future!

Also, you can “like” Atomic Redhead on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and find me on Instagram under the user “atomic_redhead”.

Giant Rock

When I told my dad we were headed out to Joshua Tree for my birthday he suggested we visit Giant Rock.

Giant Rock is pretty much exactly how it sounds, an enormous rock out in the middle of the Mojave, and accessible only by dirt roads with small, wooden, hand written markers to point the way. My dad had his reasons for suggesting the place too. While the rock has ties to Native Americans, it is mostly known as the location of UFO conventions in the 50s and 60s, and its easy to see why. All but isolated from the closest town of Landers, the area has no light pollution, and offers a big expanse of the sky, perfect for spotting UFOs. Sadly, we didn’t spy any visitors from outer space.

Prior to era of the UFO conventions, a German radio enthusiast dug himself a subterranean home under the rock, and after his death, George Van Tassel took up residence in the humble home, while also beginning work on the desert icon The Integratron. The other reason for the visit is that it is yet another odd location in the list of places that have ties to Gram Parsons.

Parsons had made friends with film maker Tony Foutz, who was working on a film of his own creation called Saturation 70. The film was suppose to be a 60s counter-culture style update to the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, starring Michelle Phillips (of the Mamas and the Papas), acclaimed rodeo tailor, and the man responsible for the suits that blazed the cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ debut album, Nudie Cohn, and the main character was played by Julian Jones, the son of Rolling Stones member Brian Jones. Douglas Turnbull, fresh off 2001: A Space Odyssey, was slated for effects (Turbull would go on to do the effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner). Filming was done guerrilla style and without permits. However part way through filming, the project ground to a halt and was abandoned.

Saturation 70 never takes up more than a page or two in any Parsons biography, if it is mentioned at all. The film has been credited for the reason behind the biohazard suits the Burritos don for images on their second album, Burrito Deluxe. In September of last year, what little footage there is of Saturation 70, as well as stills was show and displayed at London’s Horse Hospital, but has yet to make it to any other museum.

For those interested in visiting Giant Rock, make sure you either have an SUV, or your car is in good shape, as the dirt roads are bumpy to say the least, and you may drive only 20 mph or less along the roads. It takes roughly 30 minutes to drive from Joshua Tree up to the rock, and Google even knows how to get there.

Well that rounds out our Joshua Tree explorations for my birthday! I hope you enjoyed!

Outfit
Cowboy Hat: Found by my dad
Shirt: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Skirt: Buffalo Exchange, Costa Mesa, California
Boots: Buffalo Exchange, Los Angeles, California (yes, I shop a lot at Buffalo, I know)
Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace: Birthday present from Patrick (but I know it came from Magpie, Portland, Oregon)
Turquoise Ring: An antique mall in Astoria, Oregon, I think…

A Girl and her Jackalope

Have you ever just had an idea for something with no real reason behind it except that it would just be cool? Well, I had one of those when we made plans to visit Joshua Tree National Park over the days we were spending out there for my birthday. People love taking pictures with their pets, and sadly, we are a petless household right now, with the exception of one, rather stiff, little buddy, Mr. Van Cleef, our jackalope, with whom I have wanted to do photos with for sometime.

I won’t lie, I have completely fallen head over heels in love with chiffon maxi skirts over the last year, but have had trouble finding some without either spending an arm and a leg, or shopping at stores I hate. So when I found two chiffon maxis (including this one), a few weeks ago, it was like hitting the jackpot. I love the fact that they still evoke an old west feel, but also feel like something else entirely, not to mention are perfect for the heat of California.

Outfit
Hat and Top: Found by my dad
Skirt: Buffalo Exchange, Costa Mesa, California
String Tie: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California
Sandals: Minnetonka
Turquoise Rings: Living Threads Vintage, Portland, Oregon and Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
Bracelet: I forget…