Cowgirl in Black

Before I get to the body of this post, I need to say a few things. For the last few days, I have had difficulty functioning. The current happenings in the United States are deplorable, disgusting, and heartbreaking. As of late, I feel as if my blog is very shallow and of little importance. Especially compared to the issues of this country, the struggles of others, to speak nothing of the horrors around the world. However, we all need a rest at times. A brief moment to step back from the tragedy and struggle, and spend time on what makes us happy and have some semblance of normalcy to get through the day. Self-care is important and necessary. For this, I will do my best to continue blogging, but sometimes I can be at an utter loss for words, and it will be reflected in my posts, which may have been apparent in my last post, as it was very limited in text. I will not go in depth about how I am currently coping with the current situation. I will not make it a part of this blog, as I want to keep this blog a small corner of happiness and normalcy. However I want to make it very clear I do not support the current administration. I do not approve of the blatant racism that is happening. I do not approve of the sexism that is happening. I do not approve of the homophobia that is happening. I believe we are all equal no matter our ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. And with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff.

Since there is less than a month of Knott’s Berry Farm’s amazing Ghost Town Alive experience, I’ve been spending a good deal of time soaking up as much of this real life, family-friendly version of Westworld as possible. So, this is the reason for two Knott’s posts in a row.

Since Ghost Town Alive ends in the near future and western wear is my jam, don’t be surprised if there is just a slew of Knott’s posts. I have so many friends who are wanting to visit before it comes to an end on September 4th, and I’m never going to say “No” to a visit to Knott’s!

Outfit
Hat: Playclothes, Burbank, California
Top, Boots, & Purse: Buffalo Exchange
String Tie: I’m not sure…maybe my dad?
Skirt: Switchblade Stiletto
Belt: Knott’s Berry Farm (buckle is Pat’s though)

Stagecoach Ride

I love it when you have accessories that match and just come together and create a themed ensemble, which is what happened over the weekend at Knott’s Berry Farm. Inspired by my vintage stagecoach skirt and Knott’s Berry Farm’s stagecoach, I created a parasol featuring a Knott’s stagecoach.

Outfit
Peasant Top: Pinup Girl Clothing
Skirt: Mystique Vintage
Shoes: Re-Mix
Brooch: Classic Hardware
Knott’s Berry Farm Charm Bracelet: I can’t remember!
Hair Barette: Knott’s Berry Farm
Tooled Leather Purse: I don’t remember…
Parasol: Made by me

Independence Day

Without getting too political, the last couple days have been rough, culminating in yesterday, with Independence Day. I’ve been getting back in touch with my love of the American Revolution, and recently took a quick visit to the replica of Independence Hall at Knott’s Berry Farm. Some of you may recall my visit last July, well, I had so much fun with that, I decided I wanted to have a tradition of doing 70s (because the fashion that emerged during the Bicentennial was amazing) inspired patriotic outfits and shooting them there around this time every year.

To learn more about Knott’s replica of Independence Hall, please check out my first post on it here. If you are in the Southern California area, I highly recommend visiting this unique attraction. It’s free to visit, and is open every day (except Christmas Day), from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I hope all of my American readers had a wonderful and safe Independence Day!

Outfit
Dress: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Shoes: Buffalo Exchange
Necklace: Junk 4 Joy, Burbank, California
Bracelet: Flea market

Jackalope Jamboree

Some of you may already know of my love of the mythical creature the jackalope, so it was no surprise when Erstwilder released a jackalope brooch I just had to get my hands on one!

Now unlike so many of my vintage loving friends, I’m actually not the biggest fan of Erstwilder’s stuff, as I feel like their use of varying patterned plastics creates too much texture within a brooch. I’m also super picky about the jackalope stuff I buy, because there is some weird, not so cute stuff out there, but thankfully, this jackalope only featured limited use of patterned plastics, and overall was a really cute design.

During a recent visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, I began talking with one of the women who works at Leather Shop, where I am now fully addicted to their leather barrette. Seriously, they offer an amazing selection of unique stamps (most of which are western themed) and they make you your very own custom leather barrette right there! I spied a rabbit stamp and talked about how I wish it were a jackalope, and the girl said “I can do that.” And she did! I was so excited! And it turned out super amazing! It was the perfect addition to my outfit.

She shared with me other custom ones she had done, and we got talking and soon I settled on wanting to make one featuring an element from my favorite show The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and she was able to complete that as well, so I hope to share it soon!

I want to thank all of you who commented on my last post. It was very wonderful to hear your thoughts, struggles, and encouragement. I really love the community blogging creates, and hope to continue to be a part of that. I’m also working on how I want to share my charm bracelet collection, as that was a highly requested collection to share. It may be a two or three part post, as I do have quite a few charm bracelets, and like with the linens post, I’ll want to take close-ups of some of my favorite charms.

Outfit
Dress: I don’t remember…
Belt: Found by my dad
Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Jackalope Brooch: Erstwilder
Hair Barette: Knott’s Berry Farm

Yeehaw! Saturday at Knott’s

As mentioned in my last Knott’s Berry Farm post, lots of visits are planned this summer, because Ghost Town Alive is just too much fun. So over the weekend, Patrick and I went for the day. We’ve been having a bit of “June Gloom” recently, but I didn’t mind the mild weather, as it worked out perfectly to wear my new (to me) vest that I recently bought.

I want to thank those of you who commented on my last post where I shared my vintage California linens. I think my charm bracelet collection will be the next collection I share. Also, feel free to keep the post suggestions coming!

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Shirt, Boots, & Purse: Buffalo Exchange
String Tie & Coral Ring: I don’t remember…
Vest: Paper Moon, Los Angeles, California
Skirt: Dolly & Dotty
Rodeo Queen Ring: Gift

The Return of Ghost Town Alive

Last summer, Knott’s Berry Farm did something that was nothing short of magical, and something I gushed about repeatedly here on the blog, Ghost Town Alive. If you were ever a fan of the original film Westworld, or have been caught up in HBO’s reimagining of the 1973 film, it’s easy to relate Ghost Town Alive to that – a theme park, where there are citizens (or “hosts” as they are called in Westworld) that reside in a typical western town of the late 1800s, and each of these citizens have a plot that plays out over the course of the day, and it’s something you can be a part of. You can read my open letter to Knott’s Berry Farm that describes the experience a bit more here. The main point is, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had, and was overjoyed when Knott’s announced they were going to bring it back for the following summer. And for the first day, Patrick, myself (along with a newly created Knott’s themed parasol), and friends were there to experience the first day.

 

This train border print skirt, along with a few other western themed border print skirts, has been on my wish list for some time now, and I recently scored it from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Trove Vintage. While it was on the big side, I was able move the hook and eye over, and iron it some to make it several inches smaller, without ruining the integrity of the skirt or seriously altering it! It was a perfect skirt to kick off what can best be described as “the second season” of Ghost Town Alive.

For photos from the events of the day, keep reading!

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Knott’s Preserved

By now it’s no secret I have fallen head over cowboy boots in love with Knott’s Berry Farm. The literal farm turned theme park has one of the most unique, interesting, and classic American dream stories that there is. The book that helps tell that story best is Knott’s Preserved: From Boysenberry to Theme Park, the History of Knott’s Berry Farm.

With extensive research, interviews, and massive collection of vintage photographs and ephemera, co-authors Christopher Merritt and J. Eric Lynxwiler, weave a tapestry of berries, chicken, and a sudden theme park that sprung up as a result.

Walter Knott, along with his wife Cordelia, began their small berry farm in Buena Park in the 1920s, and eventually Knott cultivated an unnamed berry he acquired from Rudolph Boysen, who had long given up on the hybrid of blackberry, red raspberry, and loganberry. Walter took the plant and nurtured it, and soon it was producing large berries that were rich in flavor. Knott chose to name the berry the boysenberry, after Rudolph Boysen. Walter sold berries and other fruit from a small roadside stand, and a tea room was added where Cordelia sold sandwiches, rolls, jam, and fresh berry pie. It was really a family operation, as the Knott children helped in making the pies. When the Great Depression arrived, the Knott family looked for a way to raise their income, and one night in June of 1934 Cordelia did something that would change their lives and the southern California landscape forever, she made fried chicken.

Word spread that this was the best fried chicken, and very soon Cordelia’s Tea Room had regular customers, and long lines. Soon one of the Knott daughters, Virginia, began selling small gifts from a card table in the lobby to aid both income and in entertaining people awaiting tables, and in 1938, just four years after serving the first dinner, the restaurant saw its first expansion, and Virginia got her very own gift shop, which still bears her name to this day.

But guests were having to wait a rather long time to be seated. And Walter wanted to entertain them. With volcanic rock he ordered from Death Valley, Walter built a waterfall for guests to enjoy while waiting. He quickly followed up that project with another, a millstone vignette, where guests waiting were encouraged to sing “Down by the Old Mill Stream”. Then inspired by a trip to Mount Vernon, Walter recreated George Washington’s fireplace. These were the first “attractions” Walter built to entertain customers waiting to be seated, and guess what, these three attractions are still at Knott’s Berry Farm, and free to the public. They are also something I have wanted to share for awhile, and this book offers a nice way to introduce them.

Today, tucked behind the Berry Market (which is part of the larger Marketplace shopping center just outside the main gates of Knott’s Berry Farm) you can still find these three original attractions. So if you stop in for a bite at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, be sure visit these hidden treasures.

But these small things couldn’t entertain the thousands that were flocking for a taste of Cordelia’s chicken, sometimes waiting over three hours, and soon Walter got the idea to pay homage to his grandmother, who came to California in a covered wagon. In 1940, construction began on what would become the Gold Trails Hotel, and would house a unique diorama depicting a wagon heading west. From this, Walter thought he needed more western buildings to give frame and context to the Gold Trails Hotel, and soon a real life Ghost Town sprung up! Here, guests could spent time as they waited for their tables at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Soon Walter’s Ghost Town grew to have a life of its own, and buildings continued to be added, some of which were real buildings that he relocated to the property, others were built. Some of these buildings were called “peek-ins” as guests could literally peek in through the window and see a scene, like a barber giving a shave or card game being played at the sheriff’s office. These peek-ins were followed by panning for gold, a real antique train guests could ride, and before Walter Knott knew it, he had a full fledge them park. What is so wonderful is that Knott’s Preserved offers a perfect commentary on how each attraction was developed and added, and how the Farm had to change with the times, including stories I had never heard before. It also discusses the many hard working people who joined the Knott family with their project, including the self-taught wood-carver Andy Anderson who bought so many of the original peek-in characters to life, and artist Paul Von Klieben who designed buildings, painted gorgeous images for various locations, including the awe inspiring Transfiguration, which you can see and read about in my post about the Knott’s Berry Farm auction.

People came from all over southern California to visit. Patrick’s grandmother originally hailed from Nebraska before moving to California, and after marrying an Italian immigrant, she stuck to cooking Italian food for her family, but every once in awhile the family traveled to Buena Park from Burbank just for fried chicken and so she wouldn’t have to cook. My dad recalls visiting often (although from the much closer town of Downey), and I am lucky enough to have a handful of photographs from his visits (which I’m planning to share in a vintage Knott’s Berry Farm photograph post).  And stories like these aren’t at all uncommon as Knott’s Preserved shares.

Knott’s Preserved beautifully describes the path of Knott’s Berry Farm from its first steps as a simple farm, through the development of Ghost Town, and the later themed “land” and ride additions were made, not all of which were successful. I learned so much about the Knott family, long forgotten attractions, unrealized attractions, and how the Farm grew into what it is today, including the origins of Knott’s Scary Farm in 1973, and the unique addition of the Peanuts Gang in 1982.

For some, Knott’s Preserved will be a walk down memory lane, for others, like myself, it offers a wonderful glimpse into what Knott’s Berry Farm was once like. It is something any person interested in Knott’s Berry Farm should read.

Knott’s Preserved is available for purchase at Knott’s Berry Farm, both at stores inside the park, as well as Virginia’s in the Marketplace. It is also available for purchase through the the publisher’s website.

Disclaimer: I was not approached by the authors, publishers, or any employee of Knott’s Berry Farm to do a review Knott’s Preserved. I wrote this review of my own accord.