Palm Springs Village Green Museums

Patrick and I just returned home from a week in Palm Springs, like we do every March, as Patrick has an annual work conference there. During this year’s visit I spent a lot time at museums, and finally visited several small museums that are all clustered together.

Located in the heart of Palm Springs is the Village Green, a small park that is home to not one, not two, not even three, but four small museums; the Cornelia White House, the McCallum Adobe, Ruddy’s General Store, and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

I’ll start with my favorite, the Cornelia White House. The building itself was originally built by Dr. and Mrs. Welwood Murray in 1893, and was built using railroad ties from a failed narrow-gauge line connecting the Southern Pacific depot with Palmdale. And was part of the couple’s Palm Springs Hotel. It was later purchased by Cornelia Butler White, and this woman was quite the character!

Cornelia White was born in 1874 in upstate New York, and one of eleven children. She loved to travel, and even traveled the Nile River in Egypt. She was also a professor, and from 1905 to 1912 taught domestic science at the University of North Dakota. Following her teaching stint, she moved to Mexico. One of Cornelia’s sisters, Florilla White, a doctor by trade, joined her, along with Carl Lykken, a mining engineer. However as revolutionary war broke out in Mexico, the trio had to flee. They escaped by operating a railroad handcar and traveled over 80 miles to the coast. Before joining her sister in Mexico, Florilla had spent time in Palm Springs at the hotel operated by Dr. Murray, and after escaping Mexico, Florilla suggested a move to Palm Springs. After arriving in Palm Springs in 1913, they bought the hotel Murray owned, and by 1915, another White sister, Isabel White, joined them. Isabel eventually married an author by the name of J. Smeaton Chase, while neither of the sisters, nor their friend Lykken, ever married.

Cornelia enjoyed riding, hiking, and even participating in cattle driving! And she always wore a leather jacket, riding breeches and boots. She is quoted as saying “But I do have dresses and petticoats, I want you to know. I keep them to wear to funerals. I’m afraid it just wouldn’t do to go in riding breeches and my fringed leather jacket – would it?”

By 1944, after Florilla’s death, Cornelia’s home was at risk of being demolished. It was saved though, and moved to another location. Cornelia lived there until 1959, and passed away in 1961. In 1979 the house was moved by flatbed truck to its current location at the Village Green. It is the second oldest standing building Palm Springs, and resides, fittingly, next to the McCallum Adobe, which is the oldest standing building in Palm Springs.

Needless to say it sounds like Cornelia is a woman after my own heart! Her home is a very unique treasure within Palm Springs. Some of the items inside the home belonged to Cornelia, while other pieces of the period were donated.

The Cornelia White House is open Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sundays noon to 3:00 pm. It is free to the public, but a $1.00 donation is suggested.

Next to the Cornelia White House is the McCallum Adobe, which as I mentioned above, is the oldest standing building in Palm Springs, and was built in 1885 by John and Emily McCallum, the area’s first white settlers, with the help of local Native Americans. It was originally built on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Way, where it was later part of the Oasis Hotel. It was moved to its current site in 1950.

Today the McCallum Adobe is a museum dedicated to the history of Palm Springs, from Native Americans to it becoming the sun-soaked playground of the stars. The McCallum Adobe Museum does not allow for photography, so sadly I cannot share any of its amazing artifacts with you. The McCallum Adobe keeps the same hours as the Cornelia White House. It is also free to visit, but a $1.00 donation is also suggested.

To the right of the McCallum Adobe is Ruddy’s General Store, which is really something, in that it is a complete fictional general store. It is made up entirely of one man’s collection of new-old stock merchandise from shops, and has items from the turn-of-the-century through the 1960s, but with its main focus on the 1930s and 40s.

Ruddy’s General Store costs 95 cents to take a turn about. It’s open during the months of September through May, Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

To the right of Ruddy’s General Store is the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

Like the McCullum Adobe, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum does not allow for photography. The museum offers insight into the Native Americans who first called the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley area home, and during my visit housed an incredible display on basketry.

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is free to visit, although you can make a donation if you wish. They also have a wonderful selection books about Native Americans, as well turquoise jewelry for purchase.

That wraps up the first of three Palm Springs posts! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

A Return to the Autry

A few years ago during a visit to California we took time to visit the Autry Museum of the American West. I was slightly crushed over the fact I didn’t blog about it, which was for a combination of reasons. First, it was very overwhelming! There is so much stuff at the Autry, and my eyes couldn’t stop darting around at all of the wonderful stuff there was to see! Additionally, museums are notoriously difficult to photograph. And the few photos I did take in the first room turned out so horrible I didn’t bother to continue. But we returned recently and I took loads of photos! Some are still not as great as I would like them to be, but I still want to share some of the Autry’s treasures with you! But before we get to that, let’s take a peek at what I wore, because it was pretty darn awesome.

This suit is one of the most prized pieces in my western wear collection, and one I didn’t even find. In fact my dad found it at the Portland Antique Expo, and sent an image of it to me and only eyeballed the measurements, and when it arrived I was overjoyed that it fit perfectly! It’s by Rodeo Ben, who is one of the pioneers in western wear in the 20th century, along side Nathan Turk and Nudie Cohn. Many credit Rodeo Ben with developing the snap closures, and photographs show his work using snaps as early as 1933. It should be noted however that Rockmount was the first manufacturer to use snaps, beginning 1946. Like Turk and Nudie, Rodeo Ben did work for the likes of such western legends as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. And the Autry even has pieces by Rodeo Ben in its collection.

I paired my suit with another prized piece, a vintage sterling silver and 14 karat gold ranger belt made by Edward Bohlin. Bohlin is hailed as a true artist with it comes to cowboy belt buckles and saddles. His gorgeous “Big Saddle” (there is an image of it after the cut) is on display at the Autry, with a plaque reading it “reportedly took fourteen years to complete and weighs approximately seventy pounds.” The belt is not just an amazing artifact by a well-known maker, but it means a lot personally. It originally belonged to my grandfather, my dad’s dad, who was a bit of a cowboy himself. While born in Oklahoma, he grew up on a ranch in Texas. And in the photos I’ve found while working on our family’s genealogy I’ve uncovered more than one image of the man riding, along with images of my grandmother and dad riding as well. I even found some of him with a lariat.

For those interested in what The Autry has to offer, keep reading!

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Birthday at Farrell’s

I told you to look out for another Gibson Girl inspired look soon! Because we went to Farrell’s with some friends to celebrate my birthday Thursday evening.

Farrell’s even offers an ice cream dish called the Gibson Girl which I got as my birthday treat. I honestly believe that no matter how old you get you’re never too old to celebrate with friends. I find that while gifts are dandy, nothing can replace amazing friends, and I feel extremely luck to have found an outstanding group here in southern California. But speaking of gifts I got several gift certificates to my favorite shoe shop! Re-Mix!!! So I’ll be sporting some new kicks in the near future! I’ve been eyeing the Stella since its release and want them in both blue and pink, as my shoe closet is lacking in both of those colors!

Outfit
Hat: Farrell’s
Blouse: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Thrifted
Shoes: Re-Mix
Cameo Earrings: Belonged to my grandmother
Cameo: Gift from my mother
Opal Ring: Family heirloom bestowed upon me by my mother’s cousin
Purse: Found by my dad!

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour

When I was a kid there was this wonderful, magical place that I would sometimes get to go to. No, for once I’m not talking about Disneyland. I’m talking about Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. Founded by Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy in 1963 in Portland, Farrell’s quickly became the go-to place for birthdays and other celebrations for many. Farrell’s was themed to the 1890s, with employees dressed up, often with a signature boater, and the Gibson Girl was their icon. There was a location in Eugene, which is the one I visited most often, and the restaurant was plastered with images featuring Charles Dana Gibson’s work. But as is the tale with many small businesses and local chains, they were bought, many locations closing in the 90s, while a few held out, becoming independent versions. The one in Eugene operated as the Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour, and kept up with the Gibson Girl theme and maintained the candy shop in the front. I was lucky enough to visit it one more time while attending college, before it closed in 2006, the location is now La Perla Pizzaria.

But after a long legal battle Farrell’s reemerged from the ashes with multiple locations in California and I was overjoyed when I found this out shortly after moving. We visited the one in Brea, but arrived after dark, and I wasn’t able to take any shots of my Gibson Girl inspired outfit, so today I recreated that same outfit for a visit to the one in Buena Park, located just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.

Today Farrell’s is just as charming, and still serves up great food and phenomenal ice cream. I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself near one of their locations!

This early exposure to the Gibson Girl, and my parents’ interest in the Victorian era I think instilled a fascination with Gibson and his work, and I spent many hours pouring over original books featuring his illustrations and copying them. And in reality, the Gibson Girl was the first ever pin-up, and was the first centerfold, when Collier’s featured a two page spread in the center, where the staples were, for easy removal, in 1903. So, yep, we basically have Gibson to thank for pin-up girls.

Outfit
Blouse: Antique Alley…I think…Portland, Or.
Skirt: Pin-Up Girl Clothing, but purchased at Simply Vintage, Portland, Or.
Nude Fishnets: Nordstorm
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Purse: Thrifted
Cameo: Shoot, if I remember…I’ve had it for like ten years.

Calico

This weekend’s trip to Vegas was my first visit since the late 90s, and my first time driving there. Not to mention it was Patrick’s first ever visit to America’s playground. On our way we made some stops, including the ghost town of Calico.

Founded in 1881, Calico’s mines produced millions in silver, before silver dropped in price, and it became a ghost town for decades until Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farm fame, purchased the property in 1951, restoring it and offering it as an attraction of sorts.

Today Calico is operated by San Bernardino County Regional Parks system, and the site offers buildings that have stood the test of time, some with artifacts, others turned into gift shops and restaurants, there is a “Mystery Shack” and even a train ride. Patrick and I had fun exploring, and we dined on buffalo burgers while sipping sarsaparilla at the Calico House Restaurant.

For those wishing to visit Calico, it is located off of Interstate 15, about 120 miles out of Los Angeles. It’s a swell place to stop on your way to Vegas or LA if you’re coming from the east, or if you are cruising Route 66 and find yourself in Barstow, it’s only a few minutes away! It costs $8.00 per person to enter Calico, and other amusements, such as the train, panning for gold, and the Mystery Shack are an additional cost.

Have you ever been to Calico or another ghost town?

Stay tuned for more on our trip!

Outfit
White Fringe Leather Jacket: Simply Vintage Boutique, Portland, Oregon
Brian Setzer Tee: Brian Setzer concert a few years back
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Mocs: Minnetonka
Purse: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon

 

Geek Out!

Alright, it’s my last Wizard World post, and then it’s back to the vintage, I promise. So if you’re not into Batman, Bruce Campbell or Star Wars, or never much cared for costumes, you’ll find this post pretty boring. But let’s face some facts here, I’m a girl with a lot of different passions.

The weekend was quite interesting to say the least. There was a lot to see and do. If I had infinite money and time and magic heels that didn’t hurt after being on my feet for hours on end, I think I would have tried to make it to nearly every celebrity table there was.  Portland’s Convention Center was packed with celebrities from Elvira to William Shatner to four members from Walking Dead and even the legendary Stan Lee was there.  Other booths were packed with all sorts of goodies from action figures to swords and of course comics, because what is a comic con without comics?

My attending cons is solely based upon celebrities. And this year, as mentioned, three of my favorite all-time actors were in attendance, and since the con was three days, I was able to dedicate a single day to each celebrity in terms of attire.  Friday was dedicated to the first love of my life, Adam West, and I wore a vintage Batman tee.

Read on for more fantastic geekery, celebrities and stellar costumes!

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“I’ve Struck a Real Bonanza!”

Back in November I blogged about working on my second Dixie Cousins costume for Portland’s Wizard World Comic Con.  And this last week I put the finishing touches on it…

Selecting a costume from an obscure source is a double edged sword where the benefit is also the downside when it comes down to recreating a costume.  Television shows rarely get their dues when it comes to publicity photos, and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. had very few, most of which are only available in the DVD booklet, and in terms of the character of Dixie, there are only ones of her in the red and gold showgirl costume (which made making that costume a lot easier) and her purple traveling ensemble. Additionally, the show is so obscure that there is very little information or images on the internet. So I often end up screencaping needed scenes myself, however quality is always an issue for all sorts of technical reasons between the original filming of the show to compressed DVD screenshots. The result is not very clear images to work from.  But this fuzziness also gives me some liberty when making the costume. I have to assume certain things and say “Well, it kind of looks like this. But I’m not sure, but this works out, so I’ll go with that.”  This costume got some good air time in the episode “Brisco in Jalisco” (if you feel like watching the clip that includes this costume, someone actually uploaded it to YouTube!) and I knew where I was going for the most part, but I know future costumes of Dixie’s will be far more brutal in attempting to work out the details.

I had a lot of issues with this costume, especially with the area where the bodice meets the skirt, and I must admit, I am not entirely happy with it, in fact I am far more incredibly happy with the first Dixie costume that I did, so the second one is not always better! A lot of it comes down to time, and impatience.  I thought I had a decent mock up that worked, but when it was translated to the actual fabric, with a zipper, it did not, and alterations had to be made that I felt made the piece unshapely, but any attempts to further alter it resulted in me being unable to get the piece on, and other alterations would have run risk of damaging the fabric, which I couldn’t have because I only had limited quantities of the fabric. So I settled and left the piece alone.

In terms of sewing specs, I had a hard time finding a pattern that looked remotely close to what I needed (and I have yet to learn pattern drafting), especially since I needed to have a pattern where there was a seam under the bust for the underbust netting to be sewn into.  I settled upon a 50s swimsuit pattern, Depew 1001, which I altered.  The underbust netting, fringe business was done by Patrick, who learned old-timey fish net making and altered the traditional design slightly to accommodate a diamond pattern rather than a square one.  A tassel was then painstakingly tied to the end knots of the netting.  No pattern was used for the skirt and bustle.  The necklace is simply ribbon with snaps, and I sewed on a brooch that a friend found on Ebay for me, and the earrings too were purchased on Ebay.  I completely winged the hair piece, simply based off of fuzzy screenshots, and Patrick did my hair for the shoot!  Didn’t he do a fab job!? Unlike previous costumes, I chose not to keep track of the amount of time it took to create, especially since myself, my mother and Patrick all had hands in this piece, and there were mock-ups done of various pieces. But I can only assume it’s over 100 hours of work.

Well, I’m off to attend the first day of the con! Originally I intended to wear a Miss Kitka costume today to meet Batman star Adam West, but that did not come to fruition, maybe another con. So instead I’m wearing a vintage Batman tee to meet the caped crusader himself!  This costume will be worn Saturday to meet Brisco star Bruce Campbell! Stay tuned for my Star Wars cosplay and details on the con either Sunday or Monday! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!