In Town, In Brief

Last week. About town. Breakfast at Ike's with an adorable baby. Wearing this dress again (and at least 3 times since...)

Mixing florals. Lace and leather. The tights I've worn every day this winter.

Downtown Nevada City. Solstice buy/sell/trade new/vintage/costumes. If you come here, you gotta go there.

Next door- Toad Hall Book Shop.

One of my five favorite used book stores in GV/NC, definitely the one with the sweetest kid's corner (actually the only one with a kid's corner).

We got the Little House on the Prairie series, which they had been holding for me. I gave up on trying to thrift all the books, and decided that it was well worth supporting this awesome shop and making an investment into hours and years of future reading delight.

Always with the flower picking.

And the new outfit creations.

Here's the spot mentioned a few posts ago. Tiny hillside and path covered in spring flowers running between the Salvo and the library in downtown Grass Valley. Always with the flower picking.


Paper Dolls of the American Revolution

Friends, I have a new obsession.

I have posted before (though you probably already knew, at least if you grew up an American girl) about the awesomeness of Dover paper doll and sticker books.

The other day I was in downtown Grass Valley at my favorite place- Booktown Books. Where I found a fan-freaking-tastic vintage paper doll book from the late 60s (blog coming soon) as well as this one...

I'd like to think that if it weren't for the fact that I have an almost-four-year-old daughter I wouldn't be buying, playing with, meticulously making folders for, and generally getting myself lost in the world of paper dolls. But such things are not for me to know.

Meet ( from left to right) Ruth, Thomas, Sarah, Benjamin, their parents Prudence and John, and their grandparents Hannah and Samuel.

Lest you think this is all just silly girly frippery and a way for me to avoid housework, I assure you, it's educational!

In this book the family's clothing is divided into four categories based on time period and economic status, with each outfit thoroughly described and placed in the context of what the typical American's life was like at this time. It is obvious that a lot of research went into its making. I have chosen one page from each category to show you just how much Mycelia and I are learning about the sartorial experiences of our pioneering ancestors (and to indulge your love of very vintage fashion):

In traditional working class garb we see that "Prudence is dressed as a farmer's wife in an outfit showing German influence. Her bodice is attached to the corset and decorate with ribbon; elbow-length sleeves have shaped cuffs. Her gauze apron is for "dress up" and is held on by a cloth belt. Her red turned up shoes are highly prized by rural folk. John work clothes are of homespun cloth in dark colors; the shirt has a dropped shoulder, popular well into the 19th century; there is probably a ruffle at the cuff which is won folded inside for everyday wear. He wears a flat felt hat and carries a powder horn and a shoulder patch containing shells."

For a middle class family during the revolution (description is for the outfits on the left page)... "During the Revolution, Samuel calls upon his experiences as a young sailor to become a privateer for the new Continental Navy. Although there are no official Navy uniforms, privateer officers dress in the formal uniforms of military officers. Hannah is wearing a linen dress with a divided skirt; the front opening is bordered along each side with crewel-embroidered panels. The bodice is laced over the chemise in a zig-zag pattern. The sleeves of the bodice are quite short, revealing fitted chemise sleeves. The petticoat is quilted and decorated with crewel embroidery; quilted petticoats are popular because of the lack of central heating in homes."

For an upper middle class family toward the end of the revolution (description is for the outfits on the left page)... "Prudence wears a dress of imported silk. The bodice is worn over a matching corset and and joins at the center front with concealed hooks; the elbow-length sleeves have a ruffle that is worn turned back. Her hair is "creped" and powdered (to crepe, the hair was tightly curled with an iron, then teased out until it stood quite high); the back of her hair is worn in large spiral curls. She wears a small cap, or fontage, of ecru and white lace. John's formal suit is of blue satin with silver trim buttons; the waistcoat is of pale blue silk taffeta with elaborate ribbon and silver embroidered trim. His shoes have a modified tongue treatment, but he wears the ubiquitous silver buckles that are a status symbol."

And finally, this is after the war when John and Prudence and the kids decided to move West (again, description is just for the left page) ..."Sarah wears a simple dress with fitted sleeves, and a pinafore with a lrage pocket for carrying herbs and berries she might pick as she walks. Her stole is a keepsake quilt she made from scraps of material given to her by her friends and relations from home. Benjamin wears his farmer outfit with the addition of full length Indian leggings and moccasins. The younger children are dressed in simple homespun attire. Ruth carries a precious scarf given to her by her grandmother. Thomas carries a small bow and arrow."

You can check out other great Dover paper doll books here and more in their American Family line here.

But whatever you do, don't do what I just did and start searching for paper doll books (vintage and/or handmade) on Etsy, or you'll get your blog posted much later than you'd planned!

An Interview & A Giveaway!

Bella Q Of the fabulous blog The Citizen Rosebud has posted an interview with me today! I think her blog has the best tag line ever: "Frocks and Follies for the Femme Vitale". I first met Bella Q years ago when I was living in Sacramento and have always thought her one of the most stylish women I know, so I was thrilled when she began blogging recently. She posts frequently and has already developed quite a following, and it's easy to see why.

And hey, it's giveaway time!!! Just leave a comment here to be entered to win this amazing 1971 book, and leave a comment at The Citizen Rosebud to double your chances of winning! I'll randomly choose and announce a winner on SUNDAY.

The subtitle for this book is "The Moods of Love Today" :-)

The somewhat psychedelic design of the inner covers very much reflects the free spirited aesthetic and lifestyle that led the Hallmark Corporation to publish such a book!

The photos and text inside are just beautiful.

So soft focus dreamy 70s hippie vibe it's almost unreal.

Most pages intersperse text and images.

Of course they had to include Richard Brautigan!

And Joan Baez.

And Gertrude Stein.

I appreciate the inclusion of children and familial love in the book as well.

But you know that ladies in pretty dresses in fields of flowers are my favorite...


(A few details about the book- it measures about 12" x 10", is hardback, was edited by James Morgan and designed by Harv Gariety, and again was published in '71 by Hallmark).

A Lullaby of a Book

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Something that I have wanted to do with Violet Folklore for a long time now is to post about the amazing vintage children's books I find in my thrifting adventures. As an avid reader and someone who always wanted to be a mama, I have been into kid's books and literacy since well before I had Mycelia. In fact, I am embarrassingly proud of the "Bookworm Award" I won at my job at an upper crust Child Development Center back in my college days. The awards were tailored to each individual for one area that they excelled in, and for me my bosses recognized my love and knack for reading to the children.

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And, not surprisingly, I love vintagey, kitschy, and beautifully done children's books best of all. The first book I am going to review for this new series of blogs fulfills another role I greatly appreciate in the books I read to my daughter- it helps her fall asleep :-)

First printed in Germany in 1968, this is the story of Tim and the whimsical thoughts he has while falling asleep at night. From his pets to his toys to the animals in the zoo to the organ grinder with his monkey at the fair to the Sandman himself, Tim's dreamy imagination takes my girl's sleepy little mind on beautifully rendered, fantastical adventures.

Here are the text and illustrations from two of my favorite pages:

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Ah, there is a water fairy hugging her little boat made out of tree bark. She is dreaming about the magic waves she will spread over the lakes and ponds.

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What does a giant use for a bed? Why, the mountains, of course. He is a jolly fellow, but he snores so loudly that he wakes up his children. Never mind, they like to watch the trains chugging through the tunnel.

(Picture me reading that in the softest, sleepiest voice imaginable...)

Words by Christel Sussmann, illustrations by Edith Witt, adapted by Rowan Carr.