What Is Past Is Prologue: Five Years of Violet Folklore

Today is Violet Folklore's 5th anniversary! It was on September 19th, 2008 that Sasha and I, after weeks of talking about how we'd work it all out, plunged forward and set up our Etsy account. We had met at a local herb class the previous year; I remember noticing Sasha right away on the first day of class because of the beautiful prairie dress she was wearing. What a sweet sign of what was to come! Violet Folklore

This was our first attempt at taking an Official Marketing Photo. It was a very serious endeavor. (And apparently we were twelve years old).

Sasha went on to found her own Etsy vintage shop called Astral Boutique. She has carried her wild-eyed, golden-hued, flowers-in-her-hair vision forward with her and has been very successful with her shop, even being Etsy's Featured Seller back in July! Sasha is responsible for many of the early photos featured below.

I thought I'd celebrate today by posting a retrospective of some of my favorite vintage pieces, shot on a dozen different cameras over the years in some of the most beautiful locations in and around Nevada City and worn by (almost) every model Violet Folklore has ever featured. **I have deleted tens of thousands of photos off my computer over the years, so I know there are a few girls missing from this post. I'm sorry ladies, and I love ye dearly and thank ye endlessly!**


Carabeth modeled the first piece we ever sold. We felt triumphant!


Sarah has been killing it with every pose all throughout these five years.


Cynthia is now Sasha's bandmate in Mt. Whateverest. CHECK THEM AND THEIR AMAZING OUTFITS OUT.


Sethicus was VF's one and only male model. All the ladies swooned.


 Alela wore a Daughter of the Sun necklace on the Winter Solstice.


Maria was red hot.


Lucia channeled Eve.


Bette channelled Little Red Riding Hood.


Candace modelled one of the prettiest Gunnies ever.


Along with the one Sasha modeled in this self-photographed moment of crystalline sweet pea reverie.


Toni (of Moonchild Vintage) struck a pose at one of the many local Gold Rush historical sites- Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley.


I breathed in the big sky in Nevada (the actual state).


Lily managed to remain earthbound.


Suuzi looked down, smiled, and created one of my favorite photos ever.


Jen offered her beauty & grace to the world.


Mycelia brought the kid's vintage to adorable new heights.


Annie's playfulness was perfectly captured by Simon Weller's photographs in the Little Town of Washington (he took the following five pictures as well...)


Ariella didn't even have to pretend to be a magical woodland nymph.


Kate embodied a ghostly miner's widow at Malakoff Diggins.


Alli lounged in between rounds of Bloody Mary's at the famous Willo Steakhouse.


Chia (of Out of the Mystic) was the Golden Queen of the Summer Solstice.


And Erin radiated her calm beauty out into the sunlit pines of the Sierra foothills...


I'll leave you with yet another early Official Marketing Photo attempt. I'm pretty sure we were going for a Lady Power! vibe with this shoot- you can use power tools, be a mother, and rock out all while wearing pretty vintage! And you know I've learned in these past five years- IT'S TRUE.

A Prairie Dress a Day: Four ♥ Candi Jones Easter Dress

Candi Jones Floral Lace Sun Dress


Floral, lace, smocking... Candi Jones strikes again!

Vintage Candi Jones Lace Sun Dress

Okay, today's off-topic topic is Instagram! Who has it, who loves it, who wants to follow me on it!? It's one of my most used apps on my new (and beloved) iPhone, and I don't know how I ever lived without it ;-)

...For moments like this would not be captured, filtered in a retro hip fashion, and instantly shared with friends & family without it. We were eating snacks at the park yesterday when Mycelia suddenly got into this position. I asked her where she learned it and she said she saw it in a book about India. So sweet.

Let's connect y'all. I'll be putting an Instagram plug-in here on my blog soon, but in the meanwhile search for violetfolklore within the app itself. Good times.

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).

With Love In Her Eyes & Flowers On Her Shirt

Truth be told, the aesthetic that I acquired by looking at photographs of my mother in her younger days, coupled with the desire that someday my own daughter will admire pictures of me from years past, is part of the motivating factor behind Violet Folklore. (I read once that Beyonce did the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover because she wanted her kids to see that she was once beautiful. So I understand where she's coming from, but I am choosing the less skanky route. Why? Because I was not blessed with that booty).

And I have noticed that lots of my fellow bloggers also adore looking at and sharing photos of their female ancestors and of what they wore way back when. I have blogged before about my maternal grandmother and her 11 siblings (and fabulous 1930s shoes). And now here, finally, is her daughter, my mom.

(Ever since I gave birth in the bathroom of the little apartment we were renting at the time I have been in awe of the fact that for every female alive there is an unbroken chain of women stretching back, back, back... In fact it was the presence of my mom and grandma in the room that gave me the strength to give the final push that brought Mycelia into the world. And if you really want to get into it, read The Seven Daughter Of Eve by Bryan Sykes).

In this photo you can really see why she won Best Eyes AND Best Smile in her senior yearbook! (Although officially she could only have one so she chose Best Smile, as some of you Washington High class of '69ers may remember).

In this high school yearbook photo you can see that she is wearing the same shirt as in the first, color, photo above. I love this top so much and would absolutely die if I ever came across it in my vintage adventures! These were taken in the late 60s so at least I know what time period I'm looking for.

My mom lived in Fremont, CA in high school, just a short way from the epicenter of the hippie revolution in San Francisco. She and her boyfriend Dave and all their friends would often make the drive to the coast to hear artists such as The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and they even saw The Beatles last concert at Candlestick Park. (Though they weren't yet a couple on that night. Dave actually used this event to woo my mom by jumping the fence and getting chased by the police across the baseball field. He sure enough got her attention- and the local newspaper's- and they were together not long afterward).

Here are Dave and Janis on Easter, in a dress handmade by her grandmother.

And here they are at junior prom, in another dress handmade by her grandmother.

And here's Dave in his bedroom- the walls were covered with photographs of his favorite musicians. Classic.

Dave was also in his own rock back called Wakefield Loop. This post, at the blog Rock Prosopography 101 (which documents the times of now defunct Bay Area rock venues), tells a bit about the venue The Yellow Brick Road, where Wakefield Loop used to play.

Okay and can we all agree on the awesomeness of this headline?

Okay going back pre Dave for a minute- here is where I got my love for teeny folkloric trimming (I know it's hard to see, but since you're already squinting do check out my Uncle Jim's mis-colored eyebrow on the right there- from an accident- and then see it again in the last photo below!) and rainbow striped shirts!

And now we're going forward to post Dave (which is also, as you'll see below, pre Dave. Or pre Dave, Part Two). I just saw these photos for the first time yesterday, when we gathered at my grandma's house to celebrate Mother's Day early. This is my mom and my grandma, it must have been when my mom first moved to South Lake Tahoe in the late 70s. I love both of their maxi sundresses!

Pretty mama or what?!

I can't believe I'd never seen these!

Oh and speaking of the 70s, here she is on a Harrah's cruise ship she worked on, dealing black jack and roulette. I adore this picture. She met my dad at Harrah's South Lake Tahoe in the late 70s- my sister and I are products of a casino! She still works there, and I dealt black jack there the summer I turned 21. Betcha never guessed that!

Okay so flash forward a few decades: my mom and dad have just divorced (I am about 24) and my mom, through the wonders of the internet, tells me and my sis that she has reconnected with her old high school boyfriend Dave. Lacey and I are thrilled, because we had always loved the stories of their carefree, bohemian San Fran adventures. And we are even more thrilled a few weeks later when we meet him for the first time and love him immediately and realize that we don't have to worry about her or her future happiness at all.

On 8/8/8 they got married at a beautiful big house with an ocean view in Santa Cruz, with their high school friends surrounding them, their granddaughters as flower girls (Dave has a granddaughter, Breanna, who is Mycie's age- so perfect!), and plenty of sex, drugs, and rock n roll at the reception! Okay, there was plenty of rock n roll (even a black light on the dance floor), a li'l bit of drugs (of the herbal sort, of course, indulged in by the old hippies who snuck off into the driveway during the festivities), and no sex- at least not of the public, free love variety. It was a very happy day!

Here's to new beginnings, old flames, and me finding my mom's blouse (or one just like it) someday!

Oh, and here is a shot from our Mother's Day celebration. That's my sister Lacey, Uncle Jim, Dave, Grandma Claire, my mom Janis, me, and shy little Miss Mycie, hiding from the camera (in the dress Graham bought for her as a Mother's Day gift to me two years ago- you know a man really understands you when he knows that buying clothes for your daughter is just as good as buying clothes for you).

One more thing I should add- my mom is the most loving, easy going, playful, forgiving, wonderful woman I know. I am so so so lucky to have her as my mom, and am absolutely the mother I am because she so effortlessly modeled unconditionally love for me growing up. (*wipes the tears from her eyes*)

Happy Matrilineal Love Day to you all!

Another One!

Ha! I love this! Remember when I blogged about the sweet 70s sweater that I got on Etsy? I didn't know it was Kmart when I bought it. I just now went and looked through my "Purchases" folder and saw that the seller, though she listed the rest of the information on the tag, chose to leave out the brand. So funny, I love the Kmart thing and definitely added it in my description of this lovely, just listed sweater:

I did a search on Etsy and, though a few other Kmart sweaters came up, none were in this style. I would love to come across more, whether in person or online, in the future...