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.

After Her Mother's Own Heart: The Children's Vintage Collection

But of course! I've only thought about doing this for the last 3 1/2 years.

Mycelia and I had a lot of fun taking these photos yesterday. She's pretty expressive in front of the camera. Last week we were cleaning out her drawers (after being gifted a big bag of AMAZING clothes from my friend Nikiya) and she asked me "Mama, what's vintage?" I could tell she'd been wondering for a while, considering that I've been doing this for as long as she can remember. We talked about it and decided to add a children's vintage section to my shop. She's old enough now to decide what she wants to keep and what she can let go of (which she's really good at!), AND she's old enough to be my model (I called it being my "helper") without complaining too much.

(I love it that her favorite pose isn't a modeling pose at all but a yoga pose)

All items are now listed in the shop! And we'll certainly continue to offer kid's vintage in the future 

A Prairie Dress a Day: Twelve ♥ Last Dress! + thoughts on wardrobe curation: acquiring and releasing clothes

Vintage Off Shoulder Lavender Lace Dress

You guys, I have a confession to make. I'm cutting the Prairie Dress a Day extravaganza short by two days, due entirely to character weakness. It was supposed to go 14 days instead of 12.

And why? You ask.

Selfishness, utter selfishness.

You see, two of the dresses I had photographed as part of this Spring Celebration were from my own collection, and I realized that I just can't let them go. I was getting all excited about clearing old things out, thinking things like "Well, I already have one mid-length prairie dress, so I don't need another" and "I have another maxi floral dress with a smocked bodice, so..."

It looks amazing with my, as we call it at photo shoots, Brown Boho Belt #1

But really, as that age old Universal Truth Aphorism says- a girl can never have too many dresses. I think of Heather's closet- overflowing with gorgeous vintage patterns in a jubilee of years of happy collecting. I was jealous. I wanted that much beauty right in my own bedroom; that many options when it came time to dress for the County Fair or a special show or just a walk to the coffee shop. And while my collection is probably only 1/6th of what hers is, I'm getting there. And I like it.

I have this drive to NOT hoard, to keep a fresh flow of household goods always... flowing. I'm a good thrifter, and I've gotten better over the years at not buying things I just won't use or simply aren't right for my home (no matter how cute they are). But still, as all avid thrifters know, you eventually realize that there are a few bags of things ready to re-donate. But this tidy tendency of mine has caused me to, in my super efficient cleansing mode, get rid of things that I have later regretted. And I just can't let that happen with these two.

PLUS, I have a daughter to pass these things onto some day! I look at photos of my mom in the late 60s and early 70s and I am furious that she didn't save those clothes for me! Okay, not exactly furious. But wistful and wishful that she had. I promised myself I'd save my favorite dresses for my daughter someday, and I can't break that promise just because I desperately need money at the moment!

I purchased both of them on Etsy, so they weren't cheaply acquired and easily sloughed off. I mean, they're the type of dresses that I would buy again if I saw them on Etsy. They're exactly what I like to wear. And I wear them! I should have taken that point into consideration at the beginning of this. Rule #1 of cleaning out your closet- if you wear it, keep it. I must admit to myself right here that my drive to clean out has a sinister side to it- the desire to acquire something new. If I sell these now, I'll buy something similar on Etsy someday. Fact. Might as well conserve that energy and be happy with what I've got.

As you can see, this isn't the first time I've considered letting go of this sweet pink dress seriously enough to photograph it, only to decide to keep it after all:

And I had such a good experience buying this dress, as I wrote about in my post A Prairie Winter (or, When the Tea Party Meets Etsy).

I absolutely love a dress with enough bust support that I don't have to wear a bra. My days are so much better and more comfortable without one. That alone is reason enough to never let this dress go.

I anxiously went through my wardrobe this morning seeing if there were two more prairie-esque dresses I could quickly photograph so that I didn't have to admit my mistake to anyone. But alas. So this is the end of the Spring 2012 Prairie Dress Collection. I had so much fun collecting, photographing, and sharing these vintage beauties. I may try to make it a bi-annual thing, each spring and fall.

Thanks for all the good feedback, sweet love, and purchases! Onward toward the dawn of summer!

(And please, do share your thoughts, methods, and past experiences having to do with curating your own wardrobe...)

A Prairie Dress a Day: Eleven ♥ Actual California Princess

A much less involved post today; my right arm and shoulder are super tense from days of computer work and weeks of no yoga. I plan to remedy the situation by returning to class tonight! I don't understand how people can work on their computer 40 hours a week or more. After an hour my eyes hurt and my shoulders tighten up. What are your experiences with and remedies for that?

Vintage Rosebud Lace Dress

A Prairie Dress a Day: Ten ♥ Gunne Sax Corset Sun Dress

Day Ten's off-topic topic is books! (But don't let that distract you from the gorgeous dress below...)

A few weeks ago I read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I loved every page of it, and was fully absorbed right from the beginning. That hadn't happened in a long time. The day I finished it I found out my dear friend Kira Lynn Cain was moving away in a few days, so I wrapped it all up pretty as a picture and walked it over to her house.

Right after that I delved into As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I read it when I was pregnant, and remember loving it. I have read another of his novels, The Sound and the Fury, twice also and found more layers of meaning during the second reading, so I was excited to re-read this one too. A lot of people have a hard time with Faulkner, finding him too dense, too chaotic, too unusual in his writing style. I don't blame them. I always spend the first few chapters of his books confused and irritated. But at some point it all starts to flow and you are swept up and you realize that HE IS A GODDAMNED GENIUS. I enjoyed reading the reviews on Goodreads and seeing how many people have had the very same experience. I could spend the rest of my life dissecting this book, always finding something new, something brilliant and subtle. No one has ever told a story the way William Faulkner does, and I will be a life-long devoted fan of his. I can't wait to read more.

Local eggs from my farm share, pesto, sauerkraut, and nutritional yeast on toast- my favorite breakfast

I have been on the library waiting list for Franklin & Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley for over a year. I'm about a third of the way into it and am utterly fascinated. There has always been something about each of them as individuals that I've been attracted to. My interest in FDR probably started in adolescence when I started reading about astrology and my own sun sign, Aquarius. Seems every author wanted to draw comparisons between myself and this enigmatic man, whose birthday is near mine, instilling in me some sense of juvenile pride and undeserved hubris at this proximity to greatness. Still though, it sparked my interest. As for Eleanor, learning in history classes and books about her contribution to American politics- especially her support of women, children, and the working class- (all while raising five children and tending a husband stricken with polio) always made me want to know more about her. And you can just google Eleanor Roosevelt quotes to see what an extraordinarily intelligent and caring woman she was.

When I first heard a review of this book on NPR I knew it was finally time to delve into the lives of these two, and I was especially intrigued by the fact that the author, who has chronlicled many a historical marriage, called theirs "one of the most interesting and radical marriages in history". The reviewer, Maureen Corrigan, says that "While Sartre and De Beauvior were hashing over gender roles in sequestered cafes, Franklin and Eleanor had already forged their own cutting edge version of a marriage, despite living for nearly four terms in the fish bowl of the White House".

Moving on! Forgive my meandering...

I suppose the reward of laying your eyes on this perfect Gunne Sax Sun Dress makes up for the haphazard way these Prairie Dress a Day posts have been coming together.

How wonderful it will be to read new books in the sun in a pretty dress this spring! For now, it's raining like crazy here...