Friday, May 13, 2016

Vintage Vacation "Fairy Garden"...Yellowstone!

I have been in love with Yellowstone since I was a little girl. My memories of the family vacation we took there are like an old post card... worn on the edges, a bit faded and in soft focus. Yellowstone was the topic of my first Vintage Vacations that I posted on this blog.  The link is on the sidebar under Featured Post if you would like to travel there again.  There you will find some of the post cards and vintage souvenirs I have collected over the years.

Currently, my favorite things to make are Fairy Gardens...those fun and magical miniature landscapes found all over the Pinterest Galaxy.  My versions, however, don't use live plants and aren't found in my back yard or garden.  Because I cannot be trusted with living plants...they would die of neglect! So I use quirky containers and fake flowers and greenery to create little vignettes.  Last spring about this time I made my daughter Sascha an Alice in Wonderland fairy garden in a giant teacup and saucer.  Find it here: Alice's Merry Un-Birthday!  

Yesterday I came across this plaid Ohio Arts lunchbox that was a gift from my friend Tammy.  I had used it for a Christmas vignette, but like a bolt out of the blue I "saw" in my mind what it could become.  I am so grateful for these kinds of "crafting mojo" has been a bit on the fritz.
Who knows... if you like this one, maybe there will be a series of vacation fairy gardens in the future.

A Miniature Vintage Vacation!
Yellowstone Fairy Garden.
The trailer and chairs were a gift from my daughter Missy!
I used a post card graphic to line the inside of the lid.
A rustic pole gate is the entrance to the camp ground.

Side View.
I found the trees at Hobby Lobby on the aisle where they sell train miniatures.
They have quite a variety of trees, plants and greenery.

Back of the lid is a collage of Yellowstone graphics.
I prop the lid open with a rustic "log."

Don't Feed the Bears!
This little bear is one of a pair of souvenir shakers from Yellowstone.
He seems sad to find that sign on his favorite tree stump.

View from above.
It doesn't take much to create this simple vignette.

Fairy Garden Wreath
Fairy Garden Wreath from a Walmart wreath.
The mossy wreath was covered in pretty good fake succulents.
I added a few flowers and a rustic "measuring tape" ribbon.

It only took a few minutes to glue a little fence to the back.
Then I added dotty red mushrooms,  Seven Dwarf cake toppers and a wee bunny.

I adore these little fellows.

Circus Cloche
Circus cloche.
My crafting group made chicken wire cloches to put over plants.
Mine showcases a circus elephant.

The cloche joins the summer circus that will be on display for most of the summer in my living room.

Hope you enjoyed this miniature Vintage Vacation!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Route 66...A "Novel" Approach to a Vintage Vacation!

My Favorite Vintage Vacation Road Map

I just finished reading a fascinating detective novel.  I love murder mysteries that take place in interesting settings with a flawed, but fascinating protagonist.  The setting of the book,"Find Me" by Carol O'Connell, takes place along the Mother Road, Route 66, starting in Chicago, Illinois and Ending on the Santa Monica Pier in California.  Mallory..."just Mallory"...the detective, is following letters written by her long-vanished father who left clues like breadcrumbs for her to follow as she retraces his many trips down that fabled highway.  Her journey parallels a caravan of desperate parents following a man who has convinced them that they may find the graves of their missing children somewhere on that road.  Somehow, their quest becomes linked with hers.  Along the way, Mallory makes a pilgrimage to the landmarks in the letters.  Is she trying to find her father or clues to who she is?

Along with her father's letters...Mallory may have had a beat-up old travel guide.
This one is from 1947...older than hers would have been.

Mallory's Landmarks...
Route 66 started on the corner of Michigan and Adams in Chicago, Illinois.

Gemini Giant...Wilmington, Illinois.

"Tall Paul" located in Atlanta, Illinois.
Moved from original location in Cicero.

Our Lady of the Highways... Raymond, Illinois

Meramec Caverns...Stanton Missouri,
Famous for its many advertising barns and as a hideout for Jesse James.

Mickey Mantle Boulevard...Commerce, Oklahoma.

Blue Whale Slide and Arrowood Trading Post in Catoosa, Oklahoma.

The U-drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas...inspiration for Ramone's in Cars.

Avalon Theater in Mclean, Texas

Phillips 66 Station...Mclean, Texas.

You're Half-Way There!

Mid Point Cafe...Adrian, Texas.

Club Cafe...Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Clines Corners...New Mexico.

El Rancho Motel...Gallup, New Mexico.
Stay in rooms named after old movie stars who once stayed there.

Black Cat Bar in Seligman, Arizona.

The part of the story dealing with the serial child killer comes to a head somewhere near Mallory's Black Cat landmark.  There are many...even more famous...sites to be seen along Mallory's route, but these are the ones that held special meaning for her father. I hadn't even heard of most of them. Mallory will finish the trip with only one final landmark before the story ends...End of the Trail.

They say the road didn't really end at the pier, but somewhere near the intersection of  Olympic and Lincoln Boulevards.  I think it's more poetic this way.
 The End...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mountain Monograms...U Ever Wonder Y?

Mountain Monograms!
Pleasant Grove's "G" with Mount Timpanogos looming above.

For as long as I can remember, the big white "G" on the mountainside east of my hometown of American Fork, Utah has been a part of the landscape of my life.  Every time my parents would take us on a drive we watched for the "G" that presided over the neighboring town of Pleasant Grove.  I always wondered what it meant.  What did that big "G" stand for?  One late summer night I looked out the window and was amazed and enchanted...the "G" was all aglow. That was when I learned that the "G" stood for Pleasant Grove High School and that it was all lit up for Homecoming.

The "G" from the hiking trail.

According to Wikipedia, in 1921, a group of seniors put a block letter "G" on an unnamed peak west of Mount Timpanogos.  The first time it was lit was in 1929.  There was once a Pleasant Grove holiday called "G Day" when the letter would be lighted and the townsfolk would celebrate.  The holiday was discontinued due to revelers causing damage to the football field.  Recently students raised $5,500 in a "Light the G" fundraiser to keep the icon lit on special occasions such as homecoming and graduation.

Why a G instead of a P?
It bothered me a lot back then, that Pleasant Grove used a G instead of a P.  It just didn't make sense to me.  I was doing some research online today and I think I may have come across the answer.  In the high school's early years, their mascot was known as the Pleasant Grove "Grover."  in 1959, the mascot was changed to the "Valkyrie" and eventually became the "Viking" which is the mascot today.

Distribution of Mountain Monograms Across the West
Notice the line of dots along the I-15 Corridor.

Mountain Monograms
The hillsides and mountainsides of Utah and other western states are adorned with big block the Block U of the University of Utah and the giant Y above Brigham Young University. Lately I have wondered why there are so many of them?  I wasn't even aware there was a term for such things...Mountain Monograms.  A definition from Wikipedia states "Hillside letters or mountain monograms are a form of geoglyph (more specifically hill figures) common in the American West. These are typically created and maintained by schools and towns.  Ranging in size from a few feet to hundreds of feet tall, they are an important part of western culture, symbols of school pride and community identity.  Water towers play a similar role in other parts of the country.  There is a popular myth that hillside letters were built so that early pilots could identify towns from the air in order to drop off "air mail."

The Big "C" in Berkley, California

Berkley's Big "C"...The First Mountain Monogram
According to online sources, the first three mountain monograms erected were due to class rivalries at universities.  The first letter was built in 1905 on Charter Hill overlooking the UC Berkley campus as a means of ending an unruly rivalry between the classes of 1907 and 1908.

The "Block U" of the University of Utah.
Size...a little over 100 ft. tall.

The "Block U."
A few weeks following the (1905) building of the Berkley "C,"  class rivalry between the sophomore and freshman classes of the University of Utah produced a hillside "U."
Students Repainting the "Block U."

The "Y" of Brigham Young University
The "Y" is 322 ft. in height and 120 feet wide.

"Y Mountain."
The following year, 1906,  Brigham Young University proposed the first 3-lettered hillside emblem, "BYU." After building the letter "Y", the school decided that it would be too much work to build the remaining letters.

Students apply hot lime...1908

Dr. Harvey Fletcher, the renowned scientist who graduated from BYU in 1907, wrote about the first Y Day in 1906, "The students stood in a zig zag line about 8 feet apart stretching from the bottom of the hill to the site of the Y.  The first man took the bag of lime, sand or rocks and carried it 8 feet and handed it to the next man.  The second carried it another 8 feet and handed it to the third man and thus the bag went up the hill, each man shuttling back and forth along his 8-foot portion of the trail."

This year Brigham Young University finally became the owner of Y Mountain.  Representative Jason Chaffetz sponsored a bill that was passed by Congress, allowing BYU to purchase the 80 acres surrounding the "Y."

Hillside Letters Across the West...
Even the fictional western town of Radiator Springs has a mountain monogram.

Closer View.

Hillside letters have been a part of my life for so long that I really didn't pay much attention to them any more...until recently.  Pulling out of the drive-thru of the Boulder City Mickey D's, I noticed this on a rocky mountainside:
Boulder City, Nevada.

It was like a bolt out of the blue...there had to be a story in these letters that seem to be everywhere! On my drive home I noticed letters on the hillsides of Parowan, Beaver, Fillmore, Nephi and Payson...and there are many more.  There are an estimated 72 hillside letters, messages and acronyms across the state of Utah...over 500 across the West and Canada.   For example, there are 81 in California, 45 in Nevada, 59 in Arizona and 34 in Idaho.  The densest concentrations are found along the Mormon Corridor in Utah, Idaho and the Los Angeles Basin.

Hole N' The Rock...tourist attraction near Moab.

On your next vintage vacation in the Old West, keep your eyes peeled for hillside letters.  They could be found in any little town with a big hill or mountain nearby.  I can't wait for my next car trip!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Baby Dot...Vintage Baby Powder Doll!

Vintage Baby!
I love the soft colors of vintage baby cards!

When I was expecting my third daughter Sascha in the 1980's I was mad for all things Vintage Baby!
I decorated her nursery corner with vintage baby dresses hanging on the wall and a vignette of baby care items on her dresser...little pink containers for cotton balls and baby pins, tiny brush and comb.  Every thing for Sascha was soft aqua and pink.  I still love the soft colors of vintage baby cards and baby care items like baby powder containers.  Some of the graphics are amazing...I only had the basic Johnson's Baby Powder.

The variety is endless!

My friend Dorothy sent me a pin one day...a vintage baby tin that I immediately felt needed to be repurposed into one of my vintage tin characters.  I wrote back that it needed a doll head and arms. From her response of "Mercy!" I gathered that it sounded a bit!  I already had an old composition Patsy doll that was in pretty bad shape.  The sawdust and glue was starting to deteriorate so I though it might be fun for a creepy Halloween project.

I found a darling baby powder container from 1936 at a Salt Lake antique mall.  The brand was "Baby Dot."  I wish I had taken a pic of the container before I transformed it.

Baby Dot!
She's about 8 inches tall.

Close-up of Powder Container

Rear View

Side View
The top of Patsy's head was crumbling.
The bonnet is made from a vintage plastic Easter party favor.

So that's the story behind Baby Dot.  I went on a tin buying binge yesterday, so there will be some odd new characters coming up in the next few months.  It is so strange when Easter is in March.  It leaves April all dressed up with no place to go.  I leave up a lot of my spring decor until Mother's Day, so things look cheerful even when it's a rainy day.  Spring is definitely taking her time this year as I know many of you will attest.

Happy Spring!

PS: Some darling vintage baby images for you...