Sunday, January 30, 2011

Greetings from Rhode Island!


I finally decided to "take the bull by the horns" as they say and registered for an Adobe Illustrator class.  Since the very first version of Adobe Illustrator was born while I was in Art School, and, since my art school did not even have a computer in it until the year after I graduated in 1988, I sort of missed the boat on digital design a while back.  I am self-taught in Photoshop, and, probably could use a good lesson there too!  The AI class has been great so far, making less of a mystery of this still complex vector-based design product.  Our assignment for this week was to create a "Greetings From" postcard.  Since vintage versions of this card are fabulous examples of old school graphic design, I embraced a vintage theme as I solved the "visual problem."  Also, it goes right along with the vintage travel items still being listed at Carmen and Ginger..what a great coincidence!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And away we go!

I was looking through some late 1950's Esquire Magazines I had found for a steal for my husband last summer and was smitten with this travel ad for Cuba.  Does this say "Fun!" or what?  One big, sexy, exotic party that we have not been allowed to attend for the past 47 years.  Of course, since we took away most tourism from their economy, life is not so much the party it was before, but Cuba's culture is so rich and the country so beautiful, I do long for the day when we will be allowed to travel there again.  For now, we will simply look back to the days when travel was a rare luxury and a true adventure!

Heading south from the continental US has always been, and still is, one of the most popular getaways! Whether to the now-forbidden Cuba, the still-popular Jamaica or staying on the mainland but in Million-Miles-Away-Miami, Americans love to head south to relax.

There are people who take a plane ride to work every day nowadays, but fifty years ago a plane ride was an adventure!  You were going someplace exotic and you planned for it!  Look at those flight times, 12 hours to London from Montreal?  I think we do it in half that now!

A cruise on an oceanliner was then, and still is now, a slow and luxurious way to go.  Only difference today is that the "typical" cruisewear above would be replaced with hoodies and sweats; or just walking around in a bikini!

Heck, even the buses looked more adventurous back then, with their streamlined forms and gleaming exteriors!

When you traveled back then it was an EVENT.  You looked good, baby.  Hat, pearls, gloves, heels and killer luggage was the way to go.  No one was taking off their shoes and getting a pat down in 1958.

At Carmen and Ginger, we decided to do a little mid-winter tribute to the getaways of the past during this, the traditional travel season of the privileged.  From our snow-bound New England home with absolutely no plans for a getaway, we will provide you with an array of items for your virtual "escape." 

From vintage roadmaps to well-loved adventure novels, we've got you covered!

Vintage souvenir pennants are always a fun reminder of past excursions...

 ...and you know we hunt for those vintage souvenir scarves for you all year!  We've got a bunch that are ready to go!  Along with the items above, we have some additional travel-related accessories and goodies we will list at the same time.  We are still getting everything photographed (weather-cooperating), so keep watching for items to appear by the end of this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Photos

I realized I still had some borrowed family photos from my uncle Tom that I had promised to return, after scanning them, about a year ago... So, today's the day to scan them and blog a little about them.  The photo above is my mother along with two aunts, in Boston, circa 1958.

My mom, the hottie, is on the left.  She is about 15 here and very 1950's fashionable as she marches into her teens.  Coming from a family of nine kids, and being the second youngest, my mom did not have a lot of things of her own.  I wonder if that handbag was her own or borrowed?  (Maybe she will comment and fill us in?)  I wonder where that handbag IS????  Beside her is my aunt Susie, likely about 12 or 13 and just becoming a little hottie herself!  Teenagers looked so much more grown up back then, did they not?  On the far right is my aunt Marilyn. She was married to my uncle Tom, one of four older brothers to the two to the left, so was likely taking them out and about when this photo was taken.  Tom took the photo.  Sadly, Marilyn died far too early several years ago, but she was the same elegant and generous woman with that engaging smile for as long as I knew her.

I had to really crop into this photo in which the figures are tiny.  Dating to about 1969/1970, that is Marilyn's son David on the left, at about age 5 or 6, with two of our cousins to the right.  My dad, looking scarily like a brunette Drew Carey, is "buried" in the snow mound which covers half the swingset.  I really have no idea what is going on here aside from what appears to be quite a substantial snowstorm! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Steampunk Story

Spring 1996 Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibit

It seems five minutes does not go by lately without my hearing some story about Steampunk.  On-line stories about "Steampunk" items on Etsy; radio stories about "Steampunk" museum exhibits; and television stories about "Steampunk" conventions.  With each of these I laugh at the popularity of the term. Not quite twenty years ago, I was lucky enough to be hired by a small publishing company in New York to illustrate the cover of a collected trio of novellas by a Science Fiction writer named Paul DiFilippo.  The title? The Steampunk Trilogy.  At the time, few outside a small segment of the Science Fiction world had heard the term, and, I had no idea at the time that the term would evolve into the aesthetic movement it has become today.  The illustration assignment was a wonderful one for me. I had enormous artistic freedom, and, the material to work with was stellar.  When people ask me "How did you think of doing the (insert detail from image here)?"  I simply answer, "It was in the book!"  The book was wonderful, the illustration one of my best and it even landed me in the Society of Illustrators Annual and Exhibit for that year.  But by far the best benefit was my introduction to the author.  Not only as a writer; a skill for which millions already appreciate his skills; but as a friend.  I never met Paul while working on the first book.  I did, however, speak to him by phone when I was hired to illustrate the second book from the same publisher.  Following that, I finally met him and his partner Deb at a reading while I was working on the third cover assignment.  By that time, I had accepted a job in the same city where they lived and they not only connected me with an apartment but welcomed me with open arms into their occasional "family meals."  In fact, the very first time I stopped by their apartment after moving to the city, I found about 35 people at the house!  I was invited in, introduced to everyone and felt as if I were an instant member of the family.  This friendship is something that I cherish to this day, and, I just enjoyed an annual post-holiday brunch with Paul and Deb last weekend.

At a Brookline, MA bookstore with the book on the shelf,
likely sometime in 1995.
This, however, was not my "Steampunk Story" of the title.  My story has to do with the first time I met Paul's mom.  I cannot recall if it was that first day I stopped by or, a later date, but I recall that Paul introduced me as the "girl who did the cover of his book."  His mother gave me an up and down look and said something very gracious, I'm sure, but Paul realized that she had misunderstood and had to explain that I had illustrated the book cover, not posed for the book cover.  You see, Paul had just had another book released by a different publisher and his mother was trying to reconcile how I had managed the snake:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's All in the Details

I was looking at the surface of a vintage item in my house yesterday and I thought it could be fun to do a blog post where readers could try and guess what an item is from seeing only a little snippet of it.  Not sure if anyone but me thinks this is fun, but, here you go!  Each of the top images is shown with no description, below, I show each item in full view with a brief description of what it is.  If you like this game, let me know. If not, well, your silence will give me my answer!









Ok, here are the full photos.  Hope someone found this fun!

A - A vintage set of drawers I keep in my studio that houses all my printer paper and labels in "shabby" vintage style!

B - A vintage step-on scale.

C - This vinyl upholstered chair decorates the guest bedroom.

D - Giant advertising Ice Cream Cone also in the guest bedroom.

E - 1918 Lithographed Calendar in the kitchen.

F - 1930's Kitchen Scale, a recent find by my husband!

G - Our Vintage KitchenAid Coffee Grinder
(which needs to be cleaned of coffee dust!)

H - One of my Burley Winter Jardinieres

I - Those vintage "Wet Paint" signs I still have not
removed from my kitchen!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Getting Crafty

You may have noticed we have been "getting crafty" over at Carmen and Ginger in the new year.  We have been collecting a wonderful assortment of items useful for sewing, crafting, hobbies, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting and just collecting (amassing? as always...) that has been growing and growing and we are finally listing it ALL!

We began with the barkcloth but we have tons more stuff to follow!  Papers, trims, buttons, findings, tools, patterns, books - you name it, we've got it!  Quite a few items have already been listed.  I am posting some pics here of items photographed and ready to go but not yet listed.  I will come back and make these links "live" once I get all the items in the shop.  For now, take a look at what is to come, and be sure to check out what it already there so you do not miss out on a thing!




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