Saturday, December 29, 2012

Barkcloth Curtains...finally!

Ever since our first apartment I have wanted curtains but it just has never happened. A few obstacles have prevented this: moving often, not finding the right fabric, and oh yeah, I do not know how to sew or own a sewing machine. Thankfully my mom rules so much she brought her sewing machine over and helped me out today and voila...curtains!

Fabric detail




Complete with matching pillows!

I found the fabric online at Barkcloth HawaiiI bought additional fabric for our bedroom but that can wait for another day.

It was great working with my mom and learning how to sew a bit.  I can't wait to buy a machine and learn more!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tee Pee Barbeque - Long Beach

My family has a lot of interesting history in California, mainly Southern California as I am the only family member (not including my nephews) born up north. With this history comes some unique people on both sides. One in particular on my dad’s side is who I called GG (great grandma) of Grandma Mac (short for MacPherson). She came out west to break into the movies without any luck but she did play piano for silent films as well as hang around the Hollywood circles, spending much of her time at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. She was a total flapper in the 20s. Quite a character, but definitely not always in a good way.  I sure loved her but am glad I do not know all that went on.

GGs second husband was a restaurant owner. He ran what began as the Tee Pee Barbeque on East 2nd Street in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. Apparently some Hollywood stars used to frequent the place. Years ago while I was working retail at a shop called Happy Trails I was excited to find it included in the book California Crazy and Beyond by Jim Heimann about wacky roadside architecture.

pre-WWII photo

Another restaurant venture for GG’s husband also in Long Beach was MacPherson’s Fried Chicken. It was originally MacPherson’s Drive-In with a giant burger on top of the building. The burger and the entire place was then painted plaid and the giant burger became a massive tam-o-shanter. So awesome!  LA List posted some great old restaurant postcards from the area here, including one of MacPherson's Drive-In.

the pre-tartan days...
And thanks to the Belmont Shore website's history section, I now have interior photos of the Tee Pee that I never saw before!

The Tee Pee Barbeque was later changed to a Chinese restaurant called the Shangri La and unfortunately did not have the same success as before. I am lucky enough to have a couple of plates from the Chinese restaurant as well as some original photographs of the Tee Pee which are somewhere in my parents' attic.

plates from the Shangri La

I just found out that on my mom's side, her grandparents had a grocery store on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore in the 1930s after they arrived in California in 1932.

Among other stories, my other great grandparents on my mom’s side owned some sort of tractor rental business in Orange County that helped in the building of Disneyland (so of course my mom got to go right when it opened as a little girl). Those same great grandparents had orange groves and lived on the same land forever (my great grandmother lived to be 100, passing in the late 1990s). They were friends with many prominent families of the day, including the Knott family. Yep, the same Knott family as in Knott’s Berry Farm.

Unfortunately, just about all of our family from down south that we used to visit has passed away except for an uncle and a couple of cousins. At least I got to know them while they were around and have many fond memories from our family trips down that way every year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest at Swell

Over the weekend Swell Bar here in Alameda held their annual Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. Though Ben and I did not participate we had a great time and got to see some pretty awful Christmas sweaters in all their glory.

Though I didn't go in for the ugly Christmas sweater,
I still wanted to look festive!

Jessica, Leah, and Paul in their fine holiday attire...

Amy, Gray, Karin, and Jodi having a laugh...

Me and Julie...

Even Santa was there photo bombing Zach and Ben...

Ben, Zach, and Rick in his fabulous cardigan...

Another Santa photo bomb...Jodi, Zach and I.

Me and Amy, the ugly sweater contest winner!

Things got a bit crazy towards the end...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recent purchases...

I sure felt guilty about this first one from last month but I simply could not pass this up as I had been wanting more of a variety of Bakelite spacers and knew I would probably never need to buy another again after this. The average price per spacer was pretty low which I was happy about since I have been seeing individual spacers going for way too much around town. When they arrived they were even more beautiful than I thought they were going to be and in fantastic condition!
seller's photo

I have always admired the dresses from Trashy Diva but never wanted to spend quite that much on a new dress but then recently I shopped the clearance section of their site and got a few amazing deals! I bought two dresses and a pair of shoes that were 50% off, then an additional 20% off on top of that. How could I pass that up? I love both dresses but of the two, the Pearl Harbor one is my favorite (below, right). It has an elasticized back for a more custom fit and the straps are fastened with buttons in the back so I can adjust them or tie them around my neck. Very handy since I am tall and repro dresses seem to always be made for someone with a much shorter torso.

Ever since the last time I was in Santa Cruz I have been wanting to head back and do a bit of vintage shopping. I did not have time to look much the last time I was there but still managed to get an amazing gray wool swing coat for $45 from Moon Zoom so I knew I had to go back when the prices there are so good. Ben desperately needed a new wetsuit so we made the trek down to Santa Cruz over the weekend. I think I made out fairly well with three dresses, a beaded cardigan, and a purse. And this was only from two shops on Pacific, Moon Zoom and Cognito. All vintage and under $40 with the exception of one dress which was around $60. These great prices are what I was used to from shopping back in the late 90s at these same shops. Glad to know not every place is charging an arm and a leg these days. I recovered from my shopping adventure with a couple of cocktails at the good ol’ Red Room. I forgot how cool the interior of this bar is since back in the day when we used to go there it was always super crowded and I usually had too many lemon drops. Much more relaxing in the day time on a Sunday.

nice tortoise shell lucite accents

been wanting a linen dress and this one is in mint condition...

I am most excited about this one...
the photo does not do it justice

And finally, our new little friends that I think
are precious but are giving Ben nightmares...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Friday night in Oakland...

Last Friday two of our friends were celebrating their birthdays at the Metro in Oakland where one of them was part of the lineup as well. Since we had to head over there anyway we decided to make an evening of it, starting with dinner at Rudy’s Can Fail CafĂ© on 18th and Telegraph (owned by Mike Dirnt of Green Day). This is only the second time I have been but both experiences have been great. Ben has been way more since he plays ice hockey each week right up the street from there. I really appreciate all of the vegetarian options. I settled on a Boca burger with sweet potato fries. So good! They make shakes with booze in them that I have yet to try but vow to one of these days.

as always, we chose to sit at the bar
(photo taken from

After Rudy’s we headed to Beer Revolution to have a couple before the show. There was a Belgian beer event going on there and they were passing out red gnome hats from La Chouffe. I tried to pass on wearing one but finally succumbed…when in “gnome”… It was pretty hilarious to look in the bar and see a sea of gnome hats. Everyone was in very good spirits which seems to always be the way at Beer Revolution which I love. I had a pint of Shubros Diablo Stout then an imperial stout which I cannot remember the name of. Both were very good.

In our fabulous La Chouffe gnome hats...

We did not stay at the Metro for all that long but made sure to catch one of the birthday boy’s bands, the Harrington Saints. Great show as always and this time Ben actually was up front so he could get some decent photos. I usually stay way back as people get a bit crazy so my photos do not really turn out. My days of being up in the rough crowd at shows have been over for years. I had my fill of that as a teenager back in the Gilman days and want no part of that anymore.

Donna, Leah, Joann and I

Harrington Saints!

5th Annual Swervy Christmas

For the last 5 years around the holidays a bunch of us get together to ride our bikes to the bars and check out the Christmas lights around town. This has been named Swervy Christmas for obvious reasons though I think I only saw a couple people fall off their bikes. It begins at Lost Weekend where we all meet up with our bikes decorated. We then proceed to the Club House before heading to a place nicknamed Christmas Tree Lane as the whole block really goes all out with the decorations. The night always ends with one more stop at the Lemon Tree for some cocktails. It was another successful Swervy this year I'll have to say.

my bike basket all decorated with tinsel and lights

Thompson Street in Alameda

the little conveyor belt actually moves!

nightmare before christmas theme...

I spy Yukon Cornelius!

I just loved all of the trees at this one...

Ernie and Rudolph!

My favorite house with a rotating aluminum tree and...

...santa's pink flamingos!

Happy Hoidays everyone!