Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Create your own mid-century garden walls

Frustrated that you can't really buy mid-century inspired garden walls, fences and screens?  That may because most of them, even at the time, were custom made.  Thanks to Sunset Magazine's 1963 Garden Art and Decoration book, here are some really interesting notions that might inspire you to create your very own designs.
 Art for the carport?  Why not?
 Those of your who have access to a kiln might try creating your own tiles like these.
 I like the carved plaster panel at bottom left.  If you're really industrious you could create a whole series of designs  and set them within a wood fence.
 How many dull retaining walls have you seen?  Consider a mural of colored pebbles, ceramic or glass.
 Whenever one of these books says 'easy to make' you have to remember this is relative to mixing plaster and cement.

Here's where things start to get more complex but very interesting.  If you're very clever, you could turn an average patio into an art gallery.
Something tells me these sand casts will take a lot of practice to get successful results, but good old Sunset helpfully provided step by step instructions, below.


 Now here's the stuff I really like.  Decorative outdoor screens were all the rage mid-century.
Look closely at the sample at the top left -- mosaic tile panels alternating between plastic panels.  You can still get translucent plexiglas in various colors.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

House by Robert S. Grant, Santa Barbara 1959

House and Home Magazine (November 1959) featured twenty houses of various styles to trumpet the arrival of the 1960s.  Few publications (then and now) actually included blueprints, which might be very helpful for someone who is interested in recreating a vintage modern house -- where present day building codes might allow that sort of thing, that is (certainly not Santa Barbara).  No doubt this house has long been replaced by a Mediterranean three times this size.  These days, however, wherever it's built, it will undoubtedly cost much more than you'd think.





Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ice Capades of 1949

Among my mother's old pictures was this Ice Capades program.  Though she might well have seen it on tour in Pittsburgh, I  suspect she saw this in New York when she and her friends went to see South Pacific that year.  One wonders where these skating stars' careers took them.  This site has some answers.









Marching forward, 1934

My grandfather, right, links arms with business associates.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Puddle, 1957

That's me at the edge of the driveway.  Ft. Lauderdale.

Intruder, 1945

My Aunt Nancy sneaks into this portrait of my mother showing off her swell new jodphurs.  New Kensington, PA.

Ft. Lauderdale, 1957

That's my father's 1949 DeSoto on the left.  Another magical and completely unintentional composition.

Reward, 1964

My grandparents' dog, Peppy.  Butler, PA.  The paint-by-number painting is of the famous clown Emmett Kelly.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ghostly Christmas, 1940

I'm sure when my grandmother was dismayed when her daughter Nancy had moved when this picture was taken.  Seventy-two years later it lends an eerie charm.

Porch meeting, 1954

My grandmother is holding me as I greet my cousin Chris while our mothers look on.  Unlike most of our old snapshots, no one is grinning at the camera.  Instead, here is an unremarkable but momentary glimpse into three generations as they really were at my grandmother's porch in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jeanne and Jack, 1937



My brother sent me a box of old family photos.  Now and then something special hits the eye, such as these shots taken by my grandfather of my mother and my uncle in August, 1937 at a campsite in western Pennsylvania.

Like Members of the Family part 2

My Aunt Nancy and I with my grandfather's 1952 Ford. In the background, a glimpse of my Uncle Jack's 1956 Oldsmobile.  Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
 My Aunt Nancy, Aunt Linda and I with Chloe the standard poodle standing by my grandparents' 1954 Buick and my parents' 1956 Ford Victoria.
 My mother went to New York just once, in 1949, to see South Pacific.  She took this picture of her friend pretending to get in an MG.  Anyone have any idea where this was taken?
 My grandfather and I with his 1952 Ford and my father's 1949 DeSoto.  Ft. Lauderdale.
 My cousin Chris and his friend and Chris' family's 1955 Ford station wagon.
 Me posing with our 1956 Ford Victoria.  New Kensington, PA.
 The hula hoop craze had just begun.  The 1956 Ford is in the background.  Louisville, KY.
 My cousin Chris and I with my father's 1949 DeSoto, my uncle's 1956 Oldsmobile and my grandfather's 1952 Ford.  What a great, if inadvertent, composition.  Ft. Lauderdale
 Our standard poodle, Chloe, with our 1949 DeSoto.  Ft. Lauderdale
 My mother in someone else's car.  The shadow of the photographer is what makes this one interesting. New Kensington, PA.
 Valley Station, KY.  My grandparents' 1954 Buick.
 My mother goes on a picnic in someone else's car.
 My grandparents pose in front of their 1954 Buick while attending my Uncle Jack's wedding in Missouri.
 My mother, the girl on the right, and her high school friends, probably about 1945.  New Kensington, PA.
 My mother (right) and a friend pose with my father's 1949 DeSoto.
 My father took this while in the army in 1951.
My grandfather looks on while my cousin Chris, my Aunt Linda and me pose in an antique car at the James Melton Autorama, which was located in Hypoluxo, Florida.  Here's another link about the place.
 Also at the James Melton Autorama.
 My Aunt Linda and I at what I think is Kennywood Park near Pittsburgh.
One of my favorite toys, my blue pedal car.  New Kensington, PA.