This is the place where I round up a corral chock-full of mixed media art, vintage collections, digital escapades, and some occasionally snarky observations about life with junk, books, rescue dogs and nearly-grown children.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras Colors, originally uploaded by Calsidyrose.

We had Popeye's Fried chicken tonight, in honor of Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Fun

I live in Belle Chasse from 2001 through July 2005. We celebrated the Mardi Gras season with a wreath on the door, neighborhood and charity parades, plus lots of Kingcake. We supported my son when his Band marched in the West Bank parades and caught our fair share of beads and other throws. On Mardi Gras Tuesday, however, we kept a low profile. A frozen "Kitchen Sink" daiquiri from the drive-through drink shop and a box of Popeye's chicken made the evening festive, which ended by viewing the Meeting of the Courts on the local PBS channel.

When Mardi Gras rolls around, I find myself missing New Orleans. We had Popeye's Chicken tonight, but no frozen daiquiris. We're off instead to watch my daughter play in a UIL Concert.

If you want to see more Mardi Gras ephemera, head on over to my Flickr Photostream--yesterday I uploaded a variety of images, including some more photos of the men of the Cajun Mardi Gras, as seen here:

Mardi Gras Tomfoolery

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? Or perhaps you have pancakes as part of a "Shrove Tuesday" event at your church. Leave a comment--throw me a little something, please!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

(Let the Good Times Roll!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Longing for Springtime

The Pet Show, originally uploaded by Calsidyrose.

This lovely image of children with their pets came from my stash of paper scraps. I don't know the illustrator because I pulled the image from an old discarded library book. The poem is sweet and the children are adorable.

Spring Bouquet

Flowers from my daughter for Valentine's Day.

Spring Lamb

A tiny chalkware lamb found at a thrift store.

Fountain Mist

And a fountain in a swanky neighborhood near our house.

The Texas redbuds are blooming, and the flowering magnolias in my neighbor's yard are open. Along the canal near my house, I spotted the first tiny bluets and the white bells of false onion. The deer vetch has also begun to bloom.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Terquasquicentennial Texas

Terquasquicentennial Texas, originally uploaded by Calsidyrose.

I'm feeling proud to be a Texan! I'm not a native, but I consider myself a Texan after living here for five years!

And I'm back in the saddle after taking wa-a-a-a-ay too long of a break. I got frustrated with some of the changes that Blogger made to their posting process. I want to offer my readers big files for my photos, so from henceforth, this blog will be posted from my Flickr account.

I LOVE FLICKR! (Even more than I love Texas). If you haven't been to my Flickr photostream, you are missing out on a wealth of treasures. My photostream contains more than 5,000 images! That's 300 pages worth of ephemera, art samples, photographs and more! If you are looking for odd bits of scanned ephemera, postcards, textures, or other interesting flotsam and jetsam, head on over by clicking on my BigFunLabs header in the sidebar.

And look out for more fun from "El Rancho Not So Grande"!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Found Things

From my scanner to you, ephemera bits and pieces.
 Detail from a vintage tourist map of Tokyo.

 Front and back covers of a Japanese tourist brochure, most likely from Hokkaido, circa 1960s.  I acquired a packet of vintage travel ephemera from eBay.  I like the strong design elements in this piece--Japanese graphics never fail to impress.
Traveling back to the Pacific Rim, here's a shot of the Los Angeles International Airport on a postcard from the late 1970s or very early 1980s when deckle edges were the rage.  My husband and I once had dinner in the famous Googie-inspired revolving restaurant.

Enbiggen this postcard from Cairo, Egypt to appreciate the stamps and cancellations and to read about the journey.  I lived in Tripoli, Libya, when I was in junior high.

This postcard-size image of Waikiki at dusk is actually a tiny painting, done on canvas board.  I found it at Savers on O'ahu in 2000.

And from a vintage manual for Naval seaman:

This 1940 copy of "The Bluejackets' Manual" belonged to Raymond McAfee, A.S., and contains detailed instructions about every aspect that a Naval seaman might have needed to know in those months before World War II began for the American military.
In case you find yourself on a boat and need to know which way is "on starboard beam."

The Navy Standard Compass Card.  Love the fleur de lis at the North Point.  I hope you enjoy these scanned bits of history.

Just for Fun

Monday again, so enjoy a couple of day-brighteners!

The awesome Mrs. Puff urges everyone to practice "Safe Pix".

This is the BEST store in Montgomery, Texas! The owner, Ms. Lindy, and her daughter have a wonderfully quirky style, with tons and tons of cool jewelry, hand-made scarves (knitted, knotted and crocheted), plus the best displays around. Recycling is the watchword--anything that can be glued, sewn or attached with jump rings is incorporated into the store's displays and goods.

The store also carries a great selection of Rodeo-femme and edgy clothing to tickle the fancy of Redneck Girls, Goth Chicks, Boho Babes and Rodeo Queens. I bought two mufflers and one braided "belt" hand-made by Lindy. She and her daughter are selling their goods at the Dallas Market. But Houstonians don't have to head to the Big D for a fashion fix. Just mosey out to Montgomery, Texas, and get your glam on! The weather's perfect this time of year.

If you don't have a horse, not to worry.  Montgomery, Texas, has plenty of parking, plus a fine selection of antique and curio shops to tempt you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hurrah for Marching Band!

 Vintage Tuba Guy on Tuba Sheet Music.

It's Septemeber in Texas, and that means high school football--er, I mean Marching Band!  Yep, bring out the horns, warm up the drum line, fill up the stands with Band Moms.  Let's hear it for Band!

 Both of my children are Band Geeks--my son played Tuba from 6th grade through high school, both in Louisiana and in Texas.

 The Belle Chasse High School Band went to Walt Disney World in April 2005.  My son was one of two tuba players.  The 50-member Fighting Cardinal Band marched down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This was taken after their march.  For some of these students, this trip was the highlight of high school before Katrina made landfall a few months later. 
--Photo, courtesy of the Interwebs.

 My son marched for two seasons in the Texas Tech Goin' Band from Raiderland in Lubbock Texas.  The Goin' Band is one of the largest university Marching Bands, with 450 members.  My son marched half-times at two college Bowl games.

 Band is serious business, starting with Band Camp at the end of July, two weeks before school starts.

I bought my daughter a new one-gallon jug because she said she didn't want to carry her brother's jug with "NIRVANA" and  "Blink 182" logos scrawled in Sharpie on the sides.  She is still carrying it and we have had four football games.

You need your equipment--above is my daughter's mellophone case and water jug. With temperatures in the high 90s, hydration is an important component of Marching Band.

The kids learn a new warm-up routine--this year's routine is set to the music of "Fireflies" by "Owl City".  Jumping builds synchronized movement:

At the end of Band Camp, the kids put on an Exhibition, highlighting the first dozen or so pages of music memorized and drill patterns learned.  My daughter is a junior, and serves as a Band Historian.

Our Band, The Woodlands High School Highlander Marching Band, has about 250 members.  The Band specializes in field show competition, using custom-prepared drills set to complex musical scores.  The kids play and march in challenging, precise patterns.  The average show is about 100 pages long.  The kids must memorize EVERYTHING.  The Band will compete this year in two Bands of America (BOA) competitions and up to three Texast UIL competitions, not counting the field show performances at half-time.

This is our district's Home Stadium, in use for it's third season. In Texas, high school football is the state religion and is fraught with ritual, tradition and passion.  There really is almost as much drama as you see on TV's "Friday Night Lights."
Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Of course,  the football games, according to most Band kids, serve as a backdrop to playing "Stand Tunes" and provide a top-notch dating pool.  Student romances flower, bloom and wither every game.  We take school buses to the games, and the kids have to haul everything themselves.  The bigger instruments come by semi-truck.

This is our Band Truck.
The Band owns the carrier, and the Band Boosters  pay the driver with the tractor to haul our equipment.
Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Our students are dedicated--many of them juggle AP classes and other activities as well as Band, which consumes 20 hours a week beyond school during Marching Season.

The kids play through all sorts of weather.  Football games are rarely cancelled--the last time this happened was during Hurricane Ike in 2008.  The games are played in heat and rain for most of the season.

 Rain threatened our second pre-season game.  The rainbow was cool.  The rain drizzles were not so great.

The field show will change many times over the course of the season.  For now, the Guard has white flags and black uniforms.  Later the girls will get custom-made guard uniforms and flags that go with the show theme.  The choreography of the marching will be tweaked and adjusted until a cohesive show emerges.  The judges look for the quality of the music, the challenge involved in the score, and the complexity and precision of the marching.  Artsy considerations also play an important part in the judging--what the half-time crowd likes and the BOA judges love are often two different things.

Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Marching Band takes a big commitment, both from the parents who must pay the fees (I don't like to think about what I could have done with the money I've spent on my kids' Band experiences) and from the students, who must squeeze their school work in around grueling practices and late-night arrivals home from football games.

My daughter is an awesome, dedicated musician, and we're proud of her.  She'll remember her Band days fondly, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer Sunday

From my garden:

My latest foster, a tiny, cute Chihuahua boy who was starving to death in the Shelter due to stress:

Vintage compass on a vintage map.
My husband got me this lovely, palm-sized vintage compass at a ship salvage shop and antique dealer in Bangladesh.

 Vintage compass on a vintage map.

The walnut-toned wood box has a metal label reading "Negretti & Zambra, as does the compass itself, both on the cover, and under the glass on the rose's face. The outside of the compass lid reads "Edward VII Compass King & Emporer 1908". The date, 1908, and the word, "London" is inscribed on the compass rose under the glass. The compass has a fob, as well as a sliding knob to lock the floating needle in place when not in use.

The poem, Robert Frost's "The Road Less Taken" has been engraved on brass-toned metal and appears to have been attached to the inside cover. This poem dates to 1915 and was not really considered a classic until the mid-1920s. I'm assuming that the inscription was added later, particularly because the font-styles are more modern.

My husband isn't sure if the compass actually dates to 1908. Negretti & Zambra manufactured compasses, telescopes, monocules, barameters and other scientific items during this time period, but I was unable to find a similar compass style during a fairly comprehensive Internet search.

If you know anything about vintage compasses, please leave a comment. No matter whether this is a reproduction or an actual antique, it is still a wonderful addition to my collection of cartography and geographic ephemera.

Necklaces from Forever 21.  Owls and sweet Victorian designs are quite the rage at this trendy teen-fashion store.  A new, large store just opened in our local mall.  My 16-year-old is in swoony heaven.

Page scan from a vintage booklet about fuchsias.  It's far too hot to grow these beauties here in Houston.  During the 1980s, I worked in a landscape nursery, and fuchsias like these were very popular.  We would have quizzes from the boss to identify the blossoms by name.  I love the dreamy, soft hues of this old photograph.