Monday, April 30, 2012

"Happy Days" Jukebox (P*S*C* #48)

Take a look at the lovely woman on the left: she's the daughter
of an inventor who changed the way a jukebox worked!
She is shown here in front one of the Seeburg jukeboxes at the
50's Grill restaurant near Golden Valley, Minnesota.

She is Wes's mother and here she stands in front of a Seeburg
 "Classic M100 C Model" jukebox. 
Her father, Carl Gunnar Johnson came from Sweden to America
from Trensum, Blekinge in 1910 as a 17 year old young man. 
Eventually he worked at the JP Seeberg Corporation in Chicago.
By the late1940s, Seeburg manufactured its popular
"trashcan-shaped" series of jukeboxes - and you have seen these
via the opening scene in the popular TV series HAPPY DAYS
in which the Fonzie made Henry Winkler very popular and Richie
Cunningham warmed the hearts of young nerds everywhere.!
The invention of CG Johnson involved the record-cleaning brushes that would swish
over the record and clean the grooves in it before returning the record to the holder.
Look closely and
you can see the little brushes in
black. You can also see the Seeburg
brand label to the right. 

Why is it that we love to return to the music and memories of the 1950s?
Is it because it was the decade we were born in?  Is it the songs?  Is it the
icons such James Dean and Elvis Presley?  Is it the burgers, fries, milkshakes,
and malts?  Is it the fashions....the poodle skirts?
Whatever it is, I like the 50s memories!
Chocolate malt, anyone?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Now About that Dala... (P*S*C* #48)

Chances are good that if you come from Swedish "stock" you will know what a Dala Horse is.
These wooden horses have a long history.  Around 400 years ago in the Dalerna Province in 
Sweden, woodcarvers fashioned these horses as toys for their children.  In January this year,
Luther College students gathered to take a class in Scandinavian arts and learn the craft of
carving.  Their horses have been on dispay in the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis,
ending their "run" shortly.  (As in today!)  Joining in the exhibit were others who had carved
horses independently or with their fellow woodcarvers --- not sure how that worked exactly.

Here you can see some of the carved horses.  Note the THING ONE and THING TWO
on the top left.
Grade schoolers also got into the Dala decorating!  The yellow one (left) done by Cindy used
a lot of trimmings and rick rack - a girl after my heart for sure!

Humor was apparent in many of the Dala renditions.  There was an Elvis Presley-ish horse that was titled "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dala" and a Dala Llama. Here we see the Dala Parton horse
complete with ample "bosombas."  Yes, they were carved right into the Dala!

Wes and his Dad enjoyed the exhibit.  Perhaps they, too, should take up the craft of woodcarving?  Some of our friends have:  Bill, Don and Kass and Mary to name a few.

Together they stand behind the huge carved Dala horse that was meant to be signed by names of visitors to the exhibit, as well as those who contributed their carvings to the show.

There was no room left for us to pen our names here.
Surely that means this exhibit has been a smashing success?

In all, there were well over 100 entries from all over --- near and far. Young artists, college students, grandparents, famous and not-so-famous, all had something to say with their pieces.
I especially liked this yellow Dala in an original carving rendition called "Nobel
Peace Prize Horse" and personally signed by former president
Jimmy Carter.
Let's hear it for the Dala Horse and the universal language of art!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Springtime in MN: Pink Suitcase Chronicles #48

Pink was happy to accompany us as we travelled north to Minnesota over the weekend! She basked out on the deck of Wes' parents apartment amidst the cheery red-checked ice cream chairs that we took on as a little project. We did leave her behind, though, as we celebrated at a Bavarian Restaurant the birthdays of two special 86 year olds...
...visited the American Swedish Institute (ASI) museum to see an exhibit of wood carvings (more on this in a future post), toured the grounds of the U of M Landscape Arboretum,
dined on burgers and fries at this grill,
and hosted a birthday party for a bunch of cool seniors.
Now we are once again home and filled with gratitude that
we have these dear people in our lives.

Monday, April 09, 2012

An Easter Frock for Miss E

While in Hong Kong, I had just a few minutes to pop inside of a fabric store with the name of Gala Fabrics. Due to my non-existent Mandarin speaking skills, and a shopkeeper with limited English it was an interesting exchange of commerce. I quickly spotted a table full of fabrics and couldn't choose between the blue print or the pink print so I bought both!
The shopkeeper wrapped up my purchase in the package seen above, so it felt like it was a gift.
Once home, I asked Miss E if she would like a pink Easter dress or a blue one and she chose blue.
Using a "Project Runway" inspired Simplicity pattern #1949 I began the project of making a frock for Ellie to wear on Easter Sunday. The dress had a criss-cross type of pleat system in the front,
pleats on the bodice back, sweet little puffed sleeves and was fully lined in blue with a zipper closure in the back.
Being a hat person, I just had to supply a hat to go with her blue dress.
I wouldn't say she exactly liked it, but she humored me by putting it on for a few seconds.
We had a houseful of dinner guests coming, but Miss E ate an early lunch of hummus and veggie straws while we made a few Easter egg bunnies.
Here you can see the little print on her blue dress. It had tiny sprays of flowers in white, pink and purple with little green leaves.
Following naptime, we headed outside for an egg hunt. That cardigan was most appreciated as it was a bit brisk outside. The eggs were a hit, too!
Did you and yours have a lovely Easter as well? I certainly hope so.

Monday, April 02, 2012

It's All GREEK for Her!

It's happened again
--- celebrating a birthday Sister Style ---
with the theme based upon the play that we went to in January:
Diann and I had so much fun dancing together at the end of that show that I knew I had to
bring this joy to her birthday theme for 2012.
And where to go but Greece? Umm, no.
The next best place was to go local to Greektown right in Chicago!

Though the day was rainy and gray, we had a blast.

Our first stop was to the Hellenic Museum on Halsted.

Provide the Nelson sisters with some costumes and we try them on for size
and take pictures! The museum has a 4th floor elevator that takes you out to a patio perfect for viewing the Sears Tower (now renamed but it'll always be the Sears Tower to Chicagoans) with a West Loop perspective that is new to us.

Then it was time to stroll down Halsted to pop into various Greek-related venues and stores.

The Artopolis Bakery was a hit - more on the treat purchased there later. We chose the restaurant Greek Isles as our lunch destination and it was perfect.

Following a delicious lunch, we headed back to the City Nest
for presents and merriment.
It was here that Diann found out that the Greektown exploration was due to the
Mamma Mia theme.

All 22 of the songs from the musical had related gifts.

For example the song "Take a Chance on Me" had a Mega Millions lottery ticket/receipt.

(Not a winner, I migh add.)

Of course, the song "Dancing Queen" had to have a boa and crown!

Remember the bakery treat mentioned earlier? It was a tulip chocolate mousse! YUMMY!

The Nelson sisters then danced away in the City Nest and hopefully the downstairs neighbors were away for the afternoon.

Happy Birthday, Sis! You ROCK!!!!