Thursday, March 31, 2011

Betsey Johnson For Butterick - Part Three

It's all about The Betsey Girl, here in part three, the final installment of my posts about some of my favorite designs of the past by the fabulous Betsey Johnson. For these last two out of Seventeen magazine, I was unable to find an image depicting the actual patterns themselves, so I have only the clothing to share.

This is pattern #6533, shown above and below. I am completely in love with her shoes::

And pattern #6535:

All in cotton chintz:

(Added on 8/7/11) A reader was kind enough to comment and include a link to this image of pattern #6535, so I have added it below. If you are interested in this pattern, she is offering it for sale at, just click on the website name to see the listing.

And finally, I am sharing just a few more of her patterns. This one (6978) belongs to Lori - yes, she has had it all these many years. Love it! Can't you just imagine how cute that middle version would be in a sweet lightweight knit with a mini-floral design?

I shared this one in a previous post about aprons - pinafore, hat and bag:

The long and short of it, here in a style that ties in the back:

I very clearly remember tops similar to these designs being sold in the shops - in fact Lori had one that was quite similar in style. I loved them; I especially like that purple one:

Is this pattern with it's suit and separates adorable, or what??

If I still had the figure for them, I would be more than happy to wear many of these vintage styles still today. I want to congratulate Betsey for her longevity and success as a fashion designer and business woman. I adore her for her uniqueness and individuality, and I happen to think she is nothing short of fabulous.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Past Is Present In Placerville #6: Gutenberger's Corner

As much as I love Victorian homes dripping with gingerbread and with tall towers and bay windows, there is something about an old farm house with wrap-around porches, nestled in the oaks, that tugs at my heart... Perhaps it is because of this place, probably my very favorite of any of Placerville's old homes, that I have loved since I was six years old, traveling by on the school bus, turning the corner from Pleasant Valley Road onto Bucks Bar Road, on the way to first grade at Summit School. In my younger years, the porch you see here was enclosed and Mr. Carl Gutenberger, a pharmacist, had a store inside. There was a long counter and a few of the old refrigerator boxes, holding milk and juice, and there must have been food, but I don't really remember that. I remember he had candy, though. I don't remember ever being in the rest of the house, but I guess it is possible that we may have visited there, since my Mom was on the school board and was acquainted with Mrs. Gutenberger.
Although it was against the rules, occasionally when I was older, we would talk the bus driver into letting us off the bus at the store. We would purchase some candy and then walk home, up to Pleasant Valley to Cedar Ravine to Woodland Drive, then up Woodland Drive and across the high hill to the west and down to my friends rented farm house. It was a long walk, but the bus ride was even longer, so we could make it home before the bus would have dropped us off, and my mom would be none-the-wiser.

What we now know as Gutenbergers Corners was once a 430 acre ranch known as the Bartram Sandfoss place. This house was built in approximately 1858 by Wheeler Bartram, who also owned the Pacific House Ranch, and operated the Pacific Sawmill. The lumber for the house and for the barns which used to stand nearby was cut and milled from timber on the ranch. Later it was owned by Charles Sandfoss, who sold it to Jack Bell in 1885. The Carson Emigrant trail, which ran next to the house, was heavily traveled in those days, and as many as seventy-five teams a night would be put up at the house. Although the house served a a stage coach house, it was constructed for gracious family living rather than for overnight convenience, with lots of closets and even servants quarters.

Squaw Creek and Willow Creek, which run through the property, were the scene of early mining activities, which included Spaniards and the Chinese. A Native American settlement once flourished on the ranch. A prison break from Folsom prison was once foiled when the escapees were captured on the Bell Ranch. It is possible that President Grant was a guest at the home back in the days it was owned by W. Bartram.

This is a copy of an old photograph that accompanied an article which was in the Mountain Democrat in Placerville in the 1940s. It was a column by Ann Comfort called "the Early California Homes" series. The caption read "The Bell Place, at the junction of Pleasant Valley and Buck's Bar Roads".

This is a small pencil sketch of the Gutenberger place by Marguerite Flint, who was a good friend of my mother's. She signed the back of the frame in 1992 and wrote "Gutenberger's Place (corner of Pleasant Valley Rd and Bucks Bar) Original sketch M. Flint". I was lucky enough to find this little gem on ebay, but the Gold Country Girls also have a few of her watercolors. In this sketch you can see how the porch has been enclosed. For many years, after Mr. and Mrs. Gutenberger had passed away, the house sat sadly vacant, needing paint, losing its porch rails, seeming to sink a little closer to the ground every year. Luckily the heirs finally spruced it up, painting it white and replacing the porch rails. Although still vacant, it now appears to sit tall with pride in its place in history.

This watercolor was painted by one of my favorite local artists, Jac Turner, in June 1990, and was printed in his 1991 calendar. Mr. Turner, who we lost at the age of 88 years in 2004, was very interested in El Dorado County history and painted many of our old structures. This is what he had to say about the Gutenburger house:

"Gutenberger Corners - 1856. A familiar site to thousands...this great ol' crumbling slowly into the earth...was built 132 yrs. ago by W. Bartram who had a sawmill... across the road on Mill Creek. Over the's had many owners...The last, Henry Gutenberger, purchased it in 1912 for the sum of $5000...! It's still owned by his heirs..."

This view of the Gutenberger home was painted by Jac Turner in October, 1988, and printed on a note card which I found and bought at the El Dorado County museum just this month. The information on the card reads "The Gutenberger House. Neglect and time is taking its toll on this 135 yr. old mansion!... Off limits to all for many yrs... it was once the social center of the area..It's been a roadhouse, post office, boarding house, drug'..a haven for ghosts! Alas, it's leaving the scene!"
Sometime in the early 60s Mr. Gutenberger built a new pharmacy across the street and moved the store out of his home into this structure. It is now operated as a convenience store. Pleasant Valley Road is a heavily traveled road, people on their way to work and school during the week, and tourists and wine aficionados on the weekends, so it must see a lot of business.
This is the gas station and the shop directly across the street from the home. When I was growing up, I believe this was a Richfield station. They used to give out dishes with purchases, they were white with blue daisies. I collected them in my cedar chest and used the set for a long time after I got married.
I occasionally visit the Gutenberger house in my dreams. Usually in those dreams the gas station is located on the North side of the house, away from the road, not across the street on the South. I don't have any idea why my subconscious places it there, or why I find it in my dreams so often.
This is one of my favorite shots, and I actually took this picture while I was driving (slowly!) by, through the front windshield. Vinca covers the yard surrounding the home, there are a few daffodils here and there, perhaps some naked ladies bloom here in the fall? Once long ago, in the early 20th century, a large weeping willow stood near the road.
As we drive away, East down Pleasant Valley Road toward our old elementary school, one last look through the trees at a piece of history and a place which holds fond memories. The Gutenberger Place has been owned by the same family now for over a hundred years, and I hope it continues to stand here for at least a hundred more!

Come out for a spring drive and check it out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Heart Argyle

Just sharing some vintage argyle images from old magazines today.....
....because I do love me some argyle.
And I even lived on Argyle Road thirty-four years ago.

I'm ending with some new argyle - from Target:

Long live argyle socks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Curtin Mansion

This beautiful old home in Sonora was built in 1897 for Senator John Barry Curtin. When I first moved here, the car wash I used to visit was nearby, and I have always been fascinated with the wonderful old place.

Sadly, it has fallen into disrepair over the years. I used to work with a man who lived there for many years with his elderly mother. She has since passed away, he married late in life, and sold the home. There was a front page article in our local paper in December of 2005 about the woman who purchased the home for $515,000. She wanted to fix it up. Alas, her plans did not work out. I don't know any details, but I am pretty sure money must have been the problem. It needs major restoration, most likely well out of the budget reach of most people these days.

I found an interesting historical photo here, from a book written by Michael Gahagan, a local resident of this area.
This is a photo I took of the house on a recent, overcast day:

My husband remembers taking tap dancing lessons inside this residence from the lady who lived there in the mid-1950's!

I would have dearly loved to have been able to buy and fix up this once-grand "mansion"!

It was up for sale again recently, and this was the price tag:

Can you even believe it? I wanted so badly to see the inside of it while it was on the market, but I never got to do so. After that article appeared, a member of the family wrote this letter to the editor of the paper.
These are a couple of the photos that accompanied the 2005 article:

So, we went from front page news in 2005 to front page news once more when the photo above was featured, nearly exactly six years later. Less than two months after that, cut to a new article - this time reporting that it had been sold - for $94,000! (Jealous much? I sure am!) But the best news of all is that the gentleman who bought it will be restoring it, bit by bit. And it sounds like he is somebody who not only knows exactly what he has gotten himself into, but is also up to the task! Yes - no matter how long nor how expensive the renovations may be.
And , since I couldn't buy the house myself, I was very, very happy to hear it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Betsey Johnson For Butterick Part Two

Today, we are continuing the three part post about Betsey Johnson's 1970's designs for Butterick patterns, featuring patterns and images from Seventeen Magazine.
Pattern #6529:
And the pantsuit made from a gorgeous corduroy:
And the other version in green ( I LOVE all of the shoes these models are wearing in today's post, by the way!)

Pattern #6530:

Constructed in a pretty floral with an aqua background:

Same fabric, with a peach background this time - the long skirt and top:

And aqua again- a shorter version this time?

And pattern #6532:

In aqua - so that's what they mean by "a roll in the hay"?
Maxi-length in blue:
And short, in red this time- and she's back in that hay again!

More to come - watch for Part Three, coming soon to a blog near you!