Another year, another Gatsby picnic!


The line, oh, the line…

So here we are, another year, another Gatsby picnic ๐Ÿ™‚

After last years winย we decided to do things ‘easy’ this year. And for us that means we don’t have to load everything into a truck, get up super early to finish loading and food, race to the Dunsmuir house, get in line early, unpack, race to set up, get dressed and collapse in a heap for a while before we get BACK in line after the event is over, load the surviving stuff up and head home to unpack before it gets dark and you’re supersuperexhausted. Ack!

In a moment of blissful “we don’t have to race around this year” I forgot to buy an early entry pass. By the time I remembered they were sold out ๐Ÿ™ ย The upside of that is it FORCED us to be super economical with all plans because we would have to get in line with the masses and walk everything in. Lest you think I exaggerate the ‘stroll’ in let me just say it’s a little over a quarter of mile once you’re on the grounds, but getting TO the gate is an adventure. See the pic above? We’re standing on a hill, about halfway down, waiting. We had two wagons that should have won some sort of prize for our expert level tetris packing skills ๐Ÿ™‚

Now picture this – we dressed at home, we had our makeup on as well as our party shoes. Now imagine unloading two cars worth of stuff, packing it into wagons (and we’re talking a table, four chairs, an umbrella WITH stand, the food and drink and flowers AND all the things that make picnicking fun…) NOW imagine that those wagons probably have 40-50 pounds of stuff in each and you’re trying to pull them UP a hill while wearing cha-cha shoes…

In the end, all the sweat and groans are worth it.

In the end, all the sweat and groans are worth it.

The linens, the china, yep, all worth it. We broke NOTHING!

table1If you look at the silver thing the flowers are in you’ll note that it is the prize from last years win. Because flaunt it if you got it ๐Ÿ™‚

And just because nothing is as easy as it should be….

TablelegAngie went to a great deal of trouble (ha!) ordering a camping table so that we’d have something lightweight and easily transportable. It came with a leg that would NOT click into place, and therefore wanted to dump all picnic supplies on the ground, so we improvised with a board and cable ties. I mean, really, can’t things just go right?

sideboardWe packed most of the food and all of the dishes needed into my lovely vintage picnic basket and then used the basket for a ‘sideboard’ for tea sandwiches.

cartOne of the wagons became another spot for food set-up and held our bar supplies etc. We were truly picnicking this year!

leslieThis is Leslie and her delightful boyfriend. She re-worked her dress from last year, changing all the blue bits to black and accessorizing in her own unique way ๐Ÿ™‚ For instance, you can see all of us reading books:

books2But are we REALLY reading?

book1Yep. But not the book…

Can’t have anachronisms lying about, now can we? So to keep up with what others were posting and doing our own Instagram posts she hollowed out a book for each of us. Even the judges thought it was brilliant. And speaking of judges, did we win? No. Were we trying to? Not even close. But they did spend a good amount of time asking me about the chairs AGAIN (what is it with those chairs? I bought them at TARGET a few years ago!), the china (sorry, not a family heirloom of mine but stuff I bought at the flea market) and food (almost all vegan).

petitefoursLeslie even made ‘traditional’ petitefours, coated with a lemon icing. We really kept things simple compared to previous years and for once we sat, we ate, we walked around and relaxed. Because we weren’t constrained by the rules of an early entry pass we could leave early enough to miss the mass exodus and late enough to feel like we had a truly lovely day.

angieFinally, Angie got to wear the dress she made last year, the yellow representing the yellow ring in the Olympic symbol. It was cooler too, so she didn’t die wearing a sweater ๐Ÿ™‚

meI hated my dress up until I got dressed. Then it was ok. Angie wanted me to wear something in the blue/yellow theme, she decided to decorate around the idea that we were a book club reading “The Great Gatsby” and the cover is blue and gold. I know, I know…could also be the Warriors or UC Berkeley so we kept it subtle. My dress is essentially a tank top elongated and then side insert panels and some fancy lace. Up close it was pretty but it’s one of my least favorite makes in a really long time. I’ll either recycle it or sell it. Sigh.

crowdIt’s always amazing to just walk around and be surrounded by EVERYONE dressed up! Notice the guy in the swimming togs…

beachOne group not only came in swimming gear but brought the whole beach with them!

adorableAren’t they adorable??!!

smallThis was the winning “Small Picnic” set up. Small meaning a table for up to 4 people. The judges raved about (can you guess??)…the CHAIRS!

I was finally able to meet Tanya and her husband (she of the Mrs. Hughes blog) and you can see her entire write-up hereย of the picnic. We didn’t get any pics of us together, because by that part of the day we were all a little tired and a little disheveled ๐Ÿ™‚ I did snap a pic of a thrift store find of hers that made me wish I could get back to Australia soon:

aussieI’m not sure if I’m going to make it to the next picnic or not, it really IS like giving birth and some years we need a break. We’ll see. I’m thinking I may need to go just to wear a different dress so I can forget about this one…


The Rosie Rally

selfieWell, hello again! Yes, it’s been a while and I’ve got SO MUCH STUFF to share!

*I actually wrote that sentence THREE months ago and have yet to publish this. SO much has changed and all of it for the better but seriously….THREE MONTHS?? OK, let’s get this show on the road, clean up and move on.*

This lovely selfie is from the Rosie Rally, held August 15, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The organizers asked for 1,000 women to show up dressed like the Rosie from the poster to set a new world record for the Most Rosies In One Place (previously set in Michigan). I pulled out MY Rosie outfit, met up with friends and hiked over to the Rosie the Riveter Park in Richmond.

This was an official Guinness World Record event, so they had seats set up for us in a special sectioned off area so we could be counted. By drone. Slightly creepy ๐Ÿ™‚


There were PLENTY of Rosies on hand –

IMG_20150815_143924Entire families showed up –

fanilyI LOVED these little girls –

kidsBut by far the most exciting part of the day was meeting REAL Rosies! This is my friend Thena talking to Priscilla –

thenaI was able to sit with her for a few minutes, and she signed our brochures because her original badge is featured in it!

brochureCheck out her badge at the top center of the page ^

priscillaShe told me she took the train out here from her family home in the mid-west after the war started. Her son was an infant so she put him in day care and went to work every day. The pride in her voice was quite evident. She did something many did but few believed could be done, she did it with an infant son and a husband away. And she did it WELL. Yes, I had to fight back tears.

There were commemorative flowers.

flowersActual soldiers in their original uniforms –

sodlierAnd a 95 year old Rosie that, until last November, was still working at an airplane plant in Long Beach. She retired in November, not because it was time, but because the plant CLOSED DOWN! She was a HOOT!! As she started seeing friends in the audience she looked at all the polka dotted head scarves and said “We never wore anything like that, did YOU wear something like that? I never did.” Lots of head shaking.

96rosieHer grandson finally said “Grandma, we have to go. We have a plane to catch”. Lol ๐Ÿ™‚

SO many scarves –

headscarvesSpeaking of which, if you remember my original outfit you’ll see that my polka dots were much smaller than these. When I checked in they looked me over and said “Those aren’t the right sized dots, take one of these”

scarfSo I did. Along with the requisite pairs of red socks.

seaofrosiesAnd then we sat in the sun. And the heat, it was about 90 degrees that day because of course. And we sweat, and fanned and we squinted. And we set the record! This is the aftermath –

aftermathAnd to add a little flavor to the day, look!

kissAll these guys did was wander around, kissing ๐Ÿ™‚

Our official count was 1084 Rosies. We beat out the ‘old’ record of 776, and a few weeks later the gang in Michigan took the record ‘back’, challenging us next year to BRING IT ON!

More importantly over a thousand women came together that day to honor the women who moved mountains before them. No one wanted individual attention, they just wanted to be remembered that they were here and they made a difference. The fact that moms brought young daughters, some even infants, to soak up the living history lesson means those women will have a little bit of Rosie in their soul forever ๐Ÿ™‚

Radio Free Richmond did a lovely little video of the event, which you can see here.

There is a list of all the interviews from that day on youtube here.

And here is KQED’s post.

I’m still trying to get several rooms in my house photographed. In the last four months I’ve left my previous job, started a new one, designed a show, started dating a lovely man and started ripping apart the acres of bricks and concrete in my back yard. Exhausted? Yeah, me too ๐Ÿ™‚