Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday and The Mystery of the Cat's Milk

This is a picture of me and my maternal aunt, Loretta "Sadie" McPhee's (1921-2004) cat Sam. Sam and I were babies at the same time. My aunt Sadie and aunt Pat used to babysit me often. Rumor has it (or call it family lore) that I used to drink the milk from his kitty bowl. That was back in the day when people actually gave cats milk. I always believed my aunts were not telling the truth as that is just pretty nasty, but they said I'd hold up his empty milk bowl, with remnants on my face and say (ala Oliver Twist) "more please"! Oh man.

And speaking of cats, here's a bad picture of my Go Cat Go collage screen printed on a flour sack dish towel. I'm working on these prints now and plan to have them available on towels, shirts and tote bags soon.

Wordless Wednesday - Lola's Grave

This is where my grandmother, Lola L. Cloos Robinson, is buried. She is in an unmarked grave and died and is buried as Marie Robinson. We still do not know "why" Marie, but we do know that her records did know she was Lola.

She is buried in the empty area left of the walkway. My sister and I have talked about getting her a grave marker. She's buried at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, CA.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Mystery Women in Old Family Photos

I was thinking about this picture that I got from my cousin. I don't think anything was written on the back of it or I think my cousin would have mentioned that. I know that the little boy that looks a lot like Little Lord Fauntleroy, is my dad. The tall, skinny guy next to him with all the hair, is my grandfather, Red. What I wonder is if the woman next to Red might just be my grandmother, Lola. I believe the other woman (second on the left) is either my grandfather's sister, Lillie Mae or his sister, Edna. Not sure who the guys are. I look forward to finding that out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1940 US Census

I'm so excited! In 11 days, the 1940 US Census will be released and available for viewing! I am so looking forward to learning more about my family tree. There are so many people that I cannot find or could not find even in 1930 and I hope that 1940 will shed some light.

Having found Lola, my grandmother, I know now where she was in 1940. She will even most likely show up on the census as Marie. I wonder where her sister, Bessie was in 1940. In 1930, Bessie was a patient at the Alton State Hospital in Alton, IL. Was Bessie still there in 1940? And where was Bessie's husband Ben? I still cannot find any death record for him, and there is no way he is still living.

My grandmother also had many cousins that I have hit brick walls with. These are the young female cousins that most likely married and died with different last names than, say, Beck. If I can find them in 1940, maybe I can find children that might still be living and might have information and pictures!

My grandmother had an aunt, Lena Cloos that died as Magdalene Josephine Moyer in 1951. Lena married a man named Alfred Martin in Grundy, IL in 1893 and they had two daughters. Alfred died in 1935. I cannot find Lena in 1930, but did find that Lena died at the same state hospital as Lola. I'm still trying to find living descendants of Lena, but that has not proven to be so easy.

I wonder where my grandfather Earl (Red) was in 1940. I'm not sure if he was still in the Los Angeles area then or if he was in Northern California. I believe he was in Northern California as a the widow of my dad's good friend told me that when my dad married his first wife Fern in August of 1940, they went to the World's Fair in San Francisco and stayed with Red.

I also wonder who my dad was living with. I believe the census was taken in April of 1940, so he and Fern will not be listed in the same household. I can't wait for the release and already imagine hours of obsessive searching on that day! Why the heck is it being released on a Monday of all days? They really should release it on a Saturday.

Where Does the Time Go?

Wow! These past several weeks (and almost two months) have been consumed by the norm - work, doctor appointments, picking up prescriptions, replacing starter in car, changing spark plugs to pass smog test, etc.

I also told myself that it was time to stop stalling and turn artwork into screens to print. I had been working on turning my collage prints into black and white art and printed them on transparencies, and I finally started to do something with all those transparencies. I should confess that I have a bad habit of buying supplies and never touching them. I also have a weird obsession with screen printing "tools". What I have always wanted to do is screen print on fabric but I have never had the funds to purchase all the equipment to "set up shop", so hence, my obsession with any new screen printing "tool" (I say tool for lack of a better word at this writing).

A few years ago, I purchased the PGArts. This is the larger format Gocco that I had always wanted and it was on sale at Paper Source. As soon as I bought it, I found out that the company that owns and makes Gocco, Riso, was discontinuing my favorite "toy". Therefore, I never took the PGArts out of the box. I continued using my old smaller model until I finally ran out of screen masters.

Well, I pulled the PGArts out of the box. I attempted to burn two screens and neither worked. I'm not sure why they didn't work, but can only say that the entire imagine did not burn both times. Ugh. Then I ordered some PhotoEZ Standard Stencils. I burned a stencil in the sunlight and then burned some in a light box. They came out pretty good, yet still lacked some detail from the artwork. They kind of looked a bit blurry when I pulled prints.  I then ordered some StencilPro Standard Stencils and I think they came out quite good, that is until I printed my stencils on a rather "rough" dishtowel. I didn't like the way it looked.

I then brought out the Yudu. I had purchased one back in 2008 or 2009 and had never used it (I only used one at a workshop I had taken). I watched some videos and read some helpful blogs and attempted to place the emulsion sheet on the screen. My first attempt was dreadful! It turned out looking like an abstract painting.

I clearly had too much water on the screen so the emulsion took forever to dry. I would attempt to pull the protective plastic backing off and it would pull the emulsion with it (a sign that the emulsion is still wet). I have since attempted a few more sheets of emulsion and have pretty much determined that knowing when the screen coated with the capillary film is dry, is a visual thing.

I then read about others having great success using liquid photo emulsion on their Yudu screens. It is certainly more economical and easy to apply once you get the hang of it. I am still learning to get the hang of it! I have coated several screens with the liquid emulsion and only a few have really been good. The very first screen I coated was so crazy, though. I used a scoop coater but applied the emulsion holding the scoop coater upside down. Talk about a waste of emulsion!  The first "good" screen I coated with the liquid emulsion, ultimately failed. When I was rinsing off the screen after burning the artwork,  I missed a few areas of emulsion so the print was wrong.

Seems that my biggest investment lately has been in emulsion remover! I am not deterred, however. I plan to get this down and get it right as I have so many design ideas floating in my head that need to come to life.

On the family front, my mom celebrated her 89th birthday this past Monday! I cannot believe she is 89. My sister and I took her out for a nice Thai dinner and then she had a glass of champagne (served in a vintage cocktail glass) and a jumbo Red Velvet cupcake. We got her gifts from the Braille Institute - a talking clock, two decks of playing cards for the visually impaired and a great magnifying mirror. I also learned how to fix her talking watch while at the Braille Institute store. She also had many well wishes and a call from my cousin from Canada.