Detroit fireworks

My Aunt Kimmy and cousins Lily and Sam came into town on Saturday to surprise me! They came into town so they could attend my bridal shower! (pictures to come- I swear, it was the cutest thing ever). Lucky for us, they decided to stay in town a few more days to hang out! Last night, Bob and his trio played on the rooftop of the Detroit Opera House and it just so happened that last night was also the famous Detroit fireworks! (we do them early because we make a compromise with Canada, who financially contributes and participates in the festivities but on the other side of the Detroit river, in Windsor, Canada. Canada Day is July 1st!) My best friend Lindsay and her boyfriend Glenn also came to town for the shower (Lindsay co-hosted with her Mom!), so naturally we also dragged their butts to the Opera House.

Yay to friends and family being in town! 
Weddings sure do bring people together, I love that.


Ruth Grafstrom


Today I found out that I'm related to Ruth Grafstrom. She is my Great Grandfather Nelson's cousin, her Mother and his Father were siblings. Here is some incredible info about Ruth.

One of America's greatest Fashion artists, Ruth Grafstrom's illustrations for Vogue,  including many Vogue covers had a profound influence on the style of fashion illustration in America from the 1920s through the 1940s.  Brilliant and fiercely independent, Ruth Grafstrum was one of the few women artists in the first half of the 20th century to achieve international success in a field dominated by male artists.  Her work had an immediate and lasting effect on the appearance of the magazine through her distinct bold,  linear style and modernist painterly approach to fashion illustration. Her work was imitated by scores of magazine illustrators in the first half of the century and gave a new style to the genre that continues to this day. 

RUTH SIGRID GRAFSTROM  was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1905. Grafstrom came from a highly artistic family, her father a painter, and mother, a ceramicist. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Colorossi Academy in Paris with Henri Morriset.  Highly precocious, at age 19, Grafstrom was elected to the Art Alliance of America ( 1924 ). In 1937 she was invited to be included in Who's Who in American Art. In 1966 Walt Reed invited her to be represented in his seminal book, " The Illustrator in America ".

As a child Ruth studied under her father, the noted Swedish/American painter, Olof Grafstrom (1855 - 1933) who settled in 1886 in the Pacific Northwest (before returning to Sweden in 1927). Ruth's father's
 landscape paintings had a strong influence on the Northwest School of realist painters, and he was a close friend of the noted Swedish/American painter, Birger Sandzen and the Swedish master, Anders Zorn who Ruth knew as a child. In a Vogue article she credits her greatest early influence to Matisse, whose son gave her an original by his father. Other influences were the works Edgar Degas, Gustave Klimt, and Zorn. She was a close friend of the painters, Guy Pene DuBois and Everett Shinn both of whom she promoted in a gallery exhibition in the 1930s at her East 66 St. New York studio. 

As fashion artist for Vogue in the 1920's and 30's, Grafstrom traveled frequently between her studio in Suffern New York to assignments at the London and Paris offices of Vogue. In addition to American Vogue she made a significant contribution to the look of British Vogue into the 1940s. (In 1940 she shared her East 66th St. studio with the editor of British Vogue.).

In the 1930s and 1940s Grafstrom painted full page illustrations for Ladies's Home Companion, Deliniator Magazine, the Matson Lines, Neiman Marcus, Macys, Gimbels  I. Magnin, Coty, McCalls  and Colliers Illustrated Weekly.  Her work brought her many awards and exhibitions including annual exhibitions at the New York Art Dealers Club, The Society of Illustrators in New York and the Seligman Gallery. 

After World War ll Grafton retired from fashion art due to poor health. Seeking a warmer climate, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1949, before going on to establishing a studio home on George St. in St. Augustine, Florida where she remained for the rest of her life. There, she continued to be active as a painter through the 1960s and 1970s.  Tragically, after a brilliant life as a fashion luminary, she fell on hard times and obscurity in her last years, and was forced to liquidate and auction what little remained of her art collection and furniture. The early oil portraits and fashion works from the 20s, 30s and 40s that survived are rare. 

Here are some of her pieces:

For Father's day, my Aunt Cassie got my Uncle Joe a "lot" of Ruth's things including two oil portraits (see below) some illustrations, letters and photographs. Also below, you will find a photo that was part of the lot of Ruth and her family, my Great Grandfather is on the far left.

I have always had an intense love for fashion and not just shopping, most women love shopping, but I mean for fashion. The history, the art, the designers, the craft. It's fascinating to me. I also find her involvement in advertising very interesting, considering myself, my sister, my cousin and two of my uncles are all in advertising and all are in creative advertising (except me). I feel a true connection to this woman I know little about. The end of her life did not seem a happy one and I'm very curious to learn why. She had a career that was unparalleled by very few women at the time and even today her accomplishments would be impressive, fashion is still a very male dominated field when it comes to creative opportunities. I have to wonder what went wrong. All info I can find online suggests she basically fell off the map after the war. 

To be continued.................iz


The Sequins Orchestra

Bob and I are having so much fun playing with John Holk and The Sequins. We played at Kelly's in Hamtramck (traditionally an old Polish city outside of Detroit- the BEST Polish food in the Midwest!) A recent survey found 26 native languages spoken by Hamtramck schoolchildren. The city's motto is "A League of Nations". Here are a few shots from last nights show. Thanks to my friends and family who came out and took the pics!

We played on a Wensday!

Our friend Liz sat in for a few songs! One thing I'm really starting to love about the Detroit honky-tonk scene is that everybody is so supportive of each others bands. Most of last nights audience was made up of friends who play in other honky-tonk groups, which makes the whole night feel like one big party!

My Detroit jacket.
One of my all time favorite vintage finds.


D & Scott

One of my closest girl friends, who I have come to adore (even though we only met a year and a half ago) recently got engaged, is moving to Scottsdale and is starting a new job all in a few months. She's crazy, but if anyone can handle it, it's Danielle. Her friends Dustin and Tracey decided to host a wonderful engagement/going away party for them and it was a lovely night.

This is the moment where I had my engagement ring, Danielle's engagement ring and two diamond necklaces on. I was real blinged out and I didn't hate it! 

love you D!
Can't wait to see how all of these exciting times unfold.


Choir Shower

Bob directs music at a church in Birmingham which recently closed and merged with another church. But for 11 years, Bob has lead the St. Columban choir and we've become a little family of our own. If it weren't for choir, who knows, maybe Bob and I wouldn't be getting married now. We were lucky enough to have a bridal shower today hosted by our beloved choir friends.

Thank you Diane and Pat for hosting and thank you choir family for all the love.



The fair is in town! I have so many memories of going to the Birmingham fair as a kid. My Mom used to surprise me and wake me up late at night (in reality, probably like 9:30 or 10 at night. haha) and take me to the fair to ride the ferris wheel at night- it's much more picturesque and peaceful if you haven't tried it. It's one of my best memories of not only my childhood but also of the mother/daughter relationship I have with my Mom.

Saturday, Bob and I went to the fair with our friends Dan and Meg. It was basically as fun as it was when I was little- we rode the ferris wheel and the pirate ship and tried our luck at a carnival game. whooooooo hoooooooooo!

the view of the fair from the ferris wheel.

a nice snap Dan got of Bob & I on top of the ferris wheel!