Tuesday, December 30, 2008

knitting - a 50's style "fur" collar

The idea of going out and buying a new wardrobe every year is one that, to the best of my memory, started in this country in the 1960’s. Prior to that, the woman of the house annually sat down and re-worked, re-vamped, and restyled her clothes as well as the rest of the family’s, so this project, while not vintage, is certainly vintage-inspired. It offers a little touch of affordable luxury and helps transform a plain winter coat in need of a lift.

My best winter coat is a three year old grey flannel London Fog. The collar is a little "rubbed" and the lining is beginning to go, but the rest of it is fine and it still fits well. I am going to replace the lining, using the old one as a pattern, and hide the worn areas with a new collar. I could use a different shade of flannel, or fake suede, or tweed, but I decided to experiment with something more up-market.

Our local hobby chain had a sale before Christmas on novelty yarns, and I splurged on a fake fur yarn ("Beguile" by YarnBee) for $1.99. These types of yarns require a filler of some kind, something that’s a little thicker to add strength and body. I had ¾ of a skein of Lion Brand Homespun in black left over from a long-ago project, and the thick and thin texture combined with the fake fur resulted in a pleasant unevenness. If you decide to make this project, do a small swatch first to determine your gauge; you will need to know your gauge to achieve the right size for the collar. I used a size 13 needle for a fairly closely-knitted fabric. You don’t want this to be see-through.

My gauge was 2.5 stitches to the inch. I measured the coat collar, and knew that I needed the finished fur collar to be about seven inches wide and twenty-three inches long, with a slightly curved outward edge. I cast on 12 stitches treating the fake fur and the Homespun as one yarn.

Row 1 – knit.
Row 2 – K1, M1, knit to the end.
Row 3 – knit.
Row 4 – K1, M1, knit to the end.

Remember to slip the first stitch purlwise and purl the last stitch in each row through the back for a good-looking selvedge. Continue increasing the second stitch every other row until you have added five stitches. Knit until your collar is 9 rows short of the desired length (this is where calculating your gauge comes in). Decrease the second stitch on every even row, knit the odd rows, until you have twelve stitches left on the needle. Bind off and weave in any yarn tails.

You can use any attractive fake fur/filler yarn combination. This particular pairing looks a lot like Persian lamb and is lovely, very soft to the touch and not too bulky. My mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers would have lined the collar and sewn on snaps. I’m a lazybones and will probably just attach it to the coat collar with small slip-stitches so it can be removed when I send the coat to the cleaners. One skein of the fake fur made one collar with about twenty inches of yarn left over. You could wait for another sale and buy a couple of skeins to make matching cuffs or a band for a Dr. Zhivago-style hat.

Of course, if you want to toss the whole idea of frugality out the window, you could use a luxury mohair yarn as the filler along with one of Paula Lishman’s real fur yarns. It would technically still be recycling but in the end you might be spending enough to pay for a new coat.

CAVEAT KNITTOR: While this a very simple project, all in garter stitch, it’s not really suitable for an absolute novice. Knitting with novelty yarn can be frustrating and a little experience is needed to keep the stitches even, so I would classify this as for the “advanced beginner.” It’s certainly quick to make; I knitted it up in one long powerless afternoon last week. Thank God for a wood-burning stove and a BIG woodpile.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Vintage Sheet Music-Woman Forever March

(Image from Dover. Pity there's only the cover, I'd like to see the lyrics!)

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The temperature rose to 50F/10C here on Friday, and we awoke Saturday morning to pelting rain and gale-force winds. The river is out of its banks and just outside town on Route 165, a row of 1940s-vintage utility poles sheared off at ground level, putting us without power (again) from just before noon yesterday until shortly after 1o’clock this morning.

Knitting by candlelight has disadvantages, not the least being when the cat jumps up on the end table and sets her tail on fire.

Keeping Up The Sides

Although I come from a Christmas roast-beef family, the spousal unit grew up with turkey as the traditional holiday dinner so that’s what we usually have. Not a sacrifice for me, since I like turkey, and besides, at Christmas and Thanksgiving both, it’s all about the side dishes. These are the sorts of things I eat only at the holidays. For some reason they just don’t taste the same at any other time of the year.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

One package raw cranberries (about 2 pints)
2 navel oranges, washed, cut into eights, and seeded
2 cups sugar or to taste

Wash and pick over the cranberries, discarding any bad ones. Put the rest in the bowl of a food process with the sugar and pulse, adding the orange sections one at a time, until everything is coarsely chopped. Taste for sugar and put somewhere cool. This can be made a day ahead.

If you prefer a molded relish, prepare one 3 oz package of orange-flavored gelatin. You can reduce the amount of sugar in the relish by about ¼ cup. Allow the gelatin to cool until it is the texture of raw egg whites. Mix the relish into the gelatin thoroughly; a fork works well and be sure to use a large mixing bowl as this can spatter. Pour it into a mold and set in the refrigerator until the gelatin has congealed. Again, this can be made ahead of time and I have found that if you don’t have orange Jello on hand, cherry or strawberry works well, or plain gelatin made with a cup of orange juice and a cup of hot water.

Sweet Potatoes

6 to 8 large sweet potatoes
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ stick of butter, melted
½ t. salt
1 T. vanilla extract or brandy vanilla

Cook the sweet potatoes, two at a time, in the microwave until they are just done. I find that cooking them on full power for five minutes, flipping them, and then cooking five more minutes is plenty. You want to only partially cook them so that the skins are easier to remove. I do not recommend trying to peel raw sweet potatoes unless you are a masochist.

Allow them to cool and then peel them carefully with a sharp kitchen knife. Your vegetable peeler is going to get gunked up if you use it. Cut the partially cooked sweet potatoes in one inch slices and layer them loosely in a slow cooker, sprinkling each layer with sugar and just a pinch of salt. Melt the butter, add the vanilla, and pour it over the sweet potatoes. Cook for six hours on low.

The key to meltingly delicious sweet potatoes is in the long, slow cooking to bring out the natural sugars, which is why I use the slow cooker. If you think you are going to have enough (we never seem to!) keep back two cups of this for the best sweet potato pie you have ever tasted. No brag, just fact. I had full bird colonels standing in line for this pie when I brought it to the office at Camp Lejeune.

Sweet Potato Pie

Combine the 2 cups of sweet potatoes, 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk with 4 T. of butter melted in it, a little cinnamon and nutmeg, and additional sugar if needed (I do but that’s because the spousal unit has a sweet tooth. Molasses is the traditional sweetener in my mother’s Southern family, but you may prefer to add up to half a cup of brown sugar or Karo syrup). Beat well, pour into two pie shells, and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and back about 45 minutes more or until the filling has set in the middle. Protect the edges of the pie shells with strips of aluminum foil as they will dry out and begin to brown before the pie is done. You can remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.

Possibly superfluous cooking tip: For easier pouring, measure the syrup or molasses in the cup in which you melted the butter.

Waldorf Salad

2 crisp eating apples such as Macintosh or York
Half a head of celery, cleaned and trimmed
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 T mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice or mild vinegar
2 T sugar or equivalent in artificial sweetener

Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar in the serving bowl and allow the sugar to dissolve. Core and dice the apple without peeling them, and toss with the dressing. Cut the celery into ½ inch slices and add to the apples. Place somewhere cool. Just before serving, stir in the walnuts. This can be made ahead but add the walnuts at the last minute.

Corn Pudding

1 stick of butter
1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 can of cream-style corn
1 can of regular corn
1 egg
6 oz sour cream

Melt the butter. Mix all the ingredients together until they are blended but don’t overmix. The cornbread mix will be still just a little lumpy. Bake in a buttered loaf pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for one hour. Test for done-ness with a skewer; if the pudding is done it will cling to the skewer in distinct clumps and will not look raw. Serve hot.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


(photo and caption from the LOLCats).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes?

Christmas afternoon. Youngest nephew, oblivious of the grownups, is amusing himself in the corner with his new Lego set. "Now we're going to play taking cuts in line ahead of Italians!"

His parents have satellite but I'm still trying to figure out where that came from.

Quote of the Day

Let Christmas not become a thing
Merely of merchant's trafficking,
Of tinsel, bell and holly wreath
And surface pleasure, but beneath
The childish glamour, let us find
Nourishment for heart and mind.
Let us follow kinder ways
Through our teeming human maze,
And help the age of peace to come.

Madeline Morse

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What does one do with four calling birds, anyway?

Dona nobis pacem

(I had hoped this would post in the larger size, but I'm afraid you'll have to left-click to read it).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Son of Even More Christmas Stuff Rides Again

Patricia at Agence Eureka has several more pages of vintage Christmas children's activities, including a Père Noel to cut out and assemble, puzzles, coloring pages, and half a dozen patterns for toy animals to sew (that would look great stitched in brightly colored felt, and hanging from the Christmas tree). Scroll down to 22 decembre.

(note: I am creating and scheduling all of my posts in the intervals between power and Internet outages. If you have attempted to contact me and I haven't answered, I'm not being a Scrooge, just a victim of Mother Nature!).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sewing - Men's Scuffs and Case from 1947

A pair of men's scuffs and a matching case to sew, from Crochet and Knitting for Every Woman, pub. 1947. The photo and three pages of instructions may be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There is some corner of a foreign kitchen that is forever England...

(image from Dover Publications).

Once upon a time a British resident of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong collected recipes from her friends to produce a cookbook in aid of the St. John’s Cathedral Michaelmas Fair. Her name was Lady Young and I found her book online. Reading it raises a number of questions.

Who were these people? Could they not afford a local cook, one that knew how to make beggar’s chicken, steamed dumplings and salt-baked prawns? Or did they simply carry their English culinary traditions with them everywhere, along with their passports and le five o’clock, immutably English and unchangeable? Oh, Lady Young did provide five pages of “Chinese” recipes including one for a sort of almond gruel made with Carnation canned cream, but everything else is straight out of Woman and Home and the Sunday cookery columns. For example:

Crab-Meat Casserole

1 can crab meat (6-7 oz)
1 can condensed tomato soup
Milk, ¾ cup, or half evaporated milk and half water
2 t. lemon juice
1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs
Butter or margarine, melted, 2 T
Salt, ½ t.
Cayenne, dash (optional)
Hard-cooked eggs, sliced 3
Buttered crumbs, ¼ cup

Remove shell tissue and flake crabmeat, combine with soup, milk, lemon juice, bread crumbs, butter or margarine, salt and cayenne, mix well. Add eggs, mix lightly. Pour into greased casserole (1 quart) or 4 individual baking dishes. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over the top and bake in moderate oven 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.

(If I were lucky enough to find myself back in Hong Kong and someone tried to feed me a casserole made with condensed soup, I would probably quietly garrote them and then head for the closest yum cha shop).

Italian Fish Pie

1 teacup boiled macaroni
2 teacups white sauce
1 teacup tinned peas
1 ½ teacups strained flaked tinned salmon
1 teacup diced boiled carrot
½ teacup grated cheese

Drain macaroni well and arrange half of it in the bottom of a shallow greased fireproof dish. Cover with the salmon, then with half the sauce. Mix the carrot with the peas and sprinkle evenly over the top. Cover with the remainder of sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, for about ¾ of an hour. For six persons.

(I’ll let you find the recipe for tuna loaf with dill-pickle sauce by yourselves).

Golden Prune Salad

Prunes, cooked, 20
Oranges, seedless, 2
Carrot, grated fine, ½ cup
Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon
Slat, ¼ teaspoon
Red apple, 1

Have all ingredients well chilled. Pit the prunes. Peel and section oranges, holding over bowl to catch juice. Combine carrot, mayonnaise and salt; add orange juice, blend. Fill each prune with 1 teaspoon of carrot mixture. Cut unpared apple into 20 lengthwise slices, removing core. On each plate arrange 5 prunes in center on bed of lettuce, surround with 5 orange sections alternating with apple slices. French dressing is good with this. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fatal Beauty

Yesterday's ice storm was beautiful. Everything is encased in a coating of silvery ice and even a prosaic chain link fence glitters with a dressing of diamonds.

The aftermath is more heartbreaking. In a village like ours, most of the hardwood trees are the size of houses, at least 60 years old, and highly susceptible to ice damage.

The beautiful maple across the street has lost two large branches and our next-door neighbor’s backyard shade tree snapped off about three feet from the ground, as did the apple tree next to my BIL/SIL’s house.

These last two are not small, each had a trunk at least six inches in diameter. Fortunately, the schools were closed, because the spousal unit was out all morning with his chainsaw helping clear away the debris.

We lost only two minor branches from the maple in the side yard but nearly everyone in town has tree damage. We were without internet access for thirty-six hours but without power for only twelve. I stayed in bed with the Drama Queen as both of us are smart enough to know where the warmest place in the house is. SU went through two pairs of snow boots.

Fortunately the temperature never dropped below 35F/1C. Had it gotten much colder I think the mayor would have opened a warming shelter in the high school gym. Like every little town we have a wrong side of the tracks. In our case its a trailer park on the south side, near the river, and babies/toddlers who live there would have needed someplace warm to sleep if we hadn’t gotten power back that afternoon.

We are normally at daggers drawn with the local utility company (their tree-removal policies are draconian) but when a freezing rain is falling and the road is a skating rink and there’s some guy or gal fifteen feet up a power pole restoring the circuits, I have to take off my hat to them.

The temperature is dropping (from 35F/1C an hour ago, it is now 29F/-1C and the wind is picking up; the spousal unit predicts we’ll lose power again before midnight.


(photo and image from the LOLCats).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. Robert Brault

(winter scene from Patricia at Agence Eureka, who has some cute vintage cutouts up on her blog right now. The wheelbarrow and the baby carriage could be printed on cardstock, assembled and filled with candy as part of a mantel or table scene).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Signs and Omens

There is a strong possibility that we will be without power and Internet access for the next few days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vintage Advertising-Holly Brand Oranges

(copyright-free clipart from Dover).

George Bernard Shaw was Right

Get Fuzzy
England and the US are two countries separated by the same language.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Beginnning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

View from my front door looking straight out.

View from my front door looking east.

View from my front door looking west. For the past three hours the snow has been falling vertically. The Drama Queen is still convinced that this is all my doing and has kicked Reserve Cat out of my lingerie drawer so that she can sulk in private.

Son of Even More Christmas Stuff

The Toymaker has some lovely paper projects on her site for children of all ages. Downloads are free but she does take donations.

Knitting - 2 Needle Gloves from 1947

Women's gloves of knitting worsted from Crochet and Knitting for Every Woman, 1947. I have read through the pattern and I think I'd have to plunge in and take it on faith that they'd come out looking like the photo. The instructions are on my Flickr account.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've been entering the weekly pattern giveaway at The Hem Line and this week I won two terrific vintage 50's patterns, one of them a hot jacket!

(A great big thank you to Lisa for this early Christmas present).

Vintage Book Illustrations-Kate Greenaway

(clipart from Dover).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sweet Treats for Teens

If you believe the women’s magazines and promotional cookbooks of the 1950’s and 1960's, the way to get teenaged girls interested in cooking was by appealing to the sweet tooth that all teenagers in those days—who subsisted largely on a diet of vanilla Cokes and ice cream sodas—were known to have. Understanding moms helped their daughters’ coolness quotients by allowing them to make lots of sugar-loaded treats for slumber parties and impromptu sock hops down in the rumpus room. This chapter (from a 1967 Nestlé’s pamphlet called Plain and Fancy), guaranteed adolescent popularity with a dozen pages of instructions for teen-pleasin’ concoctions. My teeth hurt just from reading them.

Circus Flip

Place in a small bowl
-2 T. peanut butter

and blend in gradually
-¼ c. milk

Combine in a covered 1 ½ quart refrigerator container, and stir to blend
-3 ¼ c. milk
-peanut butter mixture
-8 heaping t. Nestle’s Chocolate Quik

Cover and chill. Shake well before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Choco-Scotch Treats

Combine and melt over hot (not boiling) water
-1 6 oz package (1 c.) Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
-1 6 oz package (1 c.) Nestlé’s Butterscotch Morsels

Stir in and blend well
-3 c. oven-toasted rice cereal
-1 c. salted peanuts

Press into greased 9” square pan. Chill till set. Cut into 1 ½” squares.

Scrabble Squares

Melt over hot (not boiling) water
-1 12 oz jumbo package (2 c.) Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
-2 T shortening

Combine in bowl:
-1 6 ¼ oz package (about 3 cups) miniature marshmallows
-2 c. coarsely-broken pretzels

Add and fold in carefully till blended
-Chocolate mixture

Spread evenly in foil-lined 11 x 7 ½ x 1 ½ inch or 9 inch square pan. Chill till firm. To serve, let stand at room temperature a few minutes; remove from pan, then cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

Black-Eyed Chew-‘Ums

Combine and melt over hot (not boiling) water; stir to blend
-1 6-oz pkg (1 c.) Nestlé’s Butterscotch Morsels
-½ c. peanut butter

Remove from heat.

Add and mix till well coated
-1 ½ c. corn flakes
-1 c. miniature marshmallows
-½ c. raisins

Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets. Chill till set.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


(image/caption courtesy of the LOLCats).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Mrs. Budlong gave heaps of presents. Christmas was an industry with her, an ambition; Christmas was her career…

Mrs. Budlong's campaign was undertaken with the same farsightedness
as a magazine editor's. On or about the Fourth of July she began to
worry and plan. By the second week in August she had her tatting
well under way. By the middle of September she was getting in her
embroidered doilies. The earliest frost rarely surprised her with
her quilts untufted. And when the first snow flew, her sachet bags
were all stuffed and smelly." Mrs. Budlong's Christmas Presents, by Rupert Hughes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It looks so good on Myrna Loy...

I think Reserve Cat is giving me fur-trimmed lingerie for Christmas.

Of course, he gave me the same thing last Valentine's Day.

I am so proud

The governor of our great State was arrested by the Feds on Tuesday. This will be our fifth governor in thirty five years to be indicted (the last governor is still in prison).

The venality of it doesn't bother me as much as the utter stupidity. He actually thought he was going to get away with it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Even MORE Christmas Stuff

Please visit Tipnut to check out her vintage Christmas (and other) crafts, such as this twirly 50's apron and some vintage felt ornaments.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sewing - A Bracelet Bag and Hat from 1947

It took me a couple of read-throughs before I grasped the instructions; this bag is just a tube of felt, trimmed with bias tape, and drawn through a matching ring. It’s tacked to the ring and the weight and bulk of the felt should keep it from falling open, but I think if I were going to make it I’d add a couple of discreet snap fasteners under the fold. Just for insurance. We carry more in our bags than 1940’s ladies ever did.

These types of bags were known as bracelet bags as they were carried looped over the wrist. And I love the hat (the instructions don’t tell you how to enlarge the pattern, but the squares should be one inch). This is another gift idea from Crochet and Knitting for Every Woman, which obviously should be Crochet, Knitting and Sewing for Every Woman. The hat pattern and the instructions can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vintage Book Cover - A Christmas Posy

Late Victorian gift book, suitable for children, with very fine illustrations by Walter Crane.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Back of the Box

(totally gratuitous kitty picture from the LOLCats).

It’s hardly an industry secret that food conglomerates hire people to develop recipes using their products, which recipes are then usually printed somewhere on the packaging. Some are pretty awful (for example, almost anything made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup) but some are quite good. Three of my favorite cookie recipes fall into this category.

Tollhouse Cookies

Actually, Mrs. Ruth Wakefield, who owned a New England hotel called the Toll House Inn, created these cookies during the Depression. She made her chocolate chips the old-fashioned way, by chopping a block of chocolate into pieces, but was happy to sell her recipe to the Nestlé people. The spousal unit loves these cookies and makes them often. He adheres strictly to the recipe on the Nestlé Milk Chocolate Morsels package except he leaves out the nuts (for some reason a few years ago Nestlé took the milk out of the recipe. SU leaves it in. I think it just makes the dough a little easier to handle).

2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
¾ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 T. milk
1 ¾ cups (one package) of chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and sugars and then add the milk, vanilla, and eggs, one at a time. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips, and the nuts if you are using them. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes or until they are golden brown. These will spread out a bit during baking so don’t put them too close together.

Oatmeal Cookies

I am a chocolaholic but prefer these to Tollhouse cookies. I use the recipe under the lid on the Quaker Oats box, to which I add nutmeg and cloves, and the milk because three cups of oatmeal makes a very stiff dough. You can skip the milk; in fact, it does produce extremely tender cookies and they’ll break as you’re taking them off the baking sheet if you aren’t careful. Walnuts and dried fruit (such as Craisins) are tasty additions, and this can be made into a bar cookie by spreading the dough in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan and baking it for about 30 minutes. Some people put in coconut, chocolate chips, Reese’s pieces, etc.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
¼ c milk (optional)
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. ground cloves
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. salt
3 c. uncooked Quaker Oats oatmeal
1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars. Beat the eggs lightly with the milk and vanilla. Stir together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the flour and the egg/milk mixture alternately, beating well. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. These cookies flatten and spread out as they bake, particularly if you add milk. Makes about 5 dozen.

Lemon Bars

This recipe used to be on boxes of Domino powdered sugar here in the US (icing sugar in Canada and the UK). It’s almost a lemon meringue pie in cookie form and impossible to eat without getting sugar all over your shirt-front. I love these cookies and if they are out on the dessert buffet at church suppers they’re the first ones I look for. Don’t use bottled lemon juice unless you really truly have no source of fresh lemons. That stuff is nasty.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ c powdered sugar, unsifted
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 t. baking powder
About 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cookie crust: Cream the butter and the ½ cup powdered sugar until fluffy. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until blended. Spread evenly over the bottom of a well-greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool.

Custard layer: Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until thick. Add the lemon juice, remaining ½ c. flour, and baking powder and beat until thoroughly blended. Pour the lemon/egg mixture over the baked crust and return to oven; bake 25-30 minutes until golden and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with about 2 more tablespoons of powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely and cut into small squares.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


(Photo and article from the Ottawa Citizen).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Adversity, like winter weather, is of use to kill those vermin which the summer of prosperity is apt to produce and nourish." Arrowsmith.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Christmas Stuff!

There are several hundred wonderful vintage Russian Christmas cards at Mazaika. And MeggieCat has some great retro Christmas needlework and papercraft links on her blog, including a set of 1941 Workbasket holiday stencils.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Crochet - Trim for a Nightie

This set of crocheted lace trimmings is intended to be sewn to a nightie (ready- or home-made), but I am thinking that it would look demure and Edwardian on a v-necked, empire waist blouse, maybe Simplicity 2732 or Vogue 8503. Two pages of instructions can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

The original is from Crochet and Knitting for Every Woman; 300 Things To Make, published "exclusively" for the People's Book Club of Chicago, Illinois in 1947. It really is a dandy little book and I'll be posting a few more gift ideas from it over the next three weeks.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Even More Kitty Nonsense

(their combat dispersion is terrible. No wonder the cat got them).

Vintage Greeting Cards - Christmas

A page of copyright-free vintage Christmas cards from Dover.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Es Hat Geschneit!

(Family joke. Will explain later).

Babyface has never seen snow before.

Funnyface is acting blasé since he is one and a half and this is his second winter.

Reserve Cat set the record for the thirty-inch dash when I opened the door for him this morning, and refuses to go back outside.

And the Drama Queen of course knows that this is all my fault. Left click for a close-up of that glare.

(For twenty-six years we lived in the same school district and attended the same schools with the same teachers. All of us – at least until my youngest sister kicked over the traces and announced defiantly that she was going to study French – took at least two years of German. The German department at the High School was ruled by a Viennese lady of unknown years and known habits and as sure as God made little green apples, when the first snowflake hit the ground in December, the German II class obediently sat down to write an essay titled “Es hat geschneit!” It has become a family catchphrase).

A Menu for the Last Sunday in November

This is from Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners, published by the Woman’s World Magazine Company of Chicago, Illinois in 1927 and subtitled Being a selection of tested and balanced menus, easily and economically prepared, for every Sunday in the year. I don’t know about the easily, even if Mama had a new-fangled gas stove and a cook, but here is the recommended bill of fare for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Fruit Cocktail
Roast Goose with Apple-Prune Sauce
Stuffed Olives
Glace Sweet Potatoes, Duchesse Potatoes, and Creamed Celery
Buttered Parker House Rolls
Head Lettuce Salad, Cheese Straws
Brick Ice Cream and Lady Baltimore Cake
Coffee, Salted Almonds, After-Dinner-Mints

And here are some of the recipes.

Fruit Cocktail

Use ½ grapefruit for each portion, take out pulp, remove seeds and pith. Add for every 2 grapefruit (4 portions) the pulp of 1 orange and a dozen skinned and seeded white grapes. Put fruit in a mold which has a close cover. Sprinkle with lemon juice—1 lemon to 4 grapefruit—powdered sugar and a shake of cayenne or paprika. Put mold in ice compartment of refrigerator until ready to serve. Keep grapefruit skins in ice water. When ready, drain and dry skins, fill with the ice-cold fruit, and put in a little of the juice, beating well before adding.

(21st century comment – wait…skin and seed the grapes? Seriously?)

Roast Goose

Select a young goose, weighing 8 or 10 lbs. Scrub well with hot water to which a little washing soda has been added, then rinse well and dry outside and in. Make a stuffing of freshly boiled and mashed potatoes, seasoning with salt, pepper, powdered sage and a very little onion. Stuff but do not pack. Sew up, truss, then put in a steamer and steam for an hour to sweat off the excess fat and make the meat more tender. Some cooks parboil a goose for half an hour before wiping dry and stuffing. Then rub all over with flour seasoned with pepper and salt and roast, putting 1-½ cups boiling water in the pan. Roast 20 minutes to the pound for a young goose, and 30 minutes to the pound if doubtful of its tenderness. Remove from pan to platter when done, turn off all the grease and after stirring in the flour for thickening let it fry a minute or so to get brown before adding the water.

(The pre-steaming sounds like a good idea but I was under the impression that washing soda was poisonous).

Creamed Celery

Clean outside stalks and white leaves of a head of celery, cut in small pieces and cook until tender in 3 cups water. Scald a slice of onion in 2 cups milk in a double boiler. Rub celery when soft through a sieve. Blend 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons butter, cook for a few minutes until well blended, gradually add the milk, strained, and the celery, season with celery salt and pepper.

(This doesn’t sound too bad except for the cornstarch. Flour yes, but cornstarch?).

Vintage kitchen image from Patricia at Agence Eureka.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


(image and caption from the LOLCats).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

Give, and it shall be given to you. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return. Luke 6:38

(copyright-free clipart image from Dover).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Annual Question

Can someone explain to me the appeal of a Turducken?

Tatting-Variations on a Theme

Four more motifs for the 25 Motif Challenge, but if you check you will notice that all of them -- except Edda's Violette -- are variations on the same basic 3-3-3-3 rings and 3-3-3 chains. Even the wreath is just a strip of edging joined to make a circle, and the red bookmark (well, it will be a bookmark when I get some ribbon on it) is the same edging joined mirror image.

I have been approached about teaching a needle tatting class at a local shop and Edda has kindly given me permission to use her pattern. Mille grazie, Edda!