Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm All Packed

...and will be leaving for a four-day conference in Milwaukee in about an hour. Blogging is suspended until Caturday!

Crochet - A Baby's Hood from 1907

From the Columbia Book of Yarns, by Anna Schumaker, published in 1907. This baby's hood was crocheted in "3-fold Columbia Saxony," which was a lightweight yarn used for infant's clothing and ladies' stockings. The instructions are on my Flickr account.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vintage Children's Book Illustrations-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, by Arthur Rackham. Image courtesy Dover Publications.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Thousand Ways To Please A Husband

“With Bettina’s Best Recipes. The Romance of Cookery AND HOUSEKEEPING.”

Written by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron and published in 1917, it is dedicated to:

After assuring you that Bettina’s measurements are all level, the authors launch into 461 pages of recipes and chirpy prose, with chapter titles such as “Bob’s Christmas Gift to Bettina” and “Ruth Comes to Luncheon.” It’s a sweet little nostalgic wallow and can be downloaded from Google Books.

Here, for example, is what Bettina feeds Bob on their very first night in their new home after the honeymoon. He suggests they eat at a hotel but Bettina, wise and careful bride that she is, has already planned for their return, and with the help of her “emergency shelf” she whips up a delicious and economical supper.

Creamed Tuna on Toast Strips
Canned Peas in Butter Sauce
Rolls, Butter, Strawberry Preserves
Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

This repast pleases not only her husband’s taste buds but also his wallet, and he fondly declares that “Lots of girls know how to cook, but mighty few know how to be economical at the same time.”

Bettina’s Creamed Tuna

1 T butter
1 T flour
¼ t salt
½ slice pimento
1 C milk
3 slices of bread
½ C tuna

Melt the butter, add the flour salt, and pimento. Mix well. Gradually pour in the milk. Allow the mixture to boil one minute. Stir constantly. Add the fish, cook one minute and pour over toasted strips of bread.

Betrothed young ladies should be sure to read chapter 60, “A Kitchen Shower for Alice.”

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sometimes a Great Notion

Ol' weapons-grade crazy Fred Phelps is on the loose again.

Although I would derive a certain visceral satisfaction from watching him fall to his death from a high cliff onto sharp pointy rocks, perhaps Patrick from Popehat has the right idea.

"Tomorrow morning Phelps and his crew of bigots will be spewing their homophobic anti-semitic bile at Union Temple, a reform Judaism synagogue in Brooklyn. If you’re reading this, and have a few dollars to spare for a good deed, perhaps a donation to one of their affiliated charities might be in order.

Make it in the name of Corporal Matthew Snyder, for the forgiveness of Fred Phelps."

(image from Willohroots).


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, September 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Online Bookshelf - My Father's Dragon

There's something seriously wrong with anyone who can resist this cover. Free download at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm positive we didn't have this problem back in the old Corps

(vintage ad from Patricia at Agence Eureka).

Soldiers in Sweden are complaining that the military-issue brassieres they have to wear are too flammable.

I really couldn't make this up, could I?

Patterns of the Past - McCall's Embroidery Pattern

From McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Winter 1945-46, three simple and pretty cross-stitch borders.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Holding Down The Rug

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Crochet - A 1914 Edging

I have a lot of vintage crochet patterns to share; here's one from Needlecraft magazine, June 1914. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paper Toys - A Tour of Japan from the Toymaker

Marilyn AKA the Toymaker has some new paper toys and cutouts up on her site, celebrating the country of Japan. There's a happy cat and a Japanese flag and koi kites. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The Drill of the Century is over. I have been on my feet for two days and I am going to bed (our ERV appears for about three seconds at the 1:22 mark).


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Bloodiest Day in American History

"Every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they stood in their ranks a few minutes before." Antietam, September 17th, 1862.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Online Bookshelf - The Bird Book

By Chester Reed. Published in 1915, with dozens of color paintings of American birds and available for download from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Patterns of the Past-Little Girl's Dresses from 1921

Patterns from the April, 1921 issue of Needlecraft magazine; note the romper dress with the appliqued birdies around the hem. Left-click to enlarge or visit my Flickr account.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

...And One Would Be Wrong

I am working from home today, on two small and one very big project (including this one and this one). Since we have no children, one would assume that I am experiencing no interruptions and getting a lot done.

Crochet-A Hat from 1955

From Woman and Home, May 1955, a hat to crochet in heavy cotton, to go with the wardrobe you just finished sewing.

Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vintage Images - Art Nouveau Motifs

Copyright-free clipart from Dover Publications.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Kitchen for Barbie

From Grandmother Wren's Doll House, instructions to construct a thoroughly up-to-date Barbie kitchen from cocoa tins, shoe boxes, and plastic berry baskets. When I saw this I had a flashback to 1962 or thereabouts, when my best friend Judy York and I used to hide under the lilac bushes behind the garage and draw elaborate floor plans in the dirt for the furniture we created from spools, cardboard, old plastic bottles and jars, and scraps of cloth (did you know the base of the economy-size bottle of Ivory dishwashing soap makes a dandy bathtub for Penny Brite?).

We always used my dolls; Judy's grandmother presented her with a brand-new Madame Alexander every Christmas and every birthday, but these had to stay on the shelf in her room. Whenever I felt a twinge of envy for Judy, I reminded myself that my dolls could be played with (and the few I still have today show it, I'm afraid).

The dining room is here, and I can't wait until Monday to see if there's a living room as well.

(Grandmother Wren has three vintage craft sites, including Grandmother's Pattern Book and Thrifty Creativity).

Come into the Garden, Maud

Although the weather says that it is fall, the garden is still producing…just. Most of the vegetables have lost that wonderful fresh flavor that made eating them out of hand so enjoyable, and now need a little help.


Take 2 slices of crusty home-style bread and bake these in a very slow oven for about twenty minutes. If you already have some good bread that has gone stale, you can skip this part. Cube the stale bread and toss it in a big bowl with the following: 2 or 3 diced Roma tomatoes, a sweet pepper ditto, a fistful of chopped basil or parsley, a half cup of cubed mozzarella or provolone. In a small jar shake 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 4 of olive oil with a pinch of salt and a little black pepper. Pour over the salad and let it stand at room temperature (not in the fridge) for about half an hour while everything mellows. Toss again before serving.

Summer’s End Pie

Beat together 1½ cups of milk, ½ cup of mild shredded cheese, 3 eggs, and about a half teaspoon of salt. Soften 2 cups or so of diced raw vegetables in 2 T. of butter, then fold the vegetables (and the butter) into the egg/cheese batter. I used zucchini and one forlorn little onion--I haven’t ever put tomatoes or bell peppers in this pie but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I also added some thyme to complement the zucchini.

Taste for salt, pour into a well-buttered deep-dish pie pan and bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes. You could bake it in a crust if you prefer. Nice for breakfast or lunch and a useful recipe for any leftover vegetables.

Vegetable Fritters

I came back from Lou’siana after Hurricane Katrina with a big jar of Tony Cachere’s Cajun seasoning and now wonder how I lived without it.

In a food processor, pulse together a zucchini, a red bell pepper, a small onion, and 2 slices of bread. When they are combined but not a puree, add 2 T melted butter and 1 egg, and pulse just until blended. You should have about 4 cups of batter. Add 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and taste before you add more (I love Tony’s but it’s salty).

Heat half a cup of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet.

Your batter should be thick enough to mound on a spoon. If it is too wet, add half a cup of flour or biscuit mix. Drop by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil and fry over medium high heat until the fritters are golden on both sides. These cook very quickly. Drain on paper towels, and serve with ketchup.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Friday, September 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. ~ James Michener

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Online Bookshelf - The Chinese Fairy Book

A book of traditional Chinese tales, published in 1921. It includes half a dozen color plates by children's book illustrator George Washington Hood (1869-1949).

Edited to add: and darn it, the link didn't work! Here it is, at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Patterns of the Past-Ladies' Dresses from 1921

Patterns from the April, 1921 issue of Needlecraft magazine. Compare these very simple-looking dresses with ones from 1914 to see the radical transformation of middle-class women's clothing in the Western world in the years spanning the First World War.

But despite their apparent simplicity, these frocks would have been constructed around either a body lining or a buckram foundation belt, in order to give them the required shape. For more information on early 20's dress foundations, please go here and read the Woman's Institute booklet on Tight Linings and Boning.

Left-click or go to my Flickr account for a larger image.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sewing-The 1950s Slip-on Coat or "Topper"

The last garment in the series, a loose, fingertip-length jacket with pockets and cuffed sleeves. Make it in flannel or tweed and then sew this handbag to match.

Instructions for the topper are on my Flickr account.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vintage Travel Posters-Hotels

(copyright-free images from Dover).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Easy Skillet Meals

One of the more popular home appliances to hit the American kitchen after the Second World War was the electric skillet. This handy device had a built-in temperature control; no longer did the housewife have to gauge whether her oil was hot enough to fry chicken by tossing in a cube of bread and seeing how quickly it browned. And it was portable, allowing Mom (or Dad) to plug it in and cook on the sideboard or the patio. In the servant-less post-War home, this expanded the range of possibilities not just for family dinners, but for entertaining. And when Teflon™ came into common use in the 60’s, sales of electric skillets must have gotten a big boost.

This cookbook is one of a stack I picked up for future blogation at the Mennonite hospital auxiliary’s thrift shop (all hardcover cookbooks fifty cents; oh joy, oh rapture!). The recipes included are both plain and fancy, and some of them look pretty darn good.

Chili Mac was an easy, kid-friendly, inexpensive meal that cooked everything right in the skillet.

Lamb with Lentils is actually a dish my mother used to make (except that lamb for nine people was expensive so she substituted sausages. I think short ribs would be pretty good with this, too).

You could cook desserts in your electric skillet, even the kind of treat the family normally only enjoyed at the State Fair.

I would run out and buy an electric skillet right now just to make funnel cakes.

But this would not be a mass-market, mid-century American cookbook without at least one truly awful recipe incorporating canned luncheon meat. Spam on rice, anyone?

Please check out my Flickr account for a few more pages of recipes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Greatest Generation

Miss Lace 1
I had to go to the veteran’s hospital last week--oops, sorry, it’s the VA Medical Center now.

First let me assure everyone that I’m fine, I have simply decided to ask Uncle Sugar, officially, if he’d like to cough up some cash for any of my little active-duty orthopaedic souvenirs (I regret that I have but one sacroiliac to give for my country).

The lady who took my history and went over my records sent me to the main building for x-rays, which is how I wound up flat on my back on an ice-cold metal table, clinging to a skimpy hospital gown and what was left of my dignity and listening to someone in the waiting room belting out “You Are My Sunshine.”

The singer turned out to be a tiny, frail old man, cocooned in blankets on a gurney. He either ran out of breath or verses, because by the time I reclothed and got back out there he had stopped singing and was flirting madly with a nurse.

(more Male Call on Dan Thompson's site).


Friday, September 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

Everybody must love something, and I know of no objects of love that give such substantial and unfailing returns as books and a garden.~Elizabeth von Arnim

(vintage botanical print from Patricia at Agence Eureka)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Trick or  Treat!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

The Online Bookshelf - Normandy

Published in 1905, a tour book written by the English artist Gordon Home, with beautiful illustrations throughout the book. It can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Patterns of the Past-Royal Society Embroidery Kits

From Home Needlework magazine, February 1916. A mere dollar bought you all the pre-stamped linens to complete this fifteen-piece luncheon set. I think if I hand-embroidered six plate and six glass doilies (not to mention the centerpieces), I'd sit at the head of the table with a yardstick in one hand to rap the knuckles of anyone who even looked like he was going to spill something.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bandits at 10 O'Clock

Spousal unit was coming back from walking the kids tonight when he called me to come out and look; four baby raccoons were huddled in the shadows in front of the door to St. Joe's, across the street. They scooted off around the corner of the church as we watched.

We're guessing they came from one of the big maple trees in Father Carl's back yard, but the question is, where's Mama?

(photo from About Animals of our Planet).

Nobody Messes Wit' Da Queen!

This goes on all day, every day. She lies on her back and waves her paws seductively in the air, and the big lug always falls for it.

Notice the startled yelp at the 7-second mark (followed by the kissy-face).

Sewing-The 1950's Shoulder Bolero

The "shoulder bolero" (more of a capelet/shrug) to go with last week’s sheath dress. I have not made this one so you’ll have to take it on faith. Mrs. Pickens recommends fake fur in her directions, here.