Sunday, March 1, 2009

1 & 2 March 1955 " Speed, Technology, Hair, Clothes, and Food"

Lightweight Motorcycle. Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Motor Co. unveiled a lightweight motorcycle called the Hummer. Weighing 160 lbs., the Hummer will get up to 100 miles per gallon, a top speed of 40 m.p.h. Price: $320 f.o.b. Milwaukee (about $100 under Harley's previous low-priced model). (that is $2521.11 in todays money)

Briefcase Tape Recorder. A battery-operated magnetic tape recorder that is built into an average-sized leather briefcase and weighs less than 12 Ibs. has been put on the market by Manhattan's Amplifier Corp. of America. The recorder, operated by touching a combination lock and switch, can pick up whispers at 12 ft. and ordinary speech at 100 ft. It provides recording for 1½ hours. Price: $225. (that is $1772.66 now that is an expensive gadget! )

On the personal technology front, the march towards better sounding music is really beginning and mingled with consumerism, get ready future, here we come. The beginning of quickly outdated technology with high price tags is beginning. The comparative price for today are in [ ] brackets:

Some 1,000,000 Americans have begun switching to Hi-Fi systems and established a new and burgeoning industry. Each week about 3,000 more homes go hifi. A mere fad until recently, hi-fi has become a $250 million business (equipment sales have increased as much as 500% in some areas since 1952). There is a standard pattern: about two years after an area is saturated with TV, hi-fi moves in.

The best buys among the package units—perhaps not as hi as fi should be, but certainly better than most old-fashioned phonographs—sell at around $150. [$1,181.77] A good custom hi-fi rig costs at least twice that much, and the price can go as high as $2,500. [$19,696,18]
In the wrong equipment, a great deal can go wrong with sound. Its top can be lopped off, like a headless amateur photograph, making a violin sound like a flute because its characteristic overtones are gone; its bottom can be restricted, making the basses sound an octave or more higher (or not at all). Overtones can be added that were never played by the musician (harmonic distortion) or be thickened (intermodulation).
Expensive equipment is not necessarily a guarantee against such hazards. But a good hi-fi system must include at least a turntable, price $60 [$472.71], a diamond stylus, $20 [$157.57] and magnetic cartridge, $15 [$118.18], a good amplifier, $100 [$787.85] and a loudspeaker system, $150 [$1181.77] which now usually consists of at least one woofer (a speaker designed to reproduce low tones) and tweeter (high tones). Tweeters may be cones (sweet, not too brilliant), horns (plenty of highs and often tinny), or the newly developed electrostatic type, in which a flat sheet of metal foil moves in the open air. Most speakers still need an enclosure of some six cubic feet, but it is no longer necessary to have huge coffins standing about the living room.
Looking Forward. When the all-out audiophile swings into action, his pet weapon is the tape recorder, with which he captures music for future use from his FM radio or his own and his friends' LPs.
At the current price of tape up to $5 per hour [$39.39], the tapeworm's music will cost him about as much as the most expensive LP; often it will sound better, because tape at its best reduces surface noise.

How is this for portable music. The pre-ipod maybe?

I thought I would talk about hair and clothes today.

I really want to get my hair cut short and plan on doing so in the future.

Here is a great commercial for a home perm showing wonderful short hairstyles of the day.

For my, it is a toss up between the loose casual style and the medium style. I want some where between those two.

However, I really want this look and I , too , do not want any "fussy frizzy styles" and I think I WANT a Bobbi perm.

What is wonderful about this advert is there is a great shot showing how she set her hair in the bobby pins to get that look! I want to try setting my hair like this after I get it cut and if I like the look of it, get a homeperm and try it this way with the pincurls and NOT perm rods. It makes sense, really. I never thought I would get another perm after my horror of one in the 1980s. I looked like a drowning poodle!

Unfortunately, I cannot find Bobbi perms any longer but the Vermont Country Store has the Lilt version. I am not sure, yet. I would have my hairdresser do it, but since my project I don't really trust anyone to try and recreate a style they little to nothing about. What do any of you think?

However, with my recent foray into home sewing my clothes and now considering doing my own permanent, I am concerned I may be reliving this hilarious scene from an "I Love Lucy" episdoe.

Now, before I said I would try to show some of the places I try to use as resources for vintage. Obviously one great source for vintage one of a kinds is Etsy. These Shoes are wonderful and though I would have once thought them only appropriate to the 1960s, I see many shoes similiar to this in my 50's magazines. I have two pair similiar to these in navy and white and red and white. Believe you me, if I could wear a size 8, I wouldn't be showing these to you except for maybe in a photo of them on my feet! But, for any of you 8's out there, $24.00 is pretty cheap for these shoes.

With stockings, sometimes I come across things like these. But, really for me, as I need to wear these as a normal part of my life, I stick with new reproductions. It is more afordable and realistic for me. There is the LadyGrace I had mentioned before. These are some of my favorites, though they do not have seams, but they are cheap and indestructible. I am very tall so the Queen size is perfect for long legs. These cost a little more and also do not have seams, but are really nice and hubby's like them, believe me! (I sometimes think lace was invented for men as much as women!) Now These are nice and I think a good buy, only they are in black. It is finding the seamed tan/nude stocking that is hard for me and they are honestly what you wear most of the time. Black is really more for evening, I believe. These are nice and you can get them in beige but not in the large, so they don't work for me. But, they look like a good price and if you can wear a small or a medium and want the beige, they look nice. Let me know if you try them.
For shoes it is really just hit and miss. I think I have found most of my really great vintage and vintage inspired on ebay. I have a large foot and it is hard to always buy vintage, but a site like this has great reproductions, but they are not cheap. But, then again, a frugal style of a few pair of high quality shoes that won't go out of style (another boon to dressing vintage!) can sometimes allow for a high priced shoe.
Now, for clothes, as you have been witnessing, sewing is going to hopefully be my salvation there. As I said, I am tall, so it is not always easy to find vintage things to fit me. But, I have good luck with cardigans and accesories at local thrift shops and also ebay. My fantasy by the years end is a redesigned newly built walk in closet (based on ideas in my homemakers manuals) neatly organized with hats in hatboxes (besides vintage ones, they always make hatbox size boxes in very pretty patterns at places like HomeGoods an such that are used for storage boxes, but they are indeed the original size of hatboxes.) Drawers for all my vintage hose and underthings organzied, scarves and gloves divided up for summer and winter wear. Shoes neatly placed on one wall with off season ones neatly stored in shoe boxes papered in a similiar pleasing pattern. And, of course, rows of my homemade dresses mingling happily with my vintage and modern but vintage inspired store bought items. Ahhhh. That will be a nice christmas present for myself, I think.

With my sewing I want to show some of the fabrics and the pattern I got the other day. As you remember, I post this pic as it was an inspiration for a pattern and some fabric.

Here is the pattern. I know the sleelves are different, but I think it was fairly close. This is the fabric I chose which I think has a very vintage feel and rather close to the original don't you think? This photo shows an enlarged closeup of the pattern, which I think is just lovely, don't you?

I had bought this pattern before and posted it for you, but I am showing it again to show the pattern I will be using for these fabrics.
The black and white two tone version of the dress will be made in this fabric. I am going ot use the pink in the front and the blue as the overskirt.

Here is the blue close-up and I really think it has a vintage feel as well.

This color combination will also be for the black and white dress. I will have the brown on the front and the back of the bodice and this pretty pink fabric as just the overskirt. I hope it looks good. I think the pink fabric is a very 1950s dusty/salmon pink.

Now, in the kitchen here is the eggs benny I made for our sunday breakfast. I actually prefer to make them on toast and they were quite yummy.

Gussie made us some delicious cinnamon rolls for Sunday breakfast, as well.
Here she is rolling it out.
Rolling them up,
and yummy,

here they are done.

They were delicious.

I am going to show pics and talk about recipes tomorrow concerning saturdays 1950's dinner.

Okay, I have spent too much modern time trying to figure out how the heck to imbed this MP3 they sent me of my interview. I have tried numerous times and it will not work. Please if anyone can help me or tell me how to do it.

Addendum: I think I may have figured it out, so hold on this may work. IF it does, please excuse my voice. I had been very ill and had actually lost my voice the day before, so please excuse it.


  1. Don't you absolutely love vintage comercials? Hubbs and I don't have television cable, but on the odd occassion we catch modern commercials, we just look at each other and say, "How dumb do they think we are these days?" By the way, I think (if it's year/age appropriate) you'd look great in one of those Italian bob hair cuts (Lucy had one too!).

    I love the patterns you've picked out! I so admire the ladies who sew. I cannot get the knack of it. Perhaps I need to come by for a lesson! ;0) Too bad Callifornia and Massachusetts are so far away! Can't wait to see how those dresses turn out. (Loved the interview--it just finished.)

    Oh! I ordered milk bottles!

  2. Dearest,

    I was so delighted to hear your lovely voice as you spoke over the radio broadcast! It was fun to hear you compare 2009 to 1955...I thought your answers were very well thought-out and I hope that they will interview you again as you progress in your project.

    I adore your patterns and hope you will post pictures of the finished garments! How is your decorating coming along? I am anxious to see your decor a la 50' sounds charming.

    Well, off to bake something, pay bills and go to the bank. Now if I only had a hat and gloves....!

    Yours so kindredly,
    Honey Hill Farm

  3. I posted another comment to your last blog post below about baking soda and vinegar. Hope it will help to give you some ideas.

    Again. I love your blog.
    Have a great day.


  4. I highly recommend you this stocking site:
    Great price, fab service, and a LOT to choose from, they even have a collection for tall girls like you. They have stockings made on the old machines - that's almost vintage. :) Check out their bargain page.

    I also want to share my collection of vintage shoes with you:
    But I am lucky to wear size 6, so my feet fit perfectly in all those vintage shoes. I adore clear lucite shoes, which I use a lot during Summer.

    Have a lovely day, dear! :)

  5. Awesome! I remember getting "Tonette" perms as a girl in the 60's -the smell! Off topic- what are you using for beauty products? Cold cream? Vintage shades of lipstick? I remember my mom's wonderful Max Factor red lipstick - I have never seen that color since childhood. Thank you for sharing all your adventures! Dee

  6. I want one of those Harley Hummers!

  7. I use cold cream (which I adore and will never use overpriced creams again, my skin is SO smooth, I know I sound like an old commercial) My makeup is vintage inspired. I have two shades of red and some pinks with coordinating nail polish. I realized I could use the pink AFTER seeing Seven Year Itch, as Marilyn is wearing a pink shade throughout. I use eyeshadows in whites/creams/browns and sometimes a hint of blue. I use liquid eyeliner to draw on my upper lash line and sometimes I wear false eyelashes, but I have trouble wiht the glue any pointers ladies? Actually one of my red shades is actually called Vintage Red.

  8. Lovely to hear your voice, I enjoyed the interview. I really like the blue fabric you have chosen for the first dress and that is a sewing pattern that I have been eyeing off for a while now. I especially like the four gored skirt rather than a gathered skirt, very flattering.

  9. 50sgal, I don't wear false eyelashes but, for vintage makeup, one of the people at YouTube I enjoy watching is Ask me makeup with Amy B Super Kawaii Mama's hair and makeup videos are great but, I think everyone here already knows about her! :)

    If I were you, I would work at perfecting my hairstyle with pin curls while putting the word out that you are in search of a hairstylist skilled at vintage styles who could give you a perm. Where I live, some older ladies still get their hair "done" every week, so if I saw someone with an older style that I liked, I would definitely ask them who does their hair.

    I have long but narrow feet so shoe shopping is a pain for me as well. I have problems with my feet so most of the time I have to wear boring shoes that support my feet and ankles. I do enjoy looking at pretty shoes though! *sighs*

    In your last post I wrote a comment about using a container to hold baking soda to use as a scouring powder. I just tried out my cordless drill on the lid of an old peanut butter jar and it worked! I used a very small diameter (like 1/16th of an inch) and it didn't crack! I think I'll save the lid off another jar and use that to replace the drilled top when I'm not cleaning.

    Thanks for posting the interview! You do realize that we will now hear your voice in our heads as we read your posts? ;)

  10. Hairball-Oh Lord! I hope not, as my voice sounds rather odd in that interview. In all my frustration and research to get the mp3 to work I started to find things about podcasting on your blog. I may have to do at leaste one podcast just so you can hear me a little less cold-sounding.
    That drill trick sounds good.
    I have always loved shoes, but now I am amazed how many new shoes are very vintage looking. I have also always liked heels, but now that I do wear them more often (No I do not wear stilettos while I clean!) but I often find at the end of the day, if I have been out to town and marketing, that I take off my apron to sit to dinner after having worked the rest of the day, even running up and down stairs, and realize I am still wearing a pair of my lower heels. It is interesting how quickly we become adapted to things. Well, I had better get back to sewing and laundry or I will have only piles of fabric I will have to wrap around me toga style tied with a belt. Now how is THAT going to look at the Garden Club meeting, honestly, I ask you.

  11. I loved it! It was so nice to finally hear the interview and I'm so glad and proud that you decided to do it. And no, you don't sound ill. :) It was wonderful. Way to go! I love those perm ads. I think I might try to do some type of pin-curl one of these days. Maybe we can try it together on a sewing and/or beauty day. Ciao for now.

  12. Oh Emer-congratulations on ordering milk bottles. It just seems normal to me that I now have them. I even have two vintage looking bottles that are actually new with a screw on top to hold cream and any overflow milk when I go shopping.

  13. If you have a chance to get up to Boston, make an appointment at Miss Laura's at Cla-Mar in JP. They still do the wash-and-set crowd and Dominque might be your best bet for a good roller set (Katie was recommened to me for finger waves.) Their prices are VERY good and they are reluctant to perm hair that is damaged (my bleached hair last time I was in). I HIGHLY recommend them for anyone in the area who wants a vintage cut and style.

    Oh, and I second (or third since I mentioned them as well a few days ago) stockingshq. Great service and if the prices care you, the stocking generally last longer than the ones I've bought in the US so it works out (and never but Leg Avenue stockings as anything other than a novelty.)

  14. Wow, Teru, Thank you. I do go to Boston ( in fact we lived in Back Bay up until a year ago) I had never thought of just going to a salon that might cater to the 'older set'. I think my hair is in pretty good condition. It has not been colored in ages. I promised myself to lose some more pounds before I 'reward' myself with a short cut and retro permanent. I veered off my diet a little bit, so tomorrow it is back to black coffee, dry toast for breakfast and Beef bouillion a small salad and Jack Lalanne for lunch.

  15. It was great to hear your radio interview. Well done!

  16. For authentic 1950s style fully fashioned stockings with seams, try:

    Their #3975 style comes in a variety of colors including beige. They can be had with a black or self-color seam and with self-color or black heels.

    They are reasonably priced and highly recommended.

  17. wow, thank you anonymous, I am going there and ordering a bunch now!

  18. Did anyone notice Ethel's housedress? SO cute! I loved the piping(?) design at the neck and the great pocket.

    Lucy's dress, however...oh my.


  19. I know, I was thinking the same thing. That a simple dress can be made to look lovely with some great 'notions'.

  20. Your fabrics are gorgeous! It was so fun to hear your voice, and you did a wonderful job with your interview. I think you would look great with a vintage bob. I remember my Mom doing pin curls on us for special occasions. I also remember the pain when a piece of our hair got caught in the pin while it was being pulled out. :)

  21. Thanks for the stocking info! Speaking of hair, have you seen this book?
    You can see some pages on the site and it looks quite comprehensive, with info on fingerwaves, pincurls, etc. The author has a nice blog too.
    Love your fabrics, are they ordinary modern cotton? They look so vintage.

  22. I'm catching up on my reading...
    Since I'm not trying to be authentic with full-fashioned stockings, I generally wear Hanes stockings for everyday
    They are dirt cheap and last forever. One thing, though, I have heavy thighs (even when I was a size 4-6) and the tops of the stockings would stretch into a really weird shape at the garters but the rest of the hose would settle around my upper knees (I don't know if it would do this if I had a 6-garter belt, though) The solution? Occasionally they offer their stockings with either lace tops or lace inserts and I stock up on those when they have them.

    Sadly, Blogger doesn't like people to embed MP3 files and I can't access your interview :(

    Finally, avoid the modern reproductions of vintage patterns. There are wonderful sites that sell the real deal and have better instructions. My favorite site is "Out of the Ashes Collectibles"

    If you go to Pattern Review, you'll find many vintage patterns have been reviewed. There's even a forum dedicated to vintage sewing on the site.

    I've been sewing for *cough* years. Even now, I sometimes have a dress that turns out like Lucy's. Hang in there. Stick with the quality patterns and you'll be sewing in no time.

    Oh! Also, get a Singer Sewing Book (mine is from 1949) and The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot (mine's from 1943). These are two "must haves" that any seamstress would have at that time.

    Can you tell I love sewing vintage stuff?? *laugh*

  23. Lovely interview, you sound SO great! :)

  24. Yay! I finally was able to hear the interview!

    Terrific job. Your answers were very thoughtful and you sounded great!

  25. What a wonderful and informative blog you have! Gee, I could get lost here for hours!!

    Thanks for stopping by today,

  26. One thing to keep in mind regarding the hair perm. Women often put their hair in rollers even if they permed it. The perm was almost like a base, while the rollers provided a finish to the hair set.

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