Monday, March 2, 2009

3 March 1955 "Bombs, Sewing Failures, Pie, and Hope"

Waterproof Shoes. The Dow Corning Corp., jointly owned by Dow Chemical and Corning Glass, has developed a silicone product that will make leather virtually waterproof. First use of the chemical (trade name: Sylflex) will be for shoes. The Charles A. Eaton Co. will use it on golf shoes; Endicott Johnson Shoe Corp. will try it on a combination work-and-sports boot. Treated shoes will shed water, still allow air to come through to cool the foot.

Do-lt-Yourself Sink. For do-it-yourself hobbyists, American Kitchens of Connersville, Ind. put on sale a knockdown kitchen sink. Made of steel, baked enamel and porcelain, the sink can be assembled by one man using only a screwdriver and pliers. Each unit contains a regular 42-in. single-bowl, single-drainboard sinktop, a complete faucet and hardware kit, and all the parts for an undersink cabinet. Price: $59-95 [$464.00-748.45] (I guess this is what was available before IKEA and HOME DEPOT! It is amazing that cost, however, as I am sure you could get somthing for under $100.00 modern money at either place.)

This article in a March 1955 Time Magazine gave me chills:

"All week long a cold wind hurled grey clouds out of the Northwest and across the bleak Atomic Proving Grounds in Nevada. The Atomic Energy Commission, well aware of public concern about radioactive fallout, kept on postponing the big blast. But at 5:45 one morning, it touched off a small one.

Newsmen huddled on cold (10°), windy (40 m.p.h.) Mt. Charleston, nearly 50 miles away, muttered with frustration. The blast was a disappointment: the sky lit up with a dull red glow for a second; the mushroom cloud was hidden in the dark overcast; the sound bounced over Mt. Charleston completely.

But for less jaded observers the explosion had authority. Small though it was, the blast lit up predawn Los Angeles 250 air miles away. It rattled through Las Vegas, Nev. 75 miles away, rumbled on through St. George, Utah 135 miles to the East, and sounded like distant war drums in Cedar City, Utah 175 miles from the blast. Some in Los Angeles claimed to hear the distant drums 20 minutes after the flash."

The beginning of the spread and danger of large scale bombs. The fact that such tests were done while people were in 50 miles to report it, is frightening. We were and are children playing wiht fire. Nearby towns must have been affected. I wonder how much cancer and other horrors came about from such testing. Even though we have gone through two World Wars (or rather BECAUSE we have) I am really beginning to see the loss of the innocence of the world. Of course man has always been a terror to one another and there has always been war and bloodshed, but now is the beginning of fear on a new level. No wonder then, and I really think now as well, people are trying to return to a simple or more family/community centered life. We should enjoy and appreciate what we have together before those in power blow it all away!

Now to the Home:

I am rather frustrated with one of my patterns. It was the one for the wrap dress. I tried it last night and I was rather unimpressed. I unfortunately used up the pretty light blue printed fabric I showed yesterday with the pink cotton. It was such lovely fabric and I am so unhappy with the dress. I have decided to take my lemons and make lemonade. I am going to cut off the bodice and reconfigure what I can with the left over pink cotton and try to salvage it as a skirt. I will post a picture of the result.

This has made me more determined to try more of the patterns today, so I think this will be a short post today, so I can get through my ironing, and get to sewing. I feel challanged now and need to make something nice before I get too frustrated. It is just when I put the darn thing on I looked like a stuffed sausage. It did nothing for my self esteem, I can tell you that much, but I am determined. I did have to laugh, however, as I had posted that that scene from 'I Love Lucy' and certainly the dress did not look as bad as that, but it did not look good. I think this has definitely helped me decide NO to home perm. When the time comes I will take the trip to the city and go to a professional.

Here are some photos from this past Saturdays 1950's dinner. It was at my house this past week. I made Roast pork with a mango glaze. Roast potatos and asparagus with Hollandaise and for dessert a Magic Cream Pie. As I had been busy and thought, I wonder what I could do in 1955 to make my home cooked meal easier for me. So, I bought a frozen pie crust (as I didn't have any of my own in the freezer at the time) and chose the pie recipe for its simplicity. I also made dinner rolls from the pillsbury tube, as I saw they were invented and there are many 1950's recipes involving them. I also used this recipe for Mock Hollandaise to make it easier. (I included the recipe for actual Hollandaise as well, as it is soo yummy.)

Now, these are the changes I made to the pie. First off, the Pie called for Lemon juice but I was out of fresh lemons (as I like to squeeze them with my vintage juicer) so I raided the bar and found some lime juice. I think I liked it better as it was more tart. The recipe calls for no sugar, but I found it rather to tart so added 1/4 cup when mixing it. The whipping cream I added almond extract too, as I liked the combined taste with the tart lime. This was suppose to be a pie that would just set, but I am not sure why it did not, it could be due to my adding sugar. What I did instead, was to freeze it and it became a wonderful frozen pie. It was like a creamy tart icecream and the bananas, as they were frozen, were like little candies inside. I would make it again, maybe next time Chocolate and banana!

Here is the table set. The napkins were not on, as of yet, when I took this. You can see how busy I was, as I nor Gussie had time to iron my new tablecloth, those lines drive me crazy when I see the photo. Of course, no one noticed and as you all know I am working on my tablecloth therapy. "let it go," I must say to myslef.

The roast was nice and tender. I like to sort of do the opposite of what my books tell me in cooking a standing pork roast. I cook it first for about an hour covered and then cook it uncovered at the last to crisp up the fat on top and to give the potatos a nice crisp brown edge.

This is a great shot of my vintage friend as she arrived, removing her gloves. She told me she had used my blogs advice on whether to keep her hat on. I had posted before from my Amy Vanderbilt book of etiquette, that if the hostess is hatless and gloveless (which I was) you may do so youself.

You can see one of my dogs, Sophie, watiting patiently for the impending dinner in the background.

Of course, I forgot to get a picture of myself, but here is a great shot of my vintage friend and I that I cropped turned black and white and framed in white to look like an old photo. I think it really looks like a vintage shot, don't you? I love being a be-furred, hatted and gloved lady who lunches. Wouldn't you?

Well, I am sorry this is such a short post, but I must get back to my sewing. The challenge awaits! Hopefully this will be me today and into the future.


  1. FYI: Hats and visitors.

    The guidelines that I found had this logic:
    A woman never wears a hat in her own home except as she is about to leave or just arrived.

    To greet guest behatted suggests that she was just about to leave...not a good message to send to arriving guests!

    Women are to leave their hats on as an accessory, like a scarf or a pin. Men take off their hats indoors, period, except religious coverings.

    No taking the hat off and shoving it under a chair during a visit or meal either ladies.(I HATE to see ladies do that! It is the FLOOR for heaven sake!)

    Hat brim style may begin wide in the morning and progressively shrink through the day until an after dark event would mean simple a wisp of head covering, such as a feather.

    If you start out at 9 am in a wide brim hat and don't manage to get home until dark, then you continue on with the wide brim. But you don't put on a wide brim at sunset! Nor do you put on a cocktail hat at 9am in anticipation of the event at 6 pm!

    The fifties also had a lot of veil usage, which could be pinned onto the hat and removed. The ends could also be tied back for meals. LOVE veils...

  2. Great update. I love seeing all of your Temporama. I packed mine up years ago because I kept breaking pieces. You're making me miss it!

  3. About the atomic bomb aunt lived in Las Vegas in those days and my parents lived there briefly too. My aunt died in 1983 from melanoma Las Vegas, her home for over 30 years. Six months later my dad died from a rare cancer of the stomach lining. My mom lived on another 20 years, no cancer but congestive heart failure in her old age. I've always wondered about those atomic bomb bests and allowing them so close to communities.

  4. Thoughts-I always thought this as well, but I think my vintage friend was following a rule that was laid out in the Vanderbilt book. I think due to changing casual norms an such the question the woman had posed was rather or not she should do so. I thouhgt it odd, as well, that a lady would wear a hat in her own home.
    I love veils as well!
    Bombshell-I love my Temporama. I even have an egg plate. I broke my creamer the other day and just about cried! I don't have the coffee pot but want one some day.
    Sara-that is so sad and I wonder too. I know that radiation travels quite a distance and they didn't know the affects then, what an odd way to test it, non?

  5. First of, 50s Gal- That dinner was fantastic and I do love this photo of myself not to sound too full of myself and rude. I just mean, you take a great shot! :)
    Thoughts- Thank you so much for that info for i do love a great hat and let me tell that I have some fabulous ones that it seems as though I cannot always wear them because I am the only one. Thank you for the tip and I will definitely keep it in mind.

  6. Dearest,

    I am sorry to hear about your dress not turning out. One of the places I visit before I buy a pattern is It is a free site where anyone can leave advice and review a pattern. I believe there are entries for the wrap dress you tried and it looks like quite a few ladies were less than happy with the results. Some posted a "fix" for the dress, so you might want to visit before trying to make it into a shirt. I reviewed a shirt pattern that I thought was so turns out that 9 out of 10 reviews said it was quite unflattering. I saved money and time by not even trying the pattern.

    I would just love to attend one of your dinners! You are just a lovely lady and I very much enjoy checking in with you each day.

    Yours kindredly,

  7. I like the way that you and your friends dress up a la 50's - my dh would probably think I was nuts, oh in fact he does think I'm nuts anyway with the stuff I collect. I love your table setting :-)

  8. Although it might seem like extra work, my mother, the costume mistress of an Off-Broadway Theater a number of years ago, swore that making a new pattern out of unbleached muslin first worked really well. That way you could check the fit and so forth before using up good fabric. And then you could use the muslin for other projects afterward. Just a thought.

    Love your blog!

  9. I was going to suggest the Pattern Review site but Shan beat me to it ;-).

  10. I just found your blog thanks to a comment on mine which pointed me in your direction. What a great concept! I shall stop back often to see how you progress through the year.

  11. Shan-thanks for the advice and the compliment. I love how such a great community can form on blogs, it is the worldwide coffee klatch.
    spiritaulastonomer-my vintage friend who sews alot actually mentioned that to me, but you know how we new sewers are, we get the pattern and the fabric and notions and there is no stopping us, until we make that first horrid dress! I am going to use a 50% off coupon this week and get a BOLT of muslin to do just that! I also have vintage dye, so I am gonna dye some of it and if it turns out then I still have a vintage color done the 'old way'.
    Shay-yeah I am going to check out that site.
    Amy-we are nutz, but we love to dress up, who doesnt. Even when we have had fancy dress (costume) parties, my hubby will wear whatever I lay out for him. He really is a true 1950s husband, warm understanding provider who 'puts up' with his wife's shennanigans because he loves her.
    Alison-welcome and come back as often as you can.

  12. 50sgal,

    Does "Gussie" have a blog? If not, would you consider allowing "Gussie" do a guest post one day about what it is like to be "Gussie"?

  13. It is funny you should say that, as I have actually asked Gussie if she wanted to blog. I think she would be glad to do a guest post or, perhaps, I could make my first podcast be based on housework and having Gussie be 'interviewed' as well. I know a podcast isn't very 1955, but neither is a blog. I really found out more about it while trying to figure out how to embed my interview. I think I could conisder it me being allowed to do a weekly 'chat' on a local radio show, what do you think?

  14. "I think I could conisder it me being allowed to do a weekly 'chat' on a local radio show, what do you think?"

    I think that is very reasonable! Will you two gals write up some vintage sounding commercials for us to enjoy as well? LOL

  15. Do you make any muslin samples of patterns? The reason I ask as this is a tried and true method for testing a pattern before cutting into precious fabric. Muslin is inexpensive and a valuable learning tool as well. Have fun!

  16. Hey, that might be fun. Maybe I can tout my 'vintage cleaning product' tee hee.
    cheryl-yes, I have known of that I SHOULD do this, but I didn't but will do so now.

  17. Bad luck about your dress disappointment, I know exactly how you feel! I'll second (or third) that advice about making a muslin toile of a pattern first, because I've found that almost all patterns need to be adjusted here and there. It is a bore, but the real dress will fit so much better.

  18. Hurray, muslin! I've been telling you for years, Dahling!

  19. What was wrong with the wrap-dress pattern!? It looked gorgeous, in fact I would ask you to draw a copy for me. I'm glad to hear you can work it into a nice skirt, at least.

    Home perm is a no go - take my advice. I only remember them as being horrible and ruining your hair until it grows out again. Go to a pro.

    Your dinner table and your friends looks LOVELY (pls tell her). :) I love all your recipes and saves them for later use.

    The Singer commercial is adorable! I sewed yesterday, but only boring repairs and jeans with too long legs, not anything funny or creative.

    Have a lovely day, dear! :)

  20. Your dinner party was just darlingly atomic :)

  21. I found this really great website.
    Its got all things fifties and more!


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