Wednesday, April 15, 2009

15 April 1955 “Tax Day, McDonalds, and Renovation”

Tax day moved to April 15th in 1955:

Federal income tax was introduced with the Revenue Act of 1861 to help fund the Civil War. That Act stipulated that income tax "shall be due and payable on or before the thirtieth day of June". There is an unsubstantiated claim that the first income tax was paid only by the very wealthy, and they tended to spend their summers vacationing. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is said to have argued, "The collection of taxes would be much easier if an earlier assessment was made, before they leave town." In 1895, income tax was abolished as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, overruling the Supreme Court decision from 18 years earlier. This gave the United States Congress the legal authority to tax individuals' income. The filing deadline was March 1 in 1913 and was changed to March 15 in 1918 and again to April 15 in 1955. Today, the filing deadline remains April 15, but, in the event that it falls on a weekend or national holiday, it moves to the following business day.

1st mcdonalds McDonalds as a chain restaurant begins today in 1955. speede logoThis is speedy and was replaced by Ronald in the early 1960’s. It was opened as a franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois by Ray Kroc. It was the ninth McDonalds restaurant overall. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers' equity in the company and led its worldwide expansion and the company became listed on the public stock markets in 1965. Kroc was also noted for aggressive business practices, compelling the McDonald's brothers to leave the fast food industry. This old ad shows some early ad IN current value the hamburgers would be 1.19, shakes would now be 1.58 and Fries .79 cents. [I really think this movement to one company growing large has really taken over the true American dream. I find it odd and scary that many people today will defend companies such as McDonalds and Wal-Mart saying they are part of the American way and the free market, but really a free market would allow there to be in place certain rules that would enable ANYONE to make it in business, thus making it free. The America where a local family can start a grocery business or restaurant or hardware store is really falling on the wayside as they cannot compete with the prices provided by the large chains. These companies often put other companies out of business and certainly do not serve great food. IN fact, food such as hamburgers and fries are not even that bad for you when made by you with ingredients you are aware of. I just sort of see this as a sad day. The day that moves one step closer towards our current over consumption and loss of individual rights and opportunities to be part of a free market. Can we turn it back? Do people want to turn it back? Do people care that they don’t know the people who run the businesses in their community and may never see the owners? I honestly don’t know.]

Speaking of food and local shops, I thought this comic funny:

pie cartoon

Isn’t this hilarious? It is out of my 55 American Home magazine.

simple ideasHaving been busy with my remodel, I thought these simple helps were interesting. I find that in my mashed potatoes, garlic and sour cream make a nice flavor. Which of these would you try?

I realize I should also be listing more of a ‘typical’ day now that I have started my renovation. So, for today I got up at 6:30 (though my alarm was set at 7:00) as I wanted to get a head start on the day. I made breakfast of cooked cereal Farina, toast, o.j., coffee and jam. Made hubby’s lunch and got him off to work. I then cleaned the kitchen and dishes. Off to don my dungarees and as it is Wednesday, I usually need to reset my hair. I just dampen the ends and set it in curlers and into my headscarf. I am usually not out marketing on Wednesdays, so this allows me to wear this about the house. I think when my hair is cut short I will get a permanent on the ends, so it holds the curl through the week better. Also, I can then set my hair at night and sleep on it, as I do not do that now as my hair is so long I find it often makes a mess of the whole thing!

Then, out to feed the chickens and gather eggs and sit down with my daily journal and my cup of tea. I make my daily list. This has come to be a very important moment in my day. This is the pivotal moment at which my day will commence. What I write down today is important and needs to consider the normal daily running of the house (meals planned, desserts, time for cleaning etc) and then what I think I can realisticly accomplish with my ongoing project and then, I make a little ‘wish list’. This is the part of my list that might get moved into the next day or spread into the week or end up in an overall ‘yearly to do list’. Sometimes, if I am especially fast and do not have to stop for unplanned moments, I can get to this list. I would say this is my new ‘reward’. It is interesting as a part of a ‘chore list’ actually receives the same excitement and fun that may have been used on the video game ‘the Sims’ in 2008. How quickly one can transfer that feeling of adrenalin and joy to another process. This definitely shows me that a person can change their desires and joy. There is hope, gals.

Now, I will write this blog and then get to my dining room. There will be more installing of wood trim and measuring. I hope to get the rest of the trim up on the walls today and putty the holes. On my ‘wish list’ portion is to prime this wood. This may or may not happen today. Also on the wish list for today is to rough out the fireplace box and lay out plan of the delft tiles for the fire surround. This most likely will not happen, but when I stop for lunch I may play around with the tiles I have to see which tiles will make the final cut to be placed around the fireplace surround. Then, of course, I will have to stop to make dinner. I need to make a dessert today, as the last of the cookies are gone and the last of the chocolate bread pudding went off with hubby. It will be the ‘miracle one egg cake’ recipe with ‘velvety frosting’ from my 1951 Good Housekeeping book. I will have a picture and recipe tomorrow to let you know how that one turned out. My dinner will be a pork and beef roll stuffed. It is a recipe I have wanted to try before. I will post this, too, if it turns out yummy.

Then, clean up as much of the construction as possible, take down and style hair, throw on a nice dress and greet hubby. Dinner, conversation, wine. Usually an hour or so we sit either in my little sitting room or in his study and talk. Then he will go to his study and write and smoke his pipe and I will sit with my magazines and plans and think about more remodeling, most likely. That is a full day for me.

Well, you may have noticed there have not been many recipes and images of food and desserts of late and that is due to my ongoing redo of our future dining room. I had wanted to wait to show pictures after it was all done, but realized that is silly. I wanted to show before and after shots, but realize before and mid-makeover shots are good, as well. It can show all the layers and effort I am putting into it.

The room, a few months, ago served as a makeshift study for my husband, but he has since moved to a larger nicer space. It was our small kitchen when we first moved back from the city last spring, as the house had two kitchens at that point. Since we took back over the whole house, it served as a studio for me for a bit then my hubby’s study, now it is going to be the new dining room. It is not a large room, only 12 x 14, but it has a door that leads to the side yard where I will put a terrace for alfresco dining in the summer. Someday I will have a greenhouse/conservatory put here, with my own hands (that should be some interesting blogging I am sure) but for now it is a box with two doors and window and plumbing.

So, the first thing I did was sketch out the idea of the room. I just made a quick line drawing with some notations to myself (good luck deciphering it, but it is going into my ‘renovation 1955 file’)dining room drawing

Because the room is just a plain box, I really wanted to start with a good structure. A good skeleton of design is trim and wall definition, I think. This quote from Edith Wharton in her book “The Decoration of Houses” says it best:

Proportion is the good breeding of architecture. It is that something, indefinable to the unprofessional eye, which gives repose and distinction to a room: in its origin a matter of nice mathematical calculation, of scientific adjustment of voids and masses, but in its effects as intangible as that all-pervading essence which the ancients called the soul”

In other words, though the order of a wall’s division is often mathematical and divined a long time ago, if you follow some of these rules, rather or not you understand them, they will result in a harmony and balance important in good design. Because, really, if a room feels grounded and well thought out, you will feel so in it, I think. This does not have to be expensive nor, unless you want the highest level of perfection achieved by mahogany panels applied by a master craftsman, the same principles can be achieved with some inexpensive wood, nails, ruler, level and your imagination.

Now, though my house is in fact a cape cod style and I want to give it a colonial/early American feel, I actually chose a more craftsman wall paneling style. This is a general idea where you see the paneling is high on the wall.craftsman_main_pic I liked the feeling of the higher wainscot with a smaller area of wall at top as I think it feels very cozy and will make us feel as if we are sunk into our dining experience. This gives me a nice small band around the room where I am going to paint my mural. So, with just a plain drywall wall, I taped off roughly where the paneling would go and painted the top half AND the ceiling sky blue ( a background for my future mural). wall taped for paintingThe next picture shows how I painted the bottom an off white color that I will also paint all the trim and cabinetry in the room. I then applied a carved chair rail piece that came pre-primed and was very inexpensive, but I liked the design of it. wall trim unpaintedThen I bought strapping (which is really cheap construction grade wood) that is literally one dollar for an eight foot piece. This cut in half gives me two 4 feet sections to apply on the wall. I have not added the horizontal pieces yet, as you see in the example above. So when it is all done, it will get primed and painted out one color. Now I have the look of largely paneled walls, though it is just drywall with wood applied. The result will still give the room and the eye the look without the cost of actual sheets of paneling. You can also see in this picture the drawers to an old victorian mahogany dresser that had been living in my kitchen. Do not feel bad that it has got painted, as the wood was water stained and such and it really looks crisp and nice. This will serve as my sideboard and linen and silverware storage. You can see even with the trim unpainted and not finished how the wall feels more ‘right’ somehow.

Next, here is the corner where the antique corner cabinet is installed.corner cabinet cornerYou can see the patching and unpainted wall. Next, the tape and sky blue paint.corner cabinet corner 2Then the infamous corner cabinet (if you read my earlier post that featured this cabinet you will know what a time Gussie and I had trying to get this into this room, resulting in my discovering how much I want to change my ‘tantrum’ attitude.) Here it is in place. It was a lovely cape cod barn red, but in this small room if I do not paint out all the ‘built ins’ the room will feel very small and crowded. I wanted a lot in this room and I think I will be able to achieve it without feeling crowded by giving things a ‘built in’ appearance.

corner cabinet corner 3

Here you can see that I have trimmed out the cabinet up to the ceiling and added medallions at the corner and primed it.corner cabinet corner 4It now looks like it belongs in the room. And here it is with its first coat of the white that will be on the paneling and all the trim.corner cabinet corner 5 The one unfortunate attribute to this room is its white tiled floor. I debated removing it for a nice pine floor, but the cost was silly and their is nothing wrong with the tile (remember this was a small kitchen at one point), so I will solve that with a nice area rug under the table and chairs and really, it is a nice surface to clean if food is spilled. I will make the rug big enough, though, so if any dishes get dropped they will not land on a tile floor!

Some of you may remember this half of a hutch I purchased at a local sale for seven dollar. It is nice wood and even the back is actual wood not wood paneling. It is very 1950s early American. I had intended it for our future breakfast room, but found it would work very nicely in the new dining room. After toying with the idea of it becoming a hutch I realized it would make a wonderful unique top to a fireplace over mantle. The room has no fireplace, but I will have a propane gas log installed come fall, so I am building out the surround for the firebox when that can be put in. Here is is unpainted.

fireplace hutch unpaintedHere is is primed.fireplace hutch primedAnd here it is hung on the wall into the studs.fireplace hutch painted By bringing it right up to the ceiling, now the top trim makes it look built in and below it will be built the fireplace. I think this built in fireplace with dishes displayed above rather than a picture or mirror is a smart look in here. Anyway, I will have the wall mural painted all around, so I won’t really have any need to hang artwork. I put a lovely robins egg blue green color inside while the outside receives the same color as the paneling and trim. Now, I really think the detail around edges shows up so much more as white over a deeper soft blue, don’t you?

From my Dorothy Draper book, “Decorating is Fun”, I have copied here a list she has for dining room equipment. I like that there are blanks on the page so you can add to it.

dining room equipment list

So, that is what I have been up to. You can see why I have not had as much time to make picture worthy food, but I hope you enjoy the process of the dining room renovation as much as looking at my various cakes and pies. A homemaker is, after all, as much as a carpenter, designer, painter, and planner as she is a chef.

This song from 1953's Calamity Jane should be our Vintage Gal Theme song! The song starts after a bit of the dialogue. Worth a listen!

Until later, then, Happy Homemaking.

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