Monday, November 2, 2009

2 November 1955 “Happy Birthday To Me”

50s birthday Well, today is my birthday. Being a lady it is my prerogative to not say WHICH birthday it is.

tea party 50s Although I am celebrating this evening at a restaurant with a group of friends and family, yesterday I was lucky to have a lovely Ladies Vintage Birthday Tea! Though my hubby was there and my friends fiancĂ©  showed up later to keep him company, we were mostly ladies.child tea party

When I first had the idea my friends mentioned to me if I would rather go out to tea, instead of my having to plan and prepare the majority of it myself. I considered this and realized, much of the fun for me is the planning and preparing. I love to try new recipes and of course to entertain in my home, so why not throw my own tea for my birthday.

I had such fun! It was a High Tea in the sense that we had it at 4:00. I made a spread that consisted of both sweet and savory. Here I am, happily aproned showing off my spread.birthday teaparty5I had my first go at Petits fours and was quite pleased with the result. It was white cake baked in a sheet pan. Then I sliced it into long strips splitting those in half. In between the layers I put a butter cream frosting with almond flavoring and then they were individually drizzled with the icing of confectioners sugar, almond flavoring and cream. I had to drizzle it three times, but could have done many layers to give it a more ‘finished look’. I was happy with them and they were wonderful with the tea. Sweet and melt in your mouth goodness. My friends fiancĂ© said, when he showed up later for ‘cocktail hour’ that they were like eating sweet snow, in that they melted in your mouth. I took this to be a compliment. petite forsHere is a close up of them. One of my gifts from Gussie, besides a lovely pair of new gloves ( a gal can never have enough!) was the last of the fresh raspberries from the farm where she works. They were a perfect touch. I also used a single chocolate square and coconut to garnish the rest.

I also tried my hand at coconut macaroons, which were so easy, and I dipped them in Lindt Chocolate melted with sweetened condensed milk. Really good.coconut macaroonsHere is the recipe if you would like to try them.

Quick Coconut Macaroons

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Dash of salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Drop from teaspoon 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet and press down ends of coconut with back of spoon. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. (I had to bake mine longer, as I like them golden with  a crisp outside and soft inside. These are also wonderful with chopped almonds or an almond on top covered in chocolate. Easy AND a crowd pleaser!

There was also my now famous chocolate chip cookies with coconut (coconut themed, as you can see). I had a bread pudding I made with the leftover white cake form my petit for and leftover icing. I just broke up the cake, spooned in the leftover confectioners sugar icing, mixed in the leftover egg yolks from my white cake (I only needed the whites as it was a ‘true’ white cake) and sprinkled it with cinnamon and nutmeg. Very sweet, but a great pudding with a strong black tea.

Then for savories, I made little tea sandwiches. There were cucumber and butter, cucumber and dill mayonnaise. I also had deviled ham with sweet relish and chicken salad with sweet relish sandwiches and smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches. And various relish and pickles and olives and a cheese ball mixed with wine and coated in walnuts. Such a spread of little finger foods is really quite filling, and we merely used little dessert plates and then could mingle and nibble throughout the night as it went from dainty tea party to cocktail hour.

One of my friends gave as a gift a darling little pair of gold needlepoint scissors and a needlepoint set containing a threader, a magnetic needle case and an ingenius little pin you wear that is magnetic to keep track of your needles. Another friend gave me four jars of her homemade jam (Cranberry chutney, pineapple honey, blueberry, and strawberry).

We had such a lovely time.birthday teaparty9Here are some friends laughing over tea. birthday teaparty11I am not sure if you can see my hat in this picture, but it has a darling little veil which I wore early on, but raise later.birthday teaparty12Sandwiches and fun! My table clothes are both vintage. The white linen cloth was my mothers and the flowered one over that is also vintage. I love the colors of this cloth as it mingles the red and the aqua I love and felt it complimented my everyday china and plate. I could have used my fine china, but since it was a casual affair for the most part and I liked the color combination with my table cloth, I went with my everyday. It does get much love.

birthday teaparty6We took time to enjoy the warmer fall weather outside. Here we are in the grips of a funny story. The dress I am wearing (I am on the far left) I had just finished the day before. It is of a darling little plaid of black, navy, and green. I am well petticoated as you can see. I have one very FULL petticoat that I can only really wear with a heavier material skirt and it worked great with the weight of this wool. Very comfortable dress. The waistline was individually pleated and took some time, but was well worth it.

 birthday teaparty1   We took time to be silly, too, of course.birthday teaparty4

birthday teaparty2Here I am playing the chanteuse by the piano. I adore these shoes, they are one of my favorite pair and though they have a high heel, are so comfortable. They are truly a mid 50’s shoe as they have a rounded tow and a thicker heel, the stiletto and point will not be truly around until the end of the decade. 

Now, my tea party was yesterday, but today, the 2nd, is my actual birthday. I was awoken by hubby this morning with hot coffee in bed and some gifts. I recieved an old first edition of a fiction book taking place on Cape Cod. A vintage 1950’s edition on how to repair, build, maintain historic homes from the 1700’s New England. I was very excited about this because in the sections on ‘modern kitchens’ that can fit with your antique home, it has 1950’s versions of colonial/modern. I got various assortments of teas to restock the tea cabinet and my favorite gift was this wonderful vintage mixer.birthday giftThis is it in my kitchen here in our ‘new’ house just taken this morning. I just mentioned, maybe once, that I really needed a good vintage stand mixer but I wanted one that did juice AND had an attachment for meat grinding. I had no idea my hubby would have thought of this nor been able to find such a great condition one with all the original parts. And the color looks lovely with the red in my kitchen. Look how it sets off the curtains! All in all, a great birthday in a great year.

We had planned on going out to breakfast this morning, but I thought about it and considered our leftover salmon and homemade bread and thought I would rather eat at home, in comfort. I told hubby, no thanks, I think I would rather make our breakfast.

So, as I watched the eggs scramble and prepared the smoked salmon I really got to thinking. Here it was my birthday and normally it would see the thing to do was to go out and celebrate. A day OUT of the kitchen and yet I really wanted to be in there. I really felt, why spend the money and do something because it seems like I should, when I honestly would rather be in here doing it myself, eating of my own china in my dining room in comfort. This really made me realize how this year has shown the simplicity of life and its inherent luxury. The joy in my own creation and skill. Why take a break from what you really love because it is your birthday? And, here I am, at the end of this year 1955, genuinely in love with my ‘career’ and overall my life.

This made me feel very good, to say the least and of course more charged to continue learning and growing and to hopefully inspire maybe others who would never think they COULD enjoy such a life, but may find out it is the perfect fit for them.

This has been a good year and today a good birthday. I am so happy to have shared it thus far with all of you, my readers. Thank you so much for coming along for the ride with me. I truly feel we ARE a community and look forward to all your comments, opinions, thoughts, and ideas. I hope we can continue to grow and learn together.

Oh, and for fun, I wanted to share black and white versions of the above photos, as I thought they really do look vintage. I wanted some to have color so you could see our dresses and hats, but in black and white, I am amazed at how ‘authentic’ they look.birthday teaparty9 black and white birthday teaparty7birthday teaparty5 black and whitebirthday teaparty11 black and white

birthday teaparty12 black and white

Have a wonderful day, Apron Revolutionaries!

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