Sunday, January 24, 2010

24 January 1956 “Realizations, Repairs, Recipes, and Aprons”

I realized last night, as you ladies had pointed out on my last comment on my sewing blog concerning my machine breaking, that to try and fix it myself would be the VINTAGE thing to do.
I just had one of those moments where I have taken my sewing machine out, readied myself and BLAM it stopped working. It might be the tension, as you say, as it will sew a few stitches and then seize up . Then I broke the needle in my frustration. But, I have told myself I CAN fix it. Or, at least I will try. I can see where it is fastened together so if I can get to the inner workings, perhaps I can discern the problem, at least it is not my computer! And I did find out we have a vacuum and sewing machine repair shop in town! So, that can be my last resort. I just felt bad as if I was letting you down.

rosierivetor Sometimes I feel a small portion of what the 1940's woman must have felt rolling bandages, knitting mufflers, and working in munitions plants, that I am doing it  for 'all of you' as well as myself. It feels good to feel ‘responsible’ to someone outside yourself AS WELL as yourself. It makes you think before you act or reconsider your behavior and use of time. I rather like it.
The good news is a friend is going to lend me her machine for the week, so I can at least now worry that I have NOT finished my January challenge with the dress. Phew!
So, today I have been busy with my usual day, but have set aside time to edit and upload recipes for the website. There is SO much involved in the website. My hubby pointed out that professional sites would have people working on each page, researching, testing, editing, photo-shopping, and uploading content. But, all you have is little ole’ me, so I try to do as much as possible. When I think of what I have uploaded today it seems such a small thing, but it took up quite a few hours of my day (about 5 to be exact). But now the main Recipes page has to ‘sections’ and then you can link to what I worked on today which is ‘Meat Main Dishes’. I scanned and edited them . I tried to make them available to print in a 3 x 5 format. I could not succeed, however you can easily copy them by hand, or copy them to your computer and resize them. What I have decided to do for all the recipes I put on the site now, is save them in a printable 3 x 5 format and maybe, if it would be of interest to anyone, sell a cd of the images for a few dollars or something. Only if anyone cared to have it to print from.
I thought I would, in this post, show a few things I have done recently but not posted nor talked about. I made my own recipe for a Banana Maple Coffee Cake that I can share with you.
coffeecake Here is a picture of the whole cake, that is cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. Here is a slice, it was actually nice and thick and moist and so delicious, if I do say so myself (and I do).coffeecakeslice Here is the recipe
50’s Gal Banana Maple Coffee Cake
Sprinkle (for top, center and sides)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas (about)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Set oven to 350 (F). Stir the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/2  in and around a well greased pan. You could use a fun shaped Bundt pan, but I just used my spring form pan, both would work. I liked the spring as it seems to make it a bit more moist.
Beat butter at med speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes or so). Add eggs one at a time, Add banana, sour cream, vanilla, and syrup. Beat at low speed until blended. Sift flour and other dry ingredients  into a bowl. Fold into the butter mixture and pour 1/2 the batter into the pan. Then sprinkle the other 1/2 of the sugar/nut mixture, then continue filling pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Now, this second recipe I cannot take credit for. I had a hankering for Oreo’s and though they are readily available in 1956, I did not want to eat the chemicals, nor spend the money. So with what was in my pantry I made the following recipe. I did not have any shortening, however, and used 1/2 cup butter in lieu of 1/4 butter, 1/4 cup shortening for the filling. It was of course yummy and probably healthier without the shortening.
oreo1 Hubby had these in his lunch today and shared them with coworkers who were amazed that his wife made her own Oreos. He loves bragging about that sort of thing. Makes a homemaker proud too! I took this photo to show the lovely look of them.oreo2 And this for fun!oreo3 I like taking pictures of the food I make. If I ever make a Cook Book, I think I would enjoy photographing it as much as writing it.
Here is the recipe I used.
  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C plus 2 T butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Beat in the butter and the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. (I found that while the dough wasn't sticky enough to roll, I could press it flat with my hands like the recipe said and then use cookie cutters to cut perfect circles. If you just care about the taste, then there is no need for the cookie cutters. Also, remember this is a chance to get creative and use all kinds of cookie cutters.)
  4. Bake for 9 minutes at 375 F. Set on a rack to cool.
The filling
  • 1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.
  2. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  3. To make a cookie, pipe teaspoon-sized blobs of cream into the center of a cookie using a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip. (If you don't have a pastry bag, you could easily just spread the filling with a knife or use a Ziplock with the corner cut off as a pastry bag. I had a pastry bag, but I only had a star tip. The tip doesn't matter much.)
  4. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.
Though I did not get to work on my dress today (the borrowed sewing machine is on its way!) I thought I would show an apron I made. One of our fellow Apronites mentioned to me I should make aprons, for obvious reasons (Apron Revolution!). So, I wanted to show that I actually do. I have not made them to sell before, but it could be a possibility. It is just that my plate is so full at present, I would need to have some serious scheduled readjustment. Any way, here is one of them.
apron1 apron2 I have to explain the pocket. I have an obsession with anthropomorphised items. Dancing teapots, running fruit, square dancing corn. From the 40s-50’s such images were available for embroidery or iron on from everything from linens, to aprons, to tea towels. So, this little fellow was drawn by me, inspired by one in my collection, then turned into an iron on and then I sort of ‘antique’ it so the pocket has a sort of aged look. The apron pocket is trimmed in red rick rack and their is vintage lace on the waistline. I just thought it would be fun to share it with you.


  1. your food and your apron all look fabulous!
    i think i will try to make the oreos this week FOR SURE! this girl is feeling a little chocolate craving coming on!! great job and i hope your turn as Mrs. Fixit on the sewing machine goes quickly and painlessly! xo

  2. Those homemade Oreos look great! They remind me of a site called Top Secret Recipes where they replicate famous chain restaurant dishes and some name brand items also for making at home, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for instance. A co-worker made the Cups and they were almost identical to the real thing.

  3. Ooohh delicious looking... the food and the apron. You are so talented! You must amaze even yourself. You epitomize all the goodness the words 'homemaker', 'housewife' conjure. Thanks for being a great example.

    (It's ok to take your machine to the repair shop if you can afford it. As my husband says, "you must have good 'tools'." Good on you for trying to look at fixing it though.) Linda

  4. Machines were made better years ago and were worth fixing. Today's stuff is garbage, everything made of plastic, and it costs as much to fix it (if you can find a repair place) as to buy a new one. They were not so much a throw-away society as we are now. The oreos look yummy.

  5. I will have to try those Oreo's....We all love them, but I don't buy them often for they are so ridiculously expensive.

    Good luck on getting your sewing machine repaired. Is it a new machine (owned prior to 1955) or a vintage one you acquired durning 1955?

    I need to get mine out and do some sewing. I have a dress and a skirt I want to do some altering to. I also want to make an apron or two. Just somethings to get me back into the swing of sewing, since I haven't done much in 20 years or so.

    I also like the coffee cake recipe. I really like coffee cakes, but they are costly to purchase.

  6. If you can spend 5 hours on your webpage, taking your sewing machine to a repair shop would not seem to corrupt your project - as you have mentioned in previous posts, you are no longer "living" strictly in the 1950s.

  7. Oh, that is not really the problem, as in 1956 I would also have had the opportunity to take the machine to a vacuum and sewing machine shop, which we actually do have. Also, the time spent on my website is actually alot of time researching and cataloging my vintage cookbooks, magazines etc and some computer worked mixed in. It is, as stated in a previous blog, more akin to what my 'comittee work' in 56 would have been. I would have had to schedlue in my day, along wiht my housework and cooking/baking, time for that. And, luckily, that is exactly what I AM doing. So, I actully really feel like that next layer of an organized homemaker in the 1950's would have been up to, particularly as I have no children. Yet, the computer is a necessity in order for me to document it and stay in touch wiht all of you, so that isn't so bad, is it? Also, I don't have the budget this week for 'repair sewing machine'. So, you do what you can do be it 56 or 2010. So, it isn't a time situation at all. I can easily schedule things into my day (not sure if you read my post on scheduling). So, no worries there, but thanks anyway ANON.

  8. I just found you about a week ago, and have been working on catching up with last year's posts. I think what you are doing is phenomenal, and suffer no small amount of jealousy. I look forward to reading more!

    As for your sewing machine, do take it in if it is beyond your skill set to fix. My own machine gets wonky occasionally, but I have been able, with the help of a manual ordered online, to fix it. Great grandma, and grandma both take, and have taken theirs in to be serviced. Great grandma's machine was so well taken care of, that when she passed, my grandpa thought I would like to have it. I cherish my 1974 Singer. That one gives me no problems, just my 2000 Brother does. Silly thing.

    I know a while ago, you posted about the patterns for the anthropomorphic objects (fruit, veggies, kitchen items). Well, they can be purchased online (at colonial, and in some craft stores (such as hobby lobby). I have also found a book that has patterns, and a very interesting read as well. The Kitchen Linens Book:Using, Sharing, and Cherishing the Fabrics of our Daily Lives by EllynAnne Geisel. A mouthful of a name, but it is interesting, and if you purchase a copy, there are some patterns included that are circa 1945. Maybe you can check it out at the library, and see if it is for you.

    I am inspired by your goal of a dress this month, and I think I might finish up a project or two that have been on the back burner for a while, including two dresses. Please do post a pic of your new one when you are finished! Keep up the great work, and enjoy the cape, for I miss it!

  9. Food looks super yummy! And that apron is just too cute.

  10. I love your running tomato. Is he running from a pot of boiling soup? Just darling!

    Good luck with the sewing. I like your solution yo the broken machine. Very 1950's and responsible as a financially conscious homemake. Here in 2010, if faced with this problem, a new machine may be so easy to purchase, as the household budget may be unknown. I bet any machine from back then is irreplaceable, not like our disposable IPods. Sigh...

  11. Linda-you will make a girl blush.Thank you and I am rather proud of what I have been teaching myself. It makes one feel that if you can make realistic goals and then, little by little, stick them and add more. It was a great discovery that there is no 'secret' or 'magic pill' that allows you to do and get things done, just responsibility to yourself and the task at hand and MAKE yourself follow through. NOW, that learned, I will need to apply that to my diet. I think, as with my other skills, if I learn a little at a time, gradually changing exercise and eating habits, it will just become, as being a homemaker has become, natural and a part of my day. And, I will take it to a repair shop if I cannot fix it. Yet, as my budget now does not allow (even if I WANT it for darning and mending CAN be done by hand if need be, in fact darnins IS done by hand)I think having a friend lend me one was very vintage in that sense of community.
    Sarah-so true about items. It is a sad fact that we have so many things cheap, so we just think, "Oh, just buy a new one, it's cheaper" and then, ta-dah! Insane amounts of garbage. The biggest downfall to the cheap and easy world we live in (besides the loss of skill and increased laziness) is the garbage. And even when things are NOT broken, they become so obsolete so quickly, i.e. cell phones, computers, cd's, etc. Oh well.
    Thank you all for the compliments on the food, I have to say both the cookies and the cake was yummy. And I really like photographing food I have made.
    I just love those anthropomorphised items, I don't know why. I think the ridiculousness of them embody quainteness, twee, and innocence in such a pleasingly decorative combustion, I just can't resist!
    Stephanie-thanks for the tips on the images. I now have, and have got, very inexpesively the original packages of the patterns. They were sold as iron ons and as no one particularly loves them, can be had very cheaply. I have bought them for as little as 10 cents at yard sales. Once I bought a plastic bag full of 5 sets uncut (as they are iron ons on tissue paper) for 25 cents. One persons garbage another's treasure, I suppose. What is nice, is the iron on works multiple times! Unfotunately the ones I make and then print on iron on paper only work once, but they are fun. You can look around and start seeing everything with little legs dancing or running away, brilliant.

  12. Sometimes a good cleaning is all a machine needs. I would say that once you take it apart, if you can't figure it out in 2 tries, take it in. I kept trying to go on mine and I ended up making it worse- I had the same issue with my 50's singer and it turned out to be a part that had broken off in my attempts. Couldn't be fixed :( I upgraded to a late 60's singer with embroidery discs (fancy!).

  13. OOh Tart Deco, how lovely embroidery discs no less! I belive I will have a go at it myself and if I can't figure it out, have hubby look at it, and failing that, then next months budget will include 'sewing machine repair'. I would love to see what embroidery it does make, your machine!

  14. Loving the cute little apron you made. Great job.

    I have offered my help on the website and the offer still stands to help you out. Just let me know.

    My screen name is customaprons :)

  15. Oh, thank you Melissa. I shall indeed contact you I am sure. Luckily I have got help with the forums as far as organizing them. I am not sure what I could have you do. I suppose we could see what area you are interested in. I am thinking sewing if you do custom aprons. Maybe you could do a bit about sewing or something. Thank you again for the offer and I will email you. I'm sure my little attempt at the apron must seem silly to you if you make them professionally.

  16. Yum that cake looks tasty!
    Try cleaning out any dust in your machine and replacing the needle. Sometimes dust and dull needles are bigger culprits than anyone would expect! After fixing those things, check the tension. If you have the manual for the machine still, it should explain how to adjust it.

  17. Love the apron!

    And thank you for the Oreos recipe, I'm going to have to try my hand at making them. (o:

    ~Happy Homemaker

  18. Those cookies look great! I will give the Oreos recipe to my mom and ask her to make this for me :D

    Great blog : )

    Maria : )

  19. My mom has a vintage sewing machine circa 1940's that belonged to my great grandmother, it's electric and black (don't know the name of it), and comes in a wooden "desk" style so the sewing machine is hidden when not in use, and it comes with a bench seat. As a child, my mom used it, it will probably be passed down to me, although I have no idea how to use it :)

    My dad's mom, used to peddle use sewing machines and we would play with them as kids in her back room (they are long gone now :) )......

    As far as aprons go, my Grandma had several and I remember her using them when she cooked in the 70's :) I used to love wearing this pretty blue one as a child when I played dress up.

    Your post reminded me of these memories, thank you 50's gal........

    Mom in Canada

  20. mom in canada-do you not wear aprons now? What fun you are missing.

  21. Hey 50's Gal :)

    Sadly, those aprons from my Grandmother were long gone by the time I was a teen, I do remember my mom wearing an apron in the early eighties when she prepared Christmas supper.

    Ironically, my dad's mom (she's still kicking at 90 and a farmer's wife to boot)- did the most baking but never wore an apron, probably because she never had much time to worry about household chores when there was so much to do in the barns.

    Sigh, I still miss my Grandmother's homemade jam, cookies and pumpkin pie (not froma can either she used to grow pumpkins in her small garden and made pies from those).......and her apple pies made from the apples in small orchard were to die for.

    Mom in Canada

  22. Do you have your Grandmother's recipes? If so, get to work and re-live those memories with your mouth! MMmmmmm. And, if you don't mind sharing the secret, you can share the recipes with us!

  23. 50's Gal:

    Go to the link above to find old 1950's base housing for sale.

    This was Glasgow Air Force Base, St. Marie, Montana, which has long been closed. The housing, built, I believe, in the 50's, has been sold off to civilians for quite some time now. People are always re-selling it. The prices are quite cheap. Some of the units need upkeep and repairs.

    The housing is 2-story row-house style or 2-story duplexes, built in the 1950's Capehart Housing style, with original 50's kitchens and original wood floors. I think there are 2, 3, and 4-bedroom units.

    Go to the site and see pictures. Here's your 50's village where you and all your friends can move to (I know you wouldn't want to move there -- far away and cold and out in the middle of nowhere -- but you can dream)!

    Cut and paste the link in your url bar. Tell me what you think. Some of the units are as little as $15,000 (a vacation home?).

  24. 50's Gal, no way does it look silly. You were very creative in making that and that's a great thing, cause who know what other creative ideas will come to you.

    Any place you find for me to help will be just find. I love to help :)

  25. What a cute apron! I, too, love the little people fruits and veggies. And, those desserts look oh so yummy! Thanks for sharing.

    This is a wonderful quote!

    It was a great discovery that there is no 'secret' or 'magic pill' that allows you to do and get things done, just responsibility to yourself and the task at hand and MAKE yourself follow through.


    I thought it interesting how the realtors listed these as condos. It reminds me of when a “secretary” turned into “administrative assistant”. The hardwood is wonderful. Those are some pretty low prices.

    I wouldn’t live in Glasgow though! Far too flat, cold, and windy for me.

  26. WOW, those are amazing prices, but I am not sure I could live in the middle of nowhere, there. But, a cottage in NH or one in Maine would suit me as I would still be close to the ocean and, though this sounds silly, Europe.
    Thanks for the compliment on the apron, I was rather proud of it as well, now back to my dress. I am going to show the stages of it on tomorrows blog.

  27. Ha-ha, Zebu, no, I wouldn't exactly call them condos!!! I've seen realtors call tiny shacks "chalets"!

    The place where we live isn't too much different from Glasgow or St. Marie, or whatever it's called.

    I love the original kitchens and the hardwood floors. Other than that, it kind of looks sad -- a town without people.

    Brings back memories, though, as we were a military family and lived in such nice houses; of course, they weren't in such a sad state of repair. Nobody has bought these units and they have sadly gone downhill.

    Thank you for looking at them! I looked at your latest creation, 50's gal, in your newest post, and you are amazing!


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