Thursday, November 4, 2010

4 November 1956 “Party Pics and Home-made Christmas Gifts: Never Too Early To Start”

birthdaysnapshot I had a fine birthday yesterday. Here is a real snapshot of we gals on a vintage late 50’s instamatic camera. I believe it is the Polaroid land camera. My friend’s boyfriend (the girl on the far right in vintage hat) collects these old cameras, fixes them and even resurfaces the outside with new naugahyde and leather. The one he brought has my favorite 50’s blue where you see the green on this version below.
landcamera I had meant to take a picture of his camera, but forgot. I shall do so again to show all of you. He has quite a collection.
I am not sure where he gets the black and white instant film, but it is wonderful. He points, clicks, pulls it out and in a minute or so we have these wonderful pictures. vintagesnapshots This shot, though not on the old Polaroid, is our posed ‘bunny-hop’, let’s just say there was silliness had by all. bunnyhopI am lucky that my friends often dress very vintage for my get togethers. It makes a gal feel happy and rather ‘in the moment’. I have become so spoiled with 1950’s life that I often get a sad shock when I venture out to the ‘real world’ and wonder why everyone is dressed so ‘odd’.
Here is the lovely cake my friend made me.
birthdaycakemeYou can see it is shining in all its 1950’s glory and it is home-made to boot. When asked what type of cake I would like I suggested banana walnut with cream cheese frosting. I got it and it was wonderful and completely made from scratch.
My friend said, “For anyone else it would have been a box cake, for for you I know I couldn’t do that”. She said she had never made a banana walnut cake before and at first was intimidated, but then was glad she did it.
“I even smashed the bananas by hand,” she beamed with pride. It was so wonderful and three layers! I send you all a virtual piece to enjoy. She then confided, “I had no idea how easy it was to make cream cheese frosting, I won’t ever buy it pre-made again”. So true, so true, we always found out the joy of home-made, the ease and the better taste.
Among my various gifts, I received a darling vintage silk scarf ( a gal can never have too many), my friends went in and got two new white-wall tires for my vintage bike (I shall ride on!).
iloveparislpI also received this record album, which I played while we played cards. When the can-can came on, we all wanted to dance and toss our petticoats, I can tell you.
I also was so happy when I opened a box to find this vintage chip-n-dip.chipndip1 It is styled very much the way I like. It has the “Early American” sensibility in the pattern, but the modern flair of the teak handles in little rocket-like lozenge shapes and all done up in brass. Here is a close up of the pattern and the pretty green (much prettier in person)chipndip2 It will look lovely at Thanksgiving, as the gold will match my good china (also trimmed in gold).
Such a wonderful day and I want to thank all of you for your warm and happy birthday regards on the blog, emails, and letters. So kind of all of you and I really appreciate it so much, I am very lucky indeed.
Now, I thought I might share with you some ‘home-made’ Christmas gift ideas. I have quite a few 50’s Christmas magazines. It is not too early to begin thinking about it if you are going to make any hand made items. So, for that perfect true vintage gift, I will share with you, over the next month, some fun ideas.fabricprinting2fabricprinting1 fabricprinting3
Now with these gift ideas and the subsequent ‘instructions’ we must remember that vintage magazines for the homemaker assumed a certain level of skill. Or, I think, they gave the homemaker the benefit of the doubt that they were intelligent and able to follow written directions and take an abstraction and make it tangible. These items shown give you an array of ideas and tell you what they used to make the pattern. They DO NOT have pictorial step by steps to show how to literally do it.
What is interesting to me about this is that one assumes they are talking to adults. Now, I don’t mean that to sound patronizing or rude, but in fact, simple written directions paired with a finished product was deemed enough information for an adult to ‘figure it out’. I think today we modern people are so ‘led’ by our passive life styles that we really expect a long drawn out series of steps, with video, pictures and etc. In fact, we want an hour long show to demonstrate to us what one page of this magazine expects you to understand.
I think the step by step guides,though helpful, would seem almost babyish or elementary to the 1950’s homemaker or even home DIY’er. And, really, when you think about it, if you want to make some of these items, how hard should it be? If you want to make the blouse, for example, you can surely use a pattern for a blouse you already have, buy a pattern for a blouse to use again or use a ready made plain blouse. The instructions in using the flattened tea strainer and thimble are simple but one can figure out the placement by the photo or, better yet, make your own design.
The clothespin bag, for example, shows no pattern. Yet, we can see that it is made over a wire coat hanger. Therefore, take a wire coat hanger (or whatever hanger you prefer) lay it down on some paper and draw around it the shape you like. Remember to leave at least 1/2 an inch allowance (that is to say draw 1/2 inch bigger around than you want it to be when done) so it fits after being sewn. I think this a darling item and I want one! I love the vintage 50’s orange pink with the black old fashioned clothespin motif.  An apron in this color and pattern along the hem and maybe two clothes pins ‘crossed’ on the pocket with black ric rac on the edge would be adorable.
I have to say I LOVE the affect of the potato masher pattern on the draperies. These would make a great pattern on simple pillows to sew up for Christmas or hostess gifts, don’t you think?
Who will be trying any hand-made gifts this year? Do you like to receive such gifts?
Happy Homemaking.
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