Thursday, December 29, 2011

29 December 1957 “More on the Coming Year, Schrödinger's Homemaker in Many Worlds and Elvis Gets Drafted”

First off I have to say it has been SO wonderful with so many comments. It felt quite good to see so many responses to my query for decisions for the new year.

I see many are leaning towards the 1930’s.  I was surprised to see a few votes for 1912 (which I would love to do the early 19th century and maybe one day if we move or find ourselves in a different setting that might be a goal). A few wish me to simply segue into 1958, a rather easy move I might add.

There have been a few comments that have suggested combining the time periods in some way. That got my wheels turning concerning the coming year’s decision. However, no matter what I choose all old posts will remain and my new project. The site will continue to keep and add to the previous years findings.  I don’t want to throw away all my hard work and in so many ways it would be impossible to shake ‘50’s Gal’ completely.

That brings me to the few who have answered, “I don’t care you’re nutz”, which of course I might be. Myself and my 50’s persona have become inseparable. We two are so often together  that sometimes I cannot tell where she ends and I begin. Often I am very much one person yet sometimes we separate and I have to think, “Hmm what would 50’s gal do in this situation?”

Many times she has been my sound and responsible parent tsk tsk-ing and tapping her foot at a decision I was about to make. Either way, I am sure it would be great fodder for a psychoanalyst. And those are becoming des rigueur here in the late 1950’s. By the mid 1960’s we’ll all have analysts.

Any decision I made, however, I simply will have as a dramatic reveal come 1 January, only we won’t know what year I tack onto the end of that date until that day. In fact, I still don’t know. One year, a decade, a mixture of all, any could happen. One smart commenter suggested a sort of ‘time hopping’ from decade to year as my post deemed fit. I like that idea as well and it makes me think of another thing that occurred this year, 1957: The is the “Many Worlds Theory of Quantum Mechanics” published and this year by American Physicist Hugh Everett III. This is quite involved but in a really bad interpretive nutshell, there can be multiple realties or lines of history. For example if one were to actually time travel and kill Hitler there would be both a line of history containing Hitler’s survival as well as his death running in tandem. Many ways, I feel very much that way, in my multiple world.

This also touches on another parallel for me in 1930’s and 1950s. Part of the idea of the 1957 Many Worlds Theory is derivative of the 1930’s theory or paradox called Schrödinger's cat. This was a thought experiment dreamt up by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It basically (and again very simple is my interpretation) that if one were to put a cat in a box with a bottle of poison and a radioactive substance and sealed. If a Geiger counter reads the radiation it breaks the bottle and the cat dies of the poison. But, the second probability is that it doesn't get broken and therefore the cat IS alive. So the paradox is that Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead. This was of course a hypothetical experiment and no actual cat was placed in a box. But, it does run the course with me sometimes. I am both in 1957 and in 2011. One can open my box and find me in either state, 1950’s homemaker happily humming away in her kitchen using her old appliances and dressed vintage or slumped at my modern computer using modern technology to write my nonsense to all of you. Therefore, I present to you Schrödinger's Homemaker. I rather like that, it gives a certain caveat to my experiment. One can imagine the proposed notion of a quantum physics PHD on the relative location of a time-travelling homemaker. Perhaps I should contact M.I.T. straight away!

If any are interested to learn more about Schrodinger’s Cat there is quite a bit of information out there. schrodingerscatAn interesting modern alternative which will apply actual items (and not a living animal) to this experiment has been proposed and HERE is an interesting article about it.

elvis57 Now, to close today’s post I thought I would share the interesting news about our ever growing super star Elvis Presley. When we first met Elvis, back in 1955, he was just starting to appear at local venues often with his name misspelled. Now, by the end of 1957, he is a bonafide super star, and in many ways one of the first. Concerning that idea of Super Star, John Lennon of the Beatles once said of Elvis, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."

On 20 December this year, 1957, Elvis was spending Christmas at his new Manse, Graceland, when he received his draft notice to the U.S. Army. Ten’s of thousands of fans wrote the Army begging them to let Elvis out of it, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He wanted to do his Patriotic duty. Though accepting a deferment to finish his movie, King Creole, he was sworn in as an army private in Memphis on March 24, 1958.

Another interesting outcome of Elvis’ military stint was the rise in people going to get their vaccines. Elvis was viewed as a model for all young Americans, so when he got his polio shot from an army doctor on national TV, vaccine rates among the American population shot from 2 percent to 85 percent by the time of his discharge on March 2, 1960.

I’ll close with Elvis’ interview at Fort Dix enjoy. And Happy Homemaking and keep voting for my next year’s choice, its such fun to see what you think.

Monday, December 26, 2011

26 December 1957 “Back with Decisions for the Coming New Year: You Help Me Decide”

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season. I had a lovely Christmas Day and our Christmas eve party was really fun as usual. xmaspudding Here is my Christmas pudding from this year. I made it ‘vegetarian’ in that I used butter rather than suet and lard. It was quite good and my homemade hard sauce was lovely. But with Brandy, butter and sugar, how can you go wrong?

The week leading up to Christmas found me fighting a cold. I realized going through my blog I have not been ill too much over the past three years of my project and often found myself nursing hubby with something he picked up out in the big bad world, only to find I was staying strong against it. Much better, as I prefer to be nurse to patient any day.

However, part of my ‘break’ this past week has not been entirely due to illness nor even due to the hectic rush of the Christmas Season. It was, rather, my contemplative nature getting the better of me. I have been, now, three long years in the 1950s. And I cannot believe how much our present has changed in these past years nor, I am afraid, how much we seem to be set on a road of even more change. And not for the better, I might add. This has left me contemplating my own project.

In many ways I have been thinking about the Depression years of the 1930s. Though, I like that era, it has not ever normally been one I have ever been infatuated with or intrigued as I have been with other past eras, such as the Edwardian and Victorian and so on. Though in many ways I feel our current time is becoming much more akin to the Depression, it also has much of the Edwardian in it. That brief span of time from 1901 to 1909 that saw Kid Edward on the Throne in England, that long awaited spot by Queen Victoria’s eldest son, was one of excess and vast disparaging gap between the haves and have not's. The older nobles and upper-class of the time had been increasingly wondering at this ‘younger generation’ and its rampant spending, speculating, promiscuousness and blatant debauchery. Once, a person of the upper classes felt a duty to the land and his tenants, and the poor in general. There was wealth to be sure, but those who had it felt it was an honor and a duty to have it and that meant giving back and also acting in certain ways to represent that to the lower classes. By Edwards time, the early 20th century, it had simply become a playground of spend and live how you like and whichever way you liked. In many ways it was set on a road of its own destruction.

Of course, much of what lead to the ensuing wars of the 20th century were social unrest, much of it was actually monetary and in the hands of the few who were increasingly controlling things with wealth. The old land owners found their power dwarfed by the new money and insane amounts of wealth created overnight by American and other Industrial and Banking Barons. IN many ways, much as we have today, instant money was available, money in general had less value and social position was a sign of how much money you had not history, tradition, or duty to those below you. The hereditary lords whose ancestors had won honor and land through battle had been slowly ebbing. Speculation was born. This sort of money for nothing was greatly portrayed in Anthony Trollope's  satirical work of 1872 :“The Way We Live Now” which was also made into a wonderful screen adaptation by the BBC and is well worth a watch.  Trollope returned from abroad in the 1870’s to be appalled at the rampant green and money lust now popular in his country. Yes, it is true that the desire and urge for the almighty dollar was not always a part of the human psyche as it has become in the modern world. It is odd to see the main character creating money on ideas and speculations and to see family fortunes and ancient homes go to those who simply dare to create and give into this new scheme of money.  But, I digress.

Back to my lax posting and contemplation. I had even begun to contemplate my love of history. Have I,  living in the 1950’s,  become  to so it as so commonplace that it no longer seemed history? Perhaps that is the reason to wish to move on to a new time period?  But, really I believe that our current economy has made me think more and more upon those troubled times of the 1930s.  Higher prices, inflated currency,  increasing unemployment, troubles and droughts in the farm world, talk of war, government attempts to aid the country all seem to be things we modern people can begin to relate to. Things that have happened before and we know to what they lead.

Therefore it has been rather hard to focus on the glory days of the 1950’s lately because of my own feeling of frustration and fear of our current times. Much, I am sure, as it must have begun to feel to those in the early 1930’s after the hey day of the 1920’s. Now, I am not saying in anyway we have it as bad as they did, but I also wonder that we might not see it just as bad or even worse in the coming years. We cannot know, as they themselves back then did not know.  I am sure many never thought to see another World War after the Great War was meant to ‘end all wars’. A very good  advertising ploy, I suppose, to make nations feel more at ease at sending their young men to fight and die in foreign fields.

Any way you slice it, I have been contemplating two major points in my life as this year and third year of my project ends: 1)general economy and fascinating moments in our current history as well as their connection to the Great Depression. 2)worries about money and the Housewifery need to work on making my pin money jar grow. Therefore, I really am contemplating start January first in a year in the 1930s. I might not be as complete in dress and such as I was in my 1955 year, but would very much like to see magazines as well as radio (no TV yet) and news of the time and really delve into it to share with all of you. And, of course, the fun bits of trying 1930’s recipes and some tips at housework as my social history is just as important to me. With that I would like to start focusing on a cottage industry, perhaps my jewelry, to see if I could make a bit of pin money here and there.

My question to all of you, or any of you who have stuck around this long!, is what decade or time period would you like me to approach next year? Or do you care at all? So, to do that I am going to put a ‘quiz’ applet in the sidebar of this site with the question for you to choose. I think it would be fun to see if any of you (again those of you who are still around for all I know I simply have two readers? One can never tell) want to chime in or have an opinion on it. I am running Poll until 30 December.

So vote and let me know what you think. Again, Happy Christmas and Happy New Year and as always Happy Homemaking.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

sorry absent under the weather

I am sorry to be absent these past days rather ill. Will be back by Christmas or day after. Hope all are well.
Happy Homemaking

Sunday, December 18, 2011

18 December 1957 “On the Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: 4 and More Birds in My Kitchen. On the Fifth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: 5 Secret Decoder Rings and Homemade Silver Jewelry?”

 birdkitchen Well, if you look closely you can see more than four birds in this kitchen, but it was adorable and made me smile. I like the bird theme and what a fun way to simply cut out with your skill saw some fun birds and ‘redo’ the kitchen. I think this could also be really fun in a powder room, where one is more apt to try something over the top as it is a smaller space. How many ways could four birds brighten your Christmas?


Though technically this is commercial is not for a ring, but a badge, and certainly not five nor golden, I just had to share this video. It makes me think of the much loved, though modern, Christmas Film: A Christmas Story, when Ralphie rushes to the bathroom to decode his secret ‘message’ from the Little Orphan Annie Program. It, of course for those who know the movie, turns out to be an ad for, you guessed it, Ovaltine.

More Ovaltine’s Sweet Rich Chocolaty Flavor:

Now on the subject of Jewelry I thought I would share my latest adventure. Having, as you know, wanting to supplement my own pin money, I have toyed with various ideas. I have of late begun to think it would be nice to make jewelry. I like silver and the price has been steadily rising over the past years, so it is a good way to keep some quality precious metals in your life. I have begun making silver jewelry. I shall be making copper and other metals as well and also some fun costume jewelry.

Of course, I can’t help but be inspired by the past and will share a few pieces I have tried. The first is a pair of earrings I made by first making a cast of a vintage cameo pin I have. It is older and have always thought they would make lovely earrings.

Here is how bright and shiny they are when freshly made.cameoearringsbeforeThe details can really be brought out and the contrast of low and high areas by using liver of Sulpher. A wretched smelling rock that smells, you guessed it, of sulpher or rotten eggs. But it does wonders to silver and depending upon how long you keep it in the bath of sulpher you get various stages of color. The longer the more black or tarnished it becomes. I did that we these earrings and then polished up the high points of the face with my metal brush and soapy water. I rather like the results, don't you? And they are small and delicate and quite pretty.cameoearringsafter

I have quite a collection of vintage buttons and this one was always a favorite. Again, I made a mold of the button and then cast it in silver. Here you see the result after the tarnishing. I also cut a bit of the pattern out and this will be a pendant.  vintagebutton1 Here I experimented with a leaf imprint and some patterning. Though this piece is a bit more natural and modern, I think it also has a delicate almost Georgian look to it. This I colored with a few quick baths in the sulpher and quick wiping with a rag. Though you cannot see it here, it has a peacock bluish/green shade about the leaf with touches of pink coming through. I also dipped the hand twisted ring I made that holds it to the necklace.leafpendant

As many of us know, the economy is getting worse and one worries about money. This has lead me to consider a small ‘at home’ business that can supplement my Stay at Home status. I haven’t any intention of leaving my at home job, nor does my hubby wish me to do so. But, it is quite fitting and rather vintage to have a hobby for pin money sort of job. I shall keep you abreast of my attempts at jewelry and the vintage inspiration behind it as I learn and grow. I may even, if I get what I feel is talented enough at it, set up a little shop online to sell. A sort of ‘craft fair’ on the internet to share in our virtual community.

I hope all are having fun leading up to the Holiday season and Happy Homemaking.

Friday, December 16, 2011

16 December 1957 “On the Third Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me, Three French Hens: The Joy of Keeping Chickens”

3frenchens Another fun manipulation of vintage images by me to make this. I think this would be a cute gift tag. Mostly, however, I would love to receive three French hens under my Christmas tree. 

First off let me start by saying I am breaking the rule of 12 days of Christmas already by running down the list prior to Christmas. The 12 days start ON Christmas. Then, yesterday, I realized I also counted wrong and started to early. Therefore, Today is the right slot for me to put my 3rd day to allow the 12th day to actually fall on Christmas, but I digress.

The funny thing is that I actually own exactly three French hens. They are a breed called French Marans. They are known for their dark chocolate egg color and are much sought after by chefs and Gourmands alike. I had no idea how popular they were until on decided, on my own with no help from modern media to which I have very little contact save the internet, to get some of these birds. They are SO popular that the chicks are as expensive as $25 and a dozen fertile eggs as much as $50. Well, I decided to do some research and found an eBay seller who had the fertilized eggs somewhat cheaper. I ordered a dozen, put some under my broody hen and some in my incubator. Nature won out and all three under my good ole hen hatched while the incubator resulted in naught.

maraneggs1 Here are the eggs when they arrived.maraneggs2 And a close up of their dark color and lovely flecks. At the beginning of the hens laying cycle they are quite dark and then they fade as the year passes. However, they are still noticeably darker than a standard brown egg. Here is one of my Maran eggs, next to a blue Ameracauna egg and a brown Orpington egg.3eggs Quite a lovely trio, if I do say so myself.

I have always loved chickens and really farm animals in general. When I was younger, I was homeschooled, I finagled part of my biology learning to incorporate a homemade incubator to write about and record the cycle of development. This was really a ploy for me to get pet chickens. The funny thing was we bought fertilized eggs at our local farmers market and only one hatched out of the dozen. This was later known as a miracle chicken as when we told the farmer he said, “Had I known you wanted to hatch eggs, I would have got you some. Those you bought had been refrigerated. What you have there is a miracle chicken” and we all laughed.

He was a miracle chicken for me because I managed to end up with a pet chicken. A rooster, of course, and he loved me and followed me about but attacked anyone or anything that came near me. I suppose I was his hen.

Since then, I have always made it a point, no matter where I lived or what little space I have had, to keep some chickens. They are wonderful pets or providers or both. They are amazing in that they can give you nourishment from their eggs and their meat and their feathers, if one were to try a complete Little House on the Prairie lifestyle, would also serve to make pillows or stuff a nice comforter to keep warm.

 marans1 Here are two of my lovely three ladies. They are a wonderful black with a green cast to them, and a beautiful copper coler on the neck. (Though one is All black for some reason). They are actually called Copper Black Marans.  They are feather footed which is good for colder climates and their combs are adorable and lay to the side, much as one would think of a Frenchman (or woman) wearing their classic beret.

There is another variety of Marans called Cuckoo Marans which have a lovely checkerboard coloring. Here is a mother and her hens. I do not have this variety.

But, despite the breed you choose, and there are MANY breeds to choose from, chickens are increasingly becoming more and more popular. Many cities are beginning to reverse their anti-chicken laws allowing urban residents to keep hens (no roosters but one doesn’t need a rooster for eggs).

If you have not ever kept them I would consider it. With our increasing food scares and also rising grocery prices, it can be economical to keep chickens. If one allows them food scraps and to free range a bit, their food costs can be lowered. I have increasingly been reducing my bought feed and giving them more range time. I also sell my surplus eggs to our local feed store at $2 a dozen keeping a tally to pay for my bought grain.

One lady who works there was impressed with my Maran eggs and took some. The next time I went there she said my eggs were the best she had ever had and that another customer had commented on mine as well. They sell all eggs from local chicken keepers and in comparison mine won. I believe this is due to the foraging. Chickens are omnivores and love grubs and worms and insects as well as grass and various plants. They will not eat my flowers and somehow manage to go into my herb or flower garden, eat the pests and weeds and leave the herbs and flowers behind. This is not true, however, for my veg patch and one day a wayward hen found her way into my veg garden and helped herself to tomatoes on the vine, the little dickens.

Another joy, for me, is hatching your own first batch. A simple incubator can be purchased online or at a local feed or pet store. And I can attest to eggs be delivered in the mail from ebay as having a pretty good hatch rate. You will never know if you are getting hens or roosters of course, so buying chicks that are guaranteed to be hens (pullets) is probably a surer bet.

And they do not need tons of space. I wanted to share this easy and cute little Instructable for a chicken house/coop.

Backyard Chicken Coop

Instructions for this easy coop is HERE. And really any variation could be made. And if you have a fenced yard, let them out sometimes, as they will always know to get back to where they roost.

During the War years, chicken keeping was another way that many survived rationing and the hard times. And with times getting harder now it doesn't’ hurt to be a little more self sufficient. And there is nothing as satisfying as baking or cooking with eggs you raised yourself. Part of my morning delight before I get breakfast on, is my trip out to the chicken house to see what my little darlings have left for me. They are a joy and rather easy and if you find you tire of them, there is always someone looking for a good laying hen.

So, why not give 3 French hens this Christmas or maybe an incubator a book on chicken keeping and a dozen fertile eggs. IF they hatch them in January, they’d have laying hens by July! It truly is a joy.

photo And extra feathers can add a wonderful fashion statement to any ladies or gents hat. So, because I cannot but help share these free patterns, here is a darling hat and bag crochet pattern that would look a treat with some added free feathers from you lovely birds. Maybe even choose a Chicken breed’s whose feathers are in a shade or style you would covet having as accessories to your wardrobe. Chickens are truly the pets that earn their keep. Happy Chicken Keeping and as always Happy Homemaking.

6 skeins #2 Silver (White with Silver Metallic) for Bag.
3 skeins for Hat.
5 skeins Natural or color of your choice for Bag.
2 skeins for Hat.
Aluminum crochet hook size G.


Ch 46, s c in 2nd st from hook, 1 s c in each remaining st of ch, ch 1, turn.
2nd Row. 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, * d tr c (3 times over hook) in next s c, keeping the d tr c to front of work, 1 s c in each of the next 5 s c, repeat from * 5 times, d tr c in next s c, 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, ch 1, turn.
3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th Rows. 1 s c in each st, ch 1, turn.
4th Row. * 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, d tr c in next s c, 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, d tr c in next s c, s c in next s c, d tr c in next s c, repeat from * twice, 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, d tr c in next s c, 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, ch 1, turn.
6th Row. 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, d tr c in next s c, ** 1 s c in each of the next 3 s c, d tr c in next s c, * s c in next s c, d tr c in next s c, repeat from * once, 1 s c in each of the next 3 s c, d tr c in next s c, repeat from ** twice, 1 s c in each of the next 4 s c, ch 1, turn.
8th Row. Same as 4th row.
10th Row. Same as 2nd row. Repeat from 3rd through 10th rows twice.
27th Row. 1 s c in each s c, ch 1, turn. Repeat the last row twice but ch 5 to turn last row.
30th Row. 1 d tr c in each of the next 2 s c, * ch 1, skip 1 s c, d tr c in next s c, ch 1, skip 1 s c, 1 d tr c in each of the next 3 s c, repeat from * across row, ch 1, turn.
31st Row. 1 s c in each d tr c and 1 s c in each ch 1 space (45 s c), ch 1, turn.
32nd Row. 1 s c in each s c, ch 1, turn. Repeat the last row 3 times.

Next Row. 1 s c in 1st s c, * d tr c in next s c, 1 s c in each of the next 2 s c, repeat from * across row, cut yarn. With wrong side of work toward you attach yarn in 1st st of starting ch and work 1 s c in each of the 45 sts, ch 1, turn. Repeat from 2nd row for opposite side. Fold in half and sew side seams.

DRAW STRING: Cut 12 strands 45 inches long. Using 6 strands make a braid. Tie each end about 2 inches in for tassel. Make another braid in same manner with remaining 6 strands. Lace through beading starting each braid at op­posite side and lacing over the single d tr c and under each 3 d tr c group. Tie the 2 ends together.


Ch 2, 6 s c in 2nd st from hook, do not join this or the following rounds. Place a marker at beginning of each round.
2nd Round. 2 s c in each s c.
3rd Round. * 1 s c in next s c, 2 s c in next s c, repeat from * all around.
4th Round. * 1 s c in each of the next 2 s c, 2 s c in next s c, repeat from * all around. Work 6 more rounds in same man­ner increasing 1 s c at each of the 6 increasing points and having 1 more s c between increasing points in each round (6 increases in each round).
11th Round. 1 s c in each s c.
12th Round. * S c in next s c, d tr c in next s c, keeping the d tr c in front of work, repeat from * all around.
13th Round. 1 s c in each st.
14th Round. Same as 12th round but having the d tr c be­tween d tr c of previous round. Repeat the last 2 rounds once.
17th Round. 1 s c in each st.
18th Round. Start Brim. Working in s c increase in every 5th s c.
19th Round. Same as 18th round to within last 7 s c, 1 s c in each of the last 7 s c.
20th Round. 1 sl st in each of the next 3 s c, 1 s c in each s c to within last 3 s c, 1 sl st in each of the last 3 s c.
21st Round. 1 sl st in each of the next 4 sts, 1 s c in each s c to within last 4 sts, 1 sl st in each of the last 4 sts.
22nd Round. 1 sl st in each of the next 5 sts, 1 s c in each s c to within last 5 sts, 1 sl st in each of the last 5 sts.
23rd Round. 1 sl st in each of the next 5 sl sts, 1 s c in each s c to within last 5 sts, sl st in next st, ch 1, turn.
24th Row. Skip the sl st and working through front loop of sts, work 1 s c in each s c to within last 6 sts, sl st in next st, ch 1, turn.
25th Row. Skip the sl st and working through both loops of sts, work 1 s c in each s c working a sl st in next to last st, do not work across back of hat, ch 1, turn.
26th and 27th Rows. Same as 25th row, cut yarn.
Turn under last 4 rows and sew to inside of brim.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

13 December 1957 “On the Second Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: Two Turtle Doves or was it Turtle Necks?”

3turtlenecks Well, in this case let’s say we gave two turtle necks. I thought turtle necks would be a fun thing to look at. Many of us might think of a turtle neck more as an 80’s fashion statement, as they were, but the sleeker less ‘necky’ version of the turtle neck has been around for years.

This was such a fun image I couldn’t help but play around with it and make this fun doubles version of the lovely lady in the turquoise clam diggers, flats and wonderful turtleneck decorating her stylish modern Christmas ‘tree

1960\'s Vintage Knitting Pattern Children\'s Pullover Turtleneck Sweater 6171

In some ways I feel the current unrest in the global financial markets require so much notice, but as we are approaching Christmas, perhaps some fun and frivoloity and simple looks at images and ideas are warranted. That is one of my main reasons to have fun with these 12 days leading up to Christmas (I know I know they gifts are meant to START on Christmas Day, but I think we just need some fun casual posts to Christmas)

Now, I know it is too late to knit a sweater as a gift for Christmas, but these patterns are free online. So, why not print them out with the image, make a cute little envelope and give them with a skein of yarn to your favorite knitter. It is inexpensive but definitely thoughtful. And what adorable patterns as well. There are more available at the link. I love when I find free items like this to share.

This lovely Free pattern for this vintage sweater thanks to Free Vintage Knitting.

Directions are for Size 12. Changes for Sizes 14, 16 and 18 are in parentheses.

Columbia-Minerva Calibar (2 oz skein) - 15(18-20-22) skeins
Columbia-Minerva Nylon and Wool Calibrette (2 oz skein) - 14(16-18-19) skeins

Knitting Needles: 1 pair each "Boye" Sizes 6 and 10½, 1 set "Boye" double point needles Size 6 and 1 "Boye" cable needle

Gauge: Pattern Stitch on Size 10½ needles - 4 sts to 1 inch; 5 rows to 1 inch

BACK: With Size 6 needles cast on 72(76-80-84) sts. Work in K 1, P 1 ribbing for 2 inches. Change to Size 10½ needles and work in pat as follows: Row 1 - Right side: P 5(7-9-11), * K 4, P 3, K 8, P 3, K 4 * P 3, K 12, P 3, repeat from * to * once, then P 5(7-9-11). Row 2: K 5(7-9-11), * P 4, K 3, P 8, K 3, P 4 *, K 3, P 12, K 3, repeat from * to * once, then K 5(7-9-11). Rows 3 and 4: Same as Rows 1 and 2. Row 5: P 5(7-9-11), * sl next 2 sts onto cable needle and hold in back of work, K next 2 sts, then K the 2 sts from cable needle for small cable twist, P 3, sl next 4 sts onto cable needle and hold in back of work, K next 4 sts, then K the 4 sts from cable needle for medium cable twist, P 3, twist small cable on next 4 sts P 3, sl next 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front of work, K next 3 sts, then K the 3 sts from cable needle, sl next 3 sts to cable needle and hold in front of work, K next 3 sts, then K the 3 sts from cable needle for double cable twist, P 3, repeat from * to * once, then P 5(7-9-11). Rows 6 through 8: Repeat Rows 2, 1 and 2. Row 9: P 5(7- 9-11), * twist small cable, P 3, K 8, P 3, twist small cable *, P 3, K 12, P 3, repeat from * to * once, then P 5(7-9-11). Repeat Rows 2 through 9 for pat. Con­tinue in pat until back measures 14 inches or de­sired length, ending on wrong side. Raglan Armholes: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Next row K 1, sl 1, K 1, psso, work to last 3 sts, K 2 tog, K 1. Work 1 row. Repeat last 2 rows until 18(20-22-22) sts rem. Sl sts onto st holder.

FRONT: Work same as Back until 34(36-38-40) sts rem, ending on right side of work. Next row work 11(12-13-14) sts and sl them onto st holder, work next 12 sts and sl them onto another st holder for neck, work to end of row. Dec 1 st at neck edge every row 3(4-5-5) times AND AT THE SAME TIME continue to dec 1 st at armhole until 1 st rem. Bind off. Work other side to correspond.

SLEEVES: With Size 6 needles cast on 32(34-36-38) sts. Work in K 1, P 1 ribbing for 2½ inches, inc'ing 2(2-2-4) sts on last row - 34(36-38-42) sts on needle. Change to Size 10½ needles and work in reverse St St, inc'ing 1 st each side every 1 inch 12 times - 58(60-62-66) sts on needle. Work until sleeve measures 16(16-16½-16½) inches or de­sired length from start. Raglan Cap of Sleeve: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every other row as on back until 4 sts rem. Sl sts onto st holder.

Sew sleeves to back and front, then sew underarm and sleeve seams.

TURTLE NECK: With double point needles, on right side of work, pick up and K 70(72-74-74) sts around neck including sts on holders. Divide sts onto 3 needles and work in K 1, P 1 ribbing for 4½ inches. Bind off loosely in ribbing.

Be Sure Your Stitch Gauge Is Correct

SIZE 14 to 16

1 Pr. Champion Standard Knitting Needles #8
1 Bone Crochet Hook #3
3-4 oz. pull skeins, Jack Frost Wintuk Knitting Worsted type

Scale — 4 sts. to 1 inch.


Cast on 69 sts. work in pattern as follows:

Row 1 — (Right side) purl across the row.

Row 2 — K1, P1 across the row, ending K1.

Repeat these 2 rows for pattern, work to underarm 13 inches. Bind off 4 sts. each side then work until armhole measures 7 ½ inches. Bind off 10 sts at the beginning of each row twice each side, then start pattern on row 2, this reverses pattern. Work for 6 inches. Bind off.


Work the same as back to underarm. Bind off 4 sts. each side. Work until armhole measures 5 ½ inches, slip the center 15 sts. on st. holder. Work 1 side at a time K2 tog. at neck edge every other row 3 times. Work even until armhole measures the same as back. Bind off 10 sts. from shoulder edge every other row twice. Work other side the same.


On wrong side of work pick up 47 sts. from shoulder to shoulder. Work in pattern for 6 inches. Bind off.


Sew sides and shoulders, sew side of collar with a slip st. Work 2 rows of single crochet around armhole. Bind off.

Block with a damp cloth.

This one is later than the 1950’s but I think they are adorable and a great way to save on heating bills sleeping in a full sweater set! And that top would like quite 1950’s with a pleated skirt and heels, don’t you think?

Directions are for Size 10. Changes for Sizes 12, 14, 16 and 18 are in parentheses.

REFLECTION (1 oz pull skein)
CAMELOT (1 oz ball)

Color shown
In photo

Amount Required








Color A-5833







Color B-225






Color C-226








Color A-5833







Color B-225






Color C-226






Knitting Needles: One pair each "Boye" Sizes 3 and 5 and one crochet hook Size E

Gauge: Stockinette Stitch on Size 5 - 6 sts to 1 inch; 8 rows to 1 inch


Back: With Size 5 needles and A - cast on 102(106-112-118-124). K 1 row and P 1 row for 5 rows, inc'ing 1 each side on last row. K next row for turn. Work in St St on the 104(108-114-120-126) sts to 12½ inches or desired length from turn, end on wrong side. Width across back is 17¼(18-19-20-21) inches.

Armholes: Bind off 4(4-4-5-6) at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 each side every row 5 times then every other row 2(3-4-5-6) times, end on wrong side - 82(84-88-90-92) sts rem. Width across is 13½(14-14¾-15-15¼) inches.

Divide for Neck Opening:
K 41(42-44-45-46) and sl them to a holder, K to end. Work on the 41(42-44-45-46) sts to 6½(6¾-7-7¼-7½) inches above underarm, end on right side.

Shoulder: Starting on next row bind off 8(8-8-9-9) sts at armhole 3(2-1-3-3) times then on Sizes 12(14) Only bind off 9 at same edge 1(2) times. Bind off rem'ing 17(17-18-18-19) for neck. Work other side to correspond.

Front: Omitting opening, work same as back to 4¼(4½-4¾-5-5¼) inches above underarm, end on right side.

Neck: P 33(34-35-36-36) and sl them to a holder, bind off center 16(16-18-18-20), P to end. Bind off 3 at neck edge 3 times. Work on the 24(25-26-27-27) sts to match back armhole.

Shoulder: Bind off 8(8-8-9-9) at side edge 3(2-1-3-3) times, then on Sizes 12(14) Only, bind off 9 sts at same edge 1(2) times. Starting at neck work other side.

Sleeves: With Size 5 needles and A - cast on 81(83-85-87-89) sts. K 1 row and P 1 row for 18 rows. Starting with a K row, work in stripes as follows:  * 4 rows of C, 6 rows of A, 8 rows of B, 6 rows of A *. Repeat from * to * once more then work 4 rows of C. With A - work in St St, dec'ing 1 st each side on next row then every 1½ inches 3 times more. Work on the 73(75-77-79-81) sts to 15 inches or 1 inch more than desired length to underarm, end on wrong side. Width across sleeve is 12¼(12½-12¾-13¼-13½) inches.

Sleeve Cap: Bind off 4 at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 each side every other row until 35 rem. Bind off 3 at beg of next 6 rows. Bind off.

Collar: With Size 5 needles and A - cast on 102(104-106-108-110). K 1 row and P 1 row for 18 rows. Work from * to * of sleeve once, changing to Size 3 needles for last A stripe. Work 4 more rows. Bind off. Sew shoulder seams. Turn up a 1 inch hem on collar and sew in place. Sew collar to neck. With A - crochet 1 row of sc around back opening and collar. Fold collar on Color B stripe and tack down at opening. Insert zipper. Sew sleeves in place. Seam underarms and sleeves. Turn up a 1 inch hem on sleeves. Sew up hem on lower edge.


Right Leg: Starting at lower edge with Size 5 needles and A - cast on 116(118-120-122-124). K 1 row and P 1 row for 2½ inches, end with a P row. Work stripes same as on sleeves.

Note: Directions are for 39½(40-40¼-40¾-41) inch pants from hemline to waist plus 1½ inches for hem at lower edge, based on in-seam length of 28½(28¾-28¾-29-29) inches. To lengthen or shorten make adjustment before first inc. With A - work in St St to 18(17-16-15-14) inches from start. Inc 1 each side on next row then every inch 11(12-12-12-12) times more then On Sizes 14(16-18) Only inc 1 each side every 4th row 2(4-6) times. Work on the 140(144-150-156-162) sts to 30(30¼-30¼-30½-30½) inches, end on wrong side - this includes unturned hem. Width across leg under crotch is 23¼(24-24¼-24¾-25) inches. Mark start of K row for start of front crotch.

Crotch: Bind off 3, then K to end.

Row 2: Bind off 6, then P to end. Dec 1 each side every row 6 times, then every other row 6 times. Dec 1 at front edge onlyevery other row 3 times - 104(108-114-120-126) sts rem. Width across at hipline is 17¼(18-19-20-21) inches. Dec 1 at back edge only every 6th row 7(8-5-7-7) times then every 4th(4th-4th-2nd-2nd) row until 94(98-102-104-108) rem. Work to 11(11¼-11½-11¾-12) inches above marker, end on right side. K next P row for turn. K 1 row and P 1 row for 6 rows. Bind off.

Left Leg: Marking end of K row for front edge, work to correspond to right leg. Sew leg seams to crotch. Sew back and front seams. Turn up a 1½ inch hem on each leg. Turn in hem at waistline leaving an opening to insert elastic cut to fit.

Be Sure Your Stitch Gauge Is Correct

Have a wonderful day, think happy thoughts about Christmas and as always, Happy Homemaking.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 December 1957 “12 Days of Christmas: A Partridge and a Pear Tree”

I thought it might be fun to attempt in some way to use the 12 days of Christmas as a guide for the next 12 days and therefore the next 12 posts. Now, as a rule, the old ways, as this song is very ancient, the first day of Christmas gifts would have been on the 25th and into January. However, I think counting down from today until Christmas Day (12 days from now) might be more fun.

First lets hear this lovely rendition of the song from 1954 played by guitar and danced quite wonderfully.

partridgepeartree Day 1: The Partridge in a Pear Tree.

I considered two great ways to represent this first gift to our sensibilites would be the context of homemaking and hearth and home. I happen to love game and though it is not easy to come by will first share a recipe for cooking partridge.

partridge partridge2 The common American Partridge is closer to a quail.  hun The Grey Hungarian Partridge or English Partridge or “Hun” is another variety more often shot.

Brined Roast Chukar or Partridge

roast chukar or partidge

Here is a lovely recipe and a great site in with a recipe for partridge. This photo makes my mouth water. I love various game to eat and in fact have never encountered any I did not like. I even like a good squab (pigeon) and had I ever a farm would love to keep a dovecote to raise such birds for consumption. Though, it isn't a pigeon in a pear tree, but I rather like the sound of that, d0n’t you?

The pear is probably more accessible both in acquisition as well as more peoples palette than the partridge. I thought I would share this WWII wartime recipe for Pear crumble, as it is conservative in ingredients due to rationing and therefore more appropriate for our tightening budgets in our recession.

Pear Crumble

* 6-8 cored pears (ripe for eating). Leave skins on
* 1/2 cup of brown sugar
* handful of sultanas
* lemon juice/zest if available
* 1/2 cup of wholewheat flour
* 1/2 cup of rolled oats
* 1/2 teaspoon all spice/mixed spice
* 2 tablespoons margarine
* custard powder, sugar and milk (for custard)
Take the 8 ripe to eat pears and core them and chop them up (leaving the skins on)
Squirt a little lemon juice in and zest if available
Mix together with sultanas and place in a greased 7 inch cooking pan for teh oven
Mix the sugar and the all spice together and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pears in the pan
Mix 1/2 cup wholewheat flour and 1/2 cup of rolled oats together in a bowl
Rub in the margarine until mixture resembles bread crumbs
Sprinkle this over the top evenly
Place in pre-heated over at 200 C for about 40 mins
Make a nice thick custard as per instructions on the can and serve hot crumble on top of hot custard
Serves 4
Submitted by Carolyn Ekins

I hope  you are happily preparing for the coming Christmas Holiday and now I must consider how to address tomorrows gifts: 2 turtle doves.

Happy Homemaking.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

11 December 1957 “ A little under the weather”

50sneeze I had intended a post today but began feeling a cold coming on last night. I have been rather proud of myself as I have not been ill in quite sometime and even managed to avoid the cold and flu when hubby came down with it last year. I think I have been running about and doing more social things of late and therefore been more in the company of germs rather than the safety and germ-free  environment of my home; another boon to being a Homemaker.

I hope all are having a lovely day and I had wanted and will try to come up with a way that I could do the 12 days of Christmas. That would mean starting tomorrow. That will depend upon how I feel and if I have the mental capacity right now to think of a fun way to express those twelve days over twelve posts. We shall see.

Happy Homemaking.

Friday, December 9, 2011

9 December 1957 “Some Home Movies, 1930’s 1950’s & 1960’s”

I always love finding other’s home movies on YouTube. To think, those bashful or show offs, the unsuspecting and those who loved the spotlight, that they might be fodder one day for strangers dreams and imaginings. I ma sure at the time that father or uncle or even Mother had the camera pointing at them they thought at most the resulting film would be for the enjoyment of their own family. Or that at the very least be simply an annoyance Grandfather drug out once a year forcing the youngsters to marvel at their previous gatherings. Yet, such films are an important part of our history. This history of the common man set down on celluloid, made possible by the modern machine age to now be digital fodder for our imaginings and study.

There is much in these wordless images. We can garner the fashions worn, see how one celebrated, even glimpse how homes were really decorated compared to what the glossy magazines of the day show us how they should have been. Even, sometimes, they can give us a glimpse or a repreive from the modern shopping, traffic headache of a modern holiday. Consider times when stores were open until 5, closed on Sundays and no endless lines of people trampling to get the latest electronic toy while having forgot, already, about what it was they wanted so bad the previous Christmas.

Along these lines, you will notice in the first film from 1939, two of the coveted and most likely expensive gifts shown on the table. The typewriter and the pressure cooker. The camera returns to them often, both alone and being used (well the typewriter at least). What is something to think about is that these items may very well be around today and still working. My husband collects antique typewriters and uses them almost every day. And my own pressure cooker is actually from the late 1930’s as is my waffle iron. They are both going strong. What can we say about gifts we received over the years. I know old computers will simply be land fill fodder today.

The later films are 1950’s and you can see more gifts are apparent and with the use of color and the more casual form of dress of the younger set. While Grandfather and Grandmother are dressed up fine, the younger generation parents are tie less and one even wears dungaree bib overalls. Times they are a changing as the young ins here will soon see when the 1960’s and 70’s hit.

I hope you enjoy, as do I , perusing these old clips of lives past but lived in happiness with less. I hope all are having a lovely Christmas season and as always, Happy Homemaking.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

7 December 1957 “Failed Rocket Attempt, Britain Train Crash, and A Gas Explosion in Georgia”

Yesterday, 6 December 1957, the U.S. attempted and failed to launch its first satellite Vanguard. It was viewed on television and the result of our need to ‘catch up’ to Russia. Our country had been surprised by the sudden launch of Sputnik by the Russians on 4 October of this year. This was referred to as the Sputnik Crisis and was a key event during the Cold War.

“On 6 December the US Navy launched a Vanguard rocket, carrying a 1.3 kg (2.9 lbs) satellite, from Cape Canaveral. It only reached an altitude of 1.2 meters (4 ft), fell and exploded. The satellite was thrown clear, bleeping pathetically as it rolled away. The American press called it Kaputnik”

This newsreel of the time shows the explosion and then three other stories as well. One is the sad train disaster in the UK and another is a horrible explosion here in the US in Georgia.

When I consider our need to ‘rush off’ to catch up or beat the Russians, I cannot help but think that sometimes there is a bit of the schoolyard in a country’s diplomacy tactics. A sort of “You did that, look what I can do” attitude which often seems associated with the male.

Not to be sexist to men, but there does seem to be a bit more of the ‘tougher than you’ in politics and government which, lets face it, are chiefly run by men. Many may laugh and say if women ran it all we’d squabbled and gossip, but I bet we would have a lot less war and much more discussion. We, as a sex, often prefer to ‘talk it out’ and even when we are mean we tend to do so with words and subtle games rather than striking out. Though, thanks to modern media and shows such as Teen Mom and the like, we see the TV teaching girls, ‘Hey, you too can punch and beat up one another just like men’. I am not sure why the ratings increase always needs to be tied to negative behavior. Might not a group of people be awed or wish to tune in to suddenly see over the top kindness or people going out of their way to learn and do rather than fight and text? But, I digress, I have gone off on a tangent and I do apologize.

Now, the unfortunate aspect of the Georgia explosion is that it could have been prevented. In 1937 the New London School in Texas was blown up by a natural gas leak. It resulted in almost 300 dead children and teachers.


It is the largest school related explosion in US history, yet I had never heard of it until I stumbled upon it the other day. At the time natural gas, which is odorless and colorless, had been leaking into the school due to faulty plumbing. At the time natural gas was simply burnt off (it still is in many cases today) as it was considered a waste product of the oil production. Due to a faulty line, the burn off was running into the pipe work of the school and fill the crawl spaces and walls of the school. 

After this horrific explosion, which resulted in so many dead, it was attempted to require to have an odor added to natural gas, so one could detect it. The children of the school had been having headaches because of the gas, but these were ignored. After this, the oil companies were brought to court to make additives a requirement, but little was done. The Texas oil companies got off on ‘failure of evidence’, though one would think so many dead children would prove a case. Therefore, in 1957, there still was no mandated or required odor additive and the town of Villa Rica paid a price that should have been dealt with twenty years earlier.

Here is what is written today on a plaque of the site in Villa Rica GA:

Around 11:00 a.m. on December 5, 1957, a natural gas leak under Berry's Pharmacy caused an explosion that destroyed four buildings and damaged several others in Villa Rica's downtown. The explosion killed twelve and injured twenty. The tragedy highlighted the need for both an organized local emergency response unit and the use of odor in the natural gas supply.
The civil defense unit that resulted became a model for west Georgia. Ensuing litigation placed a considerable financial burden on the city, suppressing economic development for years. In terms of injury and loss of life, the explosion remains the most catastrophic event in Carroll County history.

It makes me worried about the towns where natural gas fracking is beginning to really take off. I feel for the local people who may have little or no say to what happens to their land, their town, and their way of life. What sort of explosions may await these towns today or what other silent way will the natural gas kill? It is odd that we have so long relied on such a volatile form of power to our world. I understand we need electricity and transportation, but sometimes it does seem we muddle up our lives with complexities that we do little to control in any real way and just deal with the negative results when they arise. I hope we won’t have to learn another lesson in children’s lives.

It brings me back to the point of we women. The nature to make home and work in groups seems to be our province. Many may deny it, but over centuries we have naturally taken this role. It is to bad that this very role couldn't’ be used to run our countries. That that states and unions couldn’t be organized families who have to do their chores and get their dessert when they finish their dinner. I know this sounds a silly simplistic idea, but it does make one think that so much of the disaster, death, and sadness of our world is often the result of that playground game, “I am better than you, or I can have more than you”. I wish we could evolve to become better beings but sometimes wonder if we are slipping back into a sort of tribal lifestyle where we have replaced our clubs and fire with electronics and digital money scams and the large investment banks of the world have the biggest clubs and want it all for themselves.

I hope one gift we all give ourselves and our families this year is the gift of thought. To contemplate our world and to promise to look into it in detail and not to just accept what we are fed by various news media. That we have minds and great tools (the internet) at our disposal and therefore no excuse to be lazy enough to simply accept life as it. We need to make a difference and that can only come with knowledge and understanding. So, I hope our Christmas wish  for all shall be simple knowledge and understanding of our world. It only takes a few minutes to follow down a line of thought to various facts to which conclusions can be made by us and not made FOR us. I still contend that a homemaker’s greatest asset is her mind and it needs as much practice and exercise as her cooking skills and budgeting.

I hope these sad news stories make you stop and consider, be thankful for what we have today, but also to realize we are not necessarily ‘better off’ than those who have gone before and that there is much to learn from the past. We cannot look forward with any true vision without knowledge of the past.

Happy Homemaking.

Today’s addition to the Forum is a new Heading Vintage News & History. I added a newsreel from 1957 covering the Lewisham UK Train accident there. We can discuss and share old news stories of interest and to learn or contemplate our past.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

4 December 1957 “A Christmas Angel and Flower Gift to Make: New Life For Old Handkerchiefs”

angelflowerpotgifts A quick little hello this fine Sunday morning here in 1957. Having found so many lovely little hand-made gift ideas in my magazines, I can’t but help share them. I think these two handkerchief gifts are adorable and would be a wonderful way to present some vintage handkerchiefs to a vintage loving friend.

The angel is more complicated, but well worth the effort, while the little ‘flower pot’ couldn’t be easier or sweeter. I think repurposing old and cherished items as new gifts for friends and family is a great way to reign in the Christmas spending and keep a tight grip on one’s pin money.

handkerchiefangelhowto handkerchiefangelhowto2 Here are the angel instructions, which I think aren’t too bad. I may make one for our Christmas tree this year and will share the result. That way I can show if it truly is easy or not; the proof, they do say, is in the pudding.

handkerchiefflowerpothowto1 handkerchiefflowerpothowto And here is the flowerpot, which couldn’t be easier. I think I may make one with vintage wallpaper as the pot. I shall share this result with you as well.

I hope all are having a wonderful Sunday and today on the Forum I posted a new heading under Books Reading, and the Arts is a new topic “Vintage Daily and Sunday Cartoons” Check it out and add some of your favorites.

Happy Homemaking.

Friday, December 2, 2011

2 December 1957 “Homemade Christmas Gifts”

I thought as we lead up to Christmas day I might share some fun make yourself crafts and gifts for the holiday season. As none of us have too much too spend and we vintage minded folk like the spirit of Christmas more so than the gifts, it could be fun.

makexmasgifts1 These darling kitchen helpers would warm any homemaker or chef’s heart. A clever rooster and watermelon make for an interesting pot holder. And the Duck is Devine as is the well manicured hand of the oven mitt.

We must understand that in the 1950’s a certain level of free handed or craftiness was left to the reader. These ‘instructions’ are not like today’s with easy download templates and patterns. But what I like is it allows, with a good pictorial guide, to let the reader make them the size they would like.

roosterpotholder Here are the instructions for the rooster pot holder.

duckwatermelonpotholders Here are the duck and watermelon instructions.

handovenmitt And finally the clever hand oven mitt. These could easily be made form scrap fabric or even if you bought remnants in the pre cut bins of your local craft or fabric store.

I realize this is a rather short post and I have been rather lax of late, but I have been extra busy lately. I do hope you will allow as this is a busy season. Let’s talk and chat about Christmas, as it is such a fun time of the year. As I said before, as these past three 1950’s years have passed for me I get more excited about the joy of simple things like decorating the tree, listening to Christmas records, making homemade ornaments, cookies and getting together to sing carols. The stress and rush of the old Christmas with a list too long and too much money spent and the anger and frustration of other shoppers are not fodder for a fun Christmas. The more we can simplify and do with less stuff but make MORE traditions and activities the better we shall all be, especially our wallets and county.

Lets talk Christmas Crafts. Let’s talk today more about it on the Forum under Homemaking, Crafts, Christmas Crafts. Share your ideas or ask questions or give answers or heck, just drop by.

Happy Homemaking.

Monday, November 28, 2011

28 November 1957 “Pies: Sheppard’s and Apple or How to Use Less Butter or No Crust at All”

appliepiecloseup Is this a lovely golden mountain to climb to reach the pinnacle of mid century kitchenware? No, it’s simply my Thanksgiving apple pie.

I recently posted a how to on making your own butter. As many mentioned, which was true for me as well, it used to be more expensive to make your own butter. Now, however, with the rising prices at the market, I get a pound of butter and two cups of butter milk for about 9 cents more than just pre made butter. And it tastes more wonderful and I can flavor or give it an essence as I so choose.

This Thanksgiving was very low key for us. It was simply Hubby and I and Gussie and Hubby’s sister. It turned out to be such fun, just the four of us. The perfect number for cards and scrabble and just enough to make intimate table talk over roasted turkey and all the fixings a joy.

Since I had less to impress, if you will, I made sure to stay within my usual shopping budget. I allocated all the meat money to the Turkey and the dessert was possible, or rather decided upon, because I had a bowl of apples a month old that I had not touched. I went against my better judgment and bought them at our local Stop and Shop because they were a ‘bargain’. Well the bargain turned out to be a false economy when we found them all but inedible as an eating apple. I quickly returned to our local Farm where they grow their own apples and thought the higher price worth the value and simply cut back on supply, as I am continually learning to do more and more.

So, since the apples were available and I had my usual amount of butter, I was in a quandary. I could simply go out and buy more butter for the holiday or I could be a good future 30’s era Depression Homemaker and make do with what I had. So, when I looked at some of the various recipes for pie dough I realized the difference in quantity of the fat in old vs. new recipes. A quick look online showed the basic recipe I use for my pie dough when using butter, but the modern version used a cup or more (thats two or more ‘sticks’). My own recipe, from my Fannie Farmer from the 1950s (my go to butter based pie dough recipe) used only 2/3 of a cup.

Here is the plain pastry recipe I used from my Fannie Farmer. You will see that it calls for shortening, but I no longer use shortening. It’s all butter and lard or pan drippings for me.

                                              Plain Pastry

makes enough for a 9-inch two crust pie, or a 1-crust pie and several tarts.

1 teaspoon salt                                          1/3 cup shortening

2 cups sifted flour                                    1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

Mix salt with flour in a mixing bowl. Cut shortening (or butter) into flour until mixture is in even bits no longer than peas. To do this use a pastry blender or two knives, one in each hand. You may use your finger tips if you work quickly, so that the heat of your hands does not melt the shortening. Sprinkle water over flour by tablespoonfuls, stirring it in with fork until just enough has been added so that you can pat the dough lightly together to form a ball. Handle as little as possible and do not knead. Wrap in wax paper and chill. (For two crust pie make two equal size balls and chill) When chilled (an hour or over night) roll out and line 9 inch pie plate.

This book is funny in that it has very little in the way of oven temps and cooking times. I think one was expected to have a certain knowledge of basic cooking that we simply have no access to today. If mother or grandmama were not there to teach you, one learned in Home Economics.

So, bake this at 425 F (220 C) for about 40 minutes. It can take up to 50 minutes depending on your oven. I like a brown crust but not overdone, so I cook about 25 minutes and then check it, if it is brown enough simply foil for remainder of baking.

When you do a two crust pie you need to put slits in the crust, but  you can also use this as an opportunity to get creative. I just used some little fall cookie cutters ( a leaf and an acorn) and cut out shapes before putting on the top crust and the ‘cut outs’ were also put back on.applepiedecoration Here you can see one of the little leaves all browned and yummy. I also egg wash the top and use the whole egg, not just the white, because I find it browns it nicer and imparts a more rich flavor than just the white. And of course a dash of cinnamon and sugar.

applepie1Here is mine before going into the over.

And here it is lovely warm and brown out.applepie2

The filling of any pie is simply whatever you want it to be. When it is a fruit pie, it is simply fruit and sugar and spices. Here I used 8 apples cut and pared (I did not peel my apples. Normally I don’t as the local apples skins are so good, but these store bought would have been better peeled.) I cut them up in a bowl added about 1/2 to 3/4 cups white sugar and about one teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg. I turned and coated the apples, placed in the shell and used a bit more of my precious butter to dot the top of the fruit before I placed the top crust over it. You can invent and make up any pie to your hearts delight, which is what I love about baking and cooking; the creativity of it.

Now, were I trying to save more on my weekly budget I could have easily made a one crust pie and made a crumble for the top, thus leaving me another crust for  meat dish for the week. But, as it was Thanksgiving I thought it worth it.

Speaking of pies and watching one’s weekly budgets, a great ‘pie’ for dinner is a Sheppard’s or cottage pie. The distinction between the two is that Sheppard’s pie is made with lamb (as a sheppard herds sheep) while a cottage pie can be beef, pork. Although, I usually call such a pie with game a Game Pie, but I suppose they could be interchangeable. In many ways, for me, this is often simply a ‘leftover’ pie as one can simply take their leftover meat and veg and make this. If you have a meat grinder it is even better as your leftover beef or lamp chops can be ground quite easily the next day to fry up in meat broth and veg to make this pie.

This is the easiest dinner pie ever and certainly one can see the farmers wife or cottager inventing this to make their few staples hearty and tempting on a cold winters night in a little stone cottage on a heath.

Now, as many of you know, this is not a pastry pie. There is no dough involved. It also easily converts to a vegetarian pie, simply simmer your protein source and veg broth rather then meat broth and you will be just as happy with the result.

sheppardspieHere is my last Sheppard's pie before it baked. I forgot to get a picture afterwards, but it was all brown and lovely. I used ground lamb, as I find if I cut off the lamb from the bone, I can grind it to spread father and then the bones and fat go into water and simmer with onions and garlic for a good soup stock. We really can stretch our food budget if we try.

All you do is brown your meat (or skip this if you are usually already cooked leftover meat) with some onions. Add your veg of choice (or leftover) I like turnips in mine when I have them, which I often do as they last forever in a dark space like potatoes no need to refrigerate root veg. Add some meat broth or gravy and simmer for about 10 minutes then pour into a pie plate. Cover with a layer of baked potatoes, mark with a form to get nice brown peaks, and bake at 425 F until browned. Usually about 30 minutes or so. It is SO good and only improves upon the flavor the next day. Have fun with this one you can make it from anything. And using sweet potatoes or yams on top to make it more interesting maybe with some syrup for a sweet and savory mix with some cinnamon in the meat. This is surely an easy dinner pie that is needed in our failing economy. Perhaps we should dub it for the new millennium Economic Failure Pie? Whatever you call it, have fun with it.

Happy Homemaking.

Today on the Forum I linked a wonderful Flickr stream of pop-up 1950’s Christmas cards that are great. They are a wonderful inspiration so check them out. Go to the Forum and it is under Homemaking and Crafts, enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

26 December 1957 “Put on a Happy Face”

I would like to start today’s post by apologizing for being absent so long. We have had a fine low key Thanksgiving and beautiful weather, but I have felt out of sorts lately.

Maybe it is the approach of the year’s end which heralds my third year into my project living. I think due to my more analytical living, due to my project, I am feeling rather out of sorts concerning our actual time. The future and 2012 has some fear in it for me.

When I innocently began my project three years ago I was excited to uncover the truth of how a middle class homemaker lived. The thoughts, hopes, fears, and dreams she might have had by reading her magazines, watching her TV, and looking at her political world. As the layers peeled back by the end of 1955 I began to see a United States I wasn’t prepared for.

In some ways I have been able, as I am sure many homemakers during hard times were, to try and focus on hearth and home. I wanted to be in the know, certainly, but also to not let it color me too greatly. To ‘put on a happy face’ as they say. Keep the ‘red badge of courage’ lipsticked on my smile. But, in so many ways, the current state of our world leaks through and takes the silver lining out of the best made chin’s up cloud.

The economy is of course something is unable to avoid feeling. And for me to see the various laws and regulations changed so drastically over the past decade to lead us into our current financial state makes me angry. I see the banks and financial institutions simply fraught with greed not unlike a spoilt baby who will not be too told, ‘Too much sugar will make you sick’ but eats and eats in anyway and when it makes a mess we are left to clean it up at our peril. I long for the adults of the past.

In no uncertain terms many things that are wrong today were in some ways begun in the post war USA, but then we had adults. There was a generation of people who had seen and been in hard times. They wanted to make a better world and in so doing their offspring are now running ours.

I don’t like to seem to point a finger at a generation, but it is odd to me that the same generation that had to have rock and roll then practice their freedom of speech have become the very people who now have created the banking world that clutches all of us about the neck and stops any attempts at ones own expression of freedom of speech.

I want the grown ups back. I want the ‘Greatest Generation’ to rise up from their graves and wheel chaired loneliness in nursing homes and make everything right again. To slap their babies who will go on eating too much sugar and let us all know, “We have to have responsibility and be more cautious and put money in our piggy bank and eat our vegetables BEFORE we get dessert and to turn off the TV and go outside and play or read a book instead of play with that toy”. In so many ways its as if the grownups have really left us all to be looked after by the fat bullies on the playground. They want it ALL for themselves and don’t care what happens to us, but if we try and take a piece of their pie they slap us down.

Well, what does all this gibberish and mixed metaphor mean, you might ask? Honestly, nothing really. It has simply left me pondering too much to even handle looking at the computer and following a story from 1957 to today. I have had a good Thanksgiving and a fine visit with friends over coffee and apple pie and then really felt the need to simply percolate. Therefore, this post won’t be looking at any of those particular points, but rather just a timid, “I am sorry” that I have not posted and that I shall indeed get back to it starting today. We do need positive goals and hopes and dreams. We do need to focus on the good while still being aware of the bad. WE need to begin to become the grownups more as others have not done. As our money tightens, the prices rise, the jobs fail, the house equity dissipates, and inflation continues we need to be even more adult. We have to tell ourselves to turn off that TV and do our homework and learn and make do and mend. That is where the homemaker comes in. That has always been her strength caring the family spirit and hope in the hard times. Putting a smile on their face and others as they patch another patch in the threadbare clothes. A cheery tune cooking up a new fun breakfast made from what she can now afford stretched out with filler to make her decreasing pantry not seem so empty. Doing without more fore herself so she can sneak an extra penny in her pin money for the rainy days ahead. We are these things, we homemakers, rather we are full time homemakers or not. Even if we live alone we have to put that smile on our life by keeping our home a safe place a refuge from the increasingly dark world outside. We deserve to feel at home and to feel safe as possible and homemaking skills are important to that morale.

I hope all of you had a lovely thanksgiving, those of you in the USA, and that you were not too tempted by Black Friday to overspend or to support too much the big guys who have taken away much of what we love about small town life from the 1950s. I hope you think more about local or the ‘small guy’ when gift buying this year and put away the “Candy for the spoilt baby” as I believe they have had enough, don’t you think?

So, I shall continue to try and learn more and understand more of my world from then to now but I shall try harder to not let it color me too grey. That I shall continue to see the good with the bad and to learn more so as to be better prepared as the times get harder, if indeed they do. If they do not then I shall not be upset that I am wiser and more experienced. I shall indeed put on my happy face!

Happy Homemaking and Put on a Happy Face, I know I shall try:

I am going to try and post here what new item I put on the forum. Today I have added a fun tutorial on making a vintage Christmas bulb wreath I found online. It is in the Forum under Homemaking, Crafts, Christmas Crafts, enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

21 November 1957 “Carving a Turkey and Fun Clothespin Doll Place Settings”

thanksgivingimage Thanksgiving is on its way here in 1957.  Last year I hosted a rather large gathering and posted about my menu and my homemade place cards. If you search Thanksgiving in the search bar above that reads “Search the Apron Revolution” many of my Thanksgiving posts will come up. There are too many to link to here.

This year it is a very small Thanksgiving for us with Hubby, myself, Gussie, and Hubby’s Sister. It will be more informal but still with all the fixings. We will wind down the day playing cards by the fire, sipping eggnog and discussing our coming Christmas party.

I hope all in the U.S. are excited about ‘Turkey Day’ and look forward to hearing about how you celebrate. For those of you outside of the U.S. for fun why not have turkey dinner this Thursday and toast a cheer to your American cousins, “Chin Chin”.

Let’s look at carving basics. I thought these were rather good instructions and so have put them on this card. You could easily print it out to the size of an index card and keep it in your recipe box or folder.howtocarveturkey

I was also taken by the idea of homemade crafts for the table. Those with children would really enjoy such a project. But even those childless couples can have a blast with clothespin art. There are many ways you could make these little wooden objects into fun Holiday decorations for any holiday. I propose for this project Pilgrim Place Settings. Little Clothespin dolls made to resemble pilgrims or Native Americans made with old fashioned pins. Then hot glue a traditional clip clothespin to its back to hold a name card or the menu for the Thanksgiving Dinner.

clothespindollmockup2Now this is simply a mock up I made with various images on the computer, so it looks a bit odd, but you get the general idea. You could easily paint the face rather than use googly eyes. One could also make them into turkeys with feathery tails.

clothespindollies These little dolls and the instructions are from a vintage magazine. And these images are thanks to Blue Prairie Photo Stream who hopefully won’t mind our sharing her lovely find. I think it a good starting off point to make our Thanksgiving craft, don’t you?

clothespindollinstructions1 clothespindollinstructions2

I will post more Thanksgiving tips and ideas tomorrow and look forward to your sharing your ideas with me. There is also a section under Homemaking on Holidays in the Forum. Join up and share your tips and treats by clicking the forum button up top.

I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking.

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