Friday, September 30, 2011

30 September 1957 “Ultra Vintage with Potted and Pressed Beef”

To me, Vintage isn’t always red lipstick and girdles. Though I obviously have an affinity for the middle of the last century, I have always loved earlier times as well. The other day, when I was feeling a bit peevish, I found myself day dreaming over my 1908 homemaker’s manual and old pre WWI Country Life magazines.

I have often found solace in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. I am not sure why, perhaps it is simply my ability to romanticize which leaves such a time ripe with possibilities. I also, from an historical standpoint, find it fascinating that prior to Industrialization, the civilized world changed very little. Grandparents and grandchildren knew horse and foot travel, lights of candles and clothes sewn only by hand. Then after the Railroads and Industry spread, the Victorians were the first real ‘modern’ people. Traveling with times tables on trains. Motor cars were arriving and more roadways. True, by today’s standards they are antique, but in many ways they would have seemed as modern and alien to those in the 17th century as are we. But, I digress.

pottedbeef  pressedbeef I found some interesting preservation techniques for potted meat that I think I shall actually try. I will share with you the results. It will give it about a month after I have prepared it, however, to see how it is holding up. Checking for mold and the like, because any way we could  make our own preserved food to use later, it is cheaper and better quality than canned foods and we know what goes into it.

19111911eveninggown 1911, pre World Wars and even Pre Titanic, is beginning to see fashion really take a turn. The lady of fashion has greatly changed her overall sillohuete from just five years previous.1907b The line is becoming smoother. The waist is being raised, much like the Regency period, and hats are beginning to shrink a bit. This smoother line and raised hemline will culminate in the dreaded ‘hobble skirt’ which literally restricted walking. Interesting to note, however, is in this postcard depicting the current fad, doesn’t the young lady actually have the beginnings of the sexy hourglass shape of the later 1950’s early 60’s associated with Marilyn an such?hobbleskirt

Of course the average middle class woman is going to look more cohesive to her 5 year predecessor with the standard waist and fuller skirt and blowsier top, not unlike Queen Mary and her ladies here in 1911.1911queenmary The royals often taking a more sensible approach and of course much copied by the middle class. While the du monde were the ladies of the upper classes.

I will show images of my pressed and potted beef when I prepare it. Do any of you think you would ever try such an endeavor? Would you be more like to do so if the attempt is a success with me? I just love finding new ways to make and keep things handy that are more natural and less chemical. I also feel a bit more empowered when I garner a skill lost.

Happy Homemaking.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

28 September 1957 “Fall Planting for Spring and Some New Additions to the Chickens”

tulips3  I found this concise little article that from an October issue extolling the virtues of Fall bulb planting. A true gardener’s work is never done. And we are always planning for the next season. What I love about gardening is it encompasses a rather good mind set. You HAVE to live in the moment to get those weeds or or relax amongst your roses with your iced tea. But, there are also wonderful days of dreaming over seed catalogs and pencil and paper imaging ‘castles in the sky’. And, when Spring comes, those castle’s become your hard sweat and labor to bring about your goals, which often change once the level of work is realized.

As you continue to gain experience as a gardener, you tweak your plans here and there. You begin to see what works for your soil, your amount of sun or your own amount of time for weeding. If you hate weeding, have little time and don’t care only about flowers, than succulents are  your best friend, especially if you have a sunny spot. If you like the cool feel of the shade on a hot summer day than hostas, ferns and even hydrangeas can fill out your shady spots and make weeding easier by their dense spreading.

Now, however, at least in our colder Easter climates, we are thinking of Spring. Yes, Spring, for that is what we plan for now. The wonderful world of bulbs. Tulips, hyacinths, you name, they go in now. So, lets look at our little article here:


waterhyacinth2Another type of plant, though not planted in fall for spring, is the water hyacinth. I only mention it here because mine our blooming like mad. They are a free floating water plant and are beautiful.  Look at the color of the lavender blues and yellows. I didn’t adjust the color either, that is their true vibrancy.waterhyacinthwaterhyacinth3These are SO easy to grow that you literally drop them in water and you are done. Of course if there are no fish than you would need water plant food. I know, in the South, these are illegal as they spread like mad. I start with one in Summer and by the end of the Season have to feed many of them to my chickens just to not choke out my little pond. But I also take cute little buckets or containers and place them around the yard with water and put the excess in there. They are an easy way to add green and color and a single 10 cent comet gold fish will happily leave with them.

tulips4Speaking of shrubs, not only is this a good time to plant these, as it is cooler and soon leaves shall be falling, so it is less stress on the plant. This allows a good dormancy so come Spring your plant/shrub will have had time to acclimate and will happily bud as if it has always been there.

I have been slowly adding Hydrangeas to our stone wall, as I want a hedgerow of them in time. This past month I took quite a few from our rental property, not caring anymore how pretty it is for tenants (who obviously don’t care). And yesterday I added four new ones to the area.stonewall2

I got these and others from a local nursery about 30 minutes from my home. They are a little secret place tucked behind the feed lot where I get my chicken feed. They share a space with a boat yard and are entirely word of mouth. Their business has grown because of it and their prices are better than the Chain stores, because they propagate much of their own as well as not have to pay high rents. They actually propagate their own Hydrangea and they are strong and wonderful bloomers.

This is the time of the year, as well, to buy those more expensive trees and shrubs because they are often marked down for the season. Many places don’t have the space to store them all until the following season and you can get wonderful deals. It helps if you get to know the people there, as well, as when it is a small business they have the power to make deals with you. I even worked a deal yesterday with my grain store to start trading my extra fresh eggs for chicken feed.

Now, concerning my own chickens, I had a rather fun surprise the other day. I have one good broody hen, Ruth. She has sat for me before and hatched her own as well as mail ordered eggs. She is a good mother. She went broody last month and I didn’t have the heart to chase her off, so I took some older eggs made sure they had been sitting out and put ‘X’ on them. Then I placed them under her, so when I would collect eggs in the morning I would know not to take those, as the other hens lay under her during this time.

Now, when I have used her before I have tried various ways to sequester her off from the flock. My last experiment was when she was in a rabbit hutch in the chicken house so that the other hens could see her and hear her but not interfere with the chicks.

So, the other day I was letting out my chickens when I heard a peeping and as bold as brass comes Miss Ruth confidently marching down the ramp with three little puff balls following her. Not only did I think the eggs were not viable, she was sitting in a very high nest box about five feet from the ground. So, unbeknownst to me, she hatched and successfully brought down three chicks.

What I have discovered is that the easiest way to raise more chickens isn’t brooder pens and broody boxes, but to just allow the flock their way. The other hens basically ignore the chicks, often eating and drinking right next to them. IF one pecks at the chick, it is usually a warning peck and Mother steps in to protect. And of course Roostie, the proud Papa is such a wonderful helpmeet always calling over the chicks for some morsel he has scratched up. And he is always looking and scanning for any danger to his ladies. It has rather been a wonderful experiment in Chicken behavior this past year.

henchicks4These are rather bad shots, but I cannot get too close to them or mother gets worried and chases the chicks back indoors. Here they are, though, happily scratching about with mum.henchicks5

     henchicks6 I think they are crosses with my Ameracauna (blue egg layer) and my French Marans (deep brown egg layer) and these crossed with my rooster who is an Orpington. I am curious to see if all three make it.

Each night, though, they have to follow mum into the chicken house and find their way with her while all the other hens mingle and flutter to find their roosts and we have had no fatalities yet. I suppose Nature Will Out.

Happy Homemaking and start dreaming of next years garden.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

24 September 1957 “Away a bit”

Yesterday I visited a friend I hadn’t seen in a month or two. We dressed up and went to a new tea house/art gallery in her town. It was a lovely old converted barn.

We had afternoon tea with sweets and little finger sandwiches. Their desserts were so good and you could tell were made on premises with actual ingredients. We were served in real China tea cups and pot. They were all mismatched and it made it charming. There were starched white linen tablecloths. We even had to pour our tea through strainers, which made it more fun and the tea better tasting. We had Earl Grey (I adore bergamot, one of the main elements of Earl Grey that gives it it’s wonderful aromatic bouquet).

My friend looked adorable and when we later went to a large antiques Market, one of the proprietors said, “Oh, it’s the Vintage gals again. We haven’t seen you in awhile”. We smiled at that, having been remembered. But, I suppose wearing dresses and looking ‘put together’ in our small ocean-side towns draws attention, good attention I might add.

I should have been good and brought my camera, but quite honestly I just forget. I went out without a thought about it. I feel bad now, but at the time I was just living a day. This past week I have been taking rather a little break from the computer and technology. It isn’t permanent, I assure you, but I just needed it. No concerns about what to write or share, no worries over the camera and downloading images, no scanning or dog earring magazines, just simply living. It was rather nice. And I think I needed it as a sort of cleanse from this past month and into the coming Autumn.

I hope in my doing so I haven’t lost many readers, but if I have, what can I do? Nothing. I am here to share and enjoy what I do. I love writing and I do, mostly, enjoy sharing images, ideas, tips, and such of the time. But, I wanted to see what it felt like without it being there. It felt like normal life. Yet I also see now, as I type this, that it also felt like a holiday and now this seems ‘work as usual’. Though I am sure you will scold for their being no pictures of my Vintage day out, nor any good recipes for tea things and so on.

I hope you all have a lovely day and I will close here with this helpful video from 1946 (arranging the Tea Table). Happy Homemaking.

Monday, September 19, 2011

19 September 1957 “Fuchsia and Spring Colors for Fall of ‘57 and The News”

vogue57 The cover for this Autumn's fashion here in 1957 feels more like Spring than Fall. The fuchsia tones are bright and really give a nod to the brighter more dynamic colors fashion will move into as the early 1960’s approach.

pinkhatfall57 The pink on this Fall ‘57 hat is bright and cheery.

balenciaga57 Though the golden tones on this Cristobal Balenciaga cocktail dress have an autumnal gold, they are layered on a Robin’s Egg Blue background. One of my favorite shades to wear.

dior57 This Dior for Fall ‘57 has a bright fresh green.

Though dressing vintage myself, I am already not following trends. But, I like to see the actual trends of the year, in this case 1957. This let’s me see what was coming and I am happy to see that my Spring and Summer fashions can do double duty for this Autumn. The usual tweeds, browns and grey, can be paired with those summer delights of color. A darker shoe, a dark leather bag and dark hat and of course a coat and autumnal scarf and that Easter dress becomes the best Fall Fashion.

Today is also News day and I have this weeks Vintage News up. Today we look at women in Science, Space, and Science fiction in the past. It can be accessed HERE or by clicking the News button on the upper right.

Happy Homemaking.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

18 September 1957 “Some Comics to Brighten Your Day and Thoughts on My Virtual Life”

This month has not been the best nor happiest for me. I am sure it has shown in my infrequent postings, mostly so because of time constraints. But, this was also due to my rather bad mood and my not wishing to impart that into my writing.

Now, with a new family settled into the rental property, our own little house off the market for now (that will be another post) and me settling into the idea of Autumn on its way, I thought I’d share a few fun comics from my vintage magazines to start things out. They are light and silly and just what a Saturday afternoon needs.





I have to say I have rather run the gambit of emotions this past month. I have been faced with challenges that have, luckily, been helped by my organization and homemaking skills. To approach the house and the clean up and even the emotional state required for all we have been through has only been helped by the steady and calm rationale I have developed as a SAHW.

None the less, I am glad it is somewhat over. Now, rather bruised and quite exhausted, I have found myself facing the coming Fall and Winter with the question: Where do I want to go with it all? I can happily slip away into my daily routines and busy but contended life of a Homemaker, yet I feel a draw an almost need to continually improve and grow my website.

Someone had commented the other day that my description of only using my computer as a tool was false because of all the things I have to do to ‘create my web presence’. In some ways, I suppose that is true, but quite honestly I really do use my computer as a tool only and my ‘web presence’ (a term I am not sure I like) is merely me just blathering on about what I do or think about this or that. There is no ‘mystique’ or ‘contrivances’ or if there are, it is by sheer accident of my own inability to be savvy enough to create one.

50swomancomputer However, I do like writing and creating online. I certainly think the ONE thing in the modern world that seems to truly ring of freedom and equality is the ability (at least at present) to access many people on a platform without much cost or effort. While I won’t get into the politics of it, I rather feel we have very little actual freedoms any longer (including the freedoms of our so-called private property or the freedoms of the small person in a business or a small agricultural concern) the freedom of the internet still exists. Though I do see some rumblings of that being bought up slowly by Comcast and other corporations set to make more monopolies under which we, the small guy, must eventually suffer.

But, until that happens, I almost feel a duty to what I have thus created online and am always trying to find a way to improve it. I still find myself wanting to share my learning with others and yet wonder at my own life, is it genuine? Am I living a sort of sham contrived sort of life split between on-line and the reality of my day to day? I don’t honestly know. Perhaps I am merely realizing the modern reality of just that, The REAL and the ONLINE, to which all of us, at least those of us reading this, surely contribute on a daily basis.

It makes me think, on a sociological stand point, how are we evolving as a social creature. As much of our daily lives ARE lived in a virtual world that is mainly two dimensional and not very active compared to our daily 3-D existence. It certainly isn’t going away and I certainly could never go back to simply forgetting the 1950’s so I must evolve. I must continue to grow and change within that framework that feels comfortable but also in a way that seems to be moving forward whiles still keeping alive those aspects of the past we love.

Who knows, perhaps in the subculture within the internet we are actually growing a community or world in which manners matter. The level of our writing and communication CAN be greater than emoticons or simple fragmented statements about what we are buying or watching. We might simply be creating that fantasy idealized mid-century neighborhood where we trust one another, share recipes and gossip over the virtual table with a cuppa. When I consider it that way, it feels more lovely than to think of myself as some odd marketing schematic meant to create a persona to appeal to some idealized audience. That, I think, I should never like to be and if that is what I am becoming, would like to run in terror from it.

However it comes about, I do know that the last almost three years has been such an interesting adventure. In many ways, though I have stayed put and been more a home body than ever, feel as if I have done great adventures and meet so many friends. I suppose that is the appeal of the internet and its lure and power. Because when it comes right down to it, we, the human animal, are rather home-bodies. We like to know our surroundings and to feel comfort in our little dens and to notice and recognize our pack mates. Is the internet the new safe haven of Home in the vastly uncertain unchanging world where even your actual home, through foreclosure and market failings, can be taken away? If we have an outlet and an online device, perhaps that is our last solace of comfort, our security blanket.

Any way you look at it, I must say I am more excited about and happy to be involved in the online world that perhaps I have before expressed. I am so happy to have all of you as part of my online life and really get excited when I think of what we can build together.

I hope you all have a lovely day and as always, Happy Homemaking and Happy Virtual Life.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

15 September 1957 “Almost There and A Blue and Brown Color Scheme”

Well, here we are half way through September and I am finally, hopefully, in the final stretch of my rental house kerfuffle. Tonight I shall be meeting with our new tenants to exchange keys and information for their move in this week. Let us hope we have chosen better this time.

I had hoped, after a month of cleaning, stressing and dealing with the horror that was the whole debacle, to have it all settled come September first. That, however, did not happen. I had to show it many times, continue to clean here and there and make various dump runs. It has left my September not as I had planned.

My goal was to be able to return to daily posting and to continue to work on photographing more things I do (half the time now, I am stretched so thin I simply forget to document things). And to try out new recipes, new cleaning aspects, more sewing (One dress is still lingering on my dress form, patiently waiting for my return). But, as many of you know, stretching oneself between so many tasks is never easy.

So, to touch base, I am still here. I will return again and will be glad to get back into the swing of things. To end this short post, here is a fun image. I love when I find uses of one of my favorite vintage colors, light blue. It looks quite good paired with brown. An image such as this is also rather helpful for those who want to aspire to mid century color palette or even ideas on appropriate furniture that isn’t all Eames chairs and kidney shaped coffee tables.


Happy Homemaking.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 September 1957 “Healthy Meals from the 1950’s”

Healthy eating and 1950’s menus often don’t get recognized as going hand in hand. We are conditioned to think that everything from the 1950’s was simply smeared with butter and lard (Actually not bad for you in moderation and better than processed oils) when actually portion control and raw vegetables were a normal part of 1950’s diets.

I thought today I would share this fun little meal plan including fish to see how healthy this actually can be.fishdinner What a lovely spread and rather quite easy to make. Even the breaded fillets are not over fried and one could always bake them with some onions and garlic. Here are the recipes:fishdinner2

I also appreciate this approach to entertaining children at the table. Of course, before 1950’s the idea of ‘entertaining the child to eat’ was all but unheard of. You were given food, told to eat it and you had better do so or starve. Nutrition wasn’t a choice but a lesson much like don’t touch the hot stove and look both ways. Today, I often hear, “Oh, Sally only likes fish sticks” or “Oh, he won’t eat vegetables”.

In this instance, rather than bright packaging of some current popular video game or cartoon character to entice the child to sugary breakfast treats, we see wholesome oatmeal made ‘tempting’ with very good fruits such as prunes (full of fiber) and apples and the like. I think this a darling set up and possibly even a busy mother could make up such a thing quickly, I don’t know. I know there are probably many kids and parents today who have never even eat a prune. They are delicious.


This week’s Vintage Weekly News also deals with 1950’s food and nutrition. It can be accessed HERE or simply click the link on the upper right. I am still, yes STILL, dealing with my rental property and therefore have not has as much time as usual for my posts. I hope you will accept my apology on that one and have a lovely day. And, of course, Happy Homemaking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

7 September 1957 “Air Fresheners and the Scent of Home”

dazyad I always love to come across the new arrival of everyday products here in the 1950’s. This advertisement for Dazy air freshener is such a circumstance.

You will notice here that it uses a pump spray, similar to a window cleaner, to atomize the room. There is no aerosol with this room freshener.

This is an interesting bit of the history of the modern air freshener

The first modern air freshener was introduced in 1948. Its function was based on a military technology for dispensing insecticides and adapted into a pressurized spray using a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellant. The product delivered a fine mist of aroma compounds that would remain suspended in the air for an extended period of time. This type of product became the industry standard and air freshener sales experienced tremendous growth. In the 1950s, many companies began to add chemicals that counteract odors to their fragrance formulas. These chemicals, intended to neutralize or destroy odors, included unsaturated esters, pre-polymers, and long-chain aldehydes.

It is rather interesting to me how many consumer products of the 1950’s were born out of the technology and production needed and put into action during WWII. We today know, of course, that many of these componets and the dispensing of some of them are harmful to our environment and our own bodies.

I think what intrigued me about this ad is lead me to think of the levels of daily living that began to build up about a homemaker and her family in the 1950’s. How we lived, even to our housing size, nuclear family, what we ate, male and female roles, were so distinctly invented in this one decade.

Certainly a 1920’s homemaker would have had concern about odors in her home. But, had she been the then middle class, she most likely would have had some help and her kitchen would have been placed at the back of the house separated from the rest of the house by a pantry and then the dining room. Most often odors were kept in the kitchen by sheer placement of rooms.

In the 19th and earlier centuries, it was considered common or not ‘the thing’ to have kitchen or food odors in the home. Kitchens were placed in the cellars in city homes and often in country homes. If not, they were housed in a separate wing housing staff and separated from the main living areas by a series of rooms leading from servants to masters.

The middle class, before the 1950’s, of course wished to emulate the upper classes (As they were often attempting to or often intermarrying into the upper classes). Therefore the idea of an open kitchen with a family room would have been unheard of. Even if mother did the cooking with daughter, it was in the back behind a swinging door, with smells kept at bay until dinner was served in the dining room.

The smell from privies and water closets, beginning to show up in homes in the late Victorian middle class, were often still placed out in the yard and reached outdoors or were stuck upstairs along the back closer to the back stairs. So odors were dealt with, again, proximity.

It wasn’t until the great growth of suburbia and tract housing that the small and open house was a part of the middle class life. Certainly working class people often had to deal with smells but many lived in one room flats in cities or small cottages with rooms opening on one another. They are almost the precedent for the open kitchen, with father and sons sitting at the only table in the kitchen as mother and daughters prepare the food and discuss their days.

Thus, the decrease in house size and openness of rooms to one another suddenly created a need to have a ‘fresher’ smelling home. And, as always, one wanted the idea of perfection which would include aroma. It is almost as if all the longing and hope of those in the WWII destruction of home and country began to fantasize about a perfection of hearth and home that had never truly existed and then, in the 1950’s, set about to create it. And with the added technologies we could, in a very Disney fashion, create an allusion: A European Castle built overnight in Florida to house dreams, a home in the suburbs with perfect lawns and wonderful odors.

Now, we rather like cooking odors and often our ‘deodorizing’ will come in flavors such as ‘fresh baked cookies’, ‘cinnamon buns’ and so on, despite there being very little cooking and baking going on. Our candles, no longer needed for light, also come in such cooking aromas. It is as if the need to create the end product or the illusion without the work or actual content has grown into a very produced sort of life. Large kitchens opened to big family rooms with expensive appliances which get very little use. Food nuked in the microwave or brought in and a quick spray of an aerosol can and ta-dah it is as if mother has been home all day baking or cooking.

It seems to me the more we separate ourselves from the basic at home or in nature way of living our human condition has had to deal with for centuries, the more we use our technology and money to recreate it in some form. We will be frazzled and busy, all working insane hours, having very little time together, yet our big houses sit empty and family group has split into separate rooms plugged into computers, ipods, digital books and so on. Yet, what is it we are all doing with these things? Recreating a world in which we are enjoying the quiet calm of at home. But, if we really thought about it, without half of the things we work for and towards; without the goals of this and that, the simplicity of less and more time together would be the ultimate experience we are all longing for.

Perhaps we can soon come out with a fragrance that recreates the honesty and hardworking quality that we, as a people once felt. Perhaps flavors such as, “neighborliness”, “Safety”, “Family unity” will fly off the market in candle and can form. Or, of course, we might not be that far from a holo-deck, much like on Star Trek, where we can simply recreate the perfect loving family and home.

Perhaps my own time ‘at home’ allows me too much leisure to think, as I have gleaned all of this from a casual glance at a magazine advert. Then again, that might be a nice scent as well, “Time to Think”. Would you buy it?

Happy Homemaking.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

3 September 1957 “Fall Fashion and Skin Care”

fallfashion1I thought it might be fun to look at some fall fashion today. This simple little layout in one of my vintage magazines shows the basic silhouettes and the corresponding Advance patterns to make them. One can often find these vintage patterns today and I have included images of the two I could find, so that one could be on the lookout for them.

fallfashion4There are also many repro vintage and even modern patterns with similar silhouettes that you could use as the base for the wardrobe.

What I like about the old days dictate of fashion, is in many ways it allowed more freedom of expression and less money needed to be spent. With today’s ‘anything goes’ mingled with ‘what’s hot right now’ we often are left wondering what is appropriate to wear and almost live in a sort of fear of clothes. I cannot tell you the number of people who have written me telling me they long to dress in vintage but are scared. We have literally become scared of expression and fashion. And, therefore, we live in a sea of cheaply made and corporate logo printed t-shrits, yoga pants, jeans, and velour track suits. There is no dressing for one’s age and often we see older Hollywood starlets, fresh from the knife, trying their darned-est to look 21. When, if we dressed more glamorous and age appropriate, we would look better, feel better and not be as judgmental to our own looks.

It seems as if even women in their 40’s-60’s feel the need to sexually stimulate some 19-22 year old male out there some where. He is faceless but stands in for some sort of standard to which we are meant to dress. Sexy is more important than fashion and very often style and chic has very little to do with a teenage males idea of sexy.

When one can take on a silhouette that you like, regardless of period, we can build a wardrobe that can contain less, be better made and stretch farther. Than the self expression can come from the styling (Vintage pins, scarves, jewelry, hats, belts and so on are rather inexpensive).

fallfashion2Skirts, jackets, tops in a limited color family that you look good in makes for a larger array of combinations by simply adding styling.

  fallfashion3  You can find it is as easy to slip on a skirt and top (which without thinking would go together when one simply buys or sews in a matching color family) and a pin and out the door. Suddenly when you are at the market you will see people comment on how put together you look and it took as much time as pulling on yoga pants and a t-shrit.

I also find the current trend of looking down one’s nose as ‘matching items’ as some sort of Taboo against fashion. While once matching ones’ shoes belt and pocketbook or hat was considered correct, today it would be scoffed at and told it was too ‘matchy-matchy’ or ‘old fashioned’. When, quite honestly, if you had an array of fun shoes belts and pocketbooks in a few shades, you would easily know how to accessorize and you could also mix n match if they were in the same color scheme. Having no rules simply leaves us open to need to buy more and never feel we have ‘anything at all to wear’.

 diorfall57Here is a Dior look for this Fall 1957. We can see the skirt raising and even the swoop of the neck beginning to head toward that Mad Men look of the early 1960’s. I happen to like this style as well, as in many ways it is almost a more modern cleaned up version of the mid 1950’s. The silhouettes are the same but skirts are shorter, necklines a bit more flattering and patterns are becoming quite lovely.

This little vignette film, “A Day in the Suburbs” in Darien CT in 1957, is worth a watch. This is a short under one minute film that is cute and shows some darling ‘at home’ fashions. It can be watched HERE (I couldn’t embed it in the blog, sorry about that.)

Designing_woman A great film to watch, and own, is the 1957 Comedy starring Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck is “Designing Woman”. It has Fashion as one of  its main elements and is a great wonderful film. I do wonder why the film industry, with their need to remake everything, don’t realize the gold mine they would have if they remade, in the old style of course no modern clothes or attitudes or ideas, the classic 1950’s romantic comedies. Oh, well, I guess we need another remake of a 1970’s sitcom as a movie or a comic book made film, right? Here is the trailer.

Now, to round out this talk of fashion, we must think of our best and most important fashion element: Our Skin. If we don’t look good and healthy, than it matters little what we wear. And in fact if we look radiant and well rested, even dungarees a cotton top and that gardening hat will be a compliment when a neighbor drops by or a passerby by waves at you in the garden over the fence.

Here are some basic vintage skin care rules and applications.

skincare1 skincare2 skincare3

Enjoy your day and as always, Happy Homemaking.

I would also like to mention that some time this month I am going to address the forum again, find out how to make it easier to join (We will have to deal with Spam until myself or others can delete it but if we can ignore it) and have a ‘Join the Forum Day’. We have so many wonderful topics and old discussions it seems a shame to waste them and not allow new followers to access and add to them. So, Watch for that, as I will announce it one day this month when I get it ironed out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 September 1957 “Hurricane Irene, Rental Dilemmas and Idle Teen-Agers”

Here we are entering September and I was hoping to get back into my daily posting swing. We have, alas, not as yet found tenants for the house. As you well know by now, the level of cleaning and disposing of garbage was so in depth during the last three weeks of August, that I was only able to begin showing the house yesterday.

I have also not posted after Irene came through. We, here on the Cape, were lucky in that we had none of the rain. Our winds did gust strong enough to break some trees in half and really litter the yard with branches. Over all, it was rather like a strong Nor’easter, which we are rather used to here on the East Coast. We did lose power for roughly one day, but were happily restored quite quickly. All our preparations, thank goodness, were not needed.

We did enjoy some kerosene lamp fueled Scrabble and endless hands of Gin and tinned food. Though we could easily have used Gussie’s stove, which is propane, we opted not to. She lives in a little cottage on our property, but we didn’t feel safe running between the main house and it as we did witness one of our trees hitting a power line and sending sparks flying. So, we happily played “Little House on the Prairie” and enjoyed the flickering gas light on our old wooden beamed ceilings.

However, the continuing bad luck of our rental house became apparent the day after Irene. I drove there to check it out and to prepare for the first showings the next day. As I drove down the street, I was pleasantly surprised to see no downed trees and really not even any way ward branches. The street seemed to be untouched by the high winds. That assumption soon became false as I turned into the drive of the rental house. There, blocking most of the drive and my access to the side door and deck, were two large trees down and one half broken but hanging a good 20 feet in the air.

So, back home to get hubby (who had the day off, but was coming down with a cold and was hoping to stay in bed) and return to the property. We spent the rest of the day chain sawing and moving all the lumber and branches out of the drive and into the wood pile and compost pile. This left, of course, no energy for our own yard. We did attempt some clean up there, as a large locust tree branch fell into the yard and was still attached to the tree in a dangerous way. Were I of a superstitious bent, I’d think that house, or some malevolent force, were out to get me! The luck we have had, well is no Luck at all really. But, one gets up, brushes oneself off and moves on.

Whenever I have shown the house I always meet interesting people from all strata of the socio-economic ladder. Yesterday I met a young mother, twenty-five, who has a 5 year old son and a dead-beat divorced father. Her woes made me rather angry. She was such a hard worker. She works over 40 hours, put herself through school, pays for day care and her husband contributes almost nothing. She was telling me that she was trying to get some help with health insurance for her son, as he has a condition that requries various surgeries and he also has a tube in her nose etc. She was telling me how she just had to pay $100 for his prescriptions. She has to be fine with no insurance herself, as she cannot afford it, but was hoping for help with her son. His dead beat dad, who was in the military but somehow is not now, ‘forgot’ to pay the insurance that would have given his son covereage through the military. When she tried to get Mass health for her son, she was denied because they said she makes too much money. She laughed because she said, “Well $1300 of it goes to rent, I have to pay daycare five days a week, and the rest goes to food and medicine with no savings”.

She then went on to tell me about the area she lives now which has much Section 8 housing. There is a woman next door who pays $100 of the 1300 required (The rest paid by the state) she gets Social Security and also has food stamps and some form of extra cash bonus, that I had never heard of. She has three adult daughters all with young babies, living with her who all work despite their being on welfare as well.

She also told me of an ex-friend who had four kids in a row as a teen and received so much money, she was able to go to school full time (paid for) had food stamps and extra cash and because of some ill treatment to her children was given full coverage of day-care five days a week (despite the fact that she did not have to leave home except to go to school for free). It is so frustrating when we seem to always help those who aren’t trying or really help people to not want to try. And, in my belief, it has very little to do with political parties or who is president (as this has been going on through Republican and Democrats).

I really had to hand it to her that she, despite her being able to just give in and become lazy, refuses to become a statistic and wants to teach her son a good work ethic and that everything isn’t just handed to you.

This brought me to an interesting article I have in one of my Vintage magazine. This is written in 1955 by a Superior Court Judge. It addresses the then current issue and concern over juvenile delinquency. This was a very real problem and concern post war. The growing generation of teens who had just missed war service, but were finding themselves in an ever increasing world of less work needed to do things and a burgeoning economy lead to an epidemic not really apparent before.

In this same vein it is interesting to think that at one point graffiti didn’t exist as it does today. It may have been funny little scribbles, or “Killroy was here”, but the defacing of public transport, buildings statues and so on was, at one point, unheard of. It is a slippery slope from these past 60 years and just this subject along would fill an interesting book on the sociological changes in ‘youth’ and our perception of ‘teens’.

Read the article and give me your opinion on  how it is addressed. Do you think teens today are in any way as respectful as teens in the 1950s. And  the teens in the 1950’s were considered much less respectful than those during the Depression. We always feel the next generation is ‘trouble’ I am sure, but do we really see a very tangible change happening in how youth has a general lax attitude towards each other, respect for themselves and those around them, including property (which I have had dealt first hand, though not by teens).

chorecartoonThere seems to be no real adults left anymore. As I have said many times, as we lose the last of the “Greatest Generation” I feel as if the world is being left with a spoiled baby-sitter who wants to talk on the phone to its boyfriend more than pay attention to the needs of its keep. Let’s discuss and Happy Homemaking.

This week’s news deals with 50’s Teens and can be read clicking the link to the right or going HERE.

Now, on to the article:

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