Thursday, October 17, 2013

17 October 1945 “Cake Baking, Eddy Dukkers, LIttle Audrey, In The Studio and CrabCakes”

I recently did a few images for an art customer playing on such terms as Lobster Pot and Crab Cake” So, I thought I’d share the Crab Cake version. It was made for a greeting/event card and subsequently will be a shirt and bag. The inspiration, per my yearly project, was the past, 1950’s of course.

But first, as we are talking “Cake”, well sort of, I thought I’d share this video from 1945. It was put out by Betty Crocker and was to espouse their new one bowl easier method to cake baking. I have to admit that I was spurred onto simply making one of my favorite cake recipes in one bowl and found the result just as nice. And certainly the clean up was far easier. The film is entitled, “How to Bake a Cake:400 years in 4 minutes”. Their idealized version of the Past’s Cake baking is cute and very early Post War Quaint, I would call it. Though the modern version of the cake making is quite good and helpful.

Now, I won’t bother going into any sort of silly long apologies or excuses for my absence again. It is simply that with the added responsibility of my new Art plan for the coming year, I must find better ways to divide my time. When I was a full time homemaker, I had to learn to break up all the hats one must wear in that position and I believe I did it. Though it did take me some time and effort, but the result will always be dependent upon the hard work and diligence put into it. Just as I had to learn how to work Laundry and Marketing and Cleaning and Cooking/Baking and the list goes on, into a 7 day week while still having time for tea and magazines in the afternoon and sherry with the hubby after dinner for a wind down of my day, I too must now get a grip, as it were, on the wheel of this new vehicle I am trying to drive: Artist and Homemaker.

I am finding my training in scheduling and list making a great boon into reaching my art goals. To want to do something or to hope to create is only a small portion of the thing. The actual act of creation takes planning, organization and of course Doing. I am finding that many ‘creative’ types often feel that disarray and disorganization is meant to be part of the process. I, however, am finding that it is better to be a Homemaker in the Studio as well as in the house. There is no room for slovenly or lazy ways in either place. Now, that not is to say I don’t make a mess in the studio when I am in the actual ACT of creating, but it does mean that I have to write down and organize my thoughts and plans for the day. When I have an assignment rather for a customer or for myself (for hopefully future customers) I need to clearly put down the final goal and then flush out the steps I need to get there. And then I break that down into the days needed and here is the trick, ADD A DAY. That extra, its going to be done but this day is a ‘play day’ to make any changes or to improve on it. Then if you have it done before that day u can improve upon it. Or if you need, as I do and I think we all do sometimes, a moment of lazy or contemplative procrastination, better to do it then because at the end of the day you will know that you still have at least done the thing.

Today’s lil art project was for a customer who wanted me to make a vintage inspired image for a card bag and possibly shirt. I had done some other tongue in cheek images of things such as a Lobster Pot which was a lobster at a tea party holding a teapot…get it? Yes, obvious I know but people seemed to like it.

This image was to be Crab Cakes. I was inspired by the illustrations of a wonderful Dutch illustrator Eddy Dukkas. It is almost impossible to find any translated works that he has illustrated, but for my crab cakes I used a literal impression of this work of his here:

eddydukkers I love the almost tribal look of early 50’s children’s illustrations. The face has the interpretive quality of Picassos own take on Tribal African Masks.picasso

And I love the color palette, which is as much dictated by the limited ability of printing at the time. It is similar to the early 40’s cartoons I grew up with such as old Tom and Jerry and Little Audrey.  In fact I used to walk about and sing the little Audrey song to myself all the time!

Even as I child I always loved the colors in those more than the modern cartoons of my day like Speed Racer etc. The colors always seemed so garish and loud. The muted almost brown color palettes of those early cartoons was simply due to what could be possible in the technology they had, but to me I much prefer those hues.

Here is a wonderful look at more of Dukkers work. Here are some pages of a book Karel and Mienet. A story of a boy and his cat and the adventures they have. I don’t speak Dutch but I do love the illustrations. These are from the early 1950’s.

PRB01_036866792_001, 13-01-2006, 15:00,  8C, 4078x3112 (1779+2679), 100%, Prentenboeken, 1/100 s, R52.1, G35.6, B43.0 PRB01_036866792_003, 13-01-2006, 15:06,  8C, 4206x6032 (1547+959), 100%, Prentenboeken, 1/100 s, R49.1, G32.6, B40.0 PRB01_036866792_007, 13-01-2006, 15:21,  8C, 4206x6032 (1547+959), 100%, Prentenboeken, 1/100 s, R49.1, G32.6, B40.0

So my version is this:


I took liberties and used the color palette. I wanted that sharp almost tribal flatness mixed with a cookbook illustration of a cake. This is the preliminary work. It will get separated and turned into screens to print onto paper and fabric. I think it will made an adorable card and will look really spiffing on a bag.

I hope all are having a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Arting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

24 September 1959 “Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle in Color, Clam Dip and Today’s Art”

lobsterdipimage My first installation here on this year’s Vintage art project comes from this great graphic from a 1958 cookbook. I found this image, as I found many graphic arts of the time, intriguing in its simple line and use of color. It expresses so much with a line drawing and some splotches of color. I deduced to do my first piece using the woman and playing on her location a bit. I’ll reveal that at the end of the post.
Now, Kraft Music Hall was a show that began on radio and ran quite a long time. It started on Radio on NBC in 1933 and continued onto Television until 1971. Always featuring music. Many well known singers and celebrities were seen on this program which was, of course, brought to you by Kraft. So the commercials were often recipe ideas using, of course, Kraft brand products.
Here is the show in its radio days from 1942 with Bing Crosby. Enjoy the entire show if you like.

And by today, 1959, we see one of the first color recordings of the show, now hosted by Milton Berle.

Now, the original image was for Lobster dip and I think lobster is not as easy come by for many of you> I have the benefit of living on Cape Cod where they are not only easy to come by, but are caught quite close to my home. But, I think we all could follow this simple Clam Dip recipe. And what better snack to serve at your next cocktail party or bridge with the gals?
clamdip Here is how mine turned out, though I have to admit to using fresh clams, again easily got down the road at our local fishmonger.
Now,, for my art inspired by the original piece. I had fun with this idea of taking off on an image. It wont always contain a portion of the original image either, sometimes it might just be a feeling or a pattern. But, as a first go I like the result. I think this would also make wonderful wallpaper or fabric.

I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Arting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Coming Tomorrow

Had to finish something in studio today, so first official post/art/vintage project to be done and posted tomorrow afternoon. Apologies, but once I get going I shall be consistent.

I hope all are having a lovely day.


Monday, September 16, 2013

16 September “Plans Revealed”

Well, my show was a success. I sold a few things, made wonderful connections and had a chance to dress up and eat finger sandwiches with friends old and new and other artists. My life is opening in a new direction and I feel my time travel is my strength I carry into this new endeavor.

Well, having spent days literally absorbed in creating and the process of my art, I couldn’t help but formulate a new way to tie my ‘past’ (pun INTENDED) with a hopeful new future. Part of my work requires me to spend hours sorting through and dreaming upon old photos and images. Obviously the past plays a large role in my life and thus my art can only reflect that. And it is a joy, I might add, to day dream an afternoon away looking back at our sisters of the past peering happily from picnics, seashores, boats, porches, and drawing rooms. Sometimes skirts sweeping the floor other times smiling like Jean Harlow posed in a glamorous suit hamming it up to the person behind the lens. Wishing, often, to be able to hope through the image like Mary Poppins through a chalk drawing to reach those long gone faces doesn’t make me forlorn but rather reverent of their past. The wish to document their days in my own stylistic way is a pleasure and an honor.

Thus, while steeped in this lovely part of my work ( the longing and joy of old images and magazines and posters of the past strewn about me like so much detritus from a crash landing in my Time Travel ship) I hit upon the Plan the “Project” for the coming year:

I will take three days a week Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday to post my experiment (more days will hopefully come by Jan 1, but I gal wants to set a realistic goal to get her steam up!). My Project will entail me taking a page from one of my cookbooks, homemaking manuals, magazines, old ephemera that I have used in the past posts or some that I have never touched upon and apply it to my day and subsequently document it in a piece of art.

This really hit home to me as a great way to continue my homemaking skills and study and also interpreting it into a tangible piece of artwork. Say, a recipe from a magazine with lovely advertising catches my fancy, then I try out that recipe, discuss why and wherefore such advertising is used, the stylistic art and the general joy of finding such gems to the Homemaker of the past and in the end I also have a created piece of artwork in my style of printmaking.

I think this will be such fun. And if any of you really get involved you can even suggest or send me a page (digital or old fashioned) to interpret or try out. I am so looking forward to it and also to getting back into specific days chores gleaned from the pages of our past and brought to life in my home and in my artwork.

So, today I am my studio. I will share some photos of my work and the show this week. This week will be the preparation of my project and I will try to change the face of the site a bit to reflect it, as I love to do.

Then starting next week, 23 Sept, Monday, look for my first day of this new endeavor. And my hope will be stick with my three day a week schedule with the aim that come 1 Jan 2014 I will be prepared to go back to a five day a week schedule of homemaking/art interpretation. It is never to early to plan those New Years resolutions guys and gals.

And I have missed all of you so much and look forward to starting to build up some new friends and followers as well. I thing we may even find some gals who would never consider Homemaking of interest until they are drawn in by the artistic lure of it all. And we may find some new people out there in the blogosphere that suddenly find their artistic prowess has been hidden inside and can now be expressed through a wonderful new skill of baking/cooking or even the joy of fresh pressed linen sheets of a morning, the smell of coffee and crisp white linen being more Zen than hours of Yoga or Zoloft could ever give them!

Have a lovely day all and Happy Homemaking and Happy Arting.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Painting the Past

Well, I am one week before my show. I am working like crazy this week to get enough paintings/prints images ready for it. I have worked out a new schedule at my studio/gallery for my working days which will be Mon Fri and Sat. So, my blog schedule, Which will be off next week as I preapare for my show, will Now be Tues, Thurs, and Sunday.

I realized today that the real focus of my project and this year of my life is painting the past. I have lived in the past so long that its environment has become like a friend to me. It is walking in the past that feels most like coming home. 

This coming year will combine my continual obsession and research in to all things past and then my subsequent need to manifest it into something. This has been my writing and well, my living, up to now. But as the opportunity is here to be in a studio it seems the right timing.

Honestly I sort of feel as if I am back here again, like i was 1 January 1955, calling out my small little voice to no one. But, you know, eventually they all came and we had a wonderful community. My problem was I was not willing to 'brand myself' and make it into more of a business so it could sustain all the work I put into it .Now, I feel, I can write about and enjoy a part of something that I can sell small things here and there and that will give me the monetary impetus to move forward. 

So, to anyone out there I am still here. And to any new friends who stumble along, I hope you come along for the ride.


​Solar Etching with Color Wash “The Twins”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Summer Ends

Labor Day has come and gone. Summer has spent its vivid bright moments of bike rides to the shore, lazing in sun dappled lawns and sandy footed screen door slams.

I am working away on my art work. And though this weekend past was anything but conducive for picnic, I couldn't help but think of the wonderful movie Picnic from 1955. I shared it once, but the entire movie is no longer available to view for free online, but this snippet has such a feel of summer and the sizzle of big Hollywood films of the mid 1950s. William Holden and Kim Novak sizzle and the colors and film quality makes me think of cotton candy and wrinkled cotton prints, dotted swiss and cold potato salad.


boygirlstraw Oddle enough there is a filmed staged version from the mid 1980's that star some up and coming actors many of you may recognize. It is not bad and would be good for a night you want to stay in but instead make a fun dinner theatre spread, have your friends dress 1950's and watch this version, maybe will sipping old fashioned soda pop out of glass bottles with paper straws.


My shared work for today is called "the Secret". When I stumbled upon the old photo of young gals at the beach with a cigarette I was drawn in. And with the current style of slightly abstracted screen-printed image over mono prints, I thought it was successful, as it both appears as a shared cigarette or as a surprise one gal is showing the other.


Back to work for me. I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Artmaking.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A chair is a chair is a chair…My New Project Year.

waitingOver the past year I have taken what I thought was a sabbatical from my living experiments; my "performance art" if you will. Having delved so deeply into the past so as to be as close to a time traveler as is possible, I needed a break, I thought, from such intense 'art pieces' as living the life of a 1950's homemaker.

Thus, this past year was born. I quietly slipped from the computer screen with my writing and out of the kitchen. I let slide my petticoats and girdle, the pearls came off and the cookbooks began to gather a bit of dust. I took a small part time job at a cafe to be out in the world. Eat was easy to slip back into the modern world, but not so easy to let go of the past, my 'created past' and the action of living in a very determined way. 

I even purchased, for very little money, an older model 'smart phone'. Though I did not use it as my actual cell phone (far too frugal from the '50's to fall for that) it was a pocket computer if you will. It had wireless capability and the cafe where I worked had free wireless, so each break time I would sit and read all the news. The daily modern news. This was another way in which I began letting the modern world wash over me. 

I began to make friends as well and to really connect with the general public. It was an odd sensation at first, so many people coming at me with their digital devices, the fast paced world of modernity. I found, too, as I returned home, it was easier, on work days to cook more simply. To let the homemade set aside for my 'day off' days to retain what I had learned from the past.

It became easier to wear a modern knit dress or slacks. The curlers sat unused and unloved. My regime at the dressing table a thing of the Past, if you will excuse my pun. Now, as time marched forward, the 21st century ever enveloping me, I began to consider two things:  

1. When one moves outside the home, even part time, to take a job, the job of Home, the joy of homemaking becomes a chore. I found this an odd sensation after three plus years of really seeing my home and my time there as my job. 

2.And second I realized this year, into which I was well halfway, was not a return to 'reality' but in fact, simply another project year that I had not defined in writing or too the blogosphere. Yet, it was, it is, very much a project. The project of 'playing at' being a modern 21st century person.  

Dressing easier and with less regard. Eating easier and with less concern. Spending a bit less frugally and turning a blind eye. Using technology in more casual ways, with less intent and purpose and more as a passive use of time; a way to 'use it up' a concept my 1955 self would never have done. I often wondered how I got done what I did do with the time I had each day and wondered how I would have even been able to schedule an hour of 'passive computer entertainment time". 

All the while, the 1955 me, the 50's gal persona that had blurred in and out of my psyche over the past years, kept creeping into my field of vision. And then I began to see it wasn't a past character I had tried to play. Or even an old sense of guilt nudging at my conscious mind, but it was, in fact, a mirror. It was the reflection of who I had become and trapped, this reflection of me, often returned to me to wonder at what I was about and when, hopefully, would I return to my senses. 

Part of this past year has resulted in much 'soul searching'. In wondering how can that 1955 me I become rectify themselves to the modern world without being 'of' the modern world, but successfully living 'in' it? Through fate or chance or luck or what have you, I gained some wonderful friendships over the past year. And one such friend lead me to my current plan for the coming year: The year of Art.

I often found myself comparing the 'artist me' with the 1950's me because to keep a home, really Make and Create it, is the act of an artist. And I came to realize all those years and centuries of our past sisterhood who did indeed, 'keep home' shouldn't receive our disdain or our 'holier than thou' stares of modernity thinking we have somehow got it all figured out and are so much more free and powerful then them. I remember constantly being surprised by myself in the day to day of my homemaking and thinking, "I thought this would feel more like a prison. Or I should feel more put upon or frustrated" but again and again I found, when one was allowed to BE a homemaker. To have the career (not job) of keeping and making a home, the artists world of delight and creation opened up before me. 

So, as this year ends, when I find myself lucky in my new friend who has made it possible for me to have a studio and art space again, I realized there is a 'thing' a 'something' I can be, or really that I am, that takes all the passion and knowledge of my past self and aligns it in a way to dwell IN the modern world but not be OF it: That, of course is ART. 

So, this year (Sept to Sept) I am going to dwell in art. It is going to receive the passion and attention my Homemaking life did. And yet, it will not be truly separate, as it will be highly colored by it. I have left the cafe. I am focused on the creation of things. And, having rented our house out for the Summer, are but only two days away from returning to our little home which will be glad to have a part of the 1955 me back.  

This returning, both physically to my house after three months, and a return, in part, to what I love of the past, can find its justification in the present with the results of my little attempts at physical creation. Part of this year off lead me to take classes in Printmaking and Screen-printing and these have become the tools I use now to take my concepts and my ideas of the past, nay my very obsession with Women, The Home, and our connection to a physical realm. 

I found, without any specific intent, my art in my classes was often figural almost exclusively women and often in conjunction with the home rather it was a chair, another obsession of mine, or simply dwelling in an almost illusory space outside or around a home.

So, this year is going to see a return to the things I loved of Homemaking, cooking, decorating, keeping my home and the frugality of it, as well as adjusting my past and present self to the world through creating physical art. I am lucky to have found an outlet for it in a physical building (in fact my friend and I are having an opening in two weeks of our work!) it feels more real. And so I want that part of my past self, the blog/internet world, to also be a part of it.  

Now, the nuts and bolts of this coming year:

1. I am going to blog on a set schedule of Mon Wed Fri each week. 

2. My goals are to create art each week that both celebrates and evaluates our role as women in the past. Our story of the Home and the domestic history that is truly our own. 

3.To make sure my past skills of cooking, cleaning, sewing, thrift and frugality, and general love and passion for the past will play a part in my posts and thus my artwork. I am not sure exactly how this will pan out each week, but then again, I didn't know what to expect back when I dove head first into 1955. But I know I am a changed and better person for it and so I shall take that gusto and verve along for this ride. 

4. I am going to be true to that part of the artist that is often treated as not important, the business side. I currently am lucky to have a small space to work and to hang/sell things. But, my intention shall be to build a body of work and items to be sold on this site and possibly Esty as well. To take the passion and determination of Homemaking and apply it to what should be a realistic look at the business side of one's art is going to be important to me this year. Rather or not I sell a thing the goal to make it possible to do so is one of the main tenets of this year.

If any of my old followers are interested in this new endeavor of mine, I do hope they come along for the ride. And perhaps we may pick up some new people along the way. Perhaps artists that never thought anything of the homemaker other than a slave to the home or a small town homemaker who thought of artists as bohemian n'er do wells, will meet up and see the similarity in us all. We are bound by a history of the home and domesticity, good or bad it is OUR story and I think it continues to need to be told and evaluated and cherished and rekindled into the modern world.


I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking and Happy Artmaking.

My New Main Site which is currently still a little rough is

I will update as we go along. This site may remain as it is with the link to the other not sure how to rectify those two together just as of yet.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I hope some of my followers are still around. I am planning on starting a new project this fall late Summer. I realized my site has been down for a few weeks and I have been inattentive to it. That will hopefully change.

I hope all have had a lovely Summer thus far.

50's Gal

Sunday, April 21, 2013

21 April 1951 “Movie for a Sunday: Young Wive's Tale”

Well, here we are again another Sunday. I hope you enjoy today’s film. It features a very small roll for a future star Audrey Hepburn.

The film is about the post-war housing crisis and in this scenario it leaves a shy woman to have to share a house with two couples.It touches on many of the early 1950’s issues of the housing needs of a returning army of soldiers and the vast increase in population due to the Baby Boom.

I hope you enjoy and have a lovely Sunday. And don’t forget to send me any guest posts you would like to share with our growing family here.

Happy Homemaking.

Friday, April 19, 2013

19 April 1950 “Guest Post: Frugal Foodies Will Favor This Frosty Cake”

Frugal Foodies Will Favor This Frosty Cake

This weekend I had a chance to try out a cake I’d wanted to try for a long time. A Frosty Snowberry Cake, from a 1950s-era Pillsbury Bake-Off book. The “snowberries” are actually cubes of jellied cranberry sauce that are folded into the batter. The ingredients were the most basic of staples: flour, sugar, egg whites, shortening, and baking powder. By a happy coincidence, I even had the ingredients that I don’t have every day: light corn syrup and cream of tartar for the boiled frosting. Vintage kitchen implements that have gone unused in the time we’ve been here were finally pressed into service. A glass double boiler. Cake pans with metal slider releases.

Photo from the 1953 Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook.

Cakes seemed healthier in the 1950s than they are today. No pudding in the mix. No preservatives to give the cake the longevity of Twinkies. My son Wyatt said the cake was “chewy.” I think he meant “bready.” The cake didn’t quite look like the picture shown here, as cakes that come out of our $99 oven tend to look like the Metrodome after it collapsed. However, it scored major points for satisfaction. The cranberry sauce gave the cake the taste and texture of a jelly roll. I didn’t have food coloring to tint the frosting pink, so I added a pinch of raspberry Jell-O instead. It did the job just fine.

Here’s the recipe for Frosty Snow-berry Cake, which was the Senior Winner in the 1953 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Mrs. Marguerite Marks of Camden, New Jersey did herself proud!

This great guest post was brought to you by Susan at Poultry & Prose.

Happy Homemaking.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

18 April 1950 “A Question, Shall We Share?”

letsharebuttonapronrevolution I have been so busy of late. I have a big project for my printmaking course coming due. We are doing some major changes in our yard and as it is Spring am trying to get my planting in as I can. We are also preparing our home to be a Summer Rental this year so have been very busy. With that business has come some guilt. I felt bad leaving all of you out of it and then I thought, What if they share with me and others?

So, I propose this: If there are very many of you left out there, my followers, how would any of you feel about guest blogs. I have done a few in the past, but as I get many letters from readers saying they like to come to my site to just spend some time, why not make it a place we can all share. You could post a blog here and of course link back to your own site. But, in a way, make more of a community link or hub here. This way I could still do various things like building up pins or adding new fun links in my boxes on the page to great vintage free books etc. Does this seem of interest to any of you?

Let me know, because I would simply get your email submission, look it over and post it. Then the pages could be themed that day to what you are writing about.. Of course I will still write as well, but being so busy it takes time for me to get all my research and thoughts into a somewhat readable format.

I have already received a guest blog submission and will post that tomorrow. I think this shall be quite fun.

Now, you can go HERE to submit. I will also put a submit button on main page or you can simply email directly to

Happy Homemaking and Happy writing. Let’s get some great articles from you, the readers!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

7 April 1950 “Movie for a Sunday with Mickey Rooney: “He’s a Cockeyed Wonder”

hesacockeyewonderposter Today’s Movie for a Sunday is a small often forgot comedy starring MIckey Rooney and Terry Moore, “He’s a Cockeye Wonder”

“Freddie Frisby is informed by Bob Sears that he can't marry Bob's daughter, Judy, as he is only a fumbling failure as an orange picker, and Judy can do better. Freddie's prospects brighten up when he learns his uncle has left him his entire estate, but he learns that the estate consists entirely of a magician's paraphernalia. He decides to become a magician with Judy as his assistant, but while they are rehearsing, they are kidnapped by a band of payroll robbers.”

I hope you enjoy a good comic romp on this Sunday afternoon. I am a little late in posting only because I was out Thrifting and Antiquing with a friend today. I will share my finds on my next post.

Enjoy your Sunday and as always, Happy Homemaking.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

4 April 1957 “ Nifty Fifties Bathrooms: Colors Galore and Great Color Guide to Redoing or Recreating a Vintage Bath”

 1900bath2 When bathrooms began to become the norm for the middle class most fixtures were available only in white. There are some lovely examples of hand-painted china type but would have most likely been in a more well to do home.
paintedsink These lovely delicate blue and white pieces would have most likely adorned new bathrooms in an English Country house of the upper classes or the more well to do suburbs of the upper middle class.
paintedtoilet For the most part an early bathroom would have had only white porcelain options.

Monday, April 1, 2013

1 April 1955 “Beetle Stocking Mender & Perfect Rye Bread”

aprilfoolsdaybeetlestockingfix I had thought of a few funny April Fool’s pranks I could play on my reader’s today, but a friend of mine shared this one with me. So, it being vintage, I felt it worth sharing with you. It is from a 1930’s April Magazine and of course was meant to fool the reader. What a rush of excitement there must have been at first look thinking, at last a way to mend my stockings, the money I shall save! Of course as light dawns on the reality of the situation you cannot help but chuckle to yourself. So, there you go, Vintage April Fools Day to you!
Now, onto some lovely vintage bread making:

Sunday, March 31, 2013

31 March “Movie for an Easter Sunday”

fatherslildividend I hope all who celebrate are having a lovely Easter Sunday, and for those who don’t I hope they have a joyous day as well.
Today I thought our Sunday Movie should be the sequel to the 1950 comedy hit “Father of the Bride” .It is the 1951 comedy film, “Father’s Little Dividend”. Directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor. This film is just fun to watch. For those of us to whom the 1950’s is a visual joy, you will like it for fashion and interiors and general attitudes. It is fun to see the interiors of the homes and how the young couple get their little suburban home to prepare for the little one on the way. It is overall just a happy fun film that makes me think of Easter and Spring for some reason. I suppose the joy of Spring, New Birth and general excitement I get from looking at vintage interiors just mingle well in this film to make it feel very Fresh and Hopeful. So, I hope you will enjoy it as well.
And as a fun little treat, I have included a short little silent 8mm short of an Easter Home movie. It is of guests arriving dressed for the holiday and the lovely table setting. It is a fun comparison to the film to see what was happening in the real world as well at the same time the film came out. They actually seem rather comparable.
First the little home movie, then our feature film. Happy Easter and Happy Homemaking.

Friday, March 29, 2013

29 March 1959 “Connie Converse, the Lost Musician of the 1950’s: How Sad & How Lovely”

connieconverseatpiano  Every so often, as I sift through my ephemera of the 1950’s, I come upon little moments that feel so poignant and almost sad. This can manifest itself in so many ways. In this instance, with Connie Converse, it made me pause and think, “If only Connie had been been in this generation, her music would have been able to find an outlet, probably through self promotion on YouTube. The vast variety of musical styling's today would have found a place for her wonderful folksy, bluesy hybrid sound of music. She was an artist a bit early for her time and so went for the most part unnoticed. Her story, as well, is both romantic and tragic.

Before we go any further let’s hear a tune by this lost and unappreciated artist of the 1950’s. “The empty pocket waltz”

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

28 March 1954 “How Do You Like Your Eggs? Classic Celebrities Share Their Favorite Way”

 dorisdayeaster Though I haven’t any information on Doris Day’s favorite use of eggs, I do have some other fun information from actors of old.
jimmyweggs First off we have Jimmy Durante. He loves his eggs Raw, thank you very much. And we love him any way. Here, in 1955, he has his own show. And here is a full episode featuring the lovely Carmen Miranda.

Now, let’s look at some more famous people and their favorite way to enjoy those over abundant fruits of Easter: Eggs.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

26 March 1950 “Spring Easter Fashions: Shoes and Hats and Dresses, Oh My!”

springfashion To continue are trip towards Easter this week I though I’d share a fun mix of ladies Spring/Easter fashions. What better way to shake those Winter Blahs then through dreamily imagining ourselves in petticoats, floral hats and immersed in a world of manners and comforting norms of fashion.

Just there, a gentleman holds the door for you. You bring your gloved hand up to protect your Easter bonnet as you enter, hoping he catches that bit of embroidery you did at the wrist of your gloves. Grandmother helped you with her ‘old time’ know how, of course. Now you are in and the men and boys rise to their feet. Oh, look, one offers you a glass of punch. You take it with a Thank you, and move to sit enmeshed in a sea of skirts, hats, and quiet gossip with the other ladies.

“What a darling hat” one says.

“Oh, my! whatever was she thinking in wearing that flower pot on her head?” whispers another

The local orchestra begins and the Spring Easter dance is underway. Hopefully the best the club has had to offer in years. You better get your dance card ready, it’s just pinned there to your groisgrain waistband. You spent last night, hair in curlers, laughing over coffee and snacks with  your friends, gluing little silk flowers to it. Dreaming of whose name would be writ upon it.

Now, there is dancing to be had, finger sandwiches, and later the Easter Egg hunt for the little ones on the lawn and egg races for young ladies and gentleman. Maybe Beaumont Mathews will take you out in a punt on the river and splashing you playfully, try and steal a kiss. Best look out, Mother’s watchful eye is never far away.

The day has ended and you drop lazily onto your little tufted stool before your vanity. You check yourself in the mirror, hold your dance card to your heart, then secret it away in your little ormolu dressing box that was mother’s when she was a girl. Ah, Spring, it has arrived at last…a gal can dream, can’t she?

Now, onto the Fashions...

Monday, March 25, 2013

25 March 1955 “Menu for Easter Dinner”

easterdinner1 With Easter soon upon us I thought we could look at this Easter Menu plan from one of my 1955 magazines. There are some lovely ideas and the novelty of the vintage recipes, as Beet Aspic, might perk up the more austere Recession Easter many may be facing.
makeyourowneastermeat For my non American readers it might be of interest to see the various regions idea of Easter dinner. As it mentions here Ham is the norm in some parts, the east coast, where I live, certainly does think of lamb as the appropriate entree’, though Ham is just as popular here now as well. I liked that Pennsylvania reports Baked shad as their expected Easter Sunday meal. I wonder if that is still true today? If any of my readers are from PA do let us know.

Now, for the lovely side-dishes for a 1955 Easter celebration.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

24 March 1944 “Movie for a Sunday with Rita Hayworth & Gene Kelly and some Recipes”

covergirlritahayworth Today’s Movie for a Sunday comes from 1944 and stars Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. The Film Cover Girl tells the story of a chorus girl given a chance at stardom when she is offered an opportunity to be a highly-paid cover girl.The film won the 1944 Academy Award for best musical scoring.

Enjoy your Sunday Movie and a few recipes from the book Foods That will Win the War and How to Cook them. I included these few for fun and to try. The book can be found under the Library button at top and under the Cookbook section. I hope to continue to add to this database. You will also find today in the various boxes I update here on the site another free ebook called The Myrtle Reed Cookbook, it is free and well worth a look-see.

Have a lovely Sunday and Happy Homemaking.

 Some recipes from the free book Foods that will Win the War and how to Cook them.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

23 March 1954-79 “Vintage Telephone Fun: Seven Digit Phone Numbers, Phone Dialing, & Phone Styles”

pinkkitphone  In 1954, just one year prior to my project, the ‘dial your own’ phone system came to all of the US. While it had existed previously, many still had the old candlestick or even handset phones without a dial. You would life the receiver and a real person would say “Number Please”. Previous to this, the dialing was mainly the province of the operator.

Let’s look at this fun 1954 short teaching us about the changeover from switchboard dialing to home dialing. The film is of interest as well for her lovely dress and cute setting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

21 March 1953 “Another Lesson from 1950’s for Today: Prepared Mixes + Homemade= Happy Family. Making Your Own Mixes”

 bettycrockercakead I thought today I’d touch on one item of the list I had made up for myself from the “lessons from 1950’s for today”. When I sat down to consider the things that changed my life from my 1955 project it really became that list. It then gave me a further push to consider other things from then that I could continue to learn and then incorporate in a realistic way into today’s living.

One of those things has been to make my own mixes. As I now work about 15 hours out of the home, I find with my increased responsibilities, mixes and make-ahead really do help. Though I am not willing to use store made because of many of the questionable ingredients. However, it is surprisingly easy to make your own mixes and make-ahead. Giving oneself an arsenal of such easy homemade mixes actually can give the homemaker, even the working one, a leg up on staying healthy and homemade.

Here is a 1950’s commercial for Betty Crocker Cake mixes:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

19 March 1957 “Pink Heaven: A Pink Brick Ranch & Mental Health Then and Now”

pinkheavenarticle1 Today we are in the Pink! This article from one of my 1957 Magazines tells a fun little design story that I find very 1950’s. First is that we have a couple who can afford to hire a Hollywood decorator yet their house is a manageable little ranch style house and not a McMansion. And I also applaud the gutsy way that the 1950’s approached modern design. Despite the house style being quite modern and though it has the colonial use of brick, is far from a traditional house. Yet, they used loving Colonial or Early American design and in a rather pleasing way inside. It makes one pause and consider Ricky and Lucy’s house in Connecticut on the later years of I love Lucy. Yet, much as the Victorian’s did with their brash use of colors on their ornate “Gingerbread” facades, these homeowners have no qualms painting the brick exterior of a house containing a colonial look, fresh 1950’s Pink! I think that level of fun and exuberance should be applauded and maybe easily applied in our own modern little homes. Sometimes when the world seems a bit darker a little pink paint might be a good jolt of joy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

17 March 1964 “ Happy St. Patrick’s Day & Movie for a Sunday: Doris Day & Rock Hudson”

stpattyskoolaid This St. Patrick’s Day we are taking a quick little sojourn to the early 1960’s. Advertising is beginning to ramp up its volume and reach. The increase in prescription drugs and therapists is also beginning to touch the masses. How one feels or the evaluation of one’s emotions is starting to appear in younger people’s conversations.

We must remember pre WWII the idea of therapy and even prescription drugs for any ailment other than one that was life threatening was almost un-heard of for the general public. In the more cosmopolitan cities, such as New York, having a therapist or taking ‘drugs’ (that is prescriptions drugs) for ailments of the mind may have begun, but in Middletown USA, such concepts were quite foreign.
sendmenomoreflowersposter So, on the theme of the changes coming out of the 1950’s into the 1960’s I thought today’s Movie Sunday would be Doris Day and Rock Hudson’s film: Send Me no more Flowers.. It has the farcical comedy misunderstandings of a late 1950’s movies, but with some of the new themes coming to the decade of the 1960’s in Drugs and therapy and dreams. Even the concept of hypochondria, as the Rock Hudson character feels in today’s film, is a very 1960’s sort of problem. If one were expressing illness when there was none in the 1940’s, they would not have been given a pill, but told to “buck up and go outside and get some fresh air”. Time, it seem, are a changing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

15 March 1950 “Lessons for Today from the 1950’s We Could All Use: Part 2”

lessonsfortodayimage Today we are going to continue on with the Lesson’s from the 1950’s. I hope all understand that I do not mean to sound glib or pedantic or even preachy. I also know that complex problems of today aren’t easily solved. But, I also know that there is much to be said of common sense. And during the post war decade of the 1950’s we had the propaganda of public schools, TV, and increased print ads to help convey messages. And for the most part, the message of the day was use common sense, think before you act, and these are some basic rules that we, as human beings, can use to all get along and to try to make a better future.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

13 March 1950 “Lessons for Today from the 1950’s We Could All Use: Part 1”.

1950slessonimage I found myself contemplating life lessons. To consider what we could do, in our modern daily life, to better emulate the positive aspects of the past. A life-rule upon which to measure choices, decisions, and actions; a code from the 1950’s. This need not just be for those of us who find ourselves so attracted to that time, but real and practical advice that could and should be used by all and sundry here in the 21st century. And so I came up with a sort of check list that I thought might be fun to consider.
Dress up for the Movies. I could have called this ‘try and look presentable’ or ‘have an ounce of pride in yourself’, but to me the epitome of that ideal that we owe it to ourselves and those around us to look ‘good and presentable’ is sort of condensed in that act of people dressing up in the 1950’s to go see the ‘pictures’.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

9 march 1954 “A peek in a 1954 Small Kitchen and Laundry & Interesting Magazine Recipes: Edible Centerpiece and Soup Milkshakes”

smalllaundry1 I may have shared this article with you before, but I couldn’t find the images and so have scanned them again. The clever use of small space and the wonderful color combination of navy, sage green and aqua is really lovely. As an owner of a very tiny kitchen, I can appreciate the need for sound proofing and hiding of storage and necessities.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 March 1954 “Making the Building Block of Cooking: Stock”

       By the 1950’s, soup and stock were readily available in many forms; cans, bouillon cubes, even frozen. Here is a lovely little recipe for Clam Bouillon gelatin using canned stock bouillon.

     Broth, in many ways, is the main building block of cooking. It is the base for soups, gravies, sauces, is added to other meats and stews and cooking meats. It can be used to prepare rice and vegetables in to add flavor. It is a sort of starting point to really learning to cook.. And in most cases by the late 1950’s broth, that cook’s building block, wasn’t even needed.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3 March 1950 “Film for a Sunday: What the Butler Saw and Taking Stock, Let’s share”

Today I am presenting for your Sunday enjoyment a wonderful little British comedy from 1950 entitled, “What the Butler Saw”. It was directed by Godfrey Grayson and starring Edward Rigby, Henry Mollison and Mercy Haystead.It is a jolly little film about an Earl and his butler and a fun light one hour film good for a Sunday afternoon.
In my last post on drippings and fat we had a comment about making stock. I thought that would be a fun post to write and thought we should all join in. Therefore, today any of my readers who have their own recipes or hints for stock, do share them in the comments. Or, if anyone has specific questions about stock making, do so here as well and we can address them in the Stock making post. I think it would be relevant to also address fat rendering. And we can see how to render our own lard and fats and what we can make with such various renderings from simple suet to lovely pork fat and even coveted goose or duck fats. So, do share any ideas, tips or questions as to that.
I hope all have a lovely Sunday and before we go to our film here is some fun fashions for 1950. And as always, Happy Homemaking.
49dior 49fashion2

Friday, March 1, 2013

1 March 1951 “Keeping & Using Fat and Drippings”

girlinpan Today I thought we could talk about keeping drippings and fats. The lovely leftover from cooking meats is in fact kitchen gold and is a great low cost but high quality way to aid your kitchen endeavors.

Keeping fat has long been the norm. It was only recently, after the First World War, that new products began to be made that would be an artificial version of such fats. But, even well into the 1960’s, saving fat was rather a normal household occurrence and jars and canisters existed solely for this purpose. And such a jar, rather bought our reused coffee tins or canning jars, often sat on the counter near the stove for easy access of pouring in new and taking out old with which to cook again.

Let’s look at some darling dripping and grease containers.

drippingjar1With my own love of sailboats, including having a red sailboat in my kitchen window, I would love this drippiings jar. And indeed it is for sale, but it is $54 and a bit out of my price range for something I can easily use a canning jar for. But, I may find one one day while at a tag sale.

 greasejar1 This jar seems to have been part of a set.

drippings30sThis lovely Anchor Hocking version is from the 1930’s. This version as well as the pink lidded can be found at Ruby Lane.

greaseset Here you can see that often a Grease/drippings jar was included in a canister set it was such the norm to keep fats and drippings.

Storing and saving fats/grease/drippings is not hard. It is cost effective and really no trouble at all and your subsequent dishes will be the better for using such saved fats. You can strain them before storing and in fact some of the 40’s and 1950’s version of grease containers had a lift out strainer at the top, as seen here:greasejarstrainer 

I had been using cheesecloth, but recently at my part time job, I was lucky enough to come into some paper coffee filters. The rules of the day dictate anything that hits the floor for a second gets tossed out. You would not want to even know the amount of stuff that simply gets tossed. But, being the odd little duck that I am, most at work now know to save any damaged or out of date food for me and my chickens. And I often find a use for most things that ‘hit the floor’ and are ready for trash. They make new grease holders with pouring spouts like this one which can be bought for $14 here.newgreasejar I am not affiliated with this nor do I get any money for it, but thought it’d be worth to share the link.

This is how I came into possession of a stack of large round paper coffee filters. They make straining easier because they are very fine and then you toss them away. But, I suppose one could consider that these white filters may very well contain bleach, I don’t know. When I have exhausted my supply I will simply return to cheesecloth. I keep a few specifically for the job and they get soaked in hot water and hand washed and hung to dry. Otherwise I find they get shredded in the laundry. But, the main point is to strain your drippings/fats. Any food stuff left in is what will become rancid and spoil your kitchen gold. However, with that said, my Bacon grease I do not strain. It contains little bits of the bacon and really I like it that way. It goes into the ice box, so no worries about rancidity. And it is my most oft used fat, so it gets replenished more. Some day, when I can have land, I will raise a pig a year and that lovely creature will provide for us all year. They say the only part of a pig you don’t use is the squeal. But, were I to raise one, maybe we could record its delightful little squeal as a cell phone ring or some such. One does hate waste so!

Back to drippings, the shelf life for fats I found by investigation seems to be 6 months in the ice box/fridge and 9 months in the freezer. I have almost no freezer space, so my precious freezer space is kept for other things. I simply decant mine in canning jars and put in the fridge. I usually keep some on the stove (Bacon fat usually) in a little container this time of the year. And during the warmer months in the ice box. My old house has an unheated kitchen so many foods can be left out in my kitchen that a more warmer heated kitchen may not be privy too.

When you store your fats in clear glass jars you can see that when they settle you have that lovely bit of congealed fat on top, that actually acts to preserve and seal out air form the drippings below. This is similar to the process of canning where one aims to restrict oxygen from the food, as in the case of sealing wax on top of jams and preserves or when the air is removed from a canning jar. Oxygen gives life to bacteria and restricting it allows food to last longer. Add Chemist and Scientist to the ongoing list of ‘jobs’ a Homemaker must master.

Often when I cook a big roast or chicken I let the fat and drippings congeal in the pan. If you are worried you can let this happen in the fridge, but I let it happen on the counter. I figure I use my fat in a hot state so it is reheated to a safe temp to kill any harmful bacteria. Also, as previously mentioned, my kitchen is quite cool in the winter months. After the drippings have congealed, you can see the layer of thick white fat on top. I will scoop this off as best I can and put in a jar separate from the drippings. Underneath you will see a lovely clear brown/yellow (depending on the meat) gelatin/Jell-O/jelly. You can pick it up in sections and like the old jell-0 commercials, ‘watch it wiggle’. I will take these “Jell-O” shots and put them in a glass jar separately. These are kept in the ice box and are added, as you would the mixed fat, to soups, stocks, etc. I find that this clear form of the drippings are good for soups, not making them greasy, and for dropping into rice while cooking, and on vegetables when you roast them.

Therefore, my general rule is when I cook or roast fowl (chicken goose duck game birds), I let the fat settle then keep the grease (white stuff) separate. This can be used for anything from greasing pans to simply frying an egg. The gelatin I save separately, as this pure dripping is perfect for soups, stocks, adding to veg and rice while cooking and so on. But, with bacon I save it all together and do NOT strain it or separate it. A simple scoopful from the jar to grease muffin tins, or spread some on a cookie sheet before roasting vegetables will give it a bit of a fry up while in the oven. Just 400 F for about 45 minutes, flipping once toward the last 10 minutes will really impart that lovely bacon flavor.

One can even save drippings/fat from cooking fish. And as a curmudgeonly old penny pinching New Englander, I also save the water I have boiled lobsters in, the water used to steam mussels, clams, etc and I have been known to boil the leftover mussel shells a second time to add to a stock for seafood stew/soup/or chowder. This you would want to use right away or toss. It would quickly spoil and make your kitchen smell rather bad.

The general populace today may view saving fat and grease as a sort of ‘low class’ or working class endeavor. While, in fact, the best chefs know that to achieve high art cuisine one will often use fat and drippings and never things such as simply processed oils or shortenings. In fact Goose grease is considered the ultimate in fat/drippings. And Duck Confit, made in drippings and traditionally stored in its own drippings for preservation, would be considered today rather high brow or gourmet.

Let’s consider the confit. This is one of the oldest ways of preserving food and originated in Southern France. Today, Duck Confit would be considered gourmet food and to make it, one would need to buy duck grease which can be, literally, upwards of $40 dollars to make a proper confit. These are often made with duck and sometimes goose as well, and usually the legs, slow cooking on low heat in the oven in its own fat. This creates a lovely flavorful meat with a crispy skin.

However, a confit is simply cooking a meat (and this can be poultry, and pork as well, but to the French if it is not duck or goose than it would be pork en confint that is in confit) and then storing it sealed in its own fat. This is in a sense a Jell-O mold holding the food and was an excellent way to store food before there was refrigeration. You see again we keep out oxygen and it is hard for bacteria to get through the gelatin to the stored meat. Science and chemistry at work before we knew it was such a thing.

The main point is this: experiment. You cook your own food and you see there is something left over. You make other foods that require fats so the connection happens. Many people are simply tossing away a wonderful chemical preservative free item. A product far superior to what they spend money on at the market. You save money and are more in control of what you are using and eating, so it is really win win. I think much of what we view of as icky or gross today is simply the result of propaganda of some sort whether through advertising or views imparted by TV shows.

Many a person may turn their nose up or be disgusted by saving fat from your home cooked food to use again, yet have no issue eating over processed foods and fast foods. If many people were allowed to see what actually happens to make ‘food’ in factories, from margarines to the processed way ‘mechanically separated meats’ are made for nuggets, patties, etc, they may see what truly is disgusting and also rather not very healthy. But, alas, I have come to realize that such general views are not for me to change or worry about. I haven’t the money nor the endless media outlets to get my own points across, but am happy opening the eyes of a few people here and there who may stumble upon my blog and think, “Hmmm, I didn’t consider that”.

And, I don’t feel I am being too ‘pushy’ in my suggestions, as I have come to realize these things myself. Prior to 1955 I happily cooked very little, ate from microwave and plastic bag foods, and never thought twice about, well, most things. We can choose, in our lives, how much we wish to discover and control in our daily actions. Some may only want some change while others may want to evaluate every aspect of their life. Either way, we do live in a time when there are endless sources of information literally at our fingertips and so we need only bother to ask ourselves, ‘Why” and then to begin to search for the answer. We may find that we are happy the way we have been doing something or that our actions are not new but really old ways still being done. And sometimes, as often I find, we see new Old ways of doing things that make more sense and cost less. This was the case with drippings and grease. And if you are uncertain of saving fats, try it once. Take a tiny bit of your leftover bacon grease and use it the next day to cook your eggs, make your pancakes or simply pop some popcorn in a pan on the stove with bacon grease and you will be hooked. The more we can make our own the more control we have over what we eat. And if one is going to the bother of cooking and roasting food, then why throw out one of the best parts!

I would love to know what other ways you store your drippings and what recipes or ways of using it you may have, lets hear it!

Happy Homemaking.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

24 February 1957 “Hernando’s Hideaway, Steam Heat, The Pajama Game: Movie for a Sunday Morning”

apri57fashion Today we find ourselves in 1957. We see what gay colors and styles we could be wearing as ladies or little girls this year from this 1957 Australian Home Journal cover. I adore the patchwork skirt, don’t you? And who wouldn’t adore a day on the ice in the little blue skirt and woolen jumper/sweater on the little girl?

Now, to brighten our Sunday morning we can sit back and enjoy the lovely Doris Day in the film “The Pajama Game”. This film was based on the Broadway musical and this film includes all the cast of the Broadway production with the exception of Doris Day. She replaced Janis Paige.

This film has some wonderful songs two of which I thought I would share before the film.

Hernando’s hideaway is a wonderful tune. I am letting you hear Ella Fitzgerald’s version here as you will hear the film version during the film.

Next we have “Steam heat” and while you can enjoy the Bob Fosse dance version in the film, here let’s enjoy the 1954 version of the song sung by Patti Page.


pajamagameposter Now, sit back and enjoy your movie. Next post I will talk about drippings and their storage and use. I could not find Pajama game in full on youtube, but if you follow THIS LINK HERE, You can enjoy it. Have a lovely day and as always, Happy Homemaking.

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