Friday, January 31, 2014

30 January 1955 “Educational Color Decorating the 1950’s Way and Using the Color Wheel”

I have been busy trying to update and coordinate the blog. Trying to ‘keep up with the times’ as far as interactive and layout of the ever changing blog and its subsequent social media can be fun but is also rather tricky and a bit of a headache.

I spent a large portion of yesterday trying to get a simple feature to work on my Facebook page. There is meant to be a button on the right of posts that shows an ‘embed’ button. This allows the ability to cross share things on your blog and Facebok. My main Facebook does not have it. After hours of exhaustive searching for help, asking Facebook (no answer) and messing about. I found out that my Apron Revolution page on Facebook will allow it. So, that is going to simply become my new main blog Facebook page. So, I hope any of you that follow me on the facebook will simply like and move over to that. It is continuing process today.

Thus working on how to integrate Pinterest, Twitter et al into the blog (as I said a somewhat quickly changing experience on the internet) it made me think of planning ones home for decorating. Another aspect of my life that changed with the 1950s. Having been a always of the ‘artistic’ temperament I have always decorated with a sense of my own inclinations, buying and arranging as I find. I like our home and feel it represents my own taste of antiquity and the past (Probably much more 1895 than 1955 with the exception of my kitchen). But, as with most of the learning of the 1950’s, I find that with thought, planning and careful consideration, even decorating can be a science. It allows one to plan and thus save money. Having an organized plan in any way makes for an organized budget. One will spend less overall if you have a plan. You will know you want or need a sofa in this shade and two chairs and a picture here. Things won’t be bought on a whim throwing a plan off.

I, myself, learned this the hard way. And am still now suffering from this. Having bought things at yard sales, auctions and when the fancy struck, I still have furniture and accessories stored in a barn building I have. This building is now slated for a specific purpose and remodel and sorting through the detritus to prepare for that shows how one is better served with a plan.

Therefore as I work away today trying to manage the new look of the blog and the correlation of the other social media, I will leave you with another instructional film. This one was most assuredly put out by a paint company. It is obviously commercial like in that sense, but there are some great images of vintage materials. It also shows the use of the color wheel in a very helpful way. It made me think how we could possibly make our own to help us decide how to approach a room in our home before we commit to buying paint, paper, rugs, accessories, and furniture. Here is how I think we could make one similar to the handy one you see being used in the video.

colorwheel1 First here is a color wheel. This gives you the general layout of the colors.

colorwheel2 This one devoid of color but more simply descriptive gives you a good layout of colors.

What I would propose is take a copy of these on paper with you to your local paint store. And then by your choice of what you are drawn to, pick pain samples, the type wiht the three or four color variations on them from darkest to lightest, that meet all the color. Even if you think, Well I am not a big red/peach fan, still pick some samples in that color range that you are MOST responsive to as you look through them. Then when you have collected at least on sample corresponding to the colors in the color wheel, make your own wheel at home. Using the more simple layout as a guide. Now you have a wheel of color to work with. And I think you could see by the video how the three sections are cut out to coordinate with the wheel. This could be made easily with scissors and a sheet of opaque Mylar paper found at any craft store.

This would be such a helpful tool as you tackle the scheme for any room. Start with your wheel and work from there.  It is much cheaper to find your colors this way, then cut out images from magazines or downloaded images printed in color and pasted to paper than to buy first and think about it later. You can endless change color schemes and design choices this way quite inexpensively before you make the final purchases. And think how wonderful and powerful you would feel when it is all planned out and you know when you head to buy that sofa EXACTLY what you want.

Here, then , is the film and I am off to try and tackle the decorating of the blog and the coordinating of the Social media. Wish me luck. And a wonderful vintage day to you all.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

29 January 1950 “My Handy Kitchen and The Death of the Blog”

I know I am a bit heavy handed with video posts of late, but I really feel as if the daily post needs to be my main goal. In the old days, I would spend large parts of the day researching and composing and editing for my longer posts. I know they were appreciated and I always felt good when they had been done. But, all in all, I feel that the world of blogging is really changing. Even the format and devices one uses to view such things are changing.

I read an interesting little article the other day about the death of the blog. That it is moving away from what it once was. The increased use of more fast paced and easier means of communication i.e. twitter tumbler et al, is better suited to the low attention span of the user as well as their need to have constantly new things to “look at”. I have given up my idealism and hope that one day we would see that this ease of modern technology would lead to more people being self sufficient and enjoying the good old ways with the new easy things. I know that is not the case. I see those around me simply move with ease from one modern thing to the next, as I suppose is the norm of social/technological evolution.

Now, don’t think me embittered about that view. I know what I like and still enjoy seeking it out. But, I feel less like I need a soapbox upon which to stand to try and point out the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. I’d rather be in the crowd saying, “Yes sure he looks great”, then wandering off to my own home and focusing on what I like to do and how much of those likes I wish to share. The Emperor is not going to listen to lil ole me and I am ok with that.

Thus, as my blog became more and more involved and intertwined into my life, I began to sometimes feel a slave to it. I enjoyed it and felt a responsibility to it. And, maybe if I was getting paid in some capacity, like a job with a paycheck, that would have continued to be a mix of passion with reality so I would have the time to continue putting more and more into it. But, like the blog world seems to be realizing, things get outdated quickly in the 21st century. There is no staying power. And our continued love for things Vintage is a sort of anchor it this turbulent sea of rapid change and eddies and swirls of this new device, that new technology. And I am fine with that.

So, my blog is going to evolve, if it can, into more of a touchstone of little moments. A daily drop of a tiny little raindrop into a vast sea of information and entertainment. I continue to find and wish to share old vides and images and books that I think relevant for us to use as branches to hold onto as the current pulls us ever forward towards the future. A few seconds to click and look and think, “hmmm cute” or “whatdya know bout that?”

In some ways the future is bright. I think amid all the turmoil of the unknown situations that we are heading into: continued bad financial times and increasing unemployment (despite what we are actually told), the ever reaching arm of the military and the wars and conflicts that seem just a part of our lives, the pointless items we are sure to need and must have being put before us, are a part of a dying system. 3-D printing, Changing climate of self-sufficiency, a need to connect, while we can, with others in the world before the ‘firewalls’ begin to go up that utterly changes the freedoms of the internet for the little guy like you and me. In its very uncertainty and the mish mash of control and out of control is an interesting path none the less. And, rather we like it or not, we are all going to be going there, the Future. So, until I can manage a Real time machine to get me outta dodge, I have to look more brightly or at lest with more studied vision to that future.

And again I have rambled on. My point is I am going to keep evolving this blog into I don’t know what. But, I want to keep sharing things daily even if it is just a picture or a film or even one sentence and a shot of a darling vintage woman at work. And in that hope there is some relevance to whatever this 2014 shall turn out to be.

Today it is the great little film about a perfect little 1950’s kitchen. It shows the layout and has great simple really common sense ideas to make a small kitchen a great place to function. I love, too, that in this part of the days chores are shared by the children. I often see modern people talking about how much they need to do to try and have some ‘old fashioned’ things in their life and it is always they alone working away while their children do nothing. Helping with the chores and running of the house must be an outmoded form of child care? I don’t know. I have no children and therefore can’t ever give real advice for it would be worth nothing. But, from an historical perspective, it is interesting to note that once we considered it important for children to learn to work. And before the last World War we even treated children like adults in that we expected them to learn and do and that play was a treat or reward that happened sometimes but not always. A good lesson for the world in which they would live as adults. But, today, I suppose with our own endless fun and amusement a lesson in play and constant praise and diversion is a good lesson to teach as our current adult populace seems to be rather good at that as well. But, I digress.

The film and the cute kitchen: Enjoy and Happy Vintage moments, if you can get em.

Monday, January 27, 2014

27 January “Some Wonderful 1930’s Commercials seen at the Picture Shows”

This is a wonderful compilation reel of commercials that would have been viewed at the pictures.There were no TV in the home here and  so these would have been filler at the picture show.

There are some surprises, such as Snap Crackle Pop prior to their 1950’s incarnation, Coffee at a price that is equal to $8 a pound today (which is about what we have to pay in my area if not more). A very dramatic advert for Eveready batteries.And two wonderful ads for Singer Sewing machines and centers where they teach you to sew! There are some wonderful glimpses inside 1930’s kitchens.


Next we have a funny rather long Hoover advert from 1940’s England. Its rather fun and a good look at the decor of the time as well.

Now, today we are having a reprieve from some rather extreme cold temps in my area. We often don’t have too harsh winters in my area, as we are surrounded by the sea so it tends to keep our snow at bay. When Boston gets inches we get a dusting and we always have 45 F days to punctuate the cold snaps. But these past two weeks have been a bear of cold below freezing weather and snow has even stuck around. Today, however, I went out and it was like Spring. It was over 50F the snow melting, birds singing and the Rhody’s leaves are unfurling in the warming sun. So, I am off for a walk into town to the library and to enjoy this weather while we have it.

I hope all have a lovely day.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

25 January 1956 “Movie on a Saturday: Man in the Grey Flannel Suit”

mangreysuiit This film made in 1956 starring Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones was based on the best selling novel of 1955 of the same name. I really fell in love with this movie in my own 1955. It touches on the growing reality of the commercialism, TV culture and Business based new post war world. The feeling of the man, returned from the terrors of war to face a world he fought to save that seems almost sad and bleak in its own way.

There are also just great moments of vintage life: The kitchen scene at the beginning. The look of the lovely old house that is just a White Elephant in the 1950’s as taxes and general costs couldn’t allow someone in the same family to ever build or run a house like that again.( These type of homes were often sold off, torn down and all their beautiful grounds turned into subdivisions for the growing post war families. )

The moments when we see the father trying to pry his children from the TV who seem to always be watching an endless Western where people are getting shot. Their passive attitude at the deaths they see in the Westerns Juxtaposed with the flashbacks of War time when one is often pushed to the ultimate human cruelty simply to get a warm coat to survive.

It is just a good all round film and the perfect thing for a Saturday afternoon. Or better yet, get up  a light buffet style supper, have friends round, dress vintage and watch this together like a Saturday night date. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, January 24, 2014

24 January “Other’s who Choose the Past: Sometimes it is just a nice place to visit, You may even choose to Live there.”

I am finding, thanks to the modern invention of the computer and internet, that there are more and more people choosing to live a vintage life.

These two short films show a few examples of people willing to take the step back full time. Even those with children seem to find it a doable life. I often find these are people who live overseas. For some reason those I find in the USA haven’t got past the simple decorative lifestyle. I call it the “Film Set” lifestyle. It is about setting up a sort of stage of items, old boxes of dish soap, antique makeup etc, but they are not used. They are set down upon shelves to be looked at.

I admit when I first began my project I had somewhat of that obsession to buy and buy more things to get the ‘look’. But, as my project required me to use as much as I could, I had to dig in and take that item down and use it. And when I couldn’t get old soap flakes, I had to see how they made their own. This last step of not just wanting another decorating style but to actually change your life seems the final magic element that is life changing.

This past year I have tried to be more modern. To simply slip back into the modern ways, but I see it is not so easy. I am like the depressed traveler back to work, dreaming of the sun soaked beaches of that lovely holiday only to be burdened by the endless drone of my working day. But, for me, the holiday was the past and the working day the modern world.

I certainly would like anyone to prove me wrong that it seems there are more clubs and groups of people living the lifestyle overseas than the USA.  It would be great to know there are more people in this country who aren’t just in it to decorate their homes. When you peel back the glamour of simply changing your decor by having the ‘look’ of that vintage magazine on your coffee table,  but you actually start reading it you begin to think differently; to evaluate the modern world and what is imporant in it and what is a load of stuff and nonsense, When you begin to immerse yourself in old radio and music and the shows and the books do you begin to feel the reality of it. You start to think things like,

“I had better save that last bit of soap. How can I make that weekly meal plan more economical?  What is a better way to run my home. How can I save ?”( a very outdated idea to the modern average person)? How can I help myself and others in ways that does not involve just using a credit card? What is a better way to even get around.”

Really when it comes right down to it, what that last step into the past does do is it simply makes you THINK. Sometimes I feel like the modern world is so fast and so many things are just being shown to you all the time that we don’t think. We buy what is shown to us in between the shows we have to watch and are too busy to do more for ourselves or to even consider our budgets to notice the debt we are all in. A 20 year old boy in 1955 earning the then minimum wage of $1 an hour (now over $8 an hour when you adjust for inflation) wouldn’t have thought, “Buying a phone that costs two weeks wages? and then paying a service plan for it that costs two weeks wages each month? Sure that sounds like a great idea!”

I have many vintage things now. I was lucky enough last year to finally get a really good running 1953 GE refrigerator. Many people thought I was crazy and said, “Oh, they are not cost effective,. they waste energy” But somehow that didn't’ seem like it could be true.I had a good think about it.

It was better made. It had been running non stop without repair since it was purchased new. It has a single door on the outside that clamps tight with the old handle so the seal on the door is so tight. We have found that it uses less energy, as it rarely needs to turn on. It does not have a frostless freezer, as do modern versions. But, we found with this that it does not dry out food. This we discovered because it isn’t running the defrosting mechanism which takes more energy and is always sucking out air when it drains out the frozen vapors that are required to have a frostless freezer. I also have never bought a new refrigerator that didn’t die after a few years and this one has never stopped running since 1953!.

I found out that modern fridges are mostly foam in the doors and walls covered with metal laminate. This old version is basically built like an old car from the 1950’s using steel and air to better conserve the cold inside. IT was built when quality and longevity was important. This is good for the look of the thing as well, but the reality of it is it really is a better product cheaper to run and cheaper to buy. And there is a certain satisfaction when I hear that door hinge open and close or when I pull out that metal enameled crisper drawer with its shiny chrome. It has a weight and gravitas that a cheap plastic drawer in a modern fridge could never mimic.

I think my next big move towards better past living will be my car. I intend to keep moving back in time with that. I currently have a Volvo station wagon from 1997. Last year we considered trading it in on a newer used version of the car from the mid 2000’s. After hubby and I test drove it we couldn’t get over how the newer versions did not feel as solid as our older model. And the more rounded bigger shaped interior took away more leg room and made visibility less good. We decided to keep her and instead just do more repairs as needed. But, a car of this decade still has computer chips. My goal is to get to a car that does not.

I would love something from the 1950’s or earlier but they are rather dear and first and foremost we must consider our pocketbooks. So, I wish to get something maybe from the 1970’s learn a bit about basic maintenance and what we can do and what our mechanic can handle and then as we learn, moving back to an earlier version car will make sense for us. With the ultimate goal to be a car from the early 1950s or even to the early 1930’s and simply keep it forever with proper maintenance and care.

Well, that was all a bit of a ramble wasn’t it? But, you can get my overall gist of the thing: Learning to look to the past for the good. Then you find yourself wanting to emulate it for its interest and beauty and then diving in deeper to find more joy and reality in the past then one sometimes gets in the future.  It is hard sometimes to walk this tightrope between past and present and it would be such a dream to find a town somewhere that simply wanted to rebuild to the past. Who knows, if the economy continues to decline and we find ourselves at the tail end of another housing bubble, maybe a town will be available cheap. I can see the advert now:

FOR SALE: One town. Small business lost to malls and big box stores. Production converted to overpriced lofts and Retail. Failed Retail moving to Internet Sales. Completely abandoned now ready for enterprising time travelers to rebuild. Good arable land. Plenty of space to grow. $1

I hope all have a lovely day and enjoy the shorts:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

23 January 1915 “The New Electric Home”

I found this interesting newsreel from 1915 America. World War I has started but the U.S. is not yet involved. In fact it is now called the “European War” as things are happening over there. It is interesting to see the new ideas for the home as far back as 1915 and with the bright promise electricity held. A very interesting thing to note is that the car they first arrive in is indeed electric.

At this point in time there are more electric cars on the road than gasoline. And the gas fired engines were considered more dangerous and called ‘gasoline explosive cars’. Even Henry Ford’ wife, Clara, refused to drive a gas car and instead had an electric one. She drove the 1914 model 47 model47 You can see that the electric cars held more of the antique look of a horsed carriage as it didn’t need all the room in the front for a large engine and all the moving parts that are required for the internal combustion engine. I wouldn’t mind one of these for a nip about town or to do my marketing.

Also notice in the film reel that servants are still prevalent at a modest Middle Class home. It wont be until post WWI that the servant begins to dwindle. The increased amount of new taxation created for the War effort remains and effects the middle class. Many could no longer afford the cost of servants with added taxes and these ladies moved into factory production instead.

Have a lovely day and think of how much we take electricity for granted today. And I wonder if we are ever to have electric cars again if we could have some new model shapes that won’t have to copy the look of the internal combustion engine so we might, if we chose, have a more vintage or antique looking vehicle more equipped for day trips and to do our shopping in?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

22 January 1954 “Spanx? No Thanks! Beautifully Housed Media? Yes Please! What’s old and cherished might be new again.

girdle Many of we modern women know what spanx are. And quiet literally they are simply girdles. But, why are they so flat and ugly? Why are they not as pretty as these undergarments? Though many a lady kept her Lingerie catalogue tucked away from curious little eyes, today these images are quite tame compared to what little Johnny might see on TV, Computer, or really walking down the street or through the mall. Enjoy them today, however, without any need to tuck them away on the china cabinet top shelf behind Grandmother’s silver. They can be found at My Vintage Vogue.

tvcabinetIt is also of interest that in the past while ones undergarments were also prettily decorated, so too was the entertainment gadgets. While today we may see endless ‘upgrades’ to the actual viewing, then technology added maybe then promise of better sound or clearer picture. Of equal importance was how this was to be housed. The way in which it was to be used in the decor of you home. This also blatantly points out that one was investing in a TV, Radio, HiFi for the long haul. The price was high (very little credit about) and one expected to keep it for their lifetime. The history of items had told consumers then that one could buy a thing and keep it for future generations. But, now the increase in technology and ever advancing need to sell more was brushing up against these old ideals. That is why the 1950’s is such an example of the crest of that wave of old ideals of longevity and quality with the impending movement towards ever changing and throw away.

I don’t need to go into a long tirade on the throw away consumer culture in which we all dwell. WE all now well and good how we live in a society that buys buys buys and then tosses away. Thus,  I suppose it makes sense that one’s firming undergarments snag easily and are tossed, Why bother making them pretty? Its not as if they will be lovingly washed, bows ironed and then placed in a sweet smelling lingerie drawer lined with scented papers.Found decades later in antique shops and thrift shops by new generations of girls who think, “Wow these are great’. Nor are we to expect to keep whatever TV or Computer we buy for longer than 6 months to a year. So lets just incase it all in ugly plastic and toss it on the pile when we are done. What will fill our Thrift shops and Antique stores in 100 years? I honestly don’t know.

There is a definite loss of general beauty to today. Some may find the idea of a large cabinet with your TV and HiFi in too much like Grandma. but I say, we would care more for things, spend less and have more money in the bank (though we get no interest today on our savings like they did in the 1950s) if we were a bit more like Granny. Of course today many readers may have a Granny who was simply a child in the 1950’s. I won’t disparage the baby boomers, but I must admit when I look about today and see the ‘new’ old people are the Baby Boomers, I long for the sensibility, control of purse strings, strength of character of the ‘old people’ when I was younger. A time when one could look at Granny and think, “Wow, she made it through the Depression” Or “She valiantly stood the hardships of war while her hubby/brother/son/father was off to war (when we spoke about the wars we were involved in.)

It’s odd that I often feel older than the ‘older generations’ today. The sensibilities that came to me over my project make me not only sometimes seem the oddball to my own generation but the Baby Boomers with their ‘cool James Dean’ ways and ME attitude can be a bit scary. But, I digress, and I should not lump an entire generation into one view.

Back to the beauty of the past. I like the looks of these old TV/Media cabinets. They were designed to go with your old furniture which you got from your Granny and lovingly rubbed lemon oil and beeswax into.

tvcabinet2 If you love the look of these wonderful cabinets and the beauty of old TV then check out the TV History Page for more wonderful views.

steampunkcomputer There is a lovely movement however to house computers in wonderfully wooden Victorian style cabinetry. This is a modern computer in all this lovely wood with the typewriter as keyboard. You can view more of these lovely wooden dream computers HERE.

Or a more modern use keyboard made with wood and typewriter keys such as these: woodcompkeyboard Or if one cares to have a more 1950’s look simply the screen as paper in your vintage typewriter: typecomp This can be bought Here.

I try to hold onto things as long as possible but sometimes with things like computers they simply won’t work any longer. Though the computer I am using for this post is over 6 years old.

There has to be a way for we modern people to add more lasting beauty to the fleeting reality of our modern lives? Have you any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 19-22 “Lucy has a baby and Dwight D. Eisenhower wins”

I have missed the blog. It is a new year and a new start. I aim to post daily of the past. They will sometimes be simple posts of a few things of interest. There may also be posts in-depth as in the old days. But, this year is about looking at the past and Vintage living in a new light. A way to allow the past to touch our daily lives in a light spirited and happy way.

On 19 January 1953 71% of all Televisions were tuned in to see Lucy give birth. It gives one pause to think how long the TV has been apart of our lives. There are now generations that are passing to which the TV was part of their life, albeit later in their life. But, today, we look around and see most people even those we call ‘old’ having grown up with this media. Here is a great clip from that episode. Classic scripted comedies seem to be sadly a thing of the past.

Dwight D. Eisenhower wins today! He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. Many feel the Eisenhower years were a time when the powers that be and the common man were closer than ever. The middle class will grow this decade and the disparagement between the salary of the head of a corp. and the man on the line was closer than ever. Today, we find this division closer to the Edwardian Age of the late 1890’s-1900s.

Here we can enjoy Eisenhower’s inaugural address in full. I think it is important to hear it if one is an American.


And lets end this little post with a top song from 1953 with the lovely Teresa Brewer. Happy Vintage Living.

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