December 31, 1951 - New Years Resolutions and the Skirt

Time to sit back and start thinking about new years resolutions. This is a subject that comes up ever year in my household in one way or another. Hubby-to-be says that he wants to stop complaining. This is a tall bill to overcome when you live in a severely negative modern world. I think that is one of the reasons that I had decided to do this project. There is no optimism in this world in my opinion. You see I work in retail/customer service. This is the industry that is a psychologists dream. You can do a case study on human behavior everyday. The ways that people react when they don't get exactly what they want, the lack of generosity and the overwhelming feeling when someone is nice to someone else. This is the part that shouldn't be nearly as shocking as it is.
Example, when my fiance and I first got together, in fact it was only maybe our third date, we decided to go to Philadelphia. This wasn't odd, you have to remember that we were the best of friends for several years before it turned romantic. We had a wonderful time. We walked Broad street and went shopping. Held hand while we walked the pier. The bad part was when it was time to go home. We went back to where we had parked the car and it was gone. I panicked, I just knew that someone has stolen his car. I ran into the store that was right in front of the parking space to call the police and the clerk informed us that the car was not stolen but was instead towed. Something that is apparently not uncommon in this area. You see where we are from you park with the meter at the nose or the tail of your car, while in Philadelphia it must be around the drivers door. We caught a cab to the impound lot. This was around seven in the evening.
The worst part was yet to come when we were told how much the bill was. $150! We had nowhere near that much money left on us after our shopping excursion. I was not working at the time and we both live a very paycheck to paycheck kind of life. We tried calling everyone we knew so that we could find a way out. No one was home. We sat there trying to call people until about eleven in the evening. One of the attendants behind the counter informed us that they close the office at one in the morning. This information was to much for me to process, I was already tearing up but this made me breakdown and bawl. I couldn't imagine spending the night out on the street in Philadelphia. I was scared and tired and just wanted to go home. My crying attracted the attention of a very intimidating Italian man that was with two larger intimidating Italian men. He came over and asked what the situation was. My fiance explained and the man told him to take this little girl home safely and gave us the money. We took his address to pay him back and we're on our way. No questions asked. This was the largest act of kindness that I have ever experienced and will never forget that man and what he did for us.
There are not that many people out there that would do something like that for you and I think that is going to be the first part of my New Years Resolution. I would like to at least once a week create a random act of kindness, even if it is small like helping someone with a door. My main New Years resolution is to jump full time into my new lifestyle.
Speaking of which, the skirt I have been working on is nearly done. The only thing left is to hem it up. Here is where lies the problem. I can't seem to figure out how to hem it. I know how to do simple hems. That is not the problem. The problem is that I have a large derriere that causes the skirt to lift a little in the back and that will show if I do a completely straight hemline and I was hoping to make it look even while I am wearing it. I have no one to help with the pinning and seem to be stuck as far as that is concerned. At this point I don't know if it's going to be done by tomorrow.
I know this is a bad place to cut it off but I have to go eat breakfast and get ready for work.
Happy New Years!
Till Later!


December 28, 1951 - Vintage Sewing Corner

I looked at my new glistening machine last night in wonder. It really is beautiful just sitting there, brand new and never used. I hate to admit it but I was waiting for something to be wrong with it, that for some reason it wouldn't work but it did and even though I was only sewing for about an hour and I got all but two pieces put together. It honestly should be done by tonight.
The first project that I decided to take on was a skirt that I can wear on New Years Day. I chose this material because it was not to stretchy do to the fact that I am still a beginner as far as sewing is concerned and I wanted to make something simple. The other is because I thought that it was a little new years-y. I thought that the silver stars were cute. My fiance thinks that it looks like it should be for the fourth of July and to a point he is right. The other reason that I chose this material is because it was on sale. There is nothing more that I like than a bargain. It was originally 9.99 and was now 2.99 a yard. Since I needed at least three yards that was a big deal. It was a special occasion skirt so I didn't want to make it with too expensive of a material.
The pattern is a semi-vintage one. It's old but not fifties. I wanted to start out with a pattern that was actually in my size. Maybe I was trying to build up my self confidence before I ventured into the world of grading patterns. There is no such thing as a fifties pattern in my size. All of my patterns are going to have to be graded and this is a process that I have never tried to do before so I don't know how well it is going to turn out. I'll try and work on it a bit more this afternoon. Wish me luck.
Till Later!


December 27, 1951 - Just A Quick Update

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive and had the most wonderful Holiday. I didn't get nearly as much baking and the like that I wanted to get done but what are you going to do when you have yourself scheduled down to the minute. I did however get the sewing machine that I have been going on about. I can't wait to get to work with it. The day after Christmas hubby-to-be and I went off to the local fabric store where I got the two cutest fabrics. One is for a skirt that I am making for New Years Day and the other is for a skirt and possibly a Shoulder wrap for next Christmas. We shall see how much material is left after the skirt is finished. Other than that I got a whole lot of amazing gifts from the family including the retro looking recipe organizer set that I have had my eye on at the local Hallmark store for a while now and was never willing to plunk down the money myself. It really is an impressive set.
Till Later!


December 17, 1951 - I'm Dreaming of a New Wardrobe

I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the last couple of months. (Ever since I found out that I was getting my dream sewing machine. It even does embroidery.) MY taste in clothes in the past has been to say the least . . . lazy. I have very simple clothes. I don't tend to buy something unless it would go with EVERYTHING. I own a lot of black and for some reason a fair amount of green. I don't even like green yet I somehow manage to buy it a lot.
So for the new year and the full throw into the project I have decided to schedule out my new wardrobe and figure out what pieces need to be made and when I have to have them done by. I has always figured that the first thing that I was going to make was going to be my wedding dress. This has gotten changed however because I would like to give myself a couple of months to lose a few pounds on my reducing diet.
This means that it is now in the cards to make other things. I thought about making foundation garments first. I mean what is the point of making a gorgeous dress without the crinoline to go under it. I also thought about skirts because they are very practical and I can be creative with very little variation in the pattern. Not to mention patterns for foundation garments are very difficult to find. I think this will be something that I might have to fashion for myself and I'm not quite there as far as my skill set is concerned yet.
I think that a good starter wardrobe would consist of about six skirts, six blouses, 3 house dresses, 1 Sunday Dress, 1 special occasion dress and three night gowns. I was watching White Christmas just the other day and it looks like women may have worn pants to bed more often then I thought so I am looking into making some pajamas that are pants and shirts outfits instead of just nightgowns. These are some of the ideas that I was planning on working on over the next few months and once I get my sewing machine I will show you my progress throughout.
My First Wardrobe:

So this is what I hope to have in my closet not to long after December 25th. I think that it is a full wardrobe that should carry me easily and then I will be able to make a few things here and there to supplement this. Such as dresses for special occasions and holidays. There is nothing better than a new Easter or Christmas Dress.
There is so much more that I have to get done this morning before hubby-to-be gets here with the rest of the gifts. For starters I have to wrap a whole lot of his presents still. Wish me luck on getting everything done.
Till Later!


December 16, 1951 - Dieting is Hard During the Holidays

This must be one of the most heard sentences in the English language. I had decided to put off my reducing until after the holidays but with all of the treats and goodies that I have been making and have been around the house I have already put on four pounds. I went from wanting to lose weight to actually getting heavier! This is not a good thing if I want my wedding dress to fit in seven months! I have to start paying attention again immediately. No more testing my cookies. I will leave that up to hubby-to-be. I still have a few things that I said that I would make and I won't let anyone down, I will make them but I'm not eating them. This needs to be brought under control before it gets out of hand.
It's going to be back on the reducing line until Christmas Eve and even then I'm going to really watch what I am eating. How am I going to make clothes properly if I don't stay with the same measurements for at least a couple of weeks to get these dresses finished.I will be reading two books cover to cover. One I have already read from cover to cover by good housekeeping. The other is sort of a predecessor of the South Beach Diet.
This was in an era where diets for one weren't called just diets. They were given the practical name of reducing diet. This is something that is understandable since you are trying to reduce your girth and the number on the scale.
Watching my waistline has been something that I need to start doing for the good of starting a family and for the good of my own well being. My biggest problem however, is that I am the type of person that has no patience. I want instant results and when I don't drop fifty pounds in a month I get frustrated and give up. I have to remember that it took me 15 years to put all of this weight on and it will probably take me a few years to take it off but it's something that I want to and can do.
Reducing diet here I come!
Till Later!


December 15, 1951 - Christmas Baking Has Begun

I had a devil of a time finding a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Would you believe it! I thought that one of the most classic cookies in the world would have at least one recipe in each of my cookie cookbooks, alas not a one. I guess back then, most women already knew how to make the basics. I just didn't grow up cooking and cleaning. I grew up playing Atari and vegging out on the sofa watching Who's the Boss and Mama's Family. However, I do have to say that besides her dependence on her parents as regards to her age I would love to be a bit like Iola. I know that she's awkward and a little old fashioned but so am I. She is also, smart has good taste in television and is extremely crafty. This is the type of woman that I want to be.

Thanks to me fiance being a psych major in college getting ready to start on his masters degree I have been analyzed. He said that basically what I am doing within my project is a form of schema therapy. This is when you take characters, people and personality traits that you like and want to have for yourself and create a character. This character doesn't have to have a name. You just have to envision it as clearly as you can in your head. Then you start acting as that character. This is not something that you do for a couple of hours a day. You try to be this character 24/7 so that the traits that you are emulating become a part of you. Above are the characters that I have chosen to be my new character.
The main two are Laura Petrie that exudes everything that I think an amazing housewife should be. She is a dynamite cook, dancer and has a lovely sense of humor at the same time as being one of the sexiest women on TV. The second highest on the list is Lucy Ricardo. This woman has courage and a lovely home and if you get past her schemes and hi-jinx, she really is a very caring and loving woman that thinks of other people a lot.
Third is Iola Boylan as I have mentioned above. (There are not many pictures of this character out there!) I could use her craft skills and dressing ability. She has a gorgeous wardrobe of fifties dresses that any girl would cry for. Forth is Samantha Stevens from Bewitched. The character traits that I want to emulate are fewer in her. Her devotion to her husband and home are unwavering and I wouldn't mind being able to twitch my nose and get whatever I want!
Last and in this case least. This being that there are very few things that I would like to emulate from this person, however it was enough that it made it worth mentioning is the incomparable Marylin Monroe. Her style is where the emulation stops, although I think she is not nearly as stupid as people think she was. This is the only person and not character that I mentioned only because it was her style in movies and out that I find myself attracted too. I really like this picture of her. It's one of the few pictures that made her looks like a pretty girl, a normal human being, not just a sex addicted bombshell. It's very sexy in it's own right. If she always looked like this then perhaps she wouldn't have has to be so manipulative.
So all of these people all squished up into one are pretty much the new me in a nutshell. Just make them all from the 1950's! Perfect woman huh! It is nearly time for me to leave my cozy little home for the daily grind. I hope to write again soon but I have more baking to do tonight so I don't think that I will get to anymore writing tonight.
Till Later!


December 13, 1951 - Christmas in the City and Other Holiday Musings

This weekend was quite busy around my house. There was time spent on cooking and cleaning but mostly I spent my time with our far planned ahead Christmas plans. We spent Saturday in New York City. It was just beautiful. Now I must admit a quick stop in the Toys R' Us on Times Square resulted in a quick yet severe panic attack. Not that I am prone to these, but there were about 3,000 people (I am not exaggerating) in the spacious yet crowded floors. You couldn't move in any direction. It was very claustrophobic.
There was also a film crew out on the street. I'm not really sure what it was for but I didn't recognize any of the actors. There were a lot of people buzzing around and they had one of those aerial cameras. The smell of toasted nuts was all around us and as we walked through the streets you could hear the saxophonist playing silver bells. It was right out of a movie.
We had quite a walk to out final destination so we decided to stop at the Bryant Park Christmas Market. They were making kettle corn right out in the open, which believe you me looks like a very dangerous operation. There were also little huts set up all throughout the park by dozens of designers with designer price tags. I still don't understand how they can charge two thousand dollars for something that I can make myself for maybe thirty at the very highest. That just gets my girdle!
In the center of the park there was a large ice skating rink where they had professional ice skaters putting on a free show with the backdrop of a humongous tree all dressed up in pretty blue lights. Just on the other side of Bryant Park is the New York City Public Library. On the stairs they had lit at least 200 votive candles in little glass holders. I have never seen anything quite like it. Pictures were not coming out too well but I tried.
After this we were off down fifth avenue to see the windows at Lord & Taylor. I just wish that I had the time to go in and look around. I don't think that I could afford to breath the air in that store. There was beautiful display after beautiful display. There are some moments that I just wish I could make Christmas just last forever and that was one of those moments.
We continued our walk and ended up having to cross through Washington Square. I had never had to go this far downtown before and it was a lovely sight to behold. The arch that leads into the park was centered over one of the tallest trees I had ever seen. The lights were beautiful and there was a little boy that was running around dressed like the littlest Santa. Just a sight to behold. There is one thing that I had forgotten about New York City that I had again had the realization of shortly after our arrival. That city is DIRTY! There was just garbage everywhere. There is no need for this. People just have to start having a little bit of respect for their planet. I think that is just something that needs to come to the forefront before we don't have a planet to speak of left.
Now onto happier notes on the home-front. I have the ingredients needed for nearly all of my baking and will be getting started with that in the very near future being either tonight or tomorrow after work while I do the laundry. I finally wrote out my Christmas Cards and they will be in the mail tomorrow morning by 8am. I hope that everyone likes them. I have been saving box after box of Christmas cards that we bought over the last few years at Hallmark and I am finally sending them out. Well a few of them at week. My Christmas Card list isn't too long. Maybe 20-25 people including people that I work with. To Close I would like to send you all our actual Christmas Card.

"Hope your Christmas holds
more laughter,
more love, and
more happy memories
than ever before."

Merry Christmas, Andrea


December 8, 1951 - Not Entirely From Scratch Cake

I would have loved to make a scratch cake last night but after working with fish for 8 hours I thought that the last thing I wanted to do was be stuck at the oven for hours so I broke down and bought a cake mix against my better judgment. They had the mixes in 1951 it's just most woman still made their cakes from scratch.
This cake had a Maraschino Cherry filling with whip cream icing. Now that I made from scratch. The top was decorated with left over cherries and mini chocolate chips. It was very good when it came out and I couldn't help but sneak a small piece for breakfast this morning.
All I can think about lately is getting my sewing machine. I am collecting quite a large quantity of patterns to make my new wardrobe with and they just sit in the basket waiting to get used. With the ones that hopefully I will win on the world's auction house (EBay) I will have 18 patterns with a total of 41 different looks to make even without a change from my own brain. I have learned through the vintage blogs that I read that eventually you get a feel for your patterns and can mix and match to make different dresses using alternative collars and skirts and tops. You can also add your own details to make it gorgeous.
There is a set of 12 that I have a bid on and they are all exquisite. There are many dresses and one thing that I have been hoping to get for quite some time. A blouse pattern. As I said before I have the 54 & 55 books from Lutterloh but I am not quite confident enough yet to make my own patterns. Maybe after I have a somewhat secure foundation of clothing I will start experimenting with new ways of pattern making on my own. As for right now however, I am at the very most a novice.
My closet yearns to be filled with skirts, blouses, dresses, crinolines, slips, coats, nightgowns and robes. My drawers long for gloves of several colors and materials, handkerchiefs and underclothes. I am hoping by 2012/1953 I will have a wardrobe to be envied by the ages. Outfits for every occasion. One for easter, a valentines day pink wonder, several for Christmas. I have drawn out some of the dresses already.
I am aware that I have mentioned this in the past but I'm going to reiterate it now. I spent a good portion of my young life thinking that fashion was stupid. I never cared what was in style and what looked good. It took me until now to figure out what the problem was. I wasn't meant for the style of my age. I think all of the clothes are too tight, too low cut and way too provocative. You can be sexy without being sleazy.
While I was trying to get a show ready to watch last night I turned on the TV and the channel E was on my screen while I plugged everything in. It was some show hosted by Miss Joan Rivers and they were doing a segment called streetwalker or starlet. It's sad that most of them were calling the starlets streetwalkers based on the clothing they were wearing before they say their faces. These are the people that our youth idolize. We live in a sad world. I'm just done being a part of it.
Till Later.


December 6, 1951 - A New Dinner and Christmas Movies

I have a lot of work to do this week. A lot of long hours and a lot of early mornings, which is usually my blogging time. I spent the morning at work thinking what can I make with ground beef that isn't meatloaf or a hamburger. What I ended up doing was a dinner of beef patties with fried mushrooms and onions with mushroom gravy on top accompanied by sliced potatoes and sugar peas.
Something else has come to my attention. There are not a lot of Christmas movies from the forties and early to mid fifties. I have only found four so far: White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Christmas in Connecticut & Miracle on 34th Street. I was hoping that I would have a slew before the Christmas season officially started.
I am going to keep this one short and sweet but I hope to be able to write a more thorough post tomorrow.
Till Later.


December 1, 1951 - The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

Although I started decorating weeks ago today is the first official day of the holiday season for a lot of people. This is also when I'm going to try and get at least one Christmas task done each day. There is so much baking that needs to be done and I will be trying to get that started as soon as possible.
My first item that I will be tackling is Nut Roll and Poppy Seed Roll. I've never made this before but I'm looking forward to trying. I was told by hubby-to-be that his family is always complaining that no store puts enough filling in them so I am going to make a double batch of each of the fillings and really stuff them silly. They have them listed as only taking a few hours to make. Everyone that I know that has made them has always complained that they take so long to make. However I can't imagine paying $7 for one small roll at the store where they hardly put any filling in it at all so that they can turn the ever important dollar.
There are the cookies as well of course. I know for a fact that I will be making the traditional sugar cookie cut-outs as well as chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. This year however, I am planning on making four other kinds of cookies on top of these. I simply haven't yet decided which these are going to be. I have been looking at all of my cookbooks and they all seem so lovely that I can't decide which ones to try. The one that jumped out to me first was one that was made from maraschino cherries and the second was one that has chopped gum drops in it. How sweet is that. I'm going to probably be baking every Sunday through December seeing as we have plans for every Saturday through Christmas and I am going to be working Monday through Friday.
I can't wait to see if my new time management skills will kick in and everything will get done or if I will get sucked in again by the wealth of knowledge available to me right here on the internet. I spend very many hours on the computer so that I can learn all that there is to know about being a housewife in the 50's unfortunately you also get lost in it and don't realize until it's too late that you have just spent three hours staring at the screen and you don't have time to do this or that. Speaking of which it is time to go and clean up the kitchen. My fiance will be here in a little over an hour to drop off the Christmas goody basket that he created for us this holiday season.
Till Later!