October 28, 1951 - The Day After

Yesterday was the first day that I was off of work in nine days. I sat comfortably and against my best of intentions got nothing done. Today is a different story. I am very well rested and am looking forward to a productive day. This means right after this post is complete the computer is getting shut down. I will then be making a list of everything that needs to get done with the house today. I have to start preparing for the total transition.
That brings up a good point. I haven't mentioned this up until now. I know that I have been trying my best to stick to the world of the fifties, but that is not easy to do when you have a fiance that is not totally on board. However I have made a deal with myself that by January 1st 1955 (2011) I will be living full time as a fifties girl. I should have a few pieces of clothes by then. Many more to come once I get the sewing machine that I am receiving as a Christmas gift from my grandmother-in-law to be.
Speaking of which, I spent a good deal of yesterday teaching myself how to grade a pattern to my size. Taking a small picture of a pattern from an old book and trying to fit it to my measurements. This was time consuming and I've never tried anything like this before. I used the grading techniques that they show in a few different tutorials and even though the only thing that I did in full size was a collar, it fit like a dream. All it takes is a little patients and a whole lot of math skills. (This part is the truly frustrating part.
This is the blouse that I was trying out yesterday. Beautiful isn't it. I can just imagine this blouse with a grey or white skirt, even a forest green one would be nice. I am very concerned about fit. I have quite the Derrière and a major fear that all of my creations are going to be lifted in the back. I watch women with large posteriors wearing skirts sometimes and they look ridiculous. I am fully aware that I am going to get stares the way it is for the way that I dress out of my own era, (Thankfully designers are bringing back the look of the fifties. Woman I suppose want to dress like women again) I don't want to be a laughing stock on top of it.
Now the first thing that is going to be on my list is to make my meal plans and grocery list for the week. I'm going to be having lunch at work most days and hubby-to-be is going to be here both Saturday and Sunday evenings so I will be cooking larger and fuller meals on those two days. My meals however can be pretty simple. I'll try to let you know what I come up with.
Another task of yesterday was to start planning for the Christmas season. This mainly meant deciding what kinds of cookies were going to be made. The Ultimate choices so far are chocolate macaroons, gumdrop cookie bars, cherry drops (These seemed scrumptious. I am a huge fan of Maraschino Cherries and they and there juice are the two main ingredients.) and the traditional sugar cookie. Total I want to make six different kinds and that means I have to still find two more recipes. This book has been a huge help but there are so many more cookbooks that I own that all have within there pages recipes for cookies.
As for tonight's dinner I'm going to be whipping up some potato cakes. I used to love these when I was a child. My grandma made them the best, however they are also a staple up here in the Northeast at bazaars and fairs. I'm not quite sure how it is in the rest of the country.
What I do know is that people down south have never heard of either peirogies or minute steaks, two of the major food groups of PA. It's nearly ten o'clock so I better get to work on my list.
Till later!


October 22, 1951 - Longest Work Week Ever!

I don't normally consider myself a lazy person. That being said I'm also not accustom to 8 day work weeks. It feels as though it will just never end!
Now that I'm done whining, off I go into the heart of my project. It is the start to another weekend. This means for the next few days I will be cooking for two. One of those days I'm going to the drive-in with my sweetheart, where they are showing two classic horror movies for the Halloween season.
On the cooking front, I'll be making Liver and Onions tomorrow night, which honestly scares me a bit. I've never been very fond of liver and onions but a friend of mine that is in her sixties tells me that her mother back in the fifties used to fry bacon in the pan with the onions first. Chop up the bacon into little bits and then fry the liver in the bacon fat. I love bacon, so I'm hoping that will mask the unpleasant taste for me a bit. Tonight, I still dine alone and thought that I would go with one of my grandmothers staple foods. Pierogies! Bake them with a little butter and garlic, yum!
Not sure if any of you remember, but a few posts back I talked about the new magazines that I received and one was November 1953 Good Housekeeping. Well, I've always tried to wait until the actual month of the magazine before I read it but when another magazine (one that I subscribed to before the project began) arrived in the mail today, I thought what am I waiting for. This is probably when "Betty" got hers back then. That is what I'm going to do while dinner is in the oven. I'm going to read my "new" magazine with the thanksgiving spectacular in it.
I'm going to devote next Thursday to cleaning this little haven. Break out all of my old cleaning tricks and give it a once over before winter sets in and we begin to decorate for the Christmas season. Don't you just love thinking about the holidays. I wonder what the people of the fifties did to celebrate Halloween. New research topic!
Till Later!


October 21, 1951 - My Lingering Obsession

My obsession for fashion is growing. I've never really been into fashion in my life but a whole new world opened for me when I discovered the 50's. It just turns out that I don't like the style of my peers.
I've always felt uncomfortable with the low necklines and the super tight clothing that is the norm of today. It also made me feel uncomfortable that there were so many frequent occurrences where I could not tell if a person was male or female. There are far too many people that are stuck in a T-Shirt and jeans rut. I want to never be in that category.
I've found countless new pictures of styles that I would like to try. However, I believe that my first project on my way to being a master seamstress is going to be my dream coat.
The Swing Coat: I think this is one of the prettiest parts of winter in the 50's. Those warm comfy high necked coats. This first picture is of one that is from a retro butterick pattern. I don't know if they make it in my size and I'm not crazy about red. The first time that I make pretty much any pattern, I try to make it identical to the one on the pattern. The designer picked those colors for a reason. This is especially important to me with vintage patterns seeing how the styles have changed over the years. In all of the sewing blogs that I read there are many times when I think, 'What was that woman thinking? That doesn't even look vintage, they never would have worn anything that busy.'

This is the one that Ireally want to make though. This perfect little piece is from a pattern book that I have from 1954. All of the instructions are in German, but I'm hoping that I can get around all of that and improvise the best that I can. See how the bottom of the coat just billows so beautifully. Can you imagine this made of an eggshell wool, or a very nice faux fur for special occasions. Perfect, I love the light colors. The only issue that I have with that is I live in the center of the old coal country. We still have banks of coal all over the towns. I will put it to you this way. Two days after it snows, an immaculate white blanket turns into a dirty looking gray one. It's sad, and it makes your wonder why the cancer rate in this area is so incredibly high.
Onto cooking and cleaning:
I said yesterday that I wanted to do some cooking and cleaning before the day was out. Some of the cooking got done but the cleaning was throw to the wayside. I did however pick up a new can of Comet Cleanser. One of my best cleaning friends and last weekend my dear hubby-to-be grabbed me a new scrub brush so I can do the floors properly.
I made a delightful smelling stew from my reducing book. It is 8 oz of beef with just a wild assortment of fresh vegetables that I cooked over low heat for about 4 hours.
After I get finished here I have to move on to planning my meals for the rest of the week. I know that I'm going to be having liver and onions on the weekend. I'm just not sure what day or what I'm going to have for the rest of the week. Planning, planning and more planning. The more that I plan the less I seem to get accomplished however. I suppose I simply have to work on getting more organized. Therein lies my problem. I think this is enough for now.
Till later!


October 20, 1951 - Early to Work

It was supposed to be a cooking morning, where I could make all of the meals that I would need for the next few days. When I work this many hours and days in a row I tend to slack off with my cooking duties which is when I get into the pizza rut. There have been times where I have eaten pizza three meals a day for two days solid. Not the healthiest of diets to follow. That would be why I had decided to spend the morning cooking up 4 or 5 decent meals that I could have throughout the rest of the week. Unfortunately that got thrown into upheaval when I was asked to come into work 3 hours early today. This means no time to cook and after 10 hours on my feet running around, I'm probably not going to be in the mood to clean and cook when I get home either.
On a happier note, Halloween is coming up very shortly. I'm not really doing anything for it but, what the heck I can have an all night old drive-in horror movie night with the honey. Should be fun. I hope you all have a very pleasant day.
Till later!


October 18, 1951 - Issues With Commiting!

This is the book that I mentioned in my last post. It's a reducing plan from 1951.
It's a pretty easy plan to follow, sort of a pre-south beach, south beach diet. Very low sugar carb, no carbs from white flour. In fact I will show you all the basics of this diet.
I have a bit of a problem sticking to diets. I have always had this problem and am determined to stop this problem before it gets out of control. It comes down to an issue of committing to a project and sticking with it. I have issues sticking perfectly with my 1950's plan from time to time and I have a very big problem committing to a diet plan. Hopefully that is something that is going to change with my new attitude toward life of 54'.

These are the items that are eliminated:

These items are not only allowed but encouraged:

(Sorry for the awful quality of the photos but my camera has issues with sunlight.)

The other night I tried out one of the over 500 recipes available in this little number for beef vegetable loaf. It was amazing. I was very surprised at how beefy it actually tasted considering in was more vegetable than meet. It was only half a pound of meat for 2 servings. Just a little side note. I always cut my recipes down to the servings of people that are going to be eating. I'm not good with leftovers. If they are around the house they will almost always go bad so I try to only make as much as I'm going to eat.
Here is the recipe if anyone wants it:
Personally, I left out the string beans and added some pimentos for a little salty kick. It was the first time that I ever cooked with a water bath. I don't really know what it's supposed to be doing but I know that I liked the end result. It was gray but firm and delicious. Honestly if the gray color bothers you, you can probably make some kind of low cal sauce to go over it that may add a little too it without taking away any of the health benefits of it. I also only cooked it for an hour since it was only half of the recipe. I didn't want it to be too overcooked, doing it this way was perfect. The first thing that I learned in teaching myself to cook was that you should always trust your own judgment, most if the time you are right.
I served it hot. The recipe says that you can serve it cold too but that sounded a little yucky to me so I didn't even try it. Good luck if you give it a try.
Till later!


October 15, 1951 - The New Schedule & Reducing

Since Christmas is just around the corner and hubby-to-be and I like to do it up right we have started to pretty much save every penny that we can and I have come up with a plan of attack! We are both working most of the weekend and that helps a little but when home we have to find way to amuse ourselves. Friday night is going to be 'Night at the Movies'. We each pick a movie that we would like to see and watch it. Saturday night is 'Game Night'. We have a closet full of board games that hardly ever get played with. I think it is the perfect way for us to keep ourselves busy. Finally, Sunday is going to be the day that we go out. After our special breakfast we will go to the mall and walk around or anywhere else for that matter, just a little something so that we can get out of the house. I think it's a swell way to spend time together and save all of the money that we can.

On a different subject, I know that I have talked about reducing (the 1950's way of putting dieting) before but I just received a wonderful little jem from e-bay that is a very good read. I started yesterday and I must tell you that I believe that it is very close to the Atkins diet. Differences is that it says that you should only eat lean cuts of beef and that you should eat as many fruits as you would like. This reducing diet (I love the way they make it sound like you are shrinking.) also comes with 500 recipes that will make dieting delicious and in my opinion, very vegetable heavy.
Till Later!


October 12, 1951 - Time Simply Flies

Lately time has just been flying by and I hardly notice. I made just the yummiest casserole out of a new cookbook that I got from the world garage sale, E-Bay. This is one of the better cookbooks that I have worked with.

The next day for breakfast I made the Griddle Cakes with Bananas. They were so good that hubby to be ate 8 of them. The nice thing was that the recipe said that it was going to make twelve of them and it really did. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone into a recipe thinking that it's going to make say six and made at approximately the size that they suggest, it only makes four. The mixes are even worse, I believe they think that everyone eats silver dollar size pancakes. I think they make the recipe for smaller pancakes so that their nutritional information will look better. Who wants to see that 1 pancake is 260 calories before you fry it! (Just a guess I don't know what it really is.)
Tonight is pan-fried flounder with mashed potatoes and corn. Maybe a little pudding for dessert. That is after I go to work and dole out fish for a few hours first. Here is the recipe for the griddle cakes if anyone wants to try it.

I've also been narrowing down my choices for the first dress that I am going to make once I get my new sewing machine. I was thinking of going for a sweet little dress that I saw on 'I Love Lucy'. My only problem is that I don't know if I can get the length perfect. It seems even in the Retro World, no one really cares if the length is proper. I've seen many a girl post that she shortened the dress significantly to suit her own tastes. However, I want to be true to the times. I think it just looks more attractive that way, more authentic.
If I can find the link I will share it with you, but there is one girl that makes perfect outfits every time. She says that she is not a professional, but everything that she makes is 100% perfection. I hope to someday just be able to pull off something that I feel comfortable wearing outside of the house.
I must start getting ready for another day at the market.
Till Later!


October 6, 1951 - A Short One

I only have a few minutes to talk this morning. I have a lot of housework to do today and I still haven't made breakfast yet.
I woke up this morning with a new lease on weight loss. It's something that I've struggled with my entire life and up until now I've never really had a true motivation to do it. During this project I've found it. The clothes! As I mentioned yesterday, I'm obsessed with the fashion of the fifties and with that I have got to lose some inches. The clothing patterns that era are about half my size. I supposed with all of the work that everyone did there wasn't much time to be obese or means to become that way unless you were a cripple of which I am not. I've been looking up exercise of the 50's and found a really great video by Debbie Drake on exercising the housewife.
The excuse that I don't have the time is total baloney with me because I have way more time than I know what to do with after work and honestly before work too. Especially if it just takes 12 minutes a day four days a week. How hard is that! My goal is to lose 100 pound or at least 12 sizes. I know that I have a long way to go but now I finally have that inspiration that I've been looking for all along.
Till later!


October 5, 1951 - Sewing Patterns & A Pork Roast

Work started early for me this morning but I found time before I left to check out a couple of blogs that I follow. One being Sew Retro and on there a woman commented that she was looking to find out the pattern number of this pattern:

As soon as I saw it I thought that the long sleeve version of the dress was one of the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. I must have this pattern for myself in the future. Luckily a woman answered while I was at work and it is McCall's 9070. This pattern is going to be very near the top of my list as patterns that I want to make for myself. A few others from that very list are McCall's 9615, McCall's 5898 & Simplicity 3388.

Isn't the nightgown pattern just to die for. The fact that I have to wait until December to get my sewing machine is killing me. I just can't wait! I'm looking to completely revamp my whole wardrobe. Now just to find out how many pieces of clothing I should really have. I figured four or five skirts, four day dresses and 2 party dresses, a evening gown, a heavy winter swing coat (which is a piece that I am a little obsessed with getting), a bodyshaper, a pencil slip and 2 crinolines one knee length and one evening gown length. I think I'll have a couple of pairs of capris in there too so I can do down and dirty housework in them.

On to the next subject tonight is MOVIE NIGHT. Every Tuesday I am home and I can make a nice meal and go to see a movie. Granted it's right in my living room but hey, why not make it like the real deal. Tonight's dinner is roasted potatoes with peppered pork roast and broccoli and cauliflower with pine nuts. I also have a salad for starters that has blue cheese crumbles and dried cranberries. This is more out of habit than anything. I love getting those veggies in right off the bat so that I can enjoy the rest of the meal. For desert I'm having a good old fashioned favorite, cookies and milk with coffee. Nothing too crazy about the pork recipe.

It's just a mix of black pepper, garlic, a little bit of salt, rosemary and dill. Comes out juicy and delightful every time.
Oh well I think that I've driveled on for long enough today and my dinner is getting cold so I'll leave you now and return as soon as I can.
Talk to you soon. Till later!


October 3, 1951 - My New Finds & Constant Distractions

About a year ago a woman at a flea market that I frequent lost her husband. He was elderly and very sick for a very long time. She has the stand for extra money as long as he was alive, but with his passing she all of the sudden had a much larger reason for having the stand. With that in mind I spent way more at her stand then normal and bought things that gave me even the slightest bit of interest. I gave her $3 each for old good housekeeping magazines, 1 from 1959 and the other from 1960. This started the ball rolling on a collection and an obsession. Yesterday I won two fabulous magazines on EBay:

The first one was a copy of Good Housekeeping from March of 1953. I set out at first to get all of the Good Housekeeping Magazines from 1955 because I loved Back to the Future and the ads were so intriguing. That led to the looking up of people that live their lives in a literal time warp, which led me to the most fascinating blog I have ever read, both insight-fully written and wonderfully interesting 50's Times. She was my inspiration for this entire project. My magazine collection has grown to include all years of the 50's and also magazines that are not Good housekeeping. Such as woman's day, ladies home journal and others.

With that the second magazine that I bought is November 1954 which is the Thanksgiving special with tons of new recipes for me to make and share with you.

Today is our normal special Sunday breakfast. I woke up and make apple brown sugar sausage, scrambled eggs and toast with some specialty fresh ground coffee. The hubby-to-be has work till five this evening so I will be doing a little fall cleaning and cooking up dinner before he gets home. Some delicious Sausage Spaghetti with Parmesan Cheese. I just have to think of something to make with it. I was thinking of baking up some biscuits to go along with some garlic butter melted into them. Maybe I'll even make some whipped jello.
Now on to the obsessions part. I delved into this a little yesterday. I along with most of the country have a slight obsession for my TV and a major addiction to the internet. Even trying to get off of the computer for a few hours is hard to do unless there is someone else here with me. I suppose I am a bit of an information hog. Wondering about the littlest thing can send me in to a 3 hour computer session that starts out with looking up one little thing that leads to another, that leads to another, that leads to another. Worse is that once I get done with that I have to go and check all of my usual haunts. Facebook, yahoo . . . ect. as well as check in on all of my favorite vintage bloggers. This habit is harder to break than I had once thought. Limiting myself to 1 hour a day is going to be next to miserable, at least at first. In fact I told myself I was going to get off of the computer by two o'clock and here it is already ten after.
I must go now. I have floors to wash and dishes to do from lunch and since I am currently without a vacuum cleaner I have to go true vintage and sweep my rugs. Thankfully my carpets are very, very short pile.

Till Later! :)


October 1, 1951 - Starting the day on the right foot

Today is the first day of October and October is probably one of the most beautiful months in my area. I live in a valley in the mountains of Pennsylvania so I am surrounded by huge beautiful slopes of trees. Soon they will be changing color to their hues of orange, yellow and red and decorating my morning view.
As I sat with my coffee this morning catching up on some of the blogs that I follow it was called to my attention how much we ignore the natural beauty of the season. Really, when was the last time that you went out and just took a deep breath and took in the smell. For me it had been ages. I'm always rushing, I'm always late for something and I never take the time to just smell the air or feel the grass. (Not that there is much grass to feel. I live in the middle of a city and most of the grass is paved over or you have to worry that there may be crushed glass in the grass that had been thrown from moving vehicles.
The more that I sit and think of the way that society treats themselves and their planet the more interested I become in my project.
Tonight I am going to be making one of my grandmothers best recipes for Chicken and Rice. I was thinking of making it in the slow cooker while I am at work so that when I come home all I have to do is add the rice and by the time I am out of the shower it will be ready to eat. I think I'm also going to make some Jello for dessert low sugar and very 50's. I'm going to try to go for a week without TV. Another thing that has occured to me as of late is my insane dependence on TV to occupy my time. I am far to lazy of a person and want to change that. I have to limit my computer use and up the time I spend reading, writing and cleaning. Not that my house is dirty per say but it would definitely not do for a 50's or Stepford wife. So here I sit thinking of all the things that I have to do and am putting off until after work because they should have been started 45 minutes ago and now I have to get ready for work or I'm going to miss the bus. I have to start making lists.
Oh well! Till later :)


The cookbook that I live by:

I bought this cookbook last year while I was at a local flea market. The woman wanted two dollars but would only sell it to me if I took a crappy 1998 cookbook too. I had to sit there and convince myself that it was a good idea to buy both full well knowing that I was going to be giving the other one to the salvation army. I have to keep in mind what I'm willing to pay on EBay for things. For some reason $5 seems reasonable for a small book there but when I see it at a flea market $2 seems too much. What a warped sense I have. :)
Tonight's dinner is a delicious bowl of chicken and rice that has been cooking in the crock pot since before I left for work this morning. I have to admit this project would be more fun if I knew some other people that were into it as much as I am. I really have no retro friends and my fiance thinks that it's silly. I wish everyone understood that I just find this a better way of life. A slower, more productive way of thinking. What I wouldn't give to go to bed at night because I am tired from really being tired instead of going to bed because it's time or because I stayed up until 2 in the morning watching a house marathon.
Ok, at this point I'm just rambling to myself. Everyone have a great night and I'll write again really soon.