Monday

November 29, 1951 - New Cute Additions

I had a short morning after a long weekend. There was so much to do that pretty much all thoughts of housekeeping have been put to the wayside. First there was Thanksgiving dinner, which I hope everyone had a delightful one. I stayed with my fiances family overnight on Wednesday to help with the cooking in the morning. Not that there was much to do since his grandmother had prepared nearly everything including one of the two turkeys days in advance. The only things that were cooked that day were the second turkey and the potatoes which were instant.
Suffice it to say that dinner was abysmal. The turkey was dry because even though I hinted at it half a dozen times she simply never basted the poor bird and the filling was melted into the bowl and hard. All of the rest of the food just tasted like it was reheated in the microwave, a device that I have blinked out of existence in my world over a month ago. On top of that it was a very hard week at work.
As for yesterday I went to the flea market yet again with the hubby-to-be and I don't believe that I ever made such a wonderful haul in one trip. The main reason that we went is because a woman was holding a beautiful garden book for me. I may not have a place for a garden yet but I will someday but right now there is a chapter on houseplants and I'll be studying for the future. I have seen these on that international garage sale E-Bay dozens of times but it's always $20 or more. I only paid $7 for this one. I couldn't pass it up.
Once I got to walking around it seemed that there were amazing deals around every corner. Here are some of them.
This Family Circle was in a pile with 30's and 40's magazines that the women wanted next to nothing for. I thought about getting the others but really you have to stop somewhere.I found two more dress patterns from the same person. Advance 5404 a nice house dress and Simplicity 3592 a nightgown/house dress. I wasn't very crazy about either of them. But they were nice enough to use for practice. I think that I'll make the longer one first.
I also invested in some new vintage sewing notions. Fabric ribbon to use as accents, especially on that one party dress. A sweet pink lace with pearl accents, a velveteen pink and a velveteen green. I also got two vintage zippers, one is peach colored and theother one is very red. Both are 12" and I think that I can use them as invisible zippers.
The wait for my new sewing machine I must admit is getting a tad unbearable. The amount of Christmas gifts under my tree already is astronomical. My fiance really went overboard this year, although the present that I am looking forward to the most is the one from his grandmother (the sewing machine).
I also bought two new handkerchiefs to go with the one that I ordered online one is pink with flowers and the other is white with blue flowers. I already have a white one from Ireland that my in-laws-to-be brought back from their holiday to Ireland a couple of years ago. I also got two new pairs of pearl earrings. The single pearls are for everyday wear and the ones with the gold around it are for dressed up occasions. They are really beautiful aren't they.


Lastly, I found a very good deal on some Christmas decorations. In the first picture is a cute little addition to a holiday outfit. I believe that it is a holly boutonniere. It's bright red and dark forest green. Amazing colors I must say. The second is a little over half of the ornaments. There are a couple that were already put on the tree that was decorated on Saturday night and the rest are waiting to be put on the tree a little later on. The last picture depicts all of the hooks that I found in their original boxes and a box of orange bulbs that still work. We are using one in a glass fireplace that the original bulb burned out. Not pictured is two boxes of tinsel. I am very happy to have them however tinsel from back then was highly flammable so I will not be using it. Perhaps someday I will put it out for display purposes.


I have to go to work in a few minutes but hopefully I will be able to write more when I get home.
Till Later!

Wednesday

November 24, 1951 - Happy Thanksgiving!

No I'm not delusional, I'm aware that Thanksgiving isn't until tomorrow. However, I will be traveling for the holiday. Hubby-to-be and I will be traveling to his grandparents house for the holiday. I'll be leaving right after work today so I'm not going to have any time to write tonight or tomorrow so I thought that I would get it out of my system now. I know that a lot of my posts lately have been about sewing. I think that I may be starting to become sewing obsessed. The fashion of the fifties has always intrigued me but until recently I never thought that I would have guts to wear it myself. Now on the other hand I would wear it proudly. I just don't know how much my sweet fiance would want to go out in his jeans and t-shirt with someone wearing a full skirted dress to the grocery store. There is a comment that I read on another blog that really got to me. "For those of you who long and pine for the days of beauty in clothes, you have the choice our grandmothers DID NOT! So, watch some old movies or read old vogue, look at Edith Head designs and get to sewing! The world around you can be changed. You might be the woman brave enough to wear that veiled 1950’s hat and gloves to the store, party or church and other women will think, “Oh, my, how adorable”. We always do. No matter how removed we can pretend to be from fashion as women, let’s face it, fashion has existed BECAUSE of us. Again, another powerful part of our woman’s history. We WORE the corsets and bustles and farthingales. Men may have manufactured them, but WE gave them life! Embrace it! Sometimes I feel that we as women are so powerful, but we feel the need to hide or suppress it. If it takes nerve to wear a full on 1950s outfit down to the girdle or even an 1850’s, then we can do it! You might affect the style in your own town and honestly wouldn’t you rather be thought of as having your own style than not thought of at all?" 50sGal (I hope she doesn't mind me reprinting that) I must say that I was very taken by that statement. I want to be the woman that everyone thinks looks just adorable. I think that I have to ease into it because my fiance thinks that I jump into things head first and can't follow through. This is the first thing that I have felt comfortable enough to follow through on.
Something that I haven't mentioned in a little while was the cooking front. Honestly, everything has been so hectic lately I have been cooking very simple things. I made hamburgers one night and another night I had sort of a barbecue chicken sandwich with blue cheese dressing on top. Very yummy, not very 50's. Planning for Christmas has really taken a lot out of me as far as energy is concerned working extra hours and saving all of my money. Well most of my money anyway.
I didn't mean to get into an excuses tirade. The point is Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


*******************

I found a recipe that I just had to share from Nov. 1954 Good Housekeeping:
Pride O'Pumpkin Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg and 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup finely chopped walnut meats

Measure sifted flour, add baking powder, salt, soda, spices. Sift together three times.
Cream butter, add sugars gradually and cream well. Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, beating until light. Add flour alternately with buttermilk, in small amounts, beating after each additional until smooth. Add pumpkin and nuts; mix well.
Bake in two round 8-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with paper, in moderate oven (350) 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Cool; frost with fluffy frosting tinted orange. Garnish with small flowers.

I'm going to be making this probably next week to try it out. I'll post some pictures on how it went.
Till Later!

Tuesday

November 23, 1951 - I Found the Pattern!


When I saw it chills went up my spine. On the left as you know is my dream wedding dress. The Only part that I wasn't crazy about was the neckline and all that was fixed in the authentic vintage pattern that is on the right. This pattern has perfect lines, perfect form and is just the right length. I'm not sure how it's going to look on me but I can't resist trying. I love everything about this dress and with a short veil with a pearl bow it will be perfection.
I can't make this a long post today because my fiance will be here in less than a half an hour with more Christmas gifts for under the tree and to drop me off at work. But one more thing before I go. I finally also found a pattern for a nightgown. I have been looking for an authentic looking 50's nightgown pattern for quite some time. This one is perfect. I also will look into a pants and shirt set for me and one for the hubby-to-be but I just have to have this one for me first. I love everything about it.
He has asked me to make him a pair of comfy lounge pajamas for when he is at my house and I want so badly to make him 50's inspired ones, however he is not the biggest 50's fan in the world. I think I'll do it anyway, why not, he'll still wear them as long as they are comfortable.
Note: I know that I have been going flea marketing a lot lately but we are going this Sunday too and a woman has put aside for me the Better Homes and Gardens: Garden Book. I love this book! I don't have a garden right now but I know that I will have one in the future and I'm looking forward to it.
Till Later!

Sunday

November 21, 1951 - More Flea Market Finds

This morning we got another chance to venture out to the flea market and I was astounded to find that there was a new woman there that was selling vintage patterns. It took all of the strength that I had in me not to scoop up all she had because she was asking only $1.50 each. There were about twelve there but most were more from the early sixties and a couple were for children. I took the three that looked like something that I would actually wear. The first was Advance 5809 circa 1951 a really cute day dress. I had in my mind a dress that I would want to make for the fourth of July and view 2 is perfect for it. I just needed one where the bodice was separated from the skirt because they will be two different materials. The belt is even perfect. The second is Simplicity 1617 circa 1954. I bought this undated and it took a little bit of searching and even then I found two different dates, 1954 & 1956. Since I found the 1954 on two sites I thought that I would go with that one. I would like to make view 2 but with the color from view one. Now I'm not sure that I'm ever going to be able to grade these patterns up to the point that they are usable. There is a 14-16" difference in the bust of a couple of them but I'm going to give it the old college try. Last but most certainly not least is Simplicity 1518 circa 1956. View 1 is the sweetest party dress that I have ever seen. The delicate pink bows and the pink V around the neck. I could see myself doing this with a green trim for Christmas or just as it is for Easter. The pearls are even perfect.
I'm pretty sure that they are all complete but I haven't ripped them all apart yet and if there is one thing that I have got confidence in, it's that I can fake the piece. I've done this so many times in the past with modern projects. I also, since in the spirit of retro fashion, went ahead and finally bought two vintage broaches. The one on the left is a gold broach with eggshell enamel covering the leaves and berries. I thought it was very classic looking and could be used either on the collar of a dress ling 1517 view 1 or to hold a shawl or cardigan closed. The second one is an adorable gold and hand painted enamel rose pin. A very delicate piece that will be wonderful on any neckline or the end of a V-Neck.
These are the downside to the fact that vintage is so far back in. When you go to look for vintage costume jewelry, something that would have cost 50 cents five years ago is somewhere between $5 & $18 now. I remember going to countless garage sales with my grandmother when I was a child and she would pick up a half dozen of these for me for a dollar and I would play dress-up with them. I think it may be time to go experiment with grading before I get started on the blueberry muffins for tomorrow morning.
Till later!

Friday

November 19, 1951 - My Feelings on Feminism

To start out I don't want anyone to think that I am against equality. I believe that all men and women should be respected equally. However, having said that, men and women are not the same. There are things that women can do and women are good at that men just can and are not. In the same thought the same is true of men.
I would love to know when it became wrong to want to be a woman and do womanly things. I think that the feminist movement, while doing a lot of good through the years did quite a bit of bad as well. It gave the impression that there was something wrong with you if you wanted to spend your life cooking, cleaning and taking care of your husband and children. You should want to have a career, be equal in all things to men. Well I think that is one of the reasons that so many of us gals are starting to get together and go back to the old ways of doing things. Just because I don't want to be a big time lawyer or a smart talking business woman, that doesn't mean that I'm an idiot that doesn't know any better. I think that it's quite the opposite. As I mentioned in my last post, there is a very daunting list of skills to do it right. Sure you could do anything halfway and being a housewife isn't really something you can get fired from (unless you count divorce). My mother was somewhat of a feminist partially out of her feelings and partially out of the necessity of being a single mother and that is one of the reasons that I was never taught how to cook or clean or to raise children the way that they should be raised. She never had time because she was always working toward that raise or working extra hours. I was raised by a grandmother that while I wasn't living with her, had too much on her plate to teach me anything properly and while I was living with, her did her best to show me the ways of womanhood.
Society as a whole has made us take practicality out of schooling however. This was one of those things that was started in the 60's/70's and has just got worse over time. My fiance brought up a very good point last night. When did it become more important for our children to know calculus and trigonometry two things you will never need in high school than for them to understand the way that the stock market works or even to manage their own money. (Another subject that I touched on yesterday)
Although there were situations in the past where women were talked down to like they were stupid and men were seen as the master I don't believe that it's as widespread as the media, even back then, would like you to believe. In a personal relationship no one could say that these couples didn't respect each other equally. If they didn't there wouldn't be so many marriages that lasted fifty years. People worked through their problems and you couldn't do that if you didn't respect one another. There shouldn't be anything wrong with a husband that expects dinner to be readied for him by his wife if she stays home. She expects him to go to work everyday and do his job well enough to get paid and not get fired.
This doesn't mean that he can come home and yell at her if his food is not piping hot on the table just the way he likes it. That was wrong then and it's wrong now and I don't think that is how it was. (I've talked to enough women that were wives at this time to know that it's not true.) Husbands can be late at the office sometimes and things can get in the way at home too that keep everything from going off without a hitch.
Feminists (hardcore ones at least) put a picture out there of a women that was beaten down by her husband and society. Granted there was a group of men out there and they still exist, that think women are below them. No amount of protest and bra burning are going to make these men go away. That picture however is false. The only thing it did is scare women away from one of the oldest most endeared professions in the world. It not only hurt men and women alike but it also hurt their children.
Women trying to keep up with men led to a generation of latchkey children that grew up with no skills to lead their daily lives. That led to a generation of irresponsible brats that have a true sense of entitlement to all things of luxury and the cost whether it be monetary or mental, be damned. Why should I feel guilty for wanting to be there for my children and not just for the first six weeks of maternity leave and then back to work while they get stuck with a babysitter, or even worse daycare. I want to be there when they get home from school with a kiss on the forehead and half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. I want to be there when they are arguing with their best friend and need advise. I want to have dinner as a family, at the table, no distractions where we can talk about our day and keep up with life.
I'm not saying that no woman should work. Many women worked back then, but if you were married you didn't often work full time. You worked from home for pin money or you worked part time and were still ready to be a wife when you needed to be.
I'm sure there are many of you that disagree and some that agree. I just needed to get this out of my system because it is one of the main reasons that I started this project in the first place. I want a happy home and I am happy being a girl. I think that we could all learn to be the woman that we were born to be. Whether that be a worker or a stay at home wife.
Till Later!

Thursday

November 18, 1951 - Sewing and Flea Market Finds

I have been thinking a lot about my future in sewing. I have sewn clothes in the past and they always came out looking alright. However, this time I don't want them to just look alright, I want them to look vintage and professional. The other problem is not too many women in the 50's were my size. I have to learn how to grade patterns.
I recently purchased a pattern for a skirt and shirt from the 1980's that happened to be my size. The main reason was for the skirt pattern. This skirt is very reminiscent of the full skirt available to the women of the fifties. The difference is that it has an elastic waist. This was pretty uncommon back then so I will be attempting to transform this into a normal waist skirt. This will undoubtedly be quite a task to undertake. Perhaps not as interesting as future tasks out of my books where I will just be hoping to get the pattern pieces just about right on a piece of paper from the computer screen without any normal pattern to speak of but still a bit of a beginners challenge. I didn't want to consider myself a beginner because I had made clothes before but I also remember that I skipped a lot of steps within each of these patterns. I even made a wedding dress once and it looked beautiful. Not very detailed but beautiful none the less.
I will be making my own wedding dress for next July. This is a project that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. I was hoping to lose a few pounds before I even got started on that project although if I don't by February I'll have to get started at the size I am now and hope that I can take it in if need be.
I found this dress using an image search for 50's inspired wedding dresses and it is perfect for a day Vegas wedding. I love that it's tea length and not gown length which I think is very fifties. I love that it has sleeves which not too many dresses do nowadays and finally I love that it's lacy and fluffy. How cute to take pictures in front of the fountains at the hotel then in this darling number.
There are so many other dresses that I want to make that I had to make a list of what I wanted for my wardrobe out of the book and where I can find the corresponding patterns within the index. If I can figure out how to use these patterns I will have the most complete fifties wardrobe of anyone you have ever seen.
Now as for the flea market. My fiance and I went our separate ways and said that we would meet up in an hour. I found so many things there that I liked but I had to keep in mind that I was there to buy things for him. I found a few nice Christmas gifts for him but best of all I found two new magazines for the collection. One is a 1950 Good Housekeeping supplement home decoration book. The other was a 1959 Better Homes and Gardens from May I believe. I also picked up my very first loaf pan. I'm ecstatic although I wish that I had gotten two of them. They really are a pretty sight. I'm going back this weekend and I'm going to pick up a pie plate next.
There is such an extensive skill set that must be mastered to be a good housewife. I think that many women today just throw themselves in and make a couple of quick and easy meals from a box or a bag, buy clothes at mega-stores and just hope that the furniture fits in the house the right way. I don't really think there are too many professional housewives left out there. I watched a very interesting educational video from 1955 the other day entitled 'Why Study Home Economics?'.
Now I remember taking Home Economics in school and let me tell you we did nothing anywhere near as detailed as they are talking about. I made a pillow, a simple Halloween costume and a hook rug of Tweety and Sylvester. These weren't really getting me ready for the real world.
What they talk about in this video is a set of classes, not just one. They say that you can take cooking classes, sewing classes and real home economics classes where you learn to save and use your money wisely. These classes, since they are diversified, can go much farther into detail. They were saying of the cooking classes that you would learn the various cooking techniques and how to use all sorts of different kitchen tools. The sewing class teaches you not only how to make a few silly projects, but how to build a wardrobe, familiarizes you with different fabric types and how to work with them as well as how to decorate your home with taste and style on a budget. Even the economics classes of today have changed dramatically. Now I can't say from experience since economics was an elective and I elected not to take it but if I am remembering correctly, the class is focused solely on world and federal economics not on your own. Math class in seventh grade touched on personal economics but that was more balancing a check book and interest rates on a savings account.
It was not my intention to go on a diatribe about the way that things are wrong today but my frustration goes through the ceiling when I think that I am in my late twenties and there is such a large amount about home keeping that I don't know. So much that I wish they made classes like these available to women today.
I think if I had the time, money and expertise I would teach classes like this. How to make simple good tasting meals for yourself and your family. How to save a bundle by becoming one with your sewing machine and most importantly a class that I think that most Americans should take. How to live well within your means.
Till Later!

Friday

November 12, 1951 - Savings

I have read other articles over the last few months about savings, but none of them has hit home as hard as the article Saving Sense that was in my Good Housekeeping magazine from last year (Nov. 53'). It explained the way that pre-married women tend to live and I fit right in there with those women. Spending all I have (never spending myself into debt however) and then becoming super thrifty if there is something that I need to save for and going back to my old ways as soon as the thing that I want is mine.
The article tells you all about how saving within your married life has to be different. How even though you have a bit more money from your husbands income you are now saving for two and savings money that isn't yours. They explain how it is important to save every week even if it's only a dollar. Also, that it is a good idea to save not only for the things that you want and need right now, but for the things that you may want or need in the future. Just in case you unexpectedly find yourself in a family way or find that home of your dreams.
Another thing that I noticed from the pages of this article was that getting married in the 50's is just what not what I had thought initially. I was under the preconceived notion thanks to all of the movies and TV shows of the era that when women of the fifties got married they moved right into a house that there husband had bought and was ready for them to move in. It seems however that it was much more realistic than that. People got married and moved into an apartment for five or six years and then bought a house when they found the perfect one. I know that Hubby-to-be and I will be looking for one that is three to four bedrooms (two for kids, one for us and one to house our various collections). This is not going to be a cheap house. I think that saving about $15-$20K first isn't out of the realm of possibility if we set a budget and stick to it like glue.
This Sunday is the first day that we have off together in the better part of a month and I am looking forward to a trip to the flea market for a)Christmas Shopping for one another. (We are both into vintage stuff. I can't remember the last Christmas where we both got nothing but brand new things.) b) I can try to find a few more fifties collectibles for my home. I'm trying to make it more and more authentic. Now is the time to decide on a color scheme for the house and since we said we would go with navy and pastels for the living room I think that I wan pull off maybe a light blue and yellow for the kitchen.
I'm very tired of my home looking like a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs from families. I want something that looks designer and beautiful. Something that matches and makes you happy and proud to invite people into. My apartment as it is now, I never have guests. The place is just too small and there are just too many things cluttering it up.
Onto the cooking front. I have been experimenting with a lot of new recipes lately. In fact just the other day I made a crab stuffed chicken breast that came out better than you could have imagined. I also made chicken and rice that is going to be had for dinner tonight and I will freeze the leftovers.
This afternoon will be spent baking off the pumpkin that we bought about two weeks ago for Halloween and never carved. It was a pie pumpkin anyway so it should be good. We will be using it to make pumpkin custard chocolates. I couldn't be more pleased with the idea. I'm never really able to take anything with me for Christmas dinner through the years. This year however I will be taking several different cookies and perhaps two or three kinds of candy. I would like to cook a dozen other things but you don't want to offend your host and make them think that you don't like their food by bringing a large amount of your own.
As a side note I had a very disappointing moment yesterday when I was informed that the dinner play that we had been trying to get tickets to had been sold out. We had called the Playhouse on at least six different occasions and no one ever answered the phone. We left messages both on the computer and on the telephone and no one ever got back to us. There was no other day that we could go. Instead we are planning a day trip to the nearby town of Jim Thorpe where they do a huge Victorian Christmas to-do every year. I will be much happier spending my day here where people act professionally.
Till later!

Wednesday

November 10, 1951 - New Ideas

I got a pretty swell idea yesterday that no one in the past has seemed to mention on any of the sewing blogs that I have read. Many vintage patterns have to be graded. There really are no two ways about it. No two people are shaped alike so they must change the sizing whether it be to adjust the size in general like I must do, or adjust the bust-line or the length for petite or tall people. This leads me in the direction of thinking that there are a lot of extra expenses to sewing if you want to do it right.
You need to trace the original pattern using tracing paper, cut it apart to fit the adjustments that are necessary and then take those adjustments and tape them onto a butcher paper or the like and cut out the pattern that you are going to use. My idea is why don't you cut down one of the expenses drastically and use wrapping paper instead of butcher paper. It's much easier to pin to your material and if you stock up right after Christmas, it's the cheapest form of paper that you can buy. Just an idea.
I know that I haven't written in a while but I have been very busy starting the Christmas season. Deciding on cookie recipes, figuring out if I can make an outfit by hand in time for the holiday. That is my goal. I would love to be able to have a beautiful dress for Christmas Eve when the whole family gets together to open their gifts and we eat a big fish dinner.
This is the pattern that I would like to use for the Christmas dress I am a big fan of where the buttons lay, although I like the collar in the second picture much better. Those high collar tend to look a little funny on people. Even on Lucy Ricardo. However chances are I would never be able to get a project that big done in a month with all of the other projects that I have planned for Christmas.
This coming Sunday will be the first day that my fiance and I will have off together in a little over a month. We have both been working really hard to save up for all of our Christmas plans. Ideally I would like to have an outfit for every day next December.
However, today will be a cooking day. I have a bunch to make. For starters I will be making banana nut muffins, chicken and rice (Grandma's Recipe) and braised cabbage with granny smith apple. That is a recipe that I got off of another 50's blog. I also received another recipe that I simply cannot wait to try for a cake. I don't often have reasons to make cakes. It is for a chocolate layer cake with strawberry pie filling. They just had regular old really sugary icing on top of it but I think that I would like to go with something a little more subtle. Maybe a coconut icing.
I received my first pattern in the mail yesterday. Although it's not authentically 50's with a bit of tweaking I believe that I can have a gorgeous skirt and Capri pants pattern out of it. It's copyrighted to the 80's but it you look at the eighties in general there was a decided 50's flare to a lot of the woman's clothing. They simply used louder fabric to make the design of that decade. My sewing adventures will begin shortly. I am Looking forward to this very much. Wish me luck.

Till Later!