January 31, 1952 - What a Long Week!

I must admit the stress of the past week has gotten to me a bit. The snow is giving me a touch of cabin fever and I have been a little lax in my housekeeping and projects as well. I'm not making excuses I just don't know how else to explain my lack of posting in the last nearly week.
To go along with the project I recently cut my hair. I have gotten a whole lot of compliments on the way that it looks now. I even had people saying "Wow you look like a 50's movie star." Now I must say that's not exactly what I was going for, I wanted more of a 50's housewife but I'll take the compliment of glamour girl any day of the week. Someday soon I will post pictures of the new hair. However, I'm not crazy about putting my face out there for everyone to see. There is just way too much information on the internet these days with facebook, myspace and all of those other social networking sights. Do you remember the short time ago when people were afraid even to e-mail people that they don't know. Now we are willing to put our phone and address and birth date, which is many times your security question, right out there for everyone to see.
Back to the good stuff before I get off on some evil tangent about how social networking can be evil. I'm going to be starting to read a new book soon that I got at the local market called Nurse Ellen. It was written in the early 50's and is one of those thirty-five cent grocery store romance books. I wonder how many housewives sat down with their tea in the afternoon and read a couple chapters from a number just like this. Was it seen as improper so that only the trashiest of woman bought them. Or is it something that was snuck around and hid behind the flour so that no one would find it and figure out that the little housewife liked some steam in her rice and her reading.
The author is a woman named Peggy Dern that wrote many books in this genre throughout the 50's and 60's almost exclusively about nurses. I suppose the whole doctor/nurse thing sold back then. What am I thinking, it sells now!
I'm off to go make breakfast, french toast I think.
Till later!


January 24, 1952 - The Kitchen Nook

Last night was a new recipe night. I decided to try and make something called fish dinner. There were quite a few ingredients and a fair amount of cutting. I must admit that this is not something that I'm going to make again or for that matter give the recipe to because I wouldn't recommend it. Let me just put it to you this way, olives, cheese, fish, almonds and potatoes just don't seem to go that well together. The almonds have nearly no taste at all, they simply add an odd texture where the olives make the whole dish seem like it's gone sour. I might make it again someday without those two ingredients but I'm not sure. I think next I'm going to try to make a caramel peach strawberry shortcake.
(Picture on the left is the fish, almond, cheese and olives layer of the casserole and the one on the right is of the finished and plated product.)
Till Later!


January 24, 1952 - Christmas Again? Really? ? ?

Ok, I know that's what everyone will be thinking after I tell them about my newest project. Since I'm a little short on extra money before payday I decided to do something with the material that I already own (which isn't much, I like patterns but don't buy much material to go with it). When I went out and bought the material for my New Years Day Skirt I also bought some for a Christmas Skirt. The initial idea was going to be for a green velvet/plush skirt and frilly blouse (a la Ellen Griswold in Christmas Vacation). Then I thought that maybe I would tweak it a little to make it a tad more fifties, a little less cleavage for example.
I only have three yards of this fabric but I'm hoping since I only need about 2 and a quarter that I can make a caplet to go along with it. Perhaps even with a white furry edging that will make it a real Christmas treat. It probably is the softest fabric I've ever worked with and is going to have a lovely weighted drape. I am looking very forward to this project, not too much of a challenge but an end result that will be so pretty. I was going to wait until about October for this one but I wanted to feel like I was getting something accomplished.
Now as for the pattern. I think that I might just either self draft this one or use the same one I did last time but add about another six inches to the bottom and make two big and two small pleats instead of pin-tucking the entire (wrong side) of the waist line.
I'm also looking for ideas for a Valentines Day outfit a skirt and blouse would be easier but I think I may try my hand at this little number. Wouldn't this be cute with a red base and the outlines in a powder pink. How adorable! However, I am open to suggestions if anyone has a favorite pattern that they think would be beautiful in Valentines colors. I have to decide by next Sunday's trip to the fabric store.
Till Later!


January 21, 1952 - Sewing Circle, Recipe Club or Just a Woman's Club

Over the last 6 months or so (since the idea came to me to try out this little project), I have been introduced through this world wide internet to so many talented and like-minded women. It make me wonder if there were any that actually lived in my own community. This is something that has crossed my mind before. The only problem is that there is really no way of knowing myself.
We have become so disconnected as a community that a) nobody leaved there house anymore after dark unless you are up to no good and b) people have become so judgmental and narcissistic that there is a very valid fear that you would spend quite a bit of your time being mocked. So in exchange people find themselves hiding their interests such as this like they would hide a crazy sexual fetish.
I have seen in the newspaper that there are still a few booster clubs and the like out there but they are nothing but elderly woman and if I have learned anything about senior citizens is they don't like to share with the younger generation. I also can't imagine being the only person in their 20's in a room full of women in their 70s and 80's.
I have very modest interests. Why can't we have a woman's club that met maybe once or twice a month and shared sewing tips, recipes and/or helped with charities. I mean I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there that want to get involved and are like me and just don't have an outlet for it.

Last night I tried a new recipe that my future grandmother-in-law gave me. I kept the original card she gave it to me on because it really is a priceless piece of 50's memorabilia. The card is from her original set bought right after she and her husband got married, so around 1958. It was for something called:
Impossible Cheeseburger Pie
serves 6-8
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheese (whatever suits your tastes on a burger I use cheddar or mozzarella)

1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Bisquick
3 eggs

Brown ground beef in saucepan. Mix in chopped onions and put in a pie plate, sprinkle with shredded cheese. In a medium bowl, mix milk, Bisquick and eggs. Pour mixture over meat mixture. Bake for 30 mins at 400 degrees.

The only thing that I changed about this recipe is I added bacon that I fried up with the hamburger. Don't so this if your trying to save on calories, it won't do the trick and honestly didn't add too much to the dish. This tasted so good that I will be making it again for hubby-to-be on Saturday evening.
As all of you east coasters know it snowed here again last night. I know that we are above average for snowfall for this time of year. We didn't really get any snow last year until February. I only know that because they called me and told me to stay home from work twice and we get the reports of what days that happened on and mine were both in late February. It hasn't happened yet this year but I can see it coming.
I hope everyone has a good and safe day, I have to get off of here before I spend the whole morning typing.
Till Later!


January 20, 1952 - What to Do With the Atom Bomb

My research has taken my in the direction of the cold war with the Soviet Union and the threat of the Atom bomb attack. One of the articles that I read was written by a woman that survived being bombed out of two houses during the Blitz on London that occured between September 7, 1940 and May 10, 1941.
The pile of rubble that was London left nearly half of it's citizens dead. Being a bit of an England loving person, I believe that in my younger years I would have followed this just as closely as I would follow an attack on my own country and to this day reading about it brings a tear to my eye.
To get back on task. This woman lived through all of it and although this wasn't an atomic blast the lessons that she learned are interesting ones to be headed. For instance she told of the well known advice to shut off your utilities. She mentions that this does far more harm than good. Imagine if we all shut off our water at the same time. All of the pressure that would build up in the pipes would be quite intense more often than not causing massive blowouts in the water mains. If this happens there will be no water for the firemen and soldiers to put out the fires caused by the blast and whole cities would go up in flames. Not to mention that during this you would be shutting the gas off too. Imagine all of the fires and the explosions from busted gas lines causing more fires with no water to put them out with because it's all just rushing out onto the street where the main broke, possibly miles away from the fires.
She says that you should leave it up to the utility companies themselves to shut off the source to avoid these problems. They have the technology to be able to route it where it needs to go and stop it where it needs to be stopped.
In the past few months I have watched many Atomic Bomb educational videos and have learned quite a bit about what they thought was the right thing to do. Although our knowledge now of it not as much being the blast itself that is harmful (although it very much is), but the fallout of radiation that really harms. Wearing a helmet or ducking under your desk really isn't going to do much when it really hits the fan.
The worries then are still the worries now. There are many not so mentally stable people that have their finger on the big red button in countries that are not that fond of America. The difference is that as with most things our country has gotten a very boy who cried wolf mentality. We have heard of these threats so many times that no one really takes it seriously. You don't really see too many signs for a fallout shelter anymore. There is one on the town hall of a town close to me but other than that, who still has one in their backyard. The threat is still very real and with the technologies of today may be twice as devastating as Nagasaki. Not that I'm saying this is ever going to happen in our lifetimes or that of our children or even our children's children, but why did people stop worrying?
I also wonder how many people really thought this was going to happen.


January 19, 1952 - A Lazy Day: What a Headache!

I started out the day with such high hopes of getting so many things done. I thought that I would get some research done first thing. Reorganize all of my cookbooks and get down to the real work in picking out what recipes are going to go into the index file. Unfortunately the day, yet again, seems to have gotten away with me. I thought way back at about 11 this morning that I would just sit down for a moment and finish an article that I had started a couple of days ago. It was all about a comedian that was not what everyone thought he was.
This was a very interesting article written in the first person by a man that worked with this comedian as his head writer. What I only realized after I had finished reading this in it's entirety that it was a fictional novella. This has not happened to me often. Most times you know it is a work of fiction way ahead of the time. It was shortly after this that I came down with a very bad headache. One that doesn't seem to want to go away no matter how much aspirin that I take.
I spent much of the rest of the day laid out on the couch resting and trying to make the pain stop. I also thought about what new frocks I can make for the spring season that is just around the corner.
I realized that there are not many events that I attend that would call for one of my real beauties that I have collected. I also have to focus on my wedding gown soon. The wedding gown is the picture on the right. I have searched and searched for this pattern and I don't know if I'm ever going to find it.
As for the cooking front, thanks to my headache I have decided that standing in front of the stove is just simply not going to happen this evening and so instead it is going to be a leftover kind of night.
If you read my blog from end to end it almost sounds as though I never cook but you can trust that I do more often than not. Just this weekend I made an amazing wine and cheese sausage with roasted potatoes and Brussel Sprouts one day and steak the next. I have been trying to stay away from desserts lately but there is a nice bowl of Jello chilling away in my fridge. Tonight will be leftover lasagna from Christmas. Wish me luck on getting rid of this blasted headache.
Till Later!


January 14, 1952 - Case For Optimism

I read an article yesterday in my January 1952 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. I came to a startling realization while reading it. With the exception of the Atom bomb they had the same pessimistic ideas in 1952 as they do now. they whined about inflation saying that you got a raise but what difference did it make the cost of everything else went up right along with it. That same thing is true today but really the same is true now as it was then. There is nothing you can do about it.
The threat of a deep recession and depression was looming over the heads of millions as World War two ended. They feared that they wouldn't have the jobs to give the soldiers when they came home. However, they had jobs in spades for them especially when women began again to leave the workforce to become mothers and wives to the men that came home. As you can tell their recession never came.
As I mentioned in my previous post. The cancer rates had dramatically risen in the few years leading up to 1952 and this was explained by the fact that they now had so many cures for diseases that killed just a few years earlier, such as polio, tuberculosis and typhoid. Car accident deaths had even dropped dramatically in the past few years.
Another thing that I found fascinating is the deodorant advertisements. My first reaction was oh wow, how disgusting. The thought of having to smear yourself with cream under your arms. Then I started to think that it isn't very different from what we do now. The major difference is we don't have to use our fingers any longer and they don't come in the same attractive containers that they used to.
They also had pills that you could take like a vitamin that would have you smelling fresh as a daisy from all over, from your breath, to any other odor you could think of. Apparently they used the same thing that gives plants their green coloring, chlorophyll. I wonder why this stuff isn't available anymore. Even more important, I wonder if it ever turned anyone green. That might have been interesting to see.
On a final note for this week, because I know I won't be able to post for the next couple of days. I really thought that I was going into this with all of the glitches figured out. I thought that I was going to have all of the answers and be able to forget the modern world going on around me. Even maybe drop all of my bad habits that I had acquired over my life just by flipping a switch. I was very wrong. This is going to be a continual learning and reshaping process that will probably take years to develop.
In another article in the same magazine they mentioned that Benjamin Franklin made a list of his 8 biggest faults and proceeded to spend 13 weeks on each fault repairing them so that after 2 years he will have gotten rid of all of his bad habits. I don't know if he ever succeeded but I think its worth a shot. However I think that maybe I will take them each on for a month. If I haven't changed my habits by then I don't think that they are going to get fixed.
My first few are the biggest. Starting with time management, organization, eating habits and procrastination. So here we go into the new year with a new me and a new decade to explore and I hope you will all join me on the ride of my life.
Till Later!


January 13, 1952 - Cancer in the 1950's

It is an unfortunate fact that cancer has played a large role in my life for the past ten years. In 2000, my Grandfather passed away from liver cancer and my life changed forever. He was the only father that I had ever known and it felt like my world was just falling apart. My Aunt is currently going through treatment for her fourth bout with the deadly disease and we recently found out that my fiances grandfather, who for the past eight years has been like a grandfather to me, has been stricken with pancreatic cancer.
All of this information has prompted me into looking up information on cancer rates in the 1950's. It seems like nowadays I don't know a person that hasn't had a family member that had cancer. I wondered if it was the same back then.
It turns out that the mid1950's started to see a dramatic rise in cancer rates with average 450,000 new cases reported each year. One of the first things that was blamed was cigarettes. Smoking was very popular as a social behavior. This was nothing new though. People had been smoking for centuries before this so why is it causing more problems as time moves along. Well the answer to that is additives. To stretch out their dollar companies put dozens of additives and tar to cigarettes to make them not only cheaper to make but more addictive to the consumer.
My question is why do so many people smoke when they have every ounce of proof and knowledge in front of them that this is a deadly act that will kill them. Even the companies that make the things admit that they are deadly. Why is this legal and marijuana not. Not that I would ever advocate any kind of drug but statistically speaking, it's less addictive and has some proven health benefits instead of the other way around.
Studies showed that in 1958 one woman in four under the age of thirty-five were likely to get cancer, and of those women one in eight would die from it. I think those odds might actually be much higher now.
I was even looking at some of the treatments that were used and it turns out that they used surgery and radiation just as they use today. As well as, believe it or not mustard gas, well a form of it anyway. They used nitrogen mustard analogs to treat lymphomas after seaman were exposed to mustard gas due to an an explosion in the harbor of Bari, Italy during World War II.
This is one of the most depressing subjects that I've ever looked up, however it was very informative. Although I can't wait to get back to my joyful posts about sewing and pies.
Till Later!


January 12, 1952 - Let It Snow

What a beautiful morning. They have been calling for a terrible storm to hit my area here up on the east coast for a few days now. It is finally here and after all these years I am still in awe at how beautiful freshly fallen snow can be.
I am lucky enough to live in a valley with lovely views from my apartment windows of the mountains. I wouldn't trade this view for any sun soaked beach that the world had to offer. Don't get me wrong, I don't really like the cold all that much and I do bundle up well if I am going to be leaving the house but the view is still worth it.
Speaking of which I was wishing and hoping that I wouldn't have to leave the house this morning. You see when the snow gets too bad they call us all and tell us that they are not opening my department and that we should all stay home. However, the roads seem clear enough so I don't think that is going to happen.
Now onto more date oriented things. I have a couple of hours before I have to leave the house so I'm going to be trying to get a little sewing done before I head out. After the disaster of my last project I thought that maybe the best thing to do was to get right back in the saddle. I still need that new wardrobe.
I have looked at some other blogs where girls just ran out and got all antique clothing, but unfortunately for me that is not an option. I need to make my own things.
I'm not at the point yet where I have mass amounts of talent either. I look at some of the outfits on sew retro and pray that someday I will be able to do some of these things. I have a pattern for a dress that I mentioned earlier that I am determined to make for the fourth of July. It will be red white and blue with a silver rose on the belt if all goes well.
There is also still the subject of my wedding dress. I have had feelers out on EBay looking for my Simplicity 1120 circa 1955. So far I have had no luck.
Also on the sewing front I am finally in possession of a blouse pattern in my size. I think that I can take this pattern and tweak it enough times to make a mini-wardrobe worth of shirts. However I don't want all of my shirts to look about the same. That would be pretty dull.
By the way I don't know if you noticed, but there is something in one of my amazing pictures that will throw everything off. The only thing that mars my view is in the last picture above all of the pretty little houses is a bright neon sign for Target. There must be two dozen stores and a full mall up there and none of them damaged my view until one of the evil ones came in.
I'm not really sure why they are held in the same light as some other discount stores. If you go there, the sales people are rude and unhelpful, the quality of the products are sub-par to say the least and the prices are just as high as if you bought most of these things at a regular store.
I'm not going to get too far into a rant because I still have so many things to get done this morning so. . .
Till Later!


January 10, 1952 - Jiffy Fruit Salad

Just thought that I would pop in very quickly today and throw a simple recipe at you before I head out for the day.

Serves 2
1/2 orange, pared
1/2 apple, cored
1 banana
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbs chopped nuts
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs mayonnaise
Lettuce leaves
1 tsp shredded coconut

Dice fruits and combine. Mix sugar nuts and lemon juice with mayonnaise. Add fruits, mixing lightly. Arrange on lettuce leaves and garnish with coconut.
Encyclopedia of Cooking, The Meals-for-Two Cook Book

This sounds pretty yummy. I saw it and thought that the mayonnaise might be a bit much but I haven't had many recipes from the era that weren't really good so I think that I will be giving this one a go this summer. Maybe at a picnic or family bar-b-que.
Till Later!


January 6, 1952 - Another Trip to the Fabric Store

It is with a heavy heart that I say I must start all over with my skirt project. It was a fine little skirt that got a couple of good wears out of it. I only wish that it could have lasted longer. I shall explain the reason for the death of my first project. There is a small thing that I didn't take into account when I thought that it would be a wonderful idea to fix the pleating.
You see I took the waistband off and pulled apart all of the pleats and resewed them all in the front of the skirt. They looked even better than the first time that I had done them. However, when I put the skirt on I noticed a BIG problem. The hem was now WAY off. I looked like I was wearing a skirt with two oddly shaped waves in it. At this point if I re-hemmed it the way that it needed to be it would be just at my knee and no where near the vintage look that I was looking for.
So I put my head down in shame at my sewing foibles and move on. I took the skirt apart, salvaged the zipper and button and decided to use the material to make some doll clothes out of it so that it wasn't a complete loss. Well there is $12 down the tubes.
This is why this weekend I will be making another trip to the fabric store. I have to make sure that I get material that is 60" - 72" and not 45" because I barely pulled this off this time and next time I would like to make it a little longer. I'm also going to look for the colors of the skirts that I have chosen from the book.


January 5, 1952 - A Day Off To Catch Up

I have been so busy over the last month or so that it seems like nothing has gotten done. I haven't ironed, I've only done the laundry that I needed right at that time and I have been reheating a lot of leftovers. Today I am off and plan to catch up on all of those things that I have been putting off.
In honor of the new year I am going to be adding a couple of new features to the blog one being The Kitchen Corner: This will include anything about the kitchen such as new recipes or new collection acquisitions pertaining to the kitchen and the other is going to be called The Movie Goer. I will be attempting to watch a new movie every Tuesday that came out in 1952 and right here I will review it and give my opinions. This is sometimes a dangerous thing.
I'm not quite sure how many people actually read this blog sue to the fact that I have no comments yet but I can't tell you how many blogs that I read without ever leaving a comment so I know you are all out there and I hope that you enjoy what I write and I will continue to do so with delight.
Speaking of new acquisitions on Christmas Day as I was opening my gifts there was a knock on my door. Apparently while I was gone a package arrived for me. Inside this package was a 1952 cosmopolitan magazine. I had been wanting very much to see the similarities and differences between two magazines that I have actually read. (I never really read Good Housekeeping or Better Homes and Gardens before the project began.) Cosmo of the 1950's was a lot more interesting and honestly a lot less about sex. I don't know if you have picked up an issue of Cosmo in the last decade or two but most of the articles center around sex with titles like "How to Please Your Man", "Why Your Big O Doesn't Happen With Him" and "Is It Really Love Or Just Lust".
Articles in this magazine are much more subtle and friendly like the cover story "Can-Opener Cookbook for the harried housewife" and others like "What It Takes To Be Successful" and "Heredity . . . And You". The most titillating love related article is "The Real Reason Men Marry". These differences are one of the main reasons that I became so determined to exit the current world in search of a better one. This ridiculous obsession with sex that our world has is atrocious. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy sex life with your partner so don't start thinking that I am that much of a prude but when you get to the point that certain womens magazines have to be covered at the grocery store like they were playboy you know that something somewhere has gone wrong.
I suppose that I've made my point and can move on now. I should really get to work now. I hope everyone has a pleasant day.
Till Later!


January 3, 1952 - Vintage Sewing Corner: The New Skirt

Let me start out by saying again this was NOT an authentic fifties pattern but a vintage inspired one from the 80's that I tweaked a little to be even more of the era. In fact I think that I can confidently draft my own skirt patterns now without a single worry. I started out doing the simple pinning, cutting and connecting parts. This was easy and took very little time to do. Then I decided to take out what was supposed to be just a simple elastic waist and turn it into a much more vintage one. One that involved some very heavy duty pleating and gathering as well as drafting a waistband and installing a zipper and button closure on what was supposed to be my left side. (I am left handed so this made perfect sense to me.) The finished project took two days, however, to be completely honest I wasn't exactly working on it for hours on end. It probably would have been a four hour project straight through.
Now what I thought would be one of the easiest parts of this project turned out to be by far the hardest. The hemming was a disaster. I thought that this would just be a tuck and sew all the way around the skirt, however, when I tried it on there was a significant difference in the length of the front compared to the back I tried measuring on my own and that didn't work. I tried the whole string on a doorway thing and that didn't work either. Finally I broke down and enlisted hubby to be for help.
What we did is took the dressmakers measuring tape and placed the starting end on the floor. I put the skirt on inside out and as I turned he marked 14" off the floor. This worked like a charm . . . or that is until I put the thing on. Apparently what I had failed to notice is that when I turned it inside out all of my front pleating was now in the back. After all was said and done I had a beautiful, very wearable vintage skirt, that had the pleating backwards and I have to wear the closure on my right instead of my left.
Perhaps one day soon I will rip the top apart and put the pleats where they belong but as I said I am still very much a beginner and I knew mistakes like this were going to be made. All I have to do is learn from them and try not to make the same mistake twice.
Till Later!


January 1, 1952 - Happy New Year!

Happy 1952!!!

Today is the first official day in 1952. I believe that I am prepared enough that this will not be a problem from here on out. I have my January magazines set aside and my schedule for daily life planned out. I even have my first vintage skirt finished. It was so much easier than I thought that it was going to be. If only I had the money that I could make dozens of them right this very minute. I will write about the full adventures of my sewing in the next entry.
It seems like although I thought that I had planned very well for every little circumstance that I am going into this naive and ill-prepared. I just know that everything is going to turn out fine though. Total immersion is the key. I have dozens of hours of television and movies set aside and activities to make it feel more authentic. All I can ask you ladies is to wish me luck on my final seven months as a single woman and my first year as a real fifties woman.
Till later!