May 26, 1952 - Cleaning Up & Clearing Out [Part 2]

This is the second part of the new collection of authentically vintage 50s-late 60's sewing things that I received after my hubby-to-be cleaned out his grandma's basement.

The sew and stitch thing is a needle assortment.  The handle of the marker is made of marble and the handle is painted steel.  Believe it or not what looks like match books are actually hosiery repair kits.  Inside them are a few small colored strings.  A needle and these wooden sticks that look like matches but in fact have a wax like substance on them that stops runs.
Then there are black thread in two sizes.  Would you believe that it's actually a wooden spool, plastic just isn't the same. I always thought that getting a box of 500 pins is pretty good but they actually used to go by weight.  5 lbs of pins goes a long way and they look pristine.  I don't believe that the whole 5 pounds are in there but it's pretty close.
Lastly, are these two Santa patches.  These were shoved in the bottom of the sewing box.  Within the material that I'm going to share over the next couple of days there are more Christmas things, including a half finished stuffed Santa that is most definitely fifties.  Guess what's going on the couch next Christmas.
Till Later!


May 25, 1952 - Cleaning Up & Clearing Out [Part 1]

I could not have been more lucky.  Over the weekend my darling fiance graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors) from college with a degree in Psychology and I couldn't be prouder.  However, I am the one that ended up with a gift.  The day before he was asked by Grandma to clean out the basement and that he should throw away anything that she wouldn't want.
Well within the walls of that basement stood a small treasure of vintage material, yarn and buttons.  There is even a sewing box that is small but circa 1956.  Most of the fabric is just remnants and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with them quite yet, however, even with a vintage dress made of completely new fabric with one embellishment of vintage fabric will make you feel a bit more authentic.
So here is my new collection:

This is only the first part because there is so much to share.  I got materials galore and a 5 lb box of pins.  This is one of the coolest finds that I have ever seen and it was right under my feet for five years.
Till Later!


May 19, 1952 - A Few New Recipes

It has been a little while since I shared any recipes and I thought since I was doing this Good Housekeeping project I would share a couple of the recipes that I have tried so far.  Sorry, I am not very good at remembering to take pictures after or while I am cooking.  I shall try to remember to do so in the future.

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 2
1 1/2 lbs fryer chicken
3 tbs. fat or salad oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/3 cup minced green pepper (I am allergic so I used celery, always great substitute)
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 3/4 cup canned tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup Chianti wine (I used red wine because that's what I had in the house)
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. leaf thyme
Dash cayenne pepper

Clean, wash and dry fryers.  Heat fat in large skillet or dutch oven.  Fry chicken in it until golden brown on all sides.  Add onion, green pepper, and garlic; brown lightly.  Add remaining ingredients; simmer. uncovered, 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Serve with sauce over it with french bread.

Devils Food Cake
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8" x 2" cake pan.  Melt chocolate over hot water; stir in boiling water until smooth.  Cool.  Sift together 3 times, the flour, baking soda, baking powder. and salt.  With back of spoon, work shortening against the sides of the mixing bowl until creamy.  Slowly add sugar, continuing to work until creamy.  Stir in cooled chocolate, then beaten eggs.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk in small amounts, beating well with a spoon after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  Turn into pan; bake in moderate oven of 350F 50-60 minutes or until done.  Cool on wire rack10-15 minutes before removing from pan.

Butter Frosting
1/4 cup butter
Speck of salt
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
About 3 tbs. cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla flavoring

  1. Place butter in medium mixing bowl; let stand to soften  a little.
  2. Add salt; then work with back of wooden spoon, or electric beater at high spead, until light in color, fluffy and creamy.
  3. Gradually stir in about 1/3 confectioners' sugar.  Then add remaining sugar and cream, alternately, while stirring or beatinguntil very smooth.  Add only enough cream to make of spreading consistency.  
  4. When frosting is smooth, add vanilla and spread on cake.
I hope these are some yummy additions to your kitchen artillery.  The Chicken Cacciatore was amazing and is something that I am going to make again and again.  I loved it and made the leftovers as lunch the next day with some noodles.  I was proud of it and still am. The devils food cake, well, how can you make a bad chocolate cake.  However I am going to be putting off the dessert section for a while.  At least until after I get married.  I want to be able to have a really enjoyable time there without having to worry about what I look like so I am going to be watching my fat and calories for the next couple of months very closely.
Till Later!


May 9, 1952 - A Lazy Kind of Night . . . Sort Of

I finished my first day in my new department.  I am now in the prepared foods department which has two major advantages.  First, I now have a constant schedule and days that I can guarantee off.  Second, I no longer have to worry about customers.  I am stationed in a room away from all of them where they can't find me.  I have never said that I was really a social creature and when I am at work people can sometimes get under my skin easily.  This new job is easy and there is really a set list of things that need to get done and we do them.  That's it.
As for the night ahead I believe that I am going to sit down with a few TV shows and perhaps a movie as well as my oven cooked Banquet Fried Chicken TV Dinner.  Banquet didn't hit the shelves until 1955, Swanson's came out this year but they do not sell them anymore.  The only TV Dinners still owned not by Swanson but by it's parent company Pinnacle Foods is Hungry Man.  Because of this information I thought that banquet would just have to do.   However much I am going to try and be a little lazy tonight and enjoy an evening of TV and reading I will likely end up working on my sewing project.  
I would like to get to the sewing stage of this dress by the weekend and that isn't going to happen if I don't finish all of the alterations on the bodice before the weekend.  I will also probably be catching up on some cleaning that got put off this weekend.  I have a few dishes to do that I didn't have time to do this morning after breakfast because I had to leave so early in the morning and I would like to do a little scrubbing in the bathroom.  Time will tell.
I also finally talked myself into buying some good baking cocoa.  This is something that I have put off for a long time since I have been trying not to make too many sweets, seeing as I am on a diet and all but every time I look for some sort of yummy dessert to make with our Sunday dinner I come up dredging the bottom of the list because almost every recipe I can find asks for cocoa.  Time to go.
Till Later!


May 6, 1952 - So Insanely Happy!

I am so excited.  We have finally picked the place for our wedding.  It is less than three months away and just the other night I was trying to think of somewhere that was economical and a place that said "us".  I thought about the baby Phillies Stadium and I thought about a state park nearby and although both are wonderful places my third thought was the one that "took the cake" so to speak. 
There is a local Family Theme Park called Knoebels Grove which both of us have spent so many fun times both as children and as adults.  I zipped them off one of those new fangled e-mails and they got back to me that if we were going to keep it small there will be little or no charge at all to hold the wedding right there in the park.  The details are now in the works and for the first time since he asked me to marry him nearly a year and a half ago I am the excited blushing bride.
This is the first day that I have thought about flowers and who is going to video tape the wedding.  Even who would like to come.  We don't have a lot of money to go around so it will be pretty much everyone pays for themselves if they want to ride, but admission into the park is free so they don't have to ride if they don't want to.  I have even started to wonder if now I should make a pair of white capris with matching lace around the bottom to wear under my dress after the wedding so that I can ride all the rides without fear.  How much fun will this day be now.
I know this pretty much sounds like non-sense right now but I couldn't be more excited and I can't get my mind to slow down enough to write a comprehensible sentence. 
Now if I can just figure out what to do with my hair . . . . .
Till Later!


May 5, 1952 - and the Project Moves Forward

I spent a small portion of the day altering the very large muslin for the bodice of my new spring/summer dress.  It took quite a while to get it all complete.  I think that I have a working bodice piece however now.  Please keep in mind that I am absolutely terrible at remembering to take pictures of my projects.  When I get into sewing and readjusting and the like I really just seem to forget everything else that is going on around me.  So what I did was made the darts about another inch or so in on both sides took the whole thing up about four inches all around and took in the sleeves a bit.  I night have to shorted the sleeves too but I'm not quite sure yet.
I only remembered to take the picture after I had already disassembled the thing so that I can put it on the real material.  If you saw the difference in the size between the pattern that I made and this pattern, wow!  I can't wait to see what the whole things ends up looking like.  I must admit, I never had to make this many adjustments with a normal pattern but to have about 300 vintage patterns for next to nothing I think it's worth the little annoyance.
The other morning before I headed off to work I made what I believe is the sixth recipe from my Good Housekeeping 1949 cookbook.  The are titled tea drops and with good reason.  If they are eaten alone they taste a little on the bland side but eaten along side some coffee or tea they are just a delight.  The only sugar in them is sprinkled on after you are finished putting them on the cookie sheet.
Here is the recipe if you want to give them a try.

1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tbs. granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Work shortening with spoon until creamy; add powdered sugar slowly, continuing to work until light.  Add egg, rind, then flour; mix well.  (I had to add about a tbs of water because it was to crumbly to put in the pan without it.)  Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls, 2" apart, on greased cookie sheets.  Top with granulated sugar.  Bake in moderately hot over or 375 for 12-15 min (I changed it to 10 minutes after the bottoms of my first batch burned), or until done.  Makes about thirty cookies.

A compliment in disguise?  The other day when I was at work one of my managers asked me what I had done over the past couple of days and I told her that the previous night I had drawn out a pattern and cut out a muslin mock-up of a dress bodice and in the morning I baked cookies.  She looked at me as though I were an alien.  This woman is in her mid-forties.  She proceeded to tell me that she would never have the attention to do what it is that I do.  She told me that I was born in the wrong generation.  This I  took as a very big compliment.  I would do nearly anything for people to see me as not from my generation.  The people of my generation are money hungry, wasteful and selfish.  I want to be giving and loving and good at the things that I believe I should be good at.  She then told me how she was living off of steamed vegetables in rice that come in a bag that you throw in the microwave.  I looked it up, each of those bags go for around $2.50.  A bag of frozen vegetables in a non-microwavable bag is $0.99 and a large bag of rice is $0.87.  That's $1.86 and you would get at least two of the microwavable bag portions out of the frozen veggies and four to six out of the rice and all it takes is about a half an hour of your life.  Everyone has a half an hour to spare especially to feed your children something nutritious.
Off I go for another exciting day of cutting up fish, this is my next to last day in this department.  I will be switching starting next week.  I am going to be doing a job now that doesn't require me to have to deal with customers anymore.  Who would pass up a job like that! Especially after the better part of thirteen years behind a register.
Till Later!


May 3, 1952 - I Am The Most Indecisive Person!

I know what I wrote was going to be the pattern that I showed you in the earlier post but, surprise of all surprises I changed my mind again!  I recently got a hold of a Lutterloh pattern set.  It took a little while but I now have the measuring tape to go with it.  Well after I figured out how to use the system exactly I couldn't wait to try one out.
I wanted to go with something simple to start out,  I figured a simple spring/summer house dress was the perfect way to go.  I never made one of these patterns before and I was afraid that it wasn't going to be big enough and didn't want to waste all of my good material so I went and used some lining that I had laying around to make a mock up of the bodice.
So I got some newspaper because I'm not going to spending money on butcher paper before I know this will work for sure.  I took a piece of tracing paper and traced out the pattern pieces.  You then take these pieces and place them in the center of the newspaper.  You use your ruler to match the numbers and lines on the piece of paper to the ruler.  If there is one thing that I would change about this system, it is that if there is a very long stretch between dots that you would have another dot drawn.  There were a couple of times that I had to get hubby-to-be on the floor with me to hold the measuring tape while I drew in a couple of extra dots so I knew where to connect in the right way.
The newspaper patterns came out perfect.  They were wonderful and took almost no time at all.  After how smoothly it went I was tempted to do three or four patterns so that I can do a bunch of projects without having to worry about making anymore.  I decided against it though since I didn't really know if it was going to work yet.
They looked to be what I thought was the right size.  The next day I pulled out some hunter green lining (I look terrible in hunter green, kind of like a marshmallow wrapped in a leaf, so I doubt that I would use it at any point so it made the perfect practice material.)  I cut the pattern out with a little room to spare.  They said in the book that there is no room left for a seem allowance so I tried to make one.  I basted it together so I can see how close it was to my size. 
Well it was WAY OFF!  It's my own fault I knew that I was making it bigger than my size was supposed to be and I left a generous seam allowance too.  I really shouldn't have done that.  I have a whole ton of alterations to make on it.  I have to take it in at least three inches on each side.  I have to shorten the bodice about two or three inches above the dart and I think I'm going to have to widen the neck just a bit.
The other problem is that there are NO instructions at all for these patterns.  It's just like you are given the pattern pieces and a picture of what is supposed to be the way it looks.  You are left to your own devices to figure everything else out on your own.
I'm going to spend this evening trying to fix it because as of right now it looks more like a sleeved cape than a fitted bodice.
I have tomorrow off of work and plan on spending the day working on some sewing projects and maybe making some plans for next week.  My fiance and I have been talking lately about taking an old fashioned vacation where we go see a national park or something like that.  Something where our biggest expense is going to be food and accommodations.  I was really hoping to take a train out but the more I look into that the more that I see that it is pretty much just as expensive to take a plane out.
Some of the places that I have looked at so far are Yosemite and Yellowstone which are both at the other end of the country and Niagara Falls which is much, much closer to us.  This may be possible by train but I'm guessing that it will be more expensive than just going to a national park.  There is always the Adirondacks up in New York but I'm not really sure if they have a whole lot by way of activities.
He told me to start working on a notebook with ideas for local day trips and 3-6 day vacations that we could take not only by ourselves but with our future children.  We are looking to start a family soon after our marriage.  I know that a lot of people want a few years together by themselves before they have children but you have to keep in mind that we have been together for five years by the time we get married and I am no spring chicken and want to have at least two little ones.
I believe that I have prattled on enough for one day.
Till Later!