Sunday, February 27, 2011

How To Make A Cake With A Flat Top

For easier layer cakes, for easier cakes to decorate, a tip on how to pour the batter to make your cake top flatter. (From Modern Woman magazine, volume 17 number 1, 1948.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vintage & Retro Style Crafty Project Ideas

Other crafty DIY projects I've posted elsewhere recently...

Crochet yourself a record album throw pillow.

An idea I had for rescuing those solo gloves and mittens left in the back of the closet.

Using vinyl records to salvage those shabby tidbit trays and plate holders.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Make A Granny Square Bag & Matching Belt

From Learn To Crochet, Coats & Clark book #210, 1971, instructions for making a Granny Motif Bag & Belt (also included, the "Crochet-A-Motif" instructions for making the granny squares and assembling them.

If you're in the US or Canada, you can click the button below to buy it from me; or you can look for one on eBay.

It's A Gamble Being A Housewife

At Dames Of Chance, Shawnee discusses What’s A "Kitty"? Why So Many Of Them?, offering this bit of insight into the lives of wives:

As my grandma told me, years ago housewives would stash bits of cash around the house. Because often the little woman didn’t have access to the bank or was simply given a cash budget to work within, there was the usual cash kept for household expenses (typically kept in a desk drawer in the kitchen or in a coffee can in a cabinet), but housewives also kept secret stashes of other money too..
.After you read about thrift, you might want to check out the reason Shawnee started her blog.

Image via LIFE, 1942.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A-Salt Your Lampshades

An unusual tip for cleaning your lampshades with salt, from Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gelatin Vegetable Salad

This is a true WWII homefront recipe: Gelatin Vegetable Salad. This was the Recipe of the Week in the May 1, 1944 issue of Pathfinder magazine (a weekly published by Farm Journal Inc.), making the most of leftover veggies.  As a girl who still can't choke-down lime J-ELLO with shredded carrots, I'm not even going to try this one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vintage Knitted Pillow Case Design & Pattern

From a 1950s issue of The Work Basket, a Knitted Pillow Slip Design of an old fashioned lady -- her skirt is an open knit and there's her face and bodice along with a floral design to embroider.

Biscuit Tips

Taken from Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948), tips on making biscuits easier.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How To Brighten Your Soiled Glazed Chintz

Tip #477 from 1003 Household Hints & Work Savers is how to keeping chintz from looking chintzy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This vintage Valentine's Day card with a knitting theme features a little girl who's "yarnin" for you.

Image credits: gucciguccicoo.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Extreme Couponing

If you've ever watched the Extreme Couponing special on TLC and been mesmerized, but perhaps a bit too overwhelmed to get the "how to" tips out of it, there's good news: TLC has ordered a 12-episode series.

If you can't wait until spring, when the new episodes are supposed to start, check out this step-by-step extreme couponing guide at BlogHer.

And, for the eternally curious, see what thoughts Super-Coupon Queen Jill Cataldo has on the TLC show.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Make Your Own Dustless Cloth

Clipped from Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948), how to make your own dustless cloth from cheese cloth.  But before you get to the scan...

This reminds me of how shocked I am by all the ads for the disposable dusting cloths. It wasn't that long ago, just the '90s -- the 1990s, we were all up in arms about disposable diapers, straws and their wrappers, wasteful packaging etc.; now here we are, filling our garbage bags and landfills with disposable cloths. And in this economy! Far more practical and green all the way around to use dusting  and cleaning cloths we can reuse.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thrifty Links For Valentine's Day

The Company Store has free Valentine's Day cards to download, print and color.

If your Valentine is a gardener -- or you just love organic, Annie's Homegrown is giving away gardening gloves and seeds with purchase of two items.

Continuing my dedication to posting contests...

Marine Corps Nomads is giving away Roundabouts Cupcake Sleeves.

Coupons and Freebies Mom is giving away a $50 Walmart gift card.

Via A Slip of a Girl, news that a good limerick might win you sexy lingerie from the U.K. Enter here.

Mom Central has a couple of lingerie contests too:
Enter to win a Frederick's of Hollywood gift basket, containing an array of lingerie including a robe, pajama set, corset, and more (valued at $150).

Enter to win a a lingerie set from Le Mystère.

Image credits: Vintage Hallmark lingerie-themed card, scanned from of The Very Best from Hallmark: Greeting Cards Through the Years by Ellen Stern and posted in my Understanding Female Relationships With Greeting Cards post.

Quick, Easy Fruit-Flavored Frosting

Another tip from that 1948 Modern Woman magazine, this one suggesting making fruit-flavored frosting in a pinch using strained canned baby fruit with powdered sugar. I suspect that this could be done with any canned fruit, put in a blender.

Are PBS & NPR Getting Canned?!

OK, normally I completely avoid politics at this blog because I don't want to risk alienating anyone, but I think this is one issue we thrifty people can certainly agree on...

Right now the Republicans, back in charge of the House of Representatives, just released their budget proposal -- and it zeroes out funding for both NPR and PBS.

Completely cuts it out!

You know, the fat-cats can afford their cable, including pay channels; they can afford their Sirius and XM Radios -- the very things many of us have had to cut from our personal budgets during this economy. The rest of us rely on the free quality programming of PBS and NPR.

If you value free television programming, such as Sesame Street and Antiques Roadshow, if you value free radio programs, such as All Things Considered and Marketplace (which isn't just for "the Big Boys"; they focus on thrift too -- like canning food) then I urge you to contact your representatives and to sign the petition against this proposed budget cut.

Photo credit: Angela Kim.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Most Beautiful Cake You Can Make

When I spotted this vintage cake in that vintage Airy Fairy booklet, I fell in love. Such a pretty pastel cake with bunnies and chicks around it! All the decorations are completely edible  (No wasteful decorations!) and easy to make, even for those of us who haven't mastered frosting bags, etc. because the chicks and rabbits are iced cookies!

While the cake shown is an Easter Bunny & Chicken cake, why not use different cookie cutters and icing colors for other occasions? Like pink hearts on a white cake for Valentine's Day? Or make a birthday cake using cookie cutter shapes that fit the personality of the birthday boy or girl? The possibilities are endless -- pretty and delicious too!

This cake is made using the following foundation recipes: Butter Cake, Quick Cooked Icing, Roll Foundation Cookie Dough, and Uncooked Icing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Making The Most Of Your Pickle Juice

More from that 1948 issue of Modern Woman, this time a tip on saving the vinegar from that sweet pickles jar to use for making pickled beets. (Or, I should think, more pickles?)

More Vintage Posts

As many of you know, I have several (too many?) blogs and many of them are vintage focused, so sometimes I'm unsure where to post what... In case you're confused too, here's a bit of what I've been up to, vintage-wise.

I wrote about some interesting history on the economic and social power of housewives at my more feminist/personal blogs.

Other clippings from Modern Woman magazine:

* One on bathing that I posted at the surviving domestic violence group blog I belong to. (That group blog is more self-help than anything else.)

* One on hosiery I shared with lingerie blogger Slip of a Girl, because there's more folks interested in stockings there. *wink*

* One on the supposed history of hankies that I posted at my antiques and vintage collectibles blog, because it's more lore for collectors than practical advice.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Six Vintage Icing & Cake Filling Recipes

From that 1936 Airy Fairy booklet, recipes for icings and fillings for your cakes. The recipes (and variations) are for Quick Cooked Icing, Maple Icing, Carmel Icing, Butter Fondant Icing, Glossy Chocolate Icing, and Uncooked Icing.

In Time For Valentine's Day, A Tip On Keeping Cut Flowers To Last Longer

Another tip from inside Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948).

Iron Deficient & Dislike Spinach?

When I spotted this clipping, presumably from a vintage Brer Rabbit Molasses booklet, at Finley's Good & Bad Taste, I just has to scan this related bit from a 1940s Modern Woman magazine about the virtues of molasses.

This isn't just an old wives' tale; my doctor put me on molasses rather than giving me iron tablets when I was 1 count away from being labeled anemic. He said to make molasses tea by putting one teaspoon of molasses into ht water and drink it at least twice a day; that it would add iron without leading to the constipation that iron tablets do. He was right. And I still drink molasses tea any time I feel fatigued, just in case. Of course, whenever I sneak a cookie made with molasses, I tell myself it's for my health. *wink*

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vintage Foundation Butter Cake Recipes

Another vintage foundation recipe from that 1936 Airy Fairy cake booklet.  The recipes are for loaf and layer cakes. (Yum!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fluffing Chenille

Another tip on keeping chenille fluffy; this one comes from Modern Woman magazine (volume 17 number 1, 1948), where I found this vintage ad for a Lucite tray.

Give Your Mixer A Make-Over

I love vintage mixers. I used to own about a dozen of them, but when we moved I needed to down-size. I was only going to keep one but my son fell in love with its mate, so while I now only have one, two remain in the kitchen.*wink* Anyway, if you love your vintage mixer but feel it could use a bit of a make-over, check out the DIY subway art mixer make-over at A Little Of This, A Little Of That.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Answer To Many Food Problems: Casseroles

From Modern Woman ("A Magazine Published By The Ice Industry," Volume 12 Number 6, 1941), Appetizing Casserole Cookery, by Norma Newton, is about wartime cooking. I've scanned the entire article, along with four of the vintage casserole recipes (Finnan Haddie Vegetable Pie, Steak Meat Pie, Garden Duet Casserole, and Tamale Pie), and posted it below. But I wanted to quote this part because I really like it (even if my kids would disagree!) and think that in these economic times, thinking about rationing is a good idea.

Casserole meals are easy to plan, prepare and serve, besides being easy on the budget -- and the disposition. If you are a woman who must do double duty in serving your family and your country (and who isn't now?) the well-planned casserole is a life saver. Ass a crisp salad and a desert and you've a decent dinner bound to please. You can have the meal ready in a flash if you will prepare it the night before, set it overnight in your ICE Refrigerator, then put it in a hot oven the minute you arrive home. When it is browning you can set the table and have a moment to relax, powder your nose and put on your best smile.

Moreover, casserole meals require little watching. They can have a dignified simplicity or a sublime sophistication. The food may be kept piping hot when the family is unpredictably late, or for the second helping always in demand. This delicious "hotness" is often missing when foods are served the orthodox way.

In fact, there are lots of good reasons for cooking and serving in casseroles, but surely the very best one is that a casserole, when skillfully used, keeps any family from suspecting ow little money is being spent on food. Left-overs, meat substitutes, or sale "specials" can look and taste positively regal when mixed with other ingredients in a delectable casserole combination.

"Left-overs!" -- food too precious to be wasted, but when seasoned with a dash of this, stretched by a cup of that -- presto! the "recalls" can go to the table proudly, without the family suspecting their origin.
The article continues from there to discuss not only using leftovers, the nutritional value of casseroles, and even hints at hiding vegetables "that might not otherwise be so welcome."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Vintage Cake Baking Tips

More from Delicious Cakes for Every Occasion from 6 Foundation Recipes (1932); this time tips on mixing, frosting, serving, cutting and keeping cakes.

The Economy Of Traditional Dressing

More fashion research from Minter, this time on the on increase in the popularity of dresses and ties.

It makes sense that in this bad economy, men and women would be dressing more formally or traditionally for job interviews; but a vintage-lover can hope that this is also a favorable sign for fashion in general.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lettuce Tip

Everyone prefers lettuce leaves to be torn rather than cut or chopped, but sometimes it's hard to get that head of lettuce to open up; here's a tip from the 1940s on just how to get a head of lettuce to more easily give up its leaves.

(Modern Woman magazine.)

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