Monday, May 27, 2013

Why oh why did hats go out of style?

 Just look how lovely this women looked while walking her dog in central park in 1934.

 Now I couldn't pull of the heels or the suit, certainly not for walking my dogs, but thanks to Adeline's Attic on Etsy.   I had a lovely hat to wear during a recent trip to central park.

With Tubby and Ping

With Joyce, Nacho, Weasley, and my husband and you can just glimpse Norbert and Tubby.

 I love how vintage accessories like this hat always put me in a good mood.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Lots of people say that social media such as face book and blogger prevents real human interaction, and while in some ways I understand their point (I'm not a fan of people burying their faces in their phones in social settings), I am also so thankful that social media lets us "meet" people, even if it is only over a computer, that we share common interests with.   The perfect example, the extremely kind dog mom at A Wondeful Dog's Life who shares such wonderful stories about her dogs Bella and Sweet Pea and her dear departed Emma.
Over the weekend Bella and Sweet Pea's mom, who knows how much I like old movies and vintage dresses, came upon the movie Bride of Frankenstein on the TV and seeing the beautiful dress at the start of the movie took the time to share some pictures of the dress and video clip.  I think its so sweet that she thought of me and sent me these pictures.   

Today I wanted to share the pictures she sent to me (the video clip is different then the one she sent as I could not connect properly to that one, I think you will agree with her that the dress is lovely, and there are some dogs walking by in the video clip too!)

Here is a clip from you tube of the prologue to the movie:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Raspberry Tart

Isn't this old picture adorable?  

I love that while the two women pick their fruit their dog waits patiently, below maybe hoping for a taste.

I really loved my taste of this raspberry tart from Joy of Baking.  I love to bake but have a fear of pie crusts and this crust was super easy and even if it didn't look beautiful (thanks to my inept pastry skills) it tasted delicious.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon(2 grams) salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Pate Brisee:In a foodprocessor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary.  Do not process more than about 30 seconds.
Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball,cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour tochill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax. 
Once the pastry has chilled, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into an 11 inch (28 cm) round.To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).  Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper linedbakingsheetand sprinkle the pastry with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Leaving about a 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) border all around, cover the pastry with the raspberries, stem ends down. I like to start at the outside edge and work toward the center of the pastry in concentric circles, making sure the raspberries are placed close together. (If possible, use raspberries that are of uniform size.) Gently fold the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, pleating as necessary, being careful not to squash the raspberries. Brush the edges of the pastry with melted butter, and then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the raspberries and crust.
Bake the tart in a preheated 450 degree F (205 degree C) oven for about20 minutesor until the pastry is golden brown and the raspberries have given off just a little of their juice.  (You want the raspberries to hold their shape and not be mushy.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar. Serve plain or with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes one free form tart.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek Style

When the new Star Trek movie opened on Thursday I was right in line to see it the first day, and I loved it.   Star Trek has always been one of my favorite shows, and the Wrath of Khan is my favorite movie ever.  Star Trek is credited with inspiring thousands of sciencetists and influencing the development of a lot of things including cell phones and lap tops.  I'm not sure if there is any truth to this, or at least the product development part, but I love the show.   On the subject of style Star Trek is a bit iffier, with some people blaming it for the leisure suit trend

and certainly several of the alien races are fond of unflatteringly large shoulder pads

However, the first Star Trek series, had definite, if wacky, style.    Here are a few of the more outrageous get ups.

In defense of my favorite show I cite this quote from the British writer Arnold Bennett: "Good taste is better then bad taste, but bad taste is better then no taste at all."  You certainly can't accuse Star Trek of having no taste at all.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jitterbuggin 40s Jumper and Blouse

I've always admired the pinafore dresses worn by women in the 1940s:

 but since I can barely sew on a button I wasn't going to be able to make my own.  Thanks to Jitterbuggin my pinafore dreams came true and I got this beautiful green one and a lovely feed sack print blouse to match (this is actually my second pinafore and blouse from Jitterbuggin, I'll share pictures of the other outfit another time.)  I'm kind of new to having pictures taken of myself, and I never would have done it in my twenties.   My husband and I started being in pictures because it made it easier for us to photograph our dogs and as I've gotten older I am more comfortable with it.  The nice outfit sure helps!

Kim, who designs for Jitterbuggin, is so nice and helpful.  She helped me choose the right size and when I messed up my check out she helped with that too.  The outfit arrived super quickly and I was able to wear it for  a nice mother's day bike ride in the park with my dog Ping who just turned ten.  She is wearing a dress from pug possesed on Etsy for the occasion.  We had a lovely time.

The brooch I am wearing is from ebay seller lilyashlys she makes really pretty 40s style jewelry for very reasonable prices and it came very quickly too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Old Fashioned Tea Party

Mary Cassat: Five O'Clock Tea

Naturally most people, myself include, associate tea culture with Great Britain but America has a tea culture as well.  In the early days of the republic, due in part to the Boston Tea Party incident, tea drinking was frowned on and coffee was held in more favor, and continues to be to this day.   During the Victorian era tea enjoyed a surge in popularity due to Queen Victoria's love of afternoon tea.   Having afternoon tea was signal of wealth and the upper classes, and middle class strivers, began to enjoy the meal.   Tea parties and tea rooms where particularly popular with women since they were often banned from male dominated dining clubs and restaurants.   The popularity for such places faded as women gained a more influential position in society and the work force and today Afternoon Tea is a fancy occasion meal, rather then a regular occurrence. 

Three Kinds of Tea Sandwiches

 Coronation Chicken Salad

4 split chicken breasts, skin on
olive oil
salt and pepper
small yellow onion, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup curry powder
3 cans apricot halves in juice, drained
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup red wine or white wine or water if you have no wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Major Grey's mango chutney
1 cup mayonnaise
butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried
white or whole wheat sandwich bread for serving

Preheat the oven to 350.  Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 35 minutes until cooked through.  Cool and remove the skin and shred the meat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and saute the onion until soft stir in the curry powder, apricots, tomato paste, wine, bay leaf, and chutney.  Simmer over low heat until nice and thick, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Once cool stir in the chicken and mayonnaise.   Serve on the bread with the lettuce leaves.

Cucumber and Cream Cheese

1 hot house or English cucumber sliced very thin
softened cream cheese
whole wheat bread

Spread the bread with the cream cheese, thinly, and top with the cumber.  Cut off the crusts.

Egg Salad
8 large eggs, hard cooked by placing in a large pot covered in cold water bringing to a rolling boil and setting aside covered and off the heat for 30 minutes.
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 tbsp minced chives
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
white bread

Dice the eggs and gently mix in the mayonnaise, chives, and scallions.  Season with salt and pepper.   Slice the crust off the white bread and spread with the egg salad thinly.

Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes

Make 6 to 12
1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
1 cup heavy cream (reduce to 3/4 cup if you want to make 6 large cakes)
food coloring 

Preheat oven to 400.   Line a cupcake with 12 liners for small cakes or 6 for larger cakes, I made 6 as I couldn't manage to get 12 from the batter.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer to very light and fluffy add the eggs one at a time with 1 tbsp of the flour added with each egg.   Turn of the mixer and using a rubber spatula gently fold in the rest of the flour the baking powder, baking soda, milk and vanilla extract.   Spoon into the liners and bake for 15 minutes.  Cool.

Beat the cream until soft peaks form and color with the food coloring.  Add sugar if you want it sweeter, I like mine unsweetened.   Top the cakes with the cream.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Astaire and Roger's Style

May 10 was Fred Astaire's birthday and I celebrated with an Astaire and Roger's film fest.    Astaire and Rogers with the help of the RKO pictures costume designers Walter Plunkett and Bernard Newman wore some of the best fashions of the 1930s. A lot of the better known costumes are the evening dresses and famous top hat and tails but I like the more casual day wear. My picks for best outfits:

Flying Down to Rio 1933

I love the square details on this dress Roger's wore as Honey Hale  
Top Hat, 1935

Top Hat is known for Ginger's famous feather gown, but I like Helen Broderick's knit separates the best

Follow the Fleet 1936

In Follow the Fleet Fred and Ginger are more every day people.   I think this film has my favorite costumes in the series.                




Swing Time, 1936

Another Fred and Ginger as regular people film I love Ginger's every day dress

Doesn't Fred look cute in this bowler hat

Carefree, 1938

By Carefree you can see the beginning of a 40s style in the dresses            

Now if only they made clothes like that today!

The Old Fashioned Way

I am starting this blog as an outlet for my insatiable passion for old things.   I already have a dog blog, Urban Hounds, where I write about my five wonderful dogs and 3 cute cats, and my amazing husband.   I have written a bit about vintage on there too, but I have found myself wanting to write about it more and dogs and vintage don't necessarily go together, hence the reason I am starting this blog.  I don't expect anyone to read it, but I love blogging and as I tend to do most of my blog post writing late Saturday night I think I can keep up my life's obligations and have this creative outlet.  

I've always loved vintage style ever since I was a little girl watching TCM and AMC in the afternoons and I've had smatterings of vintage and old style clothing in my closet.  Most modern clothing, furniture, and decoration has never appealed to me.  When I turned 35 in March I realized I wasn't getting any younger and decided to start dressing more regularly, in vintage and vintage reproductions.  You only live once after all.  I firmly believe people should dress, and live,  to please themselves and not worry what others think, and for me that means old style clothing, though I certainly don't dress vintage every day.  I am by no means a vintage expert, can't do vintage style hair yet (no ability for hair styling), and most of my clothes at the present time are reproductions or modern style.  

My favorite eras are the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.  I love the look of the independent women of these eras: the rebellious flappers, the glamorous 30s ladies, the tough women of the depression, and the strong land girls and Rosie the Riveter types.   I like the 1950s too, but am less interested in the house wife look.   I am at the start of building my vintage wardrobe so it will be a long process for me.  I also don't follow a vintage life style and am not one of those people who wants to go back in time, I'm very happy to live a modern free life style but I want to wear retro clothes while I am at it!  

A poster from the 1934 WC Fields film that inspired the title of this blog

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