Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kitschmas is Coming!

My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the day after, when I can start decorating my Christmas tree.

When I was a little girl my parents never put the tree up until the day before Christmas and it was only up about a week, in rebellion I now like to get my tree up early and keep it up as long as possible.  In similar rebellion my mom loved a Victorian style Christmas, which is very beautiful, 

but not for me.  I am firmly a fan of atomic style 1950s and 60s mid century Christmas Kitsch.   The faker, pinker, and silverer the better.   

My 1960s silver tree was a bargain purchased on ebay about 10 years ago, but I haven't used it for the past few years as I've bought a real tree.  This year I decided to return to my love of kitschmas and unpack the silver tree.  I'm so glad I did.  

My late mother in law gave me some really adorable 1960s ornaments.  Sadly a bunch of them broke when we moved to our house, but this mushroom guy is still intact.  I love him so much.

These talking Star Trek ornaments are my favorite, so much fun!

I've also got a cute selection of 1950s and 60s cards I display ever year.  Here are a few of them, plus my favorite little elf:

 I've never had much luck finding vintage stuff around me which is why I'm often forced to buy it on Etsy and Ebay where it can be quite pricey.  So I was so excited to find a thrift ware house five minutes from my home, I can't imagine how I never new this place, Thriftique, existed:

 It didn't have the best selection but I did get this cute little squirrel for a dollar:
 and this 1930s photo taken in Devil's Fall, NV.  I love the collars on the women's dresses:

 I'm so excited that now I can visit this place regularly.

Finally, here is my favorite tree decorating tradition. Watching MST3K's Santa Clause Conquers The Martians and listing to Joel and The Bot's sing their Christmas Carol tribute to the movie RoadhouseLet's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is doubtless the time for pie baking

 and no pie is more classically American then pumpkin pie.  Pumpkins are native to North America and they were regularly eaten by Native Americans and eagerly embraced by European settlers.  Recipes for pumpkin pie began appearing in cookbooks in the 1600s.

 Once Thanks Giving became an established  American holidays in the 1800s Pumpkin Pie was firmly established on the menu.

Now, to be perfectly honest Thanks Giving is not my  favorite Holiday, simply because I don't like Turkey at all, I know how un-American of me,  but I do love Pumpkin Pie and I have the absolute best recipe for it, courtesy of epicurious.  In the spirit of thanking all the lovely people who visit my blog and brighten my day here is the best pumpkin pie recipe ever (and its very easy to make too).

Classic Pumpkin Pie

  •  1 frozen pie crust
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend 
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • sweetened whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F.
 Prepare Crust
Line crust with foil, pressing firmly. Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

For filling:
Using whisk, mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.) 

Note: Despite the picture at the top of this post do not even think of serving this pie with Redi Whip it deserves real whipped cream. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Good Vintage Read

When I was younger I subscribed to several mainstream fashionmagazine, and I looked forward to reading the articles and pictures each month, but as my taste shifted more and more to vintage I became bored with the main stream fashion press.   No matter how many articles celebrated personal style in each issue it seemed the message was the same: dress alike and spend a lot of money doing.  Also there is always something wrong with you: either your too fat, too short, or too old, but if you follow a punishing and expensive regime then perhaps you can be fixed.  Gradually I let my subscriptions run out.  I still miss reading magazine though which is why I was so excited to hear about V and Oak magazine.  This magazine focuses on vintage and one of a kind style and I read about it on the wonderful Chronically Vintage blog.  The beautiful Jessica of Chronically Vintage is featured in the magazine and is having a fabulous give away on her blog, a one year subscription to the magazine. I have entered and I suggest anyone else who enjoys vintage does so as well.  Win or Lose I'll be getting a subscription to V and Oak.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Vintage Treasures-Cowichan Sweaters

Even though my favorite vintage eras are undoubtedly the 1920s and 30s, I've always loved the 1950s too.   One 1950s item I've always had a hankering for: a cowichan sweater.   

Image Source
Cowichan sweaters hail from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  The native Cowichan people developed the knitting technique by combining their traditional weaving with European fair-isle knitting techniques that they learned from missionaries.  Cowichan sweaters became a popular tourist item and reahced their zenith during the 1950s and 60s, when they were often knitted far away from Vancouver.  Even Marilyn Monroe posed in a Cowichan sweater:

The sweaters traditionally featured Animal or Native American Motifs, 

Image Source

but as time progressed many other images became popular.  Ice Skaters:

 Square Dancing couples:

 Even Mexican Palm Trees appeared:

 By the late 1970s and early 80s Cowichan sweaters had definitely faded from the fashion scene.   They did resurface in 1998 in the cult Coen Brother's film The Big Leowski. (My husband's favorite film and one of my favorites as well.)
Jeff Bridge's character, The Dude, definitely loved his Cowichan sweater, which he wears pretty much throughout the entire film:

Cowichan sweaters may have lost their main stream fashion status, but their kitschy appeal has insured their popularity with vintage style lovers.  Indeed today the sweaters are quite expensive, selling for as much as 500 dollars!  Since I was not about to pay anywhere near that much for a sweater and as my heart was set on an animal theme, it took me some time to find my sweater.  After being outbid many times on ebay I finally found a sweater in my price range from Sugar Shack Vintage on Etsy.  I'm not sure if it was really knit by the Cowichans, though the label does read made in Canada, but its very warm and cozy.   The perfect thing to wear for walking dogs on a cool fall day:

If you are looking for a Cowichan sweater of your own Etsy and Ebay are probably the best sources.  Experienced knitters can also find vintage patterns for sale on Etsy, Ebay, and ravelry.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Silent Film Sunday-Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box

November 14 was the birthday of the brilliant and beautiful silent film star Louise Brooks.   Here is the trailer from her most famous film, Pandora's Box 1929

Friday, November 15, 2013

Green Wood Cemetary

Last weekend my husband and I visited the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.  This historic cemetery was established in 1838 when Brooklyn was a rural area.  A number of prominent New Yorkers and several veterans of the Civil War are burred there.  In 2006 the cemetery was given national landmark status and while it still has an active burial section many of the visitors are exploring not to visit the grave sites of loved ones but to see the beautiful old monuments.  On the Saturday morning I visited the cemetery was nearly deserted and had a beautiful, and creepy, atmosphere.

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