Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Trios

They are a blast from the past.  Pyrex bowls and those mushroom canisters.  It's strange for me to grasp that these are collectible again.  I found both sets in perfect condition while thrifting the other day.
I disliked (trying not to say "hated") those canisters - my mother had them when I was a teenager.  My  parents seemed to buy a lot of their home furnishings from Sears.  This was the Sears "Merry Mushroom" line.  My mom still uses her "Merry Mushroom" pans which are a lovely harvest gold.
Pyrex is again drawing attention.  This is a set of mixing bowls in the Butterprint pattern.  From Country Home Magazine: "Ubiquitous in the 1950s and 1960s, vintage Pyrex mixing bowls, refrigerator sets, and casserole dishes are seeing a huge surge in popularity since they’re inexpensive, durable, easy-to-find, and retro-mod."  Pyrex is so hot as a collectible, it has even spawned a blog called, "Pyrex Love."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Design is Always Classic

After Keaton's band concert last night I ended up in my sewing room pulling fabric off of shelves and dreaming up pillow ideas.  It was fun, but I stayed up too late and at one point one of my shelf brackets pulled out of the wall from the weight of the fabric and I was stranded there not wanting to wake anyone up by a falling board so I was holding the board up with one hand and pulling fabric off of it with the other.  (By the way, Larry if you're reading my blog - add that to your fixit list.)

Anyway, I lost track of time as I began to uncover fabrics that I didn't even remember having.  What was really interesting was realizing how my tastes have changed with the trends.  How does that happen?  I still love my old favorites, but the fabrics that are drawing my eye the most these days were my least favorites 20 years ago when I had my business - Vintage Generations.  It's like a new car that looks so cool at first, but slowly as we are introduced to new shapes, lines and colors, what was once the latest thing eventually looks out dated.  Maybe "out dated" isn't the best word to use when describing vintage fabric because they're all "out dated" so to speak.  Oh well, what am I trying to say?  Eventually, everything old is new again.  And good design is always classic.  And tastes change.

Twenty years ago I couldn't get enough big, romantic floral barkcloth and cottons like these from my collection:
I also have hoards of fruit fabrics like this:
I still love those fabrics.  The florals represent my love of the shabby chic roses of the 40s and the fruit shows my love of all things bright, charming and 50s.  But these days my eye is drawn to the following vintage fabrics from my collection:
I used to really dislike this one - not enough flowers.
Ditto.  (no flowers)  Love it now.
This one has flowers, but wasn't cabbage rose-ish enough.  
Now I like the bright sort of paisley swirls.
This barkcloth - so atomic - gold highlights and all.
I really love this one now - so mod.
I used to strongly dislike this fabric - but now I actually like the simplicity of the calligraphic line.  Each of those medallions is about 12" long.  (I know it's hard to tell size by a photo.)
Or how about this one?  Love it now.  20 years ago?  Not so much.
I have a small stash of VERY 60s flower power fabric.  This is one that I have at least five yards of.  To show you the size of those flowers, check out my computer mouse in the upper left.  Very graphic.

So, what do you think of my fabric?  Where do your tastes fall these days?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Generation Gap

Wouldn't you think...
...if my husband's parents looked like this...
...and my parents looked like this...

...Larry and I would have more style?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cookie of the Month - Chocolate Cream Filled Shortbread

These tasty shortbread cookies were supposed to be heart shaped for Valentine's Day, but the Scholarship Auction Cookie of the Month winners were in Mexico, so the cookies came after Valentine's Day and they were round.
To keep them from looking too boring, I stamped them.  I thought since the recipe did not call for baking soda or eggs, the cookies wouldn't rise and the imprint would remain sharp and intact through baking.  This was true for the most part, but they did puff up a little.

Here are your ingredients for the dough:
2 cups butter
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour

For the chocolate filling:
8 oz. heavy cream (whipping cream-unwhipped, of course!)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (about a 12 oz. bag)

Not very complicated.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Put the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and stir in vanilla.
Add flour and mix well to get your shortbread dough.
Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour.
I gathered together some candidates for stamping my cookies.
What to use?
The bottom of a square milk glass bowl was decided upon.
With as little flour as possible, lay out some dough on the counter and roll flat.  I used a cloth covered rolling pin.  I wanted to make my cookies fairly flat because they were going to be sandwich cookies and I didn't want them to be monster thick when all three layers got together.
Using a little more flour, I pressed the bowl into the dough firmly.
Voilá!  Stamped dough!
Using a biscuit cutter, I centered the star pattern and cut out the rounds.
Cookies were then moved to a parchment covered cookie sheet.
Place cookies 1/2 to 1" apart.  Chill for a few minutes more.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and slide cookies, parchment and all off the cookie sheet and onto a table or counter for cooling.
 In a small sauce pan, scald the heavy cream.  Scalding is just barely bringing it to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the bag of chocolate chips.  Let cool.
This will turn into a pasty, yummy, wicked ganache.
Just the right consistency for spreading onto the backside of a cookie.
Press another cookie back to back and you have a sandwich!
A bit fussy, but oh so worth it!  Delicious!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Met an Amazing Man Today

I was very honored today to meet Mr. Nathan Taffel after an assembly at the high school for our freshmen who are wrapping up Holocaust units in their English and History classes.
Mr. Taffel, an 81 year old Holocaust survivor, spoke to an auditorium packed with several hundred spellbound 14 and 15 year olds.  He told the story of his happy family of seven sisters, two brothers and two loving parents and how they were forced to leave their home in Poland, live in the Jewish ghetto and eventually separated from one another as they were murdered or sent to work at concentration camps.  He and his two brothers survived the Holocaust, but his parents and seven sisters did not.  His story was full of pain, but not hatred.  He was kind enough to let the students ask questions following his presentation.  There were many, many questions and the kids would have stayed longer if they could have.  Following the assembly they flocked to meet him, hug him, have their picture taken with him and get his autograph.  It was obviously a very draining experience for him to share his anguishing account, but I am so grateful that he did.  It's important for the story to be told by the people who actually experienced it.  We will only have these witnesses living among us for a short while longer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Stars! I'm in Heaven!

OK, I know I've already mentioned that I love that mid century Atomic era in design, but I swear I ate dinner off these dishes in the 60s.  Maybe not - my mom was more a melamine woman, but these plates just seem to jump out of my memories.  Their design is iconic.
Blue Heaven
and Star Glow.

Both by Royal China of Sebring Ohio.

I have heard they were given out as grocery store premiums.
That would explain why they're so plentiful.
Neither are hard to come by.  Many sellers advertise them as 1950s, but without doing a lot of research, I suspect they're from the 60s.  They are soooooo screamin' early 60s.  I love them.
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