July 30, 2010

My 1940's Post-War House

I live in a cute little home built in the late 40's (46/47). It was built during the era of war housing, and is basically a square that looks somewhat similar to the many houses around it, although I think that whomever built my house had a bit more money because unlike most war housing that was built quickly to house veterans and their young families, my house has many "upgrades" and cute features that are often missing in houses from this period. I'm going to try to post more on these cute features later.

The other day, a friend came over for a visit and was confused by my lack of doorbell.
While my house is older and not wired for one, I do have a doorbell, in fact, it's one of the coolest doorbells in the world. It's a NuTone mechanical doorbell from the 40's. Look at this baby!

My doorbell (right smack dab in the middle of my front door)

The back of the doorbell (located on the inner side of the door), just in case you were curious...

Isn't it cute? It really loud too, with a two-tone bell. The only problem is that no-one ever seems to notice it (even though its right in the middle of the door, just below eye level). I think only two people have ever figured it out without help. I'm pretty sure thats why the tag says "Turn Handle" rather than having a name label (as it was designed for). I just don't see what's so complicated, it has arrows!

I wonder how common these were though as I haven't seen them on any other houses in the area, although their owners may have just upgraded the electrical to include a regular doorbell.

I really want to take it with me when we eventually sell this house but the next house will probably have a steel door and this was designed for a wood one. Maybe I'll take it anyway...

July 29, 2010

I Love Aprons

I love aprons, there is just so much variety when it comes to them. There are so many types and styles and you can use any fabric you like, no matter how crazy the print is. Aprons are also easy to sew and don't require a lot of fabric (so you can choose expensive ones). I don't think they're that expensive to buy either. For some reason though, it seems like few people have them or use them.

Aprons are great because they protect your clothing, and for some reason it seems impossible for me to cook or bake without getting food on myself. I guess I am a slob or a clutz (sp?). At the moment however, I don't have a single apron in my house, and like I said, I really do need one.

I have some fabric that would be perfect for an apron, or two, or three, but I can't decide on a design. There are just so many pretty patterns out there! I can't even decide on a full apron or a half. On the one hand a full apron is more handy and provides better spill coverage, but the half aprons are usually cuter. I just can't decide.

Last Christmas I made a few aprons as gifts, yet I didn't find the time to make one for myself. I received a few pictures from friends and I figured I would post them.

This one was for a friend that likes to bake and really likes cupcakes (and I love to make appliques):

It's a basic petal pattern, I traced an apron that used to be my grandmothers. I believe it was from the 50's. Which is another good thing about aprons, it's really easy to make your own patterns.

I don't have pictures of all the other ones that I made, I'll try to get some.

July 26, 2010

Esther Williams

Esther Williams is an actress/swimmer starring in films from the late 40's to the early 60's (isn't she lovely?). I actually used to compete in synchronized swimming, which is featured in her films. We never had suits like these (nor those funny swim caps), ours were usually sequin adorned or custom made. If I had seen these back then though, the one piece is definitely something I would have suggested to my coach.

I haven't actually ordered from this site but I love the swimsuits:

The styles are inspired from suits worn by Esther in her films and they seem decently priced (unlike most repro-vintage wear).

I really love the one piece but I already own two and can't seem to justify buying another.

The bikini is also really cute but I'm not sure that my belly is ready for one. I am planning on buying one for next summer. Check out how cute they are:
I like that they are higher cut (it probably would hide my little belly but I'm not sure I want to risk it). I really love halter tops too.

July 25, 2010

Alaskan Cruising

Well, I am back from my trip to Alaska. It was a wonderful cruise from Vancouver up through Tracy's Arm, to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchican.

Cruising really is a great way to travel. Fine dinning, formal nights (there is also a buffet if you don't want to have to dress up on your vacation), many places to lounge (inside and out), pools, hot tubs, spas, a gym, a casino, bars and pubs (each with a different atmosphere, for example on our ship they ranged from a piano bar to poolside bar to a night club, Vegas style shows at night (singers, dancers with sparkly costumes, comedians, magicians), daily activities (yoga, tai chi, dance lessons, trivia, etc.), a movie theatre, shopping, a cafe (with computers and a library), a kids program, cooking classes, what's not to like? I also like that you're one place one day, then you wake up the next morning and you're somewhere new.

Our cruise was what everyone kept referring to as a "classic cruise." I believe they were calling it this because it was very similar to the stereotypical cruises that you see in older movies, very glamorous. The waiters/bar tenders and cabin stewards would remember your name and what your drink preferences (after the first meeting), how do they do that!?! They even had those wooden lounging chairs out on the decks with plaid wool shawls and blankets to use and shuffleboard courts! If you have an abundance of vintage clothing that seems to formal or fussy for regular, everyday wear, a cruise would be a good place to wear it all.

Photo nabbed from CoutureAlure

We went rock climbing, sea kayaking and did some 4x4ing up into the Yukon. We also ate way too much yummy food.

Below is Glacier Bay. I can't get over how blue the ice looks (it looks even more blue up close).

It is so beautiful in Alaska and the Yukon we have decided that we have to go back one day on a camping trip.

July 14, 2010

Old Photo (antique) Effect Link

I found this site that adds an antique effect to photos for free. It's in Japanese but its pretty simple to use (one button to browse, one to convert/add the effect).


Here are a few examples from my own vacation photos:



An old railway route that has been converted into a hiking/bike trail.

This one's of an old car in Cuba.

I realize that this type of thing can be done with many photo editor programs (such as Photoshop), but for those of us who don't own those, this is great.

I can definitely see myself using this to make neat looking prints to frame and decorate with.

July 10, 2010

Mid-Century Menu Contest

I really should have posted this before! No Pattern Required, home of the Mid-Century Menu, is having a contest for the worst mid-century recipes out there (http://www.nopatternrequired.com/?p=8404).

I don't really own any retro cookbooks, however, last year my grandmother gave me a recipe book put together by her retirement home that was made up of old recipes (one of the requirements to submit). Some of them are pretty odd. I sent in two gelatin salad recipes (hopefully they count as I can't prove a date). They definitely deserve reading though, so here they are:

I am not daring enough to test them out. I kind of have an urge to one day try a gelatin sald though, I think I'll start with a fruit based one....

Parachute Patterns & Clothing

I bought this amazing flyer from Past Patterns (http://www.oldpatterns.com/):

(this is only one side of it)

It shows you what patterns can be easily cut from a parachute and advertises the opportunity to buy parachute pieces. The patterns on this appear to be post war. Can you imagine owning a lovely silk parachute blouse?

I really wonder how many people sent away for these parachutes, was it common to find ads like this selling excess parachutes? I also wonder how many women at this time did make clothing out of parachutes, you hear about it all the time, but I've also heard that parachute clothing is hard to find and worth quite a bit.

Anyone out there own a lovely piece made like this?

Guacamole - one of the worlds best dips? I think so

Guacamole is one of my favourite dip recipes; it tastes great with tortilla chips, in tacos and fajitas, with nachos, on taco bakes and stuffed peppers and oh so many other things. My version doesn't use any sour cream or yoghurt, I would call it pretty healthy. Avocado does have quite a bit of fat but it's all "good fat", which can actually help you loose weight.

Guacamole Recipe

2 ripe avocados (slightly soft)

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tsp chilli sauce (depends if you want spicy)

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp lime juice


1. Cut your avocado in half and using a fork scoop out the flesh into a bowl, mash with the fork (mash to your desired chuncky-ness).

2. Chop the tomato, onion and garlic and add to the avocado, mash it a little bit more.

3. Add the chilli sauce, lemon and lime juice and stir. Its as simple as that.
4. Eat with chips, in tacos, by the spoonfull, any other possible way you can think of really.

July 6, 2010

Seamed Stockings

A couple of years ago I came across this site: http://www.mytights.com/

Which sells a wide assortment of stockings, including real seamed stocking and very nice fake ones. I bought some for my wedding (which was 1920s themed). They looked great, and I wear them all the time. I do wish that I could wear them to work though. I'm pretty sure that I would get some odd looks though. Warning: if you do wear seamed stocking, people will notice and comment and ask where you got them.

This is a photo from my wedding (these stockings have a lovely Cuban heel). I think it clearly shows that any woman can look stunning in these retro-look stockings.

Seamed stockings, oh how I adore you.

The first time I wore mine, my grandma told me a story about life during the war and how women would draw the lines down the backs of their legs with a coloured pencils or paint (since stockings were hard to come by), but she was out of luck because every time she tried she would get a rash as she was allergic to the paint. My grandpa told me that he and his friends used stockings as an incentive for attractive women to give them a second date (he was in the RAF); at the end of the first date they would give them one stocking and at the end of the second they would get the other one. I'm not sure that's really a nice story but it's an interesting piece of history.

Whenever I see them I think of the movie "Some like it Hot" and the scene in the train bathroom. Sugar (played by Marilyn Monroe) asks Josephine (Joe dressed in drag) "Are my seams straight?" Such a good movie.

July 5, 2010

Vintage Glasses Gift Certificate

Here's a heads up on another great give away!

Chronically Vintage has a give away for a $75 gift certificate from CollectibleSpectacle’s etsy shop, they sell lovely vintage frame.

You have until July 12th to enter, so head over there quickly! (see link below)

I'm really hoping that I win as I desperately need a new pair of glasses. My last 3 or 4 pairs have been vintage inspired and I think that I may be ready to make the jump to a real vintage pair (I want a pair of cat eye glasses that really stand out - my current ones are black and baby pink with only a slight cat eye). Well, I've got my fingers crossed.

Great Pattern Giveaway from My Happy Sewing Place...

Debi's blog "My Happy Sewing Place..." has reached 100 followers! She is having an amazing give away to mark the event (5 lovely vintage patterns).
Head over to her blog to enter:

You should take a look at the rest of the blog as well, it's one of my favourites (she has great taste and can pull off some amazing pieces of clothing).