Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear readers! Thank you for following and commenting on my humble, little blog — and for sticking around through the "dry spells"! I hope you have a lovely holiday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor

It's hard to believe that 71 years have passed since the United States entered WWII. But I imagine that for those who lived through the war, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor still holds very fresh — and painful — memories. Whether they lost someone in the attack or later on in WWII, this date marks the day that everything changed.

It's hard to write about Pearl Harbor. I don't feel that I have any words to talk about a day that, honestly, I know nothing about, nor could ever imagine. I simply want to take time to remember everyone who was affected that day, to remember the 2,402 Americans who were killed, and the 1,282 that were wounded.

History - in every century,
records an act that lives forevermore.
We'll recall - as in to line we fall,
the thing that happened on Hawaii's shore.

As we go to meet the foe -
As we did the Alamo.

We will always remember -
how they died for liberty,
and go on to victory.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Everyday Vintage #12: Retro Swiss Miss

Spotted at Target, Swiss Miss hot coco is in limited edition packaging featuring their classic graphics! Wouldn't a box make the perfect stocking stuffer for the vintage loving person on your list?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo Friday: Ginger

A lovely, candid shot of Ginger Rogers. What color do you think her dress is? I'm going with deep green.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Photo Friday: Lana

Not only is Lana devastatingly beautiful in her glittering white formal and white fur wrap, but the lighting in the photograph adds to the depth of it, causing you to wonder what story lays behind the picture.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photo Friday: Irene

"I drifted into acting and drifted out. Acting is not everything. Living is."
— Irene Dunne

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Friday: Ahoy, Lana!

Lana Turner is my favorite actress. Aside from acting, I've always felt her look was the quintessential example of 1940's style. She had a multitude of hairstyles, always perfectly coifed — and the perfect lipstick to complete the look.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Questions for my Grandma

Recently I've started sending my Grandma several questions when I write her letters. She's a wonderful Grandma, who humors me by answering all of them! :)

 I thought I would share ones that pertain to WWII and the 1940's with you.

1. Where were you when you found out that WWII had started?
I was working as a nanny in Illinois. It must have been my weekend off as I was in a little church on a Sunday night. I was told about Pearl Harbor.

2. How old were you when the war started?
I was twenty years old.

3. Did you set your hair with pink curls, rag curls, or rollers?
Pin curls and rollers.

4. Did you or any of your sisters work in factories for the war effort?
Yes. My sister and I worked at a glove factory, but we did not make gloves. We sewed the lining inside helmets. When the war ended the factory went back to making gloves.

5. When things were rationed during the war, what did you miss the most?
I think the rationing of sugar was felt most by house holds.

6. What is your best piece of advice?
Be a good listener.

Number 6 doesn't have anything to do with the War, but I thought it was good. ;)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Friday: Ginger & Fred

Ginger and Fred — fabulous.

Ginger knitting — even more fabulous.

Ginger knitting in a stunning formal with perfect pin curls — indescribable fabulousness!

Would anyone happen to know which movie this shot is from?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shop Stop: Custom Return Address Stamps

Custom return address stamps are a great gift for the avid letter writer in your life, newlyweds, or a family gift.

2impress has so many great styles in their shop, but these retro options will really make your envelopes stand out! Make it a gift set by including a stamp pad, stationary, pens, and postage stamps. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo Friday: Lauren Bacall

Loving Lauren Bacall's classic ensemble! Her outfit is so classy and tasteful — yet the zebra top and white pencil skirt add an edgy, femme fatale dynamic.

Miss Bacall celebrated her 88th birthday on September 16th.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shop Stop: Cat Eye Glasses Rubber Stamp

Isn't this cat eye glasses stamp too cute!? Think of all the cute things you could jazz up with it — notecards, gift tags, stationary—even some plain brown shipping paper could be turned into fabulous wrapping paper!

At $6.00, this is a nice find to put in a stocking for the 1950's lover who is also a crafter, or to make your own paper goods stand out!


PoshBinky hand carves their stamps, and shipping is very affordable!

If any of my family is reading this, you now know what to buy for me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo Friday: Irene Dunne

Such a glamorous picture of Irene Dunne! The photographer in me is loving the light-burst radiating perfectly from behind her. There's something so stunning about black & white photos, but I do wonder what colors have been hidden. What color do you think her dress was?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shop Stop: Depression Era Gloves & Scarves Knitting Pattern Book

Christmas is only 83 days away — I know, not the cheeriest thought for some. Anyway, since I'm always on Etsy or Pinterest, I thought I would post some of the things that stand out to give you some ideas for Christmas gifts.....or gifts for yourself, because some things are just that fabulous. ;)

For the knitters and crocheters out there, here is a book of scarf and glove set patterns from the Depression era. Scarves are such a popular homemade gift, but won't your vintage loving friends be surprised when they open up the box to see a reproduction vintage set that you took the time to make?

Iva Rose has many more patterns in her shop. Her books are reproductions, so you don't have to worry about  brittle paper or wear and tear as you take your knitting & pattern with you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Friday: Humphrey & Ava

Humphrey Bogart & Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

From the movie "The Barefoot Contessa (1954)". This is one Humphrey Bogart movie I've yet to see. Have you watched it? What are your thoughts?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo Friday: Bogie Wins his Oscar

Humphrey Bogart win Oscar

Humphrey Bogart making his acceptance speech. He won for his performance in "The African Queen".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye, Ann Rutherford

Yesterday, June 11th, Ann Rutherford passed away at age 94.  It's so sad when we lose a classic star — Ann was one of my favorites. She's known for her roles as "Polly" in the Andy Hardy movies and as Scarlett O'Hara's little sister in Gone With the Wind. However, I found her to be a stunning and wonderful actress in every movie I have seen her in. She's exquisite in Orchestra Wives, and a wonderful side-kick to Lana Turner in Dancing Co-ed. She was a classic beauty and looked effortless on the screen. She retired from films in 1950.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Photo Friday: Betty

Betty Grable

Taken in 1943, Betty auctions off her stockings at a War Loan Drive. I wonder how much money she raised?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vintage Recipe: Brownie Peppermint Pie

Brownie Peppermint Pie

Heat oven to 350 degrees (moderate). Prepare 1 package of our Betty Crocker Brownie Mix and pour into a greased 9'' round layer pan. Bake 10 minutes. While pie is baking, melt 2 sq. unsweetened chocolate (2 oz.) and add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract. Take pie from oven and quickly drizzle chocolate mixture on top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more. When cool, cut in wedges and top with ice cream. 8 to 10 servings.

Taken from Betty Crocker's Guide to Easy Entertaining: How to Have Guests — and Enjoy Them. Published in 1959.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo Friday: Desi, Lucy, & Van

Desi, Lucy, and Van Johnson

Candid photos are so fun! I just adore Lucy's hair color, and that Van Johnson appears to be drinking milk.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vintage Recipe: Lemon Coconut Cake

Lemon Coconut Cake

1/4 cup lemon juice
15-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake (baked as directed on package)
1/2 cup finely chopped coconut, toasted

Add lemon juice slowly to condensed milk. Stir until thickened. Add grated lemon rind. Chill 30 minutes. Cut angel food cake in 3 layers. Spread about 1/3 cup of lemon mixture between each layer. Spread remaining mixture on top and sides. Sprinkle top with coconut.

Taken from Betty Crocker's Guide to Easy Entertaining: How to Have Guests — and Enjoy Them. Published in 1959.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Yard Sale Finds

This past Saturday my Mom and I ran across a yard sale on our way to run errands. Yard sales aren't very common in Baltimore, you might find 3 on a Saturday — if you're lucky — and they usually won't have very good prices or items (at least not for the vintage lover! Mostly children's clothes, toys, As-Seen-On-TV junk that doesn't work, etc).  So when we spotted a sale at this house we were very elated!

We had stopped at this lady's rummage the other year and she had scads of sewing supplies! Her items were clean, super cheap, and extremely organized. She's lovely to talk to — we probably ended up spending most of the time talking more than shopping!

For $6.00, I came away with three zippers, three tape measurers, a gorgeous rhinestone pin, a bundle of safety pins, and a Dritz tracing wheel. This pin was the most expensive item at $3.00. I bought all the tape measurers because I never have one handy when I need one! They seem escape from my knitting bag and sewing box.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Photo Friday: Betty Grable

Betty Grable's Bubbly Drink

Grab a cola, a Betty movie, and have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vintage Recipe: Maggie's Butter-Nut Cake Filling

"Come by for Dessert and Coffee"

Entertaining after dinner is growing fast in popularity. It is an especially pleasant and practical plan for hostesses who hold daytime jobs or have very small children who need to be bathed, fed, and put to sleep in the earlier part of the evening.

It also is the most convenient way to entertain for those living in extremely small quarters, such as a young couple I know.

He is a divinity student. She is working as a secretary until he gets his degree. They have wisely put current comfort second to ambition for their future, and are living in a one-room apartment. It has a tiny range and sink behind a Venetian blind. She is an excellent cook, but obviously cannot ask more than one couple for dinner. There is no place to put used dishes for more.

"But we can take care of ten after dinner — and without the range and sink staring at us," she said. "And we find that many of our friends like the idea of an after-dinner get-together as much as we do. Some with babies like to put them to sleep rather than let a baby-sitter do it, so they much prefer to join us around nine o'clock when everything at home is under control."

This young friend makes a point of choosing a dessert that is dainty in appearance but fairly substantial, such as a warm fruit pie `a la mode, a chiffon cheese cake, or an elaborate layer cake. One with an exceptionally good filling starts with our White Cake Mix and Fluffy White Frosting Mix. She bakes it the night before her party. When the layers are cool she spreads in this filling:

Maggie's Butter-Nut Cake Filling

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. flour, 3 tbsp. orange juice, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/4 cup chopped dates or raisins in saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute. Pour half into 2 egg yolks, beaten, stirring constantly, then stir into filling remaining in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Cool before filling cake. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

She spreads the frosting on in big swirls later in the evening, and is all ready to serve it the following night from he small drop-leaf table flanked by coffee cups, sugar, cream, and an electric percolator — with the Venetian blind firmly lowered in front of her cooking facilities.

Taken from Betty Crocker's Guide to Easy Entertaining: How to Have Guests — and Enjoy Them. Published in 1959.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Photo Friday: Esther Williams & Van Johnson

From the movie "Thrill of Romance (1945)", this photo captivates me for so many reasons:
1. It's Van Johnson.
2. Esther is simply gorgeous: her hair is perfect, her dress stunning, her expression perfect.
3. Van has an Eighth Air Force Patch.
4. All of the above adds up a picture of beautiful 1940s-ness.

Has anyone ever seen this movie? The description from IMDb has me ready to run out and buy it for the weekend!
"A swim teacher and a wealthy businessman are married after a brief courtship. A charming war hero falls in love with this newly-married woman, after her husband abandons her on their honeymoon for the sake of a business meeting."

Monday, April 30, 2012

Vintage Beauty Tips

To celebrate their 75th anniversary, Woman's Day Magazine is putting a list of their best tips from the past 75 years in each issue. This month was beauty tips. Here are the ones from the 1940's

- Avoid frizz: Use only a wide-tooth comb, especially when hair is dry. January 1940

- To prevent ingrown nails, trim toenails straight across, not down into the corners. March 1942

- Apply cream or cleanser by lightly pressing upward — never down. The delicate skin sags easily enough in time. April 1942

- Improve circulation in your legs and lower the risk of unsightly veins by elevating your feet when resting. August 1942

- The fast way to remove nail polish: hold cotton saturated with polish remover firmly on your nail for a few seconds to let it start working, then wipe nail clean. January 1944

- Shape nails with an emery board, filing sides toward center — never straight across — and rounding off edges. April 1944

- When applying "liquid stockings" [or today's self-tanner], don't forget the back of your knees, which are often missed. July 1945

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

The lovely Veronica Lake — she was famous for her femme fatale roles in the 1940s, especially her films with Alan Ladd. Sadly, three of her four marriages ended in divorce, and after the decline of her career, she struggled with alcoholism.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Everyday Vintage #11: QVC's Titanic Collection

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, QVC has put together a stunning collection of collectables: jewelry inspired by artifacts recovered from the Titanic, replica flatware, replica dinnerware, and a lovely perfume, " Legacy 1912".

Out of the whole collection, the perfume intrigues me the most. It smells wonderful (there was sample with my order): very light and warm. Included with the sample was a card that told the story behind the fragrance:

"Adolphe Saalfeld was a first-class passenger onboard the Titanic. A British perfume maker, he was on his way to America to realize his dream. Fortunately, Adolphe was a survivor; but he left behind his precious case of perfume vials. These vials, along with the leather case they were housed in, were recovered from the ocean floor, and now 100 years later, Adolphe's dream resurfaces with a new fragrance inspired by his legacy.

Today's perfumers have been inspired by the actual essences found in the surviving vials to create a fragrance Adolphe may well have mastered himself. Delicate lemon and neroli, blushing rose with warm sheer amber — a sophisticated classic perfume designed for today's woman."

I know the perfume was just "inspired" — it's not a true scent from the era, but it does smell lovely, and you have to admit: wouldn't that bottle look just stunning on a vintage waterfall vanity??

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo Friday: Van & Lucy

Lucy and Van Johnson

I love Van Johnson. You just can't get anymore all-American, boy-next door then Van Johnson.
Lucille Ball is credited with setting Van Johnson's career in motion: She took him to Chasen's Restaurant and introduced him to Billy Grady (MGM casting director) who was sitting at the next table.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Everyday Vintage #10: Kitchen Canisters

Aren't these cute?! These vintage style canisters are by Martha Stewart and are available at Macy's Home. The canister itself wasn't very heavy, but there is a rubber "lip" around the inside of the lid to keep your goods air tight. They are $14.95 each.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Saw My Boy at the Front

I Saw My Boy at the Front

He was my son, but he might have been yours.

That’s why I want to share with you the pride

and anxiety, the joy and bitterness, the impressions

I brought away with me. — Anonymous

We stood in the dark, snowy woods in Germany, this tall young soldier and I. Somewhere below us, out of sight beyond the naked forest, a famous American infantry regiment was jabbing at the Germans across a frozen stream.

Behind us, over the shoulder of a little hill, ammunition trucks grunted past, bringing up the night’s shells for the 105 and 155 guns. We could hear ambulances, too, heavy with double loads, panting up the grade from the dressing stations.

A German 88 dropped somewhere off to our left, and I must have started, for the soldier put his hand on my shoulder.

“It’s okay, Dad,” he said. “They’ll come a lot closer than that.”

The solder was my only son. He was 19, a battle-hardened veteran. He had left the lines only a few hours ago; in a few more he would be back. He was my son, but he might have been yours. That’s why I’m writing this. Because I am one father whose military duties took him for a few hours to where his son was fighting. I want to share with all fathers the pride and anxiety, the joy and bitterness, the impressions I brought away with me.

How did the boy look? How was he equipped and trained? What was he thinking about? What did he need? What were his future plans? Had the war changed him? These questions and a thousand others any father asks himself in a wakeful night.

They boy looked fine. Tough, capable, alert. Thinner than when I last saw him. Taller, I believe. Straighter, I’m sure. He carried his shoulders back, and his rifle, strapped across them, seemed to be a part of him. He was wind-browned and clean shaven. He wore his helmut just off the regulation position. He’s not a parade soldier. He’s a fighter.

One night six months before, I’d said good-bye to this boy. We had met the hour of leaving with a sort of noisy, spurious gaiety. There was no gaiety left in him now. He was dead serious. He stood there in the snow with his feet apart, head tilted slightly forward, and I had the impression that he was listening constantly for sounds I did not hear. All good soldiers get the cautious habit of listening. What was this one thinking about, this boy who, like your own boy, always had liked to dabble in thoughts too big for him; who, like your own, had the independent, exploring, questioning mind of modern youth?

He wasn’t thinking of the Four Freedoms that night on the front. He wasn’t thinking of a happier, better postwar world. He wasn’t making any plans for himself even. Maybe men can do that in the back areas. Here in Monschau Forest this boy was thinking of the only important thing on earth for him at the moment, how to keep himself and his friends alive and how to kill the enemy.

He had met the enemy close up, not thru the headlines of the morning newspaper. He knew them as tough, determined, skillful soldiers. He hated them, as all his mates did. He hated them for what they had done to his own friends. His squad had been hit hard last month.

The big guns rumbled, off to the south, and an ambulance groaned on the steep grade over the hill.

“Cigarette?” The boy pulled out one of those small oblong boxes that come in the K ration can, four cigarettes to a box. But when he saw my own pack, he put his own box away. “Thanks,” he said, “I’ll save mine.”

“How’s the family?” he asked.

I told him all the details I could think of. Then he asked, “How’s Bob?”

Bob is his dog. Bob was fine, I told him. “Ed, up at the farm, tried to put him on a scale and weigh him the other day,” I said. “He got bit.” And for the only time in that hour and a half I heard this boy laugh. He sounded like a kid again for that moment. Then he stopped. It’s hard to laugh when the ambulances are puffing up the grade from your own sector. I quickly changed the subject.

“What’s your outfit like?”

“Great. Best regiment in the Army. Know our record since Normandy? Since Africa? Not many of those first ones left and they’re getting pretty tired. But they know how to make the best of things. You pick it up pretty quick from them. How long do you think this will last, Dad?”

“No one is trying to guess.”

“Well, I know it won’t be Germans we’re fighting next Christmas, anyhow.” He inhaled deeply. “My guess is that we’ll have this job done by the Fourth of July. That’s what we’re all hoping. If we just had more ammunition, big stuff, a lot of 155 . . . ”

I asked him about the food. It is swell, he answered. Hot meals right on the line twice a day, with hell popping all around. “Sometimes I think once a day would be enough,” he said. “We get some casualties handling the steaming kettles up to the foxholes. We could take K ration instead, one of the meals.”

He wasn’t very happy about the few magazines from the States he had seen. “The ads are pretty bad. Particularly the pictures. The fellows get sore, looking at them. Pictures of war, all prettied up. No mud. No stench. Just heroics and attitudes. It gives the people at home false ideas.”

He took another of my cigarettes, and again I watched his face in the flame of the lighter . . . so old for his 19 years, wise, tired, wary but calm, determined. I found that he wasn’t interested in the gossip of Washington. The quarrels between management and labor, rationing, books, plays, songs, all these belonged to a world of which he was no longer a part. His mind was concentrated on this little strip of woods.

“We’ve got to blast them out of the dams,” he said, pointing east. “Going to be tough.”

He mentioned the wonderful nurses in the hospitals, the medical corpsmen working under fire.

“They’re heroes, for my money,” he said. Heroes. It was the only time he used the word. He talked about the fact that he hadn’t been paid for two months, but no, thanks, he didn’t need any money. About toilet paper and what a blessing it was, coming up with the rations. About his rifle and his shoes. The things that counted.

And then the door of the command post opened and a young office called, “Time to be going.”

My son hitched his rifle higher on his shoulder. He stood for a moment and then reached out his hand.

“Good night, Dad. See you at home,” he said.

“Sure,” I answered. “See you at home. Good night, son.”

He saluted and turned on his heel and stepped off into the darkness, toward the little valley where his regiment was fighting Germans across the frozen stream.

I Saw My Boy at the Front was taken from the May 1945 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.