A couple of weeks ago we were at the St. Vincent DePaul’s waiting for their thrift shop to open when the little ladies that work in the store started coming out to pick up the previous night’s donations and take them inside. Loving Husband and I noticed that one woman in particular would kick something every time she walked through; it made a loud skidding noise every time she would boot it out of her way. Once some of the boxes and bags were cleared we could see that what she was kicking was a very old and very ornate BIBLE! I’m not religious really, but I don’t feel that you should kick a holy book from any religion, especially not the bible if you work at the church thrift store of all places! LH had already picked it up by the time she came out again and had asked her if they could price it so that we could buy it. We have a friend who is a youth minister and who loves books so, we thought that even though it was a little worse for wear he would love to give it a home. She was a little mean, but said that she couldn’t sell it because it was in bad shape, but she would give it to us. We thanked her heartily, packed it away in the car and went on into the store to look around.
When we got home I was able to really look at it closely. It was very lovely and the only damage to the entire thing was that the front and back covers had both become detached. It was HEAVILY embossed, had real marbled paper front pages and was covered in gold gilding. It was jam packed full of illustrations, probably 1,000 of them easily, several were etchings covered with tissue. It had dictionaries for several different things including the plants and animals mentioned in the bible. This was the Mega-Super-Duper-Director’s Cut edition of the bible for sure! It was made by the National Publishing Company in the 1870′s and was sold door-to-door. I will try to get a photo of the cover as soon as I can and I will add it above, we passed it on to our friend before I was able to locate my camera from the move. For some photos of very similar bibles and a little history lesson about these beautiful books, visit The Antique Salesman Bible Sampler Store at Windmill Ministries.
My favorite part of this bible and the part that I am making available to you here, was the family history/genealogy pages scattered throughout the book. I would have loved to have found someone’s family story there, but this book was completely blank. In the end it was easier to scan and clean up the pages for reprinting because there was no writing on them, so I guess it worked out for the best. I have sized each page to 8.5″ X 11″ in Adobe Photoshop, but since they are JPG files you can re-size or alter them however you wish. I have put them all into this one zip file for easy download or you can right click on each image and save them individually if you don’t wish to have all 8. I was so taken with the colors and Victorian designs that I had to share them with you all.
I decided to list these now so that everyone would be able to have them printed in time for the holidays. I do a lot of genealogy research and I plan to print some of these out on card stock, fill them out with a nice calligraphy pen, bind them and give them as a gift to family members who are interested in our history as well. What a great gift for a parent or grandparent or even for the younger generation, to show them a little about where they came from and who they are related to. Another idea is to print them out on normal grade paper and mail them out to your older relatives along with a note asking them to fill out any information that THEY might have about your family’s (or their own personal) history and then to bring it with them to wherever you gather for the holidays. You will have a wealth of personal information about your relatives and what they could remember of the past to add to your Gen files. Everyone will feel like they have made a special contribution to your efforts as well. You could even sit around and discuss the information which might lead to recollections even older than what people originally listed on the sheets. Whatever you do with these scans, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I plan to because they really are just too lovely to go to waste.
I apologize for this post being a week late. I am in the middle of moving AND we had some issues getting the internet up and running properly. This is the 3rd and final installment of the Health-for-Victory 1943 canning guide. I hope that you find these useful and informative. If you would like to download the other two parts that I previously posted, you can do so HERE (pt 1) and HERE (pt 2).
Several months ago I promised to scan and post the contents of a WWII (1943) booklet about canning that I acquired at an estate sale. After some scanner problems and then misplacing the booklet itself, I am now ready to post it. I have found it while packing for our move and been able to turn it into PDF files so that I can share it with all of you here. I have split the contents into three parts (posted today, next Monday, and the Monday after that):
1. Methods & Menus
2. Recipes for beverages, breads, cakes, cheese, chicken, desserts, eggs, fish, fresh & dried fruits, and pasta
3. Recipes for meats, pastry, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, and vegetables.
The book was produced by Westinghouse Electric and The Home Economics Institute in May 1943 and is called the Health-For-Victory Club Meal Planning Guide.
As you can tell if you are a regular reader, I have been on hiatus for a couple of months now, and I am sorry to report that my leave of absence is going to continue for a few more months. I have spent the spring organizing my house and completing several large projects that I have been putting off since we moved here two and a half years ago. I figured that I might as well go with it once I felt the motivation to get it all done.
I had planned a whole set of posts with a strawberry theme for this summer, but recent news here is forcing me to postpone those posts until a later date. Loving husband and I have decided that he is not going to sign up for another tour in the Navy and that we are going to move back to our home in Indiana. LH has been a sailor since we met, so it will be a big change for us. We’ve grown tired of him being on the other side of the world for 7 months at a time and feel that at this point the cons are outweighing the pros when it comes to remaining in service. After 7 years, half of which he has been out of the country, we feel that he has done his fair share for our military.
Even though my posts will be few and far between at least until late summer, the GOOD news is that we will finally be able to live in our own home! We have owned a 1912 foursquare in southern Indiana since 2008. I did live there for a year while LH was gone, but since then it has sat empty. We will be able to get back on track with our restoration work, we can do more involved decor projects and will finally be able to do the kind of gardening that we would like. Living in someone else’s home (a rental) limits what sort of projects we can do and therefore, what sort of projects I can blog about. With the relocation comes many, many posts of the type I WANT to make.
I hope that you will all still be around when I come back from all of this pacing and unpacking!
Since 1930 (with a short 6 year break during the WWII years) The Florida Strawberry Festival has drawn crowds of people from all over the country to the Plant City, FL for a week of berry flavored fun each spring. Even though I lived in Florida for close to 20 years off and on, I never attended the festival myself until this spring. As far as Americana festivals go, this one is a pretty big deal, as I mentioned, people come from all over the county and all over the world to experience this little bit of days-gone-by. As you walk around the grounds, you could almost be in 1950 (if everyone weren’t dressed in Hollister t-shirts, that is). It has that old-timey carnival feel to it. There are livestock pavilions, several strawberry related merchandise buildings, shows, etc as well as several displays on subjects like FL agriculture, local high school FFA clubs, past festival queens (see the 1952 queen below), strawberry dioramas, and a myriad of arts and crafts. In addition to the many free daytime shows, they also have special headliner shows each evening for an additional cost. We aren’t talking has-been shmoes here either; I mean people like The Oak Ridge Boys, Gretchen Wilson, Crystal Gayle, Hank Williams Jr., Vince Gill, Charlie Daniel’s Band, The Band Perry & Reba.
In addition to displays of finished craft projects, they also had an area where people were teaching and demonstrating traditional arts such as wood working, blacksmithing & spinning. The spinner-in-residence, Cinnamon, graciously spared us about 20 minutes of her time and taught Loving Husband how to spin his own yarn! When we knew that our dog-son Basil would not have many more days with us, we groomed him and saved a gallon size bag of his beautiful velvety hair with the intention of one day having someone else spin it into yarn for us. Cinnamon actually had a piece with her that was made from the spinnings of several different breeds of dogs and other animals that was very neat to see and feel. After a couple of minutes she had LH spinning with a little dowel gizmo (as seen above). She said he picked it up faster than anyone she’s ever seen and that his yarn was even better than what she made when she first tried it. He enjoyed himself so much that we ordered him some combing paddles when we got home and he is eagerly awaiting their arrival so that he can get started!
I don’t think I need to explain to you how GREAT the whole place smells! With fairway favorites like funnel cakes, corn dogs & fresh cut curly fries being made at every turn, you have the added bonus of items like strawberry cheesecake and shortcake perfuming the air. If you love strawberries, this is the place for you! There were mountains of strawberry items for sale; everything from t-shirts and umbrellas to purses and jewelry. Out of all of the items I perused, the ONE thing that I absolutely HAD to show you was these Swarovski crystal strawberry pendants (above) by Jean Kay! They are small, but they immediately caught my attention. Even though Rockabilly trends have idealized cherry accessories, in my research I have found that in the 40′s and 50′s strawberries were every bit as popular. I’ve come across many examples of Bakelite strawberry accessories, hats adorned with faux strawberries, house wares painted with strawberries and clothing embellished with bunches of the little red berries as well.
I hope you enjoy the photos of our day at the festival (above) and if you ever get a chance to visit for yourself, please do because it was well worth the $8 admission fee! The Florida Strawberry festival is just one piece of the past that remains well “preserved” in the Sunshine State. Visit my Vintage Strawberry Pinterest board for more juicy images!
I apologize for the long gap in posting; situations around here have been very time consuming and hectic as of late and I would rather post nothing at all than post hurried nonsense pieces. I have not had a mind for dwelling on any one particular thing recently and have mostly spent my free time organizing my Pinterest account. If I stop and think about something for too long my mind drifts off to the recent passing of our beloved Basil. He had developed cancer and with limited options for treatment, we had little choice but to lay him to rest. After 12 years as my best and closest companion, it was a devastating blow that hasn’t left me too eager to sit and write about canning tomatoes or DIY projects.
Immediately after this tragedy, the Navy decided to send Loving Husband off to Norfolk, VA for some training over the entire week of Valentine’s Day. The day LH returned home we had out-of-town company for the President’s day weekend. All of these intermingled with bouts of flu like symptoms from both of us and the very unpredictable (but usually bad in one sense of another) weather has left the two of us in desperate need of some time away from here. We decided that LH would take a week and a half of vacation and we would travel down to Florida to see my father in Tallahassee. It is the busy season for him at work, so he has been particularly stressed out and was very distraught over the death of our dog (his “grand-dog”) as well. It will be good for him to see Brooni and have someone to talk to and see for a few days as he lives alone and there is no family closer to him than 900 miles.
Our plan is to spend a few days with him and then to drive the 4 or 5 hours to the Tampa Bay area and spend 4 days there. I have been to Tampa once before several years ago, but Loving Husband has never been. There is no time like the present I suppose! Even if it is raining the entire time, it can’t be half as cold, dank or boring as it is here in Wisconsin right now. There are plenty of things to see and places to go. I’ve researched a healthy list of museums, thrift stores and restaurants for us to visit while we are there including the Henry B. Plant Museum, The Ringling Museum of Art, The Florida Strawberry Festival, The Florida Aquarium and we even plan to stop at Weeki Wachee Springs for a mermaid show on the way back to pick up Brooni before we head home.
When we return, I hope to be relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to blog about all of the historic places and interesting places we have been. We are always interested in “vintage travel” and try to stay at historic inns or hotels and to visit kitschy vintage places like the Weeki Wachee Springs state park. This time around we will be lodging at The Don Vicente Inn in Ybor City which I hope to be able to take many photos of to share with you! For fans of my shop, I also hope to find many “new” items to fill my virtual shelves with upon my return!
I’ve been waiting to show you this project for a long time and I finally got my hair to work out long enough (thanks to a sideways clipped bang extension) to take a decent photo of my finished hat (above) so that I could complete the post. I’m not entirely sure what you would call this style of hat exactly. I know that it resembles a “halo hat”, but a true halo hat has a band almost like a huge beret, so that’s not it. I’m going to go with “1940’s large brim hat”. I became inspired to try this out when I was at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago and saw a hat partially sticking out from under one of the racks. It was covered in dust and looked like it had been kicked all around the store before it ran and hid under some hanging sweaters.
With only part of it showing, it looked a lot like one of the 1940’s large brim hats that I see in old movies or in photos from that era like those in the images above. It also reminded me of the turquoise and black velvet version of one of these hats that I bought several years ago which you can gaze upon below. I have a small collection of hats, but only one brown one, and that’s a pill box. I thought a brown hat in this style (because the hat I saw was brown felt) would be a perfect addition to the pile. When I picked it up and saw that it was $2.50, its fate was sealed and into the cart it went.
The biggest mystery of a hat to me is how they shape the form. I can decorate a hat 20 ways to Sunday, but the actual construction secrets have always eluded me. Being able to start with an already constructed base and transforming it into what I want ended up being so easy that anyone can do it! The hat I used here was a J. Lo style floppy wool hat.
Below is a gallery with photos of the restyling process that are accompanied by instructions, which will help you form the basic “frame” of the hat. What you do to customize the hat is up to you and really, the sky is the limit. I covered mine with brown velvet (which was the leftover hem from an old pair of IKEA drapes) and made a band with a side scrunch (which was a leftover strip of wool from and old suit that I tore apart many moons ago.) I would estimate that the entire thing cost me under $4, and that was just because of the spray adhesive I used when covering it.
A Couple Weeks ago Casey, of Elegant Musings fame, wrote a piece about where to find vintage or vintage reproduction shoes. After reading the article, I was going to post a comment, which quickly turned into a paragraph. I decided to wait to comment and to think about it a little more, deciding in the end to write this post instead of clogging up her comments section with my thoughts. What follows is my comment-turned-blog-post consisting of my personal thoughts about finding shoes to match your vintage outfits.
I’ll start by saying that some people have a skewed view of what “vintage” shoes look like. With the surge in women dressing in a mid-century pin-up style, the line between what vintage really looks like and what a modern idea of sexy is have become very blurred. Authentic 1940′s shoes do not look like they just spent a night on stage at the Pink Squirrel Lounge. If you care about authenticity, you can’t slap a bow onto some stripper heels and call it vintage. Now, if you don’t care about being realistic, then by all means… wear whatever shoes you want. If you DO care, there are companies out there that produce faithful reproductions of vintage styles, you don’t have to settle for someone else’s rather loose interpretation.
In my personal experience, I’ve found that one of the best and most overlooked places to find vintage looking shoes is at estate sales. I’m not really sure if I’m the only one who has noticed it or not, but “old lady shoes” look a WHOLE lot like shoes from the 1940′s. For example, both pairs above are from my personal closet. The pair on the left is a 1980′s pair of shoes from the estate sale of an elderly woman. The pair on the right are authentic 1940′s and were purchased at a thrift store. I’ve probably come across 45 pairs like the tan wedges in my thrifting days, but only one pair like the green. In the same manner as those above, the two pairs below are very similar, but were made over half a century apart. The pair on the left is from my own closet and were probably made after the year 2000; as where the gold pair on the right are from the archives of the Met Museum and were made in 1942. While not exact replicas, both of these newer pairs of shoes are close enough in appearance to their antique counterparts to “pass” for vintage when putting an outfit together. The most important thing is to get your SHAPE right, you can modify everything else if need be, as long as you have the right “frame” to start with. If you aren’t looking for anything too fancy, there are old standbys that have changed very little over the decades: slip on deck shoes, penny loafers, white Keds, saddle shoes and of course espadrilles!
It is important to familiarize yourself with REAL vintage shoes before you set out hunting. I recommend browsing the Met Museum’s archives, searching for period images that feature shoes and old fashion magazines are a great source for shoe pictures as well. I’ve compiled a pretty good collection of images of period shoes on my Stylish Steppin’ board on Pinterest; if you have some free time to browse, feel free to stop by. Once you are completely familiar with the shapes and details that you are looking for, it won’t take you any time at all to spot them in the “wild”. I put together a little collage below of shoes shown in photos of Rita Hayworth to illustrate my point about “old lady shoes”. Notice that many of them bare a strong resemblance to something you might have seen shuffling around a retirement home.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see with “vintage repro” shoes is that the heels are too thin and tall and that they don’t have enough coverage. The very high, thin heels with strappy, “barely there” fronts didn’t become popular until the 1950′s. It’s really fairly easy to find 1950′s and early 60′s styled shoes. Authentic examples are still pretty common in thrift stores and I see them online a lot. The basic shapes of that time period continued to be produced into the 80′s, making them still plentiful and fairly cheap today. These two authentic 50′s sets below were purchased from thrift stores for under $3 a pair.
If you are looking for something even older than the 40′s, I would suggest that you don’t wear anything produced prior to the mid 30′s. They seem to be so rare and fragile that I’m not sure that the majority of pieces would last more than a day or so. I’ve read where other experts don’t even suggest wearing anything predating WWII because of their value, I’m not that strict with it, but you don’t want a beautiful pair of shoes to fall apart on you; so be wise in chosing which ones are fit to wear and which ones are better off left on the shelf to look at. I have two pairs in my personal stash from the 30′s that are very stable and can be worn, but as I said, I wouldn’t suggest it for most examples. The brown pair below are from the late 30′s to early 40′s and the black booties are from the 30′s. Both of these were found at thrift stores a couple of years ago, so don’t lose hope, they are out there! It is easy to spot real vintage booties; most pairs of low-ankle booties that are produced now have stiletto heels, which the originals DON’T have. Another dead give away of an old shoe is the soles, look for leather and nails.
The twenties are actually more easily reproduced than you would think. While authentic examples are almost non-existent outside of museums, the basic shape was heavily reproduced in the late 1980′s and throughout the 1990′s. This shoe below is from the 1920′s and is part of the Met Museum’s collections. In the 20′s and early 30′s there were basically two variations of this, the plain ankle strap (below) and the T-strap. I love a nice t-strap myself. The 20′s saw more variety in decoration than in shapes really. You can find this shape of shoes, made in the 90′s, just about anywhere. All you need are some rhinestones, maybe some fabric paint or a curved needle and you could jazz them up to be pure jazz age with very little effort.
The Edwardian period saw the skirts rise enough to get a peek at the shoes and therefore they became a bit fancier across the board. As with the 20′s shoes, you can find a very simple pair of booties produced in the 90′s just about anywhere, and with a little effort they can be decorated to be more representative of the period. The green suede booties below came from a thrift store and are my own shoes; the white pair is from 1914 and belong to the Met. Buckles were the common closure of Edwardian shoes, but I think that in most cases you could get by with a laced version. One important thing to look for is the relatively low and flared heel style, another is a squared off toe which, from my research, seemed to be the norm at this point and had not been rounded off as of yet.
Of course we all know the Victorian button boot and there have been many companies over the years who have made them. Costuming warehouses make “real” versions that will set you back a couple hundred dollars, or you can buy a fashion repro when you can find them. They become popular in cycles it seems, they were popular when Victoriana made a resurgence during my high school years and now they are popular again with the rise of “steampunk”. I WORE OUT my cream colored pair from my school days, but I found this nice leather pair at a thrift store for about $5. The buttons are real, although they are not the method of closure; they zip on the inside ankles; it is very well hidden when the boots are on and they look very realistic. They also have leather soles and leather wrapped heels which add to the realism. You shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding a reproduction pair made in the last 30 years that are in decent shape for under $50.
If you are creeped out by wearing someone else’s old shoes, there are some companies that make new versions of old styles as I mentioned at the beginning. Below I’ve chosen a few pairs to share, starting with Re-Mix vintage shoes, this is by far my favorite company and they make seemingly true replica’s of historic shoes. While they aren’t cheap exactly, their prices aren’t so high that they are completely unattainable either. Buying one of their repro pairs is going to be far less expensive than buying most original pairs. In my Etsy shop I sell things cheaply because I acquire them cheaply and I want to be able to sleep at night, but for the most part, most sellers are shilling shoes from the 40′s for $200 and up regardless of what sort of condition they are in. Re-Mix’s shoes are a safer bet if you are new to the hunt, because you get an identical look and you know they are in NEW condition. Miz Mooz, Miss L. Fire, Seychelles & Chie Mihara complete the selections. On the other hand, if you don’t mind used, by all means go forth into the thrifty world and harvest! To me, part of the fun is the hunt itself, not just having the shoes. I also enjoy taking a very plain pair from 20 years ago and altering them to be a fabulous replica from days passed. After writing this post, I decided that I should finally go ahead and part with some of my vintage shoes that aren’t perfect fits for me. It was hard to do, but there is no reason for me to keep shoes that I likely will never wear. They belong where they can be worn and shown off, so I listed several pairs in my Etsy shop, even a couple of the pairs featured here in this post. If you’d like to check them out, feel free to head over and browse.
I am absolutely in love with this new Singer sewing machine! The 160 was created to celebrate the 160 year anniversary of the Singer brand. In recent years, have you seen anything as sleek and sexy as this come on the market? I love the black color, the lines, and the gold accents! It is just simply stunning and is a great modern adaptation of its sisters of past days. I would love to buy one, but alas, they are currently SOLD OUT! Listing price on the Singer website is “$500 and up.” They were never sold via the Singer website however and were ONLY ever sold by the Home Shopping Network for $375. I can only imagine WHY they chose to go that route. If they had given a few of the major craft bloggers one of these (for only a fraction of what they paid HSN I can assume) and told them to write about it, the word would have been out and they would have sold 12,000 units instead of 6,000. Once they see this thing, who wouldn’t want one? I cringe at the thought of it only being available to people who can sit in front of the TV 24/7 and watch for it, what about the rest of us? My mind flashes to all of those episodes of Hoarders where they find stacks of unopened boxes with HSN printed down the sides that have gotten wet and rotted, covered in bags of… well you know what’s in those bags if you watch the show. Just the thought of one of these meeting a fate like that hurts me inside. There is no word as to if these will ever be in stock again, although I did see Singer respond to someone else that they will eventually be available in the UK, so they must have more stashed somewhere. I asked if they had any plans for selling this anywhere else, or only on HSN and I received no response.
Now for some information about the machine itself. The features of this machine include; 24 Built-In, SwiftSmart Threading System with automatic needle threader, OneTouch Stitch Selection, Simple Stitch, Quick View Stitch, Drop & Sew Bobbin, Presser Foot, Extra-Large Sewing, Drop Feed Quick Start Guide, Machine Intro DVD, All-Purpose Foot, Zipper Foot, Buttonhole Foot with Underplate, Blind Hem Foot, Satin Stitch Foot, Pack of Needles, Bobbins (Class 15J), Thread Spool Caps, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt, Needle Plate Screwdriver, Seam Ripper / Lint Brush, Soft-Sided Dust Cove, Instruction Manual, Power Cord, Foot Control, Fringe Foot, Cut & Hem Edge Attachment, Narrow Hem Foot, Roller Foot, 1/4″ Foot, Cording Foot, Darning & Embroidery Foot, Open Toe Foot, Invisible Zipper Foot, Flower Stitch Attachment, Carry Bag with Should Strap, Sew Retro: A Stylist History of the Sewing Revolution book and The Invention of the Sewing Machine booklet.
I’m leery of new machines though, having spent a small fortune on one several years ago that resulted in total disaster and complete loss of several hundred hard earned dollars. My machine worked for just under a year, I never put heavy stress on it and used it maybe 20 times total due to some unexpected interruptions in my life. When it quit, I was able to return it for the same model, because it had been less than a year since I had purchased it. The second machine was again, not used very much, and then promptly died just out of service terms. We paid a repair man $40 to evaluate the machine, he basically walked in, saw that it had a digital screen and said that it couldn’t be fixed and would be cheaper to buy a new one. With some of my own investigations, I found that it was one of the plastic pieces inside that had broken. After hours on the phone with the company, $30 and several weeks, I received my tiny part. The machine worked for a day or two and then locked up and would never work again. Loving Husband took it out into the driveway and smashed it with a baseball bat, making us both feel MUCH better. In the process of dealing with new model machines that are poorly crafted, I had not only lost my sanity, but also an agreement with a widely distributed plus-size women’s magazine to provided enough vintage style dresses to them for an entire photo shoot.
While this heinous machine was NOT a Singer, it has still left such a bad taste in my mouth for any machine with a digital read out and lots of buttons on it that no matter how badly I might want one, I’m not sure if I could bring myself to lay out that kind of cash again. I currently have three machines, 2 of which work (the third, an old 1940′s Singer, needs the cord replaced and a new belt.) The one I regularly use is a Brother, the Project Runway limited edition machine. Although this machine is a newer model, it has very few bells and whistles. It does need to be cleaned VERY frequently and jams often, but for the most part it has served me well, costing only $130 when I purchased it new. I grew up with my father’s industrial Nelco machine that sounded like a helicopter taking off, but would sew through a tin can. It is goldenrod yellow and the case is taped together. As the story goes, someone was robbing the building that my father’s office was in when he worked in Hollywood and they fell through the ceiling, landing right on his machine and busting the case, but not even scratching the machine. My most recent machine is an aqua Singer that I purchased at a small flea market for $24. The lady was quite snotty about the fact that she had a new machine and no longer needed this one even though it worked perfectly, so I was fine with taking her abuse and the machine. It is a basic unit and makes a lot of noise, but as a backup machine it works in a pinch. The big question is, I squeak by with the machines that I have, and as much as I would ADORE one of these new Singer 160’s, am I willing to put myself (and my money) out there again, only to have my heart broken?
Singer did finally reply to my inquery as to when or where these will ever be available to the general public by saying: “Yes, The SINGER 160 sewing machine will be available in other retailers in the future. We will be updating our website soon.”