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Monday, March 23, 2009

Vintage Alphabet

This Month's Vintage Alphabet is "C" for Cookbooks
Spring is finally beginning to bloom all over. We're all thinking of flowers and vegetable gardens, re-doing our 'Outdoor Rooms' and making plans for entertaining around the grill. Food is a major part of the Spring and Summer picnics, potlucks, and social gatherings. I use cookbooks and recipes to help create themes for my get together's. I might create a cowboy theme using my Lodge skillets, enamelled dishes, and the Cowboy Cookbook. An Amish quilt party would be planned using my Dutch oven for chicken and dumplings and the Amish Cookbook. A retro patio party would be cool using my 1950's serving trays and recipes from one of my Better Homes and Garden Cookbooks.

I began collecting recipes..hand-writing the age of 10. I purchased this wooden box in 1970 and filled it by the time I was 12.
Even back then I found these bits of paper as treasures to be saved. I wondered who had used them, what occasions were celebrated with them, and wondered how old the recipe was. As I find myself perusing antique malls and flea market those questions still intrigue me today, but now the vintage cookbooks seem more like snippets of time. They give us an insight into the kitchens of the past and to the homemakers who used them. Below you will find some of my favorite vintage (and not so vintage) cookbooks. Maybe they can give you some ideas for your own gatherings and, hopefully, while your out antique/flea/thrift/estate sale/yard sale cruising you'll find your own copies or equally wonderful vintage cookbooks.

These were the first two cookbooks I purchased to begin my collection. The Pioneer Cookbook is from 1970 and Colonial Kitchen Herbs from 1972.

The page on the left, from the Pioneer Cookbook, shows recipes that were the first things I'd ever baked all by myself. The other two pages are from the Colonial Cookbook and they still help me create more flavorful dishes. I use these books to create old timey birthday and Christmas gifts.
You can enlarge these three pages to copy.
These two books are just plain fun. Aunt Bea's Mayberry Cookbook and Aunt Bea's Delightful Desserts are a collection of recipes that Aunt Bea would have made with love for Andy and Opie. Some are recipes from certain episodes, and others are given by people who worked on the show. Throughout you'll find food related snippets from episodes, show memories, and even recipes from the diner in Andy Griffith's real hometown in North Carolina. I love to plan a menu Mayberry style and watch old episodes while eating.

During the 1930, 40, and 50's, small pamphlets were distributed by food companies like the ones shown here. These small jewels were big on impact when advertising. The graphics and colors are wonderful and the recipes, tips, and serving suggestions were and are still very useful. They are readily available and quite inexpensive. When I create a vintage inspired apron I always like to include a vintage food pamphlet. It adds a warmth to the fabric, it even lends a theme to the apron for a gift set.

This over-sized pamphlet was distributed by the General Foods Co. in 1940. I was so excited when I found it last summer. As you can see by the cover, it has been very used and there are checks by recipes that the homemaker found
especially good. Each chapter begins with a calender and each day has a corresponding recipe suggested for the day. If you click on the pic it should enlarge for a better view. I love to open the calender and see what surprise I can make for Jim on that day.

I found this Better Homes and Gardens All-time favorites Cookbook in the late 90's through Publisher's Clearinghouse, of all places. It has great recipes spanning the 1930's-1990's. A little over a year ago I found the Better Homes and Gardens Best Buffet cookbook from 1960. Over a little time I found the trio of books dating from the late 1950's.

The pages above gives a little insight as to how food was presented and served. Even the picnic seems fancy.

Last month I found these Better Homes and Garden Cookbooks.
Pies and Cakes, Dessert, and Holiday.They are later dates of the 60's, but just as colorful and full of inspiration.

These books, The Ball Book published by the Ball Canning Jar Co from 1939 and the McCall's Cook Book from 1940, were both my Grandma's. I love her hand-written notes and the accumulated recipes she clipped from the newspaper, magazines, food packaging, and appliance manufacturers. I would love to have a canning party utilizing some of the wonderful recipes in the Ball Book, but alas my kitchen is too small. I do use the McCall book quite a lot for everyday cooking ideas. When I use the books....Grandma just seems closer. Maybe that's why I like vintage cookbooks, all the accumulated memories fill the pages too.
I hope you have been inspired to get your old cookbooks out and decorate with them. They add quick splashes of color. Have a get together and surprize the invited to a vintage spread or give your family some old fashioned goodness you don't find at the drive-thru . Vintage cookbooks are chocked full of suggetions and memories.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring is Sprung

" Spring is Sprung, the Grass is Riz
Brown Gingham Creations
is Bloomin All Over!"

Remember this 1940-50's hat I found way Back in January?

Well, after searching for a vintage doll to go with this dandy topper, I finally found her. She was in the bottom of a box in a dealer's booth at the Florence Antique Mall with various doll parts and other more modern dolls. She looked a little frightened, but seemed relieved when I pulled her from the her dolly nightmare. She was in amazing shape, despite her ordeal and only needed a little repair, and, embellishment of course.

So, now without further adieu, may I introduce

'Miss English Country Garden 2009'

Viole' The hat has been cleaned, fluffed, and placed on a cermaic base. Miss English, sporting her original hand-crocheted pinafore and hat has been accented by bits of vintage costume jewelry and a 1950's hand-crocheted hot pad for her wings. Porcelain and pearl roses also grow in her garden and butterflies abound. For a little whimsy, and surpise, she not only looks good, but she has her own song! When you look under the base, a music box movement has been added.
It plays,'The English Cottage Garden Suite".
This is the first in my new line of musical angels.
Since I now have an outlet for music box movements I'll be able to do custom orders for these in various themes and requested tunes.

I've also found carnations have sprouted in my creative garden.

These carnations are in perpetual bloom! I was surprised to find this 1950's hostess apron in great condition. It was taken very good care of. If you look closely I have hand-embroidered the fern fronds as well as the center bouquet, but my fav thing is the Carnation Milk Co cookbook. With spring entertaining beginning this apron would show off your individual apronature and your good taste!
Before I go I had to show how my floral garden flowers come together when 'arranged',

These flower baskets were created with French Knot roses, daisies, and other blossoms. Whimsical appliqued butterflies hover around. This bolster pillow actually began life as a 1940's stamped embroidery bridge table cloth. It just shouts spring!
Here's a closeup:

Please visit my website and Etsy often. More blooms are sprouting everyday.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy St Patrick's

Hope the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day
Finds your path warm and sunny,
Your day blessed and lucky,
And, a bit o' the gold fills your purse.