Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Cook booklet

This is a funny little cook booklet exclusively filled with recipes for fried foods!
There is no date...but here on the back cover is the first clue: the lovely salt and pepper shakers say 1950s to me.Finally, inside some of the mystery is solved. This is a booklet put out by Spry Shortening! No wonder its all fried foods! (There is another vintage Spry cook booklet dedicated to baked goods.) Now look carefully at the Spry can-do you see the checked or gingham pattern around the name?

When Spry was introduced in the 1935-it was not in the blue gingham can. During WWII, Spry was not in a can at all-it was in a bottle…I’m guessing the metal was needed for the war effort. Both showed Spry written in green on a V shaped yellow background and both had the running baker holding a pie on the sides as the logo.

In 1951 out came homogenized Spry in a Blue Gingham can with a small running baker logo. "Homogenized" was only used in advertisements -not on the can.

“All Spry in the blue gingham can is homogenized” was the slogan.

In 1953- Spry in the blue gingham can now says across it: homogenized… exactly like the can in my cook booklet.

In 1955 a new can came out-no running baker at all-its the red and white can that I remember as a child.

So now we know that my little "Frying is Easy" cook booklet is a Spry cook booklet from 1953-1954! Pretty good solution to the mystery. And what is inside? Mmm, doughnuts!
Bet you didn't know that frying (in Spry, of course,) was so digestible! "...foods like those fried the Spry way are not only good-tasting but nutritious and digestible-as digestible as if baked or boiled." Too bad we all believed this...can we blame today's obesity problem all on '50s advertising copy?

Fortunately not all the recipes look as good as the's one of those super weird 1950s concoctions. This one, like all "...the recipes in this booklet were carefully developed in the Lever Test Kitchens.."
A tuna fish sandwich, dipped in French toast batter, and fried in Spry! Honestly-did they ever taste the things they made! Though I have to say that if you were going on a breakfast picnic, the other filling might just fill the bill.

If you have a Blue Gingham Spry can-or you find one-what a fabulous rare find it is. After all, the Blue Gingham can was only produced for 4 years, from 1951-1955!

Hope you enjoyed my "Frying is Easy" cook booklet. To see more wonderful vintage treasures, hop on over to Suzanne at Coloradolady-the hostess with the mostess of Vintage Thursdays Thingies and the keys to wonderful vintage treasures. I'm also linking to Week-end Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Strings Attached Challenge Finish Report

Today is the day to report on my finishes for The No Strings Attached Challenge from Loft Creations.

I haven't made as many string projects as I have string projects in my head! LOL! and some of them I really like and hope to actually see in fabric. I recently made some potholders...I'm still working out the dimensions. I seem to make them either too big and too thin or too small and too thick but they are cute!
Here's the full size quilt I made for really big string project...
and the string pillow that has quickly become a family favorite.
Lots of great finishes so check them out on the side bar at Loft Creations.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tuesday's Tomes: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

WARNING: Don’t buy this book…get it from your public library!

I don’t know what I expected from this book (which I did buy!) but certainly not what I got! Whole pages-page after page-simply lifted from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with hardly a zombie in sight! True, Elizabeth fights some zombies on her way to Netherfield (hence her dirty slip) and the girls see some zombies on the walk to Meryton, but then we’re back in the real book and they go on to meet Mr. Wickham.

I at least expected someone should have saved someone from a zombie just in the nick of time. I wouldn’t go so far as I expected my son’s gleeful suggestion: “Elizabeth has to kill Darcy because he’s turned zombie”.

I can’t even call this a silly book-after all 99% of it is Jane Austen’s P & P, it’s simply scandalous. (Useful perhaps if you have a teenager who turns up her/his nose at reading Jane Austen-just hand them this-they won’t even know what’s happened to them!)

Anyone out there with a talent for writing…may I suggest Sense and Sensibility and Vampires-you’re sure to make a killing!

I’ve just heard that there will be a movie! (Scheduled release is 2011) Let’s just hope that the Zombie scenes will be as much fun to watch as this not-in-the-original-book scene from the BBC mini series of Pride and Prejudice.

Reviewed a book recently? Share it with us. Just add your book review post here in the Linky. Be sure to visit everyone and leave a comment.I think the best book recommendations come from friends.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

T-shirt Grocery Bags

DH was going through his closet finally-moving winter stuff out and tossing some ratty old turtlenecks and long sleeve T-shirts. I looked at the pile and thought...hmm, grocery shopping bags?

These have to be the easiest bags ever! Sorry I didn't think to take pictures but here's what I did. I simply turned the shirt inside out, cut with my rotary cutter just below the sleeves, pinned and sewed with an overlock stitch the bottom seam of the bag. (If I had been using my old machine, I just would have sewed the seam and then zigzagged on the cut edge.) Body of the can see on this pix how nice the top of the bag is finished-that's because its the bottom of the shirt! LOL!

Then I cut a strip from a different shirt (one in even worse shape!-how does he get those holes?) for the strip was enough for both handles. I cut off the seams and had my two handles. I ironed on iron-on interfacing so there wouldn't be too much stretch in the handles, folded the cut edges in towards the center, folded it all in half lengthwise and sewed right on the edge of the double fold. Added the handles to the bag body and that was it! A finished grocery bag!

DH is a pretty big guy so all the shirts were either Large or X-large...this bag came out huge. I'm not sure how well it will work as a grocery bag (it may be too big!) but it's great for holding all the other grocery bags!
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry, Sew and Tell at Amylouwho and Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest. Hop on over there and see the terrific finishes for this week...lots more interesting stuff than grocery bags I'm sure!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday's Tomes: Persuasion by Jane Austen plus a fun Quiz

I think this is my very best favorite Jane Austen book…have I shocked you?

Its not that I don’t love Pride and Prejudice ( I’ve even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies-more about that next week!), there’s just something about this little novel, Jane Austen’s last complete work, that makes my heart sing.

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth broke their engagement 8 years earlier- with regret on her side and anger on his…now they meet again.

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth…what can I say! Silly Baronet Elliot and what’s-up-with-her Elizabeth…never too old to learn Lady Russell. .the characters are all delightful and while there isn’t a Mr. Collins there is Mr. Elliot-a most excellent villain.

We get a wonderful tour of Lyme and Bath with even an insider joke by Ms. Austen. “I hope we shall be in Bath in the winter; but remember, papa, if we do go, we must be in a good situation: none of your Queen Squares for us!” say the Musgrove girls. (One of the houses where Jane Austen lived in Bath was on Queen Anne’s Square-today it is the Jane Austen Centre, a most delightful museum with a wonderful bookstore.)

There is something so sweet and relaxing about hand quilting while someone reads Jane Austen to you and this librivox edition is most delightfully read by Elizabeth Klett.

You can download this free audio-book here or download the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Are you a Jane Austen fan? Visit the Jane Austen Center on-line and you can sign up for their on-line newsletter. Its filled with lots of fun…try out this sample quiz.

  1. Which of these was not a Jane Austen era carriage?
    1. A phaeton
    2. A chaise
    3. A brougham
  2. Which kind of flower was not available in Jane’s lifetime?
    1. Clematis
    2. Tulips
    3. Hyacinths
  3. What was a circulating library?
    1. A library carriage that tours around
    2. A round library room in a country house
    3. A paid subscription library
  4. A gentleman was required to wear which item of clothing in the presence of ladies?
    1. A hat
    2. A coat
    3. Gloves
  5. Which of these card games was not played during Jane’s time?
    1. Poker
    2. Whist
    3. Piquet
Answers will be in comments (I don't know how to do that upside down, backwards thing!)

Reviewed a book recently? Share it with us. Just add your book review post here in the Linky. Be sure to visit everyone and leave a comment. I think the best book recommendations come from friends.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Working on 3 projects at once: Yikes!

Look what DH surprised me with....It vacuumed and I machine quilted on my black, white and red log cabin...I think I'm in love!
I'm almost half done...I knew it would be slow going. I have to remember to machine quilt in the early morning or in the evenings when its a little cooler and the air conditioner works well enough. (In other words, when its in the low 90s rather than hovering around 100!)

I embroidered all the vines on the batik star and rosette quilt top and I like it. The trail isn't as noticeable as with the leaves but its there and gives that something extra.
While I was at the LQS teaching last Sunday, I picked up some silk ribbon in shades perfect for this quilt. I think I better test wash the dark purple and the maroon to make sure they don't run...oh, I hope they don't.
I've also been hand quilting on my double wedding ring...I put it on the frame ages ago and really didn't quilt much but now its the perfect summer project. I'm about half done with this "roll" of the frame, once its quilted all along the width of the quilt, then I'll roll again and finish this design.
I used a mixture of vintage fabrics and reproductions for the arcs of the DWR. Here are some pictures of some of the 1950s vintage fabric "wedges" in the quilt...
and here are some 1930s fabric including a feed sack on the right. You can see I'm outline quilting-very traditional!
Now I'm off to watch a film with DH and DS who came up to "rest" after a big final exam this morning...well, I'll watch a film if they can decide on what to order from pay-per-view! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Plaid baby quilt/play floor mat

Look what I found in the closet...the first quilt I ever machine quilted-complete except for needing a binding. I guess I never bothered to finish it because I thought it wasn't very good...but now looking at it-I really like it. The back shows that I was solving tension problems while working on it !!:) I was able to find a piece of red plaid fabric just big enough for the binding and now its finished...the perfect size for a baby quilt/floor play mat!

The blocks are all made up of leftover bits and pieces from different plaid quilts I made over the years- the two snail trail blocks are from a quilt I made in the early 90s.
Most of the quilting is straight line walking foot or free motion meandering but I really like what I did in some corner triangles-I "let myself go"-something I really need to do more of. I especially like this little squiggle I got coming off the concentric circles...
and this leaf.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho. Hop on over there and see all the terrific finishes for this week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Portrait of Leo Baeck

This etching, a portrait of Leo Baeck by the Israeli artist Yehuda Bacon, is DH's. In the lower left hand corner of the etching you can see Bacon's etched signature...and in the margin on the right, below the etching, his actual signature. To the left of that is written in Hebrew "To Danny"...yes, this is a dedicated, signed etching to DH!
Yehuda Bacon (1929-), a Holocaust survivor, is still an active artist at age 81. His works have been exhibited in museums all over the world.

Leo Baeck (1873-1956), a prominent Reform Rabbi in prewar Germany, went to England after liberation from the Theresienstadt concentration camp. He later became Chairman of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

To see more vintage wonders, hop on over to Coloradolady-our gracious hostess and holder of the key to many vintage treasures.

BTW, scroll down to my previous post for some embroidery transfer patterns of vintage cars!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tuesday's Tomes: Free Air by Sinclair Lewis Plus iron-on transfer patterns of vintage cars

Sinclair Lewis wrote many books besides Babbitt (which I could never get through) and Main Street (which I love) though these are his most famous. Not to be missed is what may well be the very first road story, Free Air, written in 1919-long before Jack Kerouk’s famous road book.

“When the windshield was closed it became so filmed with rain that Claire fancied she was piloting a drowned car…She was excited and thoroughly miserable....But the Gomez-Dep roadster had seventy horsepower, and sang songs. Since she had left Minneapolis, nothing had passed her. Back yonder a truck had tried to crowd her, and she had dropped into a ditch, climbed a bank, and returned to the road, and after that the truck was not.”

Are you laughing yet? Thus opens this wonderful novel by Mr. Lewis. Our heroine, Miss Claire Boltwood of Brooklyn, is driving her father from Minneapolis to Seattle-the idea being that he needs a rest for his nerves! Along the way she and her father meet Milt Daggett (and his cat!), he helps them out of some mud, and soon becomes their guardian angel…driving just a bit behind them so that he can help out the pretty Miss Boltwood and her father in whatever trouble comes…and trouble does come.

Yes, Milt is our hero but there is also Jeff, Claire’s special friend from New York and you can see where this is going ,can’t you?

A thoroughly enjoyable tale and heartily recommended, delightfully read by Hollis Hanover.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book here ( then just right click and save as to keep download). Sorry, no free Kindle format download available . You can download it for $2.99 from Amazon here.

Just for fun, I’m adding some iron-on transfer embroidery patterns of vintage cars…hmmm, not sure there’s a Gomez Dep but will a Model T do for a Tin Bug?

1909 Ford Model T ....yes, I think a ten year old Model T suits the Tin Bug well.

I had a little more trouble finding something for the Gomez-Dep, a car totally from Mr. Lewis' imagination. Here's a 1907 Rolls Royce...
But in my imagination, this comes closer...though its many years in the future...a 1931 Chrysler Imperial.
BTW, I actually embroidered the Model T for an all embroidered summer coverlet.

Reviewed a book recently? Share it with us. Just add your exact book review post here in the Linky. Be sure to visit everyone participating and leave a comment. I think the best book recommendations come from friends.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Silver Serving Pieces

Today I'm sharing some more silver serving pieces-these were my paternal grandmother's. These three serving spoons are European and from before 1920. How do I know this?
See the initials...DP intertwined. My grandmother's first name was Dora, hence the D. Now for the story of the P and why I can place and date the silverware by the initials.

My grandfather's older brother wrote his last name -which began with a P-with alot of fancy flourishes/curliques and I imagine that one of them dipped down. When he arrived in the US, the American immigration officer read that fancy P as a B and from then on my father's family name began with a B! :)

(As a kid I was very happy when I heard this story-I much preferred having a last name at the beginning of the alphabet...I didn't have to pay attention for very long during roll call!)
This is a serving fork and spoon...
Isn't this tulip pattern just wonderful? I've rarely seen such a naturalistic design on silver and you can see by the doily underneath how the design floats in the air.
Here are the marks...I haven't been able to find these anywhere. Anyone familiar with a mark that looks like a radio tower?
For more vintage treasures, visit Coloradolady-our wonderful Vintage Thursday Thingie hostess.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday's Tomes: Vintage Book Review: The Mystery of the Hansom Cab plus photos of historic Melbourne

My love of vintage goes beyond collecting (and DH!) and includes reading and/or actually listening to vintage books. At I have an unlimited supply of audiobooks to feed my habit…and they’re all free.(All Librivox books are in the public domain.)

I thought I’d start a new regular feature on my blog. I’ll report on my latest vintage read on Tuesdays and call it Tuesday’s Tomes.

I’d love it if you’d like to join in and tell about a vintage or new book that you’ve enjoyed so I’m thinking of adding a Linky at the bottom. How does that sound? Think it a good idea? I think the best book recommendations come from friends.

The first book I would like to tell you about is The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume.

Written in 1886 this self-published first novel by Fergus Hume went on to become an international best seller and he a best selling author…and it is easy to understand why. A compelling mystery, sympathetic characters and just enough hints to keep you guessing about what hasn’t been revealed yet make for a fun read. There’s a wonderful additional bonus: an introduction to 19th century Melbourne with lots of place and street names.

The book opens, “The following report appeared in the Argus newspaper of Saturday, the 28th July, 18- Truth is said to be stranger than fiction, and certainly the extraordinary murder which took place in Melbourne on Thursday night, or rather Friday morning, goes a long way towards verifying this saying.”

And we’re off…

The facts of the murder are told through reports in the Argus, and by the testimony at the inquest (beautifully written-you really feel that you’re sitting in court!). We soon meet Mr. Gorby, the detective and Mrs. Hableton, the murdered man’s (“all men are brutes”)landlady and while its not until the 7th chapter that we are introduced to our hero and heroine, Brian Fitzgerald and Madge Fettlby, we have already been immersed in the real hero of this book: Melbourne: from Russell and Collins to St. Kilda and off to Powlett Street we tour old Melbourne.

I totally loved this book and highly recommend it. (Spoiler alert! don’t read the author’s preface). This librivox audiobook was entertainingly read by Sibella Denton.

And to get you in the mood, here are some pictures of historic Melbourne.

The Argus Building: from where our first news of the murder emanates...
The Burke and Wills Monument: where the hansom cab picked up its passenger...
Fitzroy Gardens: where an important clue is found.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quilting log cabin and I think I've solved a problem

I started quilting on my black, white and red log cabin. I'm again doing a loopdy loop pattern-I liked doing it on my string quilt-but I'm trying to get rounder circles this time. Its gotten hot here and the air conditionering just doesn't cool my sewing room very well so I'm going to try to get some quilting in early in the morning before it gets too hot. It will be slow going-I quilted in the white on two squares and then ran out of room!Here's the back...its a Nancy Crow fabric that I've had for years-again waiting for just the right quilt. Isn't it perfect?!
Every summer I start to think about hand sewing projects-this project has been bugging me for quite a while but I think I have a solution. The stars are machine pieced and the rosettes are hand applique. After I put the rosettes on I had this brilliant idea-add leaves in a criss-cross pattern. I love how it looked basted...but if you look at the top row-you'll see the problem. It looks awful-UGH- when appliqued. I know the problem is that I should have thought of the leaves earlier! but what to do now. I tried larger leaves, different shape leaves...all to no avail.But I think I've got it solved now. Forget the leaves-what I like is the trail between the rosettes.
I'm thinking silk ribbon! I'm going to add to this feather vine-padded silk ribbon flowers. I think I thought of this because I showed my crazy quilt for the Spring Quilt Festival-I'm going to do something similar to the vines on the fan. Hope this works because this poor top has been sitting around for years! Seriously, I just couldn't think of anything and I just wouldn't give up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Machine embroidered Redwork doll quilt finished

I'm still on a roll...I actually finished this Redwork little doll quilt! I did the machine embroidery last year and even finished the flimsy and thus it sat! How pathetic is that...this is not a major quilting job and still it sat. But it sits forlorn and forgotten no more...its ready to be loved by a sweet dolly
I finished another quilt on Sunday-the UFO 9 patch (told you I'm on a roll) and you can see here.

I'm linking to Finished For Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at AmyLouWho.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vintage Thursday Thingie:Iron-on Embroidery Transfers

This is one of the most interesting and unusual iron-on transfers I have. It is for a baby quilt and includes the central embroidery pattern-a baby in its crib with a spray of flowers behind it, the feather quilting pattern, the scallop for the quilt's edge- all with written notes to tell you what part of the design you're looking at,the corner design for embroidery and a scale sketch of the quilt to help you place all the elements in the right spot! and
general directions that tell you the right size piece of fabric to cut and even where to draw guide lines on your fabric to help you place the elements....all printed in iron-on ink even though only the embroidery patterns will actually get transferred!

Did you know that iron-on transfers have been around since 1874? They were developed by Briggs and Co. in England and brought to the US two years later for the Philadelphia Centennial...and they were a big hit. Before that, perforated patterns were used with either a powder or a paste to mark the cloth and were pretty messy. Soon iron-on transfers were being offered by a lot of different companies...if the ad said "Warm Iron"- the Briggs Co. slogan-then you knew you were getting the real deal!

My transfers are from the 1930s-40s....wish I had some early Briggs transfers! You can see some scans of Briggs transfers here.

For more vintage treasures...hop right on over to Coloradolady-our hostess for all the fun!