Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Vintage Cookbook

I came across a fabulous discovery yesterday. As my British friend would say, “I took a nosy through Mum’s books.”

What I found was a cookbook, with a copyright date span of 1942 through 1946. There is an inscription in what could be Grandmother Ophelia’s handwriting: “This book belongs to…” and then in Momma’s handwriting afterwards she writes that it’s now her book and writes out her full name. Momma also wrote that this book will go to me. What a priceless discovery!

Not to say I’m taking it now. No, it’s not my time. But, I am taking a “nosy” through its 951 pages!

I can tell this 1946 hard back edition of the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, introduction by Dorothy Kirk, was used often in its day. It gives me warm fuzzies seeing how many pages are dog-eared noting recipes I know my grandmother and/or mother have used. I have left the points turned down, to go back and someday use the recipes myself. I must handle the book gingerly as the cloth covered binding has frayed along the edges! It is a treasured book, indeed.

While scanning through the pages, several things caught my eye. Back then, we had eight food groups. Why do we only have five now?

The “current” food groups are:
  1. Grains (was Group 8)
  2. Vegetables (was Group 5 & 7)
  3. Fruit (was Group 6 & 7)
  4. Dairy (was Group 1)
  5. Protein Foods (was Group 2)

The totally missing groups (3 & 4) are “Eggs” and “Butter, other Fats”

What they said about Eggs:

Present-day cooks may smile at old recipes beginning, “Take the whites of two dozen eggs,” but they heed nutrition experts who recommend one egg a day for every member of the family – or at least four a week. Insist on that, say the dietitians – be hard-boiled about it!

Yeah, right, like I’m going to take the whites from two dozen eggs for anything! I don’t care what it is, that’s one recipe I would skip!

What’s happened to the butter/fat group? Isn’t that like the WD-40 for our bodies? And, is an essential part that helps us with keeping up our energy levels? Anything and everything can be taken to the excess, moderation is the key!

I found it noteworthy, they didn’t lump all vegetables and fruits together. They gave more detail and separation. I hear all the time about how we should eat more dark green, yellow, and leafy vegetables. Interesting. My grandmother’s cookbook shows a separate group for them from the “fruits and vegetables” group.

Another with its own grouping is the “citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pineapple” group. They felt it necessary to separate this type from “fruits” such as apples, bananas, etc., that provide totally different nutritional needs.

They write:
Get acquainted with these eight groups of protective foods and include something from each in your daily meal plans. Your menus will then measure up to good nutrition standards and you can be pretty sure your family is getting the right food to help keep them fit.

I’m thinking these eight food groups are something to take more seriously. It’s really bottom-line what folks are currently talking about anyway!

I love the style of writing within this cookbook! The word charm or charming is used frequently. This is one example: (Emphasis added)

“Giving a party without a maid can be done with charm and a certain amount of style if you go about it naturally, avoid confusion and don’t attempt more than you can accomplish easily.”

And, one of the best pieces of advice shared:

“… remember that you are just as much a hostess in your own family as though you were entertaining guests, and you owe it to them to have your daily meals nicely served and as attractive as you can make them.”

While reading over these pages, images of Grandmother Ophelia busying herself about the kitchen, drying her hands on the apron she always wore, and wiping the drops of perspiration from her brow filled my mind and warmed my heart. I’m so thankful I took a noisy through Momma’s collection!

Do you have a cherished vintage cookbook within your collection? Does it stir memories? Please share!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bonnets Aren’t Just for Grandmothers

I remember both my grandmothers wearing bonnets whenever they did outside chores. Either when they were hanging clothes out on the line to dry, or working in their respective gardens, both women knew the benefits of wearing a bonnet.

Not too long after we bought our ranch, my mother gave me one of her mother’s bonnets and I fell in love with the concept. I quickly learned how comfortable, yet protective from sun and wind, it is as opposed to a hat.

  • Bonnets let air in, most unlike hats!
  • Bonnets protect the neck area!
  • Bonnets don’t leave “hat hair”!
  • Bonnets allow someplace for my hair to stuff up inside!
  • Yea! Bonnets!
I began making myself a wardrobe of bonnets in different styles and fabrics. I even made a “winter” one out of a soft fleece (no picture, it’s packed away with winter clothes). My aunt pitched in and made a “dressy” bonnet with ruffles for me, too. There is a full length apron that matches the lovely bonnet. I’ve created more, and are now worn by others.

Out of the assortment of bonnets I have, the one I inherited from my maternal Grandmother is my favorite. She made and wore it, but for a brief time before her gardening days ended. I believe it’s the last one she made. It’s precious and functional!

I’ve searched the Internet looking for the same pattern, but have yet to come across one that matches it perfectly. I recently created one based on her design. Without taking the stitches out and the pieces apart, and what I did find on the net, I was able to eventually replicate Grandmother Ophelia’s bonnet. My first attempt didn’t hit it on the nail, but came very close and is a cute and functional bonnet.

As I constructed this bonnet, I made notes on the pattern for what I needed to do next time!

Remember! Bonnets Aren't Just for Grandmothers!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Harvester's Apron

A woman asked me if I could make a half apron with “extra large wide deep pockets” for her to wear while harvesting her garden. She said, “I have lots of okra and I don’t like putting them in, then carrying around, a plastic grocery bag.”

I’ve made a couple of different designs, wondering which would work best. Since we haven’t received any significant rain in months, we don’t have a garden this year, so I can’t test them out!

What it is:
What it could be:

I made this apron with the woman in mind, but my step-daughter fell in love with it before the other woman was able to see it!

After pondering more about how to make/attach the “extra large wide deep pockets” I recently designed/created a different style:

Because of the busy print, you can’t really see the tiny pleats going across the bottom to give the fullness it needs to hold the collected produce! And, you can’t see the inside the pocket pocket! That small inside pocket has a flap with a hook & loop closure to keep a cell phone from slipping out while working in the garden!

(In my humble opinion, always carry your cell phone (any phone) while out working in the garden. It may save your life in case of an emergency!)

I think it needs a button at the center pocket stitching, but I don’t have the perfect one in my stash! It’s on my shopping list, along with a swatch of the fabric!

This harvester’s apron also has a matching sunbonnet. I’ll write “the rest of the story” in tomorrow’s post!

Please pray for rain!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Always Learning!

I love what Jack Nicolson said: "The minute that you're not learning I believe you're dead."

Well, I'm not dead! I enjoy learning something new or a new way of doing something I've done for years! Since I'm a visual learner, I find watching YouTube videos are the way to go!

I spent several hours this morning viewing a variety of things I've not done before, or haven't in a long time! I won't list/share them all, just a few:

At the last trade show, I noticed several vendors selling adorable Princess Tutu's. When I walked by their booth, I thought, How sweet is that! The "How to make tutu no sew" video shows how it's done!

I've seen the "Butterfly Loom" hot pad before, but never knew how to create it! Although the video is in Italian, it's not complicated to follow along, watching her hands.

A while back, my sister gave me a knitting loom! I haven't made the time to learn how to use it and now I don't have to read the directions! It sounds like the presenter is a young woman! You go, girl!

It's been ages since I've used my Ashford Spinning Wheel. I'm grateful many artisans have shared their expertise via videos because I want to get back to making my own yarn! I have oodles of fiber, ready to spin!

I'm always looking for new ways to create fabric/ribbon flowers. I found this delightful video showing how to make a pretty ribbon rose.

Okay. Enough browsing for today! I'm burning daylight hours! Now I need to implement some of these projects or new techniques in my current works-in-progress!

Have you discovered a favorite crafting video on the Internet? Please share the link, I would love to see it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dreams (aka Wish List)

The other day I wrote a piece about participating in Trade Shows. In that post I stated: "Each time I make a list of what I can do better, differently next time." I failed to mention: "Each time constantly make notes of things I need/wish for the next time."

Over a year ago, my sister loaned me several of her mix-matched 4' folding tables and told me just to keep them. Well, she needed them back after this last show for an upcoming special event she's having in her home. I appreciated, and am thankful for, the use of the tables while I had them! In fact, until they were gone, I didn't realize how often I used them here in creating my wares!

When she came down for the trade show, she brought her utility cart. Oh. My. Goodness. What a difference it made in transporting products & supplies (like tables!) from the vehicles to the sight, and back! I decided right then, I needed/wanted/wished for a cart, too!

This One Garden Utility Cart would help me in so many ways!

At least four lightweight 48" x 24" folding tables for work surface and product displays.

While looking around at other vendors' booths, I saw some displays that nicely showcased their products. I've been on a Google mission to find something that would work for my aprons! I found an adjustable height display with four arms "waterfall" so one arm could be adjusted perfectly for the little girls aprons, too!

Okay, we all know I'm really dreaming... I might as well go all out, since it's my dream!

I just found this: "Decorative Spinning Display Hat Rack"! This would be perfect for new products in the making! It holds 15. That's about right!

For my bags and totes, a 2-way floor model for 20 displays is just what I need!

And last, but not least, a white banner with red lettering: "Lanetta's Creations"
But, that's another day, another dream!

"Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Gail Devers

What do you wish for (besides buying customers!) to make the Trade Show experience better?

Friday, April 22, 2011

When I sew...

(Originally posted August 3, 2010)

Memories flood my mind whenever I'm sitting at the sewing machine, handcrafting a special item for the women in our lives. As a very young, growing and developing woman, I vividly remember sitting on my mother’s lap while she sewed, helping her push the fabric through, always hearing her say, “Don’t get your fingers too close to the needle."

I’m blessed to have grown up in a family of women artisans! Both grandmothers, all six aunts combined, in addition to a special Great-Aunt, all created crafty items and unique fashion attire!

My mother, a designer and creator of her own style, won esteem recognitions several times from her fashion entries in the Texas State Fair. I remember clearly the excitement surrounding the events – driving to the fairgrounds, completing the forms required, seeing her model her creations, and celebrating afterwards. My daddy was a jewel in all the support he gave, and continues to give her!

I remember a short time while growing up, I longed for a “store-bought” dress … until the time I did receive one but then a classmate had the same one!!! I was devastated! Never again did I covet clothes off the rack… no, it was then I wanted / needed my own designed, handmade, and unique styled outfit – created by my mother!

Ah, to remember when I sew warms my heart. I’m thankful for what my mother taught me - for her patience, and the love she shared for the value of handcrafted, handmade, crafted items.

Thank you, Momma!

A New Approach to Blogging

Playing with Blogger, as I'm totally frustrated with the blog area within ArtFire!

I've re-posted my original, beginning blog article "When I sew" as a tribute to the wonderful women in my life, especially my mother who taught me to sew, to create.

Articles posted August 2010 - April 2011 are here. Now, I can begin!

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