Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retro Kitchen Utensils

Isn't winter a wonderful cooking and baking season? There is nothing better then coming in from the cold to a steaming pot of soup or warm bread. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!
Carrying on in that same theme, today I would like to share with you my favorite Retro Kitchen Utensils! 
  My great-grandmother's rolling pin with lovely green handles, passed down from my Mom. When I first started making pies, this is the rolling pin I used. Mom has since "officially" passed it down to me! It is so old that dough hardly ever sticks to it as it is nicely "seasoned". I love the green handles!
Another view of those lovely green handles and my cake spatula. Which I of course bought to match the rolling pin handles! This is an amazing tool! Can be used for spreading frosting, removing cake or muffins from pans, transferring cookies from the table to cookie sheet, transferring cookies from pan to cooling rack, cake cutter and server etc... I only recently acquired the spatula and still discovering all the uses. I does make a HUGE difference in  frosting cakes!
Another resent discovery, thanks to my new sister-in-law, is a nut chopper. Works great for making crushed pineapple too! I am all for alternatives to dragging out noisy machines! Just use a little elbow grease! The trick is getting the right size bowl, you want one the chopper will sit flat in, but not too big that the nuts escape. Of course, if you need ground nuts that will take a lot more elbow grease then just chopped! :)
And what would I do without my favorite bowls? This is one of a set of two that were originally part of a Hamilton Beech Stand Mixer. I never saw the mixer, just picked up the bowls at an estate sale.
Got to have a mixer! I must say this is my favorite tool to use! For anything, eggs, cakes batter, crepes, whipped cream, egg whites, pancake batter...you name it, it does a splendid job! I was really amazed when I tried it out the first time, they beat so much better then the electric ones! I think it has something to do with the beaters being closer together then modern egg beaters. The only drawback is the handles, that I again picked out to match my rolling pin, they are a bit small to hold and when trying to get up a good speed are hard to grip.
You can see the cute little handles better.
And an orange juice squeezer! You can find dozens in the antique stores, some at quite shocking prices! Gone are the days when you would have fresh squeezed juice for breakfast, but it does come in handy when a recipe calls for the juice of a lemon! And when you get a bad lot of oranges from the store, they get a new life as juice!

I hope you have enjoyed my collection of utensils from years ago! Do you have kitchen tools from granny?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Reading

It is a rainy, misty, moisty, gloomy, dark day here in this corner of Wisconsin. Can you tell I am not enchanted with it? When you get one glorious sunny day every two weeks, you get a little sun deprived. Living so close to Lake Michigan has it's disatvantages. There are certain times of the year, we might as well be living in England! I know, I have the January blues.... Usually, we can count on January being clear and bright because of the cold weather, but not this year, one gloomy week after another.......All I really want to do is curl up and read a good book!

My current read is Georgette Heyer. If you love reading Jane Austen, you will love Georgette Heyer. She researched her books extensivly and it is like stepping back in time.

 "Her novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. Heyer published 56 books over 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations." from Barnes & Noble

"Sprig Muslin" - Finding so young and pretty a girl as Amanda wandering unattended, Sir Gareth Ludlow knows it is his duty as a man of honour to restore her to her family. But it is to prove no easy task for the Corinthian. His captive in spring muslin has more than her rapturous good looks and bandboxes to aid her - she is also possessed of a runaway imagination... (Google Books)
You can also read a preview of Sprig Muslin on Google Books.
Have a cozy day!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

1940s College Apron

 Second installment of Grandma's aprons. This one she was making in college, 1948! She wasn't much of a sewer, so it was never finished. But it is still charming.

A close up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pattern Review- Wearing History Apron

 Pattern and fabric all ready to sew! I had this fabric in my stash, the minute I saw it I thought 40s apron! So when Wearing History came out with a new 1940s apron pattern, I knew which fabric to use! Then I found the perfect blue for binding in the quilt fabric stash. I chose the medium size to make and I am glad I did, as the apron is snugger fitting then modern aprons.
 Love the scalloped hem! The binding may seem a little daunting, but it really went on quite smoothly. The sweetheart neckline of course was the hardest.
 I pretty much followed the directions exactly. The only changes I made was doing 1/4 inch binding instead of 1/2 inch, finishing the two front seams with a mock french seam ,which I forgot to take pictures of! and adding top stitching across the ties where they attach to the skirt and where the shoulder straps attach to the skirt. I would recommend this on any apron as it is a major stress point and I had to sew a lot back on!

I love all the detail in this pattern! If you are looking for a cute 1940s pattern I would defiantly recommend it. It comes with very detailed directions to help you through all the tricky spots. Plus she has very nice tutorials on her blog. The only thing I would change is the ties, they are a bit short.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1950s Cobbler Apron

My Grandma gave me a few of her aprons last month. Today I am posting the first one. I love the cheerful red with the blue gingham binding. It is a mid 50s cobbler style apron. Cobbler style meaning it has a full front and back. I am not sure how that name came to be, doesn't make to much sense to me. I have also been playing around with how to photograph my aprons better, as you probably noticed!
 I thought at first this was a homemade apron, possibly made from this pattern. It is very much the same....ties at back neck...tuck darts in front for the sash...large roomy pockets on front.
 But once washed and ironed, I noticed a LABEL! Unfortunately it is a bit frayed and not completely decipherable. But very exciting as you don't find many aprons with labels!
 Don't you think it is says Party Perfect? And of all places-Milwaukee!! I guess it never wandered far from home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Homemade Bread

This weekend I made Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I have been craving it for weeks! I could just taste it, a lightly toasted slice of cinnamon rich bread, dripping with real butter for breakfast! Of course life being life, I didn't have the bread done until about 8pm Saturday night. But I thought, no problem! I will have it tomorrow for breakfast. As is was cooling, I kept hearing comments.... about how good it smelled ....and how nice it looked ....and were we going to have some tonight?
Before I knew what was happening the whole family was in the kitchen drooling!! Needless to say one loaf disappeared that night. My brother told me that is what I got for making a small batch! I didn't think two loaves was a small batch!?!
This recipe is the best bread I have ever had. I love the texture, perfect for toast or sandwiches. If it lasts that long! It sticks together nicely, doesn't crumble too much and can be used for anything. Cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls, wheat bread, oatmeal bread. 

Homemade Bread
2 3/4 cups flour
4 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 1/2 cups milk, warmed to 105 degrees
1/2 cup honey or sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
A little tip we just discovered. Use a thermometer to test how warm your milk it. We have been cooking our yeast!
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk, allow to bloom for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the honey and salt, let stand for 5 minutes and whisk again. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the 2 3/4 cups flour. Add the butter. Stir in the rest of the flour by cupful until a smooth dough is formed. (Either by hand or with a stand mixer.) Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly. Return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm place and let rise until doubled. About 2-2 1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 8 x 4 loaf pans. Punch down dough, cut in half* and shape into loaves. Place in pans and let rise until dough is 1 inch above rim, about 45 minutes. Bake until the tops are golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped, 35-40 minutes.
*For Cinnamon Raisin Bread: After dough is divided, flatten each pieces out into a rectangle and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar and raisins on it. Roll up and pinch ends. Place in pans and let rise.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Well, we ended up with about 6 inches. It is very pretty out today, but last night it was not fun driving!
Here are a few pictures from this morning.

 A walk in the Park!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's Snowing!!

There is something very cozy about looking out your window and watching the snow swirl. I know....I am a good Wisconsin girl....I love snow!! Admitedly, we do get tired of it come March, but we definatly miss it in Devember and January. It is so weird to think that this is really our first good snow (we don't count the few fluffs we had in December).
So what to do on a cozy snowy day?
Isn't she cute? Just a random picture found on the web.
Well, considering I am at work and really can't curl up and knit while I watch a movie. I am going to do some end of year file cleaning!! Sounds somewhat cozy.....with the music cranked up...... 

What do you like to do on snowy/bad weather days?

P.S. Sneak peak for next week! A new apron I have been working on! Using Wearing History's new pattern. Can't wait to show you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I am so excited to be sharing with you today old photos of aprons, not just aprons but my relations wearing aprons! I love old pictures, especially when they are of relatives. My sister is the unofficial family historian. She had taken it upon herself to digitize and catalog the family photos. At least once a year she goes to grandma's and gets another batch of photos. So these are freshly discovered!

First of all, here is Great-Grandma Anna. As you can see she has one of her trademark aprons on! She is holding two of her grandchildren. This is only the second picture I have of her is color. It was a very exciting find!

Aunt Margy (wearing a cute half apron with stripes!) with her son and an unknown lady. She is a great aunt on my Dad's father's side or something like that!

My grandma and her sister playing with their new dishes and wearing aprons!
I love this one, too cute.

Great-great Grandparents Andrew and Alma with their son. They were Finnish.

This week has been a little crazy as my car died on Saturday. Not just broke down, laid down and died dead!  So I am in the midst of car shopping, not the most enjoyable thing. I hope everyone's week is going well!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Clean the New Year in Right!

 Last weekend with my time off I gave my room and closet/sewing room a good cleaning and re-organization. The best way to bring in a new year, don't you think?
I live in an old house that has wonderful walk-in closets that you can get lost in! My closet is both a closet and my sewing nook. I am now able to move my sewing space out to a bigger place, but for now I love coziness of it! I can tuck myself away from the everthing and not get disturbed. mostly because I am hard to find!
 Come right in!
Part of my milk bottle collection I try to make useful and a pattern for inspiration.

 My little 50s Kennmore sewing machine. I love her. We have been through so much together! I think this is the first sewing machine that was mine, as I learned on my Mom's. Not so crazy about the color, but love the size. It is a half size machine.
 A little inspiration on the walls!
 My new organizer boxes! So everything is just not a heap on the table.
 Of course there is one for aprons! And one for fabric waiting to be made into aprons.
More vintage ads on the other wall.
It was really hard to get good pictures as it is such a small space! Well, small with a sewing table in it! I am quite proud of my little space as for years and years I just had to sew on the dining room table. I love tucking myself in and losing myself in a project.
Do you have a sewing space or crafting room?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


 Aren't they cute?! A friend pass this recipe on to me and I just couldn't resist. They can be a little time consuming to make, but are not hard. I got a little carried away on taking pictures of them! Lol

To make Chocolate Mice
You will need:
1 package Hugs Kisses (the white chocolate and regular chocolate kisses)
16 oz. chocolate to melt, i.e. chocolate chips or candy making chocolate
1 jar of maraschino cherries, with stems
1 oz. bag of sliced almonds
 Melt chocolate in double boiler, dip cherries in chocolate being careful not to loose stems, place on parchment or waxed paper. Depending on how hot your chocolate is, wait a few seconds for it to cool, then place one unwrapped Hug next to cherry making sure it sticks. After you have finished dipping your cherries and placing hugs, stick sliced almonds on for ears, dipping ends in chocolate to adhere.(You might have to re-heat your chocolate at some point, I just leave the water on the stove simmering.) I broke the almonds in half as to me the looked to big on the mice. After ears are finished you can add eyes and noses by dipping the tip of a toothpick in chocolate and dotting it on. I forgot to count how many I made, I just kept going until I ran out. It made two baking sheets full.

An army of Mice!