Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are Pillowcases Made Of Gold?

I got a beautiful set of flannel sheets for Christmas. So soft, and warm, I love them. The set came with two pillowcases. I need 4 more. I have a lot of pillows on the bed. I went to Kohl's where the sheets were bought to pick up some more pillowcases. I picked up a a package that was marked $56. Are you kidding me? The cheapest I found at that store was for a package of two for $25. Better, but nowhere near what I'm willing to pay.

I had to go to Target so I figured I'd check there. The cheapest that I found was for around $12 or $17, I was in shock so I can't remember. Again, better, but not what I'm willing to pay. I checked Target online, and apparently, I can get a pair for $6.99, but that's not including shipping.

What's going on here? This is just ridiculous. The original set of sheets cost $29.99! All I want are some reasonably priced pillowcases.

Luckily, I'm surrounded by intelligent people (most of the time.) My daughter suggested, "Why don't you make your own, Mom?" Duh. Great idea. I have yards of  fabric sitting in plastic boxes doing next to nothing. What could be simpler than sewing up a few pillowcases? I'll be sure to post what I come up with.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creative Gift Giving From The Heart (And The Kitchen)

It's very busy around here, as we are getting ready for Christmas. Lots of baking and creating going on. Many years back, we decided to pick names to exchange gifts rather than getting everyone in the family a gift. The family was getting bigger and money was getting tight. It was agreed upon that if you wanted to give something to another family member that wasn't your "pick" then you had to make it. This inspired most everyone to get creative. Now, every Christmas we look forward to seeing what everyone has come up with.

I usually put together gift baskets or bags of things that I have made in the kitchen. Jams, breads and cookies top the list. Sometimes I get creative with what I put the items in. There was one year that I collected several cardboard boxes from the restaurant that I worked at. Then I wrapped the boxes with wrapping paper and put all of my creations in the box. Last year I bought plastic snack bowls and put the goodies in those wrapped up with cellophane. One year I bought plain brown paper bags with handles and adhered fabric to the bags to decorate them with. This year I'll probably use standard gift bags.

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

This year I'll be giving Double Fudge Brownie Mix, Apple Butter, Blueberry Jam, Cherry Jam, Pumpkin Bread,  Oreo Pops, Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies, Double Chocolate Rum Fruitcake Cookies, and Fudge Puddles. I'm going to try making Eggnog Fudge, Cinnamon Fudge, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge for a few special people on my list. It sounds like a lot of stuff to make a mere 4 days before Christmas, but I've already made the jams and the Apple Butter. The jams were done in July, and the Apple Butter was made in September. So, it's not as bad as it seems.

Well, I have a lot of creating ahead of me, so I'd better get back into the kitchen. Good luck with all of your creative gift giving this season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It Sure Smells Good Around Here! Great Last Minute Gifts

I just made up about 25 bottles of room spray. Scents I have available are:

Apple Jack and Peel  
Banana Nut Bread
Blueberry Cheesecake
Caramel Latte
Christmas Memories
Christmas Wish
Cinnamon Buns
Fresh Laundry
Nana's Kitchen

I'm selling them for $5.50 a bottle. They come in a 4 oz, amber colored, spray mist bottle, with a kraft paper label and a fabric accent tied on the neck of the bottle. You can either buy them at Aunt Lizzie's Whatnot Shop, the only shop that carries them, or through me. I would even be willing to ship. They make great stocking stuffers, teacher appreciation gifts, last minute gifts, or something to give yourself. They smell nice, and look good, too!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The White 1505 For Sale

I'm ready to part with one of my machines. This is a big step for me. As I was cleaning and tuning up the White 1505 I was thinking to myself what a nice machine it is. I even contemplated keeping for myself, but I really can't. I have to make more room and go through the machines that I have.

The White 1505 has a bunch of nice stitch functions, does button holes, and the accessory compartment is detachable, so that you can sew narrow items like cuffs, sleeves, or small bags. It comes with a few extra feet, and various accessories. The body is very clean, and I went over the whole machine and cleaned, oiled and greased where needed. The machine works great, and from what I've read about it, it seems to be well liked by quilters. The same model recently sold on eBay for $139. I have it listed on Craigslist for $60. I'd love to see this sewing machine go to someone who will really use and enjoy it. Contact me if you are interested in the White 1505.
To see more photos, click here.
To see the ad on Craigslist, click here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cranberry Drops - Yummy!

My assignment: make some cookies for the annual Christmas Bazaar at church, where the cookie table is very popular. Don't you get sick of making the same chocolate chip cookie all of the time? Plus, when you go to a bazaar, chances are the table is filled with - what else- chocolate chip cookies. Now, mind you, I LOVE the good 'ol standby, the classic chocolate chip cookie, but every now and then, I like to mix it up and be a little more creative, and in this case, contribute something a little different to the cookie table.

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Enter, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. My husband knows how much I like vintage cookbooks (okay, vintage anything, almost) so I found the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book under the tree for me on Christmas morning last year. The book was originally published in 1963, but I received a copy that was published in 2002. Heaven. I haven't made one cookie from that cookbook, until today. I chose the Cranberry Drops recipe, mostly because I had all of the ingredients on hand, and I thought it was something that would appeal to people. I also thought that the chances of there being another Cranberry Drop cookie on the cookie table at the bazaar were low.

So, the results? Absolutely yummy! The tartness of the cranberries mixed with the sweetness of the dough made for a wonderful combination. This one is going in my list of "keepers". The recipe is below. If you do try it, let me know what you think. The recipe says to bake for 10-15 minutes. I found that my baking time was about 10-11 minutes, and they were perfect. Also, the recipe says the you'll get about 11 dozen, but I only got about 7 dozen.

Cranberry Drops
From: Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 egg
3 cups Gold Medal Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. soda
1 cup chopped nuts
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in milk, orange juice, and egg. Measure flour by dipping method (p. 5) or by sifting. Stir together flour, baking powder,l salt, and soda. Blend well with sugar mixture. Stir in chopped nuts and cranberries. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 min. Makes 11 doz. cookies.
Cranberry Drop Cookies fresh out of the oven
Finally, as a side note, I think it's funny that "cookie" is spelled "cooky" in the title of the cookbook. It always makes me think of "kooky."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Singer 337 - One Cute Sewing Machine

Singer 337
I picked up this Singer 337 off of Craigslist.  The man who owned said that it had been his mother's and that the last time that it had been used was about a year ago by his granddaughter.  It came in a cabinet, and upon first glance it was very dirty. 

After sitting for a couple of weeks, I took a good look at it and started to clean it up.  It started to look better immediately.  It didn't run, but seemed like it wanted to when I pressed the foot control and turned the hand wheel at the same time.  I felt like the problem was the foot control.  I ordered one off of eBay, and when it came in the mail, I plugged it into the machine right away.  It worked!  After a complete cleaning, oiling and greasing of the gears, it seems to be as good as new.  I  also replaced the rubber feet on the bottom of the machine.  Over time they had hardened and cracked.  It took a bit of work to chisel them out.  The rubber feet from the Touch & Sew fit this machine just fine, so that's what I ordered.

The blue color of this machine is just wonderful.  If it had come with the original foot control, that cord would have been blue like the color of the machine.  Even the bobbin winder tire is blue!  The original carry/storage cases were also blue.  I'm on the lookout for one of those.  I'd love to get one to store the machine in.

I have decided to keep it out of the cabinet, since the cabinet was in poor shape. Plus, the cabinets take up a lot of room that I don't have.

It was made in Great Britain in 1964 and 1965, and is a zig-zag machine.  So far, this has been a great machine for me.  I'll probably keep it, because I've put a bit of money into it, especially with the new foot controller.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book

The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book Wartime Edition 1943
I picked up this cookbook at an estate sale over the weekend. I'd never seen one like it before, so I grabbed it. This edition was published in 1943. After I've gone through it some more, it'll most likely end up for sale at Aunt Lizzie's Whatnot Shop. If you have an interest in it, you can contact me. 

I've mentioned before that I like to read old cookbooks because of the different types of recipes that were popular at the time. Well, as I was skimming through the pages, I came across a chapter with tips for throwing the perfect party, whether it be a cocktail, formal, or outdoor party. In that chapter there is also a section on how to entertain without a maid.  I cracked up! Yes, I know, it's tough, but one CAN entertain without a maid.  Funny, I didn't see anything about entertaining with five dogs running around.  Maybe you have to hire a dog wrangler for the evening in order to have the perfect party. 

You have to read it for yourselves. Here is the excerpt from that chapter:

Entertaining Without A Maid

Many women can manage almost any form of entertainment without the help of a maid. For most, however, there are distinct limits to what should be attempted for pleasant and dignified results. The disappearance of the dining room and the substitution of a bay or alcove in the living room has increased the ease of servantless entertaining at the table. Many small pieces of furniture are especially designed to add to the efficiency of the hostess and the comfort of her guests, such as the drop-leaf, gate-leg and butterfly tables, double-decked tea carts, muffin stands and butler's trays. The menu should be planned to avoid last minute activities on the part of the hostess. She should be free to greet and attend her guests. All the extra china and glass necessary should be on one of the small tables within the hostess' reach and china removed can be placed out of sight on the lower shelf of the table or the low butler's tray. Extra bread, butter, wafers, sauces and water are also on the auxiliary table. If arrangements are well planned, the hostess need not leave her chair until it is time to clear, and serve the dessert. At that time, too, the coffee can be started. The coffee service has previously been placed at a convenient spot in the living room, and the screen to be used for enclosing the table when it has been left is at an easily accessible place. (See page 82.) As the guests leave the table for the living room, the hostess enters with the coffee while the host attends to placing the screen. By the time all have lighted a fresh cigarette, the coffee is being poured and the dining table has been forgotten.

I love it! It's so interesting to me how things change over time. I now have the confidence to throw a party without my maid in attendance ; ) Now if I can only find the dog wranglers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Warm Fuzzy Blanket Is Finished!

The warm, fuzzy blanket all ready for the benefit.
I'm very happy with the way this turned out.  It's just as I'd hoped it would be.  It's soft, cuddly, and looks nice, too.  It's about 70 inches by 56 inches - a good size to use while sitting on the couch on a cold evening.  It didn't take too long to finish - about one evening.  Sometimes working with fleece and flannel together can be tricky, because the fleece tends to stretch, and the flannel tends to stick.  There was a little of that, but not a big deal.  Hopefully, it'll help bring in a lot of money at the benefit. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Warm Fuzzy Blanket For A Good Cause

I just picked up some fabric yesterday for a new, quick project.  I will be attending a benefit over the weekend and I wanted to make something that could be raffled off to raise more money.  Of course, this idea occurred to me mere days before the event.  That's great - another opportunity to work myself into a tizzy  (does anyone use the word tizzy anymore?).  I usually do get these wonderful ideas right before they need to be done.  Then I'm up until all hours of the night trying to get them finished. 

No worries, though.  This project is simple enough so that I shouldn't have any problems.  I bought some flannel and coordinating fleece which I'm planning to sew together to make a warm, fuzzy, cuddly, blanket to use while sitting on the couch.  Before you know it, the really cold weather will be here, and it will be so comforting to snuggle up with this blanket. 

The flannel has a pink background with white and chocolate brown accents.  The fleece that I bought to coordinate is chocolate brown.  I love pink and brown together, and this should turn out just the way I'm imagining it. 

Pink ribbon awareness flannel and chocolate brown fleece
 I'll post when the blanket is done.  I'm planning to work on it over the next couple of nights. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cake

I made pumpkin cake for my Mother's birthday.  I wanted to try something different, so I searched through my collection of community cookbooks.  I found an interesting recipe in a cookbook entitled, Something Special A collection of Ideas and Recipes for the Creative Hostess.  It was compiled by the Professional Members of the Junior League of York, Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, there isn't a date in the book, so I don't really know the age of the cookbook.  I have found that this is often the case with community cookbooks.  If I had to take a guess, I'd say it was from the 1980s, or possibly from the late '7s.  As an aside, I've found that the cookbooks put out by the Junior Leagues tend to be very good ones.  It's a good bet that if you pick up a Junior League cookbook, you'll find many good recipes inside.

The cake was moist and dense, almost like a good pumpkin bread.  It had a cream cheese frosting, and it was sooo delicious.  It didn't last long, so I only have one picture of what remained of the cake after we all tried it.  

Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Cake
with cream cheese frosting

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 pound Libby's solid pack pumpkin
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix sugar, oil and eggs at medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add flour, spices and pumpkin and mix at slow speed.   Pour in greased Bundt pan (or angel food or tube pan).  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.


1 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups 4x sugar

Mix at slow speed.  Frost cake. 

The only things that I did differently were that I used a different brand of pumpkin, I used butter instead of margarine, and I used regular confectioner's sugar. 

This was really good.  I will definitely make this again, and it's going into my collection of "keepers."  That's what we call something that's really good - it's a "keeper."  I'd love to hear if you make this cake, and what your opinion of it is.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Community Cookbooks

A very small sampling of my community cookbooks.
 I absolutely LOVE community cookbooks.  They're the cookbooks put out by churches, schools, and other groups, usually as a fundraiser.  They're also called regional cookbooks.  If they're vintage, I like them even more.  Oh yeah, if they're cheap that's a plus, too.  I look for them at yard sales and estate sales.  My favorites are the ones from areas that have some sort of meaning to me.  I also like the ones from the South, because I think that Southern cooking is just awesome. 

For my fortieth birthday, my Mother gave me a box of  forty community cookbooks that she had been buying off of eBay.  Since then, I've been picking up more.  I have no idea how many I have, and I probably don't really want to know. 

The vintage cookbooks are interesting because a lot of times you see ingredients listed in the recipes that just aren't used today.  One example is suet.  Yes, suet.  Suet Pudding, anyone?  When I think of suet, I think of the stuff that you put out for the birds.  Woodpeckers are particularly fond of it. 

Sometimes the covers of these cookbooks have beautiful artwork.  I have one cookbook put out by the First Congregational Church in Paxton, Massachusetts in 1980 that has a beautiful folk art cover. 
Cover illustration: A Scene of Paxton "When the Morning Stars Sang Together" by Judith Russell
Coincidentally, around the time that I picked up the Simply Delicious cookbook, I also picked up a framed note card.  The artwork was also in the folk art style.  Later, I noticed that the artwork on the note card happened to be by Judith Russell.  It was called School House and was one of a series of twelve in The Peaceable Kingdom in Old Deerfield from Historic Deerfield Massachusetts.  The date on the back of the notecard is 1991.  At the time, I did an internet search for more of her artwork, but was unable to find much.

Framed note card with artwork by Judith Russell
At some point, I'll probably go through my collection and cull the cookbooks that don't grab me, but for now, they don't take up too much room, and I enjoy looking through them to find that unique recipe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Is What Started It All: A Pink Brother Festival 471

This is what started my obsession: a watermelon pink Brother Festival 471.  I paid way too much for it and didn't even notice that it didn't have a belt until I got it home.  On the plus side, it did come with a manual, and a bunch of attachments.  I had been looking for a vintage sewing machine, and when I saw this on Craigslist, I had to have it.  It came in a cabinet with several drawers.  I took this one out of it, and put another sewing machine in the cabinet. 

After I bought it, I took it to a repair person, who said that there were broken or cracked gears inside.  She said that the gears were cheap, but getting to them was the problem.  Basically, she couldn't fix it.  So, I was stuck with a pretty pink sewing machine to use as a decoration.  Lesson learned: learn how to fix them myself, so that I can recognize potential problems in machines that catch my eye, and either avoid buying them, or fix them myself.

My Mother is convinced that I can fix this machine.  No matter that the woman with 40 years of experience says she CAN'T fix it.  It's nice to have someone that thinks you can do anything.  I will keep this machine.  Who knows, maybe someday I CAN fix it.  I think it'd be really neat to sew on such a cool looking machine. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Newest Acquisition - Kenmore Model 158.1410

I picked up this vintage machine the other day at my local Salvation Army.  I was really excited to get it because it looked really clean and came with a manual and a box with some attachments.  It's in a cabinet, which I'm not crazy about, but that's just my personal preference.  I realize that many people like to have a cabinet to store their machines in.  This one even came with the original owner's manual for the cabinet itself.  I've not seen that before.

I got it home, opened it up to take some pictures, and noticed that something was missing.  You can see that there is a gaping hole to the right of the dials.  I admit, I panicked.  My vision of being able to clean this thing up and pass it on to someone else in a relatively short amount of time came to a screeching halt.  Luckily, I had the owner's manual, so I was able to easily determine that the missing part was the reverse lever.  After a little searching on the internet, I was able to find the part number and a couple of places where I can get it.  Ahh, the panic eased.

I plugged it in, and it seems to run smoothly.  I'll go through it and clean, oil and grease it, and hopefully the reverse lever will be easy to put in.  I can then pass it on to the next lucky person. 

Here's a picture of the button holer that came with it:

I'm looking forward to seeing how well this machine sews.
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