Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm not much of a baker. I love baked goods but since there are only two of us to cook for and we're not really dessert people, I just don't bake.

All these older cookbooks are going to change my mind. Sure a majority of the recipes are dated and unhealthy but the baking hasn't really changed. It's the fat and heavy cream and loads of sugar that makes baked goods so delectable!

And the smell! I honestly don't think there is anything more wonderful than the smell of something baking. Fresh bread, hot cookies, gooey pies, buttery pastries...mmm, can't you smell it?

Well the previous owner of one of my cookbooks certainly could because she stashed many, many pages of cake and pie recipes inside. This is one of two magazine segments she kept, each from a consecutive year of the same magazine.

For a change the photography is stunning. It's no wonder she saved these. I wish you were able to see them full size!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stepford Children

These rather unnatural looking children were on the back side of a recipe torn from a magazine circa 1953.
You know I'd steal that girl's little single serving size Jello dessert.

What on earth is she pouring into that Thermos? It looks rather green. Better be soup.

I have no idea what the ad was product, the cookware, Ritalin?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cooking with 7-UP

"You like likes you!"

Wow, what a stellar slogan. Good thing they followed it up with an even more stellar idea - cooking with it!
"Seven-Up added to a prepared pie crust makes for a flakier crust."

7-UP Salad:
1 pkg lime Jello
1 c apple sauce
1 bottle seven-up
Where do they come up with these things??

So it looks like 7-UP's secret is to replace any liquid in a recipe with....7-UP?

Get your kid to drink milk by adding 7-UP to it!

"Mothers know that this is a wholesome combination. The addition of 7-UP gives milk a new flavor appeal that especially pleases children." Duh. It's soda.

I love product-specific recipes. I always feel sorry for all those cooks who had to slave away in a test kitchen with odd products to make an entire book of recipes. Think of the desperation as they started to run out of ideas.

Just wait til I share the Kraft Foods Cookbook! No shortage of products but a huge deficiency of nutrition!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! To be sure, I am eating plate-fulls of food that I will look back on in revulsion in 30 years time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Mid-Century Cooking

Aspic, apsic, who's got the aspic?

Apsic is basically any kind of molded gelatin food that is not sweet or a dessert. Usually vegetables or meats. It's just gross.

Now don't you wish you could read the recipes more easily so that you could wow your friends and family with your culinary marvels?

More fantastic foods to come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nothing left but the wishbone

This little gem was another piece of 1950's cooking ephemera tucked away in a cookbook. Courtesy of the San Diego Gas & Electric Home Economics Department!
I still don't fully understand the idea of using spagetti (especially left-overs) in casseroles.
"Contrary to popular opinion, hot foods placed directly in the refridgerator will not spoil" You mean there was a time when that was popular opinion??

Ok, the last recipe lost me at the pimento and killed me with the toasted coconut and pineapple garnish. With turkey. And the fact that it's a soup?...what is that anyway?

So who's ready for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mmmmm, delicious?

Since Thanks-for-giving-me-a-bellyache Day is near and I finally got a working scanner, I thought I'd share some authentic 1950's recipes this week.

I hope you ate already!

Main Curse! I mean, Course.

I'd actually eat this one. Accept I hate bananas.

This sounds like a great way of ruining perfectly good ice cream and Fig Newtons.

Big surprise that this is my favorite. I have a strange attraction to gelatin molds and desserts.

These just a few of the many items tucked into the pages of a 1938 cookbook. The most recent clipping I found was from the late 50's. Looks like this book had been well used for some time!
Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a go!

I'm committed. I'm going for it. As my sweetie says "Go big or go home", so I'm going big! Of course that's easy for him to say, he's going to be out of town for the whole ordeal.

So I've pressed my family into service, additional supplies are on the way,and I have back-ups of all my blades and circle cutting gadgets.

All I need is a really cleverly worded teaser to put inside each cookie!

Well, then there's the hammering part but I'll give myself a headache if I think about that now.

I'll post some pictures later. I've never done this type of volume before so I'm ready to document the process.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Promo Dilemma

Here's the scoop. Just like many others, I just got an email for sponsorship of any/all of the 3 Bust Craftacular shows. I am contemplating the lowest level of sponsorship which includes business name and website on the program and Bust website as well as contributing promo items for the gift bags. I would have to contribute 500 items for the more established NY show and 100 to the new LA show. Have any of you done promotions with such volume before? What sort of items or coupons did you contribute? Did you see any noticeable traffic/sales. I was only going to try the LA show but reading about the success of the NY show makes me wonder if I should do both. 600 items by early December.

So I was thinking numbers here...2 ways to look at it;
1- I would be reaching 600 people for just over $1 (my promos cost me a buck). Where else will you pay that little and reach so many?

2- If only 10% of those people (60) actually visit and buy something, at say, $10 (my average price) that's a $600 return. Not too shabby. And even if only a few of those become repeat customers it will balance out.

Doesn't sound too bad, right? I want to use these fabric fortune cookies. I think they will stand out well against all the buttons, key chains, magnets and lip balms and they beg to be opened. Inside I will make a special....well, this is where I'm stuck. The cookie gets their attention but what's inside has to get them to come to Etsy. So it has to be something they'll keep once they've opened the cookie.
Now I'm thinking of turning it into a raffle or drawing What if I offer a gift valued at say, $75 if they come to Etsy and convo me to get their name in the hat. Would that be enough incentive for them to hold onto their freebie and actually come visit?

This is a huge risk and I want to take it but I need to approach it smartly. I would love any ideas, suggestions or feedback. Please!
I have until Monday to decide (last chance to get supplies in time). Please advise! Pros and Cons, let me have them!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Garlic & Bananas

Since I've been working so hard the last few days I gave myself the afternoon off. What that really meant was cooking and cleaning. I've been reading a lot of cookbooks lately so I was really looking forward to baking something. But what?

When I walked into the kitchen I was greeted with the scent of very ripe bananas. Aha! Banana bread coming right up! I can't stand the smell of bananas and I can only eat half of one before I gag. But throw a banana into a baked good and I'm in love. I mashed and mixed and popped it in the oven. Because it's such a wet, heavy batter it takes forever to bake. It was torture! And hour of delicious, warm, vanilla-banana scented joy wafting up the stairs while I cleaned. Even worse is that the recipe calls for an hour cooling time before eating. What?! I had it slathered in butter and popped in my mouth as soon as I could handle the loaf. Heaven.

But I wasn't finished yet! I wanted to bake more! I eye-balled the big fresh loaf of french bread on the counter and remembered I saw a recipe for making your own croutons. Why the hell not? Sounds like fun. Mix a little olive oil, salt, fresh garlic, fresh grated Parmesan and the cubed bread. Bake for about 25 minutes.

More heavenly smells! I adore garlic and again, I was eating my crunchy cubes of baked yumminess as soon as it was cool enough to handle. And later again on my salad. Mmmmmm, perfection.

I just wish I hadn't baked them both within a few hours of each other. When tell people I just baked banana bread and garlic croutons the first reaction is, well...eewww. Two tasty but very disparate flavors that would do well to have their own day of glory.
Wow, I'm hungry now. Think I need a slice of warm banana bread. And no croutons :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

But who's counting

Number of;
Fabric fortune cookies cut..............................................................268
Snaps hammered onto cookies before splitting
- headache forced me to halt..........................................................186
Aprons finished.................................................................................18
Packaging assembled.......................................................................24
Dish towel blanks ordered..................................................5 dozen
Prayers that my dying camera will work
- just one more time ........................................................appx 30
Times I cursed my dying printer that needs
- to be unplugged after each page.................................. too many
Times the dog nudged me trying to convince me that
- my hands could be of better use somewhere else....... ...1,657
Household chores completed........................................................0
Cups of coffee..............................................................................unkown
Days to complete.............................................................................2

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Never stagnate, always innovate

I always knew I couldn't rely on the apron trend forever. When a trend peaks it usually means it's time to move on to something else, you are no longer unique or an innovator, you are just one of the pack.

I went in to Joanne's last week with my mother. Honestly, I've become a fabric snob. I don't like Joanne's and have begun to look at it like the Walmart of crafting. I'll go there in an emergency but I don't rely on it for supplies.

And I saw this. Something many of you have probably seen for a while but it was new to me. A pre-printed apron kit. The apron is printed right on the fabric. All you have to do is cut it out along the lines and sew. And all those beautiful books by Lark publishing (I have even submitted to them before) on sewing potholders and aprons. Ack! That's my livelihood!

I've been wanting to expand my product line for more than a year and now is the time! If I had been up on my market research I would have known this a lot sooner. Don't forget kids, get out there and never stop scoping out the competition! This was the perfect reminder of that for me and has lit a fire under my keister to diversify.
It's just unfortunate that I happen to be working on a fresh, big, new stack of aprons right now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We have an unhealthy addiction to agate hunting. We spent 2 hours in the driving rain and incoming tide looking for rocks that end up in a jar. We're going again today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pears, Pelicans and Presidents

I'm at the Oregon coast for a week, relaxing in a house with no tv or internet. It is a joy! I thought I'd walk down the street to an internet cafe each day but I haven't. Time moves differently here and I'm just savoring it.

I'm taking long walks with the dogs on the beach. It has rained non-stop but we don't care. Pelicans are migrating so we stop and watch modest groups of them hug the coast on their trip south. I don't know if hummingbirds migrate but we've been seeing a lot og them too.

Before leaving for the beach I picked the pears off our tree. The first decent harvest off the little struggling tree. As the temperature has gone down my need for baked goods has increased so we baked a pear cobbler that filled the whole house with the smell of cinnamon while a hail storm raged outside. It will be breakfast this morning!

And lastly but certainly not last...the election! I'm not very politically active or aware and I'm ashamed to admit I don't vote often. I was very invested in this election. Imagine my dismay when I realized I'd miss the election, being out of state! So we opened a bottle of wine, played cards and listened to the radio. Oh Joy Obama! Thank goodness!

So I may or may not post again while down here. I intend to but the beach and this cozy old house have a funny way of bending time and rearranging priorites. And right now that priority is another cup of coffee and some pear cobbler!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Treat!

Oh Joy! How could I have forgotten to mention it yesterday? Delivered fresh to my doorstep- new fabric!

Receiving new supplies is always exciting but for me there is no greater pleasure than getting new fabric. Even the touch and feel of a new bolt if wonderful.

I spotted the cute red and blue fabrics in a shop and knew I had to order my own. When I got online I found the fantastic chicken print. Just what I needed as I'm all out of my old chicken fabric. And nothing says retro kitchen quite like chickens!

But look at the size of the print! It's HUGE. The squares are almost 5" across. I'm almost afraid it's too large for an apron. I'll make a tester and see what reactions I get from it.

Another risk when buying new fabrics is whether or not they'll match any of my other fabrics. I have some fantabulous prints but the colors just don't go with anything else. So they sit and wait for the perfect project or a good match. These fabrics are great! I love the colors and they play well with my existing palette.
Yay! Off to play!