Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming Shows

I’ve got a lot in the works this coming holiday season and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Whether you are a local or might just happen to be passing through, be sure to stop in and say hello!

Gal-apalooza, Oct 24

This is the first show I have scheduled and is in downtown Everett, WA. This will be my third year. It’s more than a craft show, it’s an event! In the upstairs mezzanine, overlooking the main floor, are all the pampering services. Get a massage, facial, manicure etc. On the main floor are all the booths, food, wine (yes, wine!) as well as the entertainment; cake walks, raffles, belly dancers, hula hoop artists and more! I have so much fun I’d do it even if I didn’t make any money.


Anacortes Farmers Market Holiday Show, Nov 21

For you locals, this should be another fun market event! Come stock up on holiday goodies and gifts from your favorite vendors! It will be held inside the Depot building. More details to come.

I’m still waiting to hear back from another show so keep your fingers crossed for me ( I really want it)!

Hope to see you at a show this season!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grand Re-Opening!

At last! I feel like I’ve completed the move. The shop is open under the new business name (Home Deconomics) and is quickly filling with goodies.

Something I didn’t take into account was how long it takes to get a shop up and rolling. Even though I’ve been selling on Etsy for years and have just changed names, I have essentially started all over again. I have no feedback yet and very few hearts. I may lose a lot of my regular customers with this move. But it was a risk I was willing to take for the sake of my business in the long run. Please don’t forget to heart the new shop so you can find me again!

I am, however, very excited to be listing some brand new items! I gave you a sneak peek at the greeting cards last time and there are now a few listed. More of those to come as well.



Something else I’ve been working hard on is my new heavy duty craft/utility aprons! I wanted to make a durable apron to wear at shows and markets yet be cute and go with my booth decor. Then all the other vendors wanted one too. I will have plain, unadorned ones coming soon as well.




Also new to the shop: Tortilla warmers/potato bakers. Pretty handy little guys!



And more items to come! I still need to photograph the oilcloth table runners I hinted about a few posts back and some new retro shaped placemats.

I have some fun shows and opportunities coming up this fall and winter and I’ll share those once I have more details and dates.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh Joy!

I’ve got a scanner again!

I have so many wonderful books to share and now I can begin scanning them. Unfortunately, my joy is short lived because I’m getting a new computer next week (yay!) and the scanner will not be compatible with it (boo Vista). I can’t wait to get my new super-duper rig ( “rig”, ha! Do I sound like a gaming nerd or what) but I know it will render all my peripherals obsolete. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program…

(I really am excited! I will even have a better computer than my husband!)

The business name change is complete and the new shop is up (but currently empty). I should be filling it up this week with some brand new items!

One of which is greeting cards! I wanted to share my love of ugly vintage food photography with world. Ugly food is just misunderstood and needed a champion, and I,  1950s kitsch lover, am just the woman for the job.


Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Scan002, August 28, 2009

Thinking of You

Scan003, August 28, 2009

Thank You

Now you too will be able to share the joy! Show someone you love just how much you care.

Cards will be in the shop soon, I hope, now that I have a scanner! They will be retailing for about $2.75. Each image is an original straight out of a vintage cookbook (other books coming soon as well) so once it’s gone, it’s gone. Unless I find another copy of the book. Some books are just so ugly I have to adopt every copy I find.

And with my new computer I will be able to save as many memory hogging images as I want!

(Did I mention it’s red? With a back-lit keyboard in blue?)

I’m thinking I may need to start doing a weekly or monthly ugly food pic. What do you think? I have oodles of gelled foods that are begging to be seen!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I’ve been featured!

One of my wonderful fellow vendors at our local farmers market did a lovely post about me. Aw shucks, I feel swell!

Take a look-see at Bev’s Blue Collar Dog Treats and I should be back on my blogging schedule asap!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Change is a-coming

What a busy bee I’ve been! In my efforts to grow my business I’ve been doing a lot of administrative duties, taking me away from the fun things for a bit. My new business name is applied for (Home Deconomics) and website is finally going to be built. As my husband always says, go big or go home!

I’ve been taking a lot of photos. Photos for a wholesale catalog as well as booth and product pics for juried shows. I spent a lot of time creating some items at a lower price point, now I’m developing some for the other end of the spectrum, more art show worthy.

I’m going to create some really nice new business cards (with pictures) and post cards (listing shows and markets I’ll be attending that season).

Hopefully I can get my ducks in a row and have my website and catalog ready by fall in hopes of adding wholesale business when the farmers market season has ended.

Hopefully I’ll get all my new goodies listed on Etsy soon (cotton napkins, book covers, tortilla warmers, craft aprons and table runners) . And that’s another thing…essentially starting over with my Etsy shop (and the new name).

In the meantime, here’s a peek at my newest product, oilcloth table runners. I sold all my prototypes already at the last market!


And if anyone knows of someone who does fun and unusual web design, drop me a link or send me an email please! I’m looking for retro-1950’s flair.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw

I was never a coleslaw fan. It always tasted so bland and watery. Even our favorite pub has crappy fresh-made slaw.

Then I tasted real home made slaw. I’m in love. Nothing says summer to me like cool, crisp, flavorful coleslaw. Where you can actually taste and identify the vegetables and the dressing merely compliments them, not hide them.

fresh organic veggies

This recipe if from the aforementioned Cooking Light magazine. Hubby and I love mustard and this recipe is a hit!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw

7 cups finely shredded cabbage (I like to throw in a bit of red cabbage if I have it)

1 cup thin sliced red onion

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 Tbs sugar (use caution here, you can always add more later)

2 Tbs whole grain mustard (oh the choices!)

2-3 Tbs mayonnaise (someday I’ll make my own)

1/8 tsp salt & pepper

pinch of ground red pepper

*Combine cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir well (It might not look like enough dressing but it’s the perfect amount). Pour over cabbage mixture and toss well to coat. Chill before serving.*

fresh, homemade coleslaw

It was a hot day yesterday and I had a spontaneous urge to make this slaw for lunch. De-licious!

And just because I felt like it, I made a malted milkshake too!

vanilla malted

Monday, July 13, 2009

Spry – It’s Triple Creamed! or, Aunt Jenny Wants to Kill You!

My scanner is broken but I managed to dig up some previous scans of vintage cook booklets. These are a couple from Spry, a vegetable shortening, like Crisco.

Here are the front and back covers of the earlier one, I’m guessing the mid 1940’s. All the graphics inside are illustrated like the covers. I wish I had a scan of the inside to show you what “Aunt Jenny’ looks like.



Now here is the later version, perhaps late 40’s very early 50’s.


The copy on these cracks me up. “So digestible even a child can eat them!” Thank goodness for that! Below is a good shot of Aunt Jenny before she went off her meds.


The inside is where things get weird for me. Aunt Jenny is no longer illustrated. She’s a “real” person. My mother was the first one to notice something about sweet Aunt Jenny was…off. Like they tried to make her look older and more grandmotherly than she is.


An’ they go a bit o’erboard on the country speak, don’t you know. But it’s so down home you know good things are comin’ outta this kitchen!

“Land sakes Ebeneezer…!” 

Here she is serving up one of her “magic meat pies”. Looks awful suspect to me. And where is Mr. Aunt Jenny? Does he approve of his wife serving meals to single men? I think they’re hinting that ole Aunt Jenny is a bit spry herself *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*



There is just something about Aunt Jenny that gives me the creeps. The fake “grandma-ness”, the overly beaming smile and the over the top country slang is too contrived. I hadn’t noticed her creepiness until after I scanned the booklet or I could give you some great examples of her crazed grin. Like she just served up her niece in the magic meat pie.

Here is the back cover and a glimpse at the original Aunt Jenny. She is in the very upper right. Now that is a sweet grandma figure! I believe that Aunt Jenny. Sweet and kindly with rosy cheeks, not a smile frozen in rigor.


I do not like the creepy Aunt Jenny. She reminds me of smiling, overly happy people that are hiding something. Like a knife behind their back.

You know..if I squint just right I can make the copy above read “Aunt Jenny stars as Bride of Chucky”. Come ‘ere you! Aunt Jenny wants to bake you in, er, bake you a meat pie! You’ll DIE for it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Favorite Cookbooks and Magazines

I learned to cook rather late in life. My mother never really learned to cook from her mother (“children don’t belong in the kitchen!”), and I never really learned from mine.

All through college I waited tables and got free or cheap meals. It wasn’t until I started working in bookstores that I learned the joy of reading cookbooks and took an interest in cooking for myself.

Being a bibliophile for most of my life, I bought many cookbooks that were gorgeously photographed, specialty cuisines, ethnic or regional. But I didn’t know how to actually cook out of them. I lacked even the most basic cooking common sense. So I covertly and slyly bought Cooking for Dummies. The recipes weren’t that great( i never cooked out of it) but it explained a few technical things.

After asking around I finally bought How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

I still use it to this day (there is now a new, revised version).

I’ve never been a dieter and normally eschew low-fat foods, opting for the bigger, fuller flavors of “regular” food. As I learned more about cooking I started getting more interested in healthier, lighter food. It was only because I was on vacation with little else to do but browse a huge stack of donated Cooking Light magazines, that I fell in love with them.

cooking light magazine

It is not diet food! It is about using fresh, quality ingredients and using herbs and spices to get great flavor while eliminating fat and salt. I have learned a lot from this magazine.

Now I have two bookshelves of the magazines and a recipe box over-flowing with Cooking Light recipes. I was ready for something new.

Enter the book, America’s Test Kitchen,

America's Test Kitchen Cookbook

Since I had grown up lacking the basic fundamentals of cooking, I’ve always been fascinated with the “whys” of cooking, with the chemistry and science of it all. While I have a few books that discuss this down to the molecular level, America’s Test Kitchen makes it easy by doing all the hit and miss for you, and then explaining why it does or doesn’t work.

It also provides product recommendations. Truly tested ones, NOT sponsored ones. So not only do they tell you which canned corn tastes better, but why, and why it works better than fresh corn in the recipe.

The publishers of America’s Test Kitchen also put out a few magazines, none of which really appealed to me before. Cook’s Illustrated was always a little too fancy and upscale for my tastes. But now that my skills have improved and I feel a little more confident, I now really enjoy the magazine.

Cook's Illustrated

There is no advertising in the magazine and a good number of the illustrations are detailed drawings. This is a very “how-to” magazine. It totally appeals to my inquiring mind about how and why certain things work. Like the book, it has product reviews and recommendations.

And now my latest fave, also from the same publisher, Cook’s Country.

Cook's Country


First I had to admit I’m a little bit country. Maybe because I’m getting older or maybe because my style has evolved, but there is a bit of country in me. I think part of it is a lot of my retro-1950’s style goes so well with, and often doubles as the country aesthetic. Cherries, roosters, apple pie and rick rack. Country and retro!  The magazine has a distinct country-retro feel that I like.

One of Cook’s Country regular features is Lost Recipes. Cooks looking for or sharing recipes from the past. The issue pictured above had recipes for 7-UP Pound Cake and Stained Glass Cake! I’m so in love. It doesn’t get more retro than that!

I still own, and use all of these books and magazines. I have long since weeded out the fancy books that I’ll never cook out of. Now I stick to a handful of proven favorites. As my tastes continue to evolve (jello? ok, maybe devolve!) I may use some less and find new favorites, but for now these continue to serve me well.

I don’t have children and I worked in restaurants all through my 20s and 30s so my cooking is very restaurant influenced. A piece of meat with a sauce, a sautéed or steamed veggie and an often garnished plate.

What’s your style? What are your favorite cookbooks/magazines and why? If you didn’t learn to cook from a family member how did you teach yourself to cook? What types of food does your family like best?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vintage Motel and Restaurant Signage

Alas, my scanner has died. I have stacks of vintage books sitting patiently, waiting to have their spines cracked in order to be shared with the world. Their spines will just have to remain intact for now and let photos do the talking.

vintage motel sign

I have a serious crush on vintage signs and typography. On my various travels around the west I’ve taken snapshots of some signs that are just totally lost in time. Unfortunately, most of them were taken from a moving vehicle, not the best method of getting a good photo. Lucky for me, I’m after the general shape and style of the sign than a beautiful shot.

vintage motel sign

This “checkmark and post” style is everywhere. I don’t know if it started out as a trademark for a single company or if it was just popular. Was Motor Lodge a company too, or just another word for motel? Dunno. The two signs above were within 2 blocks of each other.

Same style, different state. When I see these dynamic shapes I always wonder how I could incorporate them into my work.

vintage motel sign

I love the free-form blobby shape surrounding the trapezoid! I may have to design my business card like it.

vintage motel sign

I could see this shape as a business card or hang tag. I could even punch holes to simulate the lights.

vintage motel sign

We’ve seen this shape before! A little less flashy but just as dynamic. Hey, I wonder if I could make a booth banner that shape! Both eye-catching and directional.

vintage motel sign

Too bad this one is such a poor shot. Great font style and I love the stacked shapes.

vintage motel sign

This is a great example of efficient design. Two shapes, two colors, two fonts. Simple, bold and conveys frugality to the budget conscious traveler.

vintage motel sign

I love this sign and I wish I had a better shot. I adore the swirly “motel” shape and simple font. It wants to be a pillow, or an appliqué on something fun.

vintage motel sign

But why should motels have all the fun?

vintage restaurant sign

vintage car wash sign, Seattle

I suspect that this one is a reproduction, not truly vintage but I like it anyway.

retro sporting goods sign

I have many more but they are scattered across two hard drives and it’s getting more and more difficult to manage them!

I can’t wait to take another road trip and capture more lost-in-time signage!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

I wanted business to pick up. Now I barely have time to blog. I wish the money were coming in as fast (are you listening, universe?) but that too, will come in time.

I’ve gone on and on about how much I’m enjoying the Farmer’s Market so I won’t say it again today but here is one of the reasons why. Big special orders! This is what I was working on all last week. Three 6 foot table coverings, in oilcloth, with removable sides and back access.




These babies were a bear! I thought it would be simple. It looks like they should be simple, right? I’d never made them before so I was lucky I had a table the same size to fit them to. Trying to sew 9+ feet of rather stiff material was more of a challenge than I expected but after ripping out only a couple seams and mitering the corners I arrived at a good fit.

And just look how adorable they turned out!


The perfect backdrop for Auntie M’s Cupcakes! She knew exactly what she wanted and that helped a great deal. We were booth neighbors on the first day of market, the first time at market for both of us, and we hit it off ever since. Just look at these delicious little gems!




Displaying them under glass cloches is genius and truly sets her booth apart from the other bakers.


Even though working on special orders takes me away from my regular work it’s actually a good thing. It’s a guaranteed sale. That’s a good thing too because market that day was terribly slow but my sales were outstanding due to special orders! (I also made up some sand bags for the market managers booth.)

And now Auntie M has asked me for sand bags too (notice the kitty litter buckets? Ew, not with cupcakes!). And more coverings for 2 end tables. And a cover for the water cooler. And eventually, 3 more covers for 8 ft tables! Now that the hard part is over (engineering them) they will be much quicker. Then the second part of my wish will come true too!