Monday, December 03, 2012

Holiday Break Craft Project

Looking for things to do with your kids during Christmas break?  If you can sew at all, here's a holiday sewing project that's eggsactly perfect for beginners - and full of possibility for involving young and old!

Even for the larger 10"  figure the only fabric you need are a quarter yard of solid color for the unclothed parts of his body and another quarter yard of print for his clothes.  Stitch him up and stuff him with fiberfill or other stuffing material (like old pantyhose - if you know anyone who wears them anymore!). 

You can embellish the egg-shaped body with markers, buttons, paints, and something fluffy for his beard - using the materials-list in the pattern as a guide.  Or - even more fun - give him a jolly personality all your own with the materials you and the kids scavenge from around the house - like leftover wrapping paper and ribbon, cotton balls, yarn scraps, whatnot.

You can bet Santa won't be the only one saying "Ho Ho Ho"!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Vintage Betty

 The many faces of Betty, thanks to
Among the more than 1,000 cookbooks at my online stores - one place you can see them is - are several by that fictional SuperWoman of American cookery, Betty Crocker.  General Mills built up her reputation for super kitchen skills with easy-to-follow, reliable recipes beautifully presented in books that stay open to the page you want.  Here are a few of her vintage best -  from the mid '60s thru early '70s.

Betty Crocker's Pie and Pastry Cookbook: Appetizers, Main Dishes, Desserts, 1968/1972, Second Printing, 1972, spiralbound hardcover, 160pp.
Viewed by many as the premiere instruction manual of pie-baking, Betty Crocker's Pie and Pastry Cookbook offers photographed, step-by-step instructions for turning out a perfect pastry, and hundreds of recipes for pies, tortes, tarts, turnovers, canapes, cobblers, cream puffs, and more.

Betty Crocker's Dinner In A Dish Cook Book, 1965, First Edition, First Printing, Golden Press, spiral bound hardcover, 152pp excl index.
More than 250 casserole, skillet, chafing dish, and soup recipes, with lots of dinner party tips, putting together suppers in 30 minutes or less, planning for leftovers (""planned-overs""), and easy accompaniments to your one-dish entree.

Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1969, 22nd printing 1974, Golden Press, 5-ring hardcover binder, 480pp.
Familiar red "pie" version of the popular all-purpose cookbook, in binder format so that it lies flat, in good vintage condition. 22 chapters, from Appetizers through Desserts, filled with easy-to-follow recipes that have been "tested, re-tested, and people-tested" and that have stood the further test of time.

Betty Crocker's Dinner Parties - A Contemporary Guide to Easy Entertaining, First Printing, 1970, Golden Press, covered spiralbound hardcover, 128pp incl index.
Another great Betty Crocker vintage classic cookbook, with tried and true recipes from the 1960s clearly presented and beautifully illustrated with color photographs. Recipes are organized into menus, none of which take more than an hour to prepare.

So Quick with New Bisquick: A Betty Crocker Cookbook for Breads, Main Dishes, Desserts, 1967, General Mills, Inc., spiral bound half-size hardcover (6" X 8" approx), 120pp incl index.
Fun vintage 1960s cookbook promoting "New Bisquick Buttermilk Biscuit Mix" -- "We call it New Bisquick for short" -- an "improved", softer version of the baking shortcut standard made with lighter flour and "a little extra sugar" ...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Build Up Your Exercise Video Library!

The FIRM Classic Workout with Janet Jones
The Firm with Janet Jones
Although I shop thrift stores and estate sales for all kinds of home goods, a good exercise video in glorious VHS is one of my favorite finds.  They're usually amazingly inexpensive, so even those made in the 1980s are worth a test.  

Even online sources which don't offer free shipping are a great way to build a library of workouts, because their prices are so low.  As long as they've been tested and have a guarantee, you'll pay a fraction of the cost of DVDs or online streaming.  And, some of the most popular workouts of the 1990s - those familiar classics from The FIRM, Buns of Steel, Jane Fonda, Susan Powter, Kathy Smith - have never been re-produced in any other format. 
A New Attitude

Good old VHS exercise tapes may not have the same clarity as BluRay, but do you really need to see every speck of dust on a hot-pink-and-turquoise leotard while you're sweating to an oldie?  

Mary Tyler Moore
Let's talk about durability. We've all had the experience of getting very involved in a movie on DVD and having it freeze up into a hundred small unviewable squares.  That never happens with VHS tapes, and as long as you keep them dry and away from heavy projectiles (like stomping feet), you'll get years of viewing enjoyment from them.  

Videocassettes will deteriorate eventually.  I've kept my collection for years in a plastic bin in my basement workout area - where I turn on the dehumidifer when it feels too damp to exercise - and only one tape - my Kathy Smith step video - now loses its vertical hold for a minute or two. But who cares?  I continue exercising - I know the workout by heart and the audio is fine - and the video adjusts back to normal well before I could get annoyed.  Of course, when I do decide it's time to take it to the recycling center, I can find a replacement quickly and cheaply.
The FIRM with Kathy Derry

The videos I plan to sell are tested thoroughly, then put in bins in a spare room on the main floor of my house, away from moisture.  When they are ordered, I always test them again before sending them out - just to make sure no deterioration has occurred during storage.

Check out the exercise videos in glorious VHS format I offer at  I package them carefully and ship promptly.  Take advantage of my multiple item discount of up to 25%, and you'll be able to expand your own exercise library of classic workouts - and confuse your muscles on the cheap!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A vintage Cook's Tour

While you're planning your next dream vacation, or just wondering what to eat at home on your "staycation", here are a few regional vintage cookbooks to "trip" your tastebuds.  For more options, check out the international and regional cookbook section at YesterYearsGoodies eCrater store.

Born in the Kitchen - Plain and Fancy Plantation Fixin's by Flora Mae Hunter, Thelma Thurston Gorham, ed., 1979, Pine Cone Press, Tallahassee, Florida, hardcover, 159pp.

 The hundreds of recipes in this book represent generations of food preparation for the owners and guests of 4 adjoining plantations in south Georgia and northern Florida. Sharing them in this cookbook was a "dream come true" to Flora Mae Hunter, whose mouth-watering dishes were enjoyed by some "mighty famous people" who visited during hunting season, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Peasant Cookbook by Marian Tracy, 1955, Garden City Books, hardcover with dust jacket, 224pp.

By the author of Casserole Cookery, this vintage cookbook has authentic recipes for 165 thrifty dishes from 39 different countries of the world. Many are still familiar today as the culinary globe has shrunk, like the French Omelets, Chilean Empanadas, Italian Noodles Alfredo, Japanese Sukiyaki, Syrian Lentil Soup, Caribbean Red Beans and Rice; though many others - like Armenian lamb and okra stew, Italian sardine pie, Swedish Pork Tenderloin, French Lentils with Bacon, Chinese Ham and Mustard Green Soup - have not spread so far from their origins. 

A Collection of Traditional Amana Colony Recipes  - Family-Size Recipes of the Foods Prepared and Served in the Amana Villages for Over A Century, Ladies Auxiliary of the Homestead Welfare Club, Homestead, Iowa, 1948, Renewed Copyright 1976, hardcover, 120pp incl index.

"AMANA!--that is a name that has spelled 'good food' for many years to persons who come to visit and dine in the seven villages that comprise the Amana Society in east central Iowa... While the original recipes were meant to be served in the separate community kitchens to thirty or more people who always came hurriedly and hungrily when the big bell in the steeple chimed the dinner hour, the recipes in this book have been scaled down to fit one-family appetites. The recipes are of a wide variety--the substantial everyday main dashes and the dainty, fancy cookies baked only at Christmastime, the dishes whose principal ingredient is the potato grown in abundance on the 'home acres' and dishes concocted from the fragrant spices, fruits, and nuts of the Orient, the dishes prepared by the ancestors of present day Amana cooks several hundred years ago in Europe and the dishes developed by some bright young matron to take full advantage of the abundant Iowa harvests."

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, Barron's, 1983, softcover, 200pp.

Originally created to accompany Ms Jaffrey's popular television cooking show on BBC, this is "the perfect introduction to one of the world's great cuisines. ... over 100 authentic yet surprisingly simple recipes, ranging from the classic Rogon josh to exotic 'bazaar' specialties like Khatte chhole (sour chick peas) and Kulfi (Indian ice cream). You'll be glad to know that all the recipes use readily available ingredients. In addition you'll find helpful chapters on equipment, techniques, seasonings, and menu planning. The sparkling color photos display a total of 28 dishes." 

Fisherman's Wharf Cookbook by Barbara Lawrence, Illus by Mike Nelson, 1971, Concord, Calif: Nitty Gritty Productions, softcover, 5 1/4" X 8 1/4", 173pp plus index.

Prepare fish and seafood dishes taken directly from 15 restaurants which served Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco during the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the legendary oyster breakfast meal known as Hangtown Fry. There are clearly written recipes, histories of the wharf and the restaurants, and wonderful watercolor drawings of the nautical surroundings and the fruits of the sea. This collectible vintage cookbook is a treat to read leisurely in "vacation mode" as well as to put to delicious use in the kitchen.

"... a constant delight for the connoisseur of fine food and elegant art."

Bon appetit - or shall we say, bon voyage?   -- Dawn at

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lucky clover.

Just having some fun with the macro setting on my little Canon Power Shot.  A single shot, no editing -
love it when this happens!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Don't get me wrong - I poke fun of vintage recipes now and then just because I love them.  Here's one from the May 1960 issue of Family Circle that I seriously want to try. 

Pot-Roast Twins 
Makes 8 servings
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds rib-end loin of pork
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck, round, or rump beef roast
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound small white onions, peeled (18 to 24)
  • 8 medium carrots, scraped and cut in halves

1.  Brown pork slowly on fat and cut sides in heavy kettle or Dutch oven; remove; brown beef on all sides in same kettle; remove.  (It will take 30 to 45 minutes for both cuts.)
2.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat; add chopped onion; saute slowly until golden.
3.  Return meats to kettle; add water, seasoned salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf; cover; simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meats are almost tender when pierced with a fork; place onions and carrots on top and around them; heat to boiling, then simmer, covered, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer, or until both meats and vegetables are tender.
4.  Place meats on carving board to slice; arrange slices on heated platter with veetables around them; keep hot while making gravy.
5.  To make gravy:  Let fat rise to top of juices in kettle; skim carefully, then measure liquid and return it to kettle.  For each 1 cup liquid, blend 1 tablespoon flour with 1 tablespoon cold water t make a smooth paste; stir into liquid; cook, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens and boils 1 minute; season to taste.

This might also make a good crock pot meal.  And think I'll grind the peppercorns, and probably not limit their numbers to 4.  Parsnips would be a good addition, or sweet potatoes, and, if I use them, I won't bother peeling those little onions without blanching them first - their jackets slip right off.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Food photography was so undeveloped back in the mid century that it's really funny -- but really not that fair -- to poke fun of it.  This ad from the March 1961 issue of Family Circle, though, deserves at least a mild scolding. If the reader were hastily glancing through this issue and not bothering to read it, she'd later be wasting her time trying to find the recipe for Easter cake made of melted chewing gum.  Not only in the icing, or to stick those pipe cleaner bunnies to their egg nests, but in the very cake batter itself - to attain that bright, shiny, just-chewed "eye appeal".
For more vintage recipes, please visit the cookbook section of my eCrater store!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Age Comes A-Wooing

This old cookie jar has stories to tell ... a toddler whose creamy-crumb mustache gives him away ... heartfelt welcome on the door ... scuffed and worn, but without a crack or chip anywhere ... once a treasured gift, tucked away for safe-keeping, now looking for another loving home from my Etsy store.