Category Archives: friends

Improve Your Photos In One Easy Step

Facebook. Flickr. Instagram. Picasa. Twitpic. Photobucket. Snapfish. Smugmug. Everybody you know is posting their photos online, somewhere, somehow. And the most common, numero uno “flaw” I see whenever a person is the subject of a photo is this:

Centered Head Syndrome

The subject’s head is squarely in the center of the photo. Her body is cut off at an awkward point, and there is an enormous amount of empty, boring sky overhead. Now, this is a completely natural thing to do. As a typical human being, your focus is on your friend’s face. And your camera’s focus, quite literally, is in the same spot. But you need to embrace technology, break some boundaries, and MOVE YOUR CAMERA. Move the viewfinder down a bit. Maybe even turn it sideways. Take two steps closer. Now:

Make your friend the center…of attention.

The simplest thing to do, and if your photos fall prey to Centered Head Syndrome it will improve them by 1000%, is to think to yourself, “head to toe.” While looking through the viewfinder, can you see your friend’s head and toes? Good. Start there.

“But the landscape is so pretty, I don’t want to leave it out!” Great, work with it.

There are plenty of instances where you’ll want to get creative and start cropping your friend’s body for artistic purposes, and there are diagrams online which tidily map out where to crop, or not crop, for the best image. You can delve into the “Rule of Thirds” to think about better composition overall, no matter what the subject of your photo. But before you go there, I want you to have 10 photos under your belt where you can see your friend, or friends, from head to toe. Master this one thing, and then expand on what you’ve learned. Your friends will thank you for it.


With many thanks to the U.S. Gov’t/Peace Corps for providing a copyright restriction-free photo of a beach in Togo. It’s so restriction-free that I don’t need to credit anyone or anything, but I will, because I can.

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Filed under design, family, friends, Thank you

Monday Rounderp

Hey HEY hey, it’s Monday! We’ll start with our weekend update, then proceed with the upcoming week’s schedule (tentatively).

“Racing,” or in this case, “Hanging out in Bob’s roomy trailer while we wait for the thunderstorm to abate.” Note the ingenious use of the blower tray as a snack table.

Weekend In Review: Well, it was a rainy weekend in Great Bend, Kansas. Which is terrific for such an agricultural community currently suffering from severe drought, but not so great for drag racing. Still, both cars managed to squeeze out a few passes and when Pam Wamser won the weekend’s event in her (supercharged, of course) ’53 Studebaker Commander, she was shining enough for whatever sun we’d been missing. Everybody’s tent survived the weather, which was a big improvement over our last trip to Great Bend in which nearly everybody’s tent was broken and/or shredded by the relentless wind. However, the digger sustained some engine damage on one of Saturday’s passes and will need a going over this week to see if the guys can turn her around in time for next weekend’s race in Kearney, NE. Oh, and by the way, someone who had eaten a slice of Love Apple Cake without knowing its secret ingredient commented on its tastiness, in particular the filling! Take that, Daniel! :D

Tuesday: In which I grapple with an idea which may have run its course.

Wednesday: Howzabout I show you how to make what we in my family refer to as a Jellofetti Cake? No baking required!

Thursday: I’ve been promising to design “hero cards” for the Reminiscin Racing team. Will I get them done before the last race of the season? Unpaid gigs tend to get back burnered. Let’s check on the progress today.

Friday: Pot luck. I have to gather my things so I can go sit on a baby (what, that’s not what I’m supposed to do?) and don’t have time right now to schedule something for Friday. Woo, could be exciting!

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Filed under camping, cars, day job, design, food, friends

No Caption

Unidentified wedding, ca. 1960s

My apologies for missing the Wednesday and Thursday posts. It’s been hectic this week. I’ll keep this brief (and the crowd goes wild) because I have a massive amount of day-job work to do in the next 5 hours, but I do want to let you know that an estate sale which Erin and I almost skipped entirely turned out to pay out in, among many other things, a stack of 1950s blouses that have never been worn. I truly hope to start getting fresh clothing listings up at Tiddleywink soon! I’ve been busy listing some of the many vintage cookbooks from my collection, so if you’re hungry, do go take a look.

Another thing I picked up at the sale is a zip-top bag of old photos. The price was right, and I think they’ll be fun to slip into orders when I’m packing them up. They’d be even more fun if the photographer had marked them with any information whatsoever, but we’ll have to settle for the lone, identified photo—of a cabin—as saying “Cabin” on the back. So in this case, it’s not so handy anyway. Shown at top: the wedding of (an unidentified man) and (an unidentified woman) in the year 196X.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Filed under collections, day job, fashion, friends, life-threatening clutter, nostalgia, packaging, shopping, vintage

Society Page

While researching the designer label on an evening gown I picked up this weekend for Tiddleywink Vintage, I came across the “society” page of The Pittsburgh Press, November 15, 1947. I hope you like these snippets. Click ’em to see ’em larger.

Dolores (Carr) Rothrauff, 1947

Bunnye (Wedner) Kramer, 1947

Dorothy (Parrish) Briney, 1947

Social Situations, 1947

Juke Box Wail, 1947

Long Skirts, 1947

Other News:

A day in Leadville, CO

  • The fella and I, along with his younger sister and their parents, went up to Leadville (Colo.) for a day trip over the weekend for the parents’ 40th anniversary. The dad lived in Leadville until 1958, so it was a trip jam-packed with anecdotes and information that really made for an interesting day. We saw the hospital where dad was born (now condos) as well as the tar-paper house where his mother was born in 1906. We went past the rectory where her father first stopped—ready to receive his last rites—when he arrived in Leadville, because he was sure that his arid-climate nosebleed was in fact a sign of the high-altitude-induced brain hemorrhage that would soon cause his death. :) An antiques shop in Leadville is where I found the aforementioned gown, but seeing as it’s not exactly a fancy-dress town, I’m not sure if it ever saw a dance floor locally. Perhaps it caught a performance or two at the Tabor Opera House before being packed away for many years.
  • Also acquired: my first piece (no, really!) of Fire-King Jadite ovenware! I’ve long been on the hunt for a single, affordable, useful piece. Yes, I could use a mug, but I have this whole matchy-matchy thing going and I likely wouldn’t. I once found a solo fridgie dish-and-lid for a reasonable price, but it was chipped. Then lo, what do I spy in the corner of the antiques store but what appears to be a smallishy loaf baker which is not only marked a reasonable $22 but also conveniently on sale for 20% off! Once I got it home I learned that it’s actually a fridgie dish but with the less common (?) “Colonial” style rim, and it should have a clear lid. This set came with the same clear, handle-less lids used on the Gay Fad painted series. Those seem more easily found online, so I may buy myself a Gay Fad set just to steal the lid. ANYway…pale green bliss!
  • The cherry-pie-that-didn’t-turn-out, I have decided, will make a delicious addition to a batch of homemade ice cream. Mmmm, ice cream!
  • The wardrobe dep’t. for “Vegas” placed another order! Woo!
  • Um, probably other stuff! Zippity doo-dah!

Very happy to be working this week on a project for Cooper House, who are not only pretty darn fab designers (and coders), but also wonderful friends. However, between that and a client meeting I have on Wednesday and a high-maintenance-pet-sitting gig I have going all this week: go away. I’m busy. I’ll be blogging (I hope!) but you have a reprieve from the baking/canning/cooking posts this week. Ta for now!


Filed under amusement, collections, day job, design, family, fashion, friends, nostalgia, shopping, the office, vintage

Cherries, Eddie Clendening, and Gil Elvgren

This will be sort of a stream-of-consciousness post. Bear with me.

Cherries. The cherries are delicious this season, and they were on sale, so I bought a lot. And now I’m wondering what to do with them all! I’ve heard they freeze very well, and goodness, that would be a wonderful addition to all those smoothies I don’t make. But you know how I love to cook, and so I asked on the Tiddleywink Vintage Facebook page: what would you do with approximately 3 pounds of cherries? The most common reply thus far has been “pie,” which is fine and tasty but what kind of cherry pie? You do realize, of course, that I have cookbooks dedicated solely to pie recipes, and believe me, they have pages of recipes for cherry pies. One suggestion was to dry them, which certainly will keep them viable for far longer than my refrigerator, but I’m not a snack-on-dried-fruit person. I’d need to do something with them again, maybe a dried cherry sauce or reworking the dried-cherry-pie recipe that I did last winter and wasn’t thrilled with. And apparently didn’t post about, but you didn’t miss much. More suggestions included making a crisp, making sauce for pork (mmmm) and making them into liqueur for the winter holidays. These are all excellent suggestions, and I’m inspired. I think that what I may do is make a cherry pie with cream cheese crust, and with the rest: the tiniest batch of spiced cherries, put up for winter. Whatever I do, the recipes will follow later this week.

Related to above: someone posted a while back that she had just learned the trick of pitting cherries with a chopstick and a bottle, and I tucked that away in my brain matter. (I’ve tried the paperclip method, and it’s crap. I didn’t make a cherry pie for years after that, because the experience of pitting cherries that way had been so awful.) I’ve eyeballed a few different cherry pitter gadgets, but never felt that the expense of money and storage space was really worth it. But empty bottles and chopsticks? Those, I have on hand. And it works! Far easier than digging around with a difficult-to-grip paperclip, that’s for sure. It’s messy, and cherry juice will spray well beyond the boundaries of your apron (my readers wear an apron, of course, when tending to kitchen tasks). Wear black, and keep a sponge handy for cleanup. My ratio of pitting-to-eating was perhaps 20 to 1, of which I’m fairly proud. Anyway, now they’re ready to go, no matter what I decide to do with them.


Local-boy-done-good Eddie Clendening is back in town for a brief visit, and he and the Blue Ribbon Boys, as well as The Lucky Few and Bongo and the Pygmies, put on a slam-dunk swell 7-hour show down at Gary Lee’s. DJ Dogboy filled in the gaps, and fun was had by all. Eddie asked Woody up to the stage for a song, and I do ever so love Woody’s singing voice. I told Dina that if I’d known, I’d have brought a spare pair of panties with me to toss onto the stage!

Eddie Clendening and the Blue Ribbon Boys…and Woody. My apologies to Eddie and Mark for their unfortunate eye glare. LASER MUSICIANS!

I picked up a few things for Tiddleywink Vintage and Winkorama Vintage Sewing at some estate sales on Saturday. Not the trunkloads that I see other vendors showing off, but a few dresses, a pair of shoes, some cookbooks. It’s rare that I run into a motherlode of goodies, at prices that I can actually keep affordable for you guys. Anyway, each sale was filthier than the last, and I was so excited to get home and bathe that I didn’t get a chance to properly look through the stack of $10—Whole Box stuff until yesterday. 6 local newspapers from 1962, a 1958 LIFE magazine, a 1963 LOOK magazine, two 1959 issues of the National Police Gazette, and my favorite so far, a 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion. I plan to go back and read the articles, but, well, I could spend the rest of my life just scanning in all of the wonderful ads to share with you, from this and so many other vintage magazines in my collection. For now, let’s leave with a sweet Gil Elvgren painting which accompanies a bit of fiction titled A Lover and His Lass.

Gil Elvgren, 1948 “A Lover and His Lass”

Now, time for lunch, then to pack this weekend’s orders for shipping, and to get some new listings up for you! Happy Monday!

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Filed under amusement, collections, food, friends, music, vintage

Cookbook… no, wait, Cookcards? (Ham and Bananas Hollandaise)


Ham-Banana. Fun to say, questionable to eat. Click for biggyness.

You read this blog, so you know that I lazily collect old cookbooks. That is, I don’t actively seek them out, but I “somehow” have two shelves full and as many more stacked in piles on my dining room table. Bad Housekeeping Seal Of Approval.

When I was a kid, my mom had the McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection set of, well, recipe cards. The plastic bin for them was a light beige on the bottom, hot stamped with some sort of patriotic shield-and-eagle thing, and a clear, hinged lid. I never made a single thing from those recipe cards, and I don’t know if my mom did either. Somewhere along the way, it disappeared. Nobody was saddened.

About 5 years ago, I picked up my own nearly-complete set of the 1978 Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Card Library. I’ve never made a single thing from these recipe cards, either, but I did finally go through each and every one to pick out some that look tasty. Many are dubious, and I’m sure they’ll get posts of their own in the future.

Today’s post is about a stack of those old McCall’s cards, found for me last week by my friend Erin of ThedaBaraVintage. My plan is to share these 1973 recipe cards with my customers, and most of them are feasible for today’s palate. Zucchini Tossed Salad. Peaches in Marsala. Salmon Steaks Tarragon. But a few, just a few, would test the taste buds of anyone I know. It will be a crapshoot, and I hope my customers enjoy the gamble. Will you get a recipe card for Creole Doughnuts (Beignets), or for Perfection (gelatine) Salad?

Because I know that everyone will want to make the Ham and Bananas Hollandaise shown above, I’ll share that recipe with you here.

6 medium bananas
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 thin slices boiled ham (about 1/2 lb)
3 Tbs prepared mustard
2 envelopes (1-1/4 oz size) hollandaise sauce mix
1/4 cup light cream

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter 2-quart, shallow baking dish.
  2. Peel bananas; sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbs lemon juice to prevent darkening.
  3. Spread ham slices with mustard. Wrap each banana in slice of ham. Arrange in single layer in casserole. Bake 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make sauce: In small saucepan, combine sauce mix with 1 cup water, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and cream. Heat, stirring, to boiling; pour over bananas. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until slightly golden. Nice with a green salad for brunch or lunch. Makes 6 servings.

You’re welcome.


Filed under amusement, collections, food, friends, kitchen, nostalgia, vintage

Jiggity Jog

Okay, the flight I’m on is at o’ dark early, requiring me to get up at 4am, but I’ll get home before noon. I’ll get stuff done! Swing by the restaurant supply store for an angled spatula thingie and some new decorating tips. Bake a cake. Pack the shop orders that came in over the weekend. Sear some tuna later for dinner. It’ll be great!

4am where I started is 2am here at home, and I’m hungry so gratefully grab lunch with my gracious airport shuttle friend and now it’s 1:30 and zzzzzzzzzz…

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Filed under family, friends, vacation