Category Archives: nostalgia

Happiness Is…

If this photo had been staged, I’d have refilled the mug and cleared the background clutter.

  • Warm, milky coffee in my ancient I ♥ NY mug.
  • The end of a season of oppressively hot weather.
  • Related: Pendleton going back to the original ’49er cut.
  • Finding out that a previous client called me a “fabulous graphic designer,” and not even to me.
  • Mentioning the above on Twitter, and a current client replying by saying that I’m “seriously amazing” and then following with this.
  • Getting stuff checked off my To Do list.
  • Cleaning my stove before 9am, and it wasn’t even on my To Do list. (Although it needed to Be Done)
  • My boyfriend finally managing to fix his truck (specific problem still unknown, but the replacement of many parts seems to have done the trick) which means that he’ll once again have some evenings free for socializing. Not that we usually get together during the week, but now we can.
  • Finally deleting the 276 photos that were “stuck” on my iPhone. Ah, that feels better.
  • The Many Adventures of Rebop the Robot. I might let you in on this at a later date. Maybe.
  • Discovering (granted, two weeks after the fact) that Adobe released a CS6 update and I can now package files out of Illustrator!!!
  • Starting again to list fresh items at Tiddleywink Vintage and Winkorama. (It’s still an overwhelming burden, but it’s my overwhelming burden)
  • Making some progress on reorganizing the storage situation in my bedroom.
  • Being confident that my new bike is in good hands at small, independently-owned The Bicycle Shack, where my mention of “English, internally geared” was immediately responded to with “Sturmey-Archer hub.” They pass the quiz.

And Kitchen Pr0n!

I realize that the last Kitchen Pr0n post wasn’t that long ago, but I overlooked an item that time and added a few more things. And if anyone wants to help me reorganize my kitchen cabinets, yes please thank you! Anyway, here are the newest additions:

You know what a double-boiler looks like. The logo is the most attractive part of this Wards Signature Prestige model.

Missing from the last post is this vintage Wards Signature Prestige stainless steel double boiler. It’s not the double boiler of my dreams (you know you like to cook when you have a double boiler on your wish list), but it will certainly do the trick with fewer hands than a cobbled bowl-and-saucepan bain-marie requires. Now, if it were up to me, I’d have a Pyrex Flameware double boiler like my mom used to have. Model #6283, not the older #6762 version (which has a light blue tint to the glass, and is often logically referred to as Blue Tint, but once sellers realized that the Blue Tint model garnered more money, they started describing the newer, clear model as Blue Tint as well. And asking outrageous prices. Caveat emptor). When I asked her to be on the lookout for one for me, she told me to just buy a new one. At which point I had to inform her that Pyrex hasn’t manufactured a double boiler for decades, and she was dumbfounded. Because why doesn’t Pyrex still make double-boilers? Good question, Mom. Good question.

Not shown: the metal rod that does the work.

Next in line is this clever device manufactured for the sole purpose of mixing your natural nut butters. Now, I’m not generally a fan of single-purpose gadgets. But after years of mixing separated peanut and almond butter with a spoon or butter knife, and the mess it involves, I finally broke down and ordered this sucker. The test was a jar of almond butter that friends found in the back of their pantry, which had separated to a solid mass topped with an inch of almond oil. They were going to toss it, but I took it home to see if it could be saved. It took some doing, but with this tool I eventually got it back into “butter” consistency. Over time, and as long as I remember to buy this size jar (every different lid/jar combo requires its own mixer set), this tool will hold up for years to come.

Kitten With a Whip

While we’re discussing single-use gadgets, let’s get to this joy. A few weeks ago, I broke my Bodum “Aerius” milk frother device. I was inconvenienced, but the fact of the matter is that it was difficult to store in an already-cluttered kitchen, and not easy to wash the frothing screen. Around the same time, I was house-sitting for friends who have an Aerolatte wand, and I was impressed with its small size and frothing ability. However, when I went to buy one for myself, I found them to be expensive. It’s a pair of AA batteries and a spinning stick! I bought one of these motors from Radio Shack for a school project years ago, this thing shouldn’t be $20 (or more, depending on the model). So I held off, used un-frothed milk in my coffee (oh, the horror), and jumped on this red model—to match the Shoes And Pie Test Kitchen—I spotted at Cost Plus World Market for a mere $2.99. You can get your own multicolored 3-pack of them from their web site.

The Crown Jewels of gelatin molds.

Now for something completely different: I had no idea that the Test Kitchen “needed” this copper-toned aluminum gelatin mold until I found it in a thrift store. It’s enormous. 3 quarts, with room to spare! I cannot imagine a time whereupon I’ll be called to make this quantity of molded anything. But it’s fantastic, in its triumphant gothic-arch style. And while you may think it’s a single-purpose device, it can also be used as a chic Devo-In-Metropolis hat! (Which makes me think of “You’ll never guess what loud applause this cunning hat receives.” Watch the whole thing, but if for some reason you can’t, skip ahead to 1:55)

CAN I get you anything? Get it? CAN? Oh, I’m hilarious.

Finally, the newest addition to the Test Kitchen is this graniteware canner, complete with jar rack. These have looked exactly the same for decades, so I’ve no idea how to tell if it’s 5 or 50 years old. The canning kettle I’ve been using is really a soup pot, too small to can anything in quantity, and the jars tend to rattle around and clink into each other dangerously. I’ve been wanting to buy myself a brandy-dandy real set, but keep putting it off. I mean, it’s not as though canning is a pressing need for me, and finances being what they are, well, there you go. For two years, it’s been “next season.” And then ta-da! This slightly banged up set shows up at the thrift store! And it fits on my stovetop! My overhead microwave limits the usable space, but this pot nestles in perfectly.

That’s all, dear readers! Have yourself a wonderful weekend. Shoes And Pie will be back on Monday with more adventures and rambling.

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Filed under collections, day job, design, family, food, kitchen, life-threatening clutter, nostalgia, vintage

Christmas (if you’re crafty)

Christmas is in the air! Too soon? Too soon. But, if you’re the crafty type, you’re gathering ideas and materials for making gifts and decorations with a personal touch. Coming tomorrow to the Winkorama storefront will be these (and more) vintage crafting magazines, dating from 1962 to 1978. There’s noooo Christmas like oooold Christmas like noooo Christmas I knooooow… ::jazz hands::

I’m trying out the Gallery feature for this post, so you’ll have to click each image to see the complete (and large!) view. Please let me know in the comments below if you like, hate, or are indifferent about seeing the photos this way. Thanks!

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Filed under collections, holidays, jewelry, life-threatening clutter, nostalgia, sewing, vintage

Advertuesday!

Advertuesday? I think that should be nominated for Worst Portmanteau, 2012. However, what we have here are (vintage) advertisements, and it is Tuesday. The only thing that any of these ads have in common is that they all appear in the May, 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion. And that the magazine is too big to fit on my scanner, so rather than scans these are instead hasty photos, complete with uneven lighting and occasional glare. I hope you enjoy the look back! (Click each image to make with the biggering.)

Bon Ami scouring powder, 1948. STILL hasn’t scratched yet!

A model smile on Mrs. Ralph (Nicki) Ellis, by Ipana toothpaste, 1948.

Battle “infectious dandruff” with Listerine Antiseptic, 1948

Promise of a lifetime sparkle from Oxydol, 1948. Just what is IN this stuff?

Trade box tops (and a penny) for a Quikut paring knife, from Spic and Span cleanser. 1948.

Skip the dishes! Until you get Dreft dishwashing soap, that is. 1948.

Wanda Hendrix’s winning smile is the result of Pepsodent toothpaste (ahem, “dental cream”), don’t you know? 1948.

Invitation to make “Hash Mounds” for lunch with Armour corned beef hash, 1948

If it’s lovely to wear…it’s worth Ivory Flakes care. 1948.

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1972 Raleigh Sports

My hair has never not been unruly.

When I was wee, I had a (hand-me-down) red Murray tricycle. When my knees started hitting the handlebars, I graduated to a (hand-me-down) violet Schwinn Hollywood with coaster brakes. I loved that bike. I loved everything about that bike. Every spring I would sit in the driveway with a bottle of chrome polish and a shop rag, and my tiny fingers would lovingly polish the fenders, the wheels, the spokes. And eventually it, too, was too small. When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I got my very first New Bike. Again a Schwinn, my silver Sprint had a full 10 speeds. This was moving up in the world! It was…okay. A perfectly serviceable bike, and I rode many miles on it. It didn’t have the pizazz and style of the Hollywood, but having gears was a bonus. I eventually outgrew the Sprint and on the very rare occasion that called for a teenager on a bike, I’d borrow my sister’s semi-abandoned Schwinn Collegiate. At that point in time, the only adults who rode bikes did it for sport and I was no athlete.

1971 Schwinn Hollywood: “Graceful styling and a delight to ride.”

Fast forward a number of years, and mountain biking has taken off. At the time that I move to Colorado, my dad and his wife bequeath to me one of their two Giant Iguanas, with the statement that “I think it’s the law that you have to have one of these if you live in Boulder, right?” I am blissed. But I am still no athlete. I ride it to and from the supermarket on occasion, and that’s it. After throwing myself off the bike twice (and with great flourish), and feeling the pain of a beyond-empty wallet, I sell the Iguana for a piddling amount of cold, hard cash and pay a phone bill with it.

A few years later, my then-boyfriend secretly joins forces with my dad to buy me a new bike for Christmas. I am the very happy owner of a silver 1999 Trek 800, which still has the knobby tires for gripping the dirt but a somewhat more upright position which is better for my weak shoulders. We take it out on a couple of (flat) trails, and I ride it around the neighborhood in the evenings from time to time. I still have that bike, and it’s still in great shape, mostly because I so rarely ride it. It’s just too technical for me. No, what I really want is something more reminiscent of my old Hollywood, but with a few gears. I don’t need a lot, just, say, 3. But it has to have fenders. And a basket on the front, to hold a grocery bag. So I start window shopping. Used bikes on Craigslist cost just as much (and more) than some new bikes, plus carry the desperate need for a tune-up, so I stick with new models. Cruisers have the right look, but they’re heavy and clunky and single speed. Dutch-style bikes (think Electra Amsterdam) have the look and sometimes the gears, but the price tag is prohibitive. Pashleys are gorgeous all around, but there’s that dastardly price tag again. So I look. And I look. And I look.

Last Wednesday, on a whim, I search Craigslist again. I’d long ago learned to leave out the word “cruiser,” as that only brings up ads for crappy old bikes that people are asking astronomical amounts for (and I don’t really want a cruiser anyway). But for some reason, “cruiser” is what I type in. And there are the expected ads for $200 rust buckets that will require another $200-300 of work just to get running. At the bottom of the page is the header “Few LOCAL results found. Here are some from NEARBY areas…” and there, there is The Ad. The headline reads Vintage Raleigh Sport Bike Cruiser – $50. I click the ad. I see the photo (of a road bike, not a cruiser). I fall in love. I call the number in the ad, and get voicemail. I wait. I wait. I wait. I wonder if I’d misspoken my callback number. I wait. The next morning, I call again. Live person this time! I ask a few questions. I get the answers I’m hoping for. I make arrangements, and that Friday, I pick up My New Bike, a 1972 Raleigh Sports ladies (step-through) model in Coffee. Functional 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub. Made in merry olde England.

Rideable, but this will someday be a “before” photo.

It’s missing its original Brooks saddle, frame pump and “touring bag.” It rattles. It’s dented, it’s scratched, it’s greasy and dusty and has a few bird feathers stuck to it. It’s beautiful. I’ll be getting new tires first thing, and then will start adding/replacing parts as need determines and budget allows. Stay tuned!

1972 Raleigh catalog, page 12

1972 Raleigh catalog, page 13

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Filed under family, nostalgia, shopping, sports, vintage

Jellofetti Cake!

Broken glass? No, gelatin cube!

What my family lovingly calls Jellofetti Cake is in truth a reworking of an official Jell-O® recipe called Crown Jewel Dessert, previously known as Broken Window Glass Cake—because that’s appetizing, no?—when it was introduced in 1955.

This is another was-going-to-be-a-tutorial post, but honestly, if you hit a stumbling block while making packaged gelatin, my photos aren’t going to help you. Shown here: A scan of the recipe as printed in The Joys of Jell-O (1962), with bonus recipe for Ginger Fruit Mold because I didn’t feel like editing it out. Click for embiggerating so you can actually read the recipe(s).

Do you remember back in the first paragraph when I said my family (and by “my family” I mean “Grandma Wink”) reworked this? My grandmother’s interpretation is what we’d now call a “mashup” of the Dessert (crumb crust) and Pie (ladyfinger) versions. So here’s what you do: line a springform pan with split ladyfingers (sides and bottom; you’ll need two packages). No crumb crust necessary, no cutting ladyfingers to fit within the confines of a too-short pie pan.

Jellofetti Cake, née Crown Jewel Dessert, née Broken Glass Cake

I never got my grandmother’s own personal version of this recipe (she is notoriously bad at sharing her recipes, which is a shame because she was an excellent cook and we didn’t press the issue before her mind started to wander, now so very much is locked away inside her head and even she can’t reach it) but I am confident that she did not use Dream Whip® or Cool Whip® or any other “whipped topping” that was not simply whipped heavy cream. My example here looks a little “short” because I’ve been dipping into my cream to lighten my coffee. Note to self: buy milk. Anyway, just whip up a pint of cream. I don’t even bother to add sugar.

Another place where I don’t add sugar: to the gelatin used for the fluffy filling part. I mean, really. Is Jell-O not sweet enough for you? That step in the recipe makes me wonder if lemon flavored Jell-O wasn’t always pre-sweetened, which would make it a considerably less bizarre accompaniment to all of those tuna-in-lemon-gelatin salads.

Also variable: I make that last batch of gelatin with pineapple juice if I already have it on hand, but water works just fine. Here’s what I’ve discovered about this recipe: I have tried many different combinations of gelatin flavors, and it always tastes similar (sweet, vaguely fruity) in the end. That ½ cup of pineapple juice isn’t going to make too much difference. Don’t fret if you don’t have it. The current version of this recipe, as culled from the Kraft recipe site, doesn’t call for adding sugar, or pineapple juice, or any kind of crust for that matter. They also suggest molding it in a 9 x 5 pan, which I think makes it look quite unfortunately like pimiento loaf. :P

leftover cubes for snacking

This recipe is going to take you about 9 hours from start to finish, but 8 of that is just waiting for the various batches of gelatin to gel. Prepare the first three the night before, then finish the rest in the morning. You’ll still need a few hours of chilling time after the last step, so plan way ahead. I typically only use about ½ to â…” of each flavor of the gelatin cubes, and impatient kids can snack on those while they wait.

My grandmother always served this to finish out our family’s Easter dinner, but I’ll make it just about any time someone asks nicely. It’s great in the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven, but it will go limp if left at room temperature for a few hours. Considerably faster if you’re attempting to serve it outside on a hot day.

I just realized that you could probably make an adults-only version using vodka instead of cold water wherever it’s called for, but take away people’s keys. I’ve never met anyone who could eat only one slice. This could lead to serious trouble.

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