December 21, 2014

25 Vintage Deals under $100 for December 2014

With a ton on my plate (no, not my literal plate...that will happen come dinnertime on the 25th! :D) this month, I didn't know if an edition of 25 Vintage Deals Under $100.00 would be in the cards or not. I haven't set a hard and fast rule that one must appear here every month, but I do really enjoy putting them together and know hat many of you love to view and shop from them, so I try to pen a new one every few weeks.

Piles of greetings to send, shopping to do, presents to wrap, dealing with ongoing winter viruses (and my very annoying ear infection that’s into its seventh week now *sigh!*), work, and cooking + baking up a festive storm all result in precious few available minutes to sit down and write a new post this large. And yet it was this last order of business, the festive holiday baking and cooking that spurred me on to indeed create an new Vintage Deals post for December.

You see, I knew that I didn't want a generic Christmas theme, as I'd actually covered that earlier this year in my Christmas in July edition of this post and, let's be frank, it's probably too late for anything ordered now to arrive by Christmas Day anyhow (unless some mega rush shipping was involved!). Instead, it struck me, I would shine the spotlight on cooking and baking related entries, some of which have a festive holiday season feel, others that are perfect the whole year round.

So sit back, put those overworked feet up, grab a freshly baked gingerbread man, and join me for a few minutes as we delve into a delightful batch of vintage and timelessly classic finds that not just fabulous unto themselves, but also just what the doctor ordered (price wise, I mean) when it comes helping out to our already drained wallets this month!

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1. Keep all of Jolly Old St. Nicolas's favourites close to hand come Christmastime with this marvelously sweet, very vintage appropriate black Scottie dog cookie jar. On sale at the time of writing for £20.00 from BHS.

2. Give your hot cocoa, rocky road bars, fudge, or other holiday sweet treat an extra shot of seasonal fabulousness with these scrumptious looking handmade gourmet limited edition Cranberry Marshmallows, which have the added bonus of being gluten-free (yay!). $8.66 for six extra large marshmallows from Zurk Boutique.

3. This has got to be one of the cutest modern does vintage small kitchen appliances I've ever seen. Not only is it fabulously mid-century looking, it’s three appliances - a small toaster oven, a griddle, and a coffee maker - in one. Seems like the kind of spiffy modern gadget any 1950s family would have loved back in the day as much as your household will now. MaxiMatic EBK-200 Elite Cuisine 3-in-1 Multifunction Breakfast Deluxe Toaster Oven/Griddle/Coffee Maker, $39.99 from Amazon.

4. So darn cute you may want to wear it as an overskirt out and about during the holiday season, this 1950s apron boasts a darling Christmas kitten and candy print and is just too sweet for words. It measures 20.5 inches long and is $26.00 from Edel Vintage.

5. In the mood to add some extra fun to your meal time repertoire? Then these delightfully cool Recipe Dice are for you! Twelve classic looking wooden dice with various ingredients on them are housed in a glass jar, ready to be shaken and put to creative use when you're not sure what to whip up for a given meal. Families with kids are bound to particularly enjoy this charming kitchen helper. $16.00 for the set from Leaf Cutter Designs.

6. Serve a cheese that is always a hit at parties and intimate gatherings alike with this absolutely lovely, very classic looking little red ceramic brie baker (that measures 7 inches in diameter and 3 tall) and handy bamboo spreader. $13.00 CND from Chapters Indigo.

7. Looking too infuse your sweet and savoury dishes alike with an even richer flavour that will leave your guests begging for the recipe? May I suggest this thoroughly scrumptious sounding Woodford Reserve Bourbon Smoked Sugar, which I keep thinking would be a sensational topping sprinkled on your favourite Christmas shortbread cookies. $10.00 for 5 ounce jar.

8. Cheer on Christmas, ring in the New Year, or celebrate any other special event this holiday season with a recipe from 1955's Merrie Christmas Drink Book (note, this is the 1980s reprint), which includes 63 pages of delicious libations to keep your belly warm and your spirits chipper all winter long. $14.00 from Belinda's Style Shop.

9. I am thoroughly smitten with these beautiful little vintage looking earthenware spice jars from Sur La Table that come with cork lids. They would as at home in Victorian kitchen as one from the 1940s or today. 2.5 x 3.25 inch jars in various colours, $6.95 each.

10. Ho-hum kitchen towels got you or your culinary space down? Fear not! Thanks to the brand Sin in Linen, you can now deck your kitchen out with fabulously fun classic tattoo (and similarly styled) art print linens like this gorgeous Garden Geisha towel that features a peacock and koi fish. $9.00 for a 26 x 18 inch 100% cotton tea towel.

11. Forgot or didn't have time to make your Christmas cake this year? Thankfully there's always Christmas Cake in Can to the rescue! With it's charming vintage style packaging that's available in various colours, this tin comes chalked full of everything you need - other than water, which you add yourself - to quickly whip up a delicious Christmas cake on the fly. £5.00 for a 70g tin of cake mix from Not on the High Street.

12. I dare you to look at this uber cute pair of vintage Mr. and Mrs. Snowman salt and pepper shakers and not smile ear-to-ear. They're perfect for your table all winter long and just the thing you need to inject more kitsch into your holiday season. $8.00 from Francesca's Favorites.

13. Winter just wouldn't be the same without a mug (or twenty!) of steaming hot, silky smooth hot chocolate. Long after the cocoa powder has vanished, you'll want to hold onto the serenely beautiful tin that Moonstruck's hot chocolate comes in - it's a seriously lovely work of art unto itself! $12.00 for a 9.5 oz (269 gram) tin of Classic Hot Cocoa.

14. The first little set of kitchen utensils I bought when Tony and I moved to Canada together in early 2006 (and had to start from scratch again entirely on the household front) was an inexpensive red melamine one. Though they do show their age a bit, all the pieces are still intact and going strong, but were they to give up the ghost, I would love to replace them with a great mid-century vintage set like this Bakelite handled four-piece one that is so timelessly classic and practical. $28.05 (at the time of writing) from Alex's Pretty Vintage.

15. The New Zealand based brand Abstract Designs makes some seriously covetable home decor pieces, very much including their awesome vintage looking recipe wall art recipe boards, such as this great black and white recipe for scones. There isn't a kitchen around that wouldn't delight in the old school boost a sign like this (the company has numerous other similar looking recipe wall art signs, too) would deliver. $32.00 (NZ) for a 190mm x 280mm sign.

16. Sweet and fun with a great country vibe to it, this lovely vintage looking gingham print metal Handmade Kitchen Timer is a useful item to have, not only for cooking, but any time you need to track a certain (short) period of time. $16.00 from Urban Outfitters.

17. This entry goes out to all those in warmer climates or who enjoy ice coffee the whole year round. Grady's offers up their well known Bean Bags (bags of premixed iced coffee ingredients) in seriously old school looking tins that are sure to appeal to vintage fans far and near. $12.00 for a tin that makes 10 cups worth of iced coffee.

18. Looking for an impossibly chic, fabulously pretty set of measuring cups? Found. Thank you, Anthropologie, as always, you win at selling completely covetable items of all kinds. $24.00 for a four-piece set of bone china measuring cups (plus a metal lid).

19. Of all the items listed in today's post, it was this immensely lovely little set of vintage matching fork and spoon brooches that tempted me the most (but I've refrained...for now! :)). $16.00 for the pair from Rabbit Heart Designs.

20. Foodie on your holiday shopping list or one yourself? They - or you - will delight in this gourmet food stuffed stocking from hip culinary website Mouth, which is brimming with lip-lickingly fantastic treats that are sure to make it feel like Christmas on your tongue all year long (or at least for however long each tasty food lasts). Indie Christmas Stocking, $60.00.

21. Equal parts adorable and kitschy, this charming vintage looking ceramic owl kitchen canister (aka, utensil holder) is sure be a hoot for any room in the house (you could, for example, use it to store makeup brushes in the powder room or pens in an office). $16.00 from Urban Outfitters.

22. I let out an audible squeal when I spotted this immensely cute handmade plate of Christmas cookies necklace on Etsy recently. It's festive, kawaii, and sure to be a major conversation starter whenever you wear it. $32.00 from Bite Me Not (who also has lots of other awesome Christmas and non-holiday season related food jewelry).

23. I'm such a sucker for pretty packaging. Throw a vintage-y looking design into the mix and I'm as good as sold. While I'm the first to admit that $11.00 is a lot for a single bar of this thoroughly tasting sounding cherry almond chocolate, if you save the beautiful packaging to use as a display/decor piece (or craft supplies) afterwards, that might make it a bit easier to swallow (and justify as an addition to a Vintage Deals post :D). 3.5 ounce chocolate bar, $11.00 from Farm to People.

24.A bevy of flocked Santas smile at you from these delightfully fun vintage paper Christmas coasters that almost too cute to actually use for their intended purpose. $8.00 for a set of twelve paper coasters from Trixie Devereaux.

25. Without a doubt one the quickest ways to inject festive cheer into any home is a with a vintage Christmas tablecloth like this gorgeous pine cone, holly, rose, and poinsettia print fabric one that measures 70 inches x about 56 inches. $20.00 from Kerry Can.

{Please click on a specific item, or the link in the description below it, to be taken to its respective listing.}

I'm one of those people who love to cook and bake. I can stand in front of an oven, chopping board, or prep counter until my knees buckle and have a smile on my face the whole time. Though I do periodically entertain family and friends, for most of the year, I'm just get to cook for Tony and I, so when the holiday season rolls around and tons of get-togethers as well as larger meals and oodles of sweet treats are in the cards, I can't get enough of baking and cooking up a storm.

From fudge to fruitcake, mincemeat to mashed potatoes, there isn't a moment of Christmas cookery I don't eagerly look forward to and whipping up timeless favourites and new recipes alike is always made all the more enjoyable thanks to things like vintage aprons, mid-century crockery, old school cookbooks, and at the end of the day, one of my glamorously cozy 1950s bed jackets or robes and a viewing of a timeless holiday season film like White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, or Meet Me in St. Louis.

Being as busy as this time of the year is, it's extra important to balance the hecticness with the simple joys of the season, one of which is certainly tucking into the fruits of your kitchen labour and delighting in the merriment that your hard work brings to everyone (including yourself) at your festive table.

December 19, 2014

Super easy two-ingredient 1950s Chocolate Peanut Bark (plus 25 great alternative versions)

The holiday season always seems to throw some curveballs one's way, and more often than not, they require either larger volumes of food than expected or sudden gifts that you hadn't been planning for ahead of time.

To cover my bases on both fronts, I try to always have both some wonderful all-purpose store bought gifts (such as scented candles, timeless holiday ornaments, good quality kitchen linens, gift certificates or cards to popular stores or restaurants, and other items that most everyone likes and will be apt to use) and some homemade treats to hand that I can wrap up in a mason jar, cellophane, gift bags, fun tins or other festive packaging and take with me at a moment's notice.

The nearer we get to Christmas, the more I find myself whipping up batching of quick, scrumptious, crowd pleasing baked goods and candies that require little time and minimal ingredients, yet still pull out all the stops on the taste bud pleasing front. This classic 1950s vintage recipe for Chocolate Peanut Bark does just that and is really one of the quickest holiday dessert recipes you'll ever encounter.

{Even in the midst of the absolute busiest of holidays weeks, chances are you can find a few quick minutes to whip up this ultra straightforward, easy and thoroughly yummy 1950s recipe for Chocolate Peanut Bark, which I find has a tendency to vanish nearly as quickly as I can make it! Vintage recipe image source.}

Now, I want to point out of course that if you're serving or taking peanuts or foods containing peanuts or peanut butter with you anywhere, you will want to ensure as much as possible that no one there is allergic to peanuts. This can be a truly deadly food allergy and is not something to take lightly for one moment.

Though allergies to nuts (peanuts themselves, interestingly, are not actually nuts, but instead members of the legume family) certainly exist as well, they're less common and less likely to be potentially fatal when they do occur, so if you'd feel more comfortable creating this delicious vintage chocolate bark recipe with your favourite nuts, then certainly go for.

I'm partial to the following alternatives and combinations myself (I sometimes like to add in other ingredients on top of the mere two called for in the original recipe):

-White chocolate (instead of milk or dark) and dried cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apricots or other fruit

-Pretzels and cut up (store bought or homemade) caramels

-Crushed candy canes, peppermints, or other flavourful hard candies

-Almonds, dried bananas (banana chips), and a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt

-Candied citrus peel

-Pieces of Turkish delight candy

-Sunflower or pumpkin seeds

-Granola or breakfast cereals such as Rice Krispies or Cornflakes (my husband especially enjoys the latter)

-Cut up or mini Marshmallows (I like using the multi-coloured mini fruit variety from Kraft for this purpose)

-Graham crackers (combine them with marshmallows for a great s'mores inspired treat that makes for the perfect treat to savour in front of the fire)

-Toasted coconut (I love it with dried pineapple or mango and a sprinkling of Maldon salt for a great tropical inspired dessert)

-Instead of peanuts or other nuts, swirl peanut butter or your favourite nut or nut alternative butter through while the chocolate is still completely melted for a great marbled effect (you can also do this and still add in other ingredients, too)

-Crushed cookies or macarons (white chocolate and Oreos or similar sandwich cookies make for a fabulous cookies and cream bark)

-Dried figs, fresh thyme or rosemary and cashews

-Whole or chopped hazelnuts and pieces of hard toffee

-Fresh pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin or navel orange zest

-Raisins and oats (or brown rice porridge style flakes)

-Popcorn or kettle corn

-Maraschino cherries, pieces of ice cream cone, sprinkles and (optionally) peanuts or other nuts to create a seriously appealing ice cream sundae inspired bark

-Candied pecans and a sprinkling of dried (food grade) lavender

-M&Ms candies (use the red and green Christmas variety if possible, for an extra festive touch)

-Pieces of meringues, dried berries and the tiniest dash of crushed pink peppercorns

-For a great 1990s throwback to when this cookie was all the rage, use white chocolate and macadamia nuts

-Pop Rocks candy (this makes for a super fun New Year's Eve treat, as the "explosion" of the Pop Rocks on your tongue symbolizes celebratory fireworks)

-And if you're in the mood to be extra trendy, bacon - which I especially like with toffee or caramel bits


These are but a few delicious bark recipes that you could serve your guests and family alike, and/or bring as holiday gifts this month. Many, I find, also make for stellar Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween sweet treats as well, and can of course be served and enjoyed at any other time of the year (a tin of dried apple, cinnamon and toffee chocolate bark is one of my favourite autumn go-to homemade desserts and would make for an especially lovely teacher's gift come September).

There's just six more days to go until Christmas and if you suddenly need or simply want to add to your holiday table's spread or bring a thoughtful homemade gift with you wherever you're headed this season, you really can't go wrong with a fabulously easy, timelessly tasty candy like the vintage recipe and my alternative suggestions here. In fact, you could even skip the cookies this Christmas Eve and leave a much appreciated plate of chocolate bark out for Santa! :)

December 17, 2014

My holy grail vintage hat as designed by gifted milliner Tanith Rowan

Outfit details

Custom made 1940s style pink and grey felt bird wing tilt hat: Tanith Rowan Designs
Pink glass stone earrings: Claire's (recently - in case you'd like to get a pair for yourself)
1930s black and clear glass bead necklace: Maejean Vintage
Black 1940s style jersey dress: Clothing store in Scarborough, Ontario that closed down years ago
Grey faux patent leather skinny belt: (Possibly) Joe Fresh
Grey 1940s/50s winter coat with embellishments: Sybil Style
1950s pink mesh gloves: Unknown, had for years (possibly eBay)
1950s/60s black clutch purse with chain strap: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede 1940s style shoes: Walmart
Lip colour: MAC Diva

Photography by Tony Cangiano

It's a safe bet to say that just about every single one of us who wears vintage has certain holy grail items in mind. Those pieces that seem to go above and beyond mere wants or even wishlist entries and into a near mythical realm where even just thinking about their acquisition is enough to make you tremble with joy. For many, many years one such item for me had been a sophisticated late 1930s or 1940s bird winged adorned tilt hat - and all the better if it included my favourite colour ever, pink.

I looked far and wide, but none that fit the bill and my price range ever crossed my path. Enter my good friend, fellow vintage blogger, new mom, and mind-blowingly talented milliner Tanith Rowan. Earlier this year she asked if I would like to collaborate with her and together we could create my dream vintage style hat, which I would then share with all of you here (of course, she did all of the actual creating, I just discussed my fantasy hat specs with her and let her weave her incredible millinery magic).

Using vintage images and photos of vintage hats that were similar to what I had in mind, along with some lovely back and forth (detailed) discussions to really ensure we both had the same style and design of hat in mind, Tanith set to work to create a 1940s looking bird wing adorned tilt hat that, as you can see in these photos, is gorgeous to the point of leaving me at a loss for words.

Instead of using real feathers or whole bird wings, we both wanted to go for the super ethical route and leave all the little winged critters with their appendages, so instead Tanith crafted the "wings" out of felt, which along with velvet is (save for the netting and sturdy elastic strap to hold it in place) what the rest of this beguilingly beautiful pink and grey topper is made from as well.

There is an incredible sense of honour and joy that comes with having a bespoke garment of accessory made for you. In the course of my blog's life, I've had the great pleasure of experiencing it a small handful of times and can tell you that nothing on the fashion front compares to when a gift seamstress, crafter, jeweler, or in this case, milliner, is able to not only realize your vision for a particular piece, but to create something that is even more sublime and special than you could have ever hoped for. This is precisely what Tanith did in creating this awesome 1940s vintage style felt tilt hat for me and I can’t begin to express my thanks and appreciate to her for doing so enough.

It, like all of her work - which you can see anytime in her online shop, Tanith Rowan Designs, as well as on Facebook and Instagram, where she shares many of her fabulous millinery creations - knocks your socks off instantly. Not only is this hat visually stunning and incredibly vintage looking, but it is also exceptionally well made. In fact, that quality of the materials and the degree of skill involved with its creations eclipses that of many actual mid-century hats that I own.

Tanith's love for what she create shines though in each and every hat, fascinator, and headpiece that she designs. Pulling on old school inspiration and her own vivid imagination alike, Tanith's pieces are nothing short of genuine works of wearable art. I feel incredibly fortunate to now call this magnificently lovely vintage style feathered hat my own. It takes pride-of-place in my hat collection and will remain a treasured part of my wardrobe for as long as I live and indeed, should I ever have children or a niece to pass this along to, I know that it will become a family heirloom because it really is that amazing and beautiful.

Now, a hat this special called for a backdrop against which to shoot it that would fit its old school style perfectly. This meant our usual photography location haunts around town such as the lakes, woods, parks and our yard were all out. We both agreed that a vintage building or house was in order, yet as there are incredibly few of these still left in Penticton (that are accessible to the public, in the case of houses, I mean), we didn't have a lot of options.

Thankfully however, one that was ripe for the picking, if you will, not mention just a few blocks over from our own abode, is an elegant early twentieth century home called The Leir House, after the surname of the family for whom it was originally built. This stately stone house hasn't been used as a private dwelling in a long time, instead it is a cultural hub for the community, hosting arts, culture and creativity themed events and classes for the public to partake of. As such, unless a private function like a wedding is taking place there, you're free to pose with it anytime you'd like.

Knowing how scarce vintage buildings are in Penticton, Tony and I had been saving the Leir House's Chronically Vintage debut for a truly exception outfit and thanks to Tanith's gorgeous vintage style chapeau, we felt that this was just the one to do that with.

In some photos, I'm posing with a stone gazebo that's located near the small parking lot at the front of the house, in others I'm in the back yard/garden, and in one I'm sitting on a flight of stairs that run alongside the side of the house. As it is a large home on a bit of property, the Leir house affords one many lovely locations in which to take photos and on a very chilly afternoon recently in November, Tony and I did just that.

I partnered my bespoke vintage style hat with a beautiful c. 1940s grey winter coat (which is making its blog debut here today as well) that I got about three years ago now (its glamorous pink lining and grey outer hue made it a natural pairing for this hat in the same colour families), a simple black jersey dress (that while modern, does look quite 1940s-ish), and an assortment of accessories that colour coordinated well with the hat, coat and dress. The temperature seemed to plummet by the minute, so I was very thankful to have such a sturdy, warm coat (which as it's wool, when I wasn't in front of the camera with, I tucked a black velvet scarf around my neck with, so as to protect my sensitive skin, which is allergic to wool, with - but I wanted to show off the collar of the coat here, so I didn't sport my scarf on camera that day) and a warm felt hat as well to help keep near winter's chill at bay.

As 2014 nears its end, I feel especially blessed to have been able to find one of my vintage holy grails, not in this case from a second hand seller, yard sale or thrift shop, but instead created with love and unending skill by a friend and gifted milliner on the other side of the world (Tanith lives in Australia). This fact, I promise you, makes my new hat all the more special, important and beautiful to me, for I not only played a roll in its creation, but personally know that talented hands that crafted it for me.

Should you be yearning for a custom made hat of your own now (and I know you are!), you can contact Tanith anytime to chat about how she can make your vintage (or otherwise) hat dreams come true.