November 23, 2014

Flickr Favourites: November 23, 2014

{McCall's February 1947 ~ SaltyCotton}

{Lost ~ Vibeke Sonntag}

{J.Paul & sons Mannequin Parade 1949 ~ Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums}

{Hotpoint Customline ad ~ tikitacky}

{Pink and black from McCall's, December 1952 ~ Page}

{Ukiah's palace hotel (desaturated) ~ Jane Marie Cleveland}

{The Redhead in Pink! ~ Lucy Fan}

{Untitled ~ Kitten Lover}

{Hedy Lamarr on the cover of Photoplay, May 1944 ~ Silverbluestar}

{Inside a Pink Poinsettia ~ Janine Russell}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

A month and two days are all that separate us from Christmas at this point in time. For my dear US friends south of the 49th however, first there is the joyous event that is Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. A day of feasting, family, and football. Here in Canada, we celebrate our Thanksgiving Day in the first half of October (on the second Monday of that month), so we have to wait the aforementioned thirty-two days before we can indulge a scrumptious holiday turkey meal again.

Festive preparations are already underway for many however, as we shop for gifts, mail cards, hang decorations, attend holiday parties and plays, go hunting for a tree, festoon our homes with glowing lights and brace ourselves for the oh-so-long months of winter that lay ahead.

As vibrancy drains from the outside world once more, I'm in the mood for one of my favourite colour pairings, grey and pink (two hues that are often seen in November’s earthy palette), so I shone the spotlight on them with today's selection of Flickr images.

November blew in on an arctic-y wind here in Penticton, with temperatures several degrees below the season norm most days, and as such fall - my absolute favourite season - ended even more quickly this year (effectively, I kid you not, on Halloween night). In turn winter will feel all the more lengthy as a result – because, let's face it, the likelihood of an early spring here in Canada is next to nil.

The same rang true for many across the world and if one thing can be said in favour early snowflakes, icicles, and retreating mercury, its' that a premature winter does really help put you in the mood to welcome and celebrate Christmas and the other fabulous holidays that last few weeks of the year house.

First though, I hope that all of my US friends have a marvelous Thanksgiving this coming week and that we each get at least a week or two more of autumn's serenity (even if its weather has long vanished) to recharge our batteries with before hopping (Santa hat adorned) head first in the Christmas season.

Speaking of which, if you haven't done so already, please don't forget to signup for (and share about) Chronically Vintage's first annual Vintage Secret Santa. There are two more days to do, then I'll begin sending out everyone's gift exchange matches via email (if you haven't received your match by the 30th of November, please let me know). Things are going awesomely on the #vintagesecretsanta front, with about 200 people having signed already.

This is really going to be such a fun, fabulously festive way to further delight in the merriment and generosity of the season for everyone involved and I sincerely appreciate how many of you are taking part in it!

November 20, 2014

Adventures in vintage advertising: Heinz Ketchup

Like most of us, there are certain brands that I have always been especially fond of. Often they stir up a sense of nostalgia and bring many a childhood memory rushing to the surface. Case in point - and the subject of today's edition of Adventures in vintage advertising - Heinz Ketchup.

As a youngster, this was my very favourite store bought condiment to slather on anything from grilled cheese sandwiches to - much to my paternal grandma's horror – roast Christmas turkey. Though I still love pan fried sandwiches dipped gingerly into ketchup, I don't usually dunk the contents of my Christmas dinner into it any longer. Fun as that it may be, my have tastes evolved, as most people’s do as they age.

Still to this day, and in spite of the many different serious chronic illnesses (and food allergies) that I have to eat around/for, I can still enjoy a little bit of ketchup whenever I please, which is more than I can say for most store bought condiments and sauces.

Heinz ketch is iconic. Whether in the traditional glass bottle (you know the one - it either held onto its contents for dear life, despite thumping vigorously on the bottle, or quickly released half of its contents in one quick plop when turned upside) or the modern plastic squeeze bottles, it's safe to say that just about everyone, at least in the Western World, is familiar with this classic, zingy tomato based condiment.

{Looks like someone was predicting Costco sized bottles of Heinz ketchup before their was such thing as Warehouse grocery stores! I joke, of course, but this ad is an interesting bit of foreshadowing in regards to how big many packages, tins and bottles of food would quickly grow in the decades that followed it.}

Before we look at the lengthy and illustrious life of Heinz's classic offering however, it's worth briefly delving into the history of ketchup itself.

These days most people think of ketchup as being made primarily from tomatoes (and less commonly, mushrooms, bananas, walnuts, or beets, the latter being a great alternative for those who may not be able to eat, or don't like the taste of, tomatoes), but one very likely origin story says that this condiment - which is also known as catsup - started life centuries ago in China as a sauce made from pickled fish and various spices that was called kôe-chiap or kê-chiap.

A popular condiment, it's usage spread throughout Asia, including to Malaysia, where it found favour with the British explorers and colonists who were there at the time. The Indonesian-Malay word for this popular sauce was kecap, from which the anglicized ketchup would evolve.

Various types of ketchup have appeared in the years since those early pickled fish sauce versions, with mushroom ketchup being especially popular during the 1700s. One of (if not "the") first known written recipes for tomato ketchup appeared in 1801, later appearing in an American cookbook by Sandy Anderson called Sugar House Book. In fact, the bulk of early tomato ketchup recipes were American, with earlier forms of the sauce having come across the Atlantic with British colonists.

Though Heinz was not the first company or individual to sell prepared ketchup, they did get their foot in the door very early on,  launching their tasty offering in 1876. It has remained in production ever since and to this day Heinz holds the majority of the market share in most countries when it comes to commercially produced ketchup. The Heinz recipe would get some ongoing tweaking in its early days, becoming closer to the thick, subtly sweet form that we know today in the early years of the twentieth century.

By the mid-1930s, Heinz had even developed its own strains of tomatoes, engineered to grow varieties of tomatoes that were especially well suited to making ketchup. Three decades later, in 1968, Heinz would became the first company to start selling their ketchup in small, individual sized fast food style foil packets.

Another decade and a half later (and just a year before I was born), in 1983 Heinz brought the first plastic squeeze bottle for their product (earlier generic picnic style plastic squeeze bottles that one could decant store bought ketchup in glass jars into had been available since at least the 1950s) to the market and though some, especially restaurant owners, are still keen on glass jars, it didn't take long for plastic squeeze bottles to dominate in the arena of ketchup bottle popularity.

{A B&W photograph showing examples of some of the earliest styles of Heinz ketchup bottles.}

Right from the very beginning in 1876, Heinz packaged their ketchup in clear glass (later plastic) bottles to indicate the purity and quality of their product. This might not seem like a huge selling point today, but back during the Victorian era and early twentieth century, adulteration and inferior (sometimes even dangerous) quality premade foods were serious problem for consumers everywhere. By opting for a clear bottle, Heinz was stating matter-of-factly that they had nothing to hide and that they stood behind the quality of their products.

While Heinz is by no means the only ketchup manufacturer in the world (Hunts, another longstanding producer, is another popular brand, especially in America), they are definitely the most famous and beloved in many countries. Though I've known - and still know - some folks who say they prefer other brands (in some cases including in-house store brands like Safeway or Western Family), for me Heinz is, and has always been, my first choice when it comes to tomato ketchup and because I adore it so much, I wanted to shine the spotlight on it here today.

As Heinz was a very popular brand from the later decades of the 19th century onward, they were prolific marketers, advertising frequently in various publications, on billboards, through in store displays and elsewhere. This resulted in no shortage of ads, some more memorable than others of course, that we're still fortunate to have with us to this day. In the celebration of the scrumptious tradition of Heinz ketchup's place at the dinner (and breakfast, lunch and midnight snack) table, I've rounded up a selection of 18 different vintage Heinz ketchup ads from the 1900s to early 1960s that are sure to stir feelings of nostalgia and tap into your love of old school adverting alike.

{Phew, good to know! :D Jokes aside, the use of very dangerous chemicals and preservatives was a genuine problem in the early decades of manufactured food production and Heinz led the way on the ketchup front by doing away with it in the early 1900s. This informative ad dates from 1909.}

{Though it started out slightly different shaped, by the 1910s, Heinz's ketchup bottle had established such a classic shape that it could pass for a modern offering on today's grocery store shelves.}

{From very early on, Heinz adds have been vibrant and colourful, foreshadowing perhaps the fun, cheerful foods that ketchup would be/is so often partnered with.}

{Like many food brands, Heinz has long history of including recipes in its adds, such as this hearty 1920s dish of Carolina Meat Pie.}

{Whether this early 1930s Heinz ad was just trying to be cute, appeal to mothers, or really knew their audience, the brand's delicious red sauce has been a big hit with kids from the get-go.}

{If all it takes to achieve to achieve that goal is a bottle of ketchup, you may have the easiest marriage ever! :D}

{"Every woman's magic wand!" proclaimed this 1930s Heinz ketchup ad of its star player's ability to add pep and flavour to any dish a woman could cook up for her family.}

{The notion that a bottle of Heinz ketchup made for a happy, contented hubby was a common theme amongst the company's many ads throughout the 1930s.}

{As the 20th century rolled onward, Heinz's popularity continues to soar and spread even further afield, as this 1935 ad illustrates by pointing out that their ketchup has already become a firm favourite in 110 countries.}

{Heinz rang in the 1938 New Year by proclaiming Season's Best and the best seasonings to one all!}

{A year later in 1939, Heinz called on memories of the past, back when families had to make ketchup at home by hand, and a charming illustration to help sell their already best selling tomato condiment.}

{Heinz was by no means alone in the mid-twentieth century by attempting to appeal to female customers by assuring them of their husband's happiness if they purchased the product in question, but it was a particularly common theme for the brand who continued to do it into the 1940s, as with this cute Valentine's Day ad, and beyond.}

{Sliced white bread gets the royal treatment from Heinz in this 1940s ketchup ad featuring recipes for five delicious new ways to serve chopped mint (hint, hint, they all involve ketchup! :D).}

{That's quite the claim indeed (though, really, who's arguing - their ketchup is marvelous and certainly highly valued by countless customers), but it's one that Heinz had no qualms with making back in 1950. One can't help but wonder what company might be so bold as to say the same today?}

{Certainly part of the appeal of Heinz ketchup has long been the fact that it was a food that you could find almost anywhere you went, not just in your own kitchen, but when dinning on the go as well. I firmly believe this has been an important part of the brand's longevity and stronghold on their market.}

{Holy mid-century cooking, Batman!!! :D The award winning recipes in this 1957 ad for Heinz ketchup might not be for everyone (then or now), but they do certainly sing with the quirky culinary spirit of the era.}

{Though some ketchup fans may argue differently, this statement has always rung true for me. I love Heinz's taste and how, to my taste buds, it has the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.}

{Like countless brands in many fields during the 1950s and 60s, Heinz cashed in on the popularity of the day for the exciting space race (and airline travel) that was underway when they wrote the copy for this 1950s advert.}

{You and Heinz put 2.5 pounds of tomatoes on the table to enjoy at every meal boasted this vividly red ketchup dating to, or right around, the early 1960s. I wonder what the weight in today’s hefty 1.5 liter plastic bottles would be?}

{To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Okay, at the risk of sounding terribly cliché, I really am in the mood for ketchup now! Here is Canada, one of the key foods that we use this robust tomato condiment on is Kraft Dinner macaroni and cheese, as well as mac and cheese in general, be it store bought or homemade. Like most countries we also use it on French fries, onion rings, hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken nuggets/fingers, plus oodles of other dishes.

There's no shortage to the ways one can ultize ketchup, whether as a dipping sauce, condiment or ingredient in a dish itself (such as bbq ribs or pasta sauce). Here in my home and native land of Canada, we also have a long standing tradition of making a ketchup cake - which, much like tomato soup cakes, I promise you, you can't taste the ketchup in once it's baked.

Tomato ketchup is, and has long been, a fun, classic, readily available, generally inexpensive condiment. It's uses are endless and its sweet, subtle vinegar-y, pleasantly spiced tomato flavour has continued to appeal to generation after generation for many decades now (and in the case of Heinz's offering in particular, for 139 years), just as I suspect it always will.

So while I may no longer bat my little eyelashes and politely ask (re: beg) my grandma to have ketchup with my Thanksgiving dinner, I still adore and use it often. And on that note, I'm thinking that I'll whip up a turkey meatloaf tonight, with ketchup used as both an ingredient and topping (along with sharp cheddar cheese). Hey, one's tastes might evolve as they grow up, but that doesn't mean they have to change entirely! :D

November 18, 2014

My first photo shoot with the Pacific Ocean + thoughts on being recognized in public

Outfit details

White crochet snood: Handmade gift from a dear friend loving friend ♥
Hair flowers: Assorted sources
Gold bow earrings: Payless
1950s red plaid cropped shirt: eBay
Vintage red and gold anchor brooch: eBay (I think)
Red vintage style faux leather cross body bag: eBay
1940s style side button jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Gold tone metal bangle bracelets: Payless
Red and black vintage plastic bangles: Assorted sources
Black 1940s style oxford shoes: Thrifted (from Salvation Army)
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano

Fame is a funny thing. It can be fleeting, fickle, fantastic, funny, fabulous, and, for some, even infuriating. I don't have any firsthand (or even secondhand) experience with mainstream fame in in the slightest. As someone who is mind blowingly shy and uber introverted, I was definitely not the kind of child who longed for a career in that could project me in such a direction (say, like a singer or actress).

No, in my youngest days I wanted to be either a nurse or a doctor, then as my childhood progressed and straight on into my teens, I was 100% certain I wanted to be a chef (and I adamantly believe I would have gone on to be one had I not fallen severely chronically ill about a month after my 18th birthday).

It's theoretically possible that those career paths, particularly that of being a chef, could have led to fame, but it would not have been the driving reason behind why I wanted that job at all. My life, as you likely know, did not end up with me wearing a stethoscope nor (in a professional capacity) standing in front of a hot stove all day. It took many detours and was eerily silent some years, when I was too ill to bring home even so much as one piece of proverbial bacon.

I worked numerous jobs in my late teens, but from my 20s onward, I have been self-employed (a heading under which I include working, and drawing a wage from, being employed by the online media company that my husband and I run) for every job I've held, including during my mid-twenties when I was a part-time professional photographer (I job I loved with every fiber of my being, but unfortunately had to step back from because of the continued worsening of some of my medical conditions).

These days, on top of working for Netrich Media, I have the incredible pleasure and honour - which I do not take for granted for one tiny second - of being a professional vintage blogger and Etsy vintage shop owner. I get to spend my days writing about, photographing (thus indulging in that passion of mine in an awesome new way), wearing, discussing, shopping for, researching, and surrounding myself with vintage. It a job that I can do from home when my health permits and which I truly adore and feel grateful for.

Vintage has helped give me a career that is compatible with my circumstances and which I can hold my head up high when I tell people what I do for a living (believe me when I say that some folks, wrongly of course, judged me incredibly harshly during those periods in my life when I was chronically ill and didn't have a defined career at the time; it was as though they couldn't fathom someone in their 20s being so ill that they couldn't work, which for many stretches of time the last 12.5 years, I have been).

I mention all this to led to the point I begun this post with: fame. Over the years I have achieved a definite degree of notoriety amongst the vintage blogging world. I've being interviewed by numerous magazines, blogs and websites (and the BBC); have an active social media prescience, and blog prolifically, so it probably isn't a huge surprise that I'd stand to get recognized in public every now and then.

I think part of the reason why it always knocks my socks off when such happens is because I live in a small town in British Columbia, Canada. Penticton is beautiful and I love residing here, but it isn't exactly the sort of vintage Mecca that Portland, LA, New York, or London is and in fact, I haven't been recognized by a stranger on the street here yet. Each time it has happened, I've either been in a larger city in this province or in Alberta.

While on our stellar holiday to Vancouver Island earlier this fall, I was floored and very touched to be recognized by multiple people, both on the street and at the Victoria Vintage Expo that I attended (including, very sweetly, when I had three young ladies who were shopping together recognize, rush over to, and proceed to hang out with me for several minutes - it was the closest I think I've ever come to being on the receiving end of a fan girl experience :)).

One such encounter took place at a consignment store in the utterly charming seaside town of Sidney, which is the first place you'll see when you disembark the ferry upon reaching Vancouver Island (if you're headed to Victoria or any point in that general direction, I mean).

While sourcing a few pieces of jewelry for my Etsy shop, I was approached by a lovely lady who asked if I had a blog. I replied that I did and said who I was, and she very excitedly said that she thought it was me and had to come over and say hello. She too was in town on holiday (from Alberta) and we had a marvelous time chatting for a few minutes and latter ran into one another again on the same day when Tony and I made our way down to the wharf area in Sidney to do a shoot for the the photos that appear in today's post.

Never say never, of course, but objectively I doubt I'll ever be world famous in the context of mainstream society, and that's totally okay. Most of us will never walk that path, after all. But there is, I must tell you, something fabulously fun and rewarding about having a complete stranger know who you are and want to interact with you. I never take such experiences for granted and cherish every last one of them that happens to me - and all the more so because, again, I really don't live in a part of the world that is filled with fellow vintage lovers, wearers or bloggers.

Meeting that lady put a huge smile on my face, which was certainly a good thing when it came time to shoot photos. The fact that I finally, for the first time ever, got to a photo shoot for my blog with the majestic Pacific Ocean (others would also happen during our time on the Island, and I'll be posting about them in the near future as well), certainly helped to cement it there even further.

For a day of fun second hand shopping, sightseeing, and driving, I sported my trusty Freddies of Pinewood 1940s style side buttons jeans, a delightful 1950s cropped waist plaid shirt (if I could clone this shirt in a hundred other patterns and colours, I would in the quickest of heartbeats), a snood that I received as a gift from a dear friend last year, three hair flowers, an assortment of plastic and metal bangles, and an anchor shaped vintage brooch to tie into the nautical-ness of our location.

Though it wasn't gloriously golden, the sun was still out in full force that day, so – no surprise here - I was Squinty McSquinty again in some of these snaps, but I don't mind. I was just elated to capture the memory of that day on camera during one of the rare pauses in the rain while we were on Vancouver Island (it rained for some, or all of, nearly every day we were there).

This trip was absolutely fantastic from start to finish and I loved that it included so many fantastic experiences, very much including being recognized by several people throughout our time there. If any of you who did so should happen to be reading this post, thank you again for approaching me and saying hello. I loved getting to meet you and really appreciate your support of my blog, which, after all led you to know who I am in the first place. :)