June 11, 2011

Covering 20 days with one post

My sweet dears, I'm afraid that I'm going to be slightly MIA for the next little while. You see, I'll be heading into the hospital (to have to two surgeries) on June 14th and most likely may not be able to blog for a spell both before that date (there's quite a lot of prep work involved) and afterwards. Fortunately the procedures I'm having are fairly routine and, baring (goodness forbid) any complications, I should be on the mend and back blogging (daily) again in a couple weeks or so.

I'm not entirely sure how long my recovery will take, but I'm determined to keep the Vintage 365 project alive and well (happy to report that I haven't missed a date yet and we're nearly half way through 2011), while I'm feeling not quite so well myself.

To that extent, I thought that I would put together one post today with twenty different interesting vintage related topics to see all of you through the remainder of June (ideally, I'll be able to launch back into writing a post per day at the start of July).

I apologize to those for look forward everyday to each new Vintage 365 instalment and hope that this "all-in-one" post, with brief entries for the coming 20 days, will still help brining you a hearty dose of old school history and style alla Chronically Vintage.


June 11 ~ Day 162: It the warm, almost cocooning apricot light that grabs your attention first when you peer at this 1950s photo taken inside of a Dior shop in Paris, yet fractions of a second later your mind sends fashion alert flashes your way letting you know that there are vintage (Dior!) treasures aplenty to be spied in this captivating image.

Though not a sweepingly large photo, there is such much resplendent beauty to be gleaned from the box of chic high heeled shoes, the garden's worth of delicate silk blooms, and sundry other millenary supplies in this captivating photo. It speaks to an age of unmatched grace, proper high couture, and unshakeable style in the way that only Dior could ever truly deliver.


June 12 ~ Day 163: Though today, and for the last few decades, Cuba, is and has been a downtrodden land in desperate need of freedom, during the earlier days of the twentieth century, this lush, wonderfully pretty country was busting with entertainment, art, fashion, great cuisine, tourism, nightlife, and plenty of fantastic views that beckoned holidaymakers from around the globe.

Today’s  interesting, nicely narrated Youtube video clip shows 1930s Cuba during its heyday, when this fascinating tropical destination was busting with life, possibility and no shortage of fun ways to pass the sunny days.


June 13 ~ Day 164: Every now and then someone in my building (intentionally) leaves a couple of copies of the current Avon catalogue in the laundry room of my building. Though I very much enjoy flipping through them as my clothes just all sudsy, I'm rarely struck with the urge to actually purchase anything.

Avon makes some wonderful products, don't get me wrong, and over the years I've enjoyed the items I have bought (or received gifts) from this well-known brand, it's just that I sometimes feel like their catalogue pages teeter a bit on being infomercial-esque (absolutely no offence to anyone reading this who is an Avon rep).

They lack the show stopping glamour of their yesteryear counterparts and rarely standout from the sea of beauty advertisements one encounters in any run-of-the-mill fashion or ladies' magazine.

Not so in 1959 however, when this captivatingly  lovely Avon cosmetics ad hit the scenes. Featuring a pretty brunette model with a mile-wide smile, this ad show cased five Avon cosmetics products, every single on of which I'd order right this very moment if they still came presented in such charming packaging and by way of such wonderful ads.


June 14 ~ Day 165: Though I'll be sporting a hospital gown today (so glam, I know), there's no reason I can't help keep my mind off of the day’s medical activities by fantasizing about this truly, completely breath-taking floral print, 1950s inspired dress from Trashy Diva.

Featuring a full skirt, flattering V neck, fitted bodice, invisible side zipper and a wide waistband (that will flatter a host of different figure types), this stunning silk-like rayon frock is simply too amazing to pass by unnoticed. Its bouquets of blooms sing out in hues of purple, teal blue, burgundy, rose pink, black, grey and white, all nestled atop a peridot green backdrop, making for a show-stopping, deeply sophisticated look.

If you'd like to join me in yearning for this sublime frock, swing on by online retailer Blue Velvet Vintage, where you can pick up one of these beguiling vintage inspired dresses (in ladies sizes 6 to 14) for $135.00. If you’re only going to treat yourself to one new dress this summer, I highly recommend giving this gem some serious thought.


June 15 ~ Day 166: Have no fear, just because I'm away, doesn't mean that a new (errr, old) recipe won't be the subject of choice each Wednesday. For the 15th, I think we should all take advantage of the fact that berry season is in full swing and whip up a dish featuring these marvelous little bit sized fruits.

Looking back all the way to 1936, this lovely sounding recipe for Blackberry Roly-Poly (wonderful blackberry stuffed pastries) would be a stellar way to use up some of the season's choicest berries.

If blackberries aren't your favourite, you could very easily swap in raspberries, huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries, or (red or white) currants here instead (or why not channel a "fruits of the forest" vibe and use a combo of your most beloved berries for an extra special dessert!).


June 16 ~ Day 167: Care of the ever-fabulous blog The Mysterious Life of the Metropolitan (ex) Housewife, comes a handy-dandy instructional page from the 1950s on how to wash rayon.

I bookmarked this post back in the fall of 2009 and have been meaning to mention it ever since, as I know many of us (myself included) own vintage (and/or vintage reproduction) rayon items that require proper laundering to stay in pristine shape. The easy-as-pie tips here are bound to help ensure you you're able to keep all your rayon pieces in top-notch shape.


June 17 ~ Day 168: With a name like Vintage Soul, it would be downright impossible for this charming Liz Clairborne perfume not to nab my attention. If the moniker alone didn't do it, surely the softly curvaceous bottle and subtly art nouveau inspired graphics would.

Featuring an engaging blend of lily, freesia, cactus flower, green lotus leaf, jasmine, blue tiger lily, gardenia, tuberose, blond wood and nutmeg, this lovely perfume sounds like a complete - and entirely gorgeous - garden in a bottle.

Should you wish to sprinkle a little old school spirit on yourself each day, be sure to head over to amazon.com where you can currently pick up a bottle of Vintage Soul perfume on sale for just $16.53.


June 18 ~ Day 169: The mercury is bubbling over, but that doesn't mean one has to resort to being unfashionable, especially not if you turn to this delightfully fun 1940s summer fashion clip for your sartorial inspiration this season.

Featuring an array of warm weather looks (from playsuits to dresses), this quick little Youtube video (it's only about a minute and a half long) is teaming with oodles of vintage fashion ideas that are sure to capture your heart this summer.


June 19 ~ Day 170: $18.00 is a lot of money to pay for one light bulb, no ifs, ands or buts about that. However, sometimes there's a good reason behind why a seemingly inexpensive item gets slapped with a hefty price tag.

In the case of this Sunday's objet du jour, it's because this slim, gracefully shaped light bulb is a spot-on replica of an early Edison bulb, right down to its eye-catching looped filaments and rich brass base.

This bulb - which is available from Anthropologie - is not the kind that you'll screw into any old lamp or light fixture (unless you've finally found a tree that grows money and can now afford to pay $18.00 per light bulb), instead it is meant to be displayed, hanging artfully from a pendant lamp or shining out from an unadorned socket.

It's a little piece of the past that you can use, quite literally, to illuminate the present, and somehow knowing that makes $18.00 almost forgivable.

*PS* Merry, cheerful, immensely fun Father's Day wishes to dads out there. I hope today is a utterly fantastic one for you fellows!


June 20 ~ Day 171: Though one of the key elements that I love about vintage fashion is how it grants me free creative license to dress as splendidly femininely as I please (think full skirts, sweetheart necklines, crinolines, and lashings of red lipstick!), I can't help but stop from time-to-time and think about the Teddy Girls of the 1950s. These (sartorially) daring young women eschewed many of the conventional styles of the day, preferring instead to follow in the footsteps of some of the male peers who were opting for the Teddy Boy look.

For a engaging post about these UK style rebels of yesteryear, be sure to swing by Betty Swallow's blog for her post on the Teddy Girls, which includes interview excepts from a former teddy gal, as well as scores of wonderful black white photos of (apparent) tomboys whose style still managed to seem somehow more feminine than most of the looks one encounters on the street today.


June 21 ~ Day 172: Happiest summer solstice, everyone! Can you believe that the first official day of summer is really here? Are you happy about that? Or does this sizzling heat have you pining for snowmen, winter boots and steaming mugs of cocoa?

Over all I'm pretty excited about it - how could I not be when the birthdays of everyone in my house (hubby, kitty cat, and I) all fall during this magically lovely season.


In order to ensure this post was able to load without taking an eon and a half (not everyone has super high speed internet!), I weighed the matter carefully and decided not to post an image for each of the twenty days ( if you click on the link in the write up for each particular day, you should be taken a page with at least one image, or video clip,  for each respective topic).

However, there was no way that I could let the inaugural day of summer slip by without celebrating it with an image - and what a charmer this one (the marvellously illustrated June 1948 cover of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine) is!

I can’t wait to hopefully get in plenty of the activities depicted on in it myself this season, just as I'm sure tons of you are, too! Smile


June 22 ~ Day 173 : This coming Friday is my little brother's birthday, and since one of his favourite desserts when we were growing up was lemon meringue pie (peanut butter cookies were another sweet treat he adored back then), I knew that in honour of his special day, I had to dig up a super delicious sounding vintage recipe for this wonderful classic (which, like most citrus flavoured foods, seems to be especially useful at helping you bet the heat, especially if served cold).

I think this yesteryear version (which is quite similar to my tried-and-true, handed-down-from-my-mom recipe) would be sure to please even the most discerning of lemon meringue connoisseurs, no matter their age!


June 23 ~ Day 174: By way of the great blog Vintage Chic, comes a page from 1946 called Make Up to the Day, which is chocked full of entertaining/helpful suggestions for what colours of make-up are best suited to brides-to-be with various complexions and hair colours. From redheads to ash blondes, there are tips here to see many-a-gal through her special day in beautiful 1940s style.


June 24 ~ Day 175: This day is a joyful one for me because it's my brother's birthday (how can you possibly be 24? If that doesn't make - soon-to-be-27 year old me feel ancient, I don't know what does!), and while he doesn't share my love of all things vintage (I'm the vintage black sheep of my family), I do distinctly remember one splendidly fun old school cartoon that we enjoyed watching as a child was The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Featuring everyone's favourite cartoon moose and squirrel, as well as the bumbling dastardly villain duo or Boris and Natasha, this entertaining children's show was every bit as much fun for us in the early 90s as it was for those who watched it air the first time around decades earlier.

I devote this clip - of the opening theme of Rocky and Bullwinkle - to you, little bro, happiest birthday! Here's to always striving to have as much fun in life as we had as youngsters watching cartoons!


June 25 ~ Day 176: There's a school of thought that suggests that if one surrounds themselves (or wears) cool colours they'll feel colder (and vice versa that warm hues will help you stay toasty). Given the visual weight that colours carry, I think this idea makes a good deal of sense.

I for one would not be too inclined to spend much time during the summer in a fiery orange or red room, but I would however rush to relax at the end of another dizzyingly hot June day in this charmingly sweet soft pink, mint green and sleek black bathroom from 1953.

Done up in sherbet and licorice inspired hues, this pretty powder room just looks cool when you gaze at it. The swirl patterned tiles evoke thoughts of serene pools of sea water, the pink curtains, towels and paint (used in the built-in wall shelves) are as revitalizing as a tall glass of strawberry lemonade, and the glistening black elements seem to give the distinct feeling that they'd be smooth as ice to the touch.

Indeed, there is much to be loved about from this inspiringly fresh, entirely beautiful 1950s bathroom, no matter if it's the hottest day of summer of the nippiest of winter - because truly beautiful interior design is always refreshing.


June 26 ~ Day 177: Let's face it, cat (and pet in general) furniture often isn't the most stylish thing around. Cumbersome kitty condos, litter boxes glaring out at you from random corners of the house, and oversized plush napping pads eating up half your living room floor can be practical and cozy (for said feline companions), but again, they rarely win any awards in the design department.

To that end, one clever etsy seller (Atomic Attic Upcycled), came up with a splendid idea for kitty beds that are both function and wonderfully fun to look at.

They’re constructed of vintage and retro suitcases that have been fitted with short, sturdy legs and fluffy cushion inserts (which are removable and washable). Averaging around $59.00 a piece, these smile-inducingly cool vintage suitcase cat beds are leagues more chic than most pet beds I've seen and are definitely the kind of thing I could see both me and my darling kitty hopping on board with!


June 27 ~ Day 178: While I tend to put on my make-up (and style my hair) before I don my ensemble for the day, there are times when all of us need to (for whatever) reason to apply our cosmetics (or merely touch-up our faces) while dressed, which can mean introducing the potential of getting powder, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara - you name it! - on our vintage outfits (which is definitely not a good thing!).

In 1938 that problem could be cut off at the pass by donning the Playtex make-up cape, a charming little caplet (with a fun front tie neck) that draped over the wearer's shoulders and upper chest, thus helping keep her clothing as clean as whistle while she went about her beauty routine.

I think this is really good, entirely practical idea and so went hunting around the web for a modern day version. While I couldn't find a make-up cape that was quite as cute as the 1930s version, I did find a Scalpmaster Nylon Make-Up Cape on Amazon for the reasonable price of $11.99 - which is certainly less than a trip or two to the drycleaners (to try and remove make-up from your favourite garments) is bound to run you!


June 28 ~ Day 179: Despite the often surface-of-the-sun like temps of this season, there is something about summer that makes me want to cut a rug to absolutely no end! I know why that is actually, it's because as a youngster I spent many a summer day bopping about the living room, classic big band and 1950s rock and roll tunes blaring out from the CD player, any friend, sibling - total stranger in sight a potential dance partner (ahhh, the carefree things we did as kids!).

When my feet start a tapping these days, I love to look up awesome old school swing  dance tunes and movie clips on Youtube (such as this terrifically fun 1950s clip of Bill Hailey and Comments playing the song Razzle Dazzle while the dance floor bursts to life, despite some squares in the crowd) and put on a concert of some of the most enjoyable music of all time - and should I happen to wrangle someone into being my jitterbug partner again, all the better! Smile


June 29 ~ Day 180: It's Wednesday again, my lovelies, you know that means, time for another scrumptious vintage recipe to see us through the week. Given the scorching hot temps of June, it's high time we all kicked back with a sweet, ice cold treat!

Do just that with a handful of ingredients in snazzy 1953 style care of this tasty sounding Seven-Up Sherbet recipe. I bet this would be great with various other sodas as well, such as ginger ale, Orange Crush or Mountain Dew. Whatever pop you put to work in this recipe, it's sure to help stamp out the heat for at least a few minutes.


June 30 ~ Day 181: While we've just gotten through 20 days of posts, the fact of the matter is that it’s still June 10th as I write this blog entry, and I don't only know the 30th of this month will be like for me.

With a good heaping of luck however, it will be better day on a lot fronts than right now. I hope I'll be in the mood to celebrate the outcomes of my medical procedures and that by today, I'll be feeling better in a lot of different ways.

June is one of those months that lends itself so naturally to celebrating and feeling joyful. From graduations to the start of summer, picnic weather to Father's Day, there is much to adore about the six month of the year - not the least of which are June weddings.

Let's wrap up this twenty day round-up of Vintage 365 posts with on a very, very lovely note, by celebrating the 1942 wedding of Lewis and Helen, a dapper young couple who had their whole lives still in front of them that glorious June day.

♥ ♥ ♥


I will miss you all very, very much. Due in part to the Vintage 365 series, it's been quite some time now since I wasn't around these parts and I know that it’ll feel strange to suddenly be out of the blogging loop.

As in the past during these kinds of situations, my wonderful husband (Tony) will be helping to hold down the fort for me here (and should anything that warrants announcing publicly occur, he will come here to post on my behalf and let you know what's going on). I sincerely hope to be back soon and must say again just how much I'm going to miss you, my darling friends!

Until we chat again, know that you'll be in my thoughts, and that I wholeheartedly hope you each have a truly sublime start of summer!!!

June 10, 2011

A look back at the Canadian ration coupon books of WW2


Day 161 of Vintage 365


In this era of Walmart Super Centers, football field sized Costco stores, and seemingly endless sources online from which to purchase groceries with the mere click of a mouse, it can be easy to forget that once, just a few decades ago, our foremothers and fathers had to contend with the wartime necessarily of food rationing.

Canada was one of the first non-European (ally) countries to enter the second world war, however we were spared rationing for a time. It wasn't until January 1942 when sugar was restricted to 12 ounces (340 grams) per person per week (as the war continued on, that quantity was later further slashed), that Canadians of the day got their first taste of war rationing.

Most people were happy to oblige with the new regulations, knowing full well that the foods they gave up (and/or ate less) of could then go towards the troops overseas. Yet, one has to imagine that it was unpleasant at times to go without some of the most basic culinary and household staples for several years in a row.

As '42 wore on, other foods - such as coffee and tea – made it onto the ration list. Within a matter of weeks of these two staples being rationed, coupon books began to be issued to Canadians from coast to coast (citizens filled out applications and were mailed ration books in the post, the first wave of which was sent out on August 31, 1942).

Perhaps foreseeing that the end of the war was still quite far in the future, the ration books contained coupons for other foods that had not yet even been restricted (such as butter, which, come December of that year, was added to the list of rationed foods, each person being allotted just 1/4 of a pound per week).


Over the course of the second world war, more than 11 million ration books (like the one pictured above, which comes by of the genealogy site Rootsweb) were issued to Canadians - who, like those in the UK and later the US, also saw dairy and meat rationing. At times however, stores were unable to supply citizens with the small allotments of rationed foods they were permitted to have, as supplies simply weren't available to the merchants.

While other day-to-day products (like gasoline, certain items of clothing, alcohol, even maple syrup!) were rationed as well, Canadians suffered less in a sense than those in Europe in this regard. That wasn't to say however, that Canadians were flush with extra clothing (not at all!) during the war years or that it was easy to get your hands on a bottle of whiskey, because it certainly wasn't.

Optimistic and determined by nature, many Canadians stretched their war rations by planting Victory Gardens, canning and preserving foods (interestingly, Canadians could apply for an addition "canning ration" of sugar), fishing, hunting for game, mending and restyling their existing clothes, and driving their cars far less (or not all) all in the name of the war effort.

These efforts, much like those of other allied nations, paid off in the end and helped the war effort immeasurably. Even though the war officially came to an end in 1945, rationing continued in Canada late in the 1940s (due in part to the fact that Canada was shipping a lot of food and other goods to help out in post-war Europe), with the last ration book being issued in September 1946.

On this date (June 10)  in 1947, dairy was taken off of the ration list by the government and Canadians could once again enjoy larger quantities of foods like cheese, milk and ice cream once more. Having read this interestingly tidbit of history recently, I began to reflect on the fact that my grandparents experienced rationing, as did all Canadians of the day.

Which takes me back to my initial point. We have such an abundance of food at the ready today that it can be hard to imagine that just a few decades ago, the world was in such peril that staple foods - like meat, milk and sugar - needed to be strictly limited for the goal of achieving an allied victory.

I have a great of respect for those who made due, stretched their rations, grew their own gardens, and worked together as a nation to ensure that as many of our resources as possible could be rationed and put towards the war effort.

No matter how many aisles in the grocery store or how many restaurants dot the landscape, I try never to forget that part of the reason those shelves and restaurants can be so abundantly full is because people like my grandparents – our grandparents – lived through wartime rationing.

Just a little (un-rationed) food for thought the next time you pick up a double-double* on your way home from grocery shopping.


*A "double double" is a Canadian term for a coffee, often one purchased from a Tim Horton's doughnut shop, containing two creams and two sugars.

June 9, 2011

This fabulous vintage inspired telephone is calling my name!

Day 160 of Vintage 365


Recently, entirely out of the blue, I started thinking about how flimsy many phones today feel. From mobiles to cordless phones, most are made of lightweight materials and are aimed at being as small as possible.

I enjoy the convenience of being able to bop about my house and town (in the case of cells) with a phone in my hand as much as the next person, but there are times - especially during intense conversations - where there's much to be said in favour of having a sturdy telephone earpiece in your hand.

When in the midst of an intense phone (be it one with happy, sad, stressful, exciting, or out-and-out peculiar undertones), I sincerely appreciate the sense of security that comes from being seated in one spot, a heavy-duty old school receiver attached to my hand, its piggy-tale cord plainly in sight.

Though I have a modern desktop cord phone that I use often, for years upon years, I've been hankering for a vintage - or vintage inspired - dial tone phone that would fit the bill perfectly when I felt like parking myself into my chair and curling up for a conversation with an old school receiver.

Without a doubt one the loveliest and most solid looking vintage reproduction phones I've seen in quite some time comes by way of the fine folks at ModCloth.com. From the curvaceous, yet sleek, body to the splendidly vintage looking font on the buttons and centre panel, this classically styled is chocked full of immensely lovely vintage phone charm.

Though most phone companies no longer providing customers with phones that look even remotely like this - and they can be tricky to track down at local retailers - thanks to the power of the interwebz, anyone who's craving a beautiful old school phone is bound to be smitten with them deep crimson red gem.

Made of plastic and metal, this awesome desktop phone blends the best of old and new with a rotary dial that features push button technology (how cool is that?!). It also sports a redial button (always handy), an on/off ringer switch (perfect for those days when you want to ensure your beauty rest can take place uninterrupted), a tone/pulse switch, and earpiece volume control switch.

Chic, appealing, and downright fantastic, this captivatingly pretty vintage reproduction phone is available for $54.99 from ModCloth, and would a seriously wonderful addition to any yesteryear decor lover's abode.

I think that if one of these terrific telephones suddenly appeared in my house, I'd spend more time chatting on the phone now then I did when I was a teenager!

I’m head-over-heels in love with the blend of old Hollywood glamour and downhome practicality that this classic phones bring to any room – and, I like to think, to any conversation, no matter how serious, light hearted, planned or entirely spur of the moment it was Smile

June 8, 2011

1950s chocolate marshmallow pie recipe is sure to satisfy any sugar craving! :)

Day 159 of Vintage 365


Just as white sauce is one those fundamental recipes of cooking that can be altered, dressed up and played around with to just about no culinary end, so too do certain types of pies have ton of potential when it comes to the many things you do to further enhance their appeal.

Today’s recipe – which hails the May 1957 copy of household magazine – is delightful chocolate marshmallow pie that sounds fantastic on its own….however, I can’t help but think of a wide range of ways you could jazz it up further. Such as:

-Add some mint extract or fresh mint leaves and serving it ice cold on the toastiest days of summer.

-Swirling a big handful of raspberries through the pie filling before it sets, then make a raspberry, mixed berry or lemon coulis to drizzle over top.

-Throw in a tablespoon or two of fresh or candied orange peel and garnish each slice with a few strips of additional peel.

-Use white chocolate in instead of milk, add in chunks of walnuts (or other favourite nut) and dark 70% chocolate once the filling as cold a bit, but not set entirely (to help prevent the dark chocolate from melting too).

-Toss in a cupful of your favourite crisp rice (or cornflake) cereal and some dried cherries or cranberries for a crisp, cherry hit with each bite.

-Channel a classic banana slip by adding halved maraschino cherries to the batter, placing a smattering of bananas over the top, and serving each slice with a big dollop of whip cream.

-Instead of white marshmallows, try the coloured fruit variety, layer some freshly sliced strawberries on top and drizzle with a little honey when ready to serve.

These are just seven possible twists that spring to mind, I bet you can think of others, too (by all means feel free to share them in the comment section, if you do).

{Click here for a larger version of this terrifically tasty sounding vintage chocolate marshmallow pie recipe. Image by way of Charm and Poise on Flickr.}

I think this delicious sounding, simple-as-painting-your-nails marshmallow chocolate pie would be a great dessert to bring out after a backyard barbeque, as a different spin on a springtime birthday cake (if it’s for adults only, you could always drop in a spoonful of your favourite liquor – just think how heavenly this would be with Bailey’s Irish Cream!), or a terrific week day dessert where time is of the essence, but you still want something that’s bound to impress.

It’s great to have versatile, classic recipes like this great chocolate pie in your culinary arsenal, and when they hail from the 1950s, that’s another point in their favour, in my (vintage cook) books! Smile

June 7, 2011

Women's casual footwear styles from the summer of 1959


Day 158 of Vintage 365


There is much to be said in favour of a stunning pair of heels, chicer than the day is long, exquisitely tailored and, as is so often the case with gorgeous footwear, lip-bitingly painful to wear after about thirty seconds.

Like many a vintage fashionista, I've paid my dues when it comes to logging scores of days in such shoes, however there's no rule (despite what shows like Sex in the City might have you believe) that says footwear needs to be painful to lovely or functional.

While it's jolly fun to imagine yesteryear women sashaying around town in Dior heels all the live long day, reality is that most women (perhaps even more so in the 40s and 50s then now) had a shoe wardrobe that included a good mix of practical styles, as well as shoe-stopping pairs.

In the former category, back during the summer of 1959, one could easily have found numerous pairs to love - and adorn their feet with - amongst the styles up for offer in this cheerful page from that season's Montgomery Ward catalog.


These styles - each of which could easily have been plucked from a modern day shoe store - are a testament to the fact that summertime footwear can definitely be both easy on the soles and wonderfully fashionable at the same time.

From a darling floral print kitten heel (if you don't already own a pair, I highly suggest investing in some kitten heels, they're often very easy to wear and walk in for hours on end) to chambray blue t-strap flats, fiery lipstick red slip-on deck style shoes to zigzag print wedges, all of the styles on this page would have been highly versatile choices for the fashionable woman of the late 1950s.

And nothing has changed in that regard over the last six decades. Each of these looks is still a smart buy, cheery style, and delightful way to get a lot of mileage out of your summertime shoes.

Turn to images like this great old school catalog page (which hails from Flickr user CapricornOneVintage) the next time you head out to do some vintage shoe shopping and you're bound to come home with the kind of winning styles that will look every bit as lovely today as they did in 1959.

June 6, 2011

Let's all pile in the car and go to the drive-in theater


Day 157 of Vintage 365


Though in recent years they have become, in far too many cities and towns, mere memories, their physical presence often demolished entirely, once - not so very long ago - drive-in movie theaters were a common site across much of the North American landscape.

In fact, during my 1980s/90s childhood, there was a drive-in located less than an hour away from our house, which, when the weather turned warm enough my family would make a point of going to visit at least a couple of times most summers.

There was something almost otherworldly cool about the experience, as viewed through the eyes of a young child (who was already obsessed with all things vintage), of piling into the minivan with blankets, pillows, snacks, stuffed animals, juice boxes, bug spray, and other sundry household items nestled amongst the the seats, myself and my siblings.

I remember feeling a wave of excitement flutter through my stomach as we needed the entrance, the sky slipping rapidly from late summer to glistening dusk, knowing that in a matter of minutes we'd be able to pass through the gate, pull up to a parking slot, hook up the sound to our van, and settle in for what was usually a double bill of very family friendly films.

First of course, there would be the customary "get out and stretch your legs" run around the long, crisp grass, other children merrily doing the same thing as their parents cracked open cooler chest chilled beverages and sun roofs, if they had them.

As dusk tumbled into the fountain pen ink hued sky of night and the pre-movie ads encouraging movie-goers to head on over to the concession stand began to roll, we'd come running back to settle into the car, hurriedly arranging pillows, opening snacks (often red licorice and popcorn or potato chips), and getting ready for the main attraction to begin flashing across that seemingly giant canvass.

This act of going to the drive-in movie theater was, by all accounts a simple one, and yet I cherish the memories of the hot summer nights spent in the flickering glow of the movies I saw there so very much. I'm grateful to my parents for taking my brother, sister and I to the the drive-in, keeping alive a tradition they'd done with their own respective parents as youngsters.

Though drive-in theaters are becoming rarer with each passing year, during their golden heyday (the 1940s - 1970s, with a particular spike in popularity during the 50s), they were a fantastic part of the cultural and literal landscape.

{A black and white photo of an unidentified drive-in theater taken during the 1950s, the decade which was perhaps the zenith for this delightful form of outdoor movie watching. I'm curious, does anyone recognize the movie that's playing on the screen? Image via Railroad Jack on Flickr.}


The first drive-in theater ever opened up on June 6, 1933, exactly 78 years ago today. In the time since then this entertaining form of outdoor movie viewing has risen and fallen, but - at least as of this moment - has not completely gone the way of the dinosaur yet.

I hope very much that it never will, for I would greatly enjoy carrying on one day with my own future children the tradition of loading up the car and heading down to the drive-in theater for a night of smiles, yummy treats, and delightfully family movies.

Do you have your own treasured memories of evenings spent at the drive-in? Does your town still count itself amongst the lucky few with one of these fabulous outdoor theaters? And, as my vintage loving heart secretly hopes, do you think there's any chance they'll ever make a real comeback again?



If you're looking to find a drive-in that's close to where you live, be sure to check out the site Driveinmovie.com, which keeps lists of those theaters that (happily!) still exist in Canada, America and even Australia.

June 5, 2011

Found: the perfect pair of vintage style black capri pants

Day 155 of Vintage 365


There are certain items of clothing that, for whatever reason, my parents didn't dress me in often (if at all) as youngster. We're not talking ball gowns or wetsuits here, folks, I mean pretty run-of-the-mill pieces like button front blouses, denim jeans, and two piece swimsuits (the first time I ever wore one was a month before I turned 15!).

Another item that falls into that category is capri pants. As I sit here, on this warmer-by-the-minute June morning and think long and hard about it, I have absolutely no recollection of sporting a pair of capri pants until I had moved away from home and was living on my own (so late teen years). Amazing, in this day and age, I know!

One might think that the story above would have led me to compose a wardrobe full of those missing items to make up for lost time, however it turns out I'm not a bikini girl (too modest) and I wouldn't say I own more cotton blouses or blue jeans than the average person. When it comes to Capri pants, well, at the moment, I don't have a single pair, if you can believe it!

Taking stock of my modest sized summer wardrobe recently, I was instantly struck by this point and so skipped merrily over to the computer to see what kinds of vintage styles I could dig up online to inspire the types of capri pants I'd ideally like to buy to remedy my complete and total lack of this terrific summertime wardrobe staple.

One of the nicest and absolutely most versatile examples I came across was the wonderfully timeless pair of Foxy Rockabilly Capris in sleek-as-a-moonless-night's-sky black vintage style capri pants from Stop Staring Clothing pictured below.


Featuring a high-cut waist, comfy stretch twill fabric, and a subtle side seam zipper, these superbly versatile summer pants are exactly the kind of classic 1950s style pants you’ll want (need!) to have in your wardrobe.

At the time of writing (I say that because styles like this tend to sell out, especially in certain sizes, faster than you can blink!) these stylish capris are available in ladies sizes small, medium and large, retailing for $106.00 a pair.

While I'm the first to admit that crossing the hundred dollar threshold is a bit hefty for a pair of pants, when it comes to immortal classics like these black beauties, you're bound to get so much fashion millage out of them that over time their cost per wear factor will end up turning them in to an absolute bargain.

If I was going to add just one pair of capris to my vintage wardrobe this summer, these pin-up girl worthy pants would be precisely what I'd pick today.

Their dark hue makes them figure flattering, the high cut waist adds scores of instant vintage chic, and their playful lower calf-length hem helps ensure you stay a little cooler all through the hot-as-freshly-baked-bread days of summer.

So while my parents may not have fancied capris for their tykes, I'm keen on this style and would definitely not have a single qualm about slipping into a pair of these awesome black pants right this very moment! Smile

June 4, 2011

A terrifically pretty turquoise living room that will leave you feeling anything but blue!

Day 155 of Vintage 365


Whereas earlier this spring I was heavily feeling purple (particularly when it came to my wardrobe choices), as spring marches ever closer to summer, I find that recently  my mind has been drawn heavily to crisp, confident shades of feel-good blues and turquoise.

Perhaps it's daydreams about Caribbean beaches, where dusty white sands march in perfect harmony with the nearly surreal aquamarine seas, or maybe it stems from the fact that cheerful blues tend to feature heavily in summertime decor (think melamine dishware and punchy hued throw pillows, for example).

Whatever sparked my current colour fixation, I'm pleased that it did, because there are few more soothing - yet equally lively - shades out there than a zesty turquoise blue, precisely like the one in the captivating living room below.

Hailing from the UK website House to Home, this photo gorgeously showcases the allure and charm of a living room done up in sparklingly pretty hues of perfectly summertime worthy blue, snowman white, and fresh-from-the-garden pink.

Weaving old school elegance (such as the ornate mirror atop the fireplace mantle and the curvaceously legged furniture) with a whimsical touch of modernity (e.g., the intentionally unfinished paint job at the top of the walls), this spacious living room is the sort of chic, fresh, very appealing space that captures the same sense of turquoise's unfailing beauty as the tropical waters mentioned above.

Whether you're drawn to the colours, the design, or the timelessly lovely pieces at work in this marvelous vintage inspired living room, it spills forth with an abundance of blissful bright blue to inspire your home decor and summertime wardrobe pieces alike all through the season and well beyond.

June 3, 2011

Remembering Allen Ginsberg, gifted beat poet and cultural visionary

Day 154 of Vintage 365


Allen Ginsberg is a man who is nearly impossible to sum up in a few words - or even paragraphs for that matter. A brilliant poet, cultural visionary, deeply creative soul, and one of the most prominent members of the beat generation, Ginsberg was the type of person who transcended mere descriptions, preferring perhaps to be as open to interpretation as his writing.

I discovered this fascinating poet at an early age (probably in grade 4, which is when I first recall learning of the Beats, including Ginsburg's close friends Kerouac, Burroughs and Ferlinghetti), read his work extensively in my teen years, and discovered upon meeting my husband that he too was a follower of this controversial, immeasurably creative writer.

Ginsberg's work is an opus of tantalizingly thought-provoking, sometimes wacky, often sagely, nearly always entertaining poetry and other writing that captured the good, the bad, the brutal, and the often unspoken elements of a tumultuous generation.

Throughout his life Ginsberg rarely held back, opting to speak his mind in such a way as to ensure he would open and impact those of his readers and listeners (Allen often gave live readings - and made many recordings - of his work during his career).

Though the world sadly lost Allen Ginsberg in 1997, it was on this date (June 3rd) in 1926 that this fascinating, free speech promoting, iconic beat writer was born.

In celebration of his many literary and cultural contributions, I wanted to share a reading (transformed into a lovely Youtube clip featuring background photos of Allen with some of his friends and peers) that Ginsberg made of his superb poem America (which is a good contender for my favourite of all his works).

*Please note there is some adult language and subject matter in this piece and as such I do recommend one listens to it in the presence of young children.*


During his life Ginsberg came to know a great many famous people from Bob Dylan to Paul McCartney, yet I do not believe that he let these relationships - nor the fame he amassed - ever go to his head. To the very end Allen Ginsberg was a man - and writer - of the masses. He spoke up, often very expressively, for the causes he believed in and against the things he saw as injustices.

In poems like Howl and America, as well as a great many of his other visionary works, Ginsberg stepped outside the conventional realm that most poets of the day were residing in to bring a raw slice of truth to the world, which remain as meaningful and worthy of our attention today as when it was envisions and penned decades ago.

June 2, 2011

Happy congrats to the Know Your Onions jewelry giveaway winner!

This post is a tad late in coming (my apologies, it's been a hectic week here), but I didn't want to let another moment pass without stopping to let everyone know that this past Monday (using a random number generator) the winner of the Know Your Onions giveaway was drawn.

It was a pleasure to pair up with Know Your Onions, a splendid UK based jewelry designer of modern-meets-vintage, entirely gorgeous resin pendant necklaces, brooches, and bangle bracelets, for this lovely giveaway, and I'm delighted to announce the lucky winner is no other than Sheri from the stellar (Australian based) vintage blog, Sheri Bomb.

Fabulous vintage loving gal (and highly engaging writer) Sheri will soon be receiving three wonderful Know Your Onion pendant necklaces (including the slate hued compass pendant pictured above) in the mail, which I hope will help make her June an extra fantastic one!

For those who didn't win - as well as anyone else who's fallen in love with Know Your Onion's creative, highly elegant resin jewelry pieces, be sure to take advance of the special promo discount that's running until June 30, 2011 over at Know Your Onion's website.

Just enter the word vintage in the coupon section when you checkout, and 15% will automatically be deducted from your order's total.

Joyful congrats again to Sheri on winning this trio of necklaces, and many thanks to all those who entered and helped to make this wonderful Know Your Onions giveaway a success!

This delightful vintage French inspired paperweight really holds down the fort (and the paper!)

Day 153 of Vintage 365


There are certain items - ties, socks, pen sets - that have garnered a reputation (often quite unfairly) of being as dull as a beige paint factory. Amongst those lackluster gifts one finds paperweights, and indeed sometimes this practical  piece can veer on the dull side.

However there are also scores of downright beautiful and wonderfully unique version to found as well. One such example is the charmingly pretty white, blue and red hued vintage style Special Delivery Heart Paperweight below.

Measuring in at 4" x 4", this endearingly sweet heart (which is  made from ceramic) would look delightful when put to use for either its intended purpose (should you have a drafty office - or one, like mine, that's prone to visits from a curious cat who loves to knock over stacks of paper! Smile ) or a decorative object on any shelf, ledge, dresser top, or other quaint spot in your home, office or studio that needs a dollop of vintage charm.


Sporting an old school motif featuring French postal system marks and iconic images (like the ever-magnificent Eifel Tower), this purposeful and timelessly lovely paperweight (which retails for $12.99 from online retailer Perpetual Kid) would make a terrific gift for yourself or anyone else you know who adores yesteryear inspired home decor (or office supplies) pieces.

I love when items like this elegant and wonderfully fun paperweight prove that just because something has a general rep of being boring, certainly does not mean that every example of said item is prosaic.

Indeed with a little searching, gorgeous examples of nearly anything - vintage or modern – that your heart (including a heart shaped paperweight!) desires can be unearthed.

June 1, 2011

Quick and delicious 1940s Chuck Wagon Beans recipe

Day 152 of Vintage 365

Over the years I've developed, picked up or adopted from my youth many dishes which I know by heart inside and out. I don't open a cookbook or go searching online for a recipe when I make them, they're ingrained like the groves in a well worn wooden spoon in my mind. I'm sure many of you have your own reserve of such tried and true, deeply beloved recipes, too.

One that floated into the reportraire last year is a quick-as-flash, very paired down version of vegan chilli that I came up during the dog days of summer, when my husband and I wanted something filling, but devoid of hours spent melting over a hot stove in an even hotter, cramped apartment kitchen. I call the dish, rather un-fussily, Mexican Beans.

It's a simple concoction of kidney (red or white - the mister prefers red, I veer towards white) or black beans, tomato sauce, a little water, diced onions, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, crushed coriander seeds, bay leaf, sea salt and black pepper, and chilli powder - all of which is cooked together for 20-30 minutes, until the beans have softened and the flavours of the sauce married beautifully.

Neither of us are big fans of spicy dishes, but you could certainly add some fresh or canned chilli peppers as well, if you wanted. To keep this dish on the low fat and calorie side, I don't use any oil, butter, meat or cheese (excluding these ingredients also means it's even easier to whip up a pan of Mexican Beans with store cupboard and a few fresh produce ingredients alone, making it a very economical dish to boot!), but you certainly could (some sharp cheddar grated over top would be a lovely touch).

Recently on Flickr I spotted a somewhat similar recipe from 1948 (which includes ground beef, garlic and little bit of drippings or shortening) that also cooks up relatively quickly (much quicker than the duration for which I generally cook my full-on chilli con carne, which is usually for nothing less than three hours over a low simmer) featuring Hunt's Tomato Sauce called (rather charmingly in a nod to the Western trend of the 40s and 50s) Chuck Wagon Beans.


{Click here for a larger version of this stick-to-your ribs vintage Hunt's tomato sauce, ground beef and kidney bean recipe, which comes by way of clotho98 on Flickr.}

On this first day of June, with summer already in full swing (temperature wise!) for many - and soon to be here for more still - I thought this super easy bean recipe would be a fun one to share for those days when you want a warm meal, but don't want to pass out from heat stroke after cooking for hours in the kitchen!

Pair it with a salad of  straight-from-the-fridge greens, zesty radishes and cooling apple slices, your favourite bread (or cornbread), and an icy drink and you’ve got a meal that’s filling, healthy and a snap to put together any day of the week.

I hope that this vintage recipe post finds you each doing terrifically and gearing up for an awesome sixth month of the year. Happiest June wishes, and summertime cooking, my wonderful friends!