December 31, 2012

Thank you all for an awesome 2012!

As I delved into last Friday in my post about 12 ways I improved my life in 2012, this has been one the best years for Tony and I in our whole lives, and we are grateful beyond measure for this fact. 2012 was, over all, so terrific that I’m almost a tad leery to see the ball drop on it tonight. Part of me wants to linger a little longer, basking in the wonderfulness of the past twelve months and stretching it out as long as possible (a feeling I honestly can't recall ever having before - at least not as an adult).

Time however, has other plans entirely, and whether I'm ready to wave buh-bye to 2012 or not, come tomorrow morning a brand new year will be upon us all. No matter what 2013 has up its sleeve, I know that one extremely lovely point will continue on into the new year, and that is all of you.

Yes, you! Each and every single one of you has helped to contribute to this blog in your own way, by following it, commenting, emailing me, and sharing your own sites (and Pinterest accounts!) with me all year long. I've never been the type to have a million and one real world friends, but I'm blessed to say that I have made countless dear and wonderful friends through my blog and involvement with the online vintage community.

You enrich my life, help inspire my wardrobe, share your knowledge, encourage and support me, are there to share the good times and the bad with, and help fuel my writing mojo on even the toughest of days.

I cherish my readers and want you all to know that you helped contribute to why 2012 was such fabulous year that it was for me. Thank you very much for being a part of my world and in turn opening up yours to me.

{Lovely vintage New Year's postcard via The Graphics Fairy}

From the bottom of my heart I wish you each a New Year's celebration - and year ahead - that sparkles and abounds with unparalleled happiness, tons of great memories, excellent health, the utmost of success, and scores of incredible vintage finds!!!

December 30, 2012

Adjectives, not resolutions, for 2013

A few weeks ago I did something that was outside the realm of my personal comfort zone. To most people it would have been as mundane as washing their hair or mowing the lawn, but for me it's something that is intensely unpleasant. I bucked up, did what had to be done, and got on with life. It's better, more often than not, to suffer in the moment, than to prolong an unwanted experience for days or weeks on end and suffer agony on top of the eventual reality of what you know simply must be done. And this got me thinking.

Thinking about bravery, about gumption, about moxie, and confidence, and as the day wore on, as my nerves settled a bit, other words began to flash into my mind, not about myself per se, but about the traits, be they ingrained or donned like a superhero costume when need be that we all have, and those which we aspire to apply more to our own lives.

Nestled into the taupe hued sofa in our living room, I began reflecting back over the past year once again and it struck me just how many times I'd stepped outside of my comfort zone over the last twelve months, and how - more often than not - my life had gotten better in some regard because of it.

Throughout my adult life I've often tried to consciously get better at various things, to improve those that I'm less than stellar at, and to stare fear straight in the eyes until it backs down. This will never change, it's tied to my tenacious nature, but that doesn't mean that I can't keep working and improving myself. Every can, and should, continue to better themselves however possible.

New Year's resolutions can be fantastic little critters indeed, but I've long been of the opinion that one can make a resolution at any point in the year, if they so desire, no need to wait for the ball to drop in Times Square (as I discussed in this post last January), so I'm not really setting any hard and fast resolutions that will kick into effect with the speedometer rolls over once more on January 1st .

There are goals I'm working on already, others that I'll likely kick off later this year, and some that will probably come about throughout 2013 that I'm not even aware of the possibility of yet. No, instead of resolutions for the coming year, I'm making a list of the adjectives that I want to personify, get better at, and work on rocking as often as possible - even when doing so sends a shiver of fear or worry down my spine.

I want to be, or will continue to be brave, confident, creative, beautiful, open (to new experiences and opportunities), thrifty, adventurous, and awesome.

These are my words for the year. Reminders both big and small of who I am, who I want to be, and who I'm developing into as I continue to grow.

The older I get (and at nearly 28.5, believe me, I'm scarcely a spring chicken these days), the more I come to realize that so much of what we think is holding us back, truly isn't. So often it's just a matter of changing our mindset, stepping out of our comfort zone, and being ok with not knowing what tomorrow may bring that launches that greatest changes - the moves and decisions that are more than just resolutions, but full on revolutions in our own lives.

You’ve got to love that. I sure do and I cannot wait to live my adjectives in the exciting year ahead.

December 28, 2012

12 things I did in 2012 to make my life better

Some years seem to fade into the next, with little division between them. They're part of the fabric of our lives, but they're by no means the flashiest or most exciting of times, and so it can be difficult to recall with much detail years later. Others are fraught with problems, pain, worry, and perhaps even heartache, as it seems like a break can't be had, no matter how hard you try. At the risk of jinxing myself a mere four days before the ball drops and 2013 launches, this year did not fall into either of those two camps. In fact it was, over all, rather wonderful.

And busy! Wonderful and busy, yes, that sums up 2012 rather accurately, if you ask me! As I sit here at the end of December, twelve months to flip through in the pages of mind, a flood of thoughts come pouring over me and I'm reminded of some of the elements that helped to make it such a great year. There were many, and I feel exceedingly blessed that such was the case. Goodness knows I've had my fair share of years I'd love to erase from my memory forever, if such a thing were possible, but 2012 was certainly not one of them.

As there are twelve months in that year, I thought I would take the opportunity today to share, correspondingly, twelve things that I (or in many cases, we, as in Tony and I together) consciously, intentionally did to help improve and enrich my –and our- life.

It isn't every day, or should I say, every year, that I have a list like, and I don't want to forget the key highlights of 2012 that helped to make it so superb as the years roll on, so without further ado, my I present (in no particular order) a roundup of some of the reasons why this year rocked.

1.) Moved to British Columbia: The year kicked off on an exceedingly busy note, as we made the life changing (and rather sudden) discussion to leave Toronto, after six years of life on the East Coast and move for the first time together to my home province of British Columbia. There were many motivating factors behind our decision, and it was not a choice that was reached lightly by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately this decision has proved to be one the best we've ever made, and I don't think a single week has passed without one of us saying how truly glad we were to be here, near family, with a better health care team, a nicer climate, and a home we love to pieces.

2.) Got a new house: And speaking of that house we adore so much, it ranks amongst the most important (and wonderful!) improvements in our life this year. After more than seven years (the duration of our marriage up until the point we moved provinces) of living in homes that ranged from shudder inducing to okay but chocked full of problems, we were fortunate enough to find a beautiful little condo on the most serenely lovely street anyone could ever ask for. The house, while not huge, is modern, safe, nicely laid out, and an absolute joy to live.

3.) Spent time with family: Before moving to B.C. we had always lived thousands of miles away from both of our families. Though that statement still rings true for Tony, whose relatives all reside in Italy, we now live in the same province as the bulk of my small family, some of whom even live right here in Penticton with us.

Having the ability to interact with relatives again, be it for a quick "pop in" visit or to celebrate the holidays, as well as to have extra help when I'm going through an especially rough patch health wise or need transportation and assistence to get to a medical appointment when Tony is working, has been an indescribably wonderful gift for both of us (Tony and my family hit it off famously, which sure makes life a lot easier for everyone involved).

4.) Created a craft room of my own in the basement: Though I did technically have a very small room in our last apartment that was designated as my craft space, its teeny size meant my supplies and finished projects were woefully overcrowded and it was hard to clear my mind and focus at times in such a cluttered space. It took a while to set up throughout the spring and early summer, but I'm thrilled to report that since then I've had an awesome, much (!) more spacious craft room of my own to work, play, and just kick back and relax in (this having been a dream of mine for all as long as I can recall).

5.) Got our first car: Though some people are a bit sceptical when we tell them this, it wasn't until early on last spring, just a couple of weeks after we moved to B.C., that Tony and I finally got our fist vehicle (neither of us had ever had a car before in our lives, and though my parents always did, Tony's had not, so this was really and truly his first set of wheels!).

As you can imagine, this has helped improve and enrich our lives in many ways, and is also significantly easier on me from a health standpoint than taking public transit or having to walk long distances to get anywhere. Now, several months on, it's almost mind boggling to think that we'd gotten by in large cities for all those years without a car.

6.) Finally found a feedreader that I love: This might sound like a small matter, but to me it really wasn't. For years I'd bounced around from one feedreader to another, failing to find one that I felt really worked for me and as a result over falling behind on staying abreast of my favourite sites. Last spring I tried Bloglovin and fell head-over-heels in love with after the first day. It's the only feedreader I use now and has been such an instrumental tool in my ability to better follow (and in turn comment on) some of my favourite blogs.

7.) Hammered out a blog schedule that works for me: Speaking of blogging, this year was the first in my life when I really felt like I hit a good, manageable (under the circumstances this year dished out) blogging schedule and pace that worked for me. I'm not going to delve into detail too much on this topic now though, as it's a subject I'm planning on devoting a whole post to early on in 2013. So stay tuned to hear more on this particular improvement (and how what works for me, may help you, too).

8.) Starting taking regular wardrobe snaps: While we're on the subject of things that involve the good ol' interwebz, this year marked the first one for me in which I regularly began documenting my vintage outfits through photographs (nearly all of which are taken by my highly talented hobbyist photographer husband, Tony). While that is certainly awesome unto itself, for me, an even more important element of this act (taking snaps) has been the fact that it's helped me tackle, and better handle, some of my self-esteem and body image issues, as well as to no longer be quite as painfully shy in front of the lens.

9.) Organized my wardrobe better and more efficiently: Much as with my craft supplies at our old home, there was precious little closet space or anywhere to store my wardrobe at our last place. This house however has more of both and and as a result I've (finally!) been able to better sort, organize, and display my wardrobe. A point which makes me so very, very happy - and which makes getting dressed now a snap compared to at our old apartment.

10.) Worked on making (more) peace with my body: Whether justified or not, I've struggled greatly with my body image throughout my whole life, in part because of the way I was (cruelly and completely unjustly) treated regarding my appearance by certain family members when I was growing up, as well as the fact that I was teased mercilessly as a child by my schoolmates, sometimes due to certain elements of my appearance. Battling a multitude of chronic illnesses everyday certainly doesn't help how I feel about my body either, but the older I get, the more I love my body - flaws, imperfections, shortcomings and all (a topic I discussed here last spring), and hope dearly that this positive trend will continue as the years roll on.

11.) Discovered I could wear most brooches: As you may recall from this post last May, I discovered that, if I placed at least a couple of layers of fabric between the metal and my skin, I'm often able to wear brooches. This might sound like a strange thing to mention, but for those who didn't catch my post about this point, I'm extremely allergic to nickel, a metal which is found in a large amount of jewelry (thus preventing me from wearing said jewelry), however this discovery has opened up the whole wide world of brooches to me and I've been wasting no time in building up a delightful collection of them ever since.

12.) Got outside more: Though there were numerous long stretches (the lengthiest being almost almost all of August and part of September), as there are every year, when my health wasn't doing well enough for me to leave the house, thanks to the fact that we now live in a much better situated neighbourhood in a town we love (and delight in exploring) and have a car, I've been able to get out of the house more frequently, whether for everyday tasks like running errands or setting off with Tony to neighbouring communities and towns.

Throughout 2012 we had fun doing everything from doing a photo shoot at an orchard in East Kelowna to going fishing in the dark, visiting Polson Park in Vernon to spending as many Saturdays as we could out garage saling around town. I can hardly wait to see all the awesome places we'll hopefully be able to go, and the wonderful memories we'll make while out and about, in 2013!

{My deepest thanks go out to 2012 for being such a splendid, meaningful, and highly memorable (in a good way!) year. I have my fingers firmly crossed that the coming year will be one of great happiness, success, and fun, too - not only for me and my family, but also for each and every one of you and your loved ones, too. Vintage New Year's card via Miehana on Flickr.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Peppered amongst this list there were other things, big and small, that also helped rank this year so highly for my both me and my husband, but these are the ones that jump out as me on this fine winter's morn first and foremost.

I'm not saying that 2012 was without its hiccups, worries, and rough patches, but for a very, very pleasant change of pace, I don't feel like they were the predominant factor this year. Perhaps that was part luck, maybe life gets a bit easier to tackle as you get older, or, who knows, the universe might just have wanted to smile on us throughout the course of the past dozen months.

Whatever the case, I can't begin to stress how grateful I am to have enjoyed such a terrific, productive, happy year. Only time, that great and mysterious unknown, will tell what the future has in store for us, but I can't help thinking - knock wood - that it's bound to better than many years past thanks to these twelve things and the improvements they brought into our world in 2012.

December 26, 2012

Betty Crocker's delicious vintage recipe idea for leftover Christmas turkey

There is a certain distinct beauty to Boxing Day - and often a renewed sense of serenity, too (assuming one stays away from the hoards of shoppers out at the plethora of sales today, that is!). Christmas Day, hard as it is to believe, is behind us once more. The presents have been unwrapped, the feast tucked unto, and the nearly infamous holiday cards long sent out.

The merriness of the day, its bright, ageless spirit and unmatched importance remain on December 26th, however, and will for most people for several more days to come. Unlike other holidays that generally come and go with a bang, Christmas is more than just one day. It a tiny season of joy, celebration, gratitude, and festivity unto itself, and I think that's part of the reason so many of us adore this time of the year so dearly.

Though some folks feel a renewed since of energy on this lovely day, a good deal of us are quite tuckered out after days, or even weeks of solid holiday preparation, which means this isn't the time for huge meals made completely from scratch again - especially not when we likely have a fridge that's bursting to capacity with scrumptious Christmas dinner remains.

However, you may want a slight change of pace from yesterday's grand meal with all the trimmings, and thus may I - and the every wonderful Betty Crocker - present to you a delightful vintage recipe for Turkey Roulettes that calls from a couple of cups of leftover turkey and few store cupboard staples staples.

Ready in a flash, and perfect to serve with any of your other holiday leftovers that you desire, this recipe is a gem to have on hand for anytime of the year you may have extra turkey (or chicken) in the fridge.

Vintage Betty Crocker Turkey Roulettes recipe, leftover Christmas turkey recipe ideas

{Leftover Christmas turkey and few other basic ingredients, plus less than an hour's time, is all it takes to whip up this taste bud pleasing vintage recipe for Turkey Roulettes. Image via Eudaemonius on Flickr.}

I'd be tempted to add a little bit of cranberry sauce in each roulette (or perhaps thin it out a touch and drizzle it over the finished pastry parcels), and would definitely serve these with gravy or a white sauce, as the original recipe suggests (a nice, sharp cheese sauce or even a flavourful tomato sauce would both be splendid here, too). By the same token, you could add in a handful of stuffing (dressing), diced cooked vegetables (say Brussel sprouts or carrots), or even some yummy mashed potatoes.

Our Christmas was absolutely marvelous – filled with everything and more, from family to wonderful gifts, countless tasty morsels to gorgeous seasonal decor that one could possibly hope for. The buzz and gaiety of Christmas is still going strong today at our house and will, I'm sure, for several more days to come - especially when there's so much scrumptious turkey to enjoy still in classic recipes like this.

I hope deeply that you're each having a tremendously lovely holiday season, and that you're Boxing team is teaming with happiness, fun, fantastic food - and should you decide to brave the mall crowds, plenty of good bargains! :)

December 24, 2012

And may all your Christmases be...

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all though the blogsphere not a creature was stirring not even a computer mouse. Doubtful indeed, but there is a certain calm that settles over even the vast and wondrous realm that is the interwebs on Christmas and the circle of days immediately before and after it.

This is a good thing, a beautiful thing even, for it means that many are spending time focusing on the holidays and taking a much needed breather - if only for a day or two - from the web. It's not going anywhere, but before we can blink the holidays will be over again, so it's worth enjoying a momentary pause in the name of Christmas this week.

Of course I'm not saying that you shouldn't post today or tomorrow, by all means do so, if you like, I'm just remarking on how I always sense a very brief lull in the general amount of blogging activity in general between about the 22nd and 27th of December (and then to a lesser extent right around, and on, New Year's Day). I won't be posting tomorrow myself either, but will be back bright and early on Boxing Day morn.

Like many, I adore, cherish and revere Christmas. Its bright-eyed wonder, hopeful promises, and gentle elegance is unlike any other time of the year. I've had a terrific December, full of all the very best things that the month of Christmas should contain, and am excited beyond words to celebrate tomorrow with my nearest and dearest.

It is my wish to all of you, wherever in this vast, amazing world of ours that you live, that tomorrow abounds with joy and good cheer, laughter and merriment, gifts both of the heart and of the kind that come wrapped in a pretty bow, more food than you could ever begin to eat in one sitting, hugs from those you see rarely, smiles shared under the glistening holiday lights, a childlike sense of wonder, old memories to reminisce about and new ones to recall fondly for the rest of your days.

And, if only in spirit, as Bing first sung all the years ago, may all your Christmases be white.

Merry Christmas wishes and love, everybody!

December 23, 2012

Festive Christmas cardigan fun!

Outfit details

1940s black and red velvet hat: etsy seller Bette's Bargains
Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Faux pearl stud earrings: Claire's
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
Black cotton and lace top: Suzy Shier
Christmas ornament cardigan: eBay
Vintage black velour pencil skirt: etsy seller Lady Kitschener's Vintage Emporium
Faux pearl stretch bracelets: Real Canadian Superstore
Vintage maroon gloves with buttons: etsy seller Antiqueelegance
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: etsy seller MK Retro
Nude and black seamed stockings: eBay
Black pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Antonio Cangiano



Christmas sweaters get a bad reputation. For this you can mostly blame the plethora of parties devoted to mocking and poking fun at these festive knits in recent years (such events aren’t the only reason, but the huge part of it). I, however, love a good holiday sweater, whether it's kitschy or cute, elegant or extravagant, and decided this year that it was high time I bought my first one (in keeping with the spirit of my Halloween cardigan).

Though this particular cardigan is more subdued than most Christmas sweaters, it packs its own charming wallop of seasonal spirit and has the added bonus of going with a lot of different outfits, thanks to the fact that it's almost all white.

Before we go any further, I need to point out the fact that the black top I'm wearing underneath the cardigan has lacy, somewhat poufy capped sleeves, and that's what you're seeing looking bulky on my upper arms in these shots. I haven't suddenly developed WWF wrestler worthy biceps, it's just the capped sleeves being compressed by a very fitted knit garment.

I picked up this cardigan in "new with the tags still on" condition earlier this year on eBay for an absolute steal. I went hunting for a Christmas cardi with a very open mind in terms of styles and colour palettes, and knew the moment I spied it that this was the one for me. Though not vintage, it has a very classic look and the ornaments themselves definitely resemble something you might have seen illustrated on a lovely 1950s Christmas card.

This timeless black and red velvet hat is one I've had for years. I wear it relatively often (as it goes with so many outfits) and am a little surprised it took this long (best I can recall) to make an appearance here. On this particular day, it - along with the rest of my outfit - got worn to our town's annual Christmas Craft Fair Show, which takes place at the community centre located directly across the street from my elementary school.

Celebrating its 16th year in 2012, this Christmas Fair has been a part of my winter celebration pretty much every year I've lived in Penticton, and I have very fond memories of my mom and I walking to it in the nippy late fall air numerous times when I was growing up. It's changed, like so many things, a bit over the years (I find there are now many more mass produced items on offer than there were a few years back), but remains a fantastic event (it's the largest of it's kind in the Okanagan south of Kelowna) and one that I was thrilled to attend again for the first time in several years (as I'd been living elsewhere during that time).

Tony, my mom and I bundled into the car and headed down on the first of the two days it takes place over the course of a weekend. The crowd was lively and large, but not the absolute biggest I've ever seen there. Dozens of local, provincial and out-of-province vendors were there selling everything from fine art to handmade soap created using wine as one of the ingredients, oodles of Christmas decorations to artisan salad dressings.

We picked up a few things, including a gorgeous (brand new) rose patterned teapot (complete with two matching mugs), a small, beautiful antique looking floral dresser runner, and a couple of cute Christmas ornaments. We'd been looking for something to put on top of one of the two dressers in our master bedroom and didn't (believe it or not) have an elegant teapot (just a small, vivid orange modern one), so I was pleased as punch with our purchases (all of which were quite reasonably priced).

The craft fair took place a little while ago, but I intentionally held off on posting the outfit photos from that day, as I wanted to share my first Christmas sweater with you right before the big day (aka, December 25th) itself arrived. I love my ornament emblazed cardi and hope that it will be one in a long line of holiday sweaters (be they vintage or vintage appropriate) that I pick up over the years.

Like most of us are these days, Tony and I are busy as beavers over here, engaged in all manner of holiday going-ons. They'll be posts as usual over the next few festive days, but this is the last wardrobe post for 2012 that I have slatted. It's hard to believe how quickly the time has flown by since I first started sharing outfit snaps here on a regular basis last March.

For those who'd like a teaser of what's to come in the New Year, I'll be kicking off 2013 with a notable change to my hair, so be sure to stay tuned for all the exciting details (and photos!) there.

I love this time of year and am so, so filled with the Christmas spirit right now I can hardly restrain myself from wearing this cardigan 24/7! I hope that you're also in a happy holiday mood and that everything is going wonderfully for you and your families this December.

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve, my dear friends!!! (Only two more sleeps Christmas morn!)

December 22, 2012

Saturday Snapshots: Christmas 2012 edition

{Oh what I - and a great many of you - wouldn't give to have this fabulous prop for use in our own family portrait Christmas cards.}

{The stockings were hung by the silverware chest with care, in the hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there.}

{It's matching holiday outfits all around for this trio of sisters, with little brother coordinating quite nicely, too, in his festive red plaid shirt.}

{A family eagerly awaits their festive feast in this super easy to relate to image from December 1949.}

{The weather outside might be a touch frightful, but that isn't stopping this group of 1950s youngsters from belting out Christmas carols with all their might.}

{Three generations, spanning junior through grandpa, pitch in to help trim the tree in this classic slice-of-life shot from 1954.}

{The holidays can sure take a lot out of you at times, no matter how cute and - normally - rambunctious a cowboy you are.}

{In this heartwarming photo titled "Mom and Kat", a mother dressed in pale blue gazes down lovingly at her her baby, creating an image that cannot help but make one think of the classic nativity scene.}

{Group shots are a standard must when the family gathers for the holidays, and this black and white portrait 1959 embodies the spirit of so many like it that have been taken over the years: a range of ages, expressions, and excitement levels captured forever on film.}

{With wide-eyed wonderment a darling little girl looks up at the towering Christmas tree, a doll - perhaps a new present - cradled in her arms, as all the innocence and wonder of youth radiates from her sweet face.}

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


Good years do not necessarily come often or easy. Like bumper harvests, blue moons and spirit bears, they sometimes elude for a very long time. This year however, when all (minus the nine remaining days) was said and done, was a very good one. It ushered in much needed change, brought increased happiness, moved thousands of miles, set up a new home, spend countless hours with beloved relatives, made new friends, thrifted and yard saled, baked, photographed and poised, blogged, created, dreamed, cried tears of joy, laughed, and celebrated.

For there was - and still is - much to be grateful for, and never has this year, or the approaching holiday season, looked more beautiful than it does right now, the twinkling gleam of holiday lights waltzing in the background, the smell of gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa wafting through the air.

Christmas has indeed waved its magic wand over this place, this grand and glorious world of ours, but this year, for Tony and I, it didn't have to work as hard or wave as vigorously as it often has. The universe had already sprinkled its own generous dose of wonder over us and set our hearts ablaze with smiles and gratitude.

As 2012 winds down and Christmas looms just three sleeps away, I am acutely aware that years like this are a rarity. The tough ones always return. Yet swept up in the merriment of the season, tummy full of festive eats, Bing crooning us with carols from the record player, I can't help but look at life through Christmas rose coloured glasses and view the world as a very lovely place these days.

It is my sincerest hope that, no matter the year you've had up until this point, the holidays and these last tinsel covered days of December will leave you each feeling as though all is merry and bright, and more than a little bit beautiful, too.

December 21, 2012

A darling 1950s Coconut Snowman Cake to celebrate the start of winter

At noon on this fine, frosty day the sun will appear at its lowest altitude above the horizon, ushering in the start of the final (or first, depending on who ask) season of the year: winter. Many of us have had our first (or thirtieth!) snowfall already this year, scrapped ice from our car windows, long brought our summer patio furniture in, stoked wood fires, and begun cooking and baking our most beloved cold weather dishes.

Up until now though, we were technically still experiencing autumn, and while I'm a touch sad to see my very favourite season of the year bid us farewell once more, I'm also happy that the gentle serenity and soulful beauty of winter is here once more, ushering in with it all manner of hearty, sweet, filling, warming, wonderful recipes.

Today's vintage recipe however isn't so much about knocking the chill out of your bones, in fact, the sight of it might even make you a little colder, as it just happens to be for a splendidly cute Coconut Snowman Cake that is nothing short of adorable and which would work splendidly for all manner of Christmas, New Year's, and winter celebrations.

Vintage 1950s Christmas Snowman Coconut Cake recipe ad, Chronically Vintage blog

{I first spotted this charming 1950s snowman cake recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and instantly bookmarked it to share here once winter hit. Image discovered via Kitschy Cupcakes on Pinterest.}

And speaking of December 25th, it really is right around the corner now, isn't it? Hard to believe that we're just four more sleeps away from Christmas morn’s beautiful arrival. I know that, like me, many of you scarcely have a moment to pause and catch your breath right now, which is why I wanted to share a recipe with you today that could work equally well for Christmas (should you be in need of a great cake to serve on the big day) or any other time throughout this snow-covered, elegantly lovely season.

Though this cake does require a little handiwork to construct, it isn't overly tricky (one good sized cake baked in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan is all it takes to build the whole snowman) and can be decorated anyway you desire. You could even make a pair and decorate them as matching Mr. and Mrs. Claus snowmen for the holidays (or scale down the dimensions and create mini individual snowmen to serve to all your guests).

There's much to be done today and over the weekend, so I'll keep this post short and sweet (as an adorable vintage snowman cake). Before I skedaddle back to the kitchen (oh how I adore holiday baking!) to whip up some more festive goodies though, I want to wish each of you an immensely beautiful start of winter.

May this season hold an endless supply of enchanting sights, relaxing moments, wonderful smiles, immense happiness, and yummy desserts aplenty for all of us!

December 19, 2012

A new dress is a bit like a great wine

Despite what a couple people I know might have you believe, my wardrobe is – by modern standards – definitely not massive. It’s wonderful, beloved, and filled with well curated pieces, the overwhelming majority of which are vintage, repro, or vintage appropriate, but it isn’t Hollywood starlet sized by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s not every day that I add a new piece to my closet, be it something as small as a pair of lace gloves or as hefty as a winter wool coat, and new dresses are certainly not an item that comes my way all the time. This isn’t uncommon of course for many of us, but because dresses are (as a whole) my favourite type of garment, I’m prone to really savouring the experience when I do get a new (to me) one.

This past summer my mom and step-dad very sweetly wanted to give me a dress for my birthday (how awesome is that?) and so, knowing the budget I had to work with, I spent an evening searching for a summery vintage frock that would absolutely take my breath away.

Jessica's new birthday dress

I was thrilled to find such a garment, pictured above (from UK based etsy reproduction seller Oh Sew Vintage), in just one night and couldn’t order it fast enough. The dress arrived in good time and shortly after it got here, my mom asked if she could see it in person (she'd already seen the listing photos).

I ran to get it right away, beaming with happiness over the fact that it was even lovelier in real life than in the online shots. She asked me if I was going to wear it for a certain event we had coming up, and I said that while I’d thought about it, there were more reasons not to, than to do so, and as such I wouldn’t be wearing it that day. No worries, I assured her though, I’d be christening it very soon (and indeed I did).

Sometimes however, even when I love a dress madly, I hold off on wearing it right off the bat. I let it gather a little more age on the bar in my closet. I pull it out and look at it, admiring the fabric, cut, details, darling vintage buttons, and imagine how I’ll style it the first time, where I might sport it to, and if I’ll end up adoring it even more once I’ve taken it out for an inaugural spin.

I like having a dress or two in the wings, frocks that haven’t yet been worn, just waiting for a big event like the Christmas holidays, an anniversary or birthday, or perhaps simply something marvelous and fresh to don on an evening out on the town with Tony.

And so, later that night after my mom asked to see my new dress, it struck me that in a way that I see the garments I purchase as each being akin to an excellent bottle of wine, gathered and stored lovingly in a cellar for just the right meal, event, or random Tuesday that needs perking up when they'll be wholeheartedly relished and fully experienced for the first time.

Though I do not have a closet's worth of unworn pieces by any means, I generally do have a dress, skirt, or other piece (or two) that has yet to be uncorked (aka, worn) and which I’m thrilled to know is waiting for just the right moment, when I’ll bring it out of the dark (of my closet) and enjoy it for the first time in all its pleasurable, wonderful glory.

And to that fact I cannot help but raise a glass and voice a resounding "cheers"!  Smile

December 17, 2012

20 gorgeous Edwardian colour photographs

It occurred to me in the wee hours of the night not too long ago, as I was hard at work on a different post, while at the same time roasting a tray of chicken pieces for the next day’s lunch, that the years that most often springs to mind for me when I think of the winter are those of the Edwardian era.

Of course I can picture scenes and fashions other time periods during the frosty months, too, but there's just something about winter that calls to mind the first two decades of the twentieth century.

I think that reason for this stems from a few different of sources, chief amongst which is that when I was a little girl, one of my favourite Sunday evening activities was to curl up and spend an hour watching a beloved Canadian TV show called Road To Avonlea (based on the writings of famed Anne of Green Gables author, Lucy Maud Montgomery), that was set in the Edwardian period and which new episodes of appeared during the chillier months.

From 1990 to 1996, while this heartwarming family program aired, it was, bar none, my favourite show and one which I still delight in watching reruns of sometimes - particularly during the winter months, while I hunker down inside and take refuge from the wild Canadian weather beyond my front door.

On top of that, there's the fact that I spent a portion of my childhood growing up in a small house right here in Penticton that was built in 1909. While that fact in and of itself doesn't tie directly to wintertime, while living there I watched the second half of the Road to Avonlea seasons and often tried to find modern clothes that resembled those of the characters whose wardrobes I was smitten with. Think long high collared flannel night gowns, ankle grazing skirts, velvet party dresses, granny boots, and as many opaque, heavy stockings as I could rustle up at such a young age.

Further adding to the mix was the fact that (much like me) my paternal grandmother adored the Victorian and Edwardian eras and always included pieces designed to look as though they were made during those periods in her holiday decor. As we spent oodles of time at my grandparents' house each holiday season, I always got to enjoy being surrounded my by gran's especially lovely take on yesteryear fuelled Christmas decorating when I was growing up.

To this day, whenever the mercury starts plummeting and holiday tunes appear on the radio once more, my mind suddenly shifts a bit from it's usual 1940s and 50s mode to one of the genteel, elegant years of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and as such I thought today - less than a three weeks away from Christmas would be the idea time to venture just a wee bit further back in the past than most posts here usually do and look at three tremendously lovely Edwardian colour photographs.

Though none of these images is distinctly wintery, as the Edwardians have been on my mind a lot once more, and I've been yearning to share these photos - which I think really speak volumes for themselves - since first encountering them a few months ago, I thought this first Friday in December seemed like a lovely time to do just that.

(All twenty of these truly captivating Edwardian photographs were, as is my understanding, taken using an early method of colour photography called autochrome lumière. With the exception of this photo, which hails from the collection of Flickr user dovima is devine II, all of these images come by way of Lisby1 on Flickr. )
♥  ♥  ♥

So often when we think of the 1900s and 1910s, it's black and white images that spring to mind first and foremost and as a result it can be trickier to picture the world at the time illuminated with the came colours and vibrancy it has today. However, as invaluable captures like prove, the Edwardian universe was just as vivid as ours is today (and certainly countless eras before it have been, too).

Do you have a favourite amongst these Edwardian colour snapshots? I'm hard pressed to whittle my selection down to just one, and think that it's a tie between the very first and last photos above (which is why I placed them as I did). Each one tells a priceless story though and is certainly a perpetual favourite of mine as far as vintage photographs go.

Whether you're knee deep in snow already or are being treated to a mild December, no matter if you associate winter with the Edwardians, too, or not, I hope that you all enjoyed seeing these resplendent 1900s and 1910s colour photographs as much as I did, and that they'll inspire your early twentieth century related endeavours in 2013 and well beyond.