March 31, 2016

A fabulous 40s style headscarf from Lacey Rose Creations, my dream bomber jacket, and one last snowy backdrop

Outfit details

1940s style floral print head wrap: c/o Lacey Rose Creations
Earrings: can't remember and can't really see here :)
Burgundy button front shirt: Thrifted (originally from Banana Republic)
Oxblood/burgundy lace trimmed camisole: Fairweather
C. 1950s/1960s gold tone rose brooch: Unknown, had for many years (probably thrifted; similar styles available in my Etsy shop)
1940s style brown faux leather bomber jacket: Thrifted from Value Village (originally from Suzy Shier)
Vintage style oxblood/burgundy faux leather cross body bag: eBay
Gold tone metal bangle bracelet: Payless
1940s vintage reproduction dark green swing trousers: Heyday
1930s/1940s style brown lace up oxfords: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Party Line

Photography by Tony Cangiano

...Before we officially put (well, in so much as such a bold statement can ever be uttered on Canadian soil) winter to rest.

Actually, we've been snow-free for quite a while now due to the milder-than-usual February and March that we've been treated to. In place of the usual lashings of snow and ice that often fill these months here, it's mostly been rain, rain and more rain, with occasional - and wholly welcomed - pockets of sunshine.

Naturally then, as you may have guessed, these photos were taken (on my parents deck) back when the world was still a Christmas card worthy winter wonderland of icicles, tranquil falling snow, and enough white stuff on the ground to make a million friends for Frosty.

Those of you who follow me on YouTube (where, you know, I post videos in rapid flurries of activity at least once a year :P), may recall when, last summer, I thrifted the 1940s style bomber jacket from Value Village (as I mentioned it in this video). Hailing from the Canadian clothing chain Suzy Shier originally, this thrift store score was a dream come true on the fashion front for me.

More often than not, bomber style jackets look atrocious on me. Like, we're talking scary bad. So much so, that I've almost relegated them to the realm of vintage garments that I (just about) never wear.

Luckily however, I didn't throw in the towel entirely and the moment that I slipped this dark brown faux leather 1940s style bomber jacket on in the aisle right there at Value Village, I knew it was love at first sight (and my sweet mom, who was with me, thought so as well, which was great to hear). Needless to say, I bought it instantly and have been living in this jacket as part of many of my casual ensembles ever since.

Wonderfully warm and fabulously old school looking, this is the kind of easy-going jacket everyone's wardrobe would be bettered by. Another thing that makes your closet even more enjoyable is when you've got the perfect 1940s, or 1940s style, accessories to pair with said bomber jacket.

For me, one of those is unequivocally this flat out awesome 1940s style floral print head wrap that my dear friend Cherry, from She Knits in Pearls, recently sent to me as a very thoughtful review present (thank you so much, darling gal!).

Last year Cherry and her mom, both talented sewers, launched the beautifully named Lacey Rose Creations on Etsy (as well as a companion Instagram account of the same name - and you can also see more of Cherry's creative happening and daily life on her personal Instagram as well), where they sell a lovely selection of handmade items, including head wraps in the same style as this gorgeous rose print number, as well as fabric headbands, kitchen linens, and other fun delights.

At first glance, you might think that this wrap was a regular style scarf tied up 1940s war worker style, but in fact, it is a brilliantly designed head wrap that strikes one as being somewhat akin to a roomy shower cap in the way its designed (I say that in a totally positive light).

It's also a bit like a snood and pre-made turban in the sense that one simply places the wrap on their head and adjusts it to fit however they want. The elastic edges keep it in place and pre-tied bow makes it look as though you are indeed sporting a traditional headscarf, only you're not.

No, this easier and quicker, and every bit (if not more so) as comfortable. It's a brilliant design and way to quickly get a 40s style look up top without a lot of time or effort (always handy for the busy lives so many of us lead). I really hope that Cherry and her mom keep producing more of these comfy cotton head wraps, because I'm beyond addicted to my first one and would love to add more to my wardrobe as time goes on.

If you haven't checked out Cherry's shop yet, I highly encourage you to do so. The items that she and her mom are producing are all terrific looking and very reasonably priced, too, may I add.

I had a bunch of cooking for family events and running around to do on the day that these photos were taken, so to compliment the casual bomber jacket and lovely head wrap, I added a pair of 1940s reproduction swing trousers from Heyday, a classic burgundy hued button front shirt, a vintage rose brooch, a gold tone bangle bracelet, an oxblood/burgundy faux leather cross body bag, and my super beloved brown 30s/40s style oxfords to the mix for a fun look that was ideal for checking a million and one things off my to-do list.

This head wrap is warm, but not swelteringly so in the slightest and I'm certain that I'll continue to wear it until the (snow covered) cows come home all year round. If I could wave a magic wand and have a hundred of them in a rainbow of colours and patterns, I happily would - especially given how wonderfully well constructed they are.

So, my dears, this will most likely (again, Canada and all) be the last snow filled post for a few months. We had a great run and enjoyed some really diverse outfits together here this time around.

As we officially embrace springtime, I'm equally excited to share a bounty of fun warm weather looks with you all once more - and who knows, perhaps this head wrap will appear here again when the mercury is as far north as it was south on the day these very snaps were taken. Smile

March 29, 2016

Meet Carla: The cosplay adoring, mid-century wearing, multitalented crafter from Tiny Angry Crafts

This month, for the first spring 2016 installment in our delightful ongoing "Meet a Fellow Vintage blogger" series, I'm over-the-moon excited to be chatting with none other than my good online friend Carla W., from the wonderful blog Tiny.Angry.Crafts.

Not only is Carla sweet, caring and kindhearted, but she's an active member of our vintage blogging community who frequently visits other peoples' sites. I've had the pleasure of knowing Carla for a few years now and really admire her spirit, passion for the past, fabulous knitting skills, and diverse array of interests, many of which appear in her enjoyable blog posts.

Carla and I are both west coast girls, too (albeit on different sides of the 49th), which is just one of numerous points that we share in common. If you haven't encountered Carla and her blog before, or have and are every bit as keen as I was to learn more about this fabulous vintage fan, read on to get the lowdown on everything from some of her favourite vintage knitting pattern resources to her love of cosplay, how her site's name came to be, the fact that she wants to learn corsetry and so much more!

Inquiring minds want to know, as surely there must be a good one, what’s the story behind your very memorable blog name?

Haha! My sister accidentally came up with the name. I'm shorter than she is; 5ft2 to her 5ft8, so I'm Tiny to her. When I'm being good while crafting, my glasses are off, and I have a very stern looking face when I work, which looks Angry. And I'm always Crafting. She strung the words together one day while we were at the zoo, and it stuck.

How long have you been blogging for? Was there anything in particular that lead you launch Tiny Angry Crafts?

Oh goodness, I had to go into my blog and check, but I've been blogging since 2010. I initially started up this blog to show off a lot of knitting and crochet craft I had worked on and sold to go with my (sadly empty) Etsy shop. But, I had a letter writing blog a bit before this, and a LiveJournal.

What sorts of crafts are you currently drawn to the most?

I love knitting and crochet. I also am very drawn to embroidery and cross-stitch, but I don't get to work on it as much, sadly. And I'm an avid letter writer, I have a few pen-pals I write to.

Do you find that you get much time to devote to your crafting passions?

With school, not as much as I'd like to. But I'll steal away an hour or two while I'm working to take a breather, and work on my cardigan or crochet up some slippers.

How does crafting intersect with your love of the past?

I come from a very crafty family, my mother used to be a tailor and dressmaker, my father was a milliner's apprentice, my grandparents know their way around a needle and thread, and my grandmother's mother made a good portion of her (and her 5 siblings'!) clothes.

It's always humbling to know they were able to make something from almost nothing, and have lovely stories to recant about it.

Have you been living a vintage filled life for quite a while now? (And when did you first start wearing old school styles?)

Hmmm, I've been interested in vintage styles since I was about 10 years old. I blame my grandfather for constantly having Turner Classic Movies on the television. But I was a terribly shy person growing up, and was afraid of drawing attention to myself (which is ironic, because I dressed up like comic characters before I dressed vintage). I think I started gaining more confidence to dress up when I turned 22 or so. So not very long, actually!

What is/are your favourite decade(s)? Any reasons in particular why such is the case?

I really like the 1930s and 1940s in terms of 'Oh hey, I'm going to wear this 30s style today' or something. I find myself drawn to the necessity to create ones own clothing while all this stressful turmoil going on. And I also love how they look on me.

In terms of aesthetics, I really enjoy a lot of 1950s and early 1960s looks, but I very rarely wear them.

How (if applicable) has your style changed since you first got into vintage?

I've stopped covering myself up a lot for one. In high school and my late teens, you'd often find me bundled in a jacket, no matter the weather. I've learned to embrace how my shape is. I've began to wear more makeup, take better care of my clothes, learned what styles do and do not fit me, and have had a lot of fun trying new things with my hair!

Are there any yesteryear celebrities/notable figures whose style you especially admire?

So I'm not subjecting your readers to a list about 20 miles long, I'll list a few:

I absolutely adore Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Lena Horne. They are so very important to me, being African American women who overcame not only rampant racism, but also sexism. How they all persevered in their craft, is a constant source of motivation to me.

Five crafting related items you’d take with you to a desert island?

Knitting needles, yarn, fabric, scissors, needles.

Do you tend to have a lot of WIPs on the go, or do you try to finish a project before moving on to the next?

Oh I'm sure if my family knew crafting slangs, they'd call me 'The Queen of WIPs'. I tend to get bored with a project, then will pop on to a new one. I eventually go back to some WIPs, if they're small enough.

I know it can be hard to choose, but if you had to pick one very favourite craft, what would it be for you?

Sewing. I went to school for it, and I've been doing it for most of my life. It's pretty much in my blood, haha!

Is there a craft (or really, any hobby) that you’d like to learn, but which you’ve not dabbled in yet?

I'd love to learn corsetry! Just to say 'Hey, I made a corset!' And it'll be a fun skill builder. I'd also love to learn to make faux armor with various plastics.

What are some of your favourite online crafting related resources (blogs, shops, how-to sites – anything you’d like to share)?

The Craftsy blog

By Gum, By Golly

The Vintage Pattern Files

The V&A 1940's knitting patterns

Knitting Help (This site is how I learned to knit my senior year of high school!)

You’re currently in school. Can you share a bit with us about what you’re studying and the direction you’re currently planning for your career?

I'm all set to graduate! I'm taking a course called 'Advanced Fashion Design' which has me (and 16 other classmates) making my own 3-5 garment collection. I've based mine on the 1930s, and it will debut at my schools fashion show in May! Career wise, there isn't a lot here in San Diego - and I'd love to get into theatre work along the line - so I'll just go where the wind takes me.

When not blogging, crafting, or going to school, what are some things we can find you doing?

Sleeping, playing with my dog, Prince, adventuring through my city!

Five words that you would use to describe yourself and five (others) that capture the spirit of your vintage wardrobe?

Myself: Quiet, inquisitive, kind, petite, and resourceful.

Wardrobe: Small, simple, colorful, dresses, cute.

And last, but not least, anything that you wish folks knew about you, but that they might not be aware of (about you) from your blog?

I mentioned I make costumes and wear them to comics conventions. The art is called Cosplay, and I've been doing it since 2007. It's what really kick started my love of sewing more, and sort of pushed me to going to school for fashion design. I plot to make a couple more cosplays for San Diego Comic Con, as well as for Comikaze, which might be from a few classic TV shows and movies!

Connect with Carla on the following sites:

Meet the past interviewees who have taken part in this delightful ongoing post series:

February 2015: Emileigh | March 2015: CiCi | April 2015: Helen Mae | May 2015: Esther | June 2015: Ms. Falcon |July 2015: Jessie, and Laurence & Sylvain| August 2015: Holly | September 2015: Rhia | October 2015: Franny | November 2015: Emily | December 2015: Porcelina | January 2016: Nora | February 2016: Kate

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Thank you very much for the terrific interview, Carla. It was an total joy talking with you and discovering more points that we share in common (for example, I would use those very same five words to describe myself, too). If you're not already following Tiny.Angry.Crafts, I highly recommend that you do so - Carla and her blog are a true delight!

I also really want to thank each and every one of you, my lovely readers, for the many wonderful comments that you shower each month's interviewees with, as well as the support you often show their blogs, social media sites, and when applicable, online shops, too.

One of my absolute favourite things is helping to bring members of the vintage community (all the more) together, very much including introducing those who may not have met online yet, and I feel really fortunate to have the chance to do so through this fun ongoing post series.
If you're an active member of the vintage blogging world who routinely interacts with others in our midst (and who hasn't appeared in this series yet) and would like to be interviewed for a future post here down the line, please don't hesitate to drop me an email anytime. I'd be thrilled to chat with you, too!

March 27, 2016

Joyful Easter wishes!

The morning air is crisp and light, the first tendrils of sunshine break over the tall hills that surround our town and home alike. A beautiful sense of serenity and energy alike permeates these early hours and one cannot wake up with a smile on their face in their heart alike.

It is Easter and there is so much loveliness to this special day. No matter your personal beliefs, this is the second Sunday of spring and that alone is worth celebrating, slipping on a vintage flower adored hat for, and treating yourself to a chocolate bunny (or five!).

{Vintage Easter card image source}

On this most elegantly lovely of morns, know, my dear friends, that I am thinking of you and sending joyful wishes for a fun filled, fantastic celebration your way!

Happiest Easter, start of spring, and the return of sunshine!

March 25, 2016

The Travelling Hat visits Penticton

Outfit details

1930s/1940s style tilt hat: Handmade by milliner Tanith Rowan
Brown plastic barrette: Goody
Black rhinestone stud earrings: Claire's or Payless
C. 1950s white blouse with black trim: Rue 23 Vintage
Royal blue blazer: Suzy Shier
C. 1950s royal blue rhinestone brooch: Gift from a dear friend
1940s/50s ruched light blue gloves: Unknown, had for years
1940s black felt and gold tone metal handbag: Possibly a gift (had for years)
1950s long black pencil skirt: Probably eBay or Etsy
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
1940s style black faux suede pumps: Walmart
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Tony Cangiano

My dear friend Tanith Rowan is, hands down, one of the most talented milliners practising this timeless art alive on the planet today (long time readers may recall that she made my bespoke vintage style hat dreams come true last year with this dazzling grey and pink chapeau) and her creations never fails to bring me to my knees.

I'm a devoted fan and follower of Tanith's work, so when she announced on her blog in November 2014 that she was going to launch a traveling hat project (dubbed, very sweetly, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hat) that would see a single creation of hers traverse the globe and land on the noggins of stylish vintage ladies far and wide, I couldn't add my name to signup list fast enough.

Like myself, Tanith is a big fan of vintage tilt hats and so designed a breathtaking example of such to send out in the world for many a fellow vintage wearer to spend a bit of time with before passing Adelaide, as she was christened, on to the next Traveling Hat participant.

Prior to "her" arrival in the Okanagan Valley, Adelaide last spent time with another good friend of mine, Seanna from the blog Seanna Approved. And before that, she had shown up in various corners of Australia, Europe, and America, but I believe I'm the first Canadian to have her spend on this side of the 49th.

Like all of Tanith's work, Adelaide is a vision of stunning beauty and expert workmanship. She had been worn by several other ladies before I received her, yet she reached me in excellent condition - testament to the quality of Tanith's creations (as well as the care that each person has used in handling this hat).

I very much enjoyed seeing how the other Sisterhood of the Traveling Hat participants had styled this awesome vintage style tilt hat, forming ideas for my own outfit with each new look that Tanith shared on her blog (check them out here). However, when Adelaide actually landed on my doorstep and I held her in my hands, all of those previous concepts flew out of the window.

She was even more breathtaking in person and I was struck by how powerfully she channeled a late 1930s/early 1940s look that would have been right at home on the head of any leading Hollywood starlet of the era.

I don't own a lot of 30s garb at all, but I wasn't going to let that stop the vision for an ensemble that was cementing itself in my mind from coming to life. By blending vintage and vintage appropriate modern pieces together, I was able to come up with a daytime (or casual evening wear) look that I feel taps into the spirit of the late 30s/early 40s quite nicely.

This enchanting topper deserves to be the star of any outfit and I aimed to make that happen here, opting for largely understated pieces and fairly minimal (for me) jewelry, save for the gorgeous 1950s blue rhinestone brooch that I added to my blazer (I don't usually wear brooches that are same colour as the solid hued garment they’re pinned to, but of the about fifteen different brooches I tried with this look, both Tony and I felt that this one worked the best and so I broke my usual rule and just went for it!).

There was something so deeply wonderful about getting to spend time with Adelaide. Not only did I stop and reflect often on the fact that she had been in the hands of many of my vintage friends around the world, none of whom I've yet met in person, but also that we were creating a future vintage accessory in this traveling hat. Unlike so many (current) old school hats though, this chapeau's story is know and documented.

Wherever Adelaide eventually lands for her forever home, her tale is documented and shared, history in the making captured care of modern technology.

It was an honour and joy of the highest magnitude to spend time with this traveling hat. While here, she got to see Kelowna and Penticton, including both our home and my parent's house. I bonded with this gorgeous hat and saying goodbye to it was a bittersweet experience.

I wanted to keep her with me for years to come, yet at the same time was elated to send her off to be enjoyed by the next chic vintage sporting lady who will put her own unique styling spin on Adelaide's story.

Thank you, dear Tanith, for creating this project and for uniting so many of us scattered across the globe with one enchantingly gorgeous hat that I'm sure, much like myself, no one who spends time with her will ever forget.

March 23, 2016

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: Three beautiful vintage fashion filled adult colouring books from Dover Publications

It's safe to say that the adult colouring book craze has taken off like wildfire and then some! Though colouring books geared towards those far past the primary school age range are not new by any means, their widespread adoption and explosive growth as a market certainly is.

I've been wanting to dip my feet into the pool, so to speak, for quite some time now, as I greatly enjoyed colouring as a child and have been a passionate paper crafter (scrapbooker, card maker, etc) since my mid-twenties, however I rarely have time to just sit and craft or colour, so thus far I haven't done so - despite really wanting to.

Earlier this month I talked about how I'm making a point, no matter what, to carve out more downtime for myself. Ideally, I'd like my off-time to be as relaxing as possible, and the concept of adult colouring books certainly fall into that camp for me.

As such, Dover Publication's timing couldn't have been more perfect (no doubt the universe is trying to encourage me to relax more!). The awesome folks there recently got in touch with me again (we've worked together here in the past) to ask if I'd be interested in receiving a set of, and giving away copies of the same, three historical fashion filled colouring books from their expansive library of such.

Vintage? Colouring? A chance to unwind a little? Yes, pretty please! I jumped at the chance, not only for my own sake, but so as to be able to offer one lucky Chronically Vintage reader the chance to win a prize pack featuring all three of the following Dover adult colouring books.

Creative Haven Art Nouveau Fashions Coloring Book: Illustrated by noted artist Ming-Ju Sun, this elegant colouring book features fashions spanning the 1890s to the early 1900s (aka, the end of the Victorian era straight on into the beginning of the Edwardian period). Think leg-o-mutton sleeves, intricate lace, slender waists, sophisticated dangle earrings, and enchanting upswept hairstyles of the sorts that many stylish ladies of the day sported.

Like all three of the colouring books that I received from Dover, the pages in this title are single sided and perforated, making them a snap to remove and then display (or even frame), if so desired.

The illustrations in this book, like those of the other two titles, are a sort of neo-vintage take on the era and have a very romantic quality to them that instantly calls to mind many historical illustrations (and, really, art depicting people in general) from the 1980s, which I find wonderfully endearing and enjoyable, having grown up with us when I was a child.

Creative Haven Art Deco Fashions Coloring Book: Of the three colouring books, this lovely title (also starring illustrations by Ming-Ju Sun) might just be my very favourite. Inside one finds 30 pages overflowing with beautifully illustrated examples of 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s fashions, and I have to say, this book sings with the spirit of jazz age looks of various types (aka, not just the stereotypical "bright young things" sort of flapper ensemble).

It is a terrific cross selection of posh looks from that ever-evolving era and one that I'd imagine just about vintage fan would enjoy spending some time colouring in pages full of such chic fashions.

Creative Haven Fabulous Fashions of the 1950s Coloring Book: Like the other two titles, this wonderfully fun colouring book features art by Ming-Ju Sun and as the title implies, is rife with 31 pages of styles inspired by popular fashions, for both women and men, from a decade that many of us hold near and dear to our hearts - the fantastic fifties!
Like the other two books, this title is printed on really nice quality paper, with crisp, sharp black lines and illustrations, that while detailed, are not excessively intricate, as those in some adult colouring books tend to be.

Though I've not had a chance to sit down and colour in any of these three books yet myself (I need to visit Michael's the next time we're in Kelowna and pick up some good quality pencil crayons), I wholeheartedly look forward to doing so and already tell, before I've even brought pencil tip to paper, that these books are very high quality and a joy to use.

It doesn't surprise me for a second that adult colouring books have become an epic vogue over the last few years. They allow anyone who wants to become an artist (or further add to their artistic abilities) and also give users the important sense of completing a manageable crafting related project (colouring a page or even a whole book).

One might not always have time to whip out a quilt, knit a sweater, or create all of their Christmas cards from scratch, but most of us - myself included - can set aside an hour or two at least once in a while to connect with our inner artist and bring beautiful illustrations to life all the more thanks to our colouring skills.

For vintage fans, I can think of no better suited adult colouring books on the market today (and believe me, I see a ton of them each week when putting together the mailing lists for our website Any New Books) and truly want to thank Dover for sending me these three titles, as well as for offering up a set of the same books to one lucky reader.

If you'd like to enter for your chance to win, please read on to learn how to do just that! :)

Giveaway details:

This giveaway is one copy of each of the three Creative Havens vintage fashion colouring books shown in today's post. It is open to participants worldwide and will run from today's date (March 23rd) until Thursday March 31st, after which point, using the feature that allows you to do so directly through that app, I will draw the winning name using Rafflecopter.

There are nine number of ways to enter this giveaway and you're welcome to do as many of them as you'd like. The more ways by which you enter, the greater your odds of winning become.

The only entry that is mandatory is that you leave a comment on this post sharing some of your thoughts on adult colouring books with me (have you tried them? Do you you like them? Do you think that they're a passing fad or have they established themselves as category of crafting in their own right? Etc).

Once the giveaway has wrapped up and the winner has been drawn, I will contact them via email and then pass along their information to my lovely contact at Dover. If you have any questions about this giveaway, please don't hesitate to email me anytime.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Many thanks again to Dover - who, I should mention, have put out scores upon scores of wonderful looking adult colouring books spanning a wide array of topics and illustration styles - for teaming up with my blog on this exciting giveaway. And big thank you as well to all those who take part in this contest!

Whether, like myself, you're an adult colouring book newbie, have completed dozens already, or fall somewhere in between, these historical fashion filled titles are sure to catch your eye and have you reaching for the felt markers and pencil crayons in no time!

*PS* As this post was going to press, so to speak, I got wind of numerous exciting adult colouring book related happenings that Dover is involved with and wanted to share about them here with you as well. These events include:

-A monochromatic colouring colour that starts on April 1, 2016.

-Dover is sponsoring National Coloring Book Day on August 2, 2016

-Dover supports, and is involved with, numerous Coloring Book Parties that are rapidly springing up across the country.

-And, last, but certainly not least, Dover now has a delightful Facebook page just for their Coloring Book Publications.

March 21, 2016

History of a vintage song: My Way by Frank Sinatra

First and foremost, happiest start of springtime wishes! And to those south of the equator, joyful start of autumn wishes alike. No matter if the weather in your area is jiving with the calendar, the fact remains that winter is on its way out the door and we'll soon be rotating in our warm weather threads, wearing open toed shoes, and awakening, like the earth itself, to all of pleasures, beauties and wonders of this gentle, marvelous season!

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing big band jazz musician Glenn Crytzer. I capped off that post by discussing how I'd like to involve more music as part of my blog and that desire has not wavered. With spring's return, I feel like cranking up the volume on life and the tunes I listen to alike, and as such put on my thinking cap as to how I, someone who adores music but is not a musician or singer themselves, could do that on a regular basis.

Given the very nature of this blog, the answer burst out at me quite quickly: start a new randomly occurring blog post series in which I shine the spotlight on a particular vintage song and by extension the artist or group behind it (of course some songs have been covered many times by a wide range of artists and in such instances, I will likely focus on the - or one of the - best known/most famous).

My tastes in music, as in so many areas of my life, is eclectic. I was fortunate to have grown up in a home where music was highly appreciated and where a vast array of genres and artists were on heavy rotation. From Motown to Mozart, The Bee Gees to The Cure, Abba to ZZ Top, on vinyl, 8-track, cassette tape, and CD, music was a both a point and a highlight of my youth and the appreciation for it that took root then has only deepened as time has passed.

As a mid-century vintage lover, wearer and blogger, I'm sometimes asked if I "only listen to vintage (aka, in many people's minds, correspondingly 1930s - 1950s) music". I understand why some folks might think as much, but the answer to that query is a resounding "no!".

I certainly adore and have many favourites from that time period, but my tastes in music far broader and I listen to songs that are hundreds of years old (classical music) to bracingly new releases from artists around the world. I couldn't personally imagine not enjoying at least a few different types of music and feel that limiting oneself in such a way would be akin to, by choice, only eating a tiny handful of foods or just watching a couple of TV shows throughout your whole life.

For the sake of this post series however, I am going to focus on vintage songs, though not strictly ones from the 1930s - 50s, particularly since I am massive fan of classic rock from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and it would be a disservice to fellow music lovers everywhere if I didn't feature a wide range of genres, time frames and artists.

So all that said, on with the show! But what song to pick first? It wasn't an easy choice at all, thanks to the unending bevy of fantastic, beautiful, culturally significant and/or just plain fun tunes that have been produced over the years. Ultimately, my gut kept going back to the same song however, one that Tony and I both adore.
Maestro, a drum roll, if you please.......
For the first ever edition of History of a Vintage Song, let's take a peek at none other than Frank Sinatra's 1969 classic, My Way.

{Man, legend, and sensational crooner, Frank Sinatra's dynamic career spanned both decades and generations, ensuring his rightful place as one of the best there ever was - a point that was only aided further by his 1969 smash hit "My Way". Vintage image source.}

The lyrics of this song were penned by none other than recording artist Paul Anka and were partnered with music that had originally belonged to a French song called Comme d'habitude (from composers Jacques Revaux and Gilles Thibault). Though the music itself is very similar, the words of the two songs are not the same and deal with different subject matters.

It was while on holiday to the south of France that Anka first heard the French pop song that had been released in 1967. He was struck by the melody (though later claimed that he thought the album itself was "bad") and knew that he wanted to work with it stateside, so he bopped over to Paris to negotiate rights to use the music.

Anka received as much and returned to the States, where he subtly altered the music and rewrote the words. Intending them, from the get-go for Sinatra, whom Anka has said in interviews he kept squarely in mind when doing so, trying to imagine what Sinatra might say were he the one writing the lyrics (right down to the kind of Rat Pack era lingo that Frank himself was using in his daily speech at the time).

{Canadian born teen heartthrob and legendary musician Paul Anka, seen here as a young man, penned the words to My Way, one the most famous songs Frank Sinatra would ever sing. A highly gifted song writer, Anka is also the man behind such hits as Tom Jone's "She's a Lady". Vintage image source.}

Interestingly, Anka's recording company was initially irked that he hadn't kept the song for himself. However, rather sweetly, if one thinks about - he said that he felt that he wasn't the right person to sing the song, specifying from the get-go that he knew it was meant for Frank and Frank alone (though, perhaps not surprisingly, Paul Anka would go on to release the song himself five times, the first of which was in 1969, the same year that Frank's hit debuted on the airwaves).

Sinatra's version was first recorded on December 30, 1968, and was released shortly thereafter on an eponymously named single and (full) album.

{The album cover of Frank Sinatra's highly successful and hugely popular My Way album from 1969.}

In the midst of an era filled with politic ballads, fluffy pop songs, experimental sounds, and the melodies of the hippie counterculture, My Way - itself symbolic in many regards of the emergence of independence for numerous groups in society at the time - was a bold, no holds barred celebration of the melodic power ballads, if you were, that made artists like Frank, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and many others of their era irrefutable stars and beloved households names.

As a song and a message, it is thrilling. One cannot listen to My Way and not feel inspired, energized and fueled by the soul and strength that Frank poured into every silken voice filled word.

Even in the electrically charged, uncertain times that it was released in, My Way was very well received by the listening public, reaching the 27th spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and the second spot on the Easy Listening chart in the United States.

Across the pond in the UK, May Way spent a still-unmatched record of the most number of weeks (75) a song has ever remained in the Top 40, with an additional forty-nine weeks in the Top 75.

{Sinatra performing My Way on stage to a live crowd in London, England in 1971.}

Though more than 100 (seriously!) different artists around the world have since recorded their own versions of My Way, not surprisingly, Frank's original remains the seminal standard and most beloved of them all. 

Recorded at a time when Sinatra had already been in the music business for more than 30 years, experiencing waves of popularity and decline alike in both the 50s and 60s, this song cemented his place in the halls of the best musicians of all-time. 

It was brazen, honest and spoke deeply to Frank's very full life and career itself. With confidence, swagger and unmatched showmanship, Sinatra belted out that "I took the blows and did it my way" and the world nodded. The public knew, and still knows, that he did. That he was the king of his era's music and a timeless classic in the same go. 

Fascinatingly, various sources, including Sinatra's daughter Tina herself, have said that Frank wasn't a huge fan of a song that many hold up as the crowning glory of his illustrious, multi-decade spanning career. 

Personally however, I have a hard time believing that in his heart of hearts, he didn't appreciated and secretly like, if not love, the song that further established his place as one of the greatest and most talented singers to ever walk the face of the earth.

As someone for whom personal independence (something that at various points I have had had to fight tooth and nail for) has always been of unmatched importance, My Way has been an anthem of sorts for me throughout my life. I am not alone on this front in the slightest. 

{Image source}

Countless people for decades now have been touched and motivated by the "walk your own path" message that this My Way encourages. And even if it wasn't personally Sinatra's absolute favourite tune, I can't help but think that, surely, he must have loved knowing what an important role it had on the lives of countless others - both in the moment and for the rest of time - who have been inspired to "do it their own way", too, because of this incredible song. 

March 18, 2016

10 Easter perfect vintage dessert recipes

Though the days of collecting candy eggs in a brightly coloured straw basket might be behind many of us, that doesn't mean that we can't still indulge in the sweet, sweet side of Easter time and the return of spring alike.

There are certain foods that suit this gentle season especially well, many of which have been beloved staples for decades, if not centuries, and that speak to the shift away from winter and straight into spring that those of us north of the equator are (or will soon be, depending on whereabouts you live) experiencing.

For me personally, on the sweet front, some of the key tastes that I associate with Easter include - besides the endless classic that is chocolate - strawberry, blueberry, carrot, banana, lemon, almond, pistachio, and vanilla. I have childhood start of spring/Easter/May 1st/Victoria Day memories associated with each, so its no surprise that those particular tastes would jump out at me come the return of the Easter Bunny.

In general, with Easter and springtime fare, we often move away from some of the heavier, richer desserts and sweet treats of fall and winter and more towards things that are light, not only in terms of possibly being airy (chocolate soufflé, anyone?), but also in regards to their very flavours themselves. Heady notes of fragrant spices, mountains of dried fruit, harvest season apples and pears, thick sauces, and steamed puddings give way to everything from tulle cookies to mousses to the very first in-season fruit salads.

Though the weather may not be 100% ideal quite yet, this is a beautiful time of the year in so many ways, not the least of which happens to be what we can bring to our tables. It is my sincere hope that the following selection of ten springtime perfect vintage recipes will help to make March (as well as April, May and early June, too!) all the more fun, festive, and, quite literally, sweet for you, whether you observe Easter or not.

1. Aside from the fact that some of the bunnies here look a little sinister, this is one seriously adorable mid-century Easter cake that has the added bonus of being within the dessert decorating skill range of most of us possess (because, let's face it, pro looking cake decorating is a genuine talent that not everyone is blessed with).

2. Soooo many yums!!! I adore a creamy, sweet meets tart citrus dessert like this ultra simple to make no-bake Lemon Pudding Cheesecake from the 1950s - that would be a fabulously refreshing way to cap off any spring or summer meal.

3. Use any jam or jelly your heart desires in this lusciously silky mid-century Chiffon Pie, that's can easily be jazzed up further by the addition of some festive shaped candies or piped rosettes of whipped cream on top.

4. Cute as a button and super easy to both whip up and decorate, this colourful 1940s "Confetti Cake" is both wonderfully pretty and a great option for not only Easter, but also Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and all kinds of important events.

5. Where would any Easter weekend be without this perpetual favourite? Instead of the store bought variety, why not try your hand at preparing a batch of hot cross buns at home this year. It's surprisingly simple and scents the whole house with the most enchanting - not to mention inviting - of aromas.

6. Speedy, fun and a great way to use up any leftoever wintertime peppermint candies that you might have to hand, this highly tasty looking mid-century Chocolate Topping Pie is served cold, thus making an ideal choice for late spring and straight on into the summer, too.

7. Springtime and pastels are a natural pairing, as is spring and strawberries, so why not toss together this absolutely delicious looking 1950s pink frosting topped strawberry chiffon cake - an airy mid-century classic - and nail two seasonal favourites at the same time?

8. Should you happen to be looking for an especially elegant dessert choice come Easter time, may I suggest this sophisticated 8-layer Chocolate Torte, which you could easily top, if so desired, with candy, fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles (jimmies), or Jordan Almonds for especially festive touch.

9 & 10. Serve up a slice of chocolate pecan pie or treat your loved ones to a few Easter Egg Peanut Clusters. Both look and sound fantastic, not to mention festive as a spring garden full of fluffy white bunny rabbits.

And for even more vintage Easter dessert goodness, be sure to check out these past Chronically Vintage recipe posts featuring just that!

-Apricot Baskets

-Easter Egg Cake

-Easter Glory Cake

-Easter Sunday Pie

{To learn more about a specific image, and in many cases to view a larger version, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

Okay, I am officially hungry after gathering those all up! In particular, I'm craving pecan pie and might just have to give this delightful chocolate version a spin (come the warmer weather, you just know it would rock with a scoop of vanilla, berry, coffee, banana, orange, or cherry ice cream, too!).

Which of these ten lovely, Easter perfect treats are calling to you the most as we get ready to embrace spring's return with open arms and eager dessert plates alike?