Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today I've Been Mostly Wearing

...Unicorn leggings.
As you do. You know things are serious when I'm wearing unicorn leggings. Under a tenner at Target.
Hard to photograph because...unicorns. *Shrugs*
Danny's been posting these status updates in the kitchen. I suspect he has one for, "Everybody PANIC!" Hopefully we won't get there.
This is the bad week, but it is all over by Sunday night.
I don't see the note for, "Send mum for a spa-day." Oh well, perhaps it is in September.
Banana Split Cake cooling. It will eventually be iced. Basically, a banana pound cake with a layer of strawberry, and a ring of chocolate (not visible from outside). I wouldn't let him bake the, "Tunnel of Fudge" because well, Fudge Tunnel. I know, the cake came first, but still.  Today was also rye breads, oatmeal breads, the cake layers for the gold cake and devil's food cake, and a banana bread.

I learned a good trick that is proving useful. To soften biscuits like lebkuchen, or to keep chocolate chips from going hard in the tin, add a slice of cheap, commercial white bread. The biscuits absorb the moisture from it without imparting a flavour like a slice of apple or orange would. It works! You need to change it out after a day as the bread slice turns dry as toast, but it is a good way to extend the life of your biscuits for the fair, at the holidays, or whenever. The springerle really benefited from the bread treatment as they need to age before eating. As the clock ticks down here, the bread trick has been a lifesaver. Sure, I feel stupid buying cheap white bread when there's so much baking going on here, but why waste the good stuff to keep biscuits fresh? Anyway, just thought I'd share a good tip.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Shiny Things, etc.

Here's a photo-heavy post filled with lovely things to look at as I'm feeling a bit challenged for words at the moment.

 Recently purchased baubles. The Sacred Heart bracelet had a D&G vibe to it, and with Autumn coming soon I like to pile on the velvet, gold, and rhinestones.
 By the back of this piece, I suspect it is a fur clip-anyone have another theory? A hat perhaps?

 Is this a hat box? I couldn't decide, but I bought it anyway as it reminded me a bit of my Nantucket Basket.
 Brown is an underrepresented colour in my earrings.
 Here's some of my compacts, though I couldn't locate my favourite a mid-50's Stratton with a floral enamel top. The black Stratton is from the 70's. The reddish compact is modern-from Sephora. The Guerlain in the upper right is 90's, The other two compacts are both vintage.
 Originally the conmpact held small brushes on top...
 And modular eye shadow and rouge in the bottom.
Here's my little red camera in the reflection.

This tourist purse is so tiny it barely holds a phone and a wallet, but it was too cute to leave.

What's baking you ask? Coconut washboards...

                                                              Graham crackers...

 ...and buttermilk oatmeal raisin. From here on out it is all breads and cakes. We have 7 days left to pull this thing off. Well, Danny does. I'm sitting back and watching he doesn't burn the house down.
You've seen everything here before in one outfit or another, but you probably haven't seen my travel mug (on the chair) that transports my tea so I don't need to drink inferior tea when away from home. Perhaps it is just Nebraska, but lukewarm water thrown over a tea bag isn't my idea of a cup of tea. What do these people have against boiling water? Even the coffee is served warm rather than hot. Anyway, best ten dollars I've spent in some time.

Keeping it short. Have a great week!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Best of the 80's-More Black

One of the better things 80's fashion had to offer was polyester crepe. 
 Wash and wear-are there more beautiful words in the English language? Well, okay, "Free money", but how often does that come up? I can do without the oversized jumpers with leggings, and the linebacker shoulder-pads, but give me a polyester crepe dress with an elastic waist, and I'm all over it. As they're underappreciated items, I frequently find them for a dollar or so.
I think this dress probably would have had shoulder pads originally as it is large in shoulders, but no matter. I love the (washable) lace detail, and the nice pleat down the centre. My first impulse was to wear it with my black and white cameo, but I'm breaking out of my tendency to wear black with silver, opting instead for gold accessories. I'm still not convinced, but sometimes it is worth trying something different. I also really wanted to wear my new brooch!
 Gosh, I wore a lot of black when I was young. I look back at photos of myself in the 80's and I'm always wearing a black suit to work-I swear, I wasn't working as an undertaker even if I looked the part. I'm fortunate that I look good in black, but once I moved to Nebraska from Boston in 2001, I noticed almost no one wears black. It was one of many culture shocks. That's not to say we don't have stylish people here-we do! They just don't tend to wear as much black as people back East. Over the course of sixteen years my wardrobe shifted from mostly black (or grey) to only a few items. I jumped at this dress when I saw it as finding a nice black, non-formal dress in Omaha is no easy task. The fact it cost .99 cents made me even happier.
 Outfit Particulars:
1980's polyester crepe dress-Goodwill
Vintage tapestry handbag-Goodwill
Brooch-New Life Thrift
Bracelet-New Life Thrift

Granny Hands!

I'm going to pack these shoes away so I wear something else! What can I say? They're comfortable, and they go with (almost) everything. Still, if I'm going to own as many shoes as I do, I should wear them once in a while.

Bake-a-thon rolls on today with oatmeal raisin biscuits, ginger nuts, and coconut washboards. Next week the breads and rolls start-that will be busy, ending with cakes. We perfected a chocolate/raspberry icing that can sit at room temperature without going off, or becoming too soft. That had me losing sleep, if I'm honest. Only three of the cakes require icing, and we'd already decided on the spice cake/maple combination, and the yellow cake with penuche icing-but the Devil's Food cake was worrying us. The fresh raspberry puree in the frosting we developed will avoid any concerns about cream at room temperature for a few days. I was pleased with how easy it is to spread-even a twelve year old can do it!

Finally, I won the auction! Here's this year's State Fair hat (unless something goes wrong) I bought from 1860-1960. It should arrive Tuesday. This is my fourth purchase from this seller and I can enthusiastically say, "She's one of the very best on the web." I'm not being compensated in any way to say that-she's just one of my favourite places to buy great vintage.
I still have time to glue some mini-tractor toys and dollhouse pies to it before the fair. Fingers crossed it arrives in good condition.

That's about it for now. Busy week ahead, but I managed to get in a quick 10 miles today to save my mind (and my back). I'm going to go drag Danny outside in a bit to look at the meteor shower. Hopefully, we won't go blind or hear any tapping plants in the garden😁

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Shift Gears

Shift dress, geddit? More like a sack. Next time, belted.

 I have a great story about shifting gears. I was driving home recently, when I noticed a big white, "N" on my dashboard. Our car was having transmission issues, so my first thought was, "Oh no, it slipped into neutral". Never mind that the car was still happily chugging along, which it wouldn't be doing were it in neutral. This is what's so maddening about digital readouts in cars. It took me a few moments after pulling over, parking and re-starting the car to realise, The "N" stood for "North."  Sigh. There's apparently a compass I hadn't previously noticed. Great, I'm never going to live this down. Go ahead and laugh-someday you'll be old too.
I really wouldn't laugh if I were you. 
I have a heavy purse I can hit you with.

Outfit Particulars:
1960's/70's barkcloth shift dress-thrift store in Fitchburg, Massachusetts 25 years ago
Naturalizer bag-Goodwill (I know there's matching shoes somewhere)
Shoes-K Mart
Sara Coventry brooch and earrings-Garage sale
Quartz bangle-Goodwill
I bought the Guerlain compact new about 20 years ago. I have another that holds small brushes as well. I miss living in a city that has a Guerlain counter in a department store. All we can get here is Shalimar and Samsara. 

How about some migraine inducing patterns?

It is August, and I still hadn't worn my vintage pink heels-what is wrong with me?! I righted that wrong today, and broke out my pink bag as well. I do like matching shoes and bags, particularly when the colours are uncommon. 
 "Stubbornly Matchy-Matchy Since the 60's."  I have been, but I blame my mother-she would match her undies to her outfit along with a hair bow, shoes, bag, etc. I guess knowing she could drop dead at any moment convinced her she should wear matching undergarments-don't want the paramedics to gossip. It was so unfair she died in hospital after surgery in a bloody grey hospital gown.
Outfit Particulars: 
Ann Taylor skirt-Goodwill
Knit top-Can't remember-quite old
Belt-yard sale
Vintage handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Carved plastic bangle-Goodwill
Pink and black bangles-Both Goodwill
Vintage Flings shoes-Sequels
Vintage seashell and plastic earrings-Estate Sale

The bake-a-thon continues. Today, we finished up the Speculaas and Springerle.  Tomorrow, it is sesame honey candy, and graham crackers (wholemeal biscuits). If time permits, the coconut washboards can get baked as well. I always thought I owned a large number of biscuit tins-turns out fifteen won't make it. I'll try the shops tomorrow. I stopped in Michael's but they apparently only sell them at Christmas. I've always bought mine year 'round at Hobby Lobby, but I can't bring myself to shop there anymore. Believe me, I find it painful as I loved that place, but this case with the stolen antiquities is just too much to overlook. Anyway, if anyone knows where I can find inexpensive metal biscuit tins new when it isn't Christmas, I'd be thankful for your guidance. I noticed Big Lots was getting their Christmas stuff ready, so I'll try there tomorrow.

I'm off to get some sleep. Hope your week is going well.

Monday, August 07, 2017

My Pet Bagworm

Yeah. Who buys this crap anyway? There is space to write, "Try to". so perhaps that's the idea? There's something hostile (or at best, passive aggressive) sounding about it. I'm probably not the target audience for this sort of consumer good. The older I get, the more I feel like I'm probably not the target audience for life in a general way. That's fine-get the hell off my lawn.
Here's two more trial-run sourdough breads. The poppy seed loaf has wheat bran and wheat germ for extra interest, and the boule on the left is plain white. Both took a total of three days from sponge to baking but that's how sourdough is (slow). Our starters are all doing well (we have three) but Nationwide is the strongest. Yeah, I named this starter, Nationwide. Loooong story. Anyway, we've been giving the starters extra feedings (instead of neglecting them at the back of the fridge) so they will be in peak condition for fair baking. I served tomato sandwiches on the whole grain loaf and the boys were both happy with the results-the bread anyway. I have a tomato-hating son. So much for the theory that children will eat vegetables they grow themselves. Mr. ETB is happy to eat all the tomatoes. Good thing, as we have a bumper crop this year.

To maintain a nice work/play balance in my life, Mr. ETB dragged me off to a few thrift shops we don't visit often. At the first, he found me a lovely Stratton compact from the 60's still in the original box that will now join my two others. As per Eat the Blog guidelines, two is a coincidence, three is a collection-I now have a collection of Stratton compacts. I do use them, so it isn't a complete waste of space. The same shop also yielded a 1930's taffeta-type evening gown with a million buttons up the back and side snaps. It was hanging with the nighties. That's the second time I've found vintage slip-type gowns in the nightclothes, so I now regularly check the rail. I can see where it might be confusing if you didn't know what you were looking at.

The second shop we visited was a lucky stop for brooches, a handbag, and some bracelets. A piece of California Pottery also came home with me. Photos soon-I just haven't had a chance to steam the dress.

Inspired by Radostin, I dug out some black clothing to wear in summer. She makes it look effortless...I don't. Sigh. It was a good opportunity to wear this vintage tunic (yeah, another one) that always seems too much for summer, and not enough once it is cool outside.
The jacket is a sheer, rayon crepe. The collar is annoyingly cute, but I do find it useful with 50's/60's style outfits. I believe it is from the early 90's.
Those massive, carved Bakelite earrings don't get worn much, but since they were being dragged out, it only seemed right to give the Bakelite ring a wear as well.
I love the way it is carved. Here's a look from another angle...
Since I was wearing old plastics, the vintage hair-comb had a day out too.
Er...the messy look is, "In".  That comb could be spectacular on someone with nice hair.

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-bought online from a very crappy company I won't recommend
Hair comb-Etsy
Bakelite ring-Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite earrings-Sequels
Brooch-Etsy seller, Maisonette de Madness (Thanks, Beth for mentioning them to me)
Cha-Cha bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Onyx and silver ring-Mum's
Vintage handbag-Antique mall

On our walk last evening, Danny spotted a cocoon hanging from a cobweb under a tree. Upon closer inspection, it began wriggling and a small (probably pissed off) worm stuck out a head, gave us a, WTF look, and then retreated back inside. The tree was covered with what we later figured out were Evergreen Bagworm cocoons. We brought it home, put it in a jar with some grass and straw where it promptly dragged itself, cocoon and all to the top of the jar to re-hang. It is now chilling on ,my desk. We'll know in a few weeks if it is male or female. The male emerges as a moth, but the female does not. At that point, we'll release it, but far, far away from my rosemary plants! They're terrible pests, but fascinating to watch. I suppose it might be worth mentioning to someone at the college next door that there's a bagworm infested tree outside the dorms. 

 I'll leave you with this view from Papillion, Nebraska which is rapidly being developed. I have a feeling that field won't be empty a year from now as the space across the street is filling with new shops (and a Goodwill!) and homes. When we moved to Nebraska 16 years ago. this really was, "Out in the country." I feel like I'm supposed to shrug and say something about, "Progress."

I'm off to obsessively check the bagworm. Who knew my life would be this exciting?

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Recent Treasures

 I've been shopping. I found these four beautiful Springerle moulds by Laxa at Thrift World-all four set me back ten dollars. I thought that was pretty good shopping (just the heart lists for $75.00) until I found...
...antique Minton. This one set me back $2.99 but it sells online for $275.00!

 The fact that it not only survived without any chips, but ended up in a Goodwill in Ralston, Nebraska is nothing short of incredible.
 I like covered dishes, but I might hesitate to use this one now that I know a bit about it. Yikes.
So that was fun. I did find some lower-end pottery as well...
 I do love a bit of California Pottery. I already had the peach tray, so I had to buy the strawberries. This set me back $4.00, but I'm not complaing. I use my California pottery pieces.

Let's pause for a butterfly break. We saw both of these at Wherespan lake on Friday. It was a beautiful day.
The Fuzzy Headed Twitcher found some sort of unusual sparrow, so he was happy. He's been working so hard, I though he needed a break away from all the baking and paperwork. The 21st is rapidly approaching but *fingers crossed* we're on schedule. He's doing the iced and decorated biscuits on the Nebraska 150 theme, and the decorated holiday ones for Easter. They're elaborate, but once they're baked, spread with a layer of royal icing, and detailed with piping and food markers-they are out of the way. He's entering assorted Christmas biscuits as well which is convenient as I just found moulds for springerle and speculaas. Thank you, thrifting gods! The week of the 13th will be madness, so I want him to get out of the house a bit now.
I wore some vintage, as you do. I've had this skirt for years but somehow neglected to show it on the blog. The Ultrasuede 70's does 40's jacket is a firm favourite, that appears here regularly. There's a matching skirt, but that feels a bit too vintage cowgirl, and it is a bit small as well. Wearable, but not something I'm determined to reunite with the jacket.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage peasant skirt-Goodwill
Blouse-K Mart
Vintage Ultrasuede jacket (part of a suit)-Goodwill
Vintage Mexican tooled leather handbag-New Life Thrift
Tooled Leather belt-Goodwill
Cowboy boots-K Mart
Cuff bracelet-Thrift World
Vintage shell earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Silver Sara Coventry bracelet-Thrift World
Butterfly wing bracelet-New Life Thrift
Vintage celluloid covered wagon brooch-Etsy
Fragrance-L.T. Piver Floramye (80's version)
 Poor butterflies!

I am closer to my State Fair outfit. I have a bid on a vintage hat. If I win the auction, I'll wear my red square dancing skirt and white peasant blouse as the hat's such a show-stopper I wouldn't want to upstage it with a dress. I'll know by next week, otherwise I'll work with the hats I already have. There's nine days between Danny's drop-off and my drop-off with the pies, so I'll have a bit more time getting myself pulled together. I made the mistake of Googling images of decorative pie crusts. Talk about intimidating! I'm not doing that again.
I do wonder at the mind that dreamed this up, and executed it so perfectly. I'm going to go with something a bit less elaborate. 
Well...maybe just a bit less elaborate. 

Hope you're having a nice weekend.