Monday, March 30, 2009

Antique Greetings

Nothing gives me more pleasure and pride than the greeting cards that once belonged to my grandmother. I love them. I love the texture of the paper, the details on each card, the inked handwriting from the sender inside. The cards are precious to me and I love looking through them, something I do at least once a year.

Valentine's Day is long past, but look at these wonderful cards! Just look at the ribbon and lace on this one. Isn't it grand? Who wouldnt' have loved to get this special card from a special friend?

This one is made of crisp vellum, one of my favorite papers. It is embossed with various inks and metallic paints. It's a masterpiece.

Mother's Day is coming up. How about this lovely card for mom?

And how about a nice masculine one for Dad in June?

And in only two months or so we'll be sending congratulations cards to all the graduates.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scalloped Rose Bowl

This scalloped-edge bowl belonged to my grandmother. My mom kept it after grandma died and I just recently inherited it last fall.

It doesn't have any distinguishing marks that I can find. The fact that it's very shallow keeps it from getting much use. It's not deep enough to really hold much on the dinner table. However, it is very good for holding eggs that I plan to boil the next day. I always leave them out on the counter over night before boiling them.

I think these eggs look so pretty sitting in this bowl. The colors and shapes go together so nicely.

My rose colored glass bowl is my contribution to Coloradolady's "Vintage Thingies Thursday".

Monday, March 2, 2009

Antique Angel Food

While perusing my collection of vintage cake recipes, I found this one which had been printed on the circular insert found inside an angel food cake pan. It was just the excuse I needed to finally try out my vintage angel food cake pan! I also needed a really good way to use up a lot of eggs in one shot. The recipe used 1 1/2 cups of eggs whites. I saved the yolks and used them to make some chocolate ice cream in my new ice cream maker. Nothing went to waste.

I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first attempt at angel food cake, and it was the first time I've used this particular cake pan.

The cake turned out better than I had hoped and was delicious. My guys' eyes lit up when they saw the cake. What is it about cake that males find so irresistible?

I have to add that the plate is also a vintage find from Lene's Web. It's larger and flatter than a dinner plate which make it very nice for a cake platter.

And I finally got a chance to use my angel food cake cutter with the Bakelite handle. It looks like a very large comb. It works its way through delicate cake really well. The large perforations can then be torn by hand and you're left with a wedge of picture-perfect cake! I suppose it would also be very handy for grooming sheep, if you were so inclined.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Buttermilk Benefits

How do you use Buttermilk? I have to admit, up until recently I never used it. But I didn't really flex my baking muscles until recently either. If you're a baker, you use buttermilk regularly. I wouldn't make biscuits without it. It's not just the flavor that's important, it's the thickness and the acidity. Just yesterday I used buttermilk to make a wonderful batch of cinnamon rolls.

I found Saco Buttermilk Replacerbut the only thing it doesn't duplicate is the thickness of real buttermilk. This is important when making biscuits; not so important when baking bread or making pancakes.

If you're making a recipe that calls for buttermilk but don't have any, it's easy to substitue a cup of whole milk that has a tablespoon of lemon juice added to it. Let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes before using it. This allows the lemon juice time to thicken the milk proteins and gives it a consistency much like that of real buttermilk. The lemon juice also gives it the proper acidity and you won't be able to taste a difference.

How do you use buttermilk? Please share your favorite recipe using buttermilk in the comments. The lady in this Starlac flyer is drinking it--gag! I've heard it makes fried chicken and onion rings even better. I often find quarts of buttermilk on sale at the grocery store. People must not use it much anymore--a testament to our instant-gratification society that no longer cooks from scratch. What a shame.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Exciting Development!

I have some exciting news about my little English china dish! I submitted a photo of the mark to and asked if they could identify the maker. I received this very exciting reply today:

"Hi Amy,

"Thanks for your interesting question about the mystery pottery mark shown in the above photo. A clear photo like that always makes identification easier.

"The mark is one I am pleased to be able to identify as that of Samuel Radford Ltd, a Staffordshire maker of good quality producing fine china between 1879 and 1957. They were originally a Longton maker, then in 1885, moved to Fenton.

"You are right in saying your mark was an early mark dating from c1880 to c1913, so you have a very accurate date for your wares. After about 1913, the firm developed a new pottery mark called "Radfordian", and developed at least 10 or so different pottery marks, some using the S.R. initials in various fonts, and some using the Radfordian back mark.

"If you go to my China Replacement page and follow the tips on how to search efficiently online, you will find some wares from the same maker. Be aware of sellers who are not properly flagging up the quality and rarity of Samuel Radford Ltd wares. Having gone out of business in 1957 makes Radford China relatively rare. Be careful not to mistake Samuel Radford with other makers with a similar name. They are:-

"RADFORD (signature on printed ware)- Relates to engraver Thomas Radford.
E. RADFORD - Relates to H.J. Wood Ltd
G. RADFORD - Relates to Radford Handcraft Pottery

"I am not a china expert by any means, just an artisan within the industry, however, I always pass on any information I have for free and publish it for all to benefit from. You can use my in-house search engine located on the home page (and on many other main pages) to check for answers to any other queries you may have.My own knowledge more centered on famous English china makers, but all queries are welcome.I give general tips on pottery marks here (my own page)."

Now I have to research this dish some more and find out its value! What if I'm holding onto a china dish that worth $1,000? Then what?

I think that little dish was a gift to my grandma. It stands out like a sore thumb amongst her things. I seriously doubt she would have chosen it herself. But it's certainly becoming a very interesting piece! Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This little cabinet sits in the corner of the dining room. It was used to store sewing supplies when it was in my grandma's house. She kept bobbins, needles and spools of thread in it. The ends have secret compartments in them and if you lift the ends on either side up you can find lots of extra storage there. I keep hot pads and candle supplies in it now. It's convenient to have the hot pads for the table right there when I need them.

A closer look at the items on top shows some family heirlooms. The oil lamp and the china dish were grandma's. The wood bowls were made on my grandpa's wood lathe from wood taken from a log cabin owned by the Miller family in our township. The brown glass bottles were found in the nearby Toussaint River. I found the white glass hen dish at Lene's Web two years ago. It doesn't have a knick on it.

I found the old school books at Lene's Web too and I put them under the oil lamp as a tribute to my grandma who was a school teacher.

This is the maker's mark on the back of the china dish. I've never researched it but I'm sure it's a common pattern. Grandma never bought anything really expensive. She was a very thrifty person.

It's the only piece I have from this pattern. I always thought the colors were nice even though the oriental pattern is not my taste. I like the orange and brown together and it looks right at home on top of the sewing cabinet.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rooster Bowl

This is a fun bowl. I try to use it as much as possible. Right now it's holding apples. I can't find a maker's mark on it anywhere so I don't know how old it is but its colors and style make me think 1950s. It's about 10" in diameter and not very deep so it's not good at holding a lot of stuff. But I knew I had to have it when I saw it last November at Lene's Web. If you have one like it or can tell me anything about it I'd like to hear about it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Time Marches On

I picked up a few more vintage items at Lene's Web today. This Westclox "Dialite" makes me think of the spare bedroom at my grandma's I used to sleep in. There was a clock similar to this one near the bed. The face glowed orange at night just bright enough to see what time it was. This one glows too and it takes me back! It's pale blue and was sitting next to a white one. When I set the time I tested the buzzing alarm and the sound of it really took me back.

These gratin dishes really caught my eye, especially the deep orange pair. The 50's color and shape is fantastic--right up my alley! I can't find a maker's mark on the orange ones.

The Hall gratin dish is less stylish but I took it anyway because it's a Hall and it's one I don't have. It's upside down to show the maker's mark. Now I just have to find uses for these new dishes. I thought they'd be handy to put chopped toppings in for tacos. It would have been nice if I could have found a matched set of 4 so that I could actually use them to serve individual gratins but Marlene said she only had these. Their colors would be appropriate around Halloween and Thanksgiving. They could serve as candy dishes then.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Snuggle Up!

It was 60 degrees out just two days ago. Now it's 34 and I've got a quilt draped over my lap that my mom made for me. Mom and grandma were both quilters. I didn't inherit the sewing gene; I'm the cook. I think it's safe to say that just about everyone has a quilt or two that are family heirlooms.

I have quiltsall over the house that were made by either my mom or my grandma. It's wonderful to have them. They are nice to look at and useful too. Sometimes I'd rather wrap up in a quilt than put my fleece bathrobe on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keeping Up To Date

In this 1957 edition of "Home Journal", modern household items are featured (click to biggify). The "free wheeling" tea cart was featured in the 1957 Furniture Show in Chicago. It is priced at a very affordable $70.

Next is the "Smoke-N-Odor Stop" by Philco which removes smoke and odors when placed over a range burner. Basically it was a catalytic converter for the stove. I wonder if it worked? It cost $30.

The Nutone Food Center is featured in the last photo. The base sat in the electric motor which was located beneath the counter top. I think this might have been the predecessor to the KitchenAid mixer with all its attachments. The meat grinder attachment is in use in the photo. You could also get the mixer, blender and juicer as separate attachments. The base unit was $79.50, the juicer was $3.95 and the grinder was $19.95.

If you had any of these items in your home I'd be interested in hearing about them.