Category Archives: Childhood pastimes

Vintage Doily Valentines


(Click on the image to enlarge – the words become legible.)

This page is from the February 1943 issue of Children’s Activities magazine. After working at Children’s Activities, Garry and Caroline Myers started Highlights for Children, then eventually bought C.A. The similarities are obvious – they are both high quality magazines with fun and educational activities.

I apologize for the quality of the scans. The magazine is oversized and won’t fit on my scanner so I had to take photographs and they aren’t perfect.

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Filed under 1940s, 1943, Childhood pastimes, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Valentine's Day, Vintage Magazines

Murray Bicycle Ad

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Filed under 1950s, 1954, Childhood pastimes, Children, Ephemera, Vintage Magazines

Doris Day Paper Dolls

Doris Day, Whtiman Publishing Company, 1955

Among serious paper doll collectors, I’d be considered a rank amateur. And that would be accurate, because I don’t collect things that I think might become valuable someday.

First, I buy what I can afford. No matter how much I may want something, I simply won’t buy it if it’s not affordable now.

Second, my favorites are replacements of what I had when I was a child and foolishly (arghhhh!) took to the burn barrel right before I got married. That was stupid on many levels, one of which is that I’ve forgotten several of them. Seeing paper doll clothes sometimes triggers a memory even more than the doll itself. I didn’t have all that many paper dolls, because even though they were cheap (the typical price was .25 for a package), most girls I knew didn’t have lots and lots. We were not an over-indulged generation. (I had one Barbie and was thrilled to have even that.)

Third, I prefer to buy vintage, and pre-loved (use, played with) dolls and/or their clothes. Although I do have several books of new ones, I get the urge to get out the scissors. I usually don’t, but I want to. There are several booklets of Dover paper dolls in my box, and a few from other places (mostly museums, like the Bath Costume Museum) and they all remain uncut.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

The only uncut vintage book I have are these Doris Day, 1955 issues by Whitman. I bought them back in the early 1990’s at an antique store in Kingwood, Texas and I paid way too much for them. Paper dolls were hard to find. This was before anyone except hackers and professionals had even heard of the internet. Now anyone from anyplace can post them and they’re more affordable (which is great). In fact, the prices have come way down (probably due to their ready accessibility). About 1999, I bid on an old set of Lucille Ball paper dolls on ebay. Chagrin prevents me from disclosing how how I bid, but let’s just say that it was well below the $160.00 that was the winning bid. Those same dolls can be bought now for far less and many laser copies are available, too.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

Anyway, in the case next to the Doris Day set, was one of Elizabeth Taylor from the same era. They were priced a little more and since I just like Doris better than Elizabeth, I bought them.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

Now it’s 17 years later, and they’re probably worth about the same as what I paid for them. Which, all things considered, isn’t really all that bad. It’s a better investment than that lousy Mexican meal I had in Kingwood.

*Go here for more Doris Day paper doll clothes.

*Update: April 20, 2011 – When enlarged, the paper dolls get very pixily and unpleasant. I tried scanning them in on the highest resolution setting I could, and it didn’t change them at all.

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Filed under 1955, Actresses, Childhood pastimes, Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Paper Dolls, Updates

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream


When I was growing up, homemade ice cream was a simple fact at summertime celebrations. We simply always had it. After a trip to Owasso to the automated ice house – where one put in a coin (a quarter? surely more than a dime?) and down the shaft and out the door shot a huge solid block of ice – my mother would stir up a batch of mix for the ice cream freezer.

I suppose there were electric machines available then, but I’d never seen any and we certainly didn’t have one. Ours was the old-fashioned hand crank type. The women were always in the house where it was cool-er (no a/c), and the men would gather outside by the water hydrant (I don’t know why that was the designated spot, but it just was) to chop up the block of ice with an ice pick and take turns at turning the crank. Just who the men were besides Daddy and my older brother is lost in the mists of my memory. Probably uncles and maybe cousins and certainly my brother’s friends. What I can remember is the good-natured buzz of conversation and how that was the place I was drawn to.

Inevitably, I would beg for a turn at the crank and Daddy would try to talk me out of it, telling me that I wouldn’t like it because it was hard to turn. But I would insist that I could do it and he would let me try. About 2 rounds, maybe 3. It was really stiff and more than my skinny little arms could handle. Then I’d drift back and forth between the women and the men, asking if it was ready yet. It took forever. About 30 – 45 minutes.

Joe and I bought our first freezer during our second year of marriage. It was kind of a big deal because we didn’t have a lot of spending money and $15.00 was a lot back when minimum wage was $1.65 an hour. That one is long gone and we’re about to wear out our 4th one. Nothing fancy for us; we’re not the kind of people who have new-fangled gadgets like the kind that doesn’t take ice or ice cream salt (although I am curious). Not even a White Mountain (on sale: $248.00). We buy cheap ones at Wal-Mart and our current one was an end of season close-out that cost $9.00.

For some reason, we’ve made more this summer than ever before in any one season. We do like our snacks and summer in the south is just too hot to keep the oven long enough to bake 4 trays of cookies (always one tray at a time) or a pie or even a cake. Our summertime desserts are usually No Bake Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats or homemade ice cream.

Homemade Vanilla w/ syrup and pecans
(The photograph above also has Sweet and Spicy Pecans from Ravelin Bakery in Denton, Texas. Sandra posted a similar recipe on her blog.)

Last week was the first time we’ve ever made vanilla. I don’t care for vanilla unless it is topped with strawberries or peaches or chocolate syrup or an accompaniment to cake, so we’ve always made a flavor. Our usual choices are banana nut, strawberry or peach. If we don’t have any fresh fruit, then we make chocolate. Once, years ago, we made blackberry. It was a lovely shade of purple, but please learn from my mistakes and strain out the seeds first. Sheesh.

The reason for making plain vanilla? It was a special request from our 5 year old grandson. So we added an extra egg, more vanilla extract and increased the heavy cream to make it a little more special.

We use the same basic recipe, with a few variations which I’ll list at the bottom.

*This recipe uses raw eggs. There are lots of recipes available for a cooked custard ice cream, which I’ve never tried myself.

BASIC HOMEMADE ICE CREAM – makes 1 gallon
In a blender, mix:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
dash salt
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy cream
fruit – about 3 bananas and a dash of nutmeg or 2 cups of strawberries or 5 peaches, peeled and pitted

Blend until smooth. Pour into ice cream freezer container. Add another cup of chopped fresh fruit cut into 1/2″ pieces. For Banana add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Fill container with whole milk up to the fill line.

Place container into bucket and lock on the motor. Add alternate layers of ice and rock salt and plug it in and let the motor turn until it stops (check on it every few minutes and add more ice and salt as needed) which will be anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

Important: Before taking off the lid, brush off all the ice and salt and pull the container up out of the water/ice mixture. I didn’t do this one time and salt got into the ice cream and it was inedible. Now I even slowly pour about a cup of water over the lid before removing it to make sure that no salt will invade the mixture.

It will probably be very soft right after the motor stops. My dad always let it set to “cure” but I usually can’t wait, so we have a serving right away. Joe has put the Tupperware box in the freezer ahead of time so that the ice cream doesn’t melt even a little bit in a room temperature container.

This recipe makes a very scoop-able ice cream (after sitting in the deep freeze for a few hours) but the texture is going to be different than a commercial product. It’s not that it has ice crystals (it doesn’t) but it’s just not as slick and smooth. I like that about it and I really like the incredibly fresh and pungent flavor that the fruit gives it. All natural. No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.


CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
Use the same basic recipe as above, but omit the fruit and add 1/2 cup powdered cocoa (not the drink mix) and 1 cup of chopped nuts. Joe likes to add chocolate chips in the blender; I don’t because no matter how long I blend it, it still has hard little bits of the choc. chips.

VARIATIONS
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk can be substituted for the heavy cream then reduce sugar to 1 cup. When I’ve done this, it was because I was out of cream, but had the Eagle Brand and some Carnation canned milk, which I also used. The outcome will be different than with the cream, but it’s probably lower in cholesterol.

Once I didn’t have any whole milk or cream, and used 1 can of Carnation and reconstituted dry milk. This is probably much, much healthier than the cream & whole milk type, but is more like ice milk than ice cream.

It’s also a nice touch to put the serving bowls in the freezer ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be eating it outside.

As I said, after being in the deep freeze awhile, it makes nice scoops. Joe put the scoops into Braum’s (a nice Oklahoma company) ice cream cones for our grandsons, poured some sprinkles in a bowl and dipped them. They thought it was grand.

This post linked to:
Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom
Food on Friday @ annkroeker

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Filed under Childhood pastimes, Cooking, Family, Food, Making Do, Recipes

1968 Paper Dolls (from television programs)

Family Affair

Buffy

Julia Paper Dolls, 1968

The Flying Nun

All of the above are from the book “Paper Dolls of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Identification and Value Guide” by Carol Nichols.
Copyright 2005
Printed by Collector Books
P.O. Box 3009
Paducah, Kentucky 42002-3009
www.collectorbooks.com

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Filed under 1960's, 1968, Books, Childhood pastimes, Internet links, Kentucky, Paper Dolls

The Desire for Style


What is it in human nature that drives the desire for attractive clothes, hair, shoes, jewelry? How innate is this desire?

Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” (Thank you, http://www.biblegateway.com)

Silk and purple are far from being simple, plain clothing. Tapestry is labor intensive but stunning.


Then Jesus said in Matthew 6:28 (Amplified):
“And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and [a]learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”

What I believe the Lord is teaching us here is that it’s no sin to want or wear beautiful clothes, that it’s actually considered a virtue for a woman to clothe herself thusly.

It becomes sin when we obsess and become anxious about it.

What a relief! Because I do like pretty clothes. I don’t have very many due to … what? Laziness? Lack of planning? The Proverbs 31 woman seeks wool and flax and works them willingly with her hands. I need to do more of that because I can sew. I’d never win a 4-H competition but I can put together a garment. Hopefully I just need more practice.

This line of thinking began today after reading Robert Avrech’s May 10, 2010 post, Friday Fashion. (He doesn’t have a direct link to that post; just go to his website and page down to it.)

Mr. Avrech is a Hollywood screenwriter and he describes the change that comes when a plain looking actress is dressed and coiffed by movie studio professionals. The transformation even changes how the actress feels about herself; she becomes much more self confident.

Freda & Stella Sexton, 1917


And that reminds me of something my mother used to say: casual dress leads to casual behavior. I grew up during the late 1960s – early 1970s and jeans and a t-shirt were fine with me, even for church at a time when that was considered a little too radical.

But now there’s been a lot of water under my bridge and I not only see her point, I agree with it. I’ve noticed that when I dress up, I behave more lady-like. My husband dons a suit and he becomes Mr. Debonair.

This subject fascinates me – in fact, there are 22 entries under Fashion in my Categories list. And as I mentioned before, what someone wore on a particular occasion usually sticks in my memory. On Saturday my sister and I were talking about the Christmas trip back home to Oklahoma that she and her husband made in 1965. I recalled her outfit when we picked them up at Tulsa International Airport: a royal blue suit (skirt and jacket), made of a wool-like fabric.

Dorothy Provine Paper Dolls
The news about Dorothy Provine’s death last week reminded me of her paper doll. Included in the set were some costumes from her television show The Roaring Twenties. I just loved them. Ebay usually has a set of them and you can go here to see them.

Girls just naturally want to have and wear pretty clothes. Paper dolls fulfilled that desire by making it much more affordable to have lots of changes. The creator of the Barbie doll observed her daughter playing with paper dolls and changing their clothes. Her idea was to make a doll with a big wardrobe which could be attained one piece at a time, by marketing them separately from the dolls.

The Thoughtful Dresser

Back to Mr. Avrech’s post: he mentioned a new book by Linda Grant titled “The Thoughtful Dresser“.
If you click on the link, you can read a few pages from the book. I found it very interesting and hope that the rest of it lives up to my expectations because I’ve put it in my cart.

Miss Grant tells of a requisition for lipstick for females liberated from a concentration camp. How puzzling.

Lipstick? They needed so many things!

Why lipstick? It was an attempt to restore their human dignity.

Which reminds me of a documentary, Steal a Pencil for Me
. (Available for free viewing at hulu.com). It’s the story of a man and woman who survived the Holocaust. Of course, the very subject matter is deadly serious. How could it be otherwise? But the featured couple are wonderful, uplifting people and survived with a joy for life.

The tie in to fashion? Manja Polak tells of her style efforts in the camp: she had taken with her a few hair curlers. Even though she was unable to wash her hair, she used the curlers every night. In the midst of the squalid conditions, she did what she could to beautify her appearance.

What a lady!

She’s still lovely.

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Filed under Actresses, Fashion, Holocaust, Paper Dolls

Vintage Children’s February Magazines

When I was a little girl, there were 2 different magazines that my mother bought for me. One was Humpty Dumpty (I think geared for slightly younger children) and Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill, February 1958


(It has been snowing like gangbusters here in north Texas today – since before daylight. I wanted to show you that our bird feeder looks like the one on the cover of the Jack and Jill.)

Back then, everyone knew that there was a difference between girls and boys and that each gender was interested in different things.

These 2 issues are ones that I bought at the antique mall. I wish they had scanned in more clearly, but if you click on them, they will enlarge. And if it shows a magnifying glass, it will enlarge even more and I think it will be legible.

The cover on this one is a little more worn, but that’s okay, because it’s still interesting and it only cost $1.00.

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Filed under 1950s, Childhood pastimes, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Valentine's Day, Vintage Magazines

1965


1965 Corvette
Average Prices
Salary – $6,450
First Class Stamp – .05
Loaf of Bread – .21
Gallon of Milk – .95
Gallon of Gasoline – .31
Car – $2,650
House – $13,600

News:
Bob Hope U.S.O. Christmas Special

Music:
I’m in to Something Good
Help me Rhonda
Count Me In

Books
Up the Down Staircase
The Source
Is Paris Burning?
Making of the President 1964
The Green Berets

Movies:
Battle of the Bulge
Doctor Zhivago
Flight of the Phoenix
Girl Happy
That Darn Cat!
The Cincinnati Kid
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Sound of Music

Television:
Flintstones
Get Smart
The Wild, Wild West
The Rogues – opening titles on youtube
The Dick van Dyke Show –watch online
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Bonanza –
Hullabaloo

Fashions:
Clothing and Hair (scroll down)

Cars:
Rambler
Ford Concept Cars
Corvette Stingray

Ads and Commercials:
Oscar Meyer
Coca-cola

Toys

Blippo
Baby First Step

* October 23, 2012 update – I’ve deleted several of the youtube videos which were no longer available.

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Filed under 1960's, 1965, America, Christmas, Fashion, History, Movies, Music, Updates, Vintage Barbie, YouTube

Candlelight Home Tour

We don’t live in a Victorian mansion, a Craftsman cottage, a Prairie house or a 1920’s bungalow.

But I can dream.

Rose Cottage Garden B & B, Weatherford, Texas


And that’s what I do this time of year when we go on one of the Candlelight Home Tours in the towns around North Texas. In the past, we’ve attended ones in Fort Worth, Decatur, Cleburne, Waxahachie, Granbury, Keller, and most frequently of all – the one in Weatherford, which is sponsored by the Parker County Heritage Society. We try to make it to theirs every year but have missed a couple of times.

The houses are usually old (although Decatur had almost all new houses in 2001) and grand; some a little too grand for me. I’m not a grand person – probably more Jane Darwell than Joan Crawford.

The owners decorate for Christmas, some lavishly, some just a few accents.

Opulent decorating (like Traditional Home magazine) is not my cup of tea, although it’s beautiful. What draws me is the cottage look, very vintagey; country style kitchens, old family photos, rocking chairs on the porch and as few changes from the original as possible. I don’t know why, but more often than not, there’s just one house each year that stands out among the rest.

Here was my favorite this year. It had been a full day by the time we even started the tour. We had driven over to Mesquite to have lunch with a really lovely Christian couple, then drove back home, went to the radio play production “It’s a Wonderful Life” by the Off 380 Players in Bridgeport then on to Weatherford. (That’s almost 200 miles of driving by the time we started the home tour.) My joints were protesting and I was fairly fatigued. Joe asked me if I wanted to skip the last house and go on home, but I said why didn’t we first drive by and see how it looked.

Wow.

We were greeted at the door by a gentlemen in an 1800’s striped suit and top hat. He was the father of the husband and very cordial. The owners were a fairly young couple who had kept the house as original as they could, but it looked like a real family lived there. They said their goal was to show that a normal family could live in an old house without it being museum-like.

The wife had wonderful taste and a very good decorating eye. Joe struck up a conversation about the antique piano with the docent in the parlor, and played Silent Night for them.

Ceilings were the original height and soaring. Over the tops of the kitchen cabinets, the lady of the house had displayed her collection of old children’s domestic toys (like stoves and cooking equipment); on a narrow wall, a bookcase held a large collection of cookbooks. The window overlooking the back yard was curtained with a vintage tablecloth.


Upstairs the younger girl’s bedroom was like something out of a story book; there was a very low closet that had been outfitted kind of like a hidden playhouse. My guess is that it was originally a suitcase storage.

The wife’s sister was the docent in that room and she pointed out the cloud ceiling and the small hand painted mural of the Parker County Courthouse. What a fun room for a little girl.

And out in the hallway, were framed pages from the oversized Dick and Jane readers that teachers used.

A lovely home and gracious people.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

To see more photos of another beautiful, old restored Texas home , click here to go to Hill Country House. This link is for that particular post, but her whole blog is interesting.

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Filed under Childhood pastimes, Christmas, Cozy, Events & Museums, Fun, Local Shopping, Texas, Theater

Betsy McCall Paper Dolls, Part II

McCall's magazine, December 1963

McCall's magazine, December 1966

McCall's magazine, December 1967

For a larger image, click on the picture; if a magnifying glass appears as you run your cursor over the enlarged image, it will enlarge one more time. I think the final enlargement will be about the size of the original in the magazine and is good for printing. I recommend using cardstock, or at least adhering the doll to something stiffer before cutting out. Regular typing paper will be about the right weight for the clothes. Also, I’ve had trouble getting a good print when using draft on paper dolls, therefore I now use a higher quality setting for printing.

For more pages and some Betsy McCall links (some of which are printable), go to my previous post here.

Hope you enjoy them.

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Filed under 1960's, Childhood pastimes, Christmas, Ephemera, Fashion, Vintage Magazines