Sunday, 25 March 2012
It is a bit of a strange feeling, to have (relatively) expert knowledge on a bloggable subject, especially compared to someone like Steph, who is a perfect example of a knowledgeable sewing blogger who does not shy away from sharing that knowledge. I'm definitely not an expert on sewing, or any of the other things I usually write about. And I'm not such an expert on this either, compared to other people, but it's something I know more about than your average sewist. And that's the strange feeling.
So, to get away from that - here are some more vintage/antique laces I got from my grandma. :-) The first two are crochet, the one inserted into fabric is bobbin lace, the last one is, again, crochet. Notice how the maker of that one forgot one of the picots. :-)
Friday, 23 March 2012
So in this post, I unite the culinary Thursday with the Fashionable Friday to make up for that easily.
Today, I made this:
It's a recipe from "Cooking the Austrian Way" by Ann Knox, a 1960 revised edition of a 1958 book, published by Spring Books in London. It's part of a series - I also got "Cooking the German Way", and there are others, including "Cooking the Czech Way", which, sadly, I did not get (it would be interesting to see Czech recipes translated to English readers). But these I did get I got in a secondhand bookshop for the ridiculous price of 10 CZK for both the books, which is about 50 US cents. So no, I'm definitely not complaining.
Although I also had to utilise a 1924 book to get the amounts right.
That's an old English-Czech dictionary. It has these useful conversion tables for all sorts of measures in the beginning. (There's just one catch: they got the decimal point in inches wrong.)
So, cherry soup. I used frozen sour cherries from our cherry tree instead of fresh black cherries. (I wonder what the Germans/Austrians originally used, because Wikipedia tells me black cherries come from America.) And because they were sour already, I added less of the lemon juice. And we happened to have no lemon, just bottled lemon juice, so I used orange rind instead.
I was rather proud of my orange rind.
Also, I used cornstarch. Not flour. The way the recipe treats it suggests it's starch.But I did use a real cinnamon stick (which was rather hard to fish out of the soup when it was finished).
Orange + cinnamon take it near mulled wine territory, and orange + other fruit + cold somehow also takes it near sangría territory (why do I have to remind myself of sangría?!); while the sour fruit + starch takes it into the realm of kissel. I'm not particularly fond of mulled wine, but all the others I love, so it sounded good. And it was another way to use our cherries outside of sweet dumplings, cakes and compots.
We did not wait till it was completely cold and took it from the fridge in a rather lukewarm-to-cold stage. Not that it made such a difference. When my sister was laddling another bowl, I remarked to her that, apparently, the recipe met with success. She replied "Not just success, it met with devouring."
I hope that conveys to you just what this soup is like. I'm glad I made the 6 servings amount.
Stoning the cherries was a rather lengthy and messy affair. (BTW, why is it called "stoning" when it is, obviously, rather a "de-stoning"?) They bleed a lot, they even spurt into all sorts of unexpected directions. The juice colours everything it comes into contact with hot pink. Especially your clothes.
And now you can finally see what this piece of utility clothing sort-of-inspired-by-50s-but-not-quite-worked-out actually looks like finished.
Not quite worked out because I did not have enough fabric and made the skirt up as I went; and altered the fit as I went which only resulted in other fit problems (like the bust darts not really hitting my bust point).
But it's a piece of utility clothing that actually serves its purpose - proven - and my sister asked me today to make her one following the same basic structure one day. So when I find another apron-worthy fabric, I'm also making another one for myself, this time from an improved pattern. Moreover, it has fun colours, colours that match the purpose it was made for. Which was one of the reasons why I used the Very Pink Poplin of Doom on it.
Friday, 16 March 2012
But it's an Outfit post; it's a post that proves what outfit photos are good for.
I can see the outfits and what they do to me much more clearly than in a mirror. Mirror distorts. That's a fact.
I was rather scared when I saw myself in these photos. They proved that the outfit is not a sum of its parts. Let's see... Silk scarf: yummy. Vintage blouse: does not fit me quite the best, but I still nearly squeeled in delight when I first saw it, and still squeel in delight inwardly. Necklace: made by me exactly as I wanted it. Skirt: I'm very fond of. White stockings: ditto. Thrifted brown shoes: had to have, lucky that they fit.
And what I see in the photos? An old lady scarf, an old fashioned blouse, a squabby bottom. (The skirt is actually a most delightful flowy chiffon, if artificial.)
Another scary thing: in spite of the skirt's interesting cut, this outfit loses my waist definition. And THAT is quite a big deal to achieve.
125 g wheat flour
125 g rye flour
1-2 tablespoons of artificial honey/syrup
80-100 g sugar
exactly 1/8 l (i.e. 125 ml) milk
a pinch of salt
spices to your preference
12 g of ammonia
Form a dough (add ammonia into the milk first), roll out and cut. Bake on a greased baking tin. You can also replace the wheat flour with oatmeal.
- Well, that's what the original recipe said. Artificial honey is a German invention from wartime, when real honey was scarce (I hear it was awful). Nowadays, artificial honey is the scarce commodity, so I used the real stuff. :-)
I used the so called "gingerbread baking powder" instead of ammonia (and did, therefore, not bother adding it to the milk first). It's a mix of baking powder and gingerbread spices - so I left out the spices step as well. Also, I wanted to use up an old opened package, so I used more - I think next time I'll stick to the original estimate.
And because I was temporarily out of milk (that's what you get for loving milk in your tea), I replaced part of it with cream and water...
The original recipe does not say how hot the oven should be and how long you should bake it. So I experimented. We have hot air oven, mind you, so these data only apply to that, but:
I did it in two batches, the first on 200 degree Celsius for ten minutes - those came out hard, crunchy the first day and hard, the type you douse in your tea, the second. The second batch I baked on 160 degrees, also for ten minutes - those came out relatively soft the first day. I have no idea what they were like the second day, because when I woke up today, they were already gone!
Also, because of that, I have no pictures. I wanted to take pictures in the morning light today, but now I can't. :-) I'm definitely making them again. And trying out the oatmeal variant.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
This one is also cute. (Most of the 1940s German magazines from Germany have rather boring, war-time clothes.) And it's also one of the few with an intact pattern sheet.
So yes, I may be able to sew some of these.
I'm not going to make this, though. The magazine has several such projects, which pretend to be practical, and seem to me to be actually not. How many spools of thread can you put on that thing? It might have worked in the 1940s. It would not work for me now; I have 3+ boxes of thread.
But the wooden spools are lovely. I got several such old spools from my grandma. Currently, they're still storing the original threads; when that is gone, I look forward to using them similarly to Anna.
Monday, 12 March 2012
This is an absolutely delightful 1947 edition, with beautiful lino- or woodcut illustrations (at least I think that's what they are) by Štefan Cpin - whom I've never heard about, what a shame!
Friday, 9 March 2012
But there are still some where I don't mind it, where there's a lot of hillarious situations and lines, and good actors and pretty clothes (of course); in short, some I love.
This is one of them.
It also features two of the three most prominent actresses of the time: Nataša Gollová as a young lady eager to re-marry so that she could change her name, Smutná ("Sad").
(Who usually looks much prettier and/or cuter than here. This hairstyle is so not her.)
And Lída Baarová, as a 17th century painting come alive.
And Oldřich Nový as a well-off lawyer/public notary in charge of an inheritance procedure, charged with keeping the painting, then forced to keep the lady and pretend she's his niece from the fictitious country of Hellianda; and plagued by eager-to-marry local ladies.
So yes, it also involves a 1939 version of 17th century costume.
And a lot of hillarious absurd situations springing from the incongruency of different eras.
"Your toothpick's on fire!"
"So you come from Hellianda?"
Hairstyling has never been my strong suit; I only came up with this on Tuesday and it still needs to be perfected; it's also not quite the same as the hairstyle in the film. I have no idea how to achieve those waves without some fancy equipment, for one thing.
And I'm very much indebted to all those hairstyling tutorials I've looked through and watched over the time, particularly to Gertie's Heidi braids tutorial - this is just a variation on that, so I suggest you watch her tutorial to get a better idea of what's going on here. As I said, hairstyling has never been my strong suit. :-)
You only need a comb, hair elastics (some thinner ones) and bobby pins for this. (At least, that's the basic set up - you may want to use other things, like some hair gel for keeping your hair tidy, if you know how to work with them. I don't.)
You start by dividing your hair into four portions. Comb and clip back the front two. Divide the two back portions into three sections again and braid, always starting with the inner section (left for the right braid, right for the left braid) and braiding towards the front. This may seem trivial, but it later helps the crown lie smooth against your head.
Tie off with hair elastics. Now watch Gertie's tutorial if you haven't already and create a braided crown on top of your head following her instructions.
Or just pin it as seems natural to you.
Now it's time to work the originally front, now back, portions.
Again, divide each portion into three sections and braid. (You may want to comb them smooth again before doing that.) This time, start with the outermost section and braid under - so in this photo, imagine starting with the right section and swapping it with the middle one, with the right section going over the middle one as you look from the back. Does that make sense?
(I tried to photograph it, but it did not show. Photographing a hairstyling tutorial with self-timer is one of the craziest things I've done to date. Particularly because every time I was taking a photo, I had to squat down in front of the camera, because it was lower than my head. I don't know what I would have done without a tripod. Given up on the tutorial, most probably.)
Do not braid up, though - that was just to show the three sections for a visual backup. Braid down, at least the beginning of the braids (I do find it easier on my arms to braid the lower portion of a braid up). All this, again, will help the braids lie smoother against your head.
And now the fun part: the bun at the nape of the neck is simply a knot.
Tie a knot, tuck the loose ends underneath and pin in place (four, one from each "corner", suffice for me).
It looks rather messy on the photo... as I said, it needs perfecting. I suspect Adina Mandlová's bun was made differently. Any better ideas?
But in spite of the shortcomings, I already love this updo. It's better than the plain Heidi braids for me - the crown is not so thick, it lies smoother against the head and is easier to pin in place. And it can be varied into a Regency-style updo! Which I will show you one day, too.
It has only one shortcoming that cannot be perfected with time: because of the crown, I cannot wear my hats with this updo.
But it's still fun.