Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vintage FYI: Vera Neuman

“Color sings to me.
 Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. 
 We have so many problems in this world;
 color just brings a little bit of joy into our lives.”
– Vera Neumann

This week's Vintage FYI post is by Pam from 1006Osage

This scarf started my love affair with “all-things Vera.” I bought it over 20 years ago from a thrift store. At the time, the gorgeous spring design and fabulous colors spoke to me, but I didn’t know a thing about the little signature in the corner. It would be years later until I researched the “Vera” name and learned about this incredible female designer and marketer working in the mid to late twentieth century.

Vera was born in 1907, and was fortunate to have parents and teachers who encouraged her artistic endeavors at an early age. She went on to study art and design in college and began her solo professional life doing book illustration and mural work.

Vera married George Neumann, a man with family ties in the textile industry. In the early 1940s, they started their first company, Printext, from their home using a tabletop screen printing press. Their early products were primarily table linens. Her foray into scarf design was a happy accident. Linen became difficult for their company to obtain after the war, so they began working with parachute silk. The simple scarf allowed her to continue to work with smaller items, but satisfied one of her goals: providing affordable art for the masses.

Over the years, Vera’s name became associated with many large companies including F. Schumacher & Co, for whom she designed fabric and wallpaper; as well as Mikasa, where her designs adorned serviceware and china. Her signature, along with her ladybug symbol, became known worldwide.
Vintage Vera napkins with ladybug from CoconutRoad

Vera died in 1993, but her designs live on. The Vera Company continues to manufacture and market her designs. Vintage Vera is a favorite collectible. Her signature scarves are always popular, as are linens, dishware, and even clothing. 

Vintage Vera Neumann blouse and hat by judygovintage
Vera’s designs were diverse. She drew inspiration from so many sources including her travels, science, architecture, nature, and pop art. Many years have passed since I purchased that first scarf. Today my closet includes many Vera scarves, each one an incredible piece of art.

For more information on Vera Neumann-
Overall history and tips for dating Vera items:

Great slide show on Vera and her design inspirations

Book about Vera Neumann
“Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon” by Susan Seid (Abrams; Thames & Hudson)

Vintage Vera scarf by PopFizzVintage

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tastes Like Vintage: Nippy Cheese Log

Nippy Cheese Log--ready to disappear
This week's Tastes Like Vintage post is by Jacquie from Jacquie Vintage.

I love creating themes for my holiday dinners. I enjoy the culinary challenge of creating dishes I've never tried before, all from scratch.

A couple of years ago, I settled on "Thanksgiving √† la 50's" (not to be outdone by my "Jewish Thanksgiving" of a year earlier, consisting of matzo ball soup, beef brisket, kasha varnishkes, and challah bread - delicious!). My inspiration for the 50's theme was a well-worn cookbook from my mother's collection. She had passed away a year earlier and the dinner was to be a tribute to her, with a table decked out in her cherished china and flatware. 

My mom was the type of cook who relied on a small group of tried-and-true recipes, simple and cost-effective for her family of six. She would rotate these recipes so regularly that they became her signature dishes, in all their delicious glory. With that in mind, I explored the 50's cookbook, looking for those little recipe gems that could potentially evolve into signature dishes for me. And, I wanted the dishes to reflect my romanticized version of the1950's: perfectly coifed housewife in apron, serving happy husband and smiling children.

I settled on traditional turkey and stuffing, minted carrots, caraway crescent rolls, and pineapple upside-down cake. Never one to ignore the need for a pre-dinner appetizer to go with cocktails (pineapple martinis!), one recipe caught my eye for its simple ingredients, its title, and how it instantly evoked the 50's in my mind. The promise of the recipe's tag line: "Serve it to your guests and watch it disappear!" was too intriguing to pass by. And it didn't disappoint. I'm happy to report that this recipe has indeed become one of my signature dishes, often mentioned by friends and requested every time there's a party or gathering. Try it and you'll see! Without further ado, I give you:


(Loblaws About Better Cooking, 1958)

1/2 lb. old white cheese (cheddar is best), grated
1 to 2 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons minced green pepper
3 queen size stuffed olives, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
1 tablespoon chopped pimiento
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1/2 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne

Combine all ingredients. Form into roll about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap in aluminum foil. Chill until firm. Remove foil. Serve with Old London Melba Toast.

My notes on the recipe: you can substitute 6 small olives for the queen size, if needed. 1/2 cup of crushed saltines equals approximately 14 crackers. I find the 1-inch diameter too narrow, opt for 2 inches or greater. I form 2 logs of about 10 inches each this way. The recipe yield is enough for a group of 6-8 people. Enjoy!

My mother's china and flatware.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vintage FYI: Decorating your Vintage Easter Table

This week's Vintage FYI post is by Anita from Rollling Hills Vintage

Although Easter has a religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.

Here's a few ideas for setting your table, Vesties team style:

Vintage Easter eggs from VintageCuriosityShop

Vintage Easter basket from Circa810

Pastel lotus bowls from ionesattic

Vintage rabbit planters from SugarCookieLady

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Friday Night Movie: Easter Parade

This week's Friday Night Movie post is by Anita from Rolling Hills Vintage.

Easter Parade a light and cheerful 1948 musical starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire with music by Irving Berlin. The story takes place when a famous dance team breaks up and the male lead needs a new partner right away. One is discovered immediately while as a chorus girl in a stage production. You will see plenty of extraordinary dancing from Astaire and hear phenomenal vocals by Garland. This is considered the ultimate Easter movie classic.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vintage FYI: Creating a Colorful Bookcase

Creating a Colorful Vintage Bookcase
I adore Vintage books! I tend to collect books in varied colors and contents.
Here, I have grouped blues and greens together in a white corner cupboard for an eclectic way to feature a special collection. I have included cameras and my original and found art work.

Favorite collections: Blue and green books

In the 1940's black lacquer bookcase below, I have grouped books by color.  I have created a chroma of books from left to right, some books with interesting cover colors have been featured, by setting them sideways within the shelves, it adds additional interest.

Colorful books in a bookshelf from the 1940s
Below is the complete bookshelf, with globes collected atop the cabinet and green and orange arrow chairs flanking the sides.  I adore color as you can tell, and in my home… color rules!

What is YOUR bookshelf style?  Share your link below in the comments section.
Submitted by Martha @

Friday Night Movie: Seven Samurai

This week's Friday Night Movie post is by Erika from LaRouxVintage.

Seven Samurai is generally considered one of the greatest films of all time - Kurosawa's sweeping epic runs over 3 hours long in its original format, and took years to film and a massive budget that was unheard of for its time. It follows the story of a village of poor farmers who hire seven samurai to protect their town from a band of thieves who routinely steal their crops and have pushed them to the brink of starvation.

What I found most exceptional about Seven Samurai was its appeal to a worldwide audience - it has fierce battle scenes, a sweet love story, tragedy, hilarious (and impressively physical) comedy, unbelievable historical accuracy, and amazing acting. It was said that Kurosawa was so dedicated to truth that he demanded they only film the scenes in chronological order - if a scene called for rain, and it had stopped raining, then the entire cast and crew would go on hiatus until the rain started again.

There are few films so influential to the art of film making as Seven Samurai, and even now (over fifty years after its release!) it continues to influence and inspire directors, actors, and writers across the world.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vintage FYI: Upcycled Cedar Chest to Entertainment Center

This week's Vintage FYI is by Angela Eaton from Time Flys By.

When my daughter Jessica and her husband moved into a bigger place, they definitely needed more furniture to fill it up! My girl is a fashion school graduate and a fan of all things vintage, so this upcycled piece was a match made in vintage heaven!

I found this old Lane cedar chest at a garage sale for $20. It was in very rough shape; trim pieces falling off, water stains on the top…it looked like it was left outside for a long time. It was also painted an awful green. So, I decided to repurpose it into an entertainment center.

First, I removed all of the hardware, the top, and any trim pieces. I wanted the front to be a flat surface.

Then, I turned the chest so that the opening was facing towards me – the opening was now going to serve as the front. I nailed the top to what was formerly the back. Make sense? I love being able to showcase that beautiful cedar!

I then drilled two holes in the back to run wires and placed a support piece on either side to hold a shelf. I then attached four cool vintage hand-carved legs that I found at an estate sale for $6!

I painted the outside burnt orange and then distressed it. I put a natural stain on the interior to really bring out the wood and also provide a protective barrier.

Voila! This piece is now the focal point in my daughter’s living room. Her T.V. fits perfectly on top, and her cable box etc. sit just below. The baskets are a great storage solution!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Night Movie: The Big Easy

This week's Friday Night Movie is by Leisa from nowandthenstyle.

The Big Easy (1986) was filmed in and around New Orleans and actually does a good job of capturing the vibe of the city and it's people. It is common knowledge that the New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana’s state and city politicians have a reputation for being corrupt. The Big Easy gives us a pretty good look at this.

The chemistry between Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin is terrific.

As Detective Remy McSwain, Quaid is a a hard-working fast-talking party-loving Cajun playboy and Barkin is A.D.A. Anne Osborne - a straight-laced, uptight Yankee lawyer who has recently moved to Louisiana
and has no idea how to take any of the folks she encounters.

There is one moment in this movie that is my favorite "sex" scene of all time. McSwain tries his best to bed A.D.A Anne Osborne from the moment he meets her. She finally gives in to his charms after an evening at a carnival midway. They are playing and laughing and McSwain has a stuffed toy gator that he won there. He is waving it at her and he laughs, "Watch Out for the Gator, baby!" just as he takes a dive toward her lady parts. The camera cuts away so all we are given is the idea of what he is doing. I think this subtlety makes this scene much more sexy than if we actually saw more.

The soundtrack is terrific with Cajun music from BeauSoliel and several New Orleans well-loved musicians like Professor Longhair, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dewey Balfa, Aaron Neville and The Neville Brothers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tastes Like Vintage: Oatmeal Carmelitas

This week's Tastes Like Vintage post is by Deb from MyVintageVarietyShop and PolkaDotVtg.

photo courtesy of

When I bake cookies or bars I often turn to old-time recipes that are tasty and fun to make. One of my favorites is Oatmeal Carmelitas–a vintage recipe winner from the 18th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off © in 1967. I like these almost as much as Peanut Butter Blossoms, that perennial holiday cookie with chocolate kisses in the center. That recipe is nearly as old as me—it was a Bake-Off winner from 1957!

The Bake-Off started in 1949 by the Minnesota-based Pillsbury Company and contestants were required to use Pillsbury Flour in their creations. Most of the recipes were for cakes, cookies and desserts. The name of the contest changed over the years as did requirements. Categories were added beyond baking to incorporate convenience products like refrigerated biscuits, to highlight ethnic inspired recipes, and to use time-savers like microwave ovens.

What hasn’t changed is that winning recipes are published in a 100-page booklet. Collecting these can become an obsession and many can be found on Etsy.

Great information on the Bake-Off is widely available on the web if you want to know more. So grab a cup of java and enjoy my go-to recipe created in 1967 by Erlyce Larson of Kennedy, Minnesota. I’m a native of Minnesota so perhaps that’s why I love these bars--they taste like vintage and home!


2 cups Pillsbury flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
1-14 ounce package of caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup half and half
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease a 9 x 13 in. baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, soda, and salt. Stir to blend.

Add melted butter and mix until well combined. Reserve half of the crumb mixture.

Press remaining crumbs into the bottom of the pan.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and the half and half. Heat for 4-6 minutes on low power, stirring a couple of times during the melting process until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. (Watch carefully as microwaves vary.)

Sprinkle the crust with chocolate chips. Drizzle with the melted caramel mixture and top with reserved crumbs.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool at least 1 hour before cutting. Store covered in a cool place.

Visit Deb's blog: On the Dot!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vintage FYI: The Real McCoy

This week's Vintage FYI post is by Leisa K. Farrow of nowandthenstyle.

I have always been drawn to McCoy Pottery. I am especially fond of the matte glaze pieces from the 1940s and 50s. My first piece was actually by Nelson McCoy, made in the 40s in a beautiful shade of aqua that I found in a small shop in Northern California. 

I really liked how it combined hard & soft elements. Not long after, I was gifted a swan vase

From there I found myself drawn to the Blossom Time line, produced in the 1950s. To me this is the perfect design for many decors. It is feminine, yet quirky.

In April of 1910 The Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company was formed by Nelson McCoy and his father J. W. McCoy. They began to manufacture and sell functional and decorative stoneware.

By 1925 the McCoy family began to expand the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company. It should also be noted that Brush McCoy was a different company altogether.

Such items as Vases, Jardinières and their Pedestals, Umbrella Stands and other decorative products were produced.

McCoy pottery products changed as the Head Designer changed. During the early period the look of the leaves and berries was the work of the designer Walter Bauer.

By 1936 Mr. Sydney Cope of England was the Lead Designer for the Pottery. While there were other designers employed by the company, Mr. Cope shaped the future of the art pottery style that the Nelson McCoy Pottery is best known.

The new hallmark Cope devised was simply the overlapping initials "NM" for Nelson McCoy.
Familiar pieces are The Wishing Well and Down by the Old Mill Stream. Although functional, these pieces were also works of art. 

From the mid 40's and into the 50's and 60's the company produced a line of cookie jars, which still hold the most appeal to McCoy collectors.

In 1990 the McCoy Pottery closed for good due to years of declining sales and profit. 

Although over a Century of wonderful Art Pottery production ended, McCoy lives on through the collectors and individuals that appreciate this art form.