Wednesday, March 31, 2010

...And we're back

I thought I'd honor my late father-in-law by showing off what good taste he had.  My in-laws were married in 1960, and they picked out a house full of furniture which they kept for 40 years. When they downsized, my husband and I were just getting started so we inherited some choice pieces.

This is a Motorola console hi-fi system, which was in their rec room. My husband re-finished it and now we're working on getting the electronics back to working order. It's all vacuum-tube driven, so once it's done it should sound and look great.

With the phonograph lid open:

(As you can see I have some other vintage electronics which I will feature in other posts!)



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A brief hiatus

My husband's father passed away very suddenly on Monday, so I'll be taking a little hiatus from the blog. I just don't have the inclination to do much of anything right now.

Watch for more updates in a little while.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

My husband, the centerfold

HaHa! Gotcha! All you readers that usually just skim by the PIT (that would be Practice In Time) for the eye candy are in for a treat. Yes, my husband really and truly is a centerfold.

Wait- expecting something else?

OK, he's not that kind of centerfold (even though he is to me).  Allow me to explain.

Some of you probably consider yourself foodies (as do I), so you may have heard of the lovely ladies who run the Canal House. They are the best kind of cook- they source locally, eat in season and write and cook for real people. Their credentials are impeccable, being former editors for Saveur and Martha Stewart.

They publish a recipe anthology three times a year, in cookbook form. And true to their professional lineage the book is absolutely gorgeous- just like the pages of Martha Stewart Living and Saveur. The recipes are totally manageable, even for novices, and use simple techniques and common ingredients.

So it happened a few months ago that they came by my husband's butcher shop to do a shoot for their latest offering.  His shop is a bit unusual (old school, or vintage, if you will) in that they bring in the whole animal (already slaughtered) and cut it to your specification, as opposed to your supermarket that buys vacuum-packed cartons of pre-cut meat and re-packages them. 

They took some photos of him breaking down whole hanging pigs for hams and the like and whaddya know, when we get the cookbook, there he is, right in the middle across two pages! My kids think this is the coolest thing ever- their dad is in a book. And now that he's a foodie celebrity, he's even autographed a couple copies. (No one has to know that he doesn't cook!) But I try to keep things in perspective- he will always be a centerfold to me!

Download of the Day

Today's Download of the Day comes from a rather unlikely source. If you're a child of the late 70s/80s like me, you may have had a crush on this person when he first showed up on the music scene. Heck, some of you still may, even now.

That's right, it's George Michael.

Now before you get all in a dither about me going too pop, check out his 2008 release "Feeling Good".
It's part of a double album called "Twenty Five", which I borrowed from my local library, mostly for the 80s/90s stuff. I doubt I would have paid full price for it- some of the new stuff is just not my style. But I was very pleasantly surprised at his take on this 1965 Leslie Bricusse song. What can I say, the guy can sing and he can swing.

Maybe he missed a career opportunity- I wish there was more like this on the album. Perhaps down the road he'll do a Rod Stewart (a guy you'll probably never see mentioned in this space again!) and record a whole album of standards. If they're anything like this song, I'll buy it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thrifted Thursday- St. Patty's Day Special!

What's more Irish than Irish Linen...?

Irish linen with a cocktail-themed design!

I bought this years ago for a couple of bucks. I had to have it once I saw the theme!

It's perfect for a bar, which in this case is the top of my 1946 RCA console radio/phonograph.  I usually have my collection of cocktail shakers on top and a few glasses, but I try not to obscure the design.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday, v. 5.0

I actually trash-picked this 1930's hairdryer from a relative. Before you get all creeped out, she was dead. OK maybe that didn't help... ;)

Actually, my mother was cleaning out this relative's house in preparation to sell it, and she put a whole bunch of goodies out by the curb. When I arrived to help her, I naturally went through the stuff mom had tossed. And with good reason, since this is some of what I found.

I have never tried it to see if it works- but I can't imagine that this relative kept it if it didn't. (That's also her deco vanity it's sitting on- at my house now. ) Maybe someday I'll try it, but I think it still looks glamorous even if it is just a prop these days!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifted Thursday- Better Living with Better Pictures

Be Your Own Interior Decorator! You are your own interior decorator when you use picture groups to liven up your walls.  Even small pictures can be important when hung in groups or combined effectively with larger ones.

My thoughts exactly, except that was how I managed to survive Jr. High.

But I digress...

This is printed on the reverse of a set of three pictures I bought for 40 cents each. They're really quite nice individually, but when I turned them over and saw this bit of advice printed on the back I knew I had to get all three. And since Reliance Industries, Inc. seemed to know a bit about interior decorating (or at least enough about me to know that I could be my own interior decorator!) I decided to try it their way.


I quite like the result, and so does my daughter- who can reach it from her crib (left bottom corner) and swing it back and forth. 

The top and bottom picture are exactly the same; cherry or apple blossoms:

The middle picture is dogwood blossoms:

Add a bit of ribbon in between to complete the group, and even small pictures can be important when hung in groups or combined effectively with larger ones!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another Trash-picked Tuesday

Can't you just hear the hum and smell the static? Yes, that's right-someone threw away a neon sign. Fortunately I came along and rescued it before it got broken. It was on the top of a heap of junk that a landlord dumped after his tenant split without paying the rent. I can't imagine why they didn't keep it or try to sell it, but there it was, and now it's in our game room.

Now, I'm not partial to Miller Lite by any means; after all, if you spell it L-I-T-E there can't be anything good about it! But free is free, and if I were to buy it, it would be a couple hundred. And every vintage game room/rec room needs a neon beer sign!

I did have to get a new transformer put on- it's the black box where the pull chain is- but that only cost me $20. A friend of my husband cannabalized an old Schaffer sign that had broken (and which would have been cooler, I know) and took its good transformer off. 

In case you're wondering what that strange thing with the faces is on the right of the photo, it's a 1980s pinball machine called "Whirlwind". And I should probably explain the music: in honor of the retro arcade theme, the music today is what you might find in someone's basement jukebox- more on that later!

Dressing Vintage for the Olympics

First off, yes I know the Olympics have been over for a week. And spring is in the air so we'll be putting away those winter woolens in short order.

But I had so much fun with this outfit, I thought I'd give it a last hurrah before stashing it back in the cedar closet.

(Excuse my goofy attempt to pose- I'm a horrible photographer, especially when it comes to myself. I was trying to stand in a way where you could see both the whole outfit and I wouldn't appear too lumpy!)

This is a vintage sweater and hat combo, c.1940. I think it would be called a Norwegian-style sweater, because of the colors and the three crowns on the front. It has a matching knit cap with a chinstrap. I've seen outfits like this in old magazines and ads for ski resorts, hence the Olympic reference. It was my homage to the days when Olympic athletes did not wear baggy pants and giant Polo logos.

I know there are some knitters reading this blog, so you will be interested to know that this was hand-knit by an elderly releative of mine. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 94, and I inherited a lot of furniture, clothing and household stuff.

I wore the sweater with a pair of vintage blue gabardine pants with a bit of red embroidery down the side and a side zipper- it's hard to make them out in the photo, I know. I did not wear the hat, because it plays havoc with your hair. Since I was in- and out-of-doors shopping, the hat wouldn't have been practical. However, it would be perfect for outdoor ice-skating, so I will definitely wear it next time we go!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thrifted Thursday- clothing day!

On this episode of Thrifted Thursday I am featuring some of the items I picked up this past Saturday on my "I'm taking the day off and going shopping for my birthday" spree. I hit a place I haven't been to in at least 5 years. I'll have to go back more often, because I always find really good vintage clothes there. I just haven't been there lately because it is not an easy thing to keep track of 2 little kids in a place with three stories of floor-to-celing junk. (Yes, I know- sounds like home, but still...)

First up is a darling bluish-gray knit set. I'm guessing this is from the early 50s by the construction, but it could be earlier. (I have a similar outfit that I know is 1930s.) It cost me $5, and will probably cost double that to get cleaned- it's got a real musty smell.

But my score for the day was this really great 1930s/early 40s dress.

It's a lightweight gray wool with self-fabric buttons and a cute pocket detail on the chest. It's in perfect shape with no moth holes or tears. It is missing one button, so I think I will use a sparkly rhinestone button and move it to the top hole for a bit of sparkle. It was a bit of a splurge for me at $22, but I don't really have many cool-weather vintage dresses; they're mostly all light summery ones.

I'm planning on going out this weekend, so I may wear it then!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday, part drei!

I thought I'd change the pace a little bit from all the BIG things I've trash picked and featured some of the smallest (but don't worry- back to BIG next week!) Here are a couple little things I picked up about two years ago.

There's a great flea market/farmer's market not far from where I live, called Rice's Market. It's one of those great Pennsylvania country flea markets where you can buy just about everything. It's open year-round every Tuesday morning, and Saturdays in warmer weather.

You can find some really great pieces, especially if you're into primitives or farm antiques (or also cheap Chinese imports and designer knock-offs, if that's more your thing...).

But my favorite thing to do is to wait until they're closing down and haunt the trash bins where dealers put stuff they don't want to take home. That's where I found this super-cool black & pink swan planter, as well as the 1940s chalkware fruit pin she's carrying. Both were in perfect shape; I can't say why they were discarded, but as you know, if it's free, it's for me!

So the swan, which matches my bathroom perfectly, has found a home there holding my emery boards. I just found the perfect dress to wear with the fruit pin- that will be featured on Thrifted Thursday, so stay tuned.

Thanks to all my new followers, I am planning the very first Practice in Time Giveaway. When I reach 25 of you, I'll find something special, so spread the word!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Big 3-5

Today is my birthday. Thirty-five years ago I arrived on the scene (that would be the scene c.1975) to change my parents' lives forever. Haha!

Now that I'm a mom myself, I realize what a big deal a birthday is to a parent. Your kids birthdays often mean more to you than your own. No wonder my mom has already called me twice today (and it's only 3:15, so there's plenty of time for another call tonight...). As a matter of fact, she usually calls me at 8:45 a.m., the exact time I was born. Today, she restrained herself until 9:15, but only because she was already on the phone with someone else at 8:45.

My college friends still tease me about the time she called me at 7 a.m. my freshman year and sang "Happy Birthday" over the phone. Needless to say, I wasn't real thrilled. I promptly went back to bed and slept through my first two classes.

But now I understand. I remember everything about the days my son and daughter were born. The weather, the ride to the hospital, the exact time of their birth. Who the nurses were & what my doctor wore, what I ate after the delivery, all of these details are ingrained into you on the day you give birth to your child.

And that's the part of being a mom that no one can tell you about. You have to experience it for yourself. You are truly a changed person when you have a child, and on my birthday I think I owe it to my mom and dad to just say "Thanks." Thanks for giving up everything you loved for awhile and putting me first. Thank you for providing for me, for supporting me and for tolerating me when I made stupid mistakes because I didn't listen, and when I succeeded on my own merits and knew it.

Oh, and because most of you come here because of the vintage angle, I happen to share my birthday with someone you may have heard of: Glenn Miller (b.1903).