Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our New Look

So what do you think?

It's definitely better, but still a work in progress.

I plan to change the photo banner regularly, even though it's a real pain in the butt to crop stuff without knowing what dimensions would be best. It seems trial and error is the only way to get things to fit right, unless I'm missing something somewhere that would help.

That photo is one I took while on a bike ride last weekend (that's my bike)- look for an upcoming post on that ride.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: Doing the Can-Can

This is an industrial size steel can I picked up a couple of weeks ago. Originally it held about 3 gallons of varnish. I just like the colors and thought I could use it for something someday, but I haven't had any ideas. So I'm open to suggestions from any of you creative readers!

Monday, September 27, 2010

300 followers giveaway!

OK, so it's not me with 300 followers (shoot, I'd take 75) but art deco dame! She's giving away some fabulous goodies, so check it out and browse her etsy store while you're there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flea Market Friday: Buzz Bomb Alley

Today was a good day to go yard saling! I only stopped at one, but it was a multi-family sale. (I did pass by a couple others- just too much kid stuff- one was almost 100% teddy bears) Everything was 25 cents a piece, a bargain in many ways, as you shall see:

Some misc.pieces of jewelry, including a pillbox, shell butterfly pin, "V for Victory" pin (not sure if this is period- looks like a repro to me) and PBR bottle opener. (I apologize for the quality of the photos- they were really hard to photograph.)

This is a beautiful rhinestone art deco necklace with all the stones intact. I can't imagine ever getting rid of this, but apparently someone didn't want it...I tried it on and it just lays over your collarbone so perfectly- I can't wait to go somewhere dressy enough to wear it!

Some WWII sweetheart jewelry:

This one is engraved "Loving Mother" on the front and "Buzz Bomb Alley" on the back. The chain is silver, but the engraved part is aircraft aluminum.

A "trench art" cuff of aircraft aluminum, hand hammered and engraved with a bird, heart and a name.

This is my favorite- engraved "Dear Honey" on the front and "Buzz Bomb Alley" on the back. Once again the engraved part is aircraft aluminum, but the chain includes 4 British sixpence coins dated 1942-44.

For a WWII aviation buff like myself, I knew right away what "Buzz Bomb Alley" was, but apparently the seller didn't (or didn't care?). I can't ever imagine getting rid of these pieces if there was a family history behind them. I would guess that these were made by an airman stationed in England during the infamous V-1 & V-2 (German guided missiles, aka "buzz bombs") attacks on London. "Buzz Bomb Alley" was the nickname given to London and the areas south and east of the city, where most missiles were targeted.

For more info and a map:

Here is a link to an oral history provided by a former airman that experienced the buzz bomb attacks firsthand:

I feel fortunate and honored to be the caretaker of these things for the next 50 or so years!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thrifted Thursday: High Flying

Last week I had to fly to Detroit for a few days. Since I was by myself, and had to make a couple of connections en route, I wanted to make sure I traveled light.

I'm so not into those wheeled carry-on suitcases. They all look the same, everyone has one, and they're really too big to "carry" on. Ever have to hoist one up into the overhead bin (if you can find space for it), let alone run across a terminal with one? It's just too heavy and bulky.

I wanted to take something that was just big enough to hold a change of clothes, a couple books and my travel documents. Something that had plenty of vintage style, yet was also practical (story of my life!)

Enter the flight bag:

This bag is what a "carry on" used to be, before they got super-sized. You may have seen them before with airline logos (Pan Am was probably the most iconic one- wish I had one of those!). It's wool plaid with leather bottom and trim. It's got a water-resistant lining and a metal zipper. I thrifted it last year for $4, but it appeared to have never been used.

It's the perfect size for an overnight bag, and the best part is that it fits perfectly under an airline seat. Somehow, I guess that's exactly how it was designed....

And it's fashionable to boot. I got a couple compliments on it, especially from one of the cleaning ladies in the airport restroom- and you know she's seen a lot of bags come and go! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: sTrike my fancy

I bet you all thought I had run out of stuff for Trash-picked Tuesday! 

Nope.  :P

I've been pretty busy lately, with some family obligations and getting back into the fall schedule. Like a lot of things in my life, I've been getting a little bit behind here at the PIT. But bear with me, there are big things brewing...

Anyway, I've had this darling little trike for a couple of years. I remember riding one when I was a kid (and occasionally as an adult, hehe) that was very similar to this one. So when I saw it out by the curb, I grabbed it. I thought it would be perfect for my daughter, now 2 1/2.

When I got it home, I realized it needed a bit of work (big surprise). It needs the back step welded to the frame, or it wobbles uncontrollably (much like I did when riding a trike as an adult, LOL.) So I haven't fixed it yet, and my kids might be too big for it by next spring.

I'm thinking about hanging a flower basket on the front and parking it in my garden.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flea Market Friday- MCM boomerang ashtray

I love a bargain. And I know you all do too. Even when it's something I have absolutely no use for!
(So is it really a bargain? hmmm....)

But I think this qualifies as something that's just too cool to pass up, even if I don't smoke:

And I got it for $1!

The white bird (I guess it's a crane, since it doesn't have a flamingo-shaped beak?) is actually inset into the glaze, and the black twig things are drawn under the glaze as well. There's no marking on the back, but this is a pretty high-quality piece- way nicer than some of the home made stuff I've seen for much higher.

I bought this today at one of the better yard sales I've been to this year. It also happened to be the best advertised, which is how I found it. Quite a ways off the beaten path, they had wooden sandwich boards out by the highway with directions, and flashing strobe lights once you were getting close. It seems that if you want to catch peoples' attention these days, that's how to do it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Help me update our look!

I'm thinking about doing some re-decorating here at the PIT. I definitely want to change the look of the page, and add a couple new features. I know some of you have designed your own headers and I am totally in awe of that. I'm probably not capable of doing something from scratch, but if any of you use a template that looks good and is fairly easy to customize, please let me know where I can find one.

Also, if there are any topics you'd like to see more (or less) of, or something you all think we could do better please give me your input. I can definitely handle some constructive comments/criticism; after all I want this to be a place you enjoy visiting.

Thank you all for visiting the PIT- I think once we get to 75 followers we might do another giveaway!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cooking Vintage: Baking a Peach Pie

From scratch!
And yes, that means the crust too!   :P

Here's the recipe I use, although it's simple enough that after a few times you won't need it. The pie crust can be used for all pies: apple, pumpkin (halve it, though, since you don't use a top crust), and savory meat pies as well- leave the sugar dusting off for those.

This recipe is from one of the early TV cooking shows, Television Kitchen, and aired on July 18th, 1951.

Peach Pie

2/3 c. vegetable shortening or cold butter
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
dash salt
1/4 to 1/2 c. water
1 egg, slightly beaten (for glaze)

2 tbsps quick-cooking tapioca
1 to 2 tsp lemon juice, to taste
dash nutmeg (optional)
2/3 c sugar, plus some to sprinkle on top
4 c peeled* and sliced peaches (5 or 6 large peaches, or 8-9 medium)
1 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

* I generally do not peel the peaches, since it saves time, but you may want to for a uniform appearance and texture.

Prepare the crust:

Preheat oven to 425.

 Get out that giant Pyrex mixing bowl you never use, people!  Sift flour and add salt.

Using a wire pastry blender (or two knives) cut 1/3 c. shortening or butter into the flour until it is as fine as meal.

Add remaining shortening or butter and cut until particles are the size of large peas. Do not overmix.

Add just enough water until dough holds together- it should be fairly dry, not sticky.

Separate dough into two halves. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick circle and place in bottom of ungreased pie pan. Save other half for top crust.

To make the crust easy to transfer from countertop to pie, I roll it around the rolling pin as it comes off the counter and unroll it over the pie.

Combine peaches, tapioca, nutmeg, lemon juice and sugar. (The granular bits are Minute Instant Tapioca.)

Place in pie crust, dot with butter. Top with upper crust. 

Pinch top and bottom crust together. I am not a perfectionist when it comes to the edge of the piecrust. I like a rustic, doughy edge and just roll it all together. If you don't, trim off the excess.

Brush with beaten egg and dust with sugar.

Cut slits in the top for ventilation

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until crust is browned, about 30 to 35 minutes.

There are a couple tricks to making a fruit pie, which I think this recipe addresses nicely. One is the use of tapioca. You need something to absorb the juice of the peaches or the pie will be water-logged. Many recipes advocate corn starch or flour, but I like the tapioca because it does not impart any "cloudiness" to the filling. You can see the pearls of the tapioca when you slice it if you look closely, but otherwise they are tasteless.

Also, dividing the shortening/butter into two parts for the crust always works well. I have never had a bad crust using this method- they are always light and flaky. I do use Crisco (it's trans-fat free) because butter can sometimes impart a greasy flavor and texture. I recommend using a pastry blender (pick one up for a buck next time you go thrifting if you don't have one); I've never gotten the hang of using two knives to cut in the shortening.

Otherwise this is a pretty much fail-safe recipe that will be guaranteed to garner you some compliments.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thrifted Thursday- Back to School!

OK, so it's not a Smurfs (I had one of those) or a Star Wars lunch box. It's a real workingman's lunch box, made by Thermos in the 40s or 50s. My son picked this out as his school lunch box, and I couldn't be prouder of him. We found it for $4 at a thrift store, and it's in great shape. It does not have the original Thermos inside, however, but we found another one that fits inside the bracket in the lid. I just hope it holds up for a couple of years- I mean, it's lasted this long, but I doubt if it ever went to elementary school!