Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thrifted Thursday: Pyrex haul!

I need another collection like I need a hole in the head. I have been trying really, really hard not to start collecting Pyrex.

I have failed.

I mean, I always had a couple of pieces. They're just so useful, and so cute. One might even say I had the beginnings of a collection, with some really nice, early pieces from the 1930s, along with some fridgies I bought to replace my plastic containers.

See how easy this is to rationalize? 

I even got a bit of an education over at the wonderful Pyrex Collective sites on which patterns are the most desirable and which ones appealed to me. And we all know that a little education is a dangerous thing!

So I did a bit of thrifting over the Easter holidays last week and scored a couple items in what will probably become "my" patterns, Butterprint and Pink Gooseberry. I'm going to have to limit it to those or I will soon run out of cabinet space.

So enter my first pink gooseberry, a 1 pt. casserole with lid, for $1.25:

And the next day I found the large Butterprint Cinderella bowl at Goodwill for $2.97. It's in perfect shape...sigh...please someone tell my husband that left to its own devices, Pyrex mulitplies on its own...;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trash-picked Tuesday: Mid-Century Furniture Bonanza!

It's a happy coincidence of sorts, when you have a close relative moving into a new place (with no furniture) and some elderly neighbors getting ready to downsize. It's even better when that relative is your brother who has a fondness for 1960s and 70s mod and those neighbors are German emigres with spectacular taste.

And what could make the happenstance of circumstance even nicer is that my mom has no qualms at all about trash-picking the good stuff! (I told you that the trash-picking gene is inherited!)

So it came to pass that my brother found himself with a killer mid-century chair and incredible modern floor lamp over the weekend. Apologies for the backdrop in the photos; the items are in my parents' garage where my brother keeps his 1952 Army jeep.

The chair is upholstered in a salmon-colored curly wool. It's a very unusual fabric; I can't say I've ever seen anything like it except in a Persian lamb coat. A good cleaning should have it in good shape. The man who put it out by the curb said that his brother in Germany had made the chair by hand, and while he was kind of sorry to see it go, he was glad it was going to someone he knew.


This lamp is just wild. I don't know what to call it, but it has a 70's glam meets medical office feel.

Closeup of the hardware that adjusts the arms.. Everything is chrome and it is very heavy. I looked and couldn't find any maker's stamp on it- anyone who knows what it might be let me know!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter at Chez QT

Happy Easter everyone! I just wanted to some you some of the things happening around here, including some of my vintage Easter eggs and how we decorate real eggs.

For some reason I was never that into decorating for Easter. But now that I have little ones, it's something we've started to do. This year I shopped the thrifts early and came away with a bunch of vintage Easter Eggs

 A dozen various kinds, $3, including 6 Enesco eggs a couple of faux Pysanky and a carved wooden egg.

This is a real Pysanky egg my high school German teacher made for me. She was actually Ukrainian, but learned German during the war.

Vintage papier mache eggs I picked up at a rummage sale last weekend.

All my eggs in one (vintage tin) basket! The "chocolate" bunny is actually a ceramic one I made in summer camp when I was 12.

We also color hard boiled eggs. We do this probably a little differently than most of you, except those in south-central PA. My dad is from Lancaster County and they use a type of food color paint called Doc Hinkle's, which allows you to paint multiple colors on the eggs, instead of dying the whole egg a single color. I'm not sure if the kits are sold much outside of PA, but you might be able to find them. (The company's website is not much help as far as online ordering.)

It's a fun activity for the kids, but you have to be careful because the eggs need to be painted while they are still hot, and the food coloring will stain your fingers and clothes if you spill it. We do this at my mom and dad's house, and my dad has a few family traditions he maintains. Certain designs, like the blue and yellow one in the tray, might be recognized by my cousins reading this! ;)

The end result. Ready for the Easter Bunny!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Make-it-from-scratch Monday: Trout en papillote and homemade tartar sauce

I mentioned before that one of my favorite pastimes is fishing. Well, trout season opened here about 3 weeks ago and we have been eating a lot of it! Between the four of us (yes, Kate fishes too, and sometimes lands one :) we probably catch over 200 fish in a season. We eat plenty while they're fresh, and give a lot away, but freeze a bunch every year. Sometimes we fillet them if they're really big (18" +), but we usually clean them and freeze them whole. Then I have them all year long.

We usually catch rainbow trout, but on occaision catch a brook trout or two. The rainbows are much bigger, usually 12-17 inches. If we catch a brookie, they are usually dinner that night. Their flavor is much milder and doesn't hold up well to freezing. I usually pan fry those with the skin on. These are not wild fish; there are a few native trout streams in PA, but none nearby that have fish big enough to keep (7 in +). We catch them from stocked streams and lakes; some of the lake fish have been in there for years and have pink flesh like salmon (a close relative to trout) from eating a diet of insects.

I make the whole fish en papillote ("in a package"- i.e. wrapped in foil), with the cavity stuffed with seasonings, in the oven during the winter, but during the summer we do them on the grill. This is a good way to use up any of those exotic condiments you have lingering in the fridge. I made my fish this time with Oyster Sauce; in the past I've used sriracha sauce, cajun seasoning, or a bunch of fresh herbs from the garden. Chives and basil are particularly nice- the "stuffing" just contributes a little bit of flavor and aroma since you don't eat that part (though you could). You can customize each person's fish to their taste- make one with hot sauce and cajun seasoning and one with just onions and Old Bay.

You could also do this with firm filets of fish, like salmon or catfish. I would avoid using something that flakes easily (cod) or is too strong a flavor (like bluefish).


2 whole trout, cleaned and heads removed
1 onion roughly chopped or 2 ribs of celery
Old Bay seasoning
herbs and/or condiments of your choosing

1) Rinse and dry the fish.
2) Roughly chop the onion or celery

3) Prepare the aluminum foil sheets- allow plenty of space to wrap the fish loosely in packets. I usually sprinkle a bit of Old Bay on the foil first to coat the outside of the fish.

4) Place the fish on the foil and season the cavity with Old Bay or whatever else you feel like using. Stuff with the chopped onions, celery or fresh herbs.

5) Wrap the fish in the foil to make a package, and poke a few vent holes in the top with a knife.

6) Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-30 mins. Fish will be opaque white and flake easily when done.

Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce. This is so quick and easy you will never buy it at the store again.

Combine 1/2 c mayonnaise and about 2-3 tbsps sweet pickle relish. (I'm using homemade pepper-onion relish- it has a couple whole peppercorns and cardamom seeds in it. It's really good; maybe this fall I'd share that recipe!)

Add a dash of lemon juice and about 1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Refrigerate the unused portion and it will keep for weeks. (It tastes better in a Pyrex fridgie too! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Check out the Giveaway at Past Life!

Hey all- the wonderful Miss Cherry Bubbles is having a fabulous giveaway. If you love Hawaiiana you'll love her giveaway. Check it out!

Tax Time!

Hopefully you've got your taxes done by now, though I guess if you need the weekend to finish it's still good...

I've been AWOL a bit the last few days while I finish up mine, and haven't had time to blog or read anyone's blogs. But you might enjoy this post from last year- check out how simple the 1040 was back in 1939:

Even my local taxes are more complicated than that!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Flea Market Friday: Opening Day!

This weekend seems to mark the beginning of the spring church rummage sale season around here. I know of at least three or four happening this weekend. And while I won't be able to get to them all, here's a sampling of the goodies I brought home from a couple of them:

A 1950s felt applique tree skirt- this is going to my brother for his aluminum tree. Happy Bday, bro!

You Pyrex-iacs will recognize this piece of flameware with the original handle:

I left the price tag on for you :)

A bunch of sweet Peter-pan collared blouses for my daughter- she seems to wear more vintage than I do these days! I believe the two on the left are made from feedsacks.

A feedsack dress for her as well. Today is her birthday.

Two sets of souvenir hot pads- the top is from Tombstone, AZ and the bottom from Wisconsin Dells. I bought these mostly for the Etsy store- they should be easy to ship.

An awesome turquoise rotary dail phone. I paid 50 cents for it and it works great. However, if you could have seen it before I cleaned it up, you might not have paid even the 50 c for it- it was govered in grease.

A cute pink alarm clock for Kate's room- see how it almost exactly matches the wall color ;). It also works great and is very quiet- definitely a requirement when buying vintage clocks.

I finally found the vintage red cardi I've been looking for- at $2, a keeper for me.

Also this adorable hand-knitted Fair Isle. It's a bit small in the shoulders for me, so it's probably headed to the Etsy store.

I bought a couple of 1960s mini skirts for the store as well- they are really small; no way I could ever get into them!

I also found these papier mache eggs. I've gotten a ton of vintage Easter eggs this year- that will be an upcoming post...stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Road Trip: Northlandz Model Trains

As some of you are aware, my family is really into trains. My husband and my son are just nuts about real trains and model trains. Jayson got a Lionel set this past Christmas and plays with it just about every day. We also have a pretty large HO scale layout in our basement which keeps my husband occupied during the winter months, but what he's not likely to tell you is that the trains and accessories that he used to get started first belonged to me.

I got my first train set when I was about 12. I liked the trains and cars OK, but what I really enjoyed was building and painting the buildings and scenery. So it may be a bit surprising that we have never made the short trip to visit Northlandz, the world's largest model train layout.

And you just know that any place that bills itself as 'the world's largest' anything is a natural destination for a vintage- and kitsch-loving gal like myself. I can't believe we had never gone before!

So when Jayson had a cold, rainy day off of school, we took a road trip to Flemington, N.J. and Northlandz.

Northlandz is unique in that, among all the model train layouts I've ever seen, both the trains and scenery are to scale. When I say that, I mean that the distances between buildings, town, and mountains are scaled accurately. There is plenty of room along more than 8 miles of track to get in rivers, gorges, towns, train yards, cities, junkyards, amusment parks, etc. etc.  without them being all on top of each other.

The building is absolutely immense. It's three stories high, with a one mile walkway that circles around 50,000 square feet of indoor display. The tallest mountain is 30 feet high, with 400 bridges (the longest is over 40 feet long), half a million trees, and 4,200 buildings. And it's largely the work of one man, Bruce Williams Zaccagnino, a model train enthusiast, musician and video game developer.

As a matter of fact, on the Monday when we toured the building, Bruce was the only staff member there. A jovial man, he welcomed us to tour the facility, and also ran the gift shop, cooked at the snack stand (fashioned after an old fashioned soda fountain, with really good hot dogs and pizza) and provided the musical accompaniment on the building's three grand theater organs.

Now, of course, it needs to be mentioned that if he was the only staff member there, it wasn't that busy. I guess Mondays during the colder months are not that well-attended, because we saw only about 10 other people there. Also, the building was quite chilly, probably in an attempt to cut heating costs. And there were a couple spots where the roof was leaking onto the walkway. From the outside, the building does not look that well-maintained, either. So definitely call before you're planning a trip to make sure he hasn't cut the open hours back!

But, that said, all things like this have their little quirks, and it was definitely worth the price of admission ($13.75 for adults and $9.75 for kids 2 and up, which can be a bit steep for my 2 yr old). But the kids probably got more excited than the adults, because around every turn my daughter would scream "look at this!"

As an adult, I appreciated the scope of the construction, and the amazing detail. The trains themselves were not that great- most trains were only 5 or 6 cars long, and those cars were mostly "Northlandz" promotions.  But the scenery is simply incredible- have a look at the following photos and also take a look at their website for more. (Apologies for the blurry and overexposed shots- it was hard light to photograph in.)

And they obligatory 'awkward family photo' LOL- my mom was having trouble with my camera. I was going for a 1930s look with vintage wide legged navy pants, a red polka dot blouse that tied at the neck and a cropped white sweater. Believe me when I say it looked better in person than it does here! ;) Kate has on the most adorable cherry print sundress, which of course was totally inappropriate for a day with freezing rain, but hey, when you're 2, you can pull that look off.