RSS Feed

Tag Archives: vintage

A post war Christmas聽

Yes it’s been a long time between posts…that’s what opening a vintage shop can do. Now that I’m open six days a week time to blog is rare! I thought, however, that I’d take ten minutes to share a few articles and ads from the December 1946 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly, about the first real Christmas after the end of the war…..Merry Christmas everyone 馃拫Deb

Magazine cover vintage Christmas 1946  Vintage Christmas gift cycles 1940s ad
Christmas Day lunch menu 1940sChristmas after WWII in England
1940s post war Christmas Vintage Christmas after the war
Vintage 1940s post war Christmas fashionVi gage war bride advertising 1940s

Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Hello, again, I know it’s been a while…but I have busy working and setting up my new online vintage store (still hoping for bricks and mortar one day). If you have time please visit at.   http://www.kittenvintagemackay.com/

Anyway, it’s gray and cold and wet here in usually sunny Mackay, the perfect day to read old magazines and cuddle up with a cat or two.

cats on a sofa
Here three articles on decorating from April 1939. It’s just amazing how modern some of the furniture looks – I swear I saw a chair like that one below right at IKEA!

modern furniture for a flat 1939

We only get a few weeks of winter here, but on a rainy day like this I’d love to be sitting in front of a fireplace. I usually put the fake fireplace on the television (through YouTube) but the television blew up this morning after a severe thunderstorm…Well a chance to make the living room more vintage perhaps!


And to finish here is a lovely ad for floor wax…have a great weekend!

vintage ad for fishers floor wax, 1939

Fashions of February 1939

Continuing on from my post Fashions of January 1939, today a look at fashion from February 1939, the last month of Summer in Australia.

 

Illustration by Virgil, 1939

Illustration by Virgil, 1939

  

Suit ideas from London

  

Light weight wool is a popular Autumn and Spring fabric

  

I love the high waisted genie pants!

  

Why don't you wear Schiaparelli's adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm...

Why don’t you wear Schiaparelli’s adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm…

 

Simple swing skirts

 
 

Long gathered skirts for evening wear – what a lot of fabric!

  

Imagine the blackout curtains you could make from that velvet dress..

 

And let’s not forget the foundation garments!

  

Any favourites?

Pennsylvania 65000, The Menu, and Postum

Today while googling doing serious research I came across the The New York City Library website.  The Library has collected more than 40,000 restaurant menus dating from 1851 and have digitized them. They are now available on the library’s website for all to enjoy, including this 1942 menus from the Pennsylvania Railroad –

vintage 1940s menu 

Note the mention of rationing under beverages, and also the term “Postum.” I had to look it up On Wikipedia –

Postum is a powdered roasted-grain beverage once popular as a coffee substitute. The caffeine-free beverage was created by Postum Cereal Company founder C. W. Post in 1895 and marketed as a healthful alternative to coffee.

The “instant” drink mix version was developed in 1912, replacing the original brewed beverage.[2] Postum is made from roasted wheat bran, wheat and molasses. This 10鈥慶alorie beverage is caffeine-free, fat-free, trans-fat-free, sodium-free, and kosher.

Although the Postum Cereal Company explicitly stated in its advertising that Postum did not taste like coffee and was not a coffee substitute, the drink enjoyed an enormous rise in sales and popularity in the US during World War II when coffee was rationed and people sought a replacement.

Aha!

There are more wartime menus on the website, but I picked this one as it reminded me of that great 1940 swing song “Pennsylvania 6-5000” recorded by Glen Miller and also the Andrew Sisters (which you can listen to here). 

  

Sewing Bees in Wartime

We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect,  but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools,  and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.

The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –

dec39

30 December 1939 Australian Woman’s Weekly

Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia.

bee27april1940

27 April 1940  Australian Woman’s Weekly

Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939.

queenbee

15 June 1940 Australian Women’s Weekly

You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.

This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.

sew1.1

sew2

sew3

Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.

Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.

A Delicious Christmas Dinner, 1939

Last night I watched  “Sarah Beenys Christmas at Rise Hall” on iview, which looks at how some of our Christmas traditions have come into being – such as Christmas pudding and carolling. They dress up for each period, including WWII, and eat a menu that would have been eaten at their (grand) home at the time. It’s well worth watching, but if you would like a menu a little more suited to the common person, here is one from Christmas 1939.
  

In Australia it’s so hot at Christmas that I usually make ice cream plum pudding, or even jelly. What’s more Christmassy than jelly?!
 

You may also like this menu from 1943, or this one.

Wartime Swimsuits

It’s the first week of Summer here in Australia, and my thoughts have turned to swimsuits. We have a few beaches nearby (which occasionally have crocodiles, sharks and stingers) and a pool (which is currently getting renovated) so we swim every day over Summer.  Usually we even put on swimsuits, although the odd skinny dip is not unknown!  

What style swimsuits would we have been wearing during the war? Let’s have a little look –

1939 jantzen swimsuit ad 1939  

at the beach 1939 

1940

   
 1941

  
 

1942 – clothes ratioing kicks in in Australia, and ads for swimwear are almost non existent.  Elastic used in commercial swimwear would have used rubber, which was needed for the war effort. To keep itself in the public  mind Jantzen cleverly told women how to care for their swimsuits so they would last longer.

 vintage 1940s swimsuit ad 
   
1943 – 

 vintage 1940s swimsuit  bikini 
1944

 vintage 1940s swimsuit  
1945

 

Fashions for October 1939

Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, and by the next day Britain put Air Raid Precautions into effect and school children and pregnant women were being evacuated from London. Great Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September, and Australia followed suit.

By October 1939 American fashions were already seeming a lot more colourful and extravagant compared to English fashions, according to this article (Australian Womans Weekly  8 October 1939).

 american vs englinsh fashions october 1939 
  Some more fashion from the same magazine – this one for easy care sportswear.

vintage wartime fashion ad 1939  

Quite a utilitarian suit –

  

Dresses with pleats, still using quite a lot of fabric, and the length is below knee to almost mid calf- 
calf length pleated dressses october 1939  

These evening dresses are still quite frivolous too, with long full skirts and frills (as well as the odd midriff!)

summer evening dresses october 1939  

And the home pattern service also shows pleats, long  and full skirts and even roomy pajamas. Let’s hope whoever bought the patterns also bought their fabric straight away, before rationing started!
patterns to sew at home october 1939  

To finish are these quite full skirts, in not so practical white. 

  

Fashion was still important during the war, and underwent significant changes. I’ll continue next time with fashions of November 1939, and I’ll move on through the war so we can see the changes as they happen. 

Living with wartime rationing – the after thoughts

So if you have followed our one week rationing journey you will have seen that we did pretty well eating on rations.  We didn’t starve, we ate healthy, and I actually lost about 1/2kg. It has inspired me to continue eating the wartime way.

But it was only for one week. I had a store of food in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, chickens in the backyard and some fruit and veg growing In the garden. What I didn’t have, as wartime women would have experienced, was the following – 

  • Blackouts and restrictions that went with that;
  • War work, different work to my normal routine that could have involved travelling a long way;
  • Shortages, such as paper, toilet paper, food, fuel and queuing;
  • An outside toilet;
  • Carrying a gas mask;
  • Extra child evacuees, to look after and feed;
  • Fear – of bombings, air raids, gas attack, invasion or death of a loved one.

 

1940ss tips to conquer fear

1940ss tips to conquer fear

  
What I did have that makes modern life so much easier –

  • A washing machine
  • Hot running water
  • An inside bathroom  and toilet
  • A fridge and freezer
  • An electric stove and oven
  • A car and fuel to run it
  • A husband at home
  • Children at home, who are (reasonably) safe
  • Easy communication with phone and email
  • Instant access to recipes and books online
  • Television
  • A coffee machine

What we did before delonghi

Now I don’t want to give up all of my mod cons, but I am happy to go back to wartime food. It was cheap, filling and basic, and it was healthy. Sometimes I felt I used too much fat, but there were no hidden fats in war time cooking – any fat we ate was honest , as was the sugar. I knew what was in every morsel. There were no suspect food additives that I couldn’t pronounce – my bread, unlike supermarket bread, or McDonalds bread, contained flour, yeast, oil, orange juice, salt and water, my roast potatoes just potatoes and dripping and my eggs were from my own wheat and bug fed chickens! And although we did eat some nitrates ( the suddenly newest baddest carcinogen) in our bacon, the amount of bacon we ate was small compared to the modern standard diet.

I now want to make even more from scratch. Like making butter from cream, yoghurt and cheese from milk and growing more of our own (pesticide free) vegetables. I spent the morning putting up a new fence for the poultry and extending my vegetable growing area, and in the cool of the afternoon I planted seedlings that I had grown.

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree. The black hose comes from the washing machine and waters the bananas

 
Back in my 20s, prekids but wanting to make the planet better before having any, I was an Eco- greenie- vegetarian warrior. Somewhere over the last twenty years I’ve become a middle aged-too busy-have money can buy guzzler. That’s about to change! I hope you’ll follow the journey, as well as stay around for more history and wartime bits and pieces.

Living with Wartime Rations – Day 7

We’ve reached the last day of our war ration experiment! 

I think it has really made us appreciate meat and dairy foods in particular. As we’ve seen, British wartime meat rations were much smaller than the Australian version, about 1/2lb a week compared to 2 1/2lb, and if we had been in the UK I definitely would have kept backyard rabbits and chickens, and been part of a pig club.

  
People in towns had kept backyard pigs for hundreds of years, but in the spirit of wartime ratioing, the government encouraged groups of people to form clubs, to buy, feed and look after pigs. The pigs were fed mostly with scraps from homes, caf茅s, bakeries, and anything edible that came to hand.  Clubs were also allowed to legally purchase small rations of feed or corn.

Pigs, and dairy goats, are definatley on my ‘one day” list!

After a bowl of rebated brown rice, with 1 teaspoon of sugar and coconut milk ( the girls used the last of our milk in lasts night pudding) I dropped the kids to school and popped into the supermarket for milk and cream. With my new wartime woman focused eyes, I also grabbed enough meat for seven meals, and some yoghurt –

Yhe benefit of supermarkets is the specials!

  
All for under $30!

 
My grandmothers would be proud! As a special treat I cooked my husband the lambs fry for lunch, (baked liver, from 1940, below) as the kids would have to be starving to eat it. I have only cooked it once before, and that put me off, but this recipe says to soak it in water for half an hour first, which does make it much more like normal meat and easier to deal with.

1940s recipes including baked liver

1940s recipes including baked liver

 
  
I let the bacon get a little too crispy, but I was baking bread at the same time. It was surprisingly good, and fantastic for under $2! The cats loved the raw and cooked liver too, so I will be buying more for pet food too.  I hope the kids enjoyed their tomato sandwiches today! 
Baked liver with bacon and apple. served with coleslaw and a slice of national loaf

Baked liver with bacon and apple. served with coleslaw and a slice of national loaf

 
Instead of another mince meal for dinner, I decided on fish, the traditional Friday food, and not rationed.Last time I used frozen white fish fillets they were tough, so it seemed sense to make a stew from them. I found this recipie for fish curry from another Ministry of Food Leaflet (about using leftovers). 
 
wartime ministry of food recipe for fish curry

wartime ministry of food recipe for fish curry

     
Not quite the type of curry we are used to but not bad, although the sultanas were something new in a curry for the kids. Instead of salad I added cabbage to the curry.

 

Wartime Fish curry with sultanas

Wartime Fish curry with sultanas

 
Let’s see how we did. Remember the rations for one week for one adult?

  • 路 Bacon & Ham 4 oz/113 grams 
  • 路 Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb/227gm minced beef, in Australia it was 2 1/4 lb from January 1944 to 1948 and fish, rabbit, poultry and organ meat were not rationed)
  • 路 Butter 2 oz/ 57 grams (Australians got 1/2 lb from June 1943 to 1950)
  • 路 Cheese 2 oz/ 57 grams 
  • 路 Margarine 4 oz/113 grams 
  • 路 Cooking fat 4 oz/113 grams 
  • 路 Milk 3 pints/1.7 litres 
  • 路 Sugar 8 oz/227g (1 lb week in Australia from August 1942)
  • 路 Preserves/Jam 1 lb every 2 months/ one 230gm jar a month 
  • 路 Tea 2 oz// 57 grams (1/2 lb per 5 weeks in Australia from July 1942)
  • 路 Eggs 1 fresh egg per week 
  • 路 Sweets/Candy 12 oz/340g every 4 weeks 

For five of  us we used – 

  • Bacon – 5 rashers Sunday, 5 rashers Thursday, 2 today, total 12 oz UNDER!
  • Meat – 500gm kangaroo (unrationed),  2kg/4 lb lamb shoulder, 500gm/1 lb mince SLIGHTLY OVER FOR UK, UNDER FOR AUSTRALIA
  • Butter – 250gm/8oz UNDER but only because we ran out, would have used more
  • Cheese – under 1 1/2 cups grated from a block, and a few slices, about  250gm/9 oz UNDER
  • Margarine – we used olive oil, about 2 cups
  • Cooking fat – only dripping that we collected from the roast, and we still have a cup left
  • Milk – grownups about 1 glass a day and kids 2-3 cups each – would have used our full rations SAME
  • Sugar – Started with one 1kg bag and have 280 gm left so used 720gm/ 25 oz so far UNDER the 40oz allowed, although we did use about 100 ml of maple/golden syrup as well.
  • Preserves – used almost 1/3 a jar of Jan
  • Tea – about 10 teaspoons at 1 Gm per spoon UNDER but about 250 Gm coffee
  • Eggs – 6, and always in something not as a meal, and we have chooks laying two eggs a day EQUAL
  • Sweets – two one hundred Gm blocks 70% cocoa chocolate, And the kids had about 100gm starburst, so UNDER

To be honest we did have a bottle of wine and a few beers too, but I think we did pretty well. We certainly ate a lot more salad than usual, even the kids, and we used a lot less meat, butter and cheese than usual. 

I think with keeping our own ducks and chickens we could even keep our dog and cats fed, as they get mainly leftovers and unrationed meat. On the outbreak of war, 750,000 pets were slaughtered in Britain in one week, as a patriotic, and slightly misguided, action encouraged by the government. You can read more here.

Our Muscovy ducks enjoying their favourite food, lettuce

Our Muscovy ducks enjoying their favourite food

 
Thanks for joining us on our ratioing experiment. I hope it’s encouraged you to try some new, or old, foods and recipes, and to think a bit about being prepared. For what the future may bring.  I’ll share some more thoughts about what our experiment has meant, and how it’s changed us a little, soon.

Kitten Vintage

Handpainted and vintage furniture and accessories

The Flying Shetlands

Featuring The Most Fascinating & Exquisite Equine Art From Around The Globe

cheltenhamroad

The adventures of a reluctant crafter

First Night Design

Art, Design, Theatre, Literature, History, Food, Laughter ...

1st Field Company Engineers - Australian Imperial Forces

The stories of the 229 "Originals" who Embarked on the A19"Afric", A6 "Clan McCorquodale", A35 "Berrima" 1914.

Inside the Fashion Doll Studio

Barbie for big girls.

Gal Gumshoe with M. Ruth Myers

1940s, women, mysteries & more

Collecting cutlery

Interesting topics on cutlery for the collector

Woolies Buildings - Then and Now

What happened to your old Woolworths store?

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

Out Of My Mind Images

living life with a camera in one hand and a pencil in the other :)

Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES