I am moving!

So, the update is finally done and I have moved to my own domain!  The new site is….drumroll please….www.nopatternrequired.com.  I have tried to get everything I could over to the new site, but there might be a couple of hiccups and broken links over the next few days. I will try to get everything ironed out as soon as I can!

For those of you following me on feeds, you will have to go to the new site and add me again to your aggregator or re-enter your email.  Sorry about not being more savy about this! But please come on over and enjoy the fun!

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New Frontier – At The Auction

vintage-finds-008I went to an estate auction last Saturday with my husband and my friend, Sara.  None of us had ever been to an auction before, but we were open to trying something new and it was a beautiful, sunny day, so we piled in the car and drove about 30 mins to the estate of someone who used to own an auto repair shop.

It was totally different than anything we had ever been to before!  It wasn’t set up like the auction houses you see on TV.  It basically looked like a giant garagle sale in someone’s yard, but you had to wait until the auction started to buy stuff. After we figured out how to sign up for a number and how to bid, we totally got into the swing of things.  Hubs wandered over to the auto section of auction, while my friend Sara and I camped out in the housewares section.

Then we started winning things. 

I have to admit, it was pretty undignified, even for me. We were clapping our hands and squealing when the other won something they wanted, and by the end of the first hour we had our arms filled with treasures and a very bemused crowd around us. Someone took pity on us and gave us boxes, another person gave us some newspapers to put around our glass items to keep them from banging together.  But most just laughed at us, not in a mean-spirited way, but I think they laughed with us because we were so obviously enjoying ourselves.  At least I hope they did. If we annoyed anyone, I apologize!

Sara walked out with three boxes of treasures. She got a set of vintage stoneware similar to some her grandmother had left her and a great green pitcher and bowl with a curved edge. vintage-finds-007

I got an Apollo Ware melamine bowl with pastel splatters in it.  I LOVE it.  It has some light utensil marks on the inside, but it will make a great chip bowl.

vintage-finds-0141

I also got a great set of vintage glasses. They aren’t as old as some other ones I’ve had, but I love that these are a little heavier, and since we use the vintage glasses for everyday, it will be nice if they can take a beating and still be functional. We have broken two vintage glasses in as many months, and are starting to feel pretty bad about abusing them.

After the housewares section of the auction was over, they started on the furniture and other items.  These “other items” consisted of seized drug bust items from the state of Michigan, like semi-automatic guns and electronics plastered with evidence stickers. Seriously.  So, we played with the guns for a while, took pictures of Sara holding a Bushmaster and laughed and then cashed out our purchases. Sara’s total was under $20, and ours was a little over, since Hubs had bought some tools. All in all, pretty good entertainment for a Saturday afternoon. 

We can’t wait until the next one!vintage-finds-015

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Filed under Laughs, thrifting, Tips, Vintage

This Week’s Thrifting Finds – Thrifted Fabric & Linens

Vintage Tablecloth Close-upNot much to report this week on the thrifting front!  I have been hunkered down in my house for most of the week, working on my novel and posting for you lovely readers, so I haven’t had much time to scrounge.  However, I did have time to take a quick peek into the thrift stores on Monday, and I found the following:

Vintage FabricI found a few yards of this great vintage cotton fabric. It is interesting because has a lot of different vertical patterns that alternate. This is just a sample of a few of them. This is another great candidate for pillows.

Vintage TableclothI also found a great rectangular tablecloth. I love the daisy pattern, and it is going to look great on the three season porch in the summer.

And I got both for under $2!

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Filed under 1970s, thrifting, Vintage

The Mid-Century Menu – Easy Delicious Caramels

Wrapped CaramelsYou know, I probaby shouldn’t add a recipes into the already confused mix that is my blog, but shouldn’t a good Mid-Century Housewife be able to whip up any number of homemade candies on short notice?  Of course! 

I have a ton of vintage cookbooks.  I mean a ton, and I have tried a lot of different versions of caramels out of these books. Most recipes I used in the past had about the same directions: Boil sugar, butter and water until browned. Pour in cream while boiled sugar foams and writhes and tries to jump out of the pan.  Pray to whatever gods are listening  so you do NOT get burned and NOT drop the pan.  Pour into pan and hope they set up correctly and don’t taste burned.

You can probably tell how well those recipes turned out.

So, I had a lot of cream on hand that I had to use up before it went bad, and I decided I was going to try to make caramels. Again.  My husband rolled his eyes and I rolled up my sleeves and dug into my modern cookbooks rather than their older brethren, looking for….anything. A lifeline. I found it in How To Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman.

I mostly rely on Mark’s book when confronted with something I have never, ever cooked before.  While not being the be-all-end-all guide for cooking, Mark’s book is a good jumping off place if you really have no idea what to do with something. And it has a bunch of odd stuff, like the microwaving or steaming times for tons of veggies, which comes in really handy.

Mark’s recipe for caramels was a little different, in that you just dump everything together at first and then cook it to the proper temp.  No pouring of cold liquids into molten sugar. This I could handle. I dumped everything together and cooked, and I was surprised to find it made really good homemade caramels that set up really well and were easy to cut and wrap. They store well too, and Hubs has been toting them to work in his lunch and enjoying them very much. And most importantly, I didn’t waste the cream.🙂

Caramels

From How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Grease a 9-inch square pan

2. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a small saucepan and turn the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, then cook, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture measures 245 degrees F, firm ball stage.

3. Stir in the vanilla and pour into prepared pan. When mixture has cooled to room temp, remove block of caramel from pan and use a sharp knife to cut into small squares. Wrap each square in waxed paper or plastic wrap. These keep for weeks, but are best eaten fresh.

*Note: Mark says to use a small saucepan, but I had to switch to a medium sized one about halfway through the cooking. When the cream started boiling it foamed up, and it was hard to keep it from boiling over without stirring it constantly.  It was easier when in was in a larger pan and had room to move around.

**Note: Yes, you do have to wrap them individually. I tried to keep them in a container without wrapping them individually, and came back to a brick of caramel rather than a bunch of neat little squares!Caramels In Dish

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Style Trends Book – Wide-Lot Ranch

40s-house-styles-00740s-house-styles-008Another great 1940’s  houseplan from the Style Trends Book. The element that really sets this ranch apart are the large windows on both sides of the living room. I love our “wall of glass” windows in our living room, but I can’t imagine having them on both sides. How would that work out?  Ours is facing our back yard, but we have several houses on our street that have a large window in the front yard.  Some of them have solved the privacy issue by planting trees or hedges to seperate them from the road, and others have actually frosted the glass of the front window.  That makes me sad, since it would be a shame to lose the great view, but I wouldn’t want every person who drives down the street to see me watching television!

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Filed under 1940s, Vintage Houses

Vintage Birthday Card – Big Top

Here is another fun vintage birthday card from my dad’s collection.

bday-5-circus-elephant001Another adorable 5th birthday card.  This one is actually “mechanical” in that if you move a little paper handle on the side of the card, the boy, girl and elephant’s head go up and down. So cute!bday-5-circus-elephant002

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Filed under 1950s, Laughs, Vintage

Top of the Fridge

Top of the FridgeHere are two vintage whiskey bottles from my grandfather that now have a place of honor on top of our fridge. 

These are James Beam Distilling Company bottles made by Genuine Regal China. They made a ton of them from about 1960-1980 (drink that whiskey, America!), but because of the many different types of bottles, they are still highly collectible. And if you want to start your own collection, there is no better time than now.  Since they overproduced a lot of these bottles, prices have actually gone DOWN over the years, and they are priced anywhere from about $10-20 a bottle. You can usually find them at the usual suspects, including Ebay.

The dog bottle is cute, but I love the swordfish.  It matches my pink and blue kitchen exactly!

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Filed under 1950s, Vintage