Monday, November 26, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Shades for Evening

The holiday season is upon us!  Time to whip up a little something for those upcoming parties and get-togethers.  Here's a little inspiration entitled Shades for Evening, from McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Fall-Winter 1966/67:

At fall parties, glow in a silvered pink suit, an iced blue long skirt ensemble, or glitter in a sparkle jet dress and twirl at the discotheque in a diaphanous black lace cage! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for stopping by to tell me your thoughts. 
I hope that you have a wonderful day full of good food, good company, and love. 

Actress Barbara Bates, via Google

P.S.  If you are interested in doing a little holiday shopping
there will be a BIG sale beginning Friday at Serendipity Vintage.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best Pie Crust and Apple Pie Recipe Ever

I spent the afternoon making pies with my friend Louis, pie-maker extraordinaire, for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  

True confession:  I have always been horrible at making pie crust.  For years I have bought ready-made pie crusts at the grocery store.  Thanks to Louis I can finally make a decent pie crust; the recipe below is fool-proof.

So, if you have been looking for an easy homemade pie crust and / or apple pie recipe for Thanksgiving (or any other time of year) then look no further.  This recipe is courtesy The Kitchn's Best Pie Bakeoff.  It is based on Martha Stewart's apple pie recipe so it may look familiar. 

The original recipe calls for a pastry blender to cut the butter into the crust, but we used a food processor  It's much easier!  We also added a pinch of ginger to the spice mix.  Today we juiced an orange and used a bit of that in place of lemon which also makes for a delicious pie.

The filling is not super-sweet so if you like a very sweet pie adjust the sugar to your taste.  It is absolutely delicious served a-la-mode so do not adjust the sugar if you will serve it with ice cream!

Martha's Apple Pie
Makes 1 double-crust pie

Pie pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water (it is essential to use ice water!)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8-12 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used Fuji; use the slicer attachment on your food processor to save time)
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for pie top
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (a juice of about 1/2 an medium orange also works; we omitted the zest)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ginger
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a pastry blender (or a fork, but I find it makes a difference to use the proper tool) your food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.

2. Add ice water slowly, while gently stirring with a spatula just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Be careful not to overwork the dough. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.  About 5 tablespoons is all you will need.

3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour.

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry into two 1/8-inch-thick circles to a diameter slightly larger than that of an 11-inch plate. Press one pastry circle into the pie plate.

5. In a large bowl combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, and cover with remaining pastry circle. Trim edges of crust to make neat circle, with top slightly larger than bottom. Seal by gently folding top layer around the edge of the bottom shell and pinching edges with fingers and thumb to make a pretty fluted edge. Cut several steam vents across top. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar.

6. Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

Feel free to share a link to your favorite pie recipes in the comments.  And if you try this one let me know!

And don't worry, Madison Avenue Monday will return next week (I promise!).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fortunate Finds: Disney Cinderella Apron Pattern by J.C. Penney

I stumbled over this gem of a pattern at an estate sale:

This is a giveaway promotional pattern from J.C. Penney department stores that tied in with the 1950 release of Walt Disney's Cinderella film. It's in decent condition considering it's age, even though it is foxed and wrinkled.  I'm happy to say it is unused.
I am dating it to precisely 1950 because the Advance dress pattern mentioned at the bottom of this page (Advance 5406) dates to the 1940s, and Cinderella was first released in 1950:

 The caption above reads: "Trust a Parisian to know style!  Both Jaq (at right), who's French, and Gus-Gus (left), who's strictly Disneyland, appreciate the chic of those Sorority rayon prints at a thrift 98 cents a yard.  The dress Cinderella's wearing with her dress-up apron here is Advance Pattern 5406."

Of course this giveaway pattern was intended to promote Penney's fabric department. I wish I could buy rayon prints for $.69 a yard today:

It is magical, as our Fairy Godmother tells us below!  The apron can tie and the back, front or side, and as you can see the fabric choices are limitless and it can be trimmed  in various ways.  I think I will have to sew this one for myself; it's just too cute!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Electoral Edition

Enjoy a few vintage voting images as we near Election Day here in the US!

via TresSugar

via TresSugar

Jane Russell
via Professionality