In the Kitchen: Colorful and Cool Desserts

Is it getting warm where you are?  It certainly is in the northeast of the U.S. and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I find myself craving watermelon, ice cream, and ice frappucinos most of the time.  I am a big believer that food, especially dessert, should reflect the weather and the temperature.

I have collected over the years quite a few vintage cookbooks from as early as 1896 to 1980.  They are my pride and joy and each one I find is a cherished addition to my collection.  When it came to deciding posts for this month, I was nervous that my cooking ability would inhibit the beauty that this month is all about.  Therefore, I decided to just share the recipe I was planning on making of Rainbow Meringue Torte  from one of my 1950’s cookbooks, with the hope that you all might try it yourselves…without letting my, perhaps, poor attempt stop you.

may recipe

So whether you are sitting out on a patio, front porch, or chilling in front of the AC, I hope all your desserts are delicious, cool, and beautiful.

Have a wonderful rest of May and I will see you all in June!


Source: Better Homes and Garden Holiday Cook Book

HSM Practicality: 1920’s Kimono

Nothing says practicality more than a robe….but that doesn’t mean it has to be a practical looking robe.  So for this month’s challenge, I decided to create a 1920’s Kimono robe…a blending of both the HSM theme and my personal blog’s theme of “All Things Beautiful.”  While this was not one of my more adventurous projects, it was nonetheless enjoyable, especially since I knew that this particular fabric would create an elegant robe.

I used a variety of patterns, mostly from descriptions in magazines, to create the basic shape of the robe, along with some well placed tucks on both the front and the back to give it a bit more shape.  While I can’t imagine this being a warm wrap in the winter, it is the perfect weight for the heat of the summer.

Here are a few sample kimonos from which I took inspiration:

may kimono

And now for the details:

Challenge: Practicality

Fabric: 4 yards sheer poly blend fabric

Pattern: Created based off of primary source descriptions and pictures

Year: 1920’s

Notions: 2 yards of ribbon for the tie

How Historically Accurate is it: Very accurate

Hours to Complete: 2 hours

Total Cost: $20





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The Beauty of Hair Combs

A child of the eighties, I always had something in my hair.  A barrette, headband, scrunchie, or those strange banana hair clips that turned the back of your head into some strange cascade of curls, were all used at some point in my life.  While I thought of myself as something special with my ribbon barrettes clipped into my pigtails, I am sure I was not nearly as sophisticated as those women who adorn their carefully constructed coifs with hair combs such as these.

The hair comb has seen itself reimagined and used in all cultures of the world, and it is no wonder, as these small little dainties add such beauty.  While my favorites are bedecked with cameos or jewels, there are so many varieties to satisfy any taste or hair length that the possibilities are endless.

So whether small or large, bone or shell, jeweled or painted, hair combs are a wonderful way to add extra beauty to your hair.

may hair comb

To see more styles and looks, please visit my Pinterest page.


The Beauty of Letter Writing

I thoroughly enjoy sending letters and cards.  Not that I do it all that often, but when I do, it is a delightful process which requires my best handwriting, prettiest stationary, and the inevitable search in the catch-all drawer for stamps.  To some, letter writing is outdated, to others, it only happens on certain occasions, and to a few, it is apart of their daily connection with friends and family.  Whatever your fancy, letter writing is a centuries old tradition with as many rules and regulations as one could imagine.

Below are a few selected excerpts on the proper behaviour of letter writing for women.

The Writing Materials

“The selection of the paper ought to always to be in the keeping with the person, age, sex, and circumstances of the correspondents….It is extremely impolite to write upon a single leaf of paper, even it it is a billet; it should always be double, even though we write only two or three lines.”  

Spacing the Letter

“If we are writing to a superior, we should leave large spaces between the lines.  In writing a familiar letter, it is as well to begin near the top of the sheet, and write compactly, but legibly, leaving a small margin, or none if preferred.”

Folding and Sealing

” Every letter to a superior ought to be folded in an envelope.  It shows a want of respect to seal with a wafer; we must use sealing wax.  Men usually select red; but young ladies use gilt, rose, and other colors.  Both use black wax when they are in mourning….If a friend takes charge of a letter as a favor, it would be quite impolite to put more than one seal upon it.  If the letter should be folded in such a manner that, by opening it at the end, its contents may be read, it would be equally regardless of delicate propriety to put a little wax upon the edges.  This precaution is only to be used when the letter is sent by post, or an untried domestic.”

Proper Arrangement of what is to be written:

“When you write upon any subject, consider it fully before putting upon paper, and treat of each topic in order, that you may not be obliged to recur to anyone again, after having spoken of another thing, as it confuses the mind.  If you have many subjects to treat of in the same letter, commence with the most important; for if the person to whom you write is interrupted while reading it, he will be the more impatient to resume the reading, however little interesting he may find it.”


This particular author also included several examples of letters for a variety of occasions.  Here are two in regards to an engagement announcement and bride’s maid inquiry.  What a beautiful, if not loquacious, way of sharing the news!

may letter 1

may letter 2

So whether you say it by phone or say it by letter, say it beautifully!



The Ladies Guide to Perfect Gentility by Emily Thornwell (1856)

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Look Well to This Day

may poem

The manipulation of time may be, in my opinion, the one power that every human would want.  To rewind to the good days, fast forward through the bad ones, change past mistakes or take missed opportunities would be a miraculous gift.  If you add in the fact that I am obsessed with history and the future becomes an unstoppable source of frustration.

Sometimes I think too much.  Well, most of the time I think too much, and I struggle with the overwhelming feeling of time slipping by and my life with it.  To try to compensate, I have made changes in my life both mental and physical.  There are so many things in my life that I have no control over, despite my, at times, desperate attempts.  But I know what I do like, what I want, need, wish and therefore all choices I make must be true to who I am.  Easier said then done?  Sometimes, but often, these choices are quite natural…therefore, easy.

I am a stubborn individual.  I have had to be at points in my life.  And one thing I refuse to do in my life is waste it.  I may be just a blip on the universal timeline, but I want to be the sparkliest, happiest blip you’ve ever seen.

How do you do that?  Take a look at the last stanza of this month’s poem.  “But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

Live beautifully today and one’s life can never be a waste.  Bad things are going to happen.  But how you respond to them puts you in control to make a happy life.


May you too be a sparkly blip in the world!!



1920’s Makeup Routine

“When we were sixteen, we desire prettiness; ten years later; good looks. A refreshing appearance, however is much more essential than either, and if we would present ourselves to the world, as all-around, modern women, we must keep up on all matters of dress and personal grooming; as well as on home arts, children, literature, politics, etc.

A delicate use of cosmetics is desirable; a burlesque-type use is vulgar and detracts a hundred times more than it adds. Too much rouge, too much powder, like chewing gum, is seldom evidence by woman of refinement. Keep folks guessing: don’t tell your secret. Rouge so cleverly that everyone will wonder whether your color is real.

Here are some basic rules to follow:
1. Comb out your hair and brush it lightly. if you have curlers in the night before, the amount of combing and brushing should be measured by the length of hair and the ‘permanency of the wave.’ Next, pin the hair back out of the way and give attention to the face.

2. A little rouge, oh so little, is allowable. A tangerine color, the best beauty folks say, is good for all complexions. If the skin is very white, the chin may also have a little.

3. Now powder the face and neck thoroughly, but don’t “load” the powder on. Dust smoothly just as though you were putting sugar on a jelly roll, and not as though you were icing a cake.

4. Then, if your eyes need it, touch a wee, wet brush to a little pad of mascara and brush the eyelashes lightly.

5. Put your clothes on carefully, stockings straight, corsets well-pulled down with plenty of supporters, and be sure that your shoes are neat and well kept.

6. After breakfast, brush your teeth again, wiping the mouth very clean, and apply a little lip rouge as needed. Always apply it with the tip of our finger, for then you will not be liable to use too much.

7. Finally, brush your clothes and step out into the world, full of assurance that you are a good example of a type of woman worthy of the deference accorded your sex and a credit to your sisters, no matter where or how you meet them.”

– Excerpt taken from The ABC’s of Good Looks by Marilyn Madison, Inspiration, January 1925.

may makeup routine


1930’s Inspired Scarf Tutorials

A toss here, a gentle tug there and any outfit can go from simply thrown together to a complete ensemble.  But what is this magic piece of the puzzle?  A scarf, of course!  One of the long standing pieces in a woman’s closet, scarves can offer a multitude of styles for a very reasonable price.

Here are a few tutorials I put together for the vintage loving female!  Based off of 1930’s looks, I hope they add to your wardrobe creations both modern and historical!


scarf 2

scarf 3

scarf 4

Enjoy and play away!!


On My Inspiration Board: The Allure of Lace

Whether your wear it, decorate with it, or filter sunlight with it, lace is one of those fabrics that can deliver a mood or emotion more than any other.  It is also one of the only fabrics that can be worn casual with jeans, or delicately drapped over the most elegant of wedding gowns.  Lace says dainty, elegant, and luxurious.  Lace can soften the look of a room, add warmth to one’s complexion, and can become a cherished heirloom that is passed from generation to generation.

Originally handmade, lace was a fabric which very few could afford until machine made laces became more common.  While it never fully went out of style, lace gowns fluctuated in popularity, with the most full lace ensembles peaking at the turn of the 20th century.

From collars to cuffs, gloves to petticoats, and veils to full gowns, lace adds it’s own beauty to anything or anyone.  So in honor of May and all things elegant and beautiful, enjoy this selection of lace gowns.

may lace


To see more lace gowns, visit my Historical Lace Clothing Pinterest Board.