Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tiny plates....a growing obsession

One day I was having a snack. A few slices of cheese and some crackers. I assembled my snack on a linen napkin, walked through the kitchen, one cracker was precariously balanced and when I stumbled on the corner of the area rug, the cracker flew and I tried to stop it and then I lost the whole mess. I thought, Maybe I need a small plate for small food. Currently I have large chop plates and pasta bowls, but no small plates. You know, like a bread plate that comes with a set?
At that moment, an obsession was born. I don't like using paper plates (trying to leave a small footprint and all that.) Reusable is the way to go. And up cycling, I'd be saving them from a landfill! So I'd be doing a good thing by buying a few small plates, right?

My next trip to the thrift store sussed out a single, funky 6" plate. A few days later I found 2 more plates in yet another funky design. Surely 3 plates was enough. I mean, how many snacks on any given day will I have? But what if I have company....and THEY want a snack? I need more plates.
2, 3, 4 more plates added to the collection. But what if I had a Tapas party? I have that really amazing Tapas cookbook. It could happen.... I need more plates! And the stack grows. Clattering when I take one off of the top of the stack. (The same plate each time, by the way. I only ever use one plate at a time. And place it back on the stack. And use it again. And again. The same one.) While the rest of the plates go largely unused, it doesn't stop me from scouring the thrift store shelves for that stray Franciscan bread plate or milk glass saucer missing it's tea cup and doomed to spinsterhood. I'll have a tapas party one day. I swear I will.

I just need a few more plates first......

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It always starts with One

4 years ago I discovered a brown leather, hand crafted saddle shaped purse in a thrift store in Minnesota.
Instantly I was transported to 1976 when my mother carried a purse almost exactly like it. I had to have it! Here in CA., I would sometimes carry the purse out on my errands. I would receive mixed comments from my friends anywhere from, "Oh my God where did you find that! I've been looking for one for years!" to "Don't ever wear that again if you re with me." LOL! I loved my purse. Say what you want, I think it's adorable. My friend calls it hippy-dippy. That same friend; knowing how much I adored my Minnesota saddle bag; purchased for me a second hand made leather purse for my birthday. (Her name is Kori. Tee hee, Kori, youre in a blog now!!)
And I thought I couldn't love another purse as much as I loved the first! Beautifully detailed, including the monogram "MJS," as well as a spot darkened from many years of being carried under the arm of "MJS."

Ahhh, and then I found the third. At a thrift store I practically saw it from the parking lot before I entered the store. Like a beacon it called me. A handcrafted tote depicting Aztecs, cacti and a Mayan pyramid!
Even the bottom is beautifully detailed.
The entire bag is SO detailed, it's almost tacky! OK, so it's a little tacky.... that just makes me love it more!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Sharpies, Please

OK, I've established that I crawl thrift stores regularly. Not regular as in once a week, I'm talking every day. I find really great, really odd and, lets just say the last stop should have been the waste bin for 70% of what's in a thrift store.
Sometimes I look for things to put on my ETSY shop, and sometimes I look for items to round out a collection I have started. This particular day, I found a great vintage lunchbox. Silver with red trim. Vent holes in the sides.
An amazing leather handle still attached. Sure, the silver paint had rubbed off from the lid, but it didn't detract form the appeal. How much could it be? I turn it over, and right there, written in black Sharpie permanent marker on the exposed metal of the outside of the lunch box, was the price.
Really? A permanent marker? You can see there is a price sticker not 2 inches from the graffiti. Did they really deem it necessary to essentially devalue an item by permanently "tagging" this treasure? Needless to say, I took it home. I felt that in its current state it may not find a home as forgiving as mine. My other 3 metal lunchboxes don't make fun of it. Even though humiliated, it seems to have adopted a proud stance up there with all the pretty lunch boxes.

Friday, July 17, 2009


So I had a job interview in Paramount a few weeks back. (Not a successful one. I could tell the job was already filled before the interview started. I was the obligatory white female over 40 to satisfy the affirmative action requirements. IMHO.)

But from lemons, lemonade! I noticed that on the corner just a block away from the interview location was one of those grand iconic giant-donut-on-the-roof donut shops. I take my camera everywhere (even to interviews!) so I went to get a donut (devils food with chocolate frosting and chocolate jimmies. Hey, I had to console myself!) and take a picture or two.
As I pull in to the parking lot, I see a dumpster behind the shop with the back rest of a Danish modern chair peeking out from above the rim. Oh my stars....could it be?
The holy grail of mid century dining chairs? In the dumpster? I tottered over on my high heels and hastily pulled out the chair. A light from heaven shone down upon the chair and I swear I heard a harp...... With no delicacy, I stuffed the chair into my car, grabbed a donut, sanitized my hands (icky!) and sped away. All done under the watchful gaze of a homeless man with long, long dreadlocks.

I got it home, cleaned it, and began looking for appropriate fabric to cover the original reverse-concave seat. I'm thinking a solid red bark cloth......


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vintage Cookery!

I have a passion.... ok it's an obsession... for vintage cookbooks. I especially love the ones created by industrious church ladies' groups. (The ones that list recipes by Mrs. John Brethwhite and Mrs. Lars Kidrowski.) While I will sometimes test a recipe or two, I never really dove in and utilized the recipes in my everyday cooking. (And I do mean everyday, as I prefer to cook rather than dine out. Cooking is so much fun!) My personal repertoire of recipes that are "go to's" has become too predictable. Beef stroganoff, spaghetti with meat sauce, macaroni and cheese (yes, from scratch!) crust casserole (I'll get in to that one later.) So I decided to start incorporating the recipes from my vintage cookbooks into my rotation.
My most recent find is a Mennonite cookbook from 1950 that has "Eleven hundred mouth watering recipes from old Mennonite cookbooks..." Perusing this cookbook showed me that these ladies made hearty meals from local ingredients on very modest budgets. And it made sense to me to try these recipes. There really are "mouth watering" recipes that really inspired me. (Well, except for the recipe for Mock Turkey made with a loaf of stale bread and ground sausage. I may have to try that just because!)
I started with Corn Fritters. And I tell you, these are wonderful! They can be served to supplement a meal or as a dessert (if you sprinkle powdered sugar on them and omit the black pepper. Yum!) I recommend these highly! They are inexpensive and can probably be made from ingredients you already have on hand.

Corn Fritters
2 cups fresh corn kernels (I used frozen, thawed and drained)
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Flour (I added an extra 1/4 cup as they didn't hold together well)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Cream (Low fat milk or buttermilk can be used and still yield a tasty result)
4 Tablespoons oil
Beat the eggs, adding in the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to make a slurry. Mix well till flour is blended. Add this to the corn and mix well.
Add cream.
Drop mixture by the spoonful to hot oil. (These will splatter and pop, be sure to use a splatter screen!)
Brown on both sides

Sprinkle with salt when they come out of the fryer (or powdered sugar if you prefer sweet fritters, but then omit the pepper in the batter.)

These are ridiculously yummy! I ate them with a dash of Franks Red Hot Sauce and some sour cream. It's so versatile you can come up with any number of condiments.
Try adding some diced Ortega chiles to the batter, or a small amount of shredded cheese. The possibilities are endless!



About Me

My photo
I peruse thrift shops like a junkie. I find such amazing things sometimes that I wanted to share them. I tinker with glass and a hot soldering iron as time allows. I have a collection of thousands of glass beads carefully selected and purchased with the excuse I will make jewelery, but I can't bear to part with a single bead. Not one!! So don't even ask! Ok, you can have one.