Sunday, December 12, 2010

A giveaway - and an adventure

It's my birthday, and there's all that general holiday goodwill about, so i decided it's high time for another giveaway.  My grandmother is also a December baby, and because it makes me think of her, this time i've picked out a great 1940s suit (wartime, i suspect, from the admonitions to conserve that are printed on the instruction sheet), number 6300 from Superior, which was the house pattern line for Sears.

The jacket has the most wonderful pockets, which join into the front dart.  The skirt is a no-nonsense eight gore number.  A tied belt softens the lines of the whole thing just a bit.
Now, here's where the adventure part comes in: i'm not positive of the size of this pattern.  It's stamped on the top right corner, but it's not a complete impression.  I think it's a Size 14, which would in this case mean a 32" bust, but it's also possible that it's a Size 16, which would be a 34" bust.  But isn't a jacket this slick worth a muslin to get the fit right?  I thought so.

What do you have to do to have a chance to win this lovely stocking stuffer?  To enter, all you need to do is to stop by the shop, pick out your favorite item, and leave a link to it in a comment here.  I'll draw for a winner on Thursday, December 16, at 3:00 p.m. EST, so be sure to make your choice and leave your comment by then!

(For those who want more details on the pattern, it's pre-cut and complete, instructions are in good shape and the envelope is quite nice; the skirt pieces appear to be unused, but the jacket front and back show wear at notches and perforations, and on the jacket front there's a small tear at the inside of the curve of the pocket, size uncertain but probably a 32" or 34" bust measurement.)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Last year, i tried out the pumpkin pie recipe i'd found in a cookbook published in 1914 by a ladies' club in Western Maryland.  It's a pretty basic pumpkin custard, with the addition of "1 wine glass of rum and brandy each" - a wine glass, when used as a unit of measure, translates to four ounces, or half a cup.  (This useful fact i discovered in another vintage cookbook.)  It makes for a very boozy pie indeed, actually too sharp to be pleasant with the pumpkin.  Even when slathered with lots of whipped cream...

So this year, i set out to tinker with the recipe, because i thought the idea had promise.  Here's my current version:

4 cups pumpkin (cooked and puréed)
1 pint half-and-half
4 eggs
sugar to taste (this can vary substantially, depending on the sweetness of your pumpkin - i used about a cup and a half, with a fairly sweet pumpkin purée)
1-2 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup brandy

In a large bowl, add half-and-half and eggs alternately to the pumpkin purée.  Sift the salt and spices with the sugar in a separate bowl, and gradually stir into the pumpkin goop, mixing well.  Add molasses, rum, and brandy, and stir, being sure the molasses doesn't just sink to the bottom of the bowl.  Pour into pie shells (you'll have plenty for two regular pies, or possibly one regular and one deep dish) and bake promptly, at 350F.  I'd start checking it after an hour, but especially if you've prepared your own pumpkin (which always seems to be wetter than the canned stuff), it will probably take more like an hour and a half to bake before it's set.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not quite as planned...

Home late, gather wood, relight woodstove, preheat oven, bake bread that had to be abandoned earlier in the day, wash dishes, fetch more wood, feed critters... collapse in a heap.

And i felt so organized this morning!  (Well, technically, that's yesterday morning now.)  But the afternoon sort of went haywire, and took the rest of the day with it.  Not that it was all bad - bits were quite pleasant - but i'm definitely ready to wrap this one up.

Here's hoping Thursday is less... unruly.