Archive for the ‘Vintage Illustration’ Category

Happy Fri- DAY-O! Winning Ways With Bananas..or something to that effect.   Leave a comment

I like old cookbooks.

I like them for the unmistakable soft focus illustrations that appear in many of the pre-World War Two volumes, and the often kitschily garish color photographs that show up in many 50’s and 60’s tomes. I also like them for the sometimes outlandish….err…creative…dishes they promote.  Especially if they are written to promote a certain product.

It just so happens that I own a very small booklet that was published in 1929 written for the homemaker to extend her creativity with bananas.    Hey! Culinary creativity, you wiseacres!  (As my dad would have said)

Our mainstream love affair with the banana seems to have occurred sometime around the late 1870’s when its availability became more widespread. By the early part of the 20th century, bananas were a big business.  As sometimes happens with some big businesses, there were also, at times, questionable episodes associated with the business of producing bananas.  I suspect that the average American homemaker would have not been aware of such things…especially back in the 1920’s.  Bananas were a popular commodity, and the occasional shortages in availability may have led to this song, written by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn, and released in 1923

At any rate, this particular little booklet was urging the queen of the kitchen to utilize the banana in all manner of possible ways, and reminding her that since they are covered by their peel….“Bananas come to you in Nature’s sealed packages”….and are therefore pure and sterile.  Whether these recipes caught on, I certainly don’t know…some of them look downright strange and unappetizing.  But then again, that’s part of their charm for me!  So bad, they’re good….and good for a laugh and a smile on this Friday.   Take a look….

Whether the point was flavor or just being creative, I don’t know.  First impressions would lean heavily on the side of creativity being the predominant goal here.  But what do I know!  Maybe it’s a good way to get little Billy to eat his potassium, B6 and Vitamin C…..make it look like a carnival of delights!

This one, I think I will rather not comment on, except to say that it might be well received at a ladies’ luncheon!

This one I might actually try….at least it has possibilities.

But I doubt this one will make it to my table….however “enticing”  the illustration….

Believe me, there are more.  But I will leave them for another discussion later.  No doubt these need time to sink in. Time to digest.

And because it’s Friday…………I must leave you with this.

I present to you….

The Breakdancing Bananas.

Enjoy your DAY-O!


Rain…and More Rain.   Leave a comment

Well, I awoke this morning to yet another day of the wet stuff.  I guess it’s to be expected, and I guess it will keep the water table in good shape as far as the well is concerned, but as soon as I see a chipmunk paddling by on a leaf canoe I’m going to start complaining.  And I’m a  bit tired of sitting inside gazing out at the stream of raindrops tap-tap-tapping on the front walk.

Even walking down to the mailbox is a soggy affair.

And traffic and rain….well,…  you know those fancy schmancy windshield wipers the guy at the garage talked you into last time?  Can you say “short lived”?  That’s right neighbor!

But there’s always one way to liven up a dreary day.

Of course!

Invite some swanky friends over, break out the Hires,  throw on some records and…


“Hires to You”

Put some fun in your day no matter what the weather!

Images courtesy of my beloved 1960 Saturday Evening Post, and a little book I picked up at the flea market, God’s World and Johnny (Westminster Press, Illustrations Mary Royt).

A “Put on Your Sweater and Think Cheery Thoughts” Kind of Saturday   Leave a comment

Wow.  I’m going to try to forget that I saw, and in fact, was out walking in sleet this morning.  So much for chirping birds and gentle breezes carrying the sweet scent of hyacinths and apple blossoms!  Ha!  Try Old Man Winter sending ice pellets down your neck instead!  If there was any humor in all of this it would have to be the various ways in which my fellow humans react to such sudden and unwelcome change.  I myself, hate to freeze.  Obviously some of my fellow villagers do not.

I reluctantly pulled my sensible red wool peacoat from the closet this morning and cursed under my breath while I buttoned it and headed out into the elements….luckily I could drive to the grocery store, my grand destination.  Once through the automatic doors and into the warmth of said grocery store, I spied people who obviously had either not (to quote a tired phrase) “gotten the memo” or else refused to believe that they were in fact in Northern Ohio rather than Boca Raton.  Shorts and t-shirts???  Really??? On a 34 degree day with sleet?? I was afraid to look down at their feet for fear of seeing a pair of flip flops.

Maybe that’s just their idea of “living on the edge” (to quote another rather old and annoying phrase)….or an even older slogan..”go with the gusto!”….In this case, I can tell you the “gusto” was probably blowing right up those shorts making for some very rosy…ahemm….. cheeks.  Whether it’s a form of “sticking it to the man”…or woman in this case, as I believe they are dealing with Mother Nature on this particular issue, or whether it is just pure idiocy, I don’t know.   As I said, I don’t find the sensation of freezing my rear end off to be a very pleasant one, no matter how cute my new shorts may be or how trendy my new sandals.  And I can find gusto in a lot of other, more pleasant ways.

After my hunting and gathering was completed at the store, I settled in with a cup of green tea with lemon (yes, still drinking it in case it helps brain cells) and decided to steer my mind away from the weather and target my brain cells in a happier direction.  So I dialed up the Hen-cam at….for a dose of live chicken antics.  Yes, believe it or not, chicken lovers of all kinds can view the daily goings on of a group of chickens at Little Pond Farm near Boston.  They start broadcasting in the morning and stop when the chickens go to bed at night!  Not quite 24/7  Chicken Heaven, but close enough!  My love of chickens is no secret, so this latest use of technology to benefit those of us with poultry fever only fuels the fire for my own flock someday.  In the meantime, it never fails to bring me a smile when I see a large hen’s face peering back at me from the web….er…hen cam.  Terry Golson, who owns the farm and its menagerie of animals is an author and food writer as well, and writes the HenBlog, also on the site.

Alas, since I lack a real flock of my own, I have to be content with pictorial images of poultry.  This particular image fits the bill for both CHEERY and SPRING-LIKE, the cheery part being the robust rooster and the possibility that that drink featured might be my “poison of choice” when I’m out on the town….a manhattan.  I think the Spring-like part is self explanatory…

This is one of my old ads, and unfortunately it was a little too long for my scanner, but I think you get the basic picture.  One interesting thing is that below the large Schenley text in the lower right hand corner, it states “Pre-War Quality”.  Can’t find a date on the ad anywhere, and it’s not attached to its original magazine, but it is apparently from WWII or a little after that.  Whether I’m right on the manhattan being the drink pictured, all I can say is that it looks mighty familiar!  I’ve only had it served in that shape of glass once or twice though….oftentimes it is served in a rocks glass.  Anyway, I digress.  On to the next pleasant non-wintery image…

How about some type of a Spring fairy!   This comes from one of my old Ideals magazines…..this one dated 1962

Ideals is still in publication, but you have to have the older ones to find all the great vintage style illustrations.  My mother and grandmother both read Ideals and I guess I am just carrying on the tradition.  This fairy has obviously been spared from looking at sleet today….lucky her!

And how about a vintage photograph of a child!  Those are always cheerful and bring a smile to a dreary day…. also from 1962…when little girls ran around in smocked dresses.  I should know!

And lastly, from my postcard collection, some apple blossoms….and “Hearty Greetings!” to all of you…..

Here’s hoping you’re not wearing shorts on a day with sleet!

Have a great weekend.

A Good Day to Stay Inside and View Some Vintage Nests!   Leave a comment

Wow!  As nice and warm as it has been over the last week, Mother Nature has suddenly changed her mind and given us a dose of chilly and very damp weather. On such a rainy day it’s such a temptation just to sit curled in a toasty blanket all day, sipping a hot beverage of some sort and gazing out the window.  Alas, for me that was not to be.  With my birthday fast approaching and my Pennsylvania drivers license about to give up the ghost, I was doomed to go a few rounds with the weather in order to change my motorist’s allegiance over to the great state of Ohio.  Knowing that I would have to go to two different locations in the county, one to take the written test and one to get my actual photo license, I prepared by putting on a little extra makeup and donning my winter coat with its hood in an attempt to keep what hairdo I had from going completely downhill.

I learned this scientific equation when I was still a young girl, and no scientist has yet proven me wrong :

Straight hair + rain = even flatter, straighter, droopier hair.

Well, to make a long story short, after 3 hours of running from location to location (Ohio doesn’t make it easy on you like Pa. did!) taking the test, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was indeed now living in Ohio and did not intend to leave, and finally posing for a photo that I can only describe as one that will only see the light of day when a.) I am pulled over by a policeman, which will hopefully never occur, or b.) I am forced to surrender my ID at the airport before going through security.  Yes, it’s that bad.  I’ll spare you the gory details.

Sooo…..On to more pleasant thoughts.  Such as a warm cup of green tea with jasmine.  I need some brain food right about now, and according to most reports green tea helps the brain cells.  If it helps my brain cells not to think of that ghastly license photo, that’ll be good enough for me!  You can’t see how wet and dreary it is out there today by this picture, but you can see some of our daffodils braving the day out in the back yard.  And you can see the cup of tea that is saving my brain cells as we speak!

I have many rooster/chicken mugs and items, but I’ll touch upon those on a different day.  They bring a whole different kind of inspiration!   Today, however seems more like a nesting day.  So I have a few vintage images of nests to share with you.  As you can probably tell, I am a sucker for old illustrations, scrap and all vintage things in general.  Many of the older illustrations, particularly done for the benefit of children’s books, have a softer, quieter quality about them that I really enjoy. I find them very comforting as well as visually beautiful.  Here are a couple of vintage scrap nests…

Love the fact that these little guys below are nested in a lilac bush!  The Victorians loved their lilacs!

Here’s a nest from one of my favorite girlhood books, The Golden Treasury of Natural History.  How I studied that book!  The pages are dog-eared, but the old illustrations still hold magic for me.  Published by Golden Press, it was and still is a treasure trove of mid-century science education illustration.  Here’s the nest…

And here’s the bird….a robin.

Here are a few Victorian postcard images of nests from my own collection, appropriately Spring themed. Love the dainty speckled eggs and the tiny feather that rests on the outside edge of the nest…a great detail.  Also, you can’t go wrong with pussywillows, in my opinion either!  A wonderful, intriguing plant.

And although Easter has passed, this little nest provides a cheery shot of color on this decidedly non-Springlike day….

The sweet illustration below is one by Eloise Wilkin from my own childhood book, A Giant Little Golden Book of Birds. Again, very well loved. I’ll show more of her work as time goes on. Her children were always quite distinctive and express the innocence and wonder of early childhood.  See the image below….

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed these nest images as much as I do.  Here’s a nest shot of my own…just for fun.

Have a great day and remember that sometimes the small things in life…

bring the most joy to living.