Sunday, December 30, 2007

Menus For A New Year

Better Homes & Gardens are at it again! The Menu Cook Book (1972) has a great collection of party menus that would certainly add a certain level of class to your New Year's soirée.

This looks like an outtake from Amy Sedaris' book, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence. And, in fact, the highlight here is the Pastitsio, a Greek dish that was pictured in her book.

Those holiday plates can get crowded. What better way to combat the space limitations by combining entrée and side dish in one neat package?

Take notice: this is what a proper party looks like. Cocktail Franks and Meatballs, various Canapés, and a molded spread. Brightly-hued tableware, bold pillar candles, and frilled toothpicks complete the scene.

The Tutti-Fruitcake, a holiday leftover.

Olé! Spanish airs bless this Pickled Meat Loaf on Rye Bread with Gazpacho Relish. Surely a close second to the earlier Greek feast.

Ring in the New Year the right way: with the greenest of gelatin salads! Sure, you can serve the Rump Roast and the Spice Cake, but they'll all be coming back for the shimmering molded salad!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

S Rozhdestvóm Khristóvym!

I'm very interested in Russian and Soviet-era advertising and graphics, which might have been noted in the past. If you are, too, you might be thrilled to browse the staggering collection of over 1,000 vintage Christmas and holiday cards at Mazaika. You can literally spend hours poring through this amazing collection. In fact, I think I'm going to print these out to send next year!

(link via Drawn!)

And now a word from our sponsors

This year's holiday posts (the bulk of which came from Better Homes & Gardens Idea Book 1962) were brought to you by:

Give IDEAS for happier living - Idea books and globes, that is!

Make Christmas fingerpaints with Argo Corn Starch and McCormick-Schilling Pure Food Colors! Use those fingerpaints to make ornaments, wrapping paper, and museum (or, at least, hotel) quality still lifes!

Find quality appliances from Knapp Monarch/Nesco at your local store using the store listings on the right. Beautiful illustrations! K-M/Nesco: The Most Thoughtful Gifts Of All.

Holiday Eats

It's certainly not too late to plan your menu for your holiday feast!

Expertly carved holiday meat. I fear Morrissey could write a pretty preachy song about the title of this article, though.

Self-help has never been so cute! Who cares about meat when you've got these cute little holly people?! On a side note, I'm a big fan of Noel Ham's work, but I'm not sure what he has to do with Christmas.

It definitely isn't Christmas without a gelatin salad! Cranberry has the right sort of seasonal touch, and you can't go wrong with holiday shapes!

More adorable holly people and more scrumptious gelatin salads!

Santas of Marshmallows! This picture is every bit as cute as anything you'll ever see on Cute Overload!

Even in black & white, they are too cute!

Almost as cute: 'It's a time for the boys to entertain'! In this scene, we see Jean-Paul Sartre and Walter Matthau sharing some Deviled Bones. That's one for the history books! (Unfortunately, M. Sartre couldn't seem to win. The magazine decided to cut him in half, and it just doesn't line up right. Or, maybe that's how he really looked; most pictures I had seen until now were just of his face.)

Last Minute Gifts

Good Gifters Give Goop.

It is my greatest wish for just one parent to give their Wii-wanting teen one of the items on one of the pages devoted to 'Gifts for you to sew for the teens'!

Perhaps the extremely useful bedside catchall, which has pouches for your tearjerker, your tissues, and, of course, your specs.

You've decked your halls, now enable your table to look half as good as the rest of the house. Handmade linens are all the rage, and it's no wonder with these smart fabric placemats!

Simple yet sophisticated holiday linens.

If centerpieces are what you need, here are a few very pointed hints.

Make these Faberge snowballs with sugar and egg whites (warning: not edible)!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Give A Nontraditional Tree A Try


The tree on the right reminds me of a green bean casserole.. or, maybe, spinach dip.

I can indeed imagine Christmas without green trees!

This one has a neat Asian-inspired look.

I seem to be more impressed with the shinier things in this magazine, and I think this is one of the oddest and loveliest of all! If done well, I think that would make a very striking decoration.

And here are a few table decorations. These ingenious 'Flash Bulb Faces' would surely be a catalyst for many awkward conversations for years to come.

Fun at the children's table and a tree made of wrapped boxes.

Wrapping '62

Statistics indicate that half of the paper consumed in the U.S. is used to wrap presents, and the amount of 'cards sold during the holiday season would fill a football field 10 stories high and require the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees.' Regardless of the accuracy of the numbers, there's no doubt that, for all the splendor of the holiday season, there is an excessive amount of waste which spikes around the time that people are ripping open envelopes, unwrapping presents, and struggling with the ridiculous packaging that everything comes entombed in these days. For this reason, many sites have emphasized the importance of being 'green' during the holidays, and this year, the internet is overflowing with tips for those who wish to lessen those staggering statistics. Maybe you'll have noticed that, even as early as 1962, Better Homes & Gardens demonstrated the versatility and reusability of items that would otherwise have headed to the landfill. Sure, thriftiness was a major motive behind the inclusion of these handcrafted items, as was the personal satisfaction that comes with using your imagination and creating something. Unfortunately, it seems that these sentiments hold less weight in the modern world. I think that a lot of the ideas in this volume are very timely (and adaptable to anyone's taste), even if you're not particularly attracted to the styles presented.

I'm sure some of you haven't wrapped your presents yet.. Here's a little inspiration for you!

A cute Muppet-nosed Santa and a ballerina in three-dimensional tutu.

The artsy designs using small ornaments are especially nice!

'Everybody likes wrappings smartly done'!

My favorite is the one 'for the gal who has a touch of gypsy in her heart'!

And what's a present without a card?! Pop-up cards you can make yourself (if you can comprehend the instructions).

More pop-up fun!

As a side note, if you love the designs of 1960s wrapping paper (for all occasions), I highly recommend All Wrapped Up!: Groovy Gift Wrap Of The 60s by Kevin Akers. The book certainly doesn't skimp on the visuals!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


There's nothing sweeter than a homemade gift. No store bought tchochke can ever say more than something you craft with your own two hands. And it doesn't even matter how crafty you are! Not when Better Homes & Gardens is giving you all sorts of amazing ideas that you can claim as your own!

'A wall, is a wall, is a wall... unless it gets some special attention.' - Give that special wall in your life something it will be proud to wear, like this modernistic mish mash..

.. Or these wall hangings made of old Christmas cards and empty tissue boxes!

Why not tell someone you love them with felt? Have you considered that?

These animals are pretty impressive! Even nicer than Pack-O-Fun! It's amazing how detailed the llama, lion, and turtle are! Also, on the right side is a Shoe-box Family! The items on this page might be more fun for kids to make than to receive as Christmas presents, though.

Hey, youngster! These animals (and scary clown) would be great fun for any child who is never addressed in a more personal fashion than the term 'youngster.' These animals are fuzzy and have fancier trimmings than the last herd. The clown will cause nightmares, though.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Time Can't Tarnish The Glow

Last year, I made a post about some of the aluminum Christmas tree gems you can find on the internet, including this 1959 pamphlet called How To Decorate Your New Aluminum Christmas Tree. This year, I have a few new aluminum Christmas presents for you.

Before you set up your tree, consult these 'Instructions for Assembling 'Sparkler' Aluminum Trees.' If you need more visuals than the instructions provide, head over to YouTube to watch someone set up their vintage aluminum tree. While you're there, you might be interested in watching 'Metal Mania', a clip on the resurgence of aluminum trees from ABC News. You can also buy the Reynolds Wrap advertisement above as postcards on Etsy!

But, the best find of all is a tutorial courtesy of Jenn Ski's fabulous blog. You can actually make your own miniature tinsel tree! It's pretty adorable! Thank you to Jenn Ski for unearthing that treasure!

O Christmas Trees!

Even the Ebenezers out there must once in a while bask in the glory of a magnificent Christmas tree, whether verdant or shining with lustrous silver needles (in the case of the glorious aluminum tree). The succinct holiday tune, 'O Christmas Tree,' says it best: 'For every year the Christmas tree, brings to us all both joy and glee.' Luckily, Better Homes & Gardens have collected nine pages of nontraditional joy and glee, and some of these specimens are almost as resplendent as the finest tree you ever did see.

Beans, rice, and wheat.. A tissue paper fiesta.. Real angel hair.. Did you ever think of making trees out of any of these materials?

This is, in all sincerity, one of the most gorgeous trees I've ever seen. It was designed by C. Pollock, who was clearly an artist with a beautiful vision. Too nice to be on a shag carpet!

This is a very interesting tree made of broken glass ornaments.

A cute tree for the nursery and some other less furry varieties.

'Variegated designs for those who are fancy free' - I like the one with the multicolored styrofoam balls, but I can't see how these are more 'light-hearted' than the last four pages!

Who could have guessed that Q-tips and tiny bells would make such nice decorations! For the scientist with too much time on their hands: 'Make Christmas fantasy by combining test tubes, beakers, and hollow tubes, with clothespins, welding rods, and hat rack. For color, add glitter.'

Some chic geometric designs and a tree that even Better Homes calls an 'oddy'!

'A little bit of novelty never hurt anybody' - Well, I'm sure that chiding comment hurt someone's feelings! And, anyway, if 'novelty' is hanging ornaments off the side of one of those cat trees, you can keep it!

From novelty to 'novel tree'.. Modern lines with a touch of real nature.