Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Calling All Gift Givers!

According to the daily reminders on the news, times are tough right now. It's stressful juggling all those holiday gift giving expectations with emptier pocketbooks. Calling All Girls (December 1945) suggests making Christmas Gifts-for-Everybody, and there's just enough time to churn out these mini-masterpieces! From babies, siblings, friends, and older relatives, there are enough ideas for useful and glamourous tidbits to excite every taste! Try the Date-Bait cap for your best friend and a gift that would now be considered quite politically incorrect for a young girl to give her male relatives in the bottom corner. And, who couldn't use another pincushion?

You know what they say: it's never too early to get your holiday presents out of the way. But now it's Christmas eve and, if you haven't made your trip to the dollar store yet, you could take a cue from Jane Richard, Food Editor of Calling All Girls. Richard recommends the best way to impress your friends is through their collective sweet teeth. If you can't be bothered to actually try out the art of confectionery, you could at least pose for a picture in your apron. Everyone will appreciate your efforts!

Happy Holidays from Curly Wurly!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The return of So-good food!

There's nothing quite so good as so-good food, especially when you've been on your feet all day going from store to store. By the time you stagger home, arms filled with packages and blisters on your feet, you need some nourishment that is 'fast, filling, and just festive enough to be real aids when there is so much to do.' Nancy Lynn has a plan!

You can't have it all. Some might tell you differently, but they're just wrong. Sometimes you have to compromise; sometimes you have to prioritize. Inevitably, you're going to be set with the task of feeding a choir-sized herd of ravenous people at some point this season. So, when figuring out your menu, you can have it simple, you can have it speedy, or you can have it scrumptious. But you'll have to choose. It can't be two, and certainly not three!, of the aforementioned descriptions. I think that the author got the menus scrambled, though. Simple sounds scrumptious: Crab-cheese Chowder with crudites and dessert. Speedy, a set of Tuna Ramekins with Paprika Potatoes, doesn't seem speedy, simple, or scrumptious, but I'm neither a cook nor a tuna lover, so I could be mistaken. Finally, the apparently scrumptious Baked Puff Sandwiches with Tomato Bouillon seems like it would either be simple or speedy but not really that scrumptious. Either way, Family Circle has three menus to meet your busy holiday needs!

Are 'Holidays' Electric?

Why not make this an electric Christmas? (aka, My Amazon Wishlist) by Jessie Bakker is a two-page spread of the latest electronic gadgets. I know that few people think of electronics and appliances as suitable holiday presents, and that sales of such products actually decline at this time of year, but seriously, why not make this an electric holiday? Just think about it. And feel free to send me an aqua drum-shape vacuum cleaner for my utility room, okay?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Noted Tables Of Evan Frances

Make your table a holiday table! It's easy with some odds and ends from around the house. Put the kids at the kids' table, complete with a fairground kioskesque centerpiece with ribbons attached to all the chairs. This might be some sort of elaborate way to ensure that the kids stay put; one kid need only push his chair back to destroy the entire display.

More varied holiday tables from Evan Frances. You can try to reenact the 'Snow' musical number from White Christmas with miniature pine trees and whatever else you have lying around (bottom right). When New Year's Eve rolls around, you can try out the glitzy table on the top. I love the wreath of silver and turquoise tinselly stuff that the punch bowl is set in! And, every mother knows, if it's baby's first Christmas, there's no sense getting the whole family together for anything special (center). Better just have a small dinner this year, and cram the whole family in the smallest nook you can find. Your holiday will be the better for it!

Christmas Candlelight Buffet

It's a Christmas Candlelight Buffet! Grace White's fun menu was published in the December 1955 issue of Family Circle. Photos are by Bernard Gray.

Party Tetrazzini! Buttered Peas and Celery! Crackle Thins! These are the foods you will be seeing at every single wintertime soiree this year! But, as Grace White demonstrates, your buffet table presentation is the most important aspect of your party. If you follow her style guide, yours will be the most beautiful table in town!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas magic at your fingertips

In this December 1955 article from Family Circle, Dorothy Waugh brings us some unusual decorations you can make with little effort from simple materials. Click the thumbnails for Dorothy Waugh's article.

Behold the Snowflake Tree, a paste-paper-and-scissors holiday mobile. Cost? Why, just pennies! Next, shock the eye with Family Circle's own Holiday Mantle, a three-part decoration: wall covering featuring family photos, sign-wielding paper doll cut-outs representing the whole family, and 'stockings' filled with tiny boxes of candy and cones of popcorn. Add the very upperclass Gold-Leaf Wreath to your front door (secret: it's spray painted crumpled newspaper!), and your house will be the most festive on the block!

Santa's Sweets - This St. Nick requires little more than a no. 2 1/2-size can! And a pile of candy!

Red and green Christmas decor has become a tired holiday cliche. Assert both your femininity and your love of Christmas with these girly decorations. They'll all be clamouring to stand 'neath the tree-shaped marabou feather hanging.. and they'll never guess it's actually tissue paper! Dorothy Waugh describes her side table set-up, a Rosy Goblet Tree, as Christmas-in-fairyland, and you can even get a head-start on Valentine's Day at the dinner table! Don't forget to break out the Wedgwood! It will be the loveliest Christmas ever!

Some decorative odds and ends: Bird-of-paradise Buffet decoration and Ice-and-snow Wreath, an ingenious ring mold made of paraffin, pecan meats, and popcorn! I'm not sure if the latter is edible and, if so, by whom, but it's certainly striking! And, yes, that is bird pudding on the wreath on the bottom left! It's typically made from a mixture of winter birds, but you can make it during the summer and freeze the 'rosettes' until you're ready to use them.