Sunday, May 3, 2015


The Doctor's Undoing

Yay!  It's on the bookshelves in the stores.  I'm giving the direct link to the publisher's website, because the author takes home more money if you buy it there online rather than a different online bookseller.  If you know little about the publishing industry, you might be dismayed by how little money an author actually makes.  Few can quit their day jobs.  So, always try to buy direct and then brag up the book online so others will buy too.  That's how you convince the publisher to keep publishing a favorite authors' books.

And here's the author's website-   Allie Pleiter

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Great Depression Cooking

This lady is amazing!  I found her on YouTube while learning all vintage living.  Clara was a kid during the Great Depression and her grandson started filming her at age ninety.  What a survivor!  What an amazing inspiration!  Clara recently passed away at 98, but her cookbook and YouTube videos live on.  If you had a Grandma you missed or wished you had one and didn't, this little lady will make you feel right at home.  Pop over and check Great Depression Cooking

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Fever

Yep, I got it.  We're planting our container garden today.  I'm also going crazy wanting to hatch out quail chicks.  I think I'll get this Brinsea Incubator

If you're working on Proactive and Diligence in your backyard farming too, I suggest a pop over to Becky's Homestead 
She's cool.  ;)
Here's her intro on her YouTube Channel -

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Westfarthing Homestead

"Today, it is brought home to me, that it is no small thing to celebrate a simple life." Bilbo Baggins

Yes, I'm a J.R.R.Tolkien fan.  ;)

One of the things which makes me happy is Backyard Farming.  I'm a hobbit at heart, although I sometimes fancy myself an elf.

I will be posting about my backyard farm under the name of Westfarthing Homestead in honor of Tolkien.  The actual backyard farm has a different name for privacy reasons. 

I'm interested in chickens, raised gardens, container gardens, rabbits, quail, and chickens, and maybe Nigerian Dwarf Goats one day. 

Busy today, so I can't write a long post.  However, here are two YouTube channels I've learned a lot from, for your viewing pleasure.

Imasurvivornthriver raises Jumbo Coturnix Quail and rabbits, Florida Whites I think.

Pavlov Fowl raises organic chickens and quail for eggs only, I think.  I think she's vegetarian.

Now, go dig in some dirt or dance in some mud puddles!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Living Happily Ever After

It is possible.  But, let's get one thing straight - it doesn't happen like a Disney movie.  There will be good times and hard times.  Your Prince Charming will fart on occasion.  Your infant princess will scream her lungs out in Wal-Mart.  Your little prince will hand you his poo.

Exhibit A:   Grace Kelly

Beautiful American actress.  Married a real prince, but I wouldn't call him handsome.  Had three beautiful children, each of whom grew up and old surrounded by gossip and tragedy.  And, like another famous modern, real-life princess, she was killed in a car wreck.  Did she live happily ever after?  I'd say so.  There was nothing unusual about the heartaches she endured and, by all accounts, her prince did love her.  I have no doubt she's looking down from heaven with pride on her children and adorable grandchildren too.  (Prince Albert, Princess Charlotte, and their little Heirs to the Throne)

The point is, living happily ever after takes work, hard work.  There are no fairy godmothers in real life.  Sorry.  It can be especially hard when you've gone through times that made you feel like you were run over by a truck.  How do you pull yourself up, brush yourself off, and get back to Happily Ever After?  I don't know all the answers.  I'm still a work in progress.  Faith is a big one for me.  A bunch of ladies have inspired me, one of them was the Glamorous Housewife

She has a video on YouTube called How to Create the Life of Your Dreams   and I found it a great spring board for figuring this stuff out.  It's a frequent probably for moms who've totally devoted themselves to childrearing.  The little darlings draw on every ounce of us so that we forget what even got us started down that road.

I created a list of things which make me happy:

1)   The Wilderness

2)   Backyard Farming

3)   Babies

4)   Storytelling

5)   Vintage Living

6)   Everyday History

And then I came up with two personal character traits I need to work on to bring those happy things back into my life.



There are several other ladies who've inspired and encouraged me and I'll be sharing about them in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, you can look to the left side of this blog to find links to their sites.

Now, get back to work on your Happy.  ;)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Review Plans

Good morning!  As you can see, this blog is still a work in progress.  At this point, my plan is to review one book a week, alternating Fiction with Non-Fiction. 

Just so you know, I've given up resisting novels set in Ancient Greece, Rome, or Egypt.  Call it a Wild Card on a blog devoted to the early 20th century, but I am easily distracted. 

Probably because of the novels of Michelle Moran   Or, maybe it's because I just watched the 1963 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra
One of the awesome things about this movie is realizing all the super cool things are REAL.  No CGI back then.  ;)

Here's a non-fiction book I will review soon-

Friday, February 13, 2015

Vintage Vaccines

*Choosing to vaccinate or choosing not to vaccinate our children is a hot topic right now, because of a Measles epidemic spreading across the United States.  The measles-mumps-rubella combination vaccine debuted in 1971 and Measles was believed eliminated from our country in 2000.  

"In the decade prior to the introduction of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) combination vaccine in the United States, it’s estimated that more than three million people were infected with the measles each year."   -from History of Vaccines

Nevertheless, both sides continue to argue and insult each other like they're still in high school.  Sad.

I am not going to tell you what to do.  I believe you have the intelligence and rational mind to make that decision yourself.

I can tell you that we vaccinate and why.

You see, I am a history buff and I've studied the diseases of the past, mostly research for a novel I'm writing which includes pandemic flu.

Another super nasty bug was Smallpox

Mozart survived Smallpox.  Several powerfully influential people in the 1700s, like Benjamin Franklin, went public with their struggles with the disease and the vaccine which worked for them.  Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1977.

Going back the Flu, the 1918 Pandemic wiped out whole villages of Alaska Natives.  One major factor was they didn't trust the white people who told them to isolate themselves from each other to stop the spread of the disease.  Well, considering that the white people (first the Russians and then the Americans) had been lying, cheating, stealing, raping, murdering, and enslaving them for hundreds of years, it's no wonder they didn't believe what they were told about the Flu. 

So, I don't blame those against vaccinations.  I can see that they've lost faith in the medical community and sometimes with good reason.  Maybe if leaders from both sides of the debate got together and talked about these things, compared research, and established working relationships based on mutual respect, the conflict could be resolved and all the children would be healthier as a result. 

In any case, history has taught me what life was like before vaccines.  I agree that vaccines are not without risk, but we've decided the benefits outweigh those risks.

Did you know the population of the United States has doubled since World War II, thanks, in part, to vaccines?  Remember, the President at the time was disabled because of  Polio

Dismiss the hysteria and avoid the arguments.  Do your own research and make up your own mind. 

*The top photo came from a blog post about the Victorian tradition of photographing the dead.  

I often complain about what short memories Americans have regarding their own history.  The Flu Pandemic of 1918 was virtually forgotten because of World War I.  And ask any young adult what they know about World War I.  You'll be lucky if they know something of it because of the movies.  Nevertheless, I do believe a memory of that pandemic plus the many other horrible diseases of the past remain in our *collective subconscious* and it comes out in a fascination for zombie movies, like   World War Z

In this portrayal, the zombies are like gigantic viruses that you can see coming for you, but can't hope to stop.

My review of  The Great Influenza  probably the most thorough historical account.  Did you know this year's seasonal flu strain mutated right after the vaccine came out, rendering it ineffective by one-third, I think.  Guess we're lucky it hasn't shown itself to be as deadly as in 1918.
Here's a film documentary which includes survivors-

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Victory Garden

Oh, how times have changed!

Seventy-five years ago, self-reliance was your patriotic duty.

Now...not so much.

But, you can hold on to the Vintage Value of Self-Sufficiency by planting your own Victory Garden.  Call it victory over whatever you want, I guess.  I still think it's cool to be patriotic though.  ;)

The history refresher lesson is this, during World War II there were food shortages which led to rationing.  Americans were encouraged to garden like never before, and, sadly, never since.  In Great Britain, it was literally a matter of life or death, as two-thirds of their food was imported before the war. 

Here is a World War II film on how to build a Victory Garden, along with modern comment on how to incorporate new, more productive methods-

And here is a link to the first episode of Wartime Farm from across the pond-

You can buy Wartime Farm from

If you've watched Colonial House, you may recognize the lady on the front as one of the historical advisors.  ;)

I've named my hobby farm, 'Westfarthing Homestead,' because, really, I'm a Hobbit at heart.

“It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

Historical Snippet:   J.R.R. Tolkien fought in World War I.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

HOMEWARD BOUND by Emily Matchar

This is more of a showcase than a review, because I read about half of this book.  This is not vintage or retro or any of that.  This book explains what's at the heart of today's young women taking after their grandmothers more than their mothers when it comes to domestic roles.  The heart of it is that it's super awesome to have the choice to pursue a professional career outside the home, but it's just as wonderful to stay home and make jam, whether you're a stay-at-home mom or a stay-at-home dad.  It observes all the what-fors and withertos and controversies when your mom just doesn't understand too.  Highly recommend it if you're still scratching your head over why a successful attorney might give it all up to bake bread and homeschool her children.  Homeward Bound

Friday, January 30, 2015

Coal House & Coal House at War

This Welsh series  is absolutely brilliant.  It sets up several families in a community of coal miners and their families.  Series 1 is set in 1927 and the second is set in 1944.  My favorite historical reality series of all time is 1940s House and these two series, especially the second, is all that and a whole bunch more!  Set up as a community, you get to explore more issues, like neighbors helping, taking in children who were evacuated from the cities during the Blitz, and working in the mines.  Like in the 1940s House, the rabbits survive, but a few chickens and a pig named after Adolph Hitler end up on the table.

Nevertheless, 1940s house is still my favorite, probably because with just one family a viewer gets a
really up close and personal account of World War II on the homefront.

As far as I know Series 1 is the only historical reality show set in the 1920s.

It blows my mind that the United States not done historical reality shows set in the 20th century at all!  Maybe it's the hard time of letting go of modern life that the earlier participants had that made the producers give up on the Americans.  Watch Colonial House, for example, and you'll see how some of participants, Americans all of them, whined and complained and refused to play along with the social rules of the time.  The British ones were not happy all the time, but they were dang good sports the whole time.  Okay, there was that one English dude who snuck into town, but he was suitably abashed upon his return and worked hard for the remainder. 

I remember one participant in Frontier House wondering how in the world could a person work so hard, wish and want so much to be a part of something so unique and rare, and then blow it off?  Just because you have to work hard and do without for a few weeks! 

Don't even get me started on Texas Ranch House!

In any case, the families in both Coal House series were troopers and I learned a lot and have been seriously inspired to work harder on my cooking skills.

I still wish like crazy the Americans would make at least one more, preferably life on the homefront during World War II.  All I could find was this informative, but boring documentary from the Hoover Library-

Vintage Purists

Good morning, Guys & Dolls!*

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

I would define a purist as someone who lives it at least 75% of the time.  I have a husband and children who, for reasons beyond my comprehension, prefer the 21st century.  Plus, I’m a writer and it’s just a whole lot easier and less painful to work on a computer than one of these old klunkers-

Believe me, I know.  I started out on one my mother bought for me at a yard sale.  I bandaged my fingers with toilet paper and masking tape to bang on those keys.  Not fun.

I know of several Purists now.  If you watch Time Warp Wives you’ll notice the 1930s gal has a day job and a microwave oven, the 1940s one is only a year into it and has mostly modern household items still, and the 1950s chick has a tiny laptop hidden away.  I’d say these ladies are 90 to 98%!  It took the two ladies about ten years each to get there though and the third had the attitude but had just gotten into it. 

Lesson Learned:   Lifestyles changes take time.

Those are British dolls.  On this side of the Atlantic, I know of  Doris Mayday  and Dollie DeVille, the Rockabilly Socialite.   I see they venture out into the modern world all the time, but I can’t see where they waiver from the purist lifestyle at home.  Oh, wait, Doris wears plastic bags over her high heels in the winter because she can’t find vintage boots that fit.  I don’t think they had plastic garbage bags in the 1950s, did they?  Did I mention what a fabulous imagination purists have?

Lesson Learned:   You can't really Time Travel (at least not yet) so you gotta adapt!

These ladies have all been so inspirational for me.

Hopefully, I’ll be sharing a picture of myself in my very first retro outfit soon.  ;) 
 * 'Guys & Dolls' is the title of a 1955 Frank Sinatra movie.   Guys & Dolls  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Greetings, Guys & Dolls,

Now that I've been at this new blog for a while I can see what I like and am thinking of new things to do.  So far, I know I want to blog on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.  This is to cut back on my computer time on the other days of the week.  Nevertheless, I'll probably have multiple posts on the days that I do blog. 

I've been watching Coal House at War  devotedly and it's inspired me to work harder at my cooking.  This evening, for example, I made Brown Sugar Doughnuts from Grandmas Wartime Kitchen    .  The nice thing about 1940s cooking is that the recipes are low or no sugar, which I've cut out or waaaaay back on.  This was due to World War II rationing.  If you're a typical cook from my generation or younger, you'll discover how incredibly difficult it was for the 1940s cook.  If you don't have good basic skills going in, your family would have starved.  Making those rations stretch and accommodate everyone was just a monumental undertaking, especially in Great Britain!  Here's a modern English lady who is using this way of cooking and eating to lose weight-

Anyway, see you all back here Friday.

P.S. The doughnuts turned out butt-ugly, but the children loved them! ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reminisce Magazine

There are several wonderful magazines for remembering the past, but Reminisce  is my favorite.  My mother bought me a subscription after I kept snitching her copies.  It's geared towards people who actually lived through the 'good ol' days,' but vintage hearts like mine love it too.  I like it the best because of the variety and personal stories, plus old ads and old cars and such.  Some of the stories are set in as late as the 1970s, a decade I can best describe as barely tolerable.  But, most seem to be 1930s to 1960s, which is very cool with me.  The price for a subscription is excellent, considering all that this magazine offers and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Men In Black III

I love all the Men In Black movies and pretty much everything Will Smith is in.  Heck, I still laugh at Prince of Bel-Air reruns.  Nothing sexier than a sense of humor.  Seriously. 

Anyway, MB3 is particularly awesome because it involves Time Travel back to the 1960s and the moon launch.  You get to meet someone very important in Agent J's life that he barely remembers.  And, by the end of the film, you learn why you should never, ever forget to tip your waiter or waitress!

Apollo 11

Monday, January 19, 2015

American Disinterest & Historical Reality Shows

This is 'My Sunday Best' post one day late.

As a history buff, I’ve noticed something.

The United States has three Historical Reality Shows,

The last one was made in 2006 and none of them were set in the 20th century.

The United Kingdom has at least seven, that I know of, and the last one was released in 2012.

1940s House

Coal House                 
-this one was set in two different time periods, two different series
Oh, sure, we have lots of movies in which facts can be twisted to suit the political climate of the day and viewers don’t really have to think about how people really lived.
Seriously, most Americans today think hardship is when they lose their iPhone.

‘Ignorance is Bliss,’ but an ignorant person is more easily manipulated.  And ignorance has a way of coming around and biting the ignorant person on the butt.

This is why I always urge everyone to go back to original sources.  Don’t accept what a teacher or preacher or politician or overpriced shampoo salesman tells you as fact.  Search out the truth for yourself.

Knowledge is power.

And your local public library is free.

Also, you can find a lot of old news footage on YouTube.

Try talking to senior citizens too.  There’s nothing like eye witness accounts!

I love when a senior notices my Rita Hayworth hair!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fire King Jadeite

Jadeite on Etsy
There's a virtually indestructible plastic version of this and then there's the real thing.  I'd like to have both in a variety of colors, one for everyday and one for the display case and special occasions.  Here is a link to an Etsy video tour of a renovated home in which she has these kinds of dishes.
And here's Melmac   at Retro Chalet
I think I'm drawn to simple beauty.

Friday, January 16, 2015

OMGoodness! Kasidy Yates' Dress!

Actually, the flowers are a different kind, but otherwise this dress from Unique Vintage looks exactly like the one Captain Kasidy Yates wore in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode 'Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang!'

Only a Trekker would notice such things, you know.  ;)  But, turns out, there's a lot of 'em into Retro.

Now, I must watch the episode.  Again.

Yeah, I was supposed to post about a book.  My first order from Unique Vintage came in and I got a little distracted, okay?  It's my birthday dress, after all.  ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

'Bride of Chaotica!'

This hilarious episode illustrates how past writers have imagined the future.  Star Trek got it right a lot!  Cell phones, sliding doors, iPads, any of that a-ringin' a bell? 

It also illustrates how female characters in 1930s Science Fiction spent most of their time screaming and waiting to be rescued.

Can't imagine Captain Janeway of the Starship Voyager doing that!  Sometimes, I complain about everything we've lost over the past few decades, like general good manners, but one awesome thing we've gained is the Freedom to Choose.  That means more to me than an iPad any day of the week.  Bride of Chaotica!  and all the episodes of all seven seasons of Voyager are on Netflix, by the way.  ;)

The Doctor does a memorable job portraying the President of Earth, which, incidentally was going on during the Impeachment of President Clinton   and his line "My performance was unimpeachable" caused a bit of a stir!  That was kind of nostalgic to watch. 
If you're fascinated by the topic, check out this show-   Prophets of Science Fiction

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1940s Housewife

The 1950s housewife has achieved mythical status in American culture, I think, but it's the 1940s Housewife that I am most in awe of,

especially the British one. 

She had to take what she could get and do what she could to feed her family while the main wage-earner was off fighting a world war.  She had no dishwasher, no, microwave, no freezer, and probably no refrigerator.  I've tried it out - I lasted two days.  I may try again, see if I'm any tougher.  Here's a lady who's taken it to an awesome level, cooking daily on British 1940s rations-    The 1940s Experiment

Monday, January 12, 2015

One of the Women Behind One of the Men Who Saved the World

I would say British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, one of the men who saved the world during
World War II, was produced and supported by three incredible women, his wife Clementine, his nanny Mrs. Everest, and his mother Jennie Jerome of Brooklyn, New York.  Wasn't she a knockout?

If you watch Downton Abbey you're probably aware of the Dollar Princesses, the American heiresses who crossed the Atlantic to marry into the British nobility.  Consuelo Vanderbilt was probably the most famous, because she snagged the biggest fish, the Duke of Marlborough. 

The English were broke, but had castles and cool aristocratic titles, and the Americans were filthy rich social climbers - it was a match made in elite heaven. 

Even the late Diana, Princess of Wales counts one in her gene pool.

In any case, Jennie Jerome snagged Lord Randolph Churchill.  Maybe we can thank her for familiarizing Winston with American ways, thus empowering him to forge a vital alliance between Great Britain and the United States. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Time Machines

*Picture from the 1960 movie based on the novel by H.G. Wells.*

The concept of time travel was first popularized by H.G. Wells' novel, The Time Machine   over a hundred years ago.  In it, he explores a dismal future of how humanity might evolve.  I rather prefer the optimistic future theorized in Star Trek, which is dotted with time travel stories through various means.

Goshdarnit, I still haven't gotten the Time Machine I asked Santa for, but I've learned there's other ways to time travel.  Reading great novels that take you away from it all in your own imagination is just one way.

Going Vintage is another way.

Okay, this is My Sunday Best - it's not just about the glamorous style.  It's the attitude.  I've now read and explored many YouTube channels, blogs, Facebook Pages, and such and all of them put forward an attitude of kindness and a return to good manners, doing your best and showing mutual respect, slowing down and enjoying the beauty of those you love. 

Visit any Facebook Page for a news outlet, read any post, and you see that most of the comments are full of insults and obscenities, not to mention no attempt at good grammar and spelling.  (I'm no Grammar Guru myself, but I do try.)  It's a sad commentary on our society and it's easy to feel alone in your desire for a simpler, kinder way of life. 

Right now, my mind is pondering Table Manners.  I grew up in a family in which there was a lot of yelling and throwing of food at the table.  I want good Table Manners and I want to teach them to my children.  But, the whole subject causes me anxiety - the table was not a happy place when I was growing up.  So...I'm starting from scratch on this one.

I've found instructional videos from the 1950s on YouTube for table manners and this seems to work better for me.  Here's one-   And there are many more modern ones too.   I think in pictures.  It goes back to that phrase I came up with while watching Time Warp Wives - 'Visually Proactive.'

Figure out what you want to change in your life and find your Time Machine.  That's My Sunday Best.  ;)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Choosing My Birthday Dress!

I can see it in my very visual imagination already, full skirt of large blue and white floral, sky blue cardigan, pearls, dark pink lipstick, Rita Hayworth hair. 

Now, I must choose the pattern needed to sew this dress.  This one by Vintage Vogue

or this one by Retro Butterick