Tag Archive | vintage housewifery

How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

Hello Darlings!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a gloriously productive January. Spring fever is starting to set in, so I thought I would take advantage and participate in Apartment Therapy’s The January cure. I can’t begin to describe how much I love it… but I’m going to anyway.

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I very much loathe a household out of order. I can’t think straight surrounded by clutter. I’m not so much a clean freak as I am a person who feels put off by disarray. Spring cleaning, while therapeutic, can also be overwhelming! Where do I start? What needs doing? What am I missing? The January cure has been enormously helpful in guiding me through the process. Without it, I’d probably be scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush while the rest of my house fell to pieces! But today’s post really isn’t about the January Cure. Today I’d like to share with you my daily tasks as a real life (modern) vintage housewife. But first we need to address the history of the “1950’s housewife” archetype.

The 1950’s Housewife: Symbol of Misogyny… or was she?

Anytime someone brings up “my look” as it relates to misogyny in the before times, my eyes roll (not really, that would be terribly rude). The fact is, popular culture, media, and entertainment have given us this idea that  women of the 1950’s were enslaved in their homes, forced to cater to their husband’s every whim, completely devoid of pleasure or enjoyment. She is a lovely and sad creature. She is The Stepford Wives, Mad Men, and Mona Lisa Smile. Or was she?

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This little image has made it’s rounds on the interwebs for ages. It serves as a reminder as to how awful men and the times were… except it’s a hoax.

The truth is, the 1950’s housewife wasn’t at all unlike women today. My grandmothers, for instance, had jobs. They were divorced and remarried. They lived lives, day to day, like  other women. Then, and now, women make choices. We choose the paths we want to walk. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Some women marry honorable men, some marry real jerks, some don’t get married at all. Some go to school, some work outside the home, some choose to be homemakers. And while, yes, the role of most women in the before times was that of homemaker, not every woman followed this path. The point is, we should be wary of falling for stereotypes as they are rarely ever true.

How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

 

Alright, this title is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at our vision of the Donna Reed homemaker. Truth is, pigeons, there is no such thing as “perfect”. It doesn’t exist. Striving for an unattainable goal will only make you feel like a failure, so STOP IT! Instead, I like to think of “perfect” more as improved. What am I doing daily to make my home better?

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I will be the first to tell you I am extremely privileged to be a full-time homemaker. While technically self-employed, I consider myself, first and foremost, a homemaker. I had a wonderful career in animal and behavioral sciences spanning 20 years, and when my Mr got his promotion and subsequent transfer, it was the perfect time for me to retire. I tell you this so when you see my daily task list, you don’t freak out. My job is to care for my home. If I worked outside of the home, I wouldn’t get half of these things done! My daily tasks, on paper, look never ending! It looks like I do nothing but scrub and clean, but that isn’t entirely true either. Because I keep up on these tasks every day, I have all kinds of time to indulge in a hobby, take a nap, binge watch a season of whatever on Netflix, and some days skip cleaning entirely. Because I don’t let my house fall apart, taking care of it isn’t too much work at all. I also enlist help. My son has chores. My Mr, even after working a twelve hour day, will pitch in. Nothing in our home is ever viewed as “mom’s job”. When something needs doing, someone does it. Simple as that.

I’ve compiled my daily task list on not only the things related to my home specifically, but also on the myriad of housekeeping and etiquette books I’ve amassed though the years. Keep in mind, my list is tailored to my home and my family. Feel free to use it as inspiration for your own task list. Remember, perfection doesn’t exist. The “perfect” housewife is merely one who cares for her home and the people (and pets) in it.

Dolly Marlowe’s Guide for the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife (pdf)

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XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

Atomic Pasta Salad

Hello Darlings!

Well, summer is finally upon us. It’s time for BBQs, picnics, and all sorts pot-luck of frivolity. Being a vegetarian, the ubiquitous summer gathering always poses a bit of a challenge. I love food, and I do not eat like a bird. There is nothing worse than smelling bbq and watching everyone stuff themselves while I gnaw on carrot sticks and mellon balls. Mama wants to EAT! Well, I’m sure there are some things worse than that (war, cancer, reality TV), but starving at a bbq is up there. I also feel it is bad form to expect the hosts to arrange their party around my dietary needs. Yes, that is part of good party planning, but when I am a guest, I need to be prepared.

So, I came up with this little dish to fill any veggie voids left by my carnivorous hosts… Atomic Pasta Salad. Tasty, filling, and always a welcome addition to any summer soirée. Don’t worry it isn’t spicy. The name “Atomic” doesn’t come from the flavor, but from the atomic age. In the 1950’s convenience foods were all the rage, bottled, canned, frozen… plastic was in! This salad is a reflection of that. It is not organic or “from scratch” by any means, although the recipe can be tweaked to make it so. It’s easy to make last minute with what you’ve got hanging around the kitchen already. I last brought this salad to an Easter bbq and egg hunt, and it was one of the most popular dishes of the party. It’s quite the complement when you go home with an empty dish!

The delish sandwich in the background is a BLT lovingly hand crafted by my Mr. with soy bacon!

Atomic Pasta Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total cook/chill time: 1 hour

Servings: 6 – 8

Ingredients:

12oz Rainbow Rotini Pasta

1/2c diced red onion

1/2c chopped red bell pepper

1/2c finely chopped carrots

1/4c green onion

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/4c Olive Oil (light)

2 tbsp Strawberry Basil Balsamic Vinegar

2 tbsp Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2c Ken’s Steak House Creamy Balsamic Salad Dressing

*optional add ins: I like to add sliced grape tomato and black olives. My Mr. hates both of those things, so I put them on the side and add them to my individual plate.

Directions:

1) Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta. Boil pasta for about 9 min. stirring occasionally.

2) Drain pasta and set it aside in a large glass mixing bowl.

3) Mix in olive oil. Be sure to coat all of the pasta to prevent sticking.

4) Add in red onion, green onion, carrots, rosemary, and garlic. Mix well, but be careful not to disturb the shape of the pasta. The spirals will be somewhat fragile until they cool.

5) Fold in the Ken’s Steakhouse Creamy Balsamic Salad Dressing. Be sure to coat every last bit of pasta and veg!

6) Add in the Strawberry Basil Balsamic Vinegar and Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. Again, stir well, but carefully.

7) Add parmesan, slat, and pepper to taste.

8) Cover and refrigerate for about an hour or until cold.

Fresh rosemary from my garden. 

I do hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Dolly Marlowe

Honoring the Fallen. Memorial Day Etiquette.

Hello Darlings!

The weather is warming, the flowers are blooming, and summer is nipping at our heels. It’s nearly time for BBQs and pool parties. For many, the three day weekend, known here in the USA as Memorial Day Weekend, is the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. Through the years and the BBQs and the extra day off work, the true meaning of Memorial Day has been lost. I cringe every time I hear “Happy Memorial Day”, a personal peeve of mine. In an effort to make the world (or at least my little corner of it) a more polite place, I’d like to share some important Memorial Day etiquette tips.

 

I have had the extreme pleasure and honor to work with some of the finest men and women on the planet, the men and women of the United States military. Through my charity work with the Pinup Patriettes I’ve learned a great deal about the sometimes complex  realm of military etiquette. Memorial Day etiquette, however, isn’t military etiquette. Memorial Day etiquette is something every single American should know. Sadly, the majority of Americans don’t know the first thing about Memorial Day, save for summer parties and store sales. Many Americans believe Memorial Day is a day to honor veterans and active duty military members. Not so. Memorial Day is the day that we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We honor the fallen.

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The Pinup Patriettes volunteering at the Veterans + Labor food drive

Memorial Day was first observed after the Civil War when on May 30th, then known as Decoration Day, citizens would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Fast forward 100 + years, Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May to honor the sacrifice of every American man and woman who have given their lives in the service of their nation. It is a solemn day, a sobering reminder of the cost of war and the price of freedom. So here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind this Memorial Day.

Do observe Memorial Day. It is proper to say you are observing Memorial Day rather than celebrating it. There are many ways to observe the holiday and honor the fallen: attend a Memorial Day service at a local cemetery, watch a Memorial Day procession (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a parade), volunteer with a local group to place flags on the graves of fallen veterans, even attend a patriotic bbq or pool party, whatever you do, keep the true meaning of the day present. Remember, someone gave their life for your three day weekend.

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Memorial Day observances in cemeteries are becoming more and more scarce as people forget the reason for their three day weekend. If you have an opportunity to attend such a ceremony, do not pass it up. It is a powerful experience indeed.

Don’t greet anyone with “Happy Memorial Day”. Remember, it is a solemn day, a day of remembrance. One wouldn’t offer up a cheerful “Happy 9/11” or “Happy funeral”, but that is essentially what a “happy Memorial Day” greeting is. I’ve heard all kinds of defense of and excuses for offering such a greeting: “I’m celebrating the lives of our soldiers” or “I’m showing how happy I am for my freedom”. While I realize no malice is intended, keep in mind to those who have actually lost someone, this sort of greeting is very insensitive. Memorial Day isn’t celebrated, it is observed.

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Gold Star moms remembering the their sons lost in battle.

Do fly the American flag at half-mast. There are etiquette protocols for raising a ceremonial half-mast flag. The Flag is sharply raised to full-mast (the top of the flag pole), and then solemnly lowered to half-mast. The Flag stays at half mast (in a mourning position) until noon, then it is raised is up again to full mast as a promise by the living to lift the memories of the fallen, to never forget, and to carry on the fight for freedom and liberty. The Flag should then be taken down at sundown. If your flag pole is stationary and the Flag cannot be raised up or down, then you may show observance for the day by flying a black ribbon or sash from the top of the pole. Please be sure to show the Flag proper respect by following regular flag etiquette.

Don’t (accidentally) disrespect the Flag. This one in particular is for the pinup girls planning patriotic photo shoots. Old Glory is not a carpet, a cape, or a blanket. Do not sit on the Flag. Do not stand on it or let it drape on the floor. If you want to use the Flag as a prop, display it using proper flag etiquette. Show your patriotism by showing Old Glory the resect she deserves.

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A few of the Pinup Patriettes posing with American flags. Notice no one is sitting on them or using them as clothing.

Do take a moment at 3 PM to remember our fallen, to show your respect, to reflect. The National Moment of Remembrance is observed at 3 PM on Memorial Day. It is a moment where Americans, no matter where they are or what they are doing, stop to remember, observe a moment of silence, or listen to Taps. The Stater Brothers grocery chain officially observes the National Moment of Remembrance by making an announcement asking their customers to take that 60 seconds to honor the fallen.

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I have had the honor to sing at so many welcome home celebrations, Memorial Day services, and every sort of patriotic event imaginable. I can never get trough a song without choking up.

Don’t be obnoxious with the sales. This is really more for shop keepers, but it also applies to consumers. I love to save money just as much as the next gal, but mobbing the local boutiques or electronic stores for a holiday discount seems, well, in poor taste. I’m not saying you shouldn’t shop or take advantage of a good deal, just remember why that store is offering a sale. If you are a shop keeper, again, remember what Memorial Day is really about. Be respectful and sensitive about offering “huge Memorial Day blowout sales”.

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The Pinup Patriettes love hamming it up with fans and new friends, but we never lose sight of why we do the work we do. There are so many who never made it home, and we will never forget them.

Do know what holiday you’re observing. On Memorial Day we honor those who have died in service of our country. On Veterans Day we celebrate and say thank you to the veterans who have  previously served in the military. On Armed Forces Day we celebrate and say thank you to the men and women currently serving in the US military.

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My Mr and I took our little boy with us as we Hiked for Heroes. Educating our children will keep these important traditions alive.

Do buy Buddy Poppies from the VFW. Outside grocery stores (especially the afore mentioned Stater Bros.) you will likely see representatives from the VFW selling Buddy Poppies, buy one…or twelve. These traditional flowers of Memorial Day, inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields, are made by disabled veterans and the proceeds go to veteran’s charities. “Honor the dead by helping the living.”

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A veteran salutes the flag with a Buddy Poppy in his cap.

I hope you’ve found this little etiquette piece informative. If you’d like to learn more about the Pinup Patriettes and what we do…or leave a much appreciated donation, please visit us at pinuppatriettes.com

XOXO,

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

 

 

We’re Moving!

Hello Darlings!

I want to apologize most fervently for my lack of diary entries as of late. My little family will be picking up and moving to a tiny little desert town most folks have never even heard of (more on that later). I had the best intentions to keep writing in that time, but the process is turning out to be less smooth than originally imagined. So, I am officially announcing an unofficial and (hopefully) brief hiatus. I may, if my schedule allows, post things that don’t require lots of photos or construction or time in the kitchen (as everything is either packed away or a complete mess). I should be back at it some time in April. Until then, please be a love and subscribe to my Diary (you’ll find the sign-up apparatus to the right of this page). This way you won’t miss anything should I decide to throw caution to the wind and share something earth shattering . See you soon!

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XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

Every Day is like Sundae…Shoes

Hello Darlings!

Pardon the bad pun in the title, but I just couldn’t resist. I’m so very excited to share with you a fun make-do-and-mend project. If you’re not familiar with “make-do-and-mend”, it’s just an old fashioned term for DIY, and I love me some DIY especially when it combines sweets and shoes!

This project comes from fellow vintage living blogger, Miss Amy May. If you’re not currently subscribed to her blog or following her on social media, I highly recommend you do so. I had never heard of Shoe Bakery until I read Amy’s post. While their shoes are adorable works of art, they’re a little over the top for my taste. I’m a “less is more” kind of gal. The shoes that I really fell in love with were the ones Amy made herself, and so I decided to take a crack at making a pair.

I don’t wan’t to reinvent the wheel, so I’m just going to link back to the original post here, plus add a few things I did differently, and share my supply list for the American crowd. So, without further adieu, I give you my version of Miss Amy May’s version of Shoe Bakery’s   Ice Cream Sundae shoes.

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I love the added texture and color from the jimmies. Maybe the next pair will have rainbow sprinkles?

 

Supplies

  • Shoes you’d like to decorate (For an ice cream cone look, you’ll want nude or tan shoes with an exposed platform)
  • Calking gun
  • White silicone calk (I used HDX brand from Home Depot)
  • Wax paper
  • Butter knife or cheese spreader (one you will not be using again)
  • “Chocolate Jimmies” clay sprinkles (I purchased mine on Etsy)
  • Cherries (you can find these at Walmart, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby)
  • Masking or electrical tape
  • Piping tips (I used the medium star shape. Again, these will not be used for food…ever)
  • Toothpick or bamboo skewer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tip
  • Modge Podge (Gloss and Outdoor respectively)
  • Fine red glitter
  • Paint brushes with synthetic bristles

Directions Part 1:

I basically followed Amy’s tutorial with a few exceptions:

  • I used wax paper instead of news paper for my work surface.
  • Because I don’t have the most steady of hands (translation: I’m a colossal klutz), I taped off the edges of my shoes where I didn’t want the calking to get to. This made clean up much easier…and I still made a mess.
  • The Q-tips and rubbing alcohol are for clean up. If you smudge, spill, or otherwise get calking where you don’t want it, clean it up before it dries.
  • I also taped my piping tip directly to my calking tube as I was fresh out of pastry bags.
  • When the calk was still wet, I sprinkled on my jimmies and then used a bamboo skewer to gently push them into the calk for a better hold.
  • Finally, I painted over the calked bits with outdoor Mod Podge. I wanted to be sure I could wipe my shoes clean if needed and the Mod Podge helps keep my jimmies in place.

Directions Part 2:

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I love the added sparkle and pop of color the glitter adds, but a week later, and I’m still cleaning it up! Though it has stayed on my shoes remarkably well.

For this bit I followed a tutorial for glitter soles I found on Pinterest. There were a lot of them, and they all used the same method. You want to be sure your calking and Mod Podge are completely dry before doing this bit. Once glitter gets onto a wet surface, there’s no going back! I also taped off the “whipped cream” bit to keep it as clean as possible. Or, even better still, do the glitter soles first, then do the frosting part.

One thing I notice was that the glitter and Mod Podge did tend to get a bit clumpy.While I don’t mind how it turned out, next time I think I’ll just do the single coat of glitter without going over it again.

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I’m going to be designing a lot more outfits around these shoes.

And there you have it! Adorable custom shoes that will have everyone begging to know where you bought them. How gratifying will it be to say, “I didn’t buy them, I made them”?!

I’d love to see what you come up with. Tag me in your Sundae Shoes images on instagram!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Lover’s Sugar Scrub

Hello Darlings!

If you recall last week I shared my base sugar scrub recipe. Well, today I’d like to share a yummy variation…chocolate! This is essentially a fudge recipe made into a scrub. Not only does it smell delicious, but it’s also edible. Do with that what you will.

*(insert winky smily face here)

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Add a bow and a tag to make this scrub sweet gift.

Chocolate Lover’s Sugar Scrub

Supplies

  • 1/2 heaping cup of raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (don’t over do it or you’ll end up orange)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • *optional gift tag (you can find the heart I used here)
DollyMarloweChocolateLoversSugarScrubIngredients

Simple and natural ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine sugars
  2. add in vanilla extract and cocoa powder
  3. fold in coconut oil
  4. mix until ingredients are evenly combined
  5. scoop into a jar for storage

All the decadence of chocolate with out the calories…unless you eat it.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

(Not So Basic) Basic Sugar Scrub

Hello Darlings!

I work with my hands…a lot! Between gardening, sewing, working with animals, cooking, then washing my hands after all of that, my skin starts to feel like sandpaper. No matter how much lotion I apply, it never really softens my hands. I love the scrubs from stores like Bath and Bodyworks and Basin, but I don’t like added chemicals or the hefty price tags. My mother, genius that she is, suggested we make our own, and so we did.

This recipe is exceedingly simple, one can add any number of essential oils or botanicals to create a customized scrub. All of the components for the base recipe can be found at the local grocer. Here are a few tips before we start:

  • Use the best ingredients you can afford. This scrub will be absorbed into your skin, so organic is best. Also, you’ll feel the difference in the quality of sugars you use.
  • While you can use other oils like olive or almond, I find that coconut oil not only leaves my hands the softest, but also no greasy film.
  • Coconut oil will go from solid to liquid depending on ambient temperatures. If your oil is in a solid form, just place the jar in hot water until it softens up.
  • If you’re reusing a jar from your pantry, wash it really well and then boil the jar and lid before filling it with your new scrub, and dry them well. Water and food particles (ewe) can cause your scrub to mold (again, ewe).

Alright then. Ready? Let’s get started!

DollyMarloweBasicSugarScrub

Three ingredient recipe. That’s it! Unless you want to add extra bits.

Supplies

  • 1/2 HEAPING cup of raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • a jar with a tight fitting lid
  • mixing bowl, rubber spatula, metal spoon

Directions

  1. Add sugars to the mixing bowl.
  2. Fold in coconut oil.
  3. Add in essential oils and botanicals if you’d like, or just keep it fragrance free.
  4. Continue mixing until the scrub has a sort of wet sand consistency.
  5. Use a metal spoon to scoop the scrub into a clean jar.

And there you have it, a basic recipe you can use for all your scrub needs. These make lovely little gifts for friends, family, or yourself!

I hope you enjoy!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe