Collections | Family Recipes

I always say some of the best things in life are old.  My collection of family recipes are no exception.  I am now the holder of a recipe box and cook books from both of my maternal great grandmothers.  They were given to me by my mother.  I think she understands and appreciates my love for family history.  

They give me such a clear picture of my family.  What times were like back then, what foods were favored by my grandparents, and a little about who they were as the matriarch of their family. 
This box belonged to my Greatgrandma Lattin, my grandpa's mother.  There are probably 15 different doughnut recipes in this box, each one offering something a little different.  She fed her men that worked on the farm all day.  I suppose doughnuts are a good way to start the day.

This recipe is one of my favorites from the box.  We don't live in an age where delousing a chicken is necessary, so reading this gives me a little chuckle.  It's almost feels like she wrote this recipe down for someone to read in the future.  How much is .10 cents worth of potassium permanganate today?

The two Betty Crocker cookbooks offer a very telling story about my greatgrandmothers.  Each one completely different from the other. 

Greatgrandma Clark's seems like it wasn't used much.  There are a few loose recipes stuffed in the back, but otherwise it appears to be untouched.  I know she cooked because grandma told me stories about her mother cooking all day for her and her five brothers and sisters.  Perhaps because the depression made them so poor, she cooked what she had available and that didn't require a recipe.  Maybe as an older woman, she no longer cooked much.   

Greatgrandma Lattin's Betty Crocker tells a different story.  Oddly, I see a lot of myself in this book.  It's a lot like a journal with the pages marked up and things glued here and there.  She covered the outside with plaid paper.  Maybe because it was falling apart or maybe to look pretty on the shelf.

I always glue an envelope in the back of my journal for extras and she has done the same.  It's filled with folded papers bearing more recipes.

She wrote on whatever was available.  I wonder if she was in a hurry and needed paper quick, or was she resourceful and didn't waste good paper?  I like to think she was resourceful.  She also took the time to add her own extra pages to the book.  She cut the paper to size, marked the five binder holes and punched them out.  Some of the additional recipes are placed in the correct category and some, perhaps her favorites, are found in the front of the book.  Almost everything is written in pencil. 

When you open her book, the 303 valuable household tips pamphlet is glued to the first page.  Free information from the bank for housewives.  It has been used, and additional tips added throughout the pages, including one for tight shoes.

There is a note talking about using alcohol to help with tight shoes, but then a word of caution is glued in a few pages later. 

The ladies column says not to soak your shoes in alcohol but rather, use your husbands socks.  Wear the socks around the house with your shoes on.  That should do the trick.

The pamphlet is like today's pinterest.  A hard copy of someone's household tips board.  Several of them are still applicable.

This collection is one of my most valuable.  I spend more time looking at them than cooking anything from them.  Not only are they hard to read, but understanding what .10 cents worth of this or that in today's terms is a bit tricky.  I'm constantly asking my mom and grandma questions about these women.  I wish I had the opportunity to sit around a table with them to hear about their lives, but seeing the joy on my mom's face when she talks about her grandma's is pretty special as well. 

What family collection do you have that you treasure?

Vintage Envelopes

The last trip we made to Austin we found a parking lot flea market.  All manner of things were being sold, but I ran across a vendor that had bins full of old envelopes.  I found myself digging through them for quite some time.  I don't know what it is about paper goods that have a little patina, but I'm smitten. 

I purhcased a few of my favorites.  I couldn't beat the 4 for a $1 special.  I'm not sure how I'll put them to use but I'll make room for them until an idea comes along. 

I picked this one up because of the train and the rural America stamp.  For whatever reason, the railroad was significant in my childhood.  The tracks split our town and until the viaduct was built to drive over them you had to wait until the train passed.  Many memories seem to have the tracks running through them.  I pitched hay next to the tracks, you didn't want to live on the wrong side of the tracks, as a teen you belted your music with the windows down while waiting to cross the tracks...  A grade school field trip was a ride on a passenger train from one town to another.  Then recently, my mom sent me a text about a steam engine train making a hisitoric run through the state.  Trains and tracks remind me of home, so this one made it on the purchasing list.

Any ideas on what I should do with these? 

Collections | Aprons

It hasn't been until recently that I've found an affinity for old aprons.  My collection has been growing due to the fact that I can find them pretty cheap at estate sales. An apron seems to say so much about a person's personality and sometimes their resourcefulness.  Some have detailed stitching and embroidery and others are made out of pillow cases or other fabric scraps.  Each one holds a story of a family in another time.  Dinners, holidays, and parties are threaded in every little flaw.  

These are a few of the favorites from my collection.  I particularly like aprons with big pockets.  I wear them to cook, garden, clean the house, and work in the studio.  The pockets hold anything I need in a moments notice.  

When my favorite girls comes over to make chocolate cookies they request an apron as well, so I had to find a few little versions.  

This little birdie apron has a lot of love.  It has holes and stains, but it is certainly a favorite that makes it hard to share between the two.  

Can you imagine the stories from the women that wore these aprons in their kitchens?

Collections: Journals

This month's collection is one of my favorites.  As a child, I always wanted a diary.  I had a lot of thoughts and emotions running through my head and no one to tell them to. The thought of a diary was enchanting, secretive, and deeply private.  And then I got one, and then another.  The collection grew.  I wanted to be a chronicler of life.  When I moved out of an old apartment I had a box devoted strictly to diaries and journals, and as I carried the box to the car I realized I had become one.  The box keeps growing and I pulled out a few of my favorites to share with you. Reader beware, this is long, more so out of pure nostalgia.  I had a hard time narrowing the list. 

I received Minnie as a Christmas gift.  My first diary.  It had a lock and key, which I kept religiously around my neck for fear of someone finding out I was a closet New Kids On The Block fan.  I did not have much to say, as you can see.  Half of the page was filled with boys' names.  

The princess diary did not have a lock and key so not a lot of top secret information went into this journal.  Most of the pages are filled with the boy's name that happened to play kickball with me on the playground.  It also has ton of notes between me and my best friend.  
This one is a favorite because I collected bears.  It was a step up from Minnie because it was leather bound and came in it's own box.  My paternal grandmother gave me this diary.  She was a classy lady.  
When I received this daily reminder I felt like I was coming of age.  I was now past writing boy's names on pages and actually put pen to paper with real thoughts.  This journal is special because it's from the year we moved to another town.  I love to read about what I was going through emotionally at that time.    

Then high school hit and I thought "diaries" were for kids.  I stopped writing because I would have been too mortified if anyone would have read my deepest thoughts.  So there is a lack of journals during these years.  The only thing I was writing were terrible love letters.  

Once college hit, I was all of a sudden a sophisticated academic and went through journals like candy.  Page after page of therapy.  I went through a huge transformation, and I have a record of all of it.  I had an intense relationship that would have ended in marriage had other factors not gotten in the way, but when it ended by breaking up instead my world was shattered.  I lost 20 pounds I didn't have, got a tattoo, wrote class papers on my unrequited love (completely embarrassing now) and every last tear is recorded in this, the j. journal.  It holds those awful papers, photos, and a lesson on how not to lose one's way because of another person.  I learned a lot from that girl.  Such a pretty journal for such sad words.   

This journal has been used and abused.  It's tabbed, dog eared, and bookmarked.  It was a reference manual of sorts for a few years.  It records my journey of discovering my love for another woman.  It also holds grand dreams of what I want out of my life.   

I had this nature journal for a while.  It was while I was living in a tent.  I recorded the weather patterns, animal sightings and new plants I had not yet learned.  It holds seasonal patterns I noticed and it really forced me to be present every day.

I moved on to moleskines and started adding a lot of lists.  There is a shift in my journaling where they become part planner, part journal.  I started carrying them around with me to document more life.
Then I attended Sqaum and I began to myself in a new light.  When I didn't have the words, I borrowed words and added color, pattern, and art.  

Journals started to fill with goals, dreams and notes from things I had read.  Things to remember, and things I wanted to forget.  A recipe for an indigo life. 
This is one of my most recent. It's a good balance of art and words.  I'm starting to see how much I've needed this space to write and create.  A journal is like a friend that listens very well.  It's portable, doesn't have to have a battery charge, and can be used on a moments notice.  It holds happy moments and some sad ones, photos, love letters, and momentos.  To say the least, I'm hooked for life.   

Today I mostly use these journals (all filled by the way).  They are from Ex Libris Anonymous and they use recycled books for the covers.  There is little fluff in the purchasing.  They cost about $12 to buy and ship and they offer a wide variety of topics.  My only complaint would be the paper quality.  I'm looking for a journal that has recycled office papers, plain drawing and watercolor paper, and trace paper.  A mix of everything. I've started experimenting with making my own journals.  I'm starting to get a bit picky.
Are you a journaler? What is your favorite way to use your journal.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


For the month of February I am working on raising scholarship money to send kids from low income families to an outdoor school. Will you help me?  Click here to read my story and to donate to this worthy cause.