The Cookbook’s Story

Working in the used book store one day I came across a tiny little cookbook with a tattered cover. This particular book caught my eye because it said “more than 5,000,000 copies in use”…and that was as of the 1941 printing.  I didn’t think 5,000,000 copies of anything had ever been printed as of 1941.

Vintage Cookbook - Rumford Cook Book 1941

The book store was slow this particular day and flipping through the small, fabric-covered book, a story began to appear.  Hand written with an ink pen in the next to last page was a recipe for Raise Doughnuts. I loved how old the handwriting looked and I especially loved that doughnuts were being enjoyed in 1941.  I. love. doughnuts.

 “Fry in deep fat 4 min” 

Vintage cookbook with old recipe written in the back - Rumford Cook Book 1941

 

I devoured this tiny recipe book not for the recipes, but for the little traces left behind.  The drips, spatters and pools of ingredients on the pages made it clear which recipes were referenced the most. I imagined the owner’s name was something like Mabel, or Hazel, or Pearl or maybe Anna. Yes, Anna.

Anna made the Shrimp Patties at least once, and only on a special occasion. She would have read “be sure to remove small black intestinal veins which run down center back of shrimps” and probably had a stronger stomach than me.

Anna made something from page 36 and 37 more than once which would have been a fancy chicken dish like Fricassee Chicken, Chicken a la Stanley, or Chicken a la Providence.  Sometime Anna cooked with her cookbook propped up because on the salad dressing pages a few of the drops went at least 3 inches directionally down the page. Pages 92 through 97 of the Pastry section were the most well loved in the book with endless remnants of cornstarch and flour. A ring of what looks like vanilla extract covered the Chocolate Chiffon Pie recipe:

If a cookbook could tell a story - Vintage Rumford Cookbook

 

There were various spills across the Nut Cake recipe and How to Prepare Cake Pans instructional page.  A spot of what looked to be frosting was dropped right onto the words “very little at a time” on the Butter Cream Frosting Recipe.  The Fudge Brownies and Brown Refrigerator Cookies page was the most used, barely hanging on with a rip through one side and into the center, and covered in sticky spills and powders:

Brown Sugar Refrigerator Cookies via Rumford

She made one of the following: Eggnog, Lemonade, Barley Water, Oatmeal Gruel, Clam Broth, Beef Juice, or Beef Tea. I hoped it was just plain lemonade.

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water
-from Mary Poppins

Looking through Anna’s book I could also tell you what she never made: Sandwiches. The Sandwich section was pristine and untouched.  The Canning, Preserving and Pickling section looked unused so she wouldn’t have made Cranberry Conserve or Pickled Peaches.  I love the sound of those names.

I don’t know how Anna’s cookbook ended up in the store. I wish “Anna” had written her name in the cover so I would know her real name. I think it’s funny that she never wrote a single thing in the book except for that doughnut recipe.  She never made any notes or folded down any pages. It could have been her only cookbook or one of many.

The original 1908 printing of the Rumford Complete Cookbook would have cost one dollar, about twenty five dollars today.   1908 would have been Anna’s mother’s version of a cookbook and it would have had things like Albumenized Milk, Potted Pigeon, and Invalid’s Tea.  I still have my mother’s old Joy of Cooking Cookbook and I prefer the worn look of it over a new one.

Every old book kind of reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit. Especially this one.

You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.

But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

A random interesting fact: Although the cookbook is no longer in print, you can still buy Rumford Baking Powder, it’s still made by the Clabber Girl Corporation. It is an all-phosphate baking powder (containing calcium acid phosphate – no aluminum). Aluminum-free. Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Certified Kosher.

Recent Reclaimed and Upcycled Wood Projects

Brett’s been enjoying a new hobby of making stuff.  I look outside and he has headphones on, his shirt off….the chop saw and nail gun spread all over the driveway. He says it’s therapeutic. He’s constantly picking up discarded wood and old pallets to take apart to make containers, furniture and wood canvases.  A resourceful hobby/hubby:

DIY Upcycled Wood Projects - Rustic home decor ideas

I came home the other day and he had made us some new furniture from a few old wood pallets. He has since added arm rests but I’m too lazy to walk outside and take a new photo:

diy pallet furniture - furniture made from pallets

They are really comfortable! Here’s Boo watching the sunset from her new chair:

diy pallet furniture - pallet patio furniture

 

The signs and posts at the inn were in need of a fresh coat of paint so he spent some of the week working on those to help the innkeepers out a bit as they prepare for their son’s wedding.

Before:

woodysignbefore

After:

woodysign

The rocking chairs are also looking a little tired and are in need of paint.  This little chair is over 35 years old:

chair

I know that because of the photo my mother took of me in it when I was around 3:

chair1982

Inspired by a bench at the Biltmore, he made me this:

bench

These are just cows. Nothing to see here except that Brett took the photo. And I love these cows.

cows

He found an old table and some barn wood and used it to make…..

rustic home decor ideas - reclaimed table to computer desk

This awesome skinny computer desk for me:

DIY rustic home decor ideas - reclaimed old table to computer desk

The desk today:

rustic flea market style computer desk - DIY project

He’s cut me lots and lots of wood to make things with. Like this “Mountain Dew” painting:

How to make a hand painted rustic sign

 

And these “Mr and Mrs” signs for the inn’s wedding coming up:

mr and mrs handpainted barn wood signs for rustic wedding

And just one more for today….this old sign was rotting on one side and ready for the dump.  I saw a little potential in it:

oldsign

Brett cut it off and secured the remaining top pieces and now it hangs above our fireplace:

rustic industrial home decor

It feels good to get creative again.  I’ve been itching to do some painting again too and Brett has made me a ton of small wood pieces that are just sitting there waiting for me.  Now I just need the inspiration to hit.

I Can’t Say No To Jesus or Mayonnaise

I love finding little places like this:

I think everything in here came from my childhood home.

Stuff n Such Thrift Store Shopt in Whittier

I tend to show a lot of restraint when it comes to buying things but sometimes I cave when it comes to artwork….like when I saw this embroidered Jesus portrait.  Really, it wasn’t my fault…the “lion mane” hair hypnotized me:

Jesus Art and Vienna Sausage by The Crafty Cowboy

The Vienna Sausage painting that hangs above Jesus was a piece I picked up a few weeks ago.  I was in Gainesville and came across a disabled vet selling his paintings.  At first I was drawn to the Duke’s Mayonnaise clock…and then I got to know the artist and listened to his story and, well, I just ended up buying half his tent:

Artwork by The Crafty Cowboy

 The Crafty Cowboy

The mayonnaise clock hangs above my desk.  (I just realized I haven’t shared photos of how we’ve decorated our cottage yet….I’ll try to get to that!)

Mayonnaise Clock by The Crafty Cowboy

I figure I’m just building an amazing art collection to donate to the Getty or the MoMA one day.  I don’t even like mayonnaise…or Vienna Sausage.  But I do like Jesus. And he has a-may-zing hair.  It all evens out in the name of great art.

Oh, I also picked up these tiny “caution” cones for 25 cents.  The squirrels above our house have been pelting me with acorns. I confiscated one….not that it will make any difference to them.

acorns and cones

I wanted to buy these from a box on the side of the road but luckily another lady beat me to them:

puppies for sale in Bryson City

Just kidding. Diesel is an only dog.  But…Donna says there are miniature pot bellied pigs for sale nearby.  I’m going to have to take a look. Just a look.

 

 

 

The Casita Office Makeover

DIY office makeover ideas via lilblueboo.com #decor #office #diy #homedecor #organization #thrifting

I’d never heard of a “casita” before I moved to California. It’s a little detached guest room off the house.  Nice because if you don’t use it you can leave the air conditioning off and save money!  We turned ours into a sewing studio a few years ago but then we outgrew it and now it’s the official Lil Blue Boo office.

Here’s the before:

Office Makeover Re-decorating BEFORE via lilblueboo.com #decor #office #diy #homedecor #organization #thrifting

Office Makeover Re-decorating AFTER via lilblueboo.com #decor #office #diy #homedecor #organization #thrifting

 

I love how the neutral palette turned out.  I am still trying to figure out what kind of chairs I want to use….but they have to be comfortable!  This is my side of the office. It doesn’t get used a lot right now because I have my “dining room” office too: [Read more…]

How to Make Altered Thrift Store Pop Art

How to Make Altered Thrift Store Pop Art via lilblueboo.com

 

There’s nothing I love more than scooping up something that someone else doesn’t want anymore….and making it my own.  My friend was selling this HUGE dinosaur at her yard sale and I couldn’t resist.  I knew I’d either paint over it to reuse the canvas….or maybe change it up a bit.  Mr. LBB loved the dino but Boo thought it was too scary.  So I changed him up a bit to be more of a pop art dino!

Here’s the before:

thrift store painting BEFORE via lilblueboo.com #upcycled

 

The first thing I did was use a pencil and some acrylic paint to add polka dots….or pixelate the dino: [Read more…]

Recycled Tie Photo Album

 

How to make mini memory albums using upcycled ties (from my Dad's ties!) via lilblueboo.com #diy #tutorial #ties

It’s been almost two years since my dad passed away and I’ve been saving all of his ties to make something from.  I wanted to make something for my mom, sister and brother.  My dad’s ties represented so many different parts of his life….from special events to all of his favorite golf clubs and important tournaments he played in.   I came up with the idea of making a photo album using bits and pieces of each tie so that everyone would have a patch:

 

How to recycle old ties via liblueboo.com

 

I added a little tag into the front of each album: Made from the neckties of Norman Virgil Swenson Jr., 1947 – 2011, “Golf’s Ultimate Gentleman”:

Alternative to memory bear via lilblueboo.com

 

Every tie reminds me of some part of my dad’s life….like the pretty blue tie he wore in my sister’s wedding:

Upcycle old ties to remember loved ones via lilblueboo.com

 

To make the albums I purchased simple 4″x6″ albums from the craft store:

Mini Photo Album via lilblueboo.com

Other supplies you may need: sew-on snaps, fusible interfacing, etc.

Here are the ties I used:

I even took the ribbon off of this belt to work the DeBordieu design into it. We used to own a house at DeBordieu beach when we were little….it’s where most of my childhood summers were spent:

Here’s how I made the albums…..they only took me a few hours with an assembly line:

Step 1: Cut apart the ties and press them flat with an iron. Add fusible (iron-on) interfacing to the back of each tie.  Begin cutting pieces of the ties into random angles and piece them together until you have a large enough piece to cut for the main piece of the album (approx. 11″ x 7.25″ for my album).  Iron all your seams open and flat. Apply fusible interfacing to the back of the finished patchwork.

how to make a kindle cover or photo album out of fabric via lilblueboo.com

Step 2: Cut the front of the album (approx. 11″ x 7.25″ for my album).  Cut two pieces (with fusible interfacing) for the front and back inside cover (approximately 5.5″ x 7.25″). If you would like a personalized tag in the front, create text and print onto iron-on transfer paper.

upcycled necktie photo album via lilblueboo.com

Step 3: Turn over the inside edge of each of the inside covers, iron flat and sew with a 1/4″ seam. For a tab closure, cut the end of a tie off and sew it to one side of the front to keep it in place as you assemble the rest of your album cover.  Finish the top and bottom edge of the front cover with a serger or zig zag stitch.

how to make a fabric covered photo album using ties via lilblueboo.com

Step 4: Lay the two inside cover pieces onto the top of the outside cover piece and sew the seams using a 1/4″ seam.  Your album covers should look like the ones in the 2nd photo below.  Use some fusible web or a few pins to secure your “tag” to the inside front cover and stitch it into place.

how to make a photo album from ties via lilblueboo.com

Step 5:  Stitch the top and bottom seams of the cover as shown in the first photo with a 1/4″ seam.  Carefully trim your corners and turn the cover right side out using a small pencil or stick to push out the corners.  Sew your snaps into place on the “tab” and the cover”.

how to make a photo album cover via lilblueboo.com

 

Your finished album! Use an iron to carefully press the piece flat.

how to make a handmade photo album via lilblueboo.com

Everyone that opens these albums will know where the ties came from….it makes a nice family hierloom.

tie wallet diy or photo album diy via lilblueboo.com

They all look so pretty together:

how to make a tie wallet or photo album via lilblueboo.com

I know that Boo will love keeping ours forever and probably pass it down to her children:

upcycled clothing via lilblueboo.com

I love the idea of “memory” bears….but this is a great way to make something for the whole family:

repurposing mens ties via lilblueboo.com

[Read more…]

Turning Old Books and Papers into Doilies

 

Turning Old Books and Papers into Doilies (the Circle Edge Punch) via lilblueboo.com #diy #doily #marthastewart

 

I recently had the chance to try out a new product that Martha Stewart Crafts is introducing…..the Circle Edge Punch! Martha Stewart will be on HSN on Nov. 13 to launch the Circle Edge Punch.  You can’t buy it in stores so make sure to check out the information after the tutorial on where to purchase!  I think it’s a great product if you want to make your own custom doilies and with little effort! [Read more…]

DIY Suede Fringe Handbag

DIY Upcycled Suede Fringe Handbag Tutorial and Template via lilblueboo.com

I see so much suede at the thrift store….I have a few jackets, a skirt, a few pairs of pants….it’s all outdated and just waiting to be cut up and made into something amazing. Here’s my first suede remake project……an old pair of suede pants and a thrift store belt into a fringe handbag. It was actually a fairly easy project. The key is to not cut the fringe until the handbag is finished. If you can’t find suede at the store you can also check Etsy and Ebay for remnants. You can also use leather or microfiber. Here are the original pants:

Original Suede Pants via lilblueboo.com

And here is the finished bag: [Read more…]

Speaking of Clowns

I did a little thrift store shopping today. I came across a stack of old road signs…..and bought these two. Maybe they’ll go in Boo’s playroom…..

Thrift store finds via lilblueboo.com

There’s more:

[Read more…]

A T-Shirt Quilt (A Tutorial)

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial via lilblueboo.com

I made my first memory quilt…out of Boo’s old dresses! I’m sure there are many of you out there that are quilting experts, and that there are certain ways of doing things the “quilting” way….but I wanted to take a fresh look at quilting and make it up as I went along.  I love that each square tells a story! Boo can point to each square and remember a special outfit she had and a memory associated with it!

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 1 via lilblueboo.comm

 

I love the way the quilt turned out. It’s sturdy, double sided, and full of memories….it’s upcycled/recycled!

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 2 via lilblueboo.com

Instead of actually t-shirts I took Boo’s dresses from the last few years…..all the ones that I’ve made for her. Most are pretty worn out and had some stains on them…..so they couldn’t have been sold or donated.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 3 via lilblueboo.com

Each dress has special memories and instead of putting the all into storage I decided to cut them all up and make them into a big quilt that she can enjoy for years to come.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 4 via lilblueboo.com

First I made a square template: 10″ x 10″

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 5 via lilblueboo.com

I used a rotary cutter to cut out as many squares from each dress as I could:

HowHow to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 6 via lilblueboo.com

Here’s my big stack of completed squares:

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 7 via lilblueboo.com

 

Boo helped me to place all the squares in a pattern. It’s double sided so we had 7 squares by 7 squares for each side of the quilt. I then stacked them up in order so I could keep them straight.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 8 via lilblueboo.com

 

 

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 9 via lilblueboo.com

Instead of interfacing, I used spray starch to coat each square and I ironed out each piece. Then I rechecked my square template and trimmed any wonky edges so that each square was perfect.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 10 via lilblueboo.com

I began to sew each square together in rows. 7 squares made up each row.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 11 via lilblueboo.com

After each row was finished I ironed the seams flat.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 12 via lilblueboo.com

Here are all my rows finished:

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 13 via lilblueboo.com

I laid out all the rows again just to double check my design.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 14 via lilblueboo.com

Then I began to sew all the rows together.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 15 via lilblueboo.com

After both sides of the quilt were completely assembled I ironed all the seams flat again. I used spray starch to make sure they stayed nice and flat.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 16 via lilblueboo.com

I laid one side of the quilt face down on a large table and then laid a large piece of batting on top of it. I used an iron to press the batting completely flat and smooth.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 17 via lilblueboo.com

I rolled back one side of the batting and used a spray adhesive (made especially for quilting and basting)  to coat the top of the batting. Then I carefully rolled the batting back into place making sure to smooth it into place.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 18 via lilblueboo.com

Then I rolled back the other side of the batting and repeated the adhesive spray.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 19 via lilblueboo.com

I finally laid the top of the quilt into place on top of the batting. Starting at the center of the quilt I carefully lined up the squares and seams to the other side of the quilt and used safety pins to pin it in place.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 20 via lilblueboo.com

I rolled back one side of the quilt top and sprayed enough adhesive to cover the area of one row of quilting squares.  Then I carefully rolled one row of the squares back in place and used safety pins to secure just that row in place by matching up the seams (mostly where each section of 4 squares meet together).

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 21 via lilblueboo.com

I slowly repeated this process for every row in the quilt until I reach the edges. Then I repeated for the other side of the quilt. By the end, my entire quilt was pin together with all the seams matching from front to back. If any of the squares look a little wonky or tilted I used a little bit of tugging back and forth to smooth out the entire quilt.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 22 via lilblueboo.com

I used embroidery thread to make little ties at each intersection of squares. This holds the entire quilt together and secures the pieces in place. On the entire quilt was secured I removed the safety pins.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 23 via lilblueboo.com

I made a little template to round out the corners of the quilt:

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 24 via lilblueboo.com

Instead of binding the quilt, to keep with the exposed seams used in the dresses, I just used my serger to add color thread all the way around. You can add bias tape around the edges if you don’t have a serger.

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 25 via lilblueboo.com

Here’s Diesel enjoying the blanket this morning out in the yard!

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 26 via lilblueboo.com

I added a few extra appliques from t-shirts that weren’t able to be added as a square…..it made the quilt a little more interesting.  A t-shirt quilt (or dress quilt!) is a great way to preserve memories so that they’ll be enjoyed every day!

How to make a memory quilt from baby blankets, clothes and t-shirts. DIY tutorial 27 via lilblueboo.com

 

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