Friday, May 29, 2009

The Picnic: Relaxed Entertaining

With the dog days of summer fast approaching, Betty likes to take her love of entertaining outdoors. What better way to enjoy the weather than laying in the cool shade of a tree eating yummy finger food. Before planning your picnic, check out our perfect retro outdoor accessories. And, after a mid-day nap, serve your guests classic picnic fair - chicken salad sandwiches, mixed melon and chocolate chip cookies! So this weekend forget about chores and spend a lazy afternoon on a blanket with your sweetheart.

Clockwise from top left: Melon Mix, Toast UK, Farmhouse Wares, Viva Terra, Farmhouse Wares, Blyton, Chocolate Chip Cookies, S.C. Post & Co., Chicken Salad Sandwich

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sew Pretty!

Like mid-century housewives across the country, Betty often finds herself behind her Singer sewing machine. Many afternoons have been spent creating the perfect cocktail dress for an upcoming party or stitching charming pillows for her couch. Some of her friends have even been the lucky recipients of one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts!

But, if the thought of sewing leaves you in stitches, don't despair! With these modern fabric designs and stylish patterns your next retro handbag is just a few snips away. The next time someone asks how you came up with the idea for your lovely new curtains, don't lie, just embellish!

Clockwise from top left: Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey (2), Amy Butler, Sandi Henderson, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner (2)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sweet Tea

Betty knows that the best gossip is shared over tea and cakes. As the days get warmer, Betty just adds ice and keeps the tradition going. With tea towels decorating the table and a cool glass in hand, Betty treats her friends to a sweet afternoon.

To recreate Betty's iced tea party, blend country classic pieces with vintage inspired linens, add a few retro recipes and stir. With a little sugar, this mix is sure to please. For an extra touch, use black tea. America's supply of green tea was cut off during WWII forcing Americans to switch to British controlled Indian black tea.

Clockwise from left: Williams Sonoma, Date Squares, Crate & Barrel,, Cherry Pie,, Banana Nut Bread, Martha Stewart
Collection, Home A La Mode.

Date Squares
From  So Quick with New Bisquick, 1967
1/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-2/3 cup New Bisquick
1 cup cut-up dates
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350. Grease square pan, 8x8x2 inches. Blend butter, sugar and egg. Stir in Bisquick, dates and nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes. Cool. Cut into 1-1/2 inch squares. If desired, roll in confectioners sugar. Makes about 2 dozen squares.

Red Cherry Pie
From Better Homes and Gardens: Pies and Cakes, 1966
3/4 cup juice from cherries
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 cups pitted tart red cherries (water packed), well drained
2-3 drops red food coloring
3 or 4 drops of almond extract (optional)
Dash salt
Pastry for 8 inch lattice top pie
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Combine first 7 ingredients; let stand for 20 minutes. Line 8 inch pie plate with pastry; fill with cherry mixture. Dot with butter. Adjust lattice top; seal. Bake at 400 for 50 to 55 minutes. For frozen pitted tart red cherries, thawed, decrease sugar to 1/3 cup
and omit food coloring.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
Sift together flour and salt; cut in shortening with pastry blender till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to side of bowl. Sprinkle next tablespoon water over dry part; mix lightly; push to moistened part at side. Repeat till all is moistened. Form into ball. (for lattice top pies divide dough for lower and upper crust. Form each portion into ball.) Flatten ball on lightly floured surface. Roll from center to edge till dough is 1/8 inch thick. Trim lower crust 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Roll remaining dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut strips of pastry 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide with pastry wheel or knife. Lay strips on filled pie at 1 inch intervals. Fold back alternate strips as you weave cross-strips. Trim lattice even with outer rim of pie plate; fold lower crust over strips. Seal and flute.

Banana Nut Bread
From So Quick with New Bisquick, 1967
3 cups New Bisquick
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Gold Medal Flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1 cup mashed bananas (2 to 3 medium)
Heat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Mix Bisquick, sugar, flour, banana, egg and milk; beat vigorously with spoon 1/2 minute. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pin-Up Perfect

Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but who wants bags under those eyes? Take some advise from the mid-century women who inspired these products and slather on the lotion, brush on that blush, and cover up any imperfections. With a little help, you can be pin-up perfect. As Betty always says, lips should be red, cheeks should be pink, and who said beauty is only skin deep?

Clockwise from top left: Miso Pretty, Soap & Glory, Benefit, The Balm, Dirty Girl, Benefit, Bare Escentuals.