Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Vintage Paper Hoarder

vintage Thanksgiving papers from Saturday Morning VintageI am working on my Thanksgiving invitations today. I have a plan and it involves using up some of my vintage paper collection. I have a giant bin of ephemera that I’ve collected over time. Many things were purchased from Saturday Morning Vintage (Xenia’s shop is so good and most of what is shown above is from a Thanksgiving paper pack that I bought this year.) and from flea markets and thrift shops. Few things in life make me happier than discovering an old box of labels or flashcards at the thrift store.

As I was sifting through my ephemera stash, I was thinking about my 2013 goal to spend out. While I’ve done a very good job wearing out my clothes, using up my stationery and scrapbook supplies, eating my Japanese snacks and hanging up my artwork, I’ve been hesitant to use up the vintage stuff…the stuff that I can’t replace quite as easily… But it’s better to let these papers live on in another form (as mail art or an invitation) than to languish in a bin, right? So I spent part of my afternoon sorting through things and pulling out pieces for certain projects (Thanksgiving and Christmas related right now) and sorting the rest by color or style. I am now prepared to use up and spend out some of my collection. I’m moving a little bit of it onto my desk so it’s handy for mail art and leaving the rest in the bin ready for the next project.

Hopefully, I can finish up the invitations this weekend and show them to you next week, once they’ve arrived at their destinations. In the meantime, have a good weekend!

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Our New Ice Bucket

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On Thanksgiving, my parents came bearing thrifted gifts. I’m a bit behind on blogging about them. My dad gave me this 1950s ice bucket/bun warmer. Yes, you read that correctly…it keeps your ice cold and your bread hot (though, not at the same time). My picture is terrible, but there are penguins walking around the bowl part and it has shiny bakelite handles. It was made by West Bend in Wisconsin back in the 1950s and this one is still in shiny, almost-new condition! While I’m intrigued by its bun warming capabilities (my grandma used it this way and my mom said it works), its primary job in our house will be in the ice department. I’ve been searching for an ice bucket for a long time now, and I’m glad I held out for this little round guy!

Now, to plan a little cocktail party and put it to good use!

Thanks, Dad!

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my mom’s twinkie cake

When Hostess filed for bankruptcy the week of Thanksgiving (which, for the record, is very sad to me…even though I have probably only eaten five Twinkies in my whole life and even though hopefully some other brand might buy the product rights and the Twinkie may make its comeback in the future), I joked to my mom that she should bring her Twinkie cake for Thanksgiving dessert. I know, I know…we followed our completely traditional Thanksgiving meal with something completely nontraditional…it was delicious!

This is one of those old-school recipes that I loved as a child. Ahhh…the innocence of childhood…when I didn’t realize that blue can of Crisco was filled with artery-clogging hydrogenated oil…sigh…Now, as a semi-responsible adult, I am a label reader and I manage to talk myself out of many treats that list hydrogenated oil in the ingredients. I make an occasional exception (Chewy Sweettarts are one.) and to me, this Twinkie cake is one of the best exceptions.

This recipe comes from my mom’s recipe box, and her recipe says it comes from her mom’s kitchen. (We all have these recipe cards in our recipe boxes.) I’m sure my grandmother found the recipe somewhere else, maybe from one of those church cookbooks where recipes get passed around to all of the members of the tiny, small-town congregation. And, I should also say that this cake isn’t meant to be one of those fake-out recipes…it doesn’t taste exactly like a Twinkie. It lacks the weird sponginess and the sugary, light and fluffy filling. The cake (from a box-mix) is dense and moist and the filling is rich and creamy. It has the spirit of a Twinkie, but it is decidedly homemade (and delicious.)

 

Twinkie Cake

Box of Yellow cake mix
Prepare cake per directions.
Bake in jelly roll pan
Cool

For the filling:

5 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
Cook over low heat until thick like paste.  Cool

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oleo*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat well. Cream together until fluffy.
Add the thick flour & milk mixture once cooled. Beat again until fluffy.

Slice cooled cake in half. Spread fluffy filling on half & then put remaining half on top.
Refrigerate. ENJOY!!

If you’d like to make a HoHo cake, use chocolate cake mix instead.

In spite of the fact that my dad ate three (!!!) pieces on Thanksgiving, we still had some cake leftover for Naoto & I to enjoy over the weekend. mmmm…

 

*oleo=margarine

 

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the season of Turkey leftovers…

We cook a fifteen pound bird for Thanksgiving dinner, and since we were only feeding five people, we had some a lot of leftovers. On Saturday night, we made Mexican turkey soup, a modified Ina Garten–better known as the Barefoot Contessa–recipe. It was the perfect recipe for our leftovers because we got to use up the rest of the turkey and the leftover celery and carrots from the dressing.

Mexican Turkey Soup-

original recipe here, or it can be found in Barefoot Contessa At Home.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups onions, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

2.5 quarts chicken stock (or turkey stock if you made some)

28oz whole tomatoes, crushed

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

leftover turkey (Ina’s recipe calls for 2 whole chicken breasts, we used about 4 cups of turkey)

salt & pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook your carrots and celery in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. (Please don’t burn the garlic.) Then add the stock, the can of tomatoes, cumin, coriander, cilantro and leftover turkey. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

We garnished our soup with store-bought tortilla chips and fresh avocado and finished everything off with a squeeze of lime. The lime makes the soup.

You can also top the soup with shredded cheddar or sour cream.

Either way, don’t forget about the lime.

 

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This was my Thanksgiving…

Another Thanksgiving is behind us…it’s all a little sad for both Naoto and me–we love hosting a party, even a small one of my parents and our friend, Santron. Even though the guest list was small, the food was plentiful! We had all of the classics: the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing (we make this one every year–it’s Naoto’s signature dish!), green bean casserole (I caved for the classic, although we used the Trader Joe’s stuff and it was much lighter than the Campbells version!), fresh veggies (courtesy of Santron), Hawaiian rolls (courtesy of my mom) and Kathy’s grandma’s cranberry sauce…I made it on Wednesday and I am a cranberry sauce convert…the cognac makes it delectable!

For dessert, my mom made a Twinkie cake, in honor of the “late, great” snack.

The table was half planned, and half happy accident. On Wednesday night I cut a long sheet of kraft paper and made a table runner. I used my fancy gold paint to draw feathers and polka dots. My mom brought up some pheasant feathers (from my dad’s “feather collection”) that I used with my glittery votives to fill out the center of the table. I forgot to buy flowers so my mom mentioned my jade plant (purchased this summer at Trader Joes) as an option. It’s in a copper pot, so it was kind of perfect. (Well, probably not perfect for Sandra Lee, Queen of the Tablescape, but perfect for us.) I finished off the table with a tiny turkey, a gift from my parents earlier this fall.

For the place cards, I used acorns from this Paper Source garland kit (not available again until next fall). I was in a neutral & metallic mood apparently…

 

The meal ended with a table viewing of Psy and MC Hammer singing at this year’s American Music Awards…clearly it will be a meal I never forget.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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I am getting in just under the wire to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Today got away from me with table preparations, last minute cleaning and keeping the chef on track–between Naoto’s cooking skills and my nagging and timing reminders, we somehow get the meal on the table!

So, I’m going to sleep with a thankful heart…

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Thanksgiving Preparations Roll On…

 

I’m still working on cleaning up the spare room and wiping down well, everything in our home…construction dust does not stay in the construction area…lesson learned.

I also looked over our recipes and made my shopping list and did *almost* all of the grocery shopping. I say “almost” because I can never get it done in one shot, no matter how hard I try or how many lists I make. Upon returning home from the store, I realized we haven’t come up with a solution for cranberry sauce…canned or homemade? I admit that I really love the canned jelly stuff…it might be the noise it makes as it exits the can, it might be it’s jiggly can form, it might be that it’s a familiar friend at the table every year…I enjoy having it around. But I’m also intrigued with making my own…and it’s something that can be made the day before, so I feel like taking a stab at it. What’s the worst that can happen? If it’s a disaster, we can always open the expired can from the back of my cupboard! (just kidding…)

While I’m cleaning, I’m also contemplating what the table will look like. The table is my favorite part, but I never give it the time it deserves…mainly because I leave it for the last minute! I’m thinking candles, kraft paper, my new favorite gold paint, and feathers will be involved…but that’s all I’ve got. Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with some accomplishments…

 

 

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Thankful Quotes

Almost all of my Thanksgiving invitations in past years have included a quote about being thankful. (The 2008 invitations above included a quote from Willie Nelson.)

I, like most people I suppose, am a big fan of quotes. I love having little bits of wisdom to think about or turn to when I’m stuck or sad, or happy and thankful. I always notice good quotes, but I don’t always take note of them (except for on this Pinterest board), so one of my goals for the upcoming days is to always write down sayings or words of wisdom or song lyrics that speak to me. And actually just yesterday, as I was Tweet lamenting my compared failure at coming up with a good Thanksgiving table, Donovan reminded me of this: Comparison is the thief of joy.

So, while I am digging out our spare room–which by the way is already a complete dumping ground for ongoing projects, hoarded craft supplies, and home improvement tools but now has also become the dumping ground for the contents of one closet and the master bath–please enjoy these grateful quotes. Some I have used for Thanksgivings past. If you have any grateful quotes to add, please include them in the comments! I love expanding my world of words to live by!

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. -William Arthur Ward

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart. -Henry Clay

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John F. Kennedy

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. -Marcel Proust

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. -A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. -Marcus Tullius Cicero

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. –Willie Nelson

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. -Seneca

God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart. –Izaak Walton

For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. –Henry Ward Beecher

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thanksgiving invitations 2012

They don’t look like they looked in my head. They were much more layered and complicated and perfect in there. But, they also didn’t have fancy gold artist ink on them…or feathers…those were happy surprises. Oh, and I am not a designer. At all. But, even though professionally created invitations might look more perfect, I enjoy creating something with my hands and with paper. Even though things didn’t work out as they did in my dreams, I am still happy I took the time to create something tangible and special for my guests. For me, this is what the holidays are all about.

Because our printer is broken (and my other printer–a.k.a. Naoto–is on vacation this week), I knew I was going to have to either rubber stamp or use my beloved cursive typewriter for the word part. The typewriter won. And even though the message is subtle (or hard to read without your glasses!) I think the cursive text is pretty. (Besides, typewriters are totally trendy right now, so I’m in style by accident!)

So, I typed my message on my (cheap, but lovely) 140 pound watercolor paper. It felt more luxurious than my other white paper choices, and it fit through the typewriter just fine. Then I taped on two strips of gold striped washi tape, lining up the stripes so it looks like one wide strip of tape. Then I cut out my practice feather (on Paper Source aubergine) and I sewed it right on top of the washi tape stripe. The sewing was a huge pain. I jammed up my machine no less than ten times (and I only sewed three tiny things)! I was able to fix it each time (yay for patience and the owners manual!) but I wasn’t able to determine the source of the problem…it might have been the two layers of paper together, since my first paper sewing adventure only involved one layer of watercolor paper.

Every year, I try to include a quote on our invitations. This year’s quote is from Henry Ward Beecher, “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”

I mailed them out on Tuesday, so hopefully they will arrive at their destinations soon.

 

(One more picture! This Instagram shows the shimmery gold!)

 

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onto Thanksgiving planning

When one party closes, another opens.

That’s how I feel about November. Naoto & I have been hosting Thanksgiving since we got married. And, for the record, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. We love hosting, we love menu planning and cooking. Naoto does all of the hard stuff–the cooking and the bathroom cleaning. I do all of the fun stuff–the invitations, the table setting, the decorations (and the rest of the cleaning…but that’s not fun). When we first started hosting, Thanksgiving was a large party. We had several friends who would join Naoto and me along with my parents for a feast. For the past few years, it’s only been my parents and a friend or two. No matter how many people we have, I always like to create a pretty table and some special invitations.

Today I am working on my Thanksgiving invitations…a little late, I know. Thanksgiving is creeping up on me this year! Naoto is on “stay-cation” this week, so we can get a lot of our party planning and menu ideas worked out. But, number one on our list is getting the spare room back in order and ready for guests. (And this will be no fun at all…moving furniture, clearing out a desk for donation, finding a place for hundreds of homeless office supplies…)

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with our finished Thanksgiving invitation. It’s going to be an interesting one since our printer is still broken…but at least I have rubber stamps and a typewriter, right?

 

The picture above was taken last year. But I’m sure Presley napping on my to-do list will happen again this year.

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