I've been crocheting for many years now. I often crochet in public without any hesitation whatsoever. Generally I get very positive responses to my crocheting because I've learned to work on projects that catch the eye. Some find it mildly interesting. Some will comment that they wished they'd learned to do something creative when they were younger. Then there's the soul crushing comment... My grandmother crochets. We are always too embarrassed to wear what she made. Suffer no longer dear reader. I bring glad tidings! Crochet has hit the runways of the fashion world and home decor. This isn't Grandma's crochet anymore!
Women's Wear Daily, not just for women anymore, demonstrates my point nicely. Jonathan Simkhal uses crocheted pieces in his Ready To Wear line for Fall 2021. The look: Modern Bohemian. The goal: Flexibility! Clothes for in person events or day to day living. See his collection covered on wwd.com. I love the crochet fringe tunic!
Missoni continues to chase those crochet (and knitting) misconceptions away with the Fall 2021 collection. One of the Missoni trademarks is the crochet/knit looks. Check out the coming designs:
https://wwd.com/fashion-news/shows-reviews/gallery/missoni-rtw-fall-1234747168/missoni-rtw-fall-2021-20/ Yes, the look is a bit more youth focused, however, I think there are accessories that those over the age of 30 could add to the wardrobe.
The Romantic look of Rebecca Taylor's pre-fall 2021 designs are heavily influenced by lace and those hints of "not-so-granny" granny squares. This has to be my favorite collection. The classic silhouettes, flowing dresses, lace jackets and eyelet fabrics are lovely. (I like the colors chosen for the collection also!)
The hot home decor styles for 2021 are absolutely influenced by handcrafts especially crochet and knitting. It's fabulous! This year ushered in new decorating styles. Words put together like Japandi (Japanese combined with Scandinavian decorating styles), Danish Hygge, and of course Grandmillenial Style.
The Grandmillenial style modern with those homey touches that one might find at grandmother's house. (Well not my kids. Their grandmothers are pretty hip, but you take my meaning. ) Crochet undoubtedly fits squarely within the Grandmillenial style. Little touches like brightly colored doilies, table runners, handmade blankets made with bold colors against muted sage, blues, or blush easily incorporate into living spaces. www.redfin.com/blog/grandmillennial-style-home-decor-trend/,
The work of crochet designer Doug Speeckaert fits within the Grandmillenial Style. Included in his patterns are table runners, blankets, various granny squares, and other decorative pieces that not only make a bold statement but also have that familiar warmth we all need. Vintage with a modern vibe. One of my favorite pieces created by Doug is the Kaleidoscope Granny. The look is bold and unique.
www.facebook.com/dotscloset/photos/pcb.658373534880937/658373414880949/ You'll find Doug on Instagram @dougspeeckaert, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dotscloset, on his blog at dotscl.com/wp/. Look for more of Doug's designs in the future!
I am not a huge fan of decorating shows on TV, however, I must confess to a secret passion for mining those hidden decorating jewels on the net. I'm one of those people who will read Real Simple online because I really do enjoy the idea of redecorating my house. I know most of my ideas are totally unrealistic. I don't have a lot of room in my house for all the kitschy shelving units I'd like, nor are my ceilings quite high enough for those cute ball jar lights I've always wanted to try, but it's not to say my pinterest page isn't full of upcycled decorating ideas. I find little nuggets of gold from some of my favorite crochet bloggers. I'm content to add touches of handmade around my home. That makes me happy.
The final word in this blog is color. What website gives you the final word in color? Pantone! www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2021. This year's colors Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are the marriage of subtlety and warmth. The names of the colors alone make you feel hopeful. These colors pop up all over clothing and home decor blogs. Blankets in warm yellow against pillows of simple gray, or tweed yarns with gray and yellow flecks. It's amazing what a little bit of color can do to lift the spirit isn't it?
I have taken up enough of your time today, but I do hope that I've helped to dispel a little of the myth that crochet is a stuffy old granny art with no relevance in the present. We, the crocheters of the present, are able to offer a world of style choices, literally. From the nursery to the kitchen, indoors and out crochet is here to stay.
This is a repost... Why? Because I spotted THIS gorgeous pattern on Deborah O'Leary's webpage. www.deboraholearypatterns.com/product-page/copy-of-arielle-s-square-blanket-pattern. It's stunning. Designed as a wedding gift, this blanket is sure be the centerpiece of any room. You'll find a discount code if you order your Deborah O' Leary patterns from her website!
Now, on to the blog:
So my friend Jennifer, who feeds my yarnie habit at every opportunity, shared a picture of some adorable baby booties. There were no links with the pictures. I had to go on a quest for the link to the baby shoes. Of course, I turned to Ravelry to find the same or similar designs! During my hunt I found the lovely designs of Deborah O'Leary Patterns. Thanks to Jen who always does her best to keep my skills sharp :)
(Editorial note: btw, crafty facebook pages that randomly take photos from designers pages and don't post the links? That is not fair to the designer at all! It's very frustrating to both those who might want to work the designs and those who might like to commission the work done.)
Deborah O'Leary lives in Denver, Colorado. She's a mom of three children and creator of fabulous knit and crochet patterns for her fellow fiber addicts. She is a self-described knit and crochet addict. her dedication to beautiful and practical designs shows in every stitch.
While my work mostly involves home decor and children's clothing/accessories, I want to point out Deborah O'Leary's fabulous purse patterns. These bags have great details that really create standout accessories. There's more than enough to keep felting addicts happy for quite a long time. I've never been particularly adept at felting, so I appreciate those who are able to create classic felted pieces.
Speaking for myself, I have to say that designers who both are able to create beautiful patterns in knit and crochet are some of my favorite go to designers. I never have to worry about searching all over to find a pattern. I go directly to these designers for any immediate pattern needs. Deborah O'Leary will likely become a "go to" designer, especially for baby gifts! Such a fantastic variety! Cute clothing pieces, photo props, blankets, and baby cocoons. LOVE! :) 💝
There are so many blanket patterns created by Deborah O'Leary that any knitter or crocheter is virtually guaranteed to find something that suits them. Usually I pick a few of my favorites to share however, Deborah O'Leary Patterns are all beautiful! (how does she do it?)
Baby cocoons are some of my favorite projects. They are good for use when a baby needs a little extra snuggle (with proper supervision of course) and are super fun photo props!
When looking for infant clothes Deborah O'leary has created some patterns that are too adorable to pass up. I love the little pants, hats, and diaper covers. I think diaper covers are not only super cute but also serve a practical purpose. Especially if you use cloth diapers.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not "up" on all the latest copyright laws as it regards the use of pictures on my blog. This is why I am grateful to have my daughter, T.K. Wilson B.A. English (Magna Cum Laude) from American Military University. She's got the credentials to discuss this topic in depth.
Don’t Be a Pirate! Reasons To Cite Your Pictures
In this digital age, it can be very easy to take pictures and films for granted. Being bombarded by visual media all day, every day, we get used to it, not thinking that there’s a person or company behind that image. The fact of the matter is that a good deal of people don’t pay attention to how well they cite something. And that can lead to BIG trouble.
In 1998, a bill called the Copyright Term Extension Act passed Congress. Now, before we go father, I’ll explain copyright law for the rest of us who don’t speak Lawyer. Copyright is simply the protection granted to a person who creates a product (film, picture, character, invention, etc.) for the public consumption. These protections are in place to ensure that the person who created it can never have it taken from them, and thus are guaranteed the revenue from them. After the original person’s death, that protection is granted to their family or estate, whoever they name in their will. In the US, thanks to the 1998 law, that term is the author’s lifetime, plus 95 years.
This means that any images you find on the internet, if they were created AFTER the year 1923 are still in copyright. This includes fan-fiction (stories using characters from published or filmed works) and fan-art (images or films using characters from published works). Just because they are available for public consumption does not mean you can just snag them up willy-nilly and use them for whatever. That’s not what that word means. That means you have to give proper CREDIT and CITATION for whatever you use, and above all, you CANNOT sell it.
This may all seem very intimidating. After all, companies who publish even things like crochet and knitting patterns have very deep pockets and would think nothing of soaking the little guy. All very true, but much misery and heartache can be avoided if one cites things properly. And it’s not hard, and with tools like Google Image Search, it’s easier than ever.
In academic circles, the process can be frustratingly time-consuming. I was English Major, I speak citation as a second language. However, for most casual bloggers, a simple page link or caption giving credit to the owners is all that’s required. Some sources already come under the “fair use” rules, such as stock photography from sites like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash. These photos are copyright free, and free to use for everyone.
Morgan Wood is a Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts. She really believes in the Thirty-One product line! She uses the product line therefore her customers can trust her advice. See her consultant page:
Logan Allen-Carley is a Scentsy consultant. Scentsy is a well known, innovative company. Logan is committed to great customer service. If you have a question about the very large Scentsy product line, Logan would be happy to help you.
Full Disclosure: The solopreneurs I've introduced you to are personal friends. However, there is absolutely no quid pro quo. They have NOT offered me inducements to sell product for them or mention them in my blog.
Many of us are still on COVID restrictions. Yes I know, many of us will be THRILLED if we NEVER hear that word again. However, it does give those of us who knit, crochet, or loom knit one decided advantage. We can contribute to others who might need our skills. The Knit Your Bit program has a wonderful history of helping our men and women in uniform since the First World War.
The Center For Knit and Crochet has the best summary of the Knit Your Bit program I’ve seen on the web. Find it here: The Center for Knit and Crochet The fact is that the program started out as a way to put idle hands to work. Through the Woman’s Bureau of the Red Cross, people of all ages and skill levels learned to contribute clothes to those deployed. (Civilian and military benefitted from the skills of this army of knitters) Here is a photo of the first book developed for the purpose of providing the men with necessities https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_agaZd_xMOpU/SnOGtr1zZPI/AAAAAAAACEk/oM3ObpIUvsk/s1600-h/ARC_400_WWI.jpg
Through WWI and on into WWII the army of knitters and crocheters went right on creating warmth from home. American school children learned to knit for the military members. Knit Your Bit became an important part of the American social fabric. The Red Cross had created something important and that legacy carries on today.
In 2006 the National WWII Museum in New Orleans decided to follow in the footsteps of the Red Cross by reviving the Knit Your Bit program. Hundreds of knitters and crocheters joined together to create scarves for veterans across the USA. Giving tender loving care to each and every scarf. Speaking as the wife of a veteran I can tell you it is so uplifting to know that they are thought of by people they’ve never even met!
Are you ready to participate? The instructions for participation are given here: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/programs/knit-your-bit
Break out those crochet hooks, knitting needles, and knitting looms to show your appreciation for our veterans and the sacrifice they willingly made to protect our country. I assure you that your work will be greatly appreciated.
Just a note as I finish up the blog for today. Please remember to follow all requirements given by the museum. The staff put in a lot of work to assure the scarves are suitable for distribution. Thank you for reading the blog today! You are appreciated!
Today I introduce a new feature: Solopreneur Moment specifically to highlight women dedicated to owning their own businesses and service to their customers. I support their business effort as they have supported Out of the Parc Designs over the years.
Cathie Irwin and Melissa Wood are dedicated to offering their customers natural hair and skin care products through MONAT. They truly believe that the MONAT line will provide women with a healthy glow to hair and skin. They are living proof!
Cathie is a wife, mom and grandmother, she lives in Alaska and can be reached through Facebook or Messenger.com at https://www.facebook.com/cathie.l.irwin Melissa is a wife and mom of 4 living in Tennessee. She sells MONAT through her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cartersmommy5172009
Welcome to another in my series of time machine blogs :) We go back to the past with the eye toward bringing patterns of the past into the future. I have many vintage magazines with great ideas but the patterns can be written using abbreviations, terms, or styles of pattern writing we no longer use. I fast forward to the future to find similar patterns using search engines such as Google or Ravelry. It's fun! I'm usually surprised how similar the new designs can be to the vintage styles!
The Knitted and Crocheted Boutique book appears to have been published in 1972 is a mix and match delight. Patterns for both men and women are featured in this small booklet. Only 23 pages but a useful accessory pattern on nearly every page!
Right from the start the book opens with some great knit patterns! Entitled His and Hers the patterns feature aran scarf, hat, and mittens.
This same sort of pattern unisex Aran pattern can be found in many places on the internet. Bernat has a great set available before Yarnspirations bought them out. Check out this pattern at Archive.org (what would we do without the wayback machine?):
Crocheted socks? To add a little groovy to your day, Mesh Crochet Socks might be a fun project to wear with your Ugg style boots or as slipper socks.
Dorianna Rivelli, designer at the Lavender Chair wrote this great pattern for Valerie's Knee High Socks. Aren't they great?
Planned color pooling is an adventure I have not taken as of yet. However, it's really not new. The designers of the Hit & Miss Hat and Scarf did some color pooling work of their own.
While the hat is a basic crocheted hat, while the scarf in the Hit & Miss Hat & Scarf is really interesting. Check out the Harvest Beanie from While They Dream for a great basic hat! Lion Brand Yarn's YouTube Channel has a video to teach how to make a scarf with planned color pooling. Find the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eukjawTiFnc
Because it's time for Fall to set in and also because I help organize a local charity collecting hats and scarves I did want to share two totally unisex patterns highlighted in my little vintage book. These patterns have an interesting texture and can certainly be duplicated by using modern patterns.
To find similar modern design for the basketweave style scarf and hat I simply had to turn to the Premier Yarns website to find the Basketweave Hat and Scarf. (I'm a huge fan of Premier Yarns by the way) The second scarf is made of the Mistake Rib pattern. A hat and scarf pattern can be found at Fav Crafts here. One could also learn knit stitches by making scarves. My favorite site for learning new stitches is New Stitch A Day
One last cool pattern for you a simple crocheted wide scarf. By adding a pop of color to white or cream a totally fresh look appears. As in the Stole pattern from the "Knitted and Crocheted Boutique" pamphlet.
The Stitchin Mommy has created the Gray Shells Scarf which closely mirrors the shell scarf in the Stole pattern pictured above. The Gray Shells Scarf is created with Lion Brand Scarfie yarn. Any number of the new gradient yarns could substitute. Bearing in mind that the Scarfie yarn is bulky weight.
There are a few more patterns in my very groovy book but I think I'll stop here for today. If you keep your eyes open you might find this little gem at a used book store or a thrift store.
We have a Nor'Easter bearing down on most of New York and all of Vermont (among other places) I thought this blog, a repost from 2018, was worth sharing. Keep warm out there folks, be careful, and of course I hope you have plenty of yarn! Be well. ~Lyn
Like many people, I came into 2021 feeling like I needed to make a change. Like all of us, I had to make a lot of changes to my life over 2020, but I wanted to make one I chose. One thing I had decided was to take my business more seriously, and to do that, I had to make some changes to it.
I started Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll Repair as a teenager trying to sell toys and doll clothes, just getting my feet wet in the toy industry. The name Laterose originated in the works of British author Brian Jacques, specifically in his sixth Redwall novel Martin the Warrior. Laterose is the brave mouse who follows Martin into battle and, despite her tragic end, became a firm favorite of many people. At the time I opened my page, I was still pretty obsessed with Redwall and chose to name my business after one of my favorite characters in the series.
Of course, there were people who needed the name explained, which was to be expected, Redwall was no Harry Potter, even in its heyday. But as time has marched on, fewer and fewer people have even heard of Redwall, let alone Laterose. Off and on I considered changing the name of my business, but I couldn’t think of how!
That’s where my mom came in. She helped me decide on a new name that reflected everything I wanted, and I wouldn’t need that much retooling. That name is La Rose Rouge Vintage Toys Sales and Repairs. This was helpful because it still had the rose theme, so I could keep all my rose-themed props and red table decor and was more specific to what my business has become. As time has passed, I’ve changed from an emphasis on dolls to vintage girl toys in general so the “doll clothes” thing wasn’t exactly true anymore either.
Roses are, of course, considered one of the most beautiful flowers, and so they are associated with perfection, love, and romance. Rose oil has been used for centuries to boost the mood, ease depression, and treat minor cuts and bruises. They are also associated with many different people in Christian tradition, and are a feature at every wedding. For me, Roses are associated with my grandmothers and several of my favorite stories like Redwall and the fairy tales Snow White and Rose Red, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast.
Sometimes we all need to change just one thing in our lives to re-energize our minds and outlooks. This is what the name change to La Rose Rouge has done for me. I’m very much looking forward to 2021 in my business. I have big plans to move forward in delivering more quality products and collectables for my customers. This name change doesn’t represent a difference in what I’m offering or how I do things. Only a re-focusing.
This year, 2021, Out of the Parc Designs and the News from the Parc blog will have a new feature. A thank you to those who have helped to improve my knitting and crocheting world. The first thank you goes to Maria Weaber designer at Maria’s Blue Crayon.
Recently my daughter, T.k. Wilson, and I made the Crochet Woodland Blanket. It’s a SUPER cute pattern. I made the squares and T.k. made all the appliques. Then she sewed the entire thing together. A labor of love for a dear friend’s youngest. His bedroom is decorated in Woodland Creatures. The blanket pattern was chosen especially for little man’s room! (His mom did a great job)
The Crochet Woodland Blanket is NOT the only totally adorable blanket on Maria’s website (also can be purchased through Etsy and Ravelry.). T.k. and I plan to gift the Crochet Spring Blanket in 2021. Winter can be VERY long here in the Adirondacks. Making something with a theme of Spring just gives us a little something to look forward to doesn’t it? Love those first signs of spring!
Of course another sign of spring is the birth of baby animals. How CUTE is this Granny Square Farm Blanket?! Add another blanket to the “to do” list this Spring. One nice thing about the granny square patterns is that the squares can be made up at any time and set aside. They also make good take-along projects!
One thing is inescapable here in the North East USA we go through a lot of hats. My family is spread out in states where snow is “a thing” as my kids say… from October to nearly May. My daughter has an obsession with handmade hats. Maria’s Blue Crayon has some super adorable hat patterns for every age. My personal favorite is the Faux Knit Hat. The look is classy and a bit different than other crochet hat patterns on the internet. I am able to knit but I am faster with a crochet hook so many of my projects are crocheted for the sake of time. The Faux Knit Hat offers the best of both worlds.
Not only is Maria a fantastic designer but she’s always willing to answer questions as evidenced by her Facebook page. She’s responsive to people’s comments and is very active on that page. If you haven’t subscribed to her email list I encourage you to do so soon! Her emails update all the latest on her page.
Personally, I want to thank Maria Weaber for designing with care. Also a big thanks for giving her followers as much personal attention as her schedule allows. She’s made life easier by making patterns that are easy to follow and her crochet-alongs are well worth the time.
In 2021 we wish Maria and her family all the best.
A Vintage Walk thru the Parc: Guest Post A Rationed Advent Part 4: Toys in the War Years by T.k. Wilson
During the war years, “real toys” were out of reach for many. Because of rationing and lack of money to spend on such luxury items, many children throughout the USA had to “make do and mend” which meant going without many of the items they may have wanted. Many even voluntarily sacrificed treasured things to the war effort, as things like rayon, rubber, and steel were desperately needed. However, it wasn’t a dreary, barren, life, by no means! It only meant that parents, kids, and toymakers had to get creative.
Dolls were of course among the first to fall. With many of the finest dolls made in countries that were now the enemy (Germany, Austria, Japan) girls would have to do without the lovely porcelain, bisque, and celluloid dolls popular at that time. Materials to make such dolls were now prohibitively expensive here in the USA, which had people turning to materials that were widely available. Paper dolls were printed by the millions and sold or given away free in magazines, newspapers, and sold in sheets for as little as a nickel. Often modeled after comic characters like Little Lulu, and Betsey McCall, or glamorous actresses and women in uniform, these entertained little girls for hours.
Cuddly toys were also popular. Stuffed animals could be made cheaply, out of recycled materials, and were loved by children and often treasured for years. Raggedy Ann and Andy were popular stars, both of them starring in short films, along with their popular picture book series.
One of America’s great minds in the toy world began making cloth dolls that were meant to be loved and played with. Her name? Madame Alexander. Her company still makes dolls that are treasured to this day and considered some of the finest in the world.
Toys for boys included lead soldiers (we didn’t know how dangerous lead was at the time), wooden planes, trucks, wagons and more. These toys were modeled after the heroes of the time, our men in uniform, like the girl’s paper dolls. Many of these toys were made from heavy paper or cardboard. Lionel, the famous electric train maker, even made a toy train from cardboard!
World War Two gave us many of our favorites too. Board games like Monopoly and Candyland became widely popular, as board games could be made inexpensively and encouraged cooperative play. Another popular toy born from the war years was G.I. Joe. After the war, and with the popularity of World War Two movies, G.I. Joe was manufactured to capitalize on the fascination of the American Boy with the military. In 1963, a total of four different Joes were made, one for each branch of the military, including an African-American variation in the army uniform.
Another popular toy born from the war was the View Master. Originally created by a Nazi sympathizer (who, in his defense, was just out to create an educatonal tool), the View Master was used by the US government to teach our boys how to identify planes with just a few celuloid prints and a bright light. The legend of the View Master travelled home with the soldiers, and it was turned into a popular toy by the end of the 1950s.
If you want to learn about the handmade toys of the war era, you can check out this US issue pamphlet, courtesy of the Ohio State Library System: https://cdm16007.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15005coll2/id/872
This was never more celebrated than the time during The Great Recession of 1937-1938 through the end of WWII.
I am unabashedly a history nerd, old movie collector, and a believer in the fact that America and her allies (when we aren’t bickering) can get through just about anything. History proves this as fact. Additionally, I’m one of those odd people who check and double check everything but also optimistically believe that truth, and justice will, in time, prevail. It’s my gift to see things rationally and also impractically believe deeply in grace, mercy, and humility, as my family before me has done. As I present today’s blog I’m going to tap into a bit of that impractically, practical, nerdly movie buff and present you with a great flick to watch. I’m also going to share some fun facts about books, radio, comics and movies.
Settle back, find a comfy chair, grab a family member (human or your pets LOL), and enjoy this classic movie from 1938. It assembles all my favorite movie ingredients, mystery, humor, sarcasm, a dash of romance and catching the bad guys before they get away! (time 1 hour 5 minutes) Danger on the Air stars Nan Gray, Donald Woods, Lee J. Cobb, William Lundigan, and was directed by Otis Garrett. It’s plot shows the behind the scenes at a radio studio where the murder of a rather important sponsor takes place. Who dunnit, why, and how will they solve the muder before time runs out…
As many of you already know, the rest of the team of Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody Family artists are also very big entertainment “nerds… or is it geeks” LOL? They love movies and books, old and new. We've been known to listen to old time radio shows! Many of the movies or movie series produced before and during WWII had been based on books whose popularity made them instant box office hits. Before we get into the lists of books that became radio shows and then movies, allow me to introduce you to two resources (besides youtube) for some entertainment gold. First, Comic Book Plus a veritable cornucopia of vintage comic books, comic strips, radio programs and general trivia about some of our favorite iconic characters. The second is the trusty Internet Archive. (Please don’t take my review of these website as a 100% approval of all that is on these sites, obviously with thousands of entries I cannot vouch for all of the content)
It is hard to choose between iconic stories that made both wonderful radio shows and also great movies. In fact the movie Danger on the Air was one of the “Crime Club” series from Universal in conjunction with Doubleday Publishing house. A series of 10 films about which you can learn more here: The Crime Club
Books that became radio serials and then made it to the big screen:
Dr. Kildare: Originally in pulp fiction written under the name Max Brand, Dr. Kildare went on to become a popular radio serial and eventually a film series by MGM.
The Saint: Leslie Charteris, created this wildly popular, smooth talking, devilishly handsome character in 1928. The books became a very popular radio show and then on to delight audiences in movie theaters. The Saint Strikes Back from 1939 is available for purchase on YouTube.
Though the “pulp novel’ market had just about run its course by the end of the war, that didn’t stop the American public from enjoying the adventures of larger than life heroes. Authors whose work is now very well respected, Agatha Christie, H. Rider Haggard, P.G. Wodehouse, O. Henry, and many more wrote, and often got their start in the pages of pulp magazines. In fact, many of the heroes then are still spoken of today!
Closely related to pulp novels were comic books. Comic books portrayed the same types of stories as pulp novels (and often with the same characters) in a visual format that both the young and old could appreciate. While they are most famous for superheroes today, in the ‘40’s, comic books covered a wide variety of genres and characters; science fiction, fantasy, crime, humor, and romance comics were extremely popular. They were a cheap form of entertainment that common folk could get their hands on; television was in its infancy, and radios were expensive, but you could pick comics off of any newsstand for just a few cents. For just a dime, you could escape our often drab, boring reality into a world of color and adventure.
One of the more popular comic book characters in the 1940s was Flash Gordon, created in 1934 by writer and artist Alex Raymond. Flash was a Yale graduate and an accomplished polo player, until he was informed by Dr. Zakoff of an imminent threat to the safety of Earth. Zarkoff, Flash, and his love interest, Dale, took off in a rocket ship for the planet Mongo. Flash battled numerous alien creatures in his never-ending quest to protect the peoples of Earth and Mongo from the evil emperor Ming the merciless. You can listen to the complete radio serial from 1935 by clicking below
A little closer to Earth was the Shadow. Street & Smith, a pulp magazine publisher, sponsored the Detective Story Hour radio series, which featured a sinister sounding narrator known only as the Shadow. The character proved so popular that Street & Smith decided to give him his own pulp series. Street & Smith hired Walter Gibson, author and illusionist, to write the first story featuring the character in April of 1931. The shadow was a crimefighter, and a master of the mystic arts, able to make himself seem invisible to his enemies. The Shadow prefigured the era of masked vigilantes, and was a prototype for characters such as Batman. The Shadow was eventually given his own comic book series, a daily newspaper strip and even a 15-part movie serial. Enjoy this playlist of the original Shadow radio series below:
And last, but not least, is a character whose popularity has rarely waned since his original appearance in Action Comics #1 in 1938: Superman! Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster back in 1935; the first character that can be properly called a superhero. The two shopped the story around to several publishers, until the company that would become DC Comics picked up the character. Superman has since enjoyed broad popularity and wide influence ever since then, and has appeared in television, movies, and radio. You can listen to the original Superman radio series from 1940 below:
I want to thank Ian Thomas Wilson and T.k. Wilson of Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artists for their help in today's blog. All of us really enjoyed the experience. I do realize that it is a bit late however, it was my intention to share some family entertainment for this weekend. Since we all are learning to function in a way similar to our WWII grandparents, it is my hope we can deepen our resolve to carry on in a way that will leave an important legacy.
During World War II rationing was just a fact of life. It was no simple thing to create the traditional family holiday. Regardless of social status, economic status, or what your faith traditions were, rationing was the same for all. Food, clothes, shoes, soap, just about everything we take for granted daily life was carefully used, shared, saved or collected. We thought we’d look a bit at how this affected the holiday plans. Inspiring us to perhaps look at how we can change our own outlook on the Holiday Season of 2020.
What, exactly, was rationing and why did government ration essentials? Good question!
The answer comes from the National World War 2 Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“Rationing involved setting limits on purchasing certain high-demand items. The government issued a number of “points” to each person, even babies, which had to be turned in along with money to purchase goods made with restricted items. In 1943 for example, a pound of bacon cost about 30 cents, but a shopper would also have to turn in seven ration points to buy the meat. These points came in the form of stamps that were distributed to citizens in books throughout the war. The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was in charge of this program, but it relied heavily on volunteers to hand out the ration books and explain the system to consumers and merchants. By the end of the war, about 5,600 local rationing boards staffed by over 100,000 citizen volunteers were administering the program.” www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/rationing The rationing program began in 1942, in part to prevent hoarding. (sound familiar?)
Naturally the program wasn’t perfect but it did keep the troops supplied with what they needed and the homefront, while struggling to find alternatives did their bit. I don’t remember hearing any of my relatives who were alive at the time, complain about what they had to do to win the war. I remember hearing one of my aunts say “we just got on with it” referring to the life on the homefront. If they needed to work around the lack of sugar or coffee they did so. I didn’t realize when I was young that some of my favorite things to eat at the holidays came about because of the rationing during World War 2. Then, like now in our current predicament with COVID-19, there are a lot of people learning to think outside the proverbial box with regard to the holidays. One thing is true of the WW2 era cooking and baking, nothing went to waste. For more information on rationing see www.history.com/news/food-rationing-in-wartime-america
I will get to the gift giving at another time but first I wanted to toss the blog to my daughter to discuss holiday recipes that were popular during the World War 2 era.
As happened in the Depression, the Christmas holiday was celebrated as a welcome respite from the grim world of the war. But with the shortages and staples like meats and sugar, Christmas looked very very different than it had in the past. What they were able to buy, they made it last for as long as possible. This resulted in what we would consider very odd foods, such as ham salad made with Jello. They did a lot of things with Jello… would’ve been a good time to take out stock!
One of the most popular recipes of course was cake. “War Cake” could be made with the smallest amount of ingredients, and in such a way that nobody would be the wiser. I first uncovered a recipe for war cake in the pages of “My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck”, a historical fiction book by Mary Pope Osborne as part of the Dear America series. Similar to American Girl, these books examined the lives and times of girls in significant points in American history, only aimed at a slightly older audience. This cake is similar to a rich, dark fruitcake, and only requires a handful of ingredients. You can find that recipe here: https://www.food.com/recipe/ww2-war-cake-1881
Another common cake recipe was one that has been enjoyed in my family for generations: Dump cake! A dump cake is a cake made from minimal ingredients, no eggs, no butter, no milk, and turns out SO GOOD. It is my birthday cake of choice (spread with some nice coconut frosting to make German chocolate cake) to this day. You can find that recipe here:
When fruits and vegetables were rationed, folks had to find new ways of getting a square meal, one of which was planting a victory garden. The US government issued several books and pamphlets to help people unaccustomed to gardening learn to provide for themselves. There were local victory garden committees to organize community gardening efforts and share resources. In addition to the nutrition gained from growing food, gardeners got the satisfaction of having grown the food themselves and taking pride in their work. Most of what was on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas during the war years was grown in victory gardens and canned, pickled or otherwise preserved by dutiful citizens. You can read up on victory gardens in this World War II era handbook: https://archive.org/details/victorygardensha00mack/page/10/mode/2up?q=1943+victory+garden
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a great influence and encouragement to the country during the Second World War. She created an entirely new attitude at the White House. A great proponent of what we now call recycling and upcycling. In the people’s house. Nothing was thrown away if it could be used to assist the war effort. No fancy lunches, just basic fare like the rest of America. According to History.com ““Eleanor wasn’t just choosing a cuisine; she was defining her role in the White House, and the food had to deliver the right message,” writes historian Laura Shapiro in the New Yorker. The First Lady wanted her kitchen to be a showcase for American foods and modern American ways of cooking them.” https://www.history.com/news/eleanor-roosevelt-white-house-menu-bad-food In an America where COVID-19 is changing how we Holiday we can certainly look to history for inspiration. For more on Eleanor Roosevelt check out https://www.history.com/topics/first-ladies/eleanor-roosevelt A big thanks to T.k. Wilson and Ian Wilson for their input into this article.