Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ration Recipe Directory

I've put up a new tab called "Ration Recipe Directory". I thought it was time to organize the recipes from my "Project 52: Rationing" project according to type to make it easier for you to find the one you want. As I make new ration recipes in the future, I'll add them to the list too.

I hope you keep coming back to try a ration recipe or two!

Check out the final post of my project to see which recipes I tried were the top 10 best and top 10 worst recipes if you want to have a good place to start.

Project 12: Sewing - 18th Century Girl's Shift

For February's goal I wanted to finish my 5 year old daughter's 18th century shift I had started a month or so ago. It's been nice finishing up all these loose-end projects. And the most important part?I made the deadline! Hooray!

I actually ended up making 2 shifts. From the start I want to say that I am not going for 100% authenticity here. As I'm starting a new time period, the important thing right now is getting us outfitted and ready for going to an event in period clothing, and the thought of hand-sewing all of our clothing is a bit much for me! So, both of these are machine stitched and since these are underclothing where not much of it will be seen, I felt totally justified in cheating. haha!
(Oh my gosh - I never would have said such things 15 years ago as a Civil War reenactor! I think I was a bit of a snob...)

Don't get me wrong. Authenticity is important, but as I've learned over the years, everyone goes at this hobby from their own level and as they can afford - which is a huge factor.

Okay! So, this first shift is actually a Tea Dress brand dress that I found at a thrift shop. It's such a cute dress, but the collar was always too wide for my girl's shoulders. It's a simple yellow cotton, so I thought I could modify it to become a shift. I just turned over the collar, threaded in a narrow cotton tape and was done! Hands down the easiest project ever! But I didn't feel right in calling it good for this month's challenge. So, on to the next shift!


Here is the shift I made from Mill Farm Patterns' 18th century girls' shift pattern.

You might notice that the body of the shift is on the bias. It's on the bias not because the pattern called for that, but because I was making this shift from an old white linen bias skirt I had and then just added on sleeves. It's kind of strange on the bias. but it works though!


 These gussets gave me a world of trouble. The directions weren't clear enough in telling which way to turn the gusset to attach it to the other side of the sleeve and then the body of the shift. I figured it out eventually though. My experience in making shifts before definitely helped, but a beginner might be a bit lost! The pattern for the shift was just two different sets of measurements to choose from and a drawing. Nothing too detailed.

And here is the shift on my little girl! I didn't have enough length in the skirt for growth tucks, but this is just a make-shift shift (haha!) and I'll probably just make her a bigger one later on down the road.

February's Project
Clothing: 18th century girl's shift
Fabric: 100% linen

Saturday, February 21, 2015

WWII Ration Recipe - Eggless Applesauce Cake

Today it was blizzarding outside and our old house is a bit chilly, so baking a warm, comforting cake seemed just the thing to do this afternoon! My goodness, how I've missed cooking ration recipes and posting about them! In fact, I had just announced to my husband I was going to make a new ration recipe (and I was all happy and bubbly about it) when he said, "Aren't you supposed to be working on your sewing challenge instead?" haha!

He's right! I've been working on my daughter's chemise and while it's a simple thing to make, those darn underarm gussets get me every time! So, it's still in progress.

Anyway, on to the new WWII ration recipe! I'm not going to be posting anymore of the tutorials or do much historical background, but I'll still post a picture of the finished product and the recipe so you can try it for yourself. I probably won't try anything too crazy again, not unless it's irresistible! haha!

Today I flipped open the February 1944 H-for-V booklet and immediately found this Eggless Applesauce Cake with raisins and nuts that sounded perfect! You should read the other stuff too about "Food Front Flashes". I especially love the updates on crop yields on the left. It's good to know! :-)


The weird thing about the recipe is that it calls for 2/3 cup sugar, but in the directions it says honey instead of sugar. I used the honey and liked the flavor which seemed to complement the applesauce. I also used a chunky applesauce which was very nice!

I put the cake in my recently acquired bundt pan. I sure could have used a bundt pan last year during my project!

Look how pretty it turned out!

 The cake was rich and moist.

I made a raisin butter sauce to pour on top. It was really good. Hubby was impressed, and even my 5 year old little girl who abhors raisins or nuts ate the whole thing. It must have been good for her to agree to do that!

Eggless Applesauce Cake with Raisin Butter Sauce
About the Raisin Butter Sauce: I had super crystallized raisins, so I boiled them in water that just covered the cup needed for the recipe. I drained the raisins and then added them to the batter, reserving the raisin water. Then I heated the raisin water to simmering, added a big knob of butter, a few pinches of salt, then mixed a tablespoon of cornstarch with about a 1/4 cup of powdered sugar which I whisked into the raisin/butter water. It thickened up into a nice sauce and it was quite lovely on top of the cake!
I just couldn't let all that good raisin water go to waste! :-)

Give it a try!

And Happy Lunar New Year!! (a day late)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fake Food for History

Yeah, It's been a little quiet around here. Sorry about that! It's been part hibernation due to wintery weather, part busy birthday season in our family. This week I'm hoping to finish up a chemise for my 5 year old little girl to post about.

In the meantime I wanted to share an article my step-mom shared with me about a woman who makes fake food for museums. You may have seen fake food when you've gone to historical museums. I've wondered a time or two where they get the food and I'll admit in my inner thoughts I made fun of it because it's fake and sometimes silly-looking in such a static environment.

After reading this article, though, I've gained a greater appreciation for this obscure art for creating fake food to compliment historical homes and museums throughout our country in helping to educate and create a certain atmosphere.

Wonderful stuff!

To read the article go here.

One last thing - I recently found a wonderfully talented woman that drafts 18th century corset to your measurements and she can make them lace front AND back (hooray for not feeling claustrophobic)! I'm super excited because of all the corsets out there, the late 18th century ones intimidate me the most. But if I'm going to make my Rev War clothes I have to have a corset first. Now I just need to get her my measurements...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Project 12: Sewing - 1940s "Swing" Dress

Sewing this dress was fraught with frustration! I stumbled on the step for the shoulders (again), the sleeves didn't fit and therefore when I thought I was done, I wasn't because if you can't get the dress on over your head, then you're not done are you?? And then I ran out of thread. Aack! But I survived. 

I'm just pleased that I finally made the 2nd deadline I made for myself! Well, it's not completely finished - I need to sew in the snap tape and hem the skirtline, but other than that, it's done! I plan on doing the rest this afternoon.

Here is my dress in disgrace. I should have taken a picture before I ripped out the sleeves that were too small. Apparently my body doesn't conform to standard sizes. Ha!


I'm even wearing my '40s hat!
And the dress has shoulder pads
(my '80s self is still in denial about it)
Here is the dress with finished sleeves that fit! I'm hiding the side that still needs the snap tape. Also, I need to find a more serious '40s-style brooch. I'm not sure exactly what they looked like then, but I'll do some research and then go hunting at an antique mall. Oh, goody!! :-)

I'm not sure about this style of dress on me. I can definitely see why girdles were so popular for smoothing out the curves. I could use me some of that! Haha! The pattern itself wasn't too difficult, except for the shoulders. I'm pretty sure the drawing in the pattern is inaccurate. It caused me a world of anger and frustration and if I was a cursing person, I would definitely have used a few choice words. Luckily, I restrained myself.

I used rayon for the fabric and it was pretty nice to work with - it stayed put where I pinned it and took a bit of abuse when I ripped out my sleeves. (I was pretty mad, okay?!) The only downside is that rayon does not like to be ironed.

I'm finding that this sewing challenge this year is not going to be as simple as my ration project last year. Sewing is a different ballgame altogether and more of a test of my patience and perseverance. It'll be good for me though! I'm looking forward to working on something for someone else - like a nice and simple shirt for my son. He's going through a growth spurt right now, and, by golly, he better not outgrow the shirt I make for him by the summer!

January's Project
Clothing: 1940s "Swing" Dress
Pattern: Sensibility.com
Fabric: 100% Rayon