Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Finally did some unpacking and got our tiny aluminum tree decorated. We plan to have a much bigger tree next year but the living room is an absolute wreck right now because we're in the middle of painting it & patching holes, etc. I wanted to make one spot nice for Xmas Eve so I managed to make room in our dining area. In a week or two the dining area will be painted (it's currently the same ugly gray/blue color that the previous owners left it) and I hope we can afford to get a rug soon.

The vintage Danish modern dining set was a recent local find. We were told that it was made in the '60s by Dyrlund and it came with 2 leaves so we can expand it if we need to. Best of all? The whole set (4 chairs & table) only cost us $150!!! The clock on the wall was my Xmas gift to my husband this year and the painting was done in the '60s by a Latvian artist named Jurjans who was a friend of the family.

Happy Holidays!!!

Xmas 2010 (Evening Shot)
Xmas 2010

The Aluminum Christmas Tree

Alumium Tree Ad (1961)
Tree Lady
Aluminum Tree Ad (1960)
Family & Tree
Alumium Tree Ad (1961)

Recommended Links:
- Season's Gleamings: The Art of the Aluminum Christmas Tree
- A History of the Aluminum Tree @ Go Retro
- How to Make a Miniature Aluminum Tree
- The Aluminum Tree Museum

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Trim-The-Tree Supper

I recently came across a recipe for a "Trim-The-Tree Supper" in a 1966 issue of Woman's Day that I thought I'd share. It's designed to feed a large group of 10-12 people and the ideas should be easy to recreate today.  I'm not sure how appetizing the "Hearty Seafood Chowder" or "Coconut-Grenadine Trifle" is but if anyone decides to try reproducing any of these recipes I'd love to hear how the results turned out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Napa's 2010 Holiday Candlelight Tour

Aluminum Xmas Tree

Over the weekend my husband and I made some time for Napa's 2010 Holiday Candlelight Tour. This year the tour showcased some beautiful mid-century homes in Napa's Monticello Park area. Here's some information about the area borrowed from the tour brochure:

"... The population explosion led to a post-war building boom, and the area in and around the City of Napa saw the construction of seventy-one subdivisions between 1946 and 1951. Though Monticello Park was part of this post-war expansion, these houses were much larger and more substantial than the nearly identical tract houses intended for working-class families. After its subdivision in 1950, the houses in Monticello Park were developed individually over the next 15 years. The ranch-style architecture that dominated the neighborhood was inspired by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, and popularized in the California Bay Area by famous builder Joseph Eichler. The rambling one-story homes of the Monticello Park area epitomized the rise of the suburbia in post-WW2 America. Wide streets accommodated the large cars of the era and huge lawns were perfect for families at play. Design features developed in California, such as large expanses of windows oriented to the back yard, were associated with the desire to bring the outdoors inside, and gave rise to the term "California Modern." The size, quality, and innovative features found throughout the neighborhood quickly made Monticello Park a desirable neighborhood for Napa's professionals and business leaders, especially those with growing families."

And here's some more photos I snapped.
1957 Red Thunderbird
Custom kitchen with vintage tile (1965)
Montecello Park Neighborhood
1965 Custom MCM Home
1964 MCM Home
1964 MCM Home
1951 Ford Victoria
1960 California ranch home

As locals, we really enjoyed the tour because it gave us the opportunity to learn more about our home town. Small details like finding out what kind of locally quarried stones were used on home exteriors and interiors helped us familiarize ourselves with aspects of Napa's architectural history that we didn't know anything about. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and helpful, which we really appreciated.

The tour organizers must have gotten a few ideas from the Sacramento Mid-Century Home Tour because they also had vintage cars parked outside each of the homes on the tour. This was a great idea that made it much easier for us to spot all the houses on the tour. The only disappointing aspect about the tour was the home interiors. Only one of the homes on the tour (an incredible and extremely unusual modern house designed by Grant Perkins in 1965) contained period furnishings and interior details that I really appreciated. The rest were more conservatively furnished. But many of the homes still maintained original features such as floors, etc. In a way this helped us focus more on the houses themselves instead of getting distracted by lots of designer eye-candy. We also didn't have the opportunity to really meet or chat with anyone besides the generous tour guides because we were trying to hurry a little so we could see the homes before it got too dark.

Overall we were just really happy that we got to see some more mid-century homes in Napa and learn about the history of the area. In conjunction with the Holiday Candlelight Tour, the Napa County Historical Society and Napa County Landmarks have organized an exhibit called "From Battleships to Apron Strings: How WW2 created Napa's Swingin' Fifties" on display downtown at the Goodman Library; 1219 First Street Napa, CA 94559 starting Dec. 14 and ending Feb 28, 2011.

I'm really excited about the exhibit and I hope it will give me the opportunity to learn more about my own neighborhood, which blossomed in the '50s. I've been trying to find more information about my home such as the builders name, house plans, etc. but the city hasn't been able to offer me much help. After I visit the exhibit I'll be sure to report back with my findings.

- My Flickr Gallery with more images from Napa's 2010 Holiday Candlelight Tour
- Local newspaper article about the event: Holiday Candlelight Tour visits Napa’s mid-century modern neighborhood

Friday, December 10, 2010

Xmas Tree Decorating Ideas From 1969

Christmas Tree (1969)

Here's some great examples of late '60s holiday decorating. All of these Christmas trees are from a 1969 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. I'm particularly fond of the white flocked trees. If you're looking for inspiration or ideas on how to give your own Christmas tree some swinging sixties flair these images might come in handy.
Christmas Tree (1969)
Christmas Tree (1969)
Christmas Tree (1969)
Christmas Tree (1969)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I've been so busy with work, holiday plans and home renovations lately that I've been neglecting to blog but I thought I'd quickly share a 1951 recipe for Wesson Oil's "Famous Fruitcake." I'm not all that fond of fruitcake myself but I'd like to try making this one someday. If anyone gives it a try I'd love to know how it turns out. Just click on the image to see it full size.

I plan to share a lot more holiday ideas soon. I recently got my hands on some old magazines with great decorating ideas and a lot more recipes. I just need to find some free time to scan them. Happy holidays!

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