Left Behind

A small stack of paper sits on my desk today, all found after the removal of drawers from several pieces of furniture.


An old recipe for a coffee cake.


Three tiny cookbooks probably picked up at a grocery store. Two are from the 1920s; the Domino Sugar booklet gave customers more reasons to buy sugar with its tempting candy recipes.


Chocolate Popcorn in 1907?

This tiny Crystal Domino Sugar recipe booklet, dated 1907, lists “Butter, size of walnut.”  Another recipe in the booklet lists “Butter, the side of an egg” under the  ingredients. The King Arthur Flour website reports that walnut size equaled 2 tablespoons and size of an egg was 1/4 cup.

20-IMG_0189Jelke “Good Luck” Margarine Booklet

Dairy firms, especially in Wisconsin, fought to get laws passed to prohibit the coloring of margarine which was, originally, something like 80% beef tallow. I can understand why the dairy farms didn’t want beef tallow impersonating as butter.  Margarine use didn’t promise to cut calories, which it didn’t, of course, but as a less expensive alternative to butter. People didn’t find the white of margarine appealing. After all, it was basically a slab of fat,  so margarine companies came up with the idea to distributed a packet or capsule of yellow dye with the margarine. Which answered my question, why one would have to ask the dealer for the capsule? Now, it looks like it was a rather sneaky attempt to go around the law. In the U.S.A., sales of margarine increased during the Depression and then again during WWII.  Finally, in the 1950s, in America, the law changed to allow margarine coloring at the manufacturing plant.

My grandmother always called butter “oleo.” I never understood this. I can see why someone would call oleo “butter”…but the other way around? Well, I’ll never know the answer to that.


These three newspaper clippings from 1947 were found in the same piece of furniture. It looks like the basis of a mystery story, but unhappily, these pertain to a real event involving a midwife. I wonder what these clippings had to do with the owner of the dressing table.


The Best Find

Two engraved invitations to a September, 1908, wedding in Paris, and a colorful chromolithograph bread yeast advertisement.


How many oil cloth flowers produced $6,000.00 a month in 1947? I love this guy’s truthful response, don’t you?


This is a decoupaged double bed that I worked on this week. Double beds can be hard to sell, but this one is so pretty that I am hopeful it will find a home. I used wallpaper for the design.

6-IMG_0203Vintage clothing has taken over the workroom. It hangs on doors, from the arms of old floor lamps and on hangers from an antique coat stand. Now is not the time to sell clothing.


Peeking out the upstairs window tonight, I see the restaurants closed early. They have festooned the flower boxes with blue and purple lights to chase away the darkness. Are these the new colors of Christmas?

14-IMG_0129This is the tag on my Christmas lights. What? Do you think they are unsafe?


They look fine to me!


32 thoughts on “Left Behind

  1. The street you live on looks like it could belong in a miniature shop. Is it a new area ? Everything looks so perfect. I pictured your shop in a very old historic area. I love the bed and please be careful if you use those Christmas lights. We used that same type while I was growing up and they really get hot!
    Your find of old booklets and newspaper clippings is very interesting. I am sure there are several stories waiting to be told there.


    • Hello Joann,
      Those buildings, seen from my second story, were built in 1850. That’s right, 1850. The current owner has painted them pink, yellow and light green! That’s probably why they look new. Each of those old storefronts has a dug out dirt basement.


    • I like your blog, too, Derrick. I think the average American thinks they have a pretty good handle on what life is like in England from all the films and TV shoes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every time I read one of your posts, I learn something I didn’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ginene,

    Visiting you is like stepping inside a period piece, where the plot is always intriguing since on many occasions, it remains unresolved, as in today’s ‘episode’ entitled, ‘Left Behind’.

    We have two mysteries to solve today: why your grandmother called butter ‘oleo’, and whether your vintage Christmas lights are safe to use. Hmm…Time to further the plot, preferably with a tall, dark and handsome expert on all things vintage! Your charming street is the perfect setting, and you, of course, are the prettiest protagonist!

    Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy, I think my 1920s lights are completely safe…I’ve been using them for years! I don’t leave them on if I’m going to leave the room for a long time. I use my 1950s Christmas lights in the shop. To me, those are the colors of Christmas. Miniature lights don’t give me the same feeling. I must say, I am not in love with the new LED Christmas lights. Too bright! But times change and to someone who is young now, those will be the lights of their Christmas memories.
      Thank you for stopping by, Poppy. It is always nice to hear from you.


  3. The double bed is absolutely charming! And I have to comment also on the picture of the buildings across the street. Looks like your town is out of a Hansel and Grettel story book. Someone of the era can correct my spelling on that. What a find with all the clippings you uncovered. Isn’t that a great bonus of the job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denise,
      It does make it fun to find things inside a drawer or behind the drawers. You know how I love Paris, so I was enchanted when I found a Paris wedding invitation from 1908. Oh, I’m glad you like the bed. It is a 1920s or 1930s bed that was so scratched that I had to paint it, I experimented with the paint. I used Valspar Exterior Latex paint. I’ll use it again and again because there are quality levelers in the paint which means no brush strokes show.


  4. Hi Ginene,
    What interesting treasures! I’m sure you won’t have any problems selling the bed, it’s beautiful. Do you ever have regret letting go some of your pieces? I have my childhood string of Christmas lights, too, and have been wondering what I could do with them. They look similar to your sets, but have little red wooden beads between each bulb. They’re actually kind of pretty.
    I’ve been following the weather reports – try to stay warm and dry, Ginene!


    • The only thing I regret selling is art that I’ll never be able to find again. It is a mind set that goes along with selling, I guess. Things are just passing through my hands. But art…I would be satisfied to live in a room with nothing in it but art on the walls and some comfortable over-stuffed chairs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would love to look out and see that view, Ginene…I love the quaintness of old towns and the history behind them. The colors of the lights throw me! Still…very pretty!

    Your work sounds fascinating, finding all of these little treasures. My mother in law always called butter oleo as well. Then again my kids laugh because I offer guests “cream” in their coffee when it’s really “milk”! And the Pederson’s!! I’m sure they were on Easy Street once their business took off! I’m wondering if the oil cloth flowers turned into table cloths. Never heard of oil cloth flowers. Do you know what they mean?

    I love the bed. You do great work! I’m sure this will fly out the window!

    Are you getting your shop or home spiffed up for the holidays yet?

    I want to thank you for your last two comments. Very, very kind of you! I’m trying to get around more now that my hand is feeling better. Typing slow but I love to read everyone’s posts! :)

    Jane xx


    • Jane, I think they were cutting out colorful flower shapes from printed oilcloth. Perhaps, they wired them to stems and sold them as artificial flowers.
      I suspect that Grandma called butter “oleo” because they used oleo at home when she was a child. If your family served cream with coffee (and that’s what everyone did) it is naturally cream in your mind. I think the British use milk in their tea, but perhaps we’ve changed from cream to milk at home, because there are less calories from fat. Cream is better though, isn’t it?
      I had a friend who always called salad dressing “salad” and left off the word dressing.


  6. I have a double bed, and people keep telling me they are things of the past. Where on earth will I get new sheets? Why do they have to mess with a good thing? I live alone and don’t need a bigger bed. The pupsters and I fit just fine in this one. Love the $6000 bit! What finds!


    • Brenda, thank you for coming over to visit during your busy day. I get all my new (old) double sheets on eBay. Double sheet sets (top, bottom and two pillow cases) still in the packages, can be purchased for 25.00 dollars plus shipping. Sometimes, 10.00. The more cotton, the better, and get pre-1970, preferably 1940-1965. Brenda, you won’t need to find an on-going supply, a couple of sets will last a lifetime! I get my towels from there, too. Unused old-stock towels.


  7. So interesting….I’m a dreamer and my mind is turning with thoughts of “what if”. Love it. Chocolate popcorn! As a child I ate popcorn so much, it was my nickname. I still have a bag at least 3 times a week. :-). Ginene, The bed is absolutely beautiful!!! Love your choice of colors, the contrast and the design wallpaper is stunning. (again my mind is running with décor ideas for the bed). Beautifully done. I’m starting to pull out Christmas lights and décor myself, haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do this year. Have a good Friday, I think I’ll try some chocolate popcorn. Stay safe and warm!


    • Linda,
      I’m going to make that chocolate popcorn myself. That looks gooooood. I’m so glad you like the bed. I was happy with the way it turned out and I’ll use that paint again. It is freezing cold here in northern Illinois. I have to walk to the post office right now and I’m deciding what to wear.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish I could like your post 100 times! I’ m sure I will come back and read it over and over again. There are so many great things here. It makes me feel happy and nostalgic and Christmassy all at the same time. That bed is absolutely gorgeous. I love the style, the colors and the decoupage. Sorry, I sound like I’m gushing but this post has gotten so many happy feelings and creative juices flowing… those clothes!! I will stop but all those recipes and the invitation.. thank you so much Ginene for taking the time to share all these beautiful things and presenting them in your beautiful, elegant style. Im also excited to look back at all your holiday posts too, lol.


    • Cynthia,
      Well, I’m am completely energized by your comment! Now my creative juices are flowing and I will bask in the glow of it all day. You know how much I admire what you do…the first time I read about what you do and saw your house, I knew we were kindred spirits.


      • The thing about you is that you take things to the next level… You polish things beautifully with finesse and sophistication. I lack that ability, lol, and that is okay. I think it makes me appreciate and admire it even more when I see it in others …. It’s part of your style.


  9. Hey Ginene, I totally enjoyed this story. Seeing stuff like that always leaves my mind to wondering..I found an old valentine card in one of the purses I got at a flea market. it was so cute and dated 1947..I always wondered if the woman loved the card so much she always carried it with her. I had to chuckle at the measurements.. a walnut & an egg.. wow…. Ok.. but the clicker that had my eyes buck.. is the bed!! Girlllllll I love it.. you did a fantastic job.. Excellent look.. it is truly beautiful… you’ve got SKILZ!


    • Kim, oh, I bet the valentine was put in an empty purse to save it. I have been wondering what you and your sister have been creating with the new shop. I just love the outside of it and the front window. I saw a new post from you so I am going to go see what you are up to right now.


  10. The old recipes caught my attention… I have old recipes from family members that they wrote out in their handwriting. I always make my mom’s dinner rolls for special occasions. For this recipe, she gave lots of instructions, one full page (which looks intimidating) and a personal note on the back. “Think of me when you make these.” The note was dated 1994. My mom died in 2012. It brings tears to my eyes and of course, it makes me think of her as the aroma of baking rolls beckons me to an earlier time. Your post took me back to a different time. Thanks for the journey!


    • Debbie,
      I was just reading your last post when I saw you were here! Recipes are a huge part of the family experience. I teared up when I read what your Mom wrote on the dinner roll recipe…that was touching! Gosh!


  11. Wow! finding those old things in that dressing table had to have been like a little early Christmas! The wedding invitation for a wedding in Paris?!??!! How cool is that?? And it’s like an episode of “Dateline NBC” with those newspaper clippings about the midwife. VERY interesting finds!!!

    I’ve heard that story about margarine before. My Mother was a margarine freak back in the 60s and 70s. I swore I would only use real butter when I came of age and had my own place, and I have stayed true to that. Real butter, real cream…it’s the only way to go in my kitchen!

    If those Christmas lights from 1924 are still working just fine, I’d imagine they’re safe. I love the shape of them! What a great item to have!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am a Muslim and don’t celebrate Christmas, i love Jesus peace be upon him but
    Christmas was a pagan custom which was adopted into Christianity; it has nothing to do with reverence and love of Jesus, the mighty Messenger of Allah that we Muslims hold in the highest regard and respect. If Jesus were to come today, whether or not he would identify himself with those who celebrate Christmas is a question one should ask seriously.If we are celebrating the great teachings of Jesus or other prophets, we must do so everyday. To do so means to practice love, mercy, justice and compassion and to be actively engaged in doing the will of God…. May Allah bless you all. <3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Semra,
      I thank you for your comment and I enjoy exchanging ideas with you. I hope you understand the Christians now know Jesus wasn’t born in December and that this dark and cold winter holiday has its basis in a pagan festival. Who decided to celebrate Jesus’ birth in December is beyond my knowledge of history, but if I know the Catholic Church it was probably their idea at some point. (I am Catholic by the way.) I can’t speak for all Christians but whether we give thanks that Jesus was born in December or July just doesn’t matter. We are just blessed that He was born and celebrating His birth during the shortest, darkest days of the year, gathering together with family in church and at home has become a tradition that we hold dear. I hope our religions do not divide us as I believe that the best part of the Internet is the opportunity for people to learn from each other and grow in understanding. The fact that two women can talk about God together when they are thousands of miles apart and may never meet attests to the possibilities of peace and I feel safe in saying that Jesus would approve of that. Our cultures and our heritages are very far apart. But, we are women, with the same worries, hopes and dreams. This is universal. We are human beings. I hope we all end up very near to God.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” Surat Al-Baqarah [2:136]

        [And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, “Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path.But when Jesus felt [persistence in] disbelief from them, he said, “Who are my supporters for [the cause of] Allah ?” The disciples said,” We are supporters for Allah . We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the messenger Jesus, so register us among the witnesses [to truth].And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.[Mention] when Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ.Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters.

        Surat ‘Ali `Imran

        İ love Jesus peace be upon him <3

        n i love you dear sister , Thank you <3


  13. I love all of the treasures found in old furniture, how beautiful! I can’t believe a recipe for Chocolate Popcorn can be traced back to 1907, I thought I was on to something when I first decided to combine my M&M’s in a popcorn bag! Hope you are doing well!


  14. Ginene, this is prompted by the interesting pieces in your collection, the comments of Semra and your mature and informed response to it. Ferreting out things from old stacks and cupboards is an exciting exercise in that it suddenly brings to light those items deemed to be lost or lying in recesses of oblivion, and these gain a new lease of life in new figments or refreshing placements in the showcase of the present… the way you go into raptures about it really reveals the artist in you, Ginene… And the debate on Christmas… I am not a Christian myself; nonetheless, I have only fond memories of midnight masses that I have attended in yesteryears and the festivities that I have participated in. Any celebration is to be encouraged for the mirth and cheer it radiates. The only reservation one can possibly entertain these days is the absence of Christ in Christmas, what with all the excessive consumption of alcohol and splurging; it is the same with festivities in Islam or other religions. It is all ostentatious partying and wild merrymaking with genuine spiritual concerns mostly getting sidelined…best wishes…Raj .


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