Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Retro Christmas Crafts
Fill your home with mid century cheer this holiday!

Have you been thinking of adding a little retro charm to your holiday season this year? Here's a list of authentic Christmas crafts from the 50s and 60s that range from super simple, to slightly complex. So break out the scissors and glitter (and possibly a jigsaw) and let's get started!

Glamorize Your Christmas Candles (1953)

Candlelight adds a glow to the holiday season. Here's how to add an additional glow to your candles easily and inexpensively.

Items you'll need
Pillar Candles and almost any material at hand can be used to decorate candles that have an otherwise drab appearance, including stickers, ribbons, buttons, foil, sequins, beads, and old jewelry. The scrapbooking section of your local craft store would be a great place to look for decorative pins and adornments.


This is a great project for kids! Choose the candles you wish to use, thick pillar candles are best because they tend to melt inwards and they don't break as easily. Decorate your candles however you wish with the materials you have. Items can be affixed to candles using a glue gun or simple sewing pins. Remember, do not leave your candles burning unattended, especially if you decorate them with ribbons or other flammable materials. 

Easy Mini Christmas Trees (1953)

Production-line decorations are fine if you're in a hurry, but making your own is a lot more fun. When the whole family gets together to make its own holiday spirit, that's when real Christmas memories are in the making!

Items you'll need

Tinfoil, cranberries (or red beads), feathers, 12" tall Styrofoam cone and 4" x 4" Styrofoam rectangle, apple, evergreen branches, feathers, glitter, gold or silver ribbon, sequins, white glue, and a glue gun. 


Tree #1 - Cut a tree shape out of thick tinfoil. Let kids decorate them with cranberries or beads of their choice. Decorations can be affixed with a glue gun, but if you're worried about young kids burning their fingers you can use standard white glue.
Tree #2 -  Start by covering your rectangular Styrofoam base in a thin layer of white glue and then covering it in glitter. Dip the quill of each feather in glue and stick them into the cone with the underside of the feather up. If quill is weak, make a hole first using a needle. Make one row around the bottom of the tree with feathers 3" long. For the next 3" use feathers 5" or 6" long. Then finish with shorter feathers, using tiny ones at the top. Affix tree to glitter base using a glue gun. Decorate with sequins and glitter if desired.
Tree #3 - School-age youngsters can make this tree without any help. Short branches of fir are stuck into a cored apple and dotted with gold or silver bows. Tie the ribbons into bows directly onto tree branches (or let them decorate it however they want!) Nice for your coffee table!

Simple Christmas Tree Window Decor (1958)

Large, floor-to-ceiling windows offer wonderful opportunities for the "artist at home" to go to work.

Items you'll need

colored masking tape, paper, pencil.


These stately trees, each topped by a star, were inspired by the exciting array of masking tapes now available. Keep your design simple, sketch out your design roughly on paper (if you wish) then make it come to life on the window using strips of masking tape. 

Atomic Christmas Starburst (1958)

These easy to make wall decorations will make your home sparkle this holiday season.

Items you'll need

Wooden paint stirrers, wooden plant labels in different sizes, paint, glitter, glue, flat foam or wooden disk.


Another great craft for kids! Wooden paint stirrers and plant labels, available at any hardware store, are used to shape these smart wall decorations. Just paint the stakes any color you wish and decorate with glitter is desired. When dry, glue them to foam or wooden disk. If you can't find these materials at your local hardware store your local craft store will carry an array affordable wood working pieces in different shapes and sizes.

Miniature Decorative Tree (1958)

A festive coffee table center piece for added holiday cheer.

Items you'll need

12" Styrofoam cone, 4" Styrofoam disk base, green pipe cleaners, small piece of satin, small Christmas ornaments of your choice, glue gun, wooden stake or dowel. 


Using the wooden stake or dowel, affix the Styrofoam cone to the Styrofoam base. Wrap the base in satin (or any fabric you desire) and attach it with a glue gun. Attach the pipe cleaners vertically along the cone with your glue gun until it has been completely covered. Attach ornaments of your choice around the tree with your glue gun for added cheer. 

Festive Christmas Wrapping (1955)

Add to the gaiety of gift-giving by dressing up your packages with bouncy bows and funny faces.

Items you'll need

Wrapping paper, scotch tape, ribbons, bows, scissors, candy, tissue paper, stickers, buttons, old Christmas cards, and anything else you can think of!


Begin by wrapping your gifts the way you normally would. Use different sized bows, ribbon, old Christmas cards, candy, and anything else you can find to embellish the gifts and personalize them for each family member.

Open Circle Tree Centerpiece (1958)

This open-circle tree is light enough in scale and appearance to be used on your dining room table. 

Items you'll need

Heavy cardboard 36" long, mailing tubes, toilet paper tubes, gold foil or gold paint, colored paper, single and double-faced tape, glue.


1. Cut three strips of heavy cardboard, 36" long and 1.5" wide. Cut six strips 34.5" long and 1.5" wide. Cut three strips 9" long and 1.5" wide. 

2.Tape together one strip of each length to form a tall triangle.

3. Repeat step two, making three identical triangles.

4. Cut three strips heavy cardboard, 16" long, 1.5" wide. 

5. Mark these strips into 4-, 8-, 4- inch sections; score, fold, and tape into base of each triangle to form lower "shelf".

6. Cover completed triangles neatly with foil paper or gold paint.

7. Tape remaining three  34.5" strips together to form a 3 sided tube to which the three triangles can be taped in standing position to form a tree.

8. Cut tubes into 1.5" wide rings. Tubes can also be made in a variety of diameters from poster board.

9. Cover rings with colored paper and fit them into triangles. Fix in place with double sided tape.

10. Add folded paper or glass star to the top. Hang ornaments in some of the rings as desired

Spiky Starburst (1958)

This three dimensional star is as much fun to make as it is beautiful see.

Items you'll need

Several sheets of sturdy posterboard in colors of your choice, stapler, double sided tape, light weight paper sized 15 "x 30", lightweight cardboard 30" x 30"


1. Fold lightweight paper in half to make a square, as in fig. 1, and diagonally to make a triangle as in fig.2. Bring one folded edge to the other folded edge, keeping point sharp, as in fig 3.

2. Unfold paper, the creases should divide it into eight triangular sections meeting at the center of the bottom edge.

3. Make a dot 15" from center, left and right, on bottom edge, and on creases 2, 4, and 6 in fig. 4.

4. Make a dot 7.5" from center on creases 1, 3, 5, and 7 in fig. 4.

5. Connect dots to form half of an 8-ray star, fig. 4.                                                                  

6. Cut out star. Use this paper pattern to make a complete 8-ray star from the 30" x 30" cardboard. Cut out complete star.

7. From paper pattern, cut off two half rays (A in fig. 5), leaving three points.

8. Make eight tracings of this three point pattern on colored or white posterboard, marking each tracing at the point where creases meet on the original pattern.

9. Cut out the eight tracings. Using a ruler as a guide, make a long fold down the center of each of the three rays in each section. 

10. Fold each section around to form a 3-pronged arrowhead, as in fig. 6. Staple or glue the overlap.

11. With double faced tape, fix the eight sections onto the cardboard star, with points meeting at center. Hang on wall from star point with string, wire, or ribbon. 

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

  15 Fabulously Festive Mid Century 
Christmas Recipes

Tis the season to eat and be merry! Here are 15 authentic mid century recipes that will make you the retro star at all your holiday gatherings this year. Some of these recipes are much more involved than we may be used to now a days, so it's best to plan on making them a day ahead of time.


Cookies For Santa (1952)

When he comes down the chimney he'll love to find these tasty cookies, they're his favorite!


1 cup shortening                                                                                            1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup molasses                                                                                              1 tsp salt
2 cups sifted flour                                                                                         1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon                                                                                              1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins                                                                                                 1 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup chopped citron, candied orange and lemon peels

Slowly melt shortening and let cool. Add molasses and egg, beat well. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Put raisins, nuts and fruit peels through a food processor. Add to batter. Drop by teaspoons 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Marshmallow Cream Fudge (1957)

Chocolaty rich and luscious!


1 jar marshmallow cream                                                                      2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter                                                                                       1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt                                                                                           1 tsp vanilla
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips                                                     1/4 chopped nuts (optional)

Bring marshmallow, evaporated milk, butter, sugar and salt to full boil, stirring. Boil 5 mins over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted, then add vanilla and nuts. Pour into greased 8" square pan and chill until firm. Makes about 2 1/4 lbs of fudge.  

Chocolate Almond Crunch (1957)

Crisp combination of chocolate and almonds.


1 cup butter or margarine                                                                              2 Tbs instant coffee
1/2 tsp salt                                                                                                   1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla                                                                                                 1 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips                                                                   2 cups sifted flour 
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat over to 375° F. Blend butter, coffee, salt, almond extract and vanilla. Beat sugar in gradually, then flour. Add chocolate chips. Spread in ungreased 15" x 10" pan. Sprinkle and press almonds over top. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes. Cool, then break into irregular pieces.

Original Toll House Cookies (1957)

America's favorite, studded with big chunks of chocolate.


1 cup + 2 Tbs sifted flour                                                                      1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt                                                                                           1/2 cup butter or shortening
6 Tbs sugar                                                                                          1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp water                                                                                         1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips                                                            1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375° F. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and water and blend well. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Drop by half teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Yield: 50 cookies. 

Kangaroo Cookies (1957)

From Australia, tender cakes with lots of chocolate down under. 


1/2 cup softened butter                                                                  1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbs lemon rind                                                                          1 tsp vanilla
1 egg separated                                                                             1 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup water                                                                                1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs confectioners sugar                                                              1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375° F. Blend butter, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Beat in egg yolk. Add flour alternately with water. Add chocolate. Beat egg white until stiff but not dry. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar gradually until stiff and satiny. Fold into chocolate chip mixture. Spread into 8" square pan lined with wax paper. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over top at once. Cool. Yields 16 2" squares.

Dutch Treats (1957)

Glorious gift from Holland, dark chocolate spiced with candied fruits.


1 cup sifted flour                                                                                  1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda                                                                               1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup                                                                         1/3 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips                                                            1 tsp vanilla 
1 1/2 cups chopped candied fruit                                                             1 egg

Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda - set aside. Bring butter, corn syrup and sugar to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Beat in flour mixture, egg and vanilla. Drop by half teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle 1 tsp candied fruit over each cookie. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Yields about 6 dozen.


Christmas Jelly Poinsettia Cake (1955)

For those casual holiday get-togethers, be sure to server this elegant Christmas cake to your guests.


3/4 cup shortening                                                                                2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar                                                                                   4 tsp baking powder
4 egg whites                                                                                         1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla                                                                                    1 cup milk
Apple raspberry jelly (or whichever jelly you prefer)

Cream shortening thoroughly. Add sugar gradually and continue creaming until very light and fluffy. Add egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating until smooth after each addition. Pour batter into two well greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes. When thoroughly cooled, spread apple raspberry jelly between layers and frost with cream cheese frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 Tbs lemon juice                                                                          6 cups sifted confectioners sugar
8 ounces cream cheese                                                                    Apple raspberry jelly

Blend together cream cheese and lemon juice. Add the sugar gradually and blend thoroughly. Use to frost the top and sides of cake. Stencil the outline of the poinsettia on top of the cake with a sharp instrument. Pipe frosting along the stencil lines of the petals. Tint a small amount of frosting green and pipe decorative leaves on the sides of the cake. Heat the jelly slightly until it melts. Fill in poinsettia petals with liquid jelly. Decorate center with red cinnamon candies. 

Orange Cupcakes & Orange Eggnog (1955)

The perfect treat for tree trimming time!

Cupcake Ingredients

1 package white cake mix                                                                         1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar                                                                                          1/4 tsp almond flavoring
1 egg white                                                                                             1 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbs orange juice                                                                                   Mandarin orange sections

Prepare and bake cupcakes according to directions on the package. Combine egg white, orange juice and salt in top of a double boiler. Beat with electric mixer until sugar is dissolved. Place over boiling water and cook, beating constantly for 7 minutes, or until frosting stands in peaks. Remove from heat; add flavoring and beat until thick enough to spread. Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with coconut and top each with an orange section. Makes about 18 cupcakes.

Eggnog Ingredients

24 ounces (about 4 cans) orange juice concentrate                                                     2 quarts eggnog
2 quarts milk                                                                                                         1 pint brandy

Pour concentrated orange juice into a large punch bowl. Add milk and beat with electric mixer until blended. Stir in eggnog and brandy. Garnish as desired, makes about 25 cups. 

Spiced Plum Pudding (1955)

In most homes, Christmas wouldn't be the same without this eye-catching delicacy; it's easy to make!


2 cups sifted flour                                                                                  1/4 cup shortening, melted
1/2 cup sugar                                                                                         2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt                                                                                               2/3 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda                                                                                   1/3 cup milk
2 tsp ground ginger                                                                                1 cup raisins
1/2 tsp nutmeg                                                                                       3 cups mixed, diced 
1 tsp cinnamon                                                                                          candied fruit

Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add shortening, eggs, molasses and milk. Mix thoroughly. Stir in raisins and fruit, mix thoroughly. Grease and lightly flour a 1 1/2 quart pudding mold. Fill mold two thirds full with batter. Cover with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil. Place in a large pot and fill the pot with enough water to come halfway up the mold. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer at boiling for 3 hours, adding more water as needed. Remove from water and let stand a few minutes. Unmold on a serving plate and garnish as desired. Makes 12 to 16 servings. 

Christmas Belle Cake (1952)

Dazzling as a Christmas tree, light as a snowflake, luscious as a sugarplum! Here's a thrilling treat to set before your merry holiday guests, the perfect Christmas cake!


2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour                                                                         3 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt                                                                                                   1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening                                                                                      1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla                                                                                         1/4 tsp almond extract
4 egg whites                                                                                              1/3 cup sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/3 cups sugar. Add softened shortening, 3/4 cup of the milk, almond extract and vanilla. Mix until the flour is just dampened then beat with a mixer for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/3 cup of sugar until it's meringue. Add the meringue and remaining milk to the mixture and beat for one minute longer. Pour batter into two round 9-inch pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes or until done. Allow to cool completely. 

Yuletide Frosting

6 Tbs butter                                                                                     1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                                                                                     1 egg white
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar                                                           2 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbs grated lemon rind                                                              2 Tbs chopped raisins 
2 Tbs chopped nuts (any)                                                                  2 Tbs chopped canned cherries

Cream together butter, salt and vanilla. Add egg white. Add confectioners sugar alternating with lemon juice, beating well after each addition. Add lemon rind and beat until it's the right consistency to spread. Tint a delicate green. Add the chopped raisins, nuts and cherries to half a cup of the frosting and spread it between the cake layers. Frost the rest of the cake with remain frosting and decorate with red and silver sprinkles. 

Cranberry Tree (1958)

A delicious, old fashioned cranberry relish mold. Tart and sweet!


2 1/2 cups crushed pineapple                                                        2 packages cherry flavored gelatin
3/4 cup sugar                                                                              2 cups hot water
1/2 cup cold water                                                                       1-2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 cups ground, raw cranberries                                               1 small orange, ground
1 cup chopped celery                                                                   1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Combine gelatin and sugar and dissolve in hot water. Add cold water, lemon juice and reserved pineapple syrup. Chill until partially set. Add pineapple and remaining ingredients. Pour into a tree mold and chill until firm. Pipe softened cream cheese to decorate.

Yuletide Mold (1958)

Tastes like a creamy, refreshing avocado dip.


1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin                                                   1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup boiling water                                                                      2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp salt                                                                                  1 tsp grated onion
2 dashes Tabasco sauce                                                                   2 1/2 cups mashed ripe avocado
1 cup sour cream                                                                            1 cup mayonnaise

Soften gelatin in cold water; dissolve in boiling water. Add lemon juice, salt, onion and Tabasco. Cool to room temperature. Stir in avocado, sour cream and mayonnaise.  Turn into mold and chill until firm, at least 5 hours or overnight. Unmold on serving plate. Fill center with curly endive and tiny stars cut from pimento. Trim platter with orange sections. Makes 8 to 10 servings.  

Jack Frost Dessert (1958)

Inside this coconut frosted cookie igloo is a luscious fruit medley!


1 package of date bars                                                                              3 medium oranges
1 cup grapes                                                                                            1 ripe pear
2 over ripe bananas                                                                                  1 can pineapple bits
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries                                                         1 Tbs brandy flavoring
1 1/2 cups tiny marshmallows                                                                   1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup heavy cream, whipped                                                                      1 1/4 cups coconut flakes
gumdrop stars                                                                                          sugar bells

Break date bars into bite-sized pieces and spread on a pan; set aside. Prepare fresh fruits: Peel oranges and cut sections in half. Halve grapes and remove any seeds. Peel and cube pear. Peel bananas, cut lengthwise and slice. Combine fresh fruit, drained pineapple bits, cherries, marshmallows and brandy. Toss lightly and chill one hour. Arrange half the date bar pieces in an 8 inch circle on a serving plate. Mound fruit mixture on top, shaping like an igloo. Cover with remaining date bars. Over this, carefully spoon un-drained crushed pineapple. Chill about one hour. 
Before serving, frost entire dome with whipped cream. Sprinkle with coconut, covering completely. Stud with gumdrop stars and top with sugar bells. 

Cherry Candle Cake (1958)

Looks like Christmas! Light the candle and whisk this beauty to the table. When you cut the airy cake, folks will see the red flakes of cherry and the green layers of pineapple filling. 


1 package cherry cake mix                                                                   2 1/2 cups crushed pineapple
1 package lime flavored gelatin                                                            1 cup heavy cream, whipped
food coloring                                                                                     candy  bows

Prepare batter from cake mix and bake in a 10-inch tube pan according to package directions. Cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare pineapple filling. Drain pineapple, saving the syrup, and add enough water to the syrup to make 1 3/4 cups. Heat syrup mixture to boiling, add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Chill until partially set, then beat with electric mixture until light and fluffy. Fold in drained pineapple. Whip one cup heavy cream and fold into gelatin mixture. Tint a pale green with a few drops of food coloring. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture will mound when spooned. 
To assemble the cake: Cut cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate and spread with half the gelatin mixture. Add the second layer of cake and spread with remaining mixture, then top with the third layer of cake. Chill until the filling is firm, 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and tint it a pale pink with red food coloring. Spread it on the top and sides of the cake and adorn with candy bows. Place candle in center and serve. 

Coconut Snowman Cake (1958)

I'm Roly Poly the Snowman, and I'm all dressed up with a top hat and candy cane to make your holiday table a merry one!


1 box cake mix of your choice                                                                        1-2 cups of coconut
1/4 cup water                                                                                                1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla                                                                                                  2 egg white

Using a standard 9 x 13 rectangular cake pan, bake one cake according to the package direction. Allow it to cool completely. Cut according to the below diagram: Cut two squares each size  - (A) 5" x 5", (B) 3 1/4" x 3 1/4", (C) 2" x 2". Round corners and stack pieces as in illustration. Cut arms (D). Attach to sides of body with toothpicks. Fasten forearms (E) in position. 

Boiled icing: Combine sugar and water and bring to boil, stirring until it becomes a clear syrup. Beat egg whites until light and fluffy. Add syrup and vanilla to egg whites and beat until stiff enough to form peaks. Frost entire snowman and cover completely in coconut. Decorate with candy of your choice. Cut hat from black construction paper. 

If you try out any of these recipes please let us know how it went by adding a comment or photo below! 

Happy Baking!