Nostalgic Home

A Vintage View of Homekeeping

My thanks to everyone March 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — LotusMama @ 7:57 am

It’s been almost a year and half since I started this blog. It’s changed a bit in that time but more or less it has stayed the same, with the same focus and goals – to bring a little more hominess to home life.

Life, though, doesn’t stay the same (no matter what, right?). For now, I’m going on a blogging hiatus to focus on some other things that need attention.

I appreciate every one that has stopped by, left a comment and let me share my thoughts with you. It’s really been an amazing experience and I’m very grateful for all the new friends I’ve found in this great blogosphere. I’ll still be around, checking out other blogs and keeping in touch.

All the best, Kimberly Ann


Back in a jif… February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — LotusMama @ 7:24 am

I have a few things happening today and tomorrow so I’ll be back here on Thursday. See you then.


Burger joints gone wild February 20, 2009

Filed under: Random Thoughts — LotusMama @ 9:39 am

On Presidents’ Day, we took advantage of hubby being home and we headed out for lunch at a local burger joint. In our town, this place has been around for a really long time; a very small, shack-like place that touts “homemade soup & pie”. Since watching the movie “Waitress” I have been on a quest for a local pie diner, so I thought it was worth trying it out and getting a slice.

Now granted, it was on a holiday, so that might account somewhat for the crowds, but the place was packed. This little tiny place was filled to capacity; we were lucky to snag a table while we waited in line to order. The prices weren’t cheap – no 1950s cost to match the classic cars nostalgia. Hubby ordered a french dip, NR went with a hamburger and I went with chili fries. Hubby’s dessert was a chocolate shake while NR and I tried pie (apple crisp and coconut cream respectively).

I’d love to say that this little place lived up to the hype and that the crowds really were on to something, but it was just so-so. My chili was ok, but the side of sour cream had a moldy taste. The fries were excellent but the pie was not. It was a homemade crust and wasn’t bad (needed a bit more salt) but the filling was lumpy and gritty. Word from Hubby was that the shake looked like chocolate but didn’t taste like chocolate and the french dip was kind of all dried out.

So assuming that we had a representative meal at this long-standing stand, what is the attraction? The prices aren’t cheap. Sure, you can get a burger and a shake there but nothing to write home about (but apparently enough to blog about). Why was this little place packed on a Monday afternoon with folks dropping twenty bucks for lunch?

Well, the only reasons I can come up with are:

  1. Hubby and I have absolutely no sense of what is good
  2. The diners have no sense of what is good
  3. Nostalgia trumps taste.

Now, it is certainly possible that number 1 is at work to some degree, but it’s kind of hard to believe that dried out hamburgers would warrant the high prices that people would pay. I’m going with number 3 – I think people are hungry for those diners and stands from the past.

The interesting thing is that I’m not so sure people are going to this stand because they have fond memories of hamburger stands in their youth. There were a few older folks there but by and large it was younger people with families. I would say that most of these people were in their thirties (or younger) so I’m guessing that their history of burgers was at McDonalds of the 1970s and 1980s. That alone might cause someone to seek out a hamburger stand for the chance at something fresh, but what keeps people coming back?

Our area has a few famous hamburger stands that have been going strong for years. People line up for burgers, grease be damned, and they are willing to wait upwards of an hour for their burger in busy times. Some of these places must make good burgers but really, I have to think that nostalgia is playing a big part in all this. People want a taste of a time that they perceive as simplier, more wholesome – a time when eating red meat was the norm, when drinking shakes was perfectly healthy and when homemade pie with whipped cream was the way to end a meal. Sure, we can come up with some theory about how scary the economic times are for many people now and that we’re all craving comfort food, but I think it is simplier than that. I think hamburger stands, diners and pie shops have been stamped into our brains as a place where you can feel good while you fill up.

Like my quest for the mythical grail – the pie diner – I think those folks on Presidents’ Day were paying six bucks for a burger to find something beyond food. We nostalgic eaters are searching for some feel good among the fries. Something that reminds us of the countless sitcoms we grew up with, the Norman Rockwell Americana that feels really good, the satisfaction to be found at the bottom of glass of milk and an empty pie plate.

For me, I haven’t had the experience of really finding that place, that diner with the good coffee and the sassy waitresses that call everyone “hon”, the burger joint that serves nirvana on a bun, that greasy spoon place with the best home fries ever. Do these places exist, somewhere? I’d like to think they do, but I’m not sure. For some folks, the little burger joint in my town is that place – they are willing to plunk down the cash for a seat in the crowded little room, to savor a basket of chili fries.

Me, I’m still looking.


Bird Brain February 18, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Crafting,Garden,The Great Outdoors — LotusMama @ 9:03 am


Originally uploaded by shorter.chip

I’ve had robins on the brain lately. It must be my impatience for spring because I’m definitely not a bird lover. But there is something about robins that I enjoy.

The robins that hang around in Washington don’t look like this fellow (at least not the ones I’ve seen). They are bigger, less “puff ball” shaped, and have a deeper red breast. I have to say I like this little guy better. I found him on flickr and I think he might have been photographed in Ireland.

So I’m keeping my eye out for signs of life and hoping some robins make their way to my yard. I’m planning on bringing some robin designs inside too, either with embroidery or photo transfers – something crafty, which hasn’t jelled in my mind yet.

Next time I’m at the store, I’ll find some of those blue-shelled malted balls that are already on the shelves for Easter and make some of these Robin’s Egg cookies.

Yep, definitely have some bird on the brain.


The stuff of stars, bits of George Washington and feeling stupid February 16, 2009

Filed under: Random Thoughts — LotusMama @ 8:53 am
Tags: , ,

I’m someone who always likes to learn new things. I’m constantly sucking in information, finding out the newest ideas, the latest theories, the hows and whys of our world. I railed when Pluto was demoted from planet to “dwarf planet” and I cheered when I heard about “nanodiamonds” and their role in possibly curing cancer. I’m not out there following Science journals or taking in seminars at Cal-Tech, but I do keep my ear out for interesting stuff.

Unfortunately, such information can make me feel stupid. Case in point: we watched a new National Geographic series last night called “Known Universe”. It is amazing and anybody who has the National Geographic channel should try to catch it because it will blow your mind. The advances that scientists have made in learning about the universe in just the last few years are absolutely unreal. It’s the kind of information that makes you go “Wow, I am so stupid. There is no way I could study this stuff and come up with these kind of conclusions. Thank goodness there are smart people in the world.” I mean these people are colliding atoms, watching the flickering of stars to find new planets and calculating that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth, and I struggle to follow a recipe (that was 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, not 1 whole cup. Doh!)

Anynerd, it is a fabulous show, not to be missed. The best part of the episode we watched last night (Biggest and Smallest) is the information about where all the matter on Earth comes from. Every molecule of every tree, person, rock, coffee cup and pizza box comes from exploded stars. We – all of us, animals, plants, cars, orange juice, Tickle Me Elmo – owe our molecules to an ancient star that blew up and sent the building blocks of the universe to us. Now whether you believe in religion or not, the idea that everything around us and in us came from some long ago star is a pretty amazing, awe-inspiring idea. The lowliest piece of cardboard and biggest diamond in the world come from the same place. Talk about leveling the playing field. Nothing is above or below being made out of stars.

Did that bake your noodle? Yeah, me too. Here’s another tidbit that will make you wish you had paid closer attention in High School science class. Every molecule, every atom is continually recycled. There are no new atoms being created. Everything around us (as we know from the star stuff) has been here a reallllllllllly long time. So when you take a sip of water (as the show described), you are likely drinking in oxygen atoms that were swirling around in dinosaurs, in famous folks – perhaps George Washingon, Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. (Wondered how I was going to get the Presidents’ Day reference in, weren’t you?)

So not only are we made of exploded star guts, but we’ve also trekked around in T-Rex and Old Hickory. Honestly, I can’t wrap my mind around this stuff. I won’t even attempt to share the amount of galaxies that are out there in the universe, the size of the big stars compared with our dinky sun or the real distance between our own “local” planets. All I can say is “I feel really stupid” and really grateful that there are people out there who devote their lives to finding out the science behind questions like “how did we get here” or “are there other worlds with life in the universe”. (Battlestar Galatica fans, Star Trekkies and other Sci-Fi followers – keep the faith.)

So on this Presidents’ Day, my mind is swirling in the cosmos and at the atomic level. I’m thinking about how important science is to our future and I’m grateful that our new president recognizes this. I’m also wishing I had been a better science and math student and that my teachers had inspired me the way this new series has done. And I’m also really grateful for smart people.


And speaking of love… February 12, 2009

Filed under: Crafting,Jane Austen — LotusMama @ 9:00 am
Tags: , ,

I just had to share my Darcy and Elizabeth pillowcases with you. darcyelizpillowsAwhile back (like last February), I found these great vintage pillowcases with crochet trim at the thrift store. They’ve been hanging out in my craftroom since then, until I started reading Kayte Terry’s Complete Embellishment. In her book, Ms. Terry has a pattern for “Lord and Lady” pillowcases, which are silhouettes with an oval border, appliqued to pillowcases.

Being the cross-over fiend that I am, I thought it would be fun to make a Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet set since my Jane Austen book group is reading Pride & Prejudice at the moment. Besides, they top my list of fictional lovers so why not whip something up around Valentine’s Day?

I dusted off those pillowcases and went about making my own felty versions of the silhouettes. My version has more applique going on – I added a third layer, leaves and flowers, and buttons. My shapes and colors look more like Mod Squad 20th century than Regency England, but I’m ok with that. These pillowcases are cheerful but for decoration only (who’d want to sleep on buttons – talk about pillowface…)

Here’s a couple of close-ups of Liz and Darcy:

elizpillowdarcypillowMr. D ended up a little askew on the pillowcase, but that actually makes me chuckle – the “real” Mr. Darcy would be aghast at being improper, but with his Elizabeth, he’ll suffer even this.


Give a little bit of your love to me…. February 11, 2009

Filed under: Gifting,Holidays — LotusMama @ 9:08 am
Tags: , ,

Originally uploaded by * ire *

Gorgeous, aren’t these? Normally, Valentine’s Day decorations can look like cupid threw up all over the place but there is something about this collage that I found on Flickr that I really like.

For those of you who may have forgotten, V Day is Saturday, February 14 (yep, right after Friday the 13th this year, bwhahahaha…).

I love Valentine’s Day and I hate it. I love it when family and friends express how much they care for each other, genuinely sharing that love with homemade valentines, simple tokens and plain old hugs & kisses.

I hate it for sateen boxer shorts with would-be witty sayings silkscreened across the rear, plastic flocked roses, corpulent cherubs piercing anything that moves, and “naughty” nightgowns. That’s not my idea of sharing love. Bleh.

This year, NR made our Valentine’s tokens and our little cards. Nothing fancy, nothing showy and nothing involving sateen or cherubs. I think our family will like them.

We’re also going to be showing our love by making a donation with MissionFish (via eBay) to a non-profit of NR’s choosing. We’re going to sit down, go through the list of charities and choose a group that means something to him. Our donation won’t be a large one (I wish we could do more) but it’s a small token of care and a way for him to see that love doesn’t have to be just for those close to us.

I’ll close this post with my favorite band, The Goo Goo Dolls. I can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day song than this. Happy V Day, everybody!