A Valentine’s Day Surprise


My oldest daughter who lives with me enjoys having a surprise gift display which I’ll see as I go into the kitchen for breakfast.  This was on the table this morning as my Valentine gift.  I hoped to have better pictures with blue skies and sunshine outside, but by the time I got the camera, the skies had darkened and two to four inches more snow are expected within the next hour or two.

The trivet has her hand-embroidered piece of Dan Patch (an old  famous trotting horse) which she designed and the stitching is tiny, tiny.  The entire piece is only 3-1/2 inches square.


She included a custard cup for my growing collection of Harker Hot Oven vintage items.  It’s filled with some of my favorite chocolates.


Everything is setting on a vintage dresser scarf which my daughter embroidered and then added a crocheted edging.


Everything just goes together to make the most charming Valentine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

A Doll’s Valentine Party


When I went to the kitchen for breakfast on this Valentine’s Day morning, I found my little doll table all set for a party.   There was a decorated cardboard box for collecting cards, an assortment of 1940s era Valentines, a luscious looking cake and a box of Valentine chocolates – all miniatures made and assembled by my daughter.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

To My Valentine Cookies – a 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

This is a big, thick, old-fashioned oatmeal cookie.  It’s not fancy – just sweet and good.  With the lack of directions, I wasn’t sure until I had the dough mixed whether they would be drop cookies or rolled cookies.  I was glad the dough turned out to be very easy-to-roll so I could use my vintage heart cookie cutters.


  • Servings: 2-3 doz. depending on size of cutter and thickness of dough
  • Print

  • 2-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup oats (quick cooking)
  • ¾ cup margarine
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and oats.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla.

Add the whisked dry ingredients gradually to the creamed mixture and beat until blended.

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.

Cut out with 2-inch to 3-inch cookie cutters.

Place on greased cookie sheets, two inches apart.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown.

Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size. 

I also liked them with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before baking.

These cookies are also good rolled 1/8 thick and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and baked until crisp (8-10 minutes).

I like to think about this mother in the 1940s, having these cookies waiting for her kids when they came home from school with their penny Valentines.

Valentine’s Day in my February Kitchen

With the dreary weather we often get in February in southwestern Ohio, I’m happy to put up the cheery Valentine decorations that I’ve accumulated through the years.  The little red and white enamelware plate was from a set I had as a child over 70 years ago.

Most of the items were handmade by members of the family:  decorative painting on wooden pieces….

….some are quilted, appliquéd, crocheted.

Two pieces call to mind Valentine’s Day in the 1940s and my grade school parties.

The story of our Valentine’s Day celebrations at old Raschig School in the 1940s and a Valentine wall hanging are here

Cute Valentine Bookmarks

Karen at Sew Many Ways has a a great tutorial for a heart bookmark that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.


These literally take minutes to cut and sew.  The only change I made was to trim the seams and do some decorative top-stitching.  I made these to enclose with my Valentines to the family this year.

Red fabric is good for Valentine’s Day but I couldn’t resist making one in an animal print for a daughter who loves it.

The back has a little pocket which slips over the bottom corner of a book page to keep your place.

To accompany the bookmark and to help explain how to use it, I looked through my collection of vintage cards for something with a book and came up with this one.

I scanned it and added the caption, “A Valentine Bookmark just for you”.   The bookmark was slipped onto the bottom edge…

….and I wrote a personal message on the back of the card.

I think this will be a nice surprise as I continue the tradition of sending Valentines to special people.
This Valentine was sent to my mother by her first grade teacher in 1923

Scottie Valentine Silhouettes

Scotties are perfect for silhouettes and Scottie silhouettes are perfect for Valentine’s Day decorations.

I made this wall hanging with a vintage Christmas card as my inspiration.  I drew the various pieces on Steam-A-Seam Double Stick Lite Fusible Web, then fused them to the bits of fabric.  I cut out the various pieces of the design and arranged them on an applique mat before fusing them to the background fabric.  They were stitched in place with invisible thread and a narrow zigzag stitch.  I added some strips and borders to complete the piece and did some very simple quilting.

A few years ago, I made this wall hanging for the kitchen.

The background of the heart is a pretty scene from a calendar that was scanned and then printed on June Tailor Sew In Colorfast Fabric.  The Scottie also was inspired by a greeting card and was fused onto the piece and stitched with invisible thread.  The block is STATE FAIR from Judy Martin’s Stars and Sets software.

Last year, I made a hanging using a pineapple block with a center showing a silhouette of a 1930s era woman and her Scottie.

This was scanned from a vintage reverse painting on glass.

Scottie silhouettes are also good on greeting cards.  My daughter made these two cards for me on past Valentine’s Days.

I love Scotties, I love silhouettes and I love Valentine’s Day!

My January Kitchen Goes Dutch

As soon as the Christmas decorations are packed and stored, it’s time to bring out my Dutch collectibles.  I enjoy having these cheery, colorful, happy pieces arranged around my January kitchen.  They span many years and come from many different sources.  Most were gifts from my oldest daughter – some were brought home from her trip to Holland  such as the wooden windmill mold ….

… some pieces were bought in antique stores….

…some were bought years ago in a shop that specialized in gifts from Holland….

Some items are displayed just because I like them – a windmill that held crocus bulbs 30 years ago …

…old toy dishes….

…and one of my earliest quilting projects…

Some items never leave the kitchen, such as my daughter’s hand-embroidered piece…

…a vintage clock and spoon collection

…a granite ware covered cake dish…

….and my set of vintage spice jars, which I use daily.

I enjoy my Dutch collection through the month of January – and now it’s almost time to pack it away and get out my Valentine stuff!

School Days–Cincinnati–1930s-40s

The day after Labor Day in 1938, I began my education by entering old Raschig School in downtown Cincinnati.  I’m sure Mother must have pointed out the school to me many times before I started the first grade there.  It was just across Central Parkway from our first floor two-room apartment on Elm Street.  If we were standing on the street or even sitting on the front stoop, we would have been able to see the big red brick building and the heavy iron fence that surrounded it.

I remember the dress I wore on my first day of school because a picture had been taken the day before at the County Fair in Dayton, Ohio.  My grandma had bought it for me – a yellow silk dress with brown velvet ribbons and a full circle accordion pleated skirt.  This was before World War II when silk was the fabric of choice for special occasions.

I can remember Mother walking with me to my first day at Raschig and then suddenly being gone.  I don’t recall being particularly happy or unhappy – I was just there.  Because I hadn’t been to kindergarten, they put me in a class with kids who needed to be evaluated.  The teacher was a middle-aged lady and not particularly friendly  Soon after I arrived,  I noticed kids were passing around food for our mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.  One bowl held the most gorgeous purple plums.  I don’t believe I had ever seen plums before.  I asked the teacher if I could pass the plums and she was very brusque and said the children were chosen ahead of time and to go sit down.

Luckily, I left her class within a couple of weeks and had Mrs. Clark and a young student teacher who were wonderful.  I remember struggling with reading – it didn’t seem to make sense and then one day it all came together and I never had any problems after that.  I also struggled a little to make the cursive letters that spelled out Lillian.  We never did learn to print but went into handwriting immediately.

I looked forward to the stories the teacher read to us – “Lazy Liza Lizard”, “The Three Bears”, and particularly “Little Black Sambo” because I loved the description of the butter and the pancakes.

Ours was an inner city school but during the housing shortage of those war years there were many middle-class people living in the area with children going to Raschig.  Kids like Rollo, a black boy who always wore stylish knickers and argyle knee socks and appeared to come from a well-to-do family as well as a girl named Mary Jane and another girl named Patty Lou (double names were big in the 1930s).  Our family was about middle-ground economically – there were kids much poorer – Dorothy, Mary Lou, and poor Otto, a raggedy boy whose shoe soles flapped as he walked.

This was a Valentine I designed one year to show Rollo, Otto and myself in our classroom

Those Raschig years were good for me – I did well in school, the teachers seemed pleased with my work, I thought most of the kids liked me, nobody bothered me except for teasing occasionally about my long finger curls and I never took that seriously.  When I was 9 years old, I jotted down a poem about school starting again at old Raschig.   I never did outgrow my love of school.

Poem by Lillian (9 years old) – August, 1942

I love to go to school
And see the teachers dear
There to teach us children
All through the year.

I love to go to school
To learn to write and read
And there to learn to be
Very good indeed.

I love to go school
Because it’s so much fun
For when I have gym
I sometimes get to run.

I love to go to school
Way up into June
For you see I am so anxious
School will be starting soon.

In autumn when the leaves are falling
We hear the children’s voices calling
I think how glad they must be
To go to school the same as me.

Dolphin Bakes Valentine Cookies


Granddaughter Dolphin (4-1/2) came for her weekly visit and she made some beautiful Valentine cookies.  While I started the mixer for our old standby recipe for butter crisps, she waded through my big copper breadbox of vintage cookie cutters.  She came up with three heart-shaped cutters and was soon rolling out dough and cutting cookies.


I helped her get the cookies onto a baking sheet and she was able to paint with an egg wash and decorate without any help from me this time.  She was very discreet with the colored sugar and didn’t have mounds of the stuff on the cookies as she and her brother have done in the past.


She brought four buddies along with her – a stuffed cat named Ruby and 3 giraffes, all named Buford after the famous Civil War general and bought in Gettysburg.



The cookies were beautiful little Valentines when they were finished and Dolphin was very proud.  She ate just one and took the rest home to her parents and big brother.