New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Your Home and You" - Circa 1962, Spice Chiffon Cake Recipe

Check out this gorgeous chrome Sunbeam Mixmaster that we've acquired! Lucky you if you have it in my fave colour, turquoise of course, although the pink and yellow models are pretty yummy too. Then there's white. This Mixmaster was made sometime between 1957 and 1967 and was the first Sunbeam model to feature 12 speeds and was the last of the classic models.

Okay ladies what time is it? Time to don your vintage aprons, set your kids in front of their paint-by-numbers and ready yourself for a bit of baking with your shiny new (vintage) Sunbeam Mixmaster! This recipe ("adapted from a recipe by Betty Crocker of General Mills") appears in a great book from 1962 called "Your Home and You" published by The MacMillan Company of Canada "for students of home and family living". Enjoy!
Miss P


2 layer cake, 350 F, 30-35 mins
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar

1. Heat oven. Grease round layer-cake pans 8 x 1 1/2 inches. Dust with flour. Put egg whites and yolks into separate bowls. Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in 1/2 c. sugar. Continue beating until very still and glossy.

2 1/4 c. sifted cake flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. each, nutmeg, all spice, cloves
1/3 c. salad oil
1 c. milk

2. Into another mixing bowl, sift remainder of sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add oil and half of milk. Beat 1 minute, (mixer at medium speed or 150 hand strokes). Add remainder of milk and ulnbeaten egg yolks. Beat 1 minute more. Scrape bowl often. Fold in meringue. Pour into pans. Bake. Frost with Orange-Butter Frosting, or use your Mixmaster for the Vanilla frosting!

ORANGE-BUTTER FROSTING (Uncooked) For 2 layer cake

1/4 c. butter or margarine
Icing sugar, about 2 c.

1. Cream table fat. Add 1 c. icing sugar. Continue creaming.

3 T. orange juice
1/8 t. salt
2 T. grated orange rind

2. Add these to the sugar mixture. Then add enough more sugar to make the frosting suitable for spreading. If you wish an especially thick covering of frosting, use 1 1/2 times the recipe.

FROSTING (Made in Electric Mixer) For 2 layer cake

2 egg whites

1. Put into smaller bowl of electric mixer.

1 c. sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/8 t. salt
5 T. boiling water

2. Put these in a saucepan. Heat to a rolling boil. Start the mixer at high speed. At once pour the hot syrup gradually into the egg whites. Then reduce mixer speed to medium.

1 1/2 t. vanilla

3. Add vanilla. Continue beating until the frosting is thick enough to spread.

Traditions of Yore

Today we are gifted with an extra day. Exactly how much of a gift it is depends, I suppose, on the kind of day you're having. It is Leap Year Day. In eras past it might have been anticipated with terror by those Peter Pan type fellows who suffered from terminal bachelorhood.

Leap Year Day has long been viewed as the one day of the year it is socially acceptable for a woman to propose marriage to a man.

There is no record as to exactly how and when this tradition started though it is a fairly wide held belief that it began as early as the 5th century in Ireland. According to legend St. Bridget, modern feminista that she was, complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait and wait and wait for a fellow to propose to her. St. Patrick, likely with a roll of his eyes, then declared that those yearning females could propose on this one day of the year.

Much has changed over time. Women are free to propose to their men at any time of the year without fear of the backlash of disdain and social ostracism. Well, from everyone else except their committment-phobe guy. We can also vote now!

As depicted in postcards and greeting cards popular in the early 1900's, a few pictures of which we found online for your amusement, artists obviously took great pleasure in depicting this day as one to be feared by bachelors. The women were often portrayed as comical and desperate looking characters with exaggerated features. The men were portrayed as trembling creatures or totally unsuspecting as they were about to fall victim to one of the many creative traps set by spinsters.

I haven't come across these cards anywhere in my travels but they can be considered a whimsical collectible. Not of great value but an interesting conversation piece.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gotta Have It Now Treasure ... Turquoise!

When we made the decision to move to 515 Osborne we didn’t realize how much shopping we needed to do to fill our new home! So, ever the brave ones, we faced the challenge head-on. Now, before I wax poetic about what we found, I have to say that both Kathy & I have developed the most powerful affinity for vintage turquoise – our new gotta-have-it colour. You'll see deep turquoise on our ChiChi Powder Room, you'll see it peppered throughout the store. And isn't it funny that once you get something, you see it everywhere? Like buying a blue Toyota Rav4, then driving by several on your way home. I even thrilled to see a version of it in the new Campbell's Soup commercial with the 2 boys in the vintage inspired kitchen (much like our Kitsch'n).

So imagine our thrill with what we found – a plethora of Midwinter Cassandra dishware! Never before had we clapped eyes on such an extensive collection, a veritable visual feast, and in excellent condition too. Yummy dishes. Cups. Saucers. Gravy Boat. TWO Lidded Casserole Dishes. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now for the history lesson. The Midwinter factory was started in 1910 by Roy Midwinter's father, William Robinson Midwinter in the Bournes Bank Pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The factory quickly outgrew the space and relocated to the Albion Pottery in 1914.

Although producing nothing especially unique, the factory prospered until the 2nd World War. Roy Midwinter joined the company in 1946 and injected the life & creativity into the company that targeted the younger generation, who after the years of rationing were eager to embrace all things new & modern. Kicked off by The Festival of Britain in 1951, the 50s and 60s were a very exciting and innovative period in the world of ceramic design inspiring Midwinter’s designers' patterns, and fluid shapes. The company eventually ceased operating as such in the 1980’s, ergo a truly collectible collection was born.

Okay, school’s over!

The next tasty morsel I’d like to share with you is the dandy little early 50’s Wade Golden Turquoise Brambleware pintray we found. Although it was available in Emerald Gold and Gold Blush too, the Golden Turquoise is my fave. Each piece is embossed with a brambleware pattern, highlighted with gold. Our highly collectible pintray (depicted in the middle of the photo) is in excellent condition.

Interestingly, these pieces were marked with an ink stamp made entirely of tooled brass. This stamp was dipped in gold ink and stamped onto the piece. Some Golden Turquoise pieces with double backstamps were single glazed pieces of Brambleware from 1953 with added gold to help boost sales. If you have Wade and want more info, you can check out

Added to these remarkable pieces, in the House of ChiChi you’ll find so much more vintage turquoise treasure including a melamine salt & pepper set, table linens, the Hankscraft vapourizer, an unopened Bridge set – yes – unopened, M.I.P. etc., etc., etc. Really, what are you waiting for?
Miss P.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Starry, Starry Night

Wowsers. The glam. The glitz. The coifs. The couture.

Last night the Academy Awards were a veritable feast for the eyes. Everybody dressed in their finest (with the rare exception - Tilda Swinton, what were you *thinking*?), and finished off like wedding cakes in dramatic and dazzling accoutrements (Nicole Kidman's layers of sparklies were over the top and quite probably my fave). But where was the vintage?

With all the hubbub over Angelina's choice of gown last month the buzz was that we could expect to see a bevvy of beauties donning vintage Gaultier and Versace. Apparently not. Although the gowns bespoke of eras gone by they were new creations by the masters of Haute Couture.

Vintage did make some appearances but it was primarily in jewelry; Calista Flockhart, bless her heart, donned a vintage ice-blue goddess gown from Rare Vintage. Keri Russell's strapless dress popped with an H.Stern vintage floral necklace from the private vault of Hans Stern. Jennifer Garner wore a Van Cleef & Arpels 1928 Art Deco Diamond Necklace and a 1925 Art Deco Diamond Bracelet, Jessica Alba sported a 1960's Diamond Shell Motif Bracelet and 1959 Diamond Feather Motif Bracelet and Renee Zellweger wore Cartier - a 1930's Art Deco Diamond Bracelet.

On a side note, I simply have to offer a nod to Diablo Cody for being brave enough to buck the princess gown trend in being true to her own unique self and style.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

When Eras Collide

Someone, I cannot find the source, is quoted on another blog as saying "I don't see Vintage as a trend; it's a style with no end!" I'd very much like to credit the individual responsible as I've been in agreement with that remark for as long as I can remember. At the tender age of 18 I discovered the timeless beauty of 50's cocktail dresses, gorgeous rhinestone baubles and the funk factor in early 50's kitschy kitchen ware.

Vintage has been 'in vogue' off and on since that time. But has it ever really been out of vogue? Each new generation, when coming of age, seems to embrace one era or another. Currently, many young twenty-somethings seek out finds from the 70's and they are also embracing timeless mid-century modern designs. As to how I feel about the 70's being considered 'Vintage', I'll try not to harp on it. That was my coming of age time. I will continue to try to not associate Vintage style with my being 'vintage'. Some of us grow old gracefully, others are, shall we say, not so gracious.

The Vintage trend has been growing in popularity as evidenced in interior design, home paint colors for 2008, Haute Couture runway shows and, tonight, it is expected to be seen on the red carpet at the Oscars. Angelina Jolie was snapped sporting (and doing it oh so well) a vintage Hermes by Jean Paul Gaultier gown at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month. According to the article a high end Vintage boutique in L.A. has since been swamped with stars looking for something special to flaunt on the red carpet tonight. Have a peek at the article linked below, enjoy the Academy Awards Show tonight and we'll compare notes tomorrow as to who we saw embracing Vintage style.


Take me there!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fifi *loves* the new space!

Fifi is quite content in her new home!

Today we are offering up a peek at some of the terrific treasures we have in store for you the next time you come for a visit at the House of ChiChi....

So? What are you waiting for? Come-on-a our house!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chichi Site of the Day

This is a site we found some time ago. We've shared it with everyone we know, and now that we have a blog we will share it with you.

If you are looking for a one of a kind gift for someone special, or for yourself, head over to Etsy is a community of artistically and craftily inclined people from around the globe who offer their wares for sale. There is an absolutely amazing selection of goods to choose from ranging from the most adorable ugly dolls to original art to journals to jewellery. The selection is amazing, almost to the point of overwhelming, and we find we can literally spend hours there browsing the selection. There are a number of different search methods which enriches the experience all that much more - you can search by color, by geographical location, by seller, by catagory, by putting in your own search terms or by using the 'time machine'. All in all it is always a pleasure to visit Etsy!

Items from some of my favourite sellers:

Take me there!

Friday, February 8, 2008

ChiChi Site of the Day

Vecteezy offers some of the coolest original vector graphics you can find on the web, many submitted by independent artists. And they are free to download!

Some we like...

Take me there!