Thursday, January 23, 2014

On the Radar -- An Eastern Vibe

We Blackbird girls L-O-V-E Asian design, and it's very visible in our collections.  I know we mention here and there about what we collect (believe me, you've just seen the tip of the iceberg), but we have a genre-crossing collection that we refer to as the Asian collection.  It includes Chinese checkerboards, paint-by-numbers, Asian themed sheet music and labels, tea tins, fortune telling items, and other various tiny tins, like a Buddha incense tin and a French Chinoiserie thread tin.  Also included in this is one of our most favorite things (I know, we say that about everything!) -- our bright yellow Chinese Chippendale mid-century chair.  Here's the chair, but in green.  Mmmm...I want these to add to the collection...

Well, imagine how excited I was when I was browsing Yahoo yesterday and found an article about IKEA's new products, developed with Chinese designers.  I want it all.  And I had to immediately share the link with the other Blackbird.  Look at all these goodies, available at the end of the month at IKEA.

There's lots more amazing items -- you can see the slideshow here.  I love their whimsical take on traditional Chinese design.  All the ping pong balls -- they have one vase with a ping pong paddle, and the lucky cats, are just adorable.  They are tongue in cheek, and so much fun.

I love this brighter, bolder, modern take on Asian design.  It reminds me of my Chinese checkerboards -- they have great patterns and motifs, and the colors are super bright.  Like this one:

Available on Etsy from PassedBy, here.

So in honor of IKEA taking a brief trip from Sweden to China, here's a round up of some of my favorite modern Asian finds on Etsy!

Tray from God Save the Kitsch, here.

From China Tea Ware, here.

Coasters from Cheltenham Road, here.

From Stillwater Art Studio, here.

And of course, my dream table, from one of my favorite furniture companies, Red Egg.  Their designs are stunning, and I lurve the red finish!

Indochine dining table, here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Junk Love: Italian Cuteness

This could be a perfect excuse to ogle Marcello Mastroianni, but we're above such things. Junk Love is a sacred tribute to vintage necessities, like tea towels, not Italian sexiness. Okay, twist my arm....

Anyway, the real Italian cuteness for today is a collection of tea towel designs by the most adorable designer ever: Milvia. Yeah, so they usually involve women doing housework, but seriously, chores have never been so cute.


Here's one for the 1960 Rome Olympics, featuring a perky basketball player:

And here are some non-housework themed favorites:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Skinny: The Comforts of Corn

Yeah, yeah. Corn. I happen to love it. I also happen to love finding wonderfully corn-y recipes in those delightful spiral-bound church cookbooks--always a gamble, but often delicious! Here are some from Clinton's First Centennial Cook Book, published by the First Methodist Church of Clinton, Massachusetts in 1950. Enjoy!

Spider Corn Cake (Mrs. Henry G. Whitman)
2 eggs                                    1/4 c. sugar
1 c. sour milk                          2 c. sweet milk
1 tsp. soda                              1 2/3 c. corn meal
1 tsp. salt                                1/3 c. flour
2 T. butter

Dissolve soda in the sour milk. Beat eggs & sugar, add 1 cup sweet milk and sour milk (with soda) and salt. Then mix corn meal and flour with this. Put spider on stove, when hot, melt butter and turn spider so butter can run up sides of spider. Pour in the mixture and put in oven. Add one more cup sweet milk; do not stir. Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven. When done, there should be a streak of custard running through it.

(*What's a spider? A cast iron skillet!)

Corn Pudding (Mrs. Genevieve Roncone)
2 c. stewed corn                    2 T. sugar
2 c. milk                                1/4 c. minced green peppers
3 eggs                                    1 minced pimiento
1 T. butter                              1 T. salt
1 T. minced onion

Beat eggs slightly, add milk, sugar, and salt. Combine corn with other ingredients and add to milk mixture. Mix well. Turn into buttered casserole and bake in moderate oven (325 degrees), one hour. Serve hot with cheese or tomato sauce. Serves 6.

Cornmeal Dumplings ( Isabel Currier)
1 c. sifted all-purpose flour        1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. cornmeal (coarse)               1 egg
2 tsp. baking powder                 3/4 c. milk

Mix and sift dry ingredients. If shortening is desired, cut in 1 tablespoon fat. Combine and stir in egg and milk quickly to make a soft batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls to rest on top of hot greens (cooked with salt pork and potatoes). Cover and cook 15 minutes on low heat before serving.

Easy Corn Fritters (Mrs. Charles Pearson)

1 c. flour                                   1/2 to 1 cup corn, fresh or canned
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder           1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt                               1 egg

Sift flour, measure and sift again with baking powder and salt. Beat egg until very light, and add flour mixture, corn, and milk. Mix thoroughly. Drop batter from spoon into 1/2 inch of hot fat in a frying pan. Brown on both sides.