Merry Christmas from Graceland

Graceland at Christmas  

If you know Jeff, you know he's a huge Elvis fan; hence we have a few items of Presley memorabilia stashed around the house. This is probably the strangest—a 1977 hybrid Christmas / sympathy card from Graceland, produced just months after the King's passing. . . . Here's hoping you & yours have a joyful holiday season.


Graceland at Christmas card


posted by Rachel

Nine Menswear Bunnies

nine menswear bunnies  

If you are my niece or nephew, spoiler alert—wait until AFTER Christmas to read this post. Everyone else, please continue. . . . I'm giving each of my nieces and nephews a handmade bunny for Christmas, using Martha Stewart's instructions for menswear bunnies. I'm using my Dad's Pendleton robe—originally purchased at Desmond's Department Store in Los Angeles sometime in the early 1960s. I particularly remember my Dad wearing this robe during cold New York winters when I was in high school. I wanted to do something fun with the fabric and this looked like a cute project. As often happens with things like this, about half-way through the process I started feeling like it was a bad idea (who wants demented homemade bunnies?) and was generally over it. However, I got some great advice from my friend Kristin, who happens to be exceptionally talented with sewing and craft projects. She suggested putting each bunny's components into separate bins—one bin of parts per bunny. I used several of Ikea's "Istad" plastic bags to separate my bunny parts and it really helped to keep things organized. Even so, construction took 10 months (which is an improvement over the two years it took me to finish this scarf).


menswear bunnies


menswear bunny


Preston and bunnies


wrapping bunnies


posted by Rachel

Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

chocolate-gingerbread cookies

One more recipe before 2012's over, and it's a good one. These might be my favorite cookies, especially delicious this time of year. I copied the details out of a magazine a long time ago, and with the exception of fresh ginger (I just use the dried amount) this is the exact same recipe. One tip: use a Lindor 60% cocoa bar for the chocolate (cut the chocolate squares in half diagonally)—it makes the cookies absolutely decadent.

cookie ingredients
chocolate chunks
chocolate-gingerbread cookies

posted by Rachel

My Vintage Oven

GE built-in oven clock/timer  

I love this oven so much. It was secretly a selling point for us when we bought the house, although I realize that this, along with the retro 1957 bathrooms, will not be as attractive to most other buyers. Regardless, we plan to maintain the oven as long as possible. Fortunately, everything works great with the exception of the built-in clock / timer. I bought a copy of the original manual off of eBay hoping to find some troubleshooting instructions. There wasn't any info on fixing the clock (guess I'll live with it) but there were some interesting details about the model J-501 oven and J-551 surface unit. At some point over the years, our original range was replaced with Frigidaire burners. Whoever replaced the burners left the GE control panel in place. It doesn't work, obviously, but it looks cool (plus you can still press the buttons and pretend). The interior of the oven is "deluxe Starlight Grey vitreous enamel" that cleans really easily and still looks fabulous. According to the manual I should be able to remove the heating element and broiler for cleaning purposes, although I haven't done this yet—I'm a little nervous about breaking something.


GE 1957 built-in oven


GE control panel


GE 1957 wall oven


How To Use And Enjoy Your New General Electric Automatic Electric Range


Update, 4/12/13: In case you are interested in a few more details from the manual, I scanned in the pages that relate to the built-in model I own. The manual is 105 pages, so I skipped over the cooking tips and recipes; however if I find myself with copious amounts of free time in the future, I'll make another update with the additional pages.

GE manual


posted by Rachel

'Tis the Season


This past weekend some neighbors stopped by our house Christmas caroling and serenaded the three of us—how nice was that? Needless to say, I love our neighborhood. I did take a quickie iPhone photo of everyone, but it turned out way too dark and blurry to share, so in compensation, here's a photo from inside one of my favorite local shops, Design Archives (kind of has the same festive vibe). It's official now—happy holiday season!


posted by Rachel