Care what you wear: An Earth Day message

feel good in your clothes

This graphic was inspired by this message on Organic Consumers Association. The full text of their 10th reason to care what you wear is:

The choices you make regarding your clothing are not only expressions of style or identity, but are vital to personal health as well as environmental and ethical responsibility.You should feel good in your clothes. Good about the way your clothes were produced and made. Good about their effects on your health. Good about the way they make you feel. Consumerist culture is toxic in the way it encourages people to constantly buy and replace clothing produced through unethical conditions. It can be difficult to divorce yourself from this toxic culture, to establish your clothing choices outside of this pressure. To not care about clothes is not the solution. The solution is to care how fibers are produced and processed. To care how your clothes are made. To care what’s in the garments you wear next to your skin, and ultimately, to care how you feel wearing them. The solution is simple: Care what you wear.

Bye-bye roaring fire. Helloooo, decorating opportunity!

Unique candle sticks

Wouldn’t you love to find a selection of candlesticks like this at your favorite resale shop?

By now, hopefully it’s spring everywhere, and there’s no need for a roaring fire. So let’s do something INTERESTING with that big hole in the wall for the next 7 or so months. Our suggestions:

Fill it with Continue reading

Favorite Recipe: Burnt Meatloaf

Less time cooking, more time resale shopping!When you don’t know what to make for dinner, when you’re not particularly enamoured of making anything for dinner, this is the recipe you need. (Not to mention, the leftovers will make terrific meatloaf sandwiches for lunch!)

This recipe, from the Ed Debevik chain, is copied from a tattered, torn, and grease-spotted newspaper clipping in my files. I don’t even know why I keep it, because I make it by heart by now. Be sure to read my notes at the end…

Ed Debevik’s Burnt Meatloaf

(Ed calls it that because the tomato paste “icing” gets all black and crunchy. Trust me, you’ll like it!)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 large, heavy red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs
1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste
3 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups fine, dry, seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomato paste

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook, tossing and stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

Crumble the beef into another, larger bowl.

Add the egg mixture and partially combine.

Add the onion-bell pepper mixture and bread crumbs and combine lightly but thoroughly.

Pack the meat mixture into a 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pan, mounding it slightly; smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Spread the tomato paste in an even layer over the top of the loaf.

Put the pan on a cookie sheet to forestall any dripping onto your nice clean oven. Bake about 2 hours, until the top of the loaf is lightly blackened and an instant-reading thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Let stand on a rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Kate’s notes:

  • If you, like me, don’t plan far enough ahead in the day to bake it for 2 hours, use two pans. The smaller loaves cook in about an hour, maybe a little longer.
  • I usually do 2/3 ground beef, 1/3 ground pork.
  • And more garlic.
  • Half-and-half works as well as the heavy cream.
  • The mixture should be moist and fluffy, not heavy, before you bake it. Trust me.

Vintage housewife illustration by Karen Arnold.

Tuck those winter clothes away… the right way

HowToConsign.org tells you how to store winter clothes away... safely!The greatest joy of spring, to my mind, is packing away all those heavy winter clothes. As much as I loved them back last fall, I am happy to tuck them away in favor of lighter, brighter clothing for spring and summer.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my fall and winter items. To be sure they look as good six months from now, here’s the right way to store them:

Always wash/ clean everything you store away. Even if you think it’s clean, moths and silverfish could dine on that teeny splash of Chardonnay on your cuff, or the minuscule mote of mahi mahi….

Store in cotton or canvas bins to allow for seasonal variances in temperature and humidity. Air-tight is a no-no. If you must use plastic bins, poke a few holes in them, and wrap the contents in (freshly-cleaned!) sheets or pillowcases. No dry cleaner bags!

Where to store? Under your bed, in a guest room… the basement will work if you must, but beware of leaving bins directly on the basement floor: put them on bricks to allow for air circulation all around. Attic are a no-no: too hot!

Keep pests out with cedar blocks or balls. If your old blocks don’t smell of cedar, sand them down until they do. It’s the scent that discouraged wildlife from cozying up to your cashmere or wandering through your woolens. Keep the cedar from touching fabric. I prefer lavender sachets, which work as well.

Having trouble getting spots and stains out before storing your winter clothes away? Stop in at your favorite consignment, resale or thrift shop and ask for our special TGtbT.com service brochure, Out Out Darned Spot. If they don’t have it available for you, tell them they can get a full selection of helpful tips brochures for their clientele, here.

Recipe from the “Back Room”

HowToConsign.org Lemon Bar Recipe from the Back RoomIn all sorts of resale shops, from high-falutin’ to down-home, the chatter that goes on in the back room as we work is much the same.

And a surprising amount of that talk revolves around food.

Here’s a recipe I learned long ago over batches of incoming merchandise. These lemon bars are easy to make, pretty to serve, and not too sweet the way commercial versions are. This recipe, from Nancy Satori of Woman’s Exchange in Sarasota FL, pleases everyone.

Back Room Lemon Bars

2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
4 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar (I always cut the sugar to 1- 3/4 cups)
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled works just fine)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
sifted confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 325º. Blend butter, flour and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. Pat into ungreased 13x9x2″ pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare filling:

For filling, blend together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour over first layer. Return to oven and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Loosen around edges; cut into bars and sift confectioners sugar over the top while warm. Serve warm, room-temperature, or chilled.