Style Spots: For Me

You ever have one of those weeks where you just detach from technology for a while and spend your time a little more creatively? I've really been feeling that part of my leisure time slip through the cracks (heck, leisure time in general has been almost non-existent), so this week I've been working on some DIY projects (a new coffee table from something old, and a new piece of art for the living room), and picking up a new hobby: needlepoint.

The latter was actually inspired by this great book I found at a thrift store this past weekend that has really great picture diagrams of all kinds of stitches — perfect for a visual learner like me. Me, my friend Jessica and my mom also went to an estate sale that Saturday, as well as three other thrift stores (!!!), so after finding some goodies for me and you, I was ready for a nap by the time I got home.

Here is what I brought home...

Some rubber rings for my blue Ball jars, which means I'll be ready for canning this summer!

A set of 4 red number Morgan glasses. Love the design.

Some books to get my needlework on point. (Get it? Ha...)

Two toll paintings on layered glass. I have a set of these in our bedroom that my grandmother painted, and I love the depth they have.

I feel in love with the pattern of this plate (especially as a serving piece). I wish the store would have had more!

Beautiful Vera Neumann linen napkins with pink butterflies. (Swoon.)

A Japanese bowl for my tea party ware and a bright yellow Pyrex mixing bowl.

A cute owl planter that will be paint a new bright color.

Blue polka dot gloves. Nuff said. :)

Two vintage '60s sconces. Those of you who have been in Holly might remember that I have a very similar one right inside the door. Now I have two spares in case shoppers go a little crazy. :)

And a pretty vintage-y Lauren Conrad dress, which, by the way, I love her stuff. You can find it at Kohl's and a lot of the pieces have that modern vintage flair.

What goodies did you find this weekend?


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Chocolate (Chip) Almond Torte

Sure, I could go ahead and pretend that this recipe was suppose to yield a chocolate-chip cake of sorts. I could alter some of the directions to make it seem like it turned out perfectly, but then what would be the fun of sharing these baking experiences? I feel like this area of the culinary world is something that is an ever-learning one, so why not share the fails as well as the triumphs?

Ha, I sound so dramatic. :)

But this recipe's little whoopsie didn't really ruin anything; it just changed the texture, really. What happened was I had put the mixing bowl and the beaters in the freezer, which I do every time I'm going to whip some cream because it comes together much quicker than when everything is room temperature. (One of the things that's interesting about this recipe is the whipped cream replaces the shortening/butter, which I hadn't encountered in a cake recipe before.) 

Anyway, what I didn't think about, though, was moving the whipped cream to a room temp bowl before I added the melted chocolate. Since the bowl is stainless steel, it was still quite cold when I did, so the chocolate seized up and thus we have chocolate-chip almond torte, instead of just chocolate. Whoopsie.

The other (and purposeful) change I made was tinting the whipped cream filling a very light pink to entice you to make it for Valentine's Day, which wouldn't be a bad idea. The cake is very light and fluffy, as is the filling, and the almond extract comes through just strong enough to give everything a subtly nutty flavor. Add some strawberries and it's a fairly guilt-free end to a lovely day. :)

Chocolate (Chip) Almond Torte
Courtesy of Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook, 1967
Yields one four-layer, 8- or 9-inch torte

For the Cake:
1 2/3 cups whipping cream
3 eggs, well beaten
3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Chocolate shot (or, in our language today, chocolate sprinkles)
Blanched almonds (I left these off and just covered the whole top with sprinkles)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round layer pans, 8 or 9 inches.

Whip 1 2/3 cups whipping cream until stiff. Fold in eggs, chocolate and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt; fold gently into cream-egg mixture until blended and batter is uniformly brown. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 9-inch layers 30 to 35 minutes (they were done in my oven at 25 minutes), 8-inch layers 35 to 40 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

Split cake with serrated knife to make 4 layers. Whip 2 cups whipping cream with 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and the confectioners' sugar until stiff. Fill layers and frost top of cake, using a fourth (about 3/4 cup) of the whipped cream for each. Sprinkle a ring of chocolate shot around top edge of cake; decorate with almonds. Chill.


Style Spots for You :: Accessories & Home Decor

Hello, hello, my dears! How has your week be thus far? I just realized this morning that my one-and-only houseplant hasn't been watered in more than week (oops!). That's the kind of week it's been for me.

If you don't follow Parsimonia on Facebook or Twitter, you might not know that I'm in the throes of planning my first show, Spring Fling in the City. It will be taking place this May in Crown Square in North City, and will be full of vintage goodies, handmade items from local artists that use vintage materials, food trucks, a game lounge with Super Nintendos, a photo booth and live music from local artists! The purpose of the show, at least for me, is to celebrate the spirit of revitalization, and Crown Square is the perfect locale because of how beautiful it has become again. The main street with shops has been rehabbed in its original style; there are loads of cute new stores popping up; and the people in the neighborhood are just so positive and passionate about bringing things back to their former glory. It's very inspiring, really.

So if you in St. Louis or not far from it, do come out and support local from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 11! And if you'd like to be a vendor, I'm taking applications until March 11, so there is still plenty of time to get those in!

Now...to the reason we're all here. The goods.

I didn't do any thrifting this past weekend because I had two good friends in town and we pretty much ate 'til we dropped, laughed 'til we cried and everything else that makes up an amazing time. I won't get off topic too far, but let me just say that if you haven't been to Pastaria yet...go. It was so delicious and the atmosphere such that we kept getting more wine and food because I don't think we wanted to leave! :)

Anyway...I finally got around to posting some more items to the online store, still leftover from my last thrifting spree a couple weeks ago.

A steely gray-blue vintage Skyway tweed suitcase with wheels.
I used to use one in the same size and it fits as a carry-on on Southwest.

Still in its packaging, a vintage White House closet organizer with mustard flowers and clear plastic.

A shiny gold vintage sailboat wall hanging. It's plastic and very similar to the Syroco stuff.

And a really beautiful set of vintage glass tumblers with shiny gold metal cork-lined sleeves.
Would look so cute on a bar cart!

As always, if you see something you like, click through to the online store for details, and if you're local and want to pick it up to save shipping, just let me know!


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Blinged-Out Chocolate Pinks

Oh my gosh, you guys. These cupcakes...these...cupcakes. They were definitely one of those learning-curve recipes, or maybe just one that shows what happens when you don't read the directions thoroughly (ha). I think the only thing I didn't make a mistake with was the butter cream icing, but such is my baking life. My husband can attest to how many times I hurry through a recipe and make fairly large "whoopsies!" along the way...but I argue that it makes me a better baker...because I have to figure out how to troubleshoot...right? Yeah...

First, the actual cupcakes. Know from the get-go that these are suppose to be the mini-size ones, which I didn't realize until I'd already made the batter. The recipe said it made two dozen cupcakes, and when the batter came together and barely surpassed the bottom 1/8 of my stand mixer's bowl, my brain started to realize some things weren't adding up. So I scanned the recipe again and found the sentence, "Bake in very small buttered tins..." and that was Whoops #1. So I ended up making a total of 8 normal-size cupcakes, which is fine. But, having now eaten one, I'm curious if this difference was more important than I thought. The batter itself turned out kind of bland, and the cake kind of dry, and I'm thinking it might be because it was meant to be just a small bite balanced by lots of frosting, instead of mine, which are more cake than frosting. Hmmm. However, by the time the batter gets to the last step (adding the stiffly beaten egg white), it's really, really tight. Almost clay-like. Albeit, once you get the white worked it, it loosens up immensely, but I'm still skeptical.

Like I said before, the frosting came out great and piped on beautifully. As for the topping, the original recipe calls for pieces of a Hershey's almond bar to be broken up and placed on top of the cupcakes, but I wanted to update that a bit, and had all that lovely disco dust still left over from those Kringle Cookies, so I sprinkled some of that on top instead. But it still felt like it needed something, and I've been reading over this cake decorating book I thrifted, so I decided I'd try and pipe something for the top and cover it in gold glitter, too!

I used a recipe called Meringue Royal Icing, which the book said was great for toppers because it dries hard. So I proceeded to print out some script writing that said the words love and amor, taped it to a cutting board, and then taped some wax paper over it so I could trace it with my piping kit and the icing. That part went great, and then I covered the words with glitter (which stuck like a champ), and let it all dry overnight. Then, this morning, I went to take them off the paper and only three came off without breaking into pieces (grrr!), and, of course, they were the ones that didn't get covered in glitter. So, yet again, I returned to the recipe, and on the second page (which I apparently didn't read) it talked about "over-piping," which means going over the design two more times once the first layer is dry so that it's thick enough to peel off the paper. Whoops #2.

So, needless to say, if you do make this recipe (which I would recommend because they're pretty, but maybe use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe instead of this one), do the last part with caution, or just be resigned to having some abstract glittery toppers...like I did. :)

Chocolate Pinks
Courtesy of Hershey's 1934 Cookbook
Yields 24 small cupcakes (or 8 regular cupcakes)

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk (save the white)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 egg white

Pink Butter Cream Frosting
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
red food coloring

Beat butter and sugar; stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until icing is smooth and of spreading consistency. Add one drop of food coloring at a time until you get the shade of pink you want (I used two drops).

Meringue Royal Icing
Courtesy of Discover the Fun of Cake Decorating, 1979
Makes 3 1/2 cups

3 tablespoons meringue powder (I got mine at Jo-Ann's)
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/2 ounces warm water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine ingredients, mixing slowly, then beat at medium speed for 7-10 minutes. Be sure all utensils are completely grease-free or icing will break down and become soupy. Keep covered with a damp cloth as the icing dries quickly. To restore texture, rebeat slowly.

When piping the letters, tape the pattern to a piece of stiff cardboard, glass or plastic (I used our cutting board). Tape wax paper smoothly over it. Trace the pattern with a Number 1 tube. Allow to dry for an hour or so, then over-pipe the design again. Dry another hour, and then over-pipe again. Sprinkle with edible glitter after the last piping, and let dry overnight.
*I still can't promise this will work, since I didn't do it, but there is no way it won't be sturdier!


Style Spots For You :: Accessories

Hey all! Well, so far, so good. I have successfully completed Day 1 of listing this weekend's Style Spots that are up for sale. I thought I'd break it down into section, so today I've listed all the accessories I picked up for you! Each photo has a direct link to my Etsy store, where you can find said item if you're interested in buying it. And if you're local to St. Louis, we can always arrange a pickup to save you on shipping, so just let me know!

Have a happy Wednesday! :)

And a vintage reddish-plum suede clutch purse with a gold-tipped closure.


Style Spots...For Me!

Hey all you cats and kittens! How is your week going thus far? I'm itching for mine to be over because, come Friday, two of my friends from the other side of the state are coming into town and we're going to live it up here on the east side (what!). And, of course, since I do have a fun weekend planned, that means the next three days are going to d...r...a...g.

Speaking of weekends, this past one I went out with my parents for some treasure hunting. We hit up some estate sales out west and then a couple thrift stores in Chesterfield and Ballwin. I had good luck and found some great things for the store and, of course, some things for me. :)

I'm going to start changing up how I share Style Spots, and start the week with one that features the items I'm keeping (that's why this title says "For Me!". And then throughout the week, I'm going to share the stuff for the store with the goal of them already being posted in the online store, so that if you see something you love, you can click through and make it yours!

Now...on with the show!

I found this cast iron enamel casserole dish for a steal. My mom gave me a small Dutch oven of the same brand and color, so now I have a set of sorts.

A vintage Hall souffle dish for the Parsimonia tea parties coming this spring!

A neat (and very colorful) St. Louis print I shall add to the growing gallery in our dining room.

Some clothes...a Target sweater, an Old Navy blouse and a vintage red skirt with cute little hearts.

A really whimsical and fun umbrella stand in the shape of an umbrella. I'm thinking of painting the outside and leaving the inside brass. What color do you think?

A vintage pillowcase.

Some really pretty vintage wallpaper in a shimmery gold square pattern. How fun would this be as a pattern on the front of drawers or the backdrop on a hutch?

Some more vintage dessert plates for those tea parties...

A really beautiful navy travel bag that I'm swapping in for the green Sears one I use now. (The green one will be for sale soon!)

If you can see them (shooting white on white wasn't the best idea...), I found a set of pretty big white glitter reindeer. I think they can be used year-round (not just Christmas), don't you? :)

And some old wooden shirt and pant hangers for the trailer.

How about you? Find any fun treasures this weekend?


The Thrifted Kitchen :: Spiced Cocoa Doughnuts

Good morning, my dears! I am so happy to be feeling close to full steam again after getting hit with the flu (me and almost everyone else in the country, it seems). It's so crazy to me how you can go from feeling top notch one minute to curled up in bed, tossing and turning, and bouncing between being too hot and shivering with cold in matter of half an hour. But lots of rest (and tons of fluids later), I am most definitely on the mend. My energy still has some room to grow (doing errands yesterday almost wiped me out!), but it could certainly be worse.

But on to more exciting things! Today is a Thrifted Kitchen day (woo-hoo!), and since Valentine's Day is already on everyone's radar, I thought I'd start working on some sweet recipes for you to make for loved ones. My first stop is the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook (hey...they know chocolate!) and its spiced cocoa doughnuts recipe. This one caught my eye because it's a cake doughnut instead of yeast-based, which means that once the dough is made, you're ready to start frying. No rising, no proofing.

One thing you'll want to make sure you have (unless you have an innate ability to tell how hot oil is) is a candy thermometer, because the temperature of the oil is key for frying doughnuts. And while I did coat some in powdered sugar, per the recipe, we also coated some in this vanilla glaze, which I would recommend, because those doughnuts stayed soft and fresh much longer (and I think it tasted better, too...the glaze helped break up the cakey-ness of the doughnut).

Surely these will merit at least a peck on the cheek. :)

Spiced Cocoa Doughnuts
Courtesy of Hershey's 1934 Cookbook
Yields about 2 dozen doughnuts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
Powdered sugar

(If you're doing the glaze, you'll sub the last two ingredients with 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 cups powdered sugar)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Cream butter and sugar and beat in egg well. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and mix well. Turn out on floured board and roll 1/4 inch thick; cut into small dainty rings (2 1/2 inches in diameter). Fry in deep fat (370 degrees) for about 30 seconds. Drain on paper; sprinkle lightly when cool with confectioners' sugar mixed with a little cinnamon.


How Very Pinteresting

Happy weekend, one and all! I hope it's been a good one so far! We had a wonderful morning sleeping in for the first time in a while, and after I stumbled out of bed, I whipped up my first successful batch of homemade doughnuts, which I'll share in a Thrifted Kitchen post in the coming week (I hope you like chocolate). Now I'm looking forward to a low-key next couple days, working away on the new Parsimonia online store, which will hopefully launch in the next several days.

I of course have been taking breaks on my favorite time-sucking site, Pinterest. Since we got Big Blue (our new couch), I'm rethinking some of the color schemes happening in the living room, and have found lots of inspiration on there, plus some things, of course. :)

I'm fairly certain I have to have this for future pizza nights.

So in love with this lamp.

Really digging all the color in this living room.

Just need to find some mates for the one mirror I have (pictured above)...

How cute is this DIY pantry?

A rustic cheese-and-tomato dish I could eat every day.

A fun twist on baked potatoes I'm angling to try.

And black-and-white rugs keep catching my eye for the living room, like this one, this one and this one.

What are you all up to this weekend??


Vintage 101 :: Sweetheart Compact

Several months ago, my friend's mom sent him home with a little bag of vintage goodies to pass along to me (something that has happened more than once and has been awesome every time...thank you, Cyd!). And inside, amid some lovely linens, was this beautiful old compact that I immediately fell in love with.

The first thing I noticed was the little anchor and USN on the front, which told me this little lady was probably from the WWII era, but I thought maybe it was something given to the nurses. A little Googling told me these are actually sweetheart compacts, given to the ladies of the navy men serving in the war.

They came in all shapes and sizes (some even heart-shaped!), and with different cosmetics in them. Mine has one for blush and one for powder, and on the end a little compartment pulls out that used to house lipstick!

The romantic in me has been wishing I knew the story behind this compact. Was it a boyfriend to a girlfriend? Husband to wife? Were they reunited after the war? (I know, I know...I'm a sap...don't judge.) :)

Do any of you have one of these that you either thrifted or inherited from a grandparent maybe? I'm going to try and find some cosmetic inserts that can fit into this one so I can use it. Any ideas on where to look?
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