Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birthday Week

Hello! My husband and I have birthdays only five days apart (he was born the year before I was, though), so it's been "Birthday Week", as we like to call it, around here. Some highlights follow:

The above was my husband's birthday cake last Wednesday - it's the Mocha-Cream Roll from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. The cake is a little fussy to make, but my husband requests it every year so I oblige. The platter it rests on is vintage, from my paternal grandmother, and the candle holders are vintage as well, from a thrift store. 

When I first made birthday cards for my husband they were pretty staid, but over the past few years they've been getting goofier, thanks to my thrift store finds. Every year I try to come up with a new theme, and the idea for this year's card came from us recently laughing over a brochure we'd brought back from Yellowstone National Park. Said brochure was meant to remind people of the potential dangers in getting too close to bison in the park and had a rather silly-looking line drawing of a bison butting a tourist it had obviously found bothersome. The tourist is shown flying up in the air after being charged by the bison, camera falling one way and cap falling in another direction. 

Thus, I decided to design the birthday card with my own spin:

Supplies used: white cardstock, scrap of gray art paper, facsimile of a vintage bison picture (copied from the Dover Clip-Art Series book Old-Fashioned Animal Cuts, a 50c thrift store find), image of man (from a 1952 women's magazine), image of camera (facsimile of vintage ad in Reminisce magazine), number from a vintage bingo card, and rubber-stamped message in black Staz-On ink. 

Yes, my husband loved his card. 

Some of the gifts:

He's holding a box of See's Custom-Mix Chocolates (he would be vastly disappointed if he didn't get this particular gift every year) and some fleece pajama pants I'd made him - in a fabric that would make any die-hard Chicago Cubs fan happy. 

Another homemade gift was presented to him the next day:

This is Ippy's Staff of Life Bread from the cookbook Taste Of America by Jane and Michael Stern. It's a delicious multi-grain bread with a cinnamon-sugar swirl inside. 

One last item related to his birthday:

My husband was born on a Sunday, so this Saturday Evening Post came out the day before he was born. Interesting articles and ads plus some pretty good fiction, like the short story "The Family Nobody Liked", which isn't as dramatic as the title suggests but still a very sweet story.

Incidentally, I have been to the town shown on the cover - it's Bad Axe, Michigan, which is in the same region of the state that I'm from. 

Now on to my birthday. I have my own Saturday Evening Post magazine, which came out on the day I was born:

My cover isn't as interesting, but there it is. I still get a kick out of the fact that the magazine came out on my birthdate. Purchased years ago at a mall antiques show. One notable fiction piece therein is "The Other Wife", a story with a time travel theme. It was written by Jack Finney, who specialized in this genre. Even before I'd gotten this magazine I'd read the Reader's Digest Condensed version of his novel Time And Again

I made my own birthday cake:

Oatmeal cake, from Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country (in this book, Adams is referring to the Amish and Mennonite communities of northern Indiana. I happen to enjoy visiting Amish areas and have been to some of the communities she featured in this cookbook). The vintage candle holders were used again.

Two birthday cakes in one week? Yep, that's what happens when your birthdays are so close together! In my defense, I had a small slice of my husband's cake on his birthday and then left the rest for him. My cake? Harder to resist! It's very easy to make but so good. 

My late sister Ellen gave me the following two items as part of a birthday gift around 25 years ago and I treasure them:

Most Michiganders of a certain age - and probably many outside of the state will recognize the autographed name - Al Kaline, Hall of Famer who was one of the all-time greats for the Detroit Tigers. Classy man as well. Mr. Kaline was making a promotional appearance for a bank in the next town over from where Ellen was living in the mid 1980's. It was shortly before my birthday, so Ellen took an old Tigers yearbook and had Mr. Kaline sign it (photo of yearbook page shows him wearing baseball glove); he also graciously signed the promotional photo being given out at his appearance. Ellen told me he commented that I had a pretty name, which I appreciated since it's taken me years to come to terms with it. 

Once I started making goofy birthday cards for my husband, he decided to extend the goofiness by using whatever card theme I'd come up with and giving my birthday cards the same treatment - so more bison follow:

I laughed over this photo (found on Internet site) because we'd had a close encounter with a bison while at Yellowstone: we were going down a road one direction and the bison was slowly strolling down the other lane as if he owned it, which he probably thought he did (cars in that lane, of course, had no choice but to travel just as slowly behind him.) Due to the narrowness of the lanes, the bison was quite close to our car. I was driving, so my husband asked me to roll down my window so that he could take a picture of the brute. I refused, fearing that the bison might think about poking his head inside the car - right where my head was. No thanks!

The back of the card:

Judging by the car, this is an old photo, also off the Internet. I don't know why the bison had climbed into the car; maybe food had been left in it. 

As for the picture of the calico cat, that's a picture of our Beauty. Not sure why my husband put it next to the car photo, but I guess he has his own cardmaking style!

Presents: well, my main gift is still in its box, awaiting my husband's assistance in setting it up. I hope that'll be soon!



  1. I hope you liked my gifts too.

  2. Of course I did! I just hadn't mentioned your gifts because I thought it might embarrass you. You made me some very pretty earrings and you made Daddy a fun poster based on two of his favorite things - Chemistry and the Chicago Cubs. That was really clever of you!