Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mid Century Cocktail Party

Whether you are a fan of Mad Men or just a fan of Mid Century vintage goods, a fun way to party mid century style is to have a mid century cocktail party.

Mix up a pitcher of martini's or Manhattan's and serve up some smiles!

Scandinavian martini pitchers in mid century tend to be sleek handle-less columns.

Hazel Atlas made great pitchers with decals in bright primary colours in the 50s and while they were intended for juice or other non-alcoholic beverages, they can be used for fruity cocktails such as mai tai's or pina colada's

Mid Century (1950s, 1960s) Popular Cocktails
  • Bloody Mary
  • Blue Hawaiian
  • Brandy Alexander
  • Champagne Cocktail
  • Daiquiri
  • Gimlet
  • Grasshoppers
  • Harvey Wallbanger
  • Mai Tai
  • Manhattan
  • Martini
  • Moscow Mules
  • Pina Colada
  • Pink Lady
  • Rob Roy
  • Sea Breeze
  • Singapore Sling
  • Tom Collins
  • Whiskey Sour

Punch is another option for a mid century party.  It can be a great option for a non-alcoholic drink for designated drivers or non-drinkers.

To serve tall and short mixed drinks such as Tom Collins, Bloody Marys or gimlets you'll need some rocks glasses and tumblers too.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Mid Century Housewife Party

One of my customers told me that she was purchasing an ice bucket for her sister's 60's Housewife Party.  What a fabulous, fun idea for a party!

The Mad Men craze has influenced a resurgence of demand for mid century barware, bakeware and serveware.

Mid century glass barware typically has a smokey tinge to the glass - smokey brown, blue or green glass is common in that era.

Bar accessories were often made of aluminum in ice blue, watermelon red or carrot orange.  Pictured here is a mid century ice bucket and rocket shaped corkscrew in ice blue aluminum.

Another mid century glass style is called Ombre or Silver Fade which is a silver coating on the glass that fades to clear.

Ombre Fade should not be confused with Dorothy Thorpe's silver band. Dororthy Thorpe was known for her sterling silver banding on glass (yes, that means you need to polish it).  Authentic Dorothy Thorpe banded glass has at least a one inch band.  Below is a beautiful Dororthy Thorpe punch bowl set I sold in my store

Another glass design indicative of mid century styling is a set of glassware in peachy pink, blue and amethyst (and sometimes green).  Often you'll see this assortment of colours in tumblers, dishes or barware.

Pyrex Cinderella mixing bowls and Termo Ray or Pyrex milk glass mugs is also iconic glass during the mid century.  

Corelle ware was also very popular.  The patterns are typical colours of the mid century era - olive green, burnt orange, goldenrod, brown, baby or bubblegum pink, baby blue and turquoise.

Pyrex called their bowls with a handle on one side and a spout on the other "Cinderella" mixing bowls.

Fun pitchers such as this Anchor Hocking avocado or olive green Milano Lido set are classic mid century serveware.

Funky chip and dip sets are also a fun addition to a Mad Men or 50s or 60s housewife party.  How fun!

Mid Century Housewife Party Menu Ideas:

Appetizers: anything wrapped in bacon or crescent roll dough, chips and dip, cocktail sausages, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, celery with cheese whiz, Swedish meatballs

Main: roast beef, tuna casserole, kabobs, souffle, fondue

Dessert: jello ring, pineapple upside down cake, coffee cake, banana cream pie, candy apples, lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, ambrosia salad, Bundt cake

One of my favorite books on 50's and 60's collectible kitchen glass (and other collectibles of the era) is the one below by C. Dianne Zweig.  It has great full colour pictures but also gives a sense of the mid century housewife lifestyle. Click on the image below for more information about purchasing the book.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Scandinavian Collectible Glass - Iittala

The bright, intense colours; the clean, simple lines; and the organic shapes all make Scandinavian glass designs timeless in their appeal and design aesthetic.

Iittala is a Finnish glass company that dates back to 1881.  They are a must-have addition to any Scandinavian glass collection.  The company has a vintage collectors page here.  They are known for capturing the textures of nature e.g. icicles, flowers but also for clean lined simple vessels - vases, pitchers.

Mid century Scandinavian glass especially has big appeal to young and old collectors alike.  It is hard to find so when it appears, it is like finding water in an oasis to a picker like me.  The hardest part usually is putting it up for sale on my store but I know it is going to someone who will appreciate it as much as I do and so it softens the attachment.  Ha!

So, then, you'll understand my complete joy when I found these Iittala Oiva Toikka Flora neodymium or alexandrite drinking glasses!  If you are not familiar with alexandrite glass, it changes colour in different lights! These glasses go from a pale blue to a pinky-purple colour.  How cool is that!

I'll try not to get all science-y about this but basically the fact that the glass changes from one colour (pale ice blue (in florescent light) to lavender purple in incandescent light) is known as diachromatic glass. Moser glass in the 30's coined the phrase "Alexandrite" to be used with glass they produced with Neodymium (the element that gives the glass this effect).

Here's a set of 4 Iittala plates that I sold.  This pattern is called "Dew Drop" due to the raised dot pattern.

Here is a set of six Iittala Senaattori amber glasses that I sold. I love the warmth of amber glass.

If you like Scandinavian glass and want to know more about pieces you own or collect, the best books on the subject in my mind are these two classics.  They have wonderful images and are beautiful coffee table books.  I find I refer to them often when trying to identify glass. Click on the images below for more information about these books.

Thank you to my customer and Scandinavian design enthusiast for giving me the idea for this post.  Here is a link to their blog 20 Rue Edward about decorating their home in mid century Scandinavian design.