Saturday, 14 July 2018

Dianthus - Pinks




Old-fashioned garden pinks were the first choice for perfume for many cottage garden lovers. John Parkinson, a 17th-centruy author of the first illustrated book on ornamental plants, could hardly find the words to express his admiration:

"What shall I say to the Queen of delight and of flowers, Carnations and Gillyflowers, whose bravery, variety and sweet smell, tyeth every one’s affection?”

Gillyflower is the old name for members of the Dianthus family, driven from the French giro flier - a clove tree. Many of the old-fashioned pinks were clove scented, the famous ‘sops-in-wine’ variety, which has single, maroon flowers with white markings, was grown around taverns and alehouses so that the petals could be used to flavour the liquor.

Pinks are still the favourites of most cottage gardeners, and few plants have their qualities of ‘bravery’ (hardiness), compactness, perfume, and show of pretty flowers from early to midsummer. Set out new plants in spring, 12 in (30cm) apart, and water them well. Pinks like a sunny position in well-drained soil, and will benefit rom a top dressing of gravel to prevent the bases of the plants from coming into contact with damp soil. You can take cuttings after the flowers have finished - choose strong shoots and cut them off close to the main stem. In late summer, remove the old flower stems and apply a high-potash fertiliser.



A traditional recipe for Pinks potpourri:

1 cup rose petals
1/2 cup petals from pinks
1/4 cup each of marjoram and rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon ground cloves. 
Mix thoroughly and place in china bowls or specially made potpourri containers.  


I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Laundry - 1939





In a late 1938 an article on doing laundry appeared in a newspaper article. Even though it is a year earlier than 1939 some of the advice is still useful for the following year and even in today’s modern world.

The article begins with telling the wise housewife that all fabric vary and must be washed to the fabric standards. It goes on to then say the start of the laundry is to begin by sorting the clothes into various piles. Colour and fabric are to be taken in consideration then that is followed with sorting the very soiled garments from the not so soiled garments. The article recommends not washing very dirty items with the not so dirty items.



Once the items are sorted, the article then says to look out for items of clothing the need mending and to do the repairs before laundering. This is recommended because any small holes obviously can tear into bigger holes during the washing. 


The following list of how to do the laundry continues in the article:

- The main rules to remember are to keep white and coloured clothes separate.
-Finer delicates should be washed separately and carefully.
- Soaking clothes is next to sorting. But use soaking in moderation. Woollens and silks should never be soaked.
-Next is rising. Which should be done in clean water until every scrap of soap is rinsed out. 
- Add Blue in the last rinsing water for white clothes.

The article also then goes on to say to take advantage of warmer weather. A clear, sunny day with a good breeze is ideal for blankets and curtains. Blankets should be washed early on a fine windy day. Blankets should not be washed for too long to prevent shrink.  The blankets should always be squeezed, not wrung.

To hang blankets, fold them in half, and peg the two edges a few inches over a taunt clothes line. Shake and turn during drying. 



On small clothing items:
The article says to use bran water - Make it by using half a pint of bran to two quarts water. Put in a pan, heat to boiling point, and simmer for half an hour. Strain, and use both for washing and rinsing. Bran water is used when it’s uncertain about the colour fastness of the item.

The article then goes on to give advice about how to wash gloves and stockings.

It’s an interesting article while dated in some aspects it has good advice in others. 


I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.




Thursday, 28 June 2018

Calendulas! - But in Grandmother’s Day They Were Called Marigolds




During the old times basic remedies from the petals have made women beautiful, but the flower now makes a fashionable inexpensive floral decoration. With the advent of homesteading and the back to simple living movement, the old time calendula has been experiencing a tremendous boom. So whether you really like it, or not, knowing about calendulas is useful knowledge not only for using it as decoration but as a helpful medicinal herb in it's own right.


In the past grandmothers had a prettier name for them in Mary’s Gold, or marigold. The quilled petals of the calendula reminded our grandparents of the likeness of Mary with her halo and ‘rays of glory’ which gives the name Marigold.

“The marigold that goes to bed with the sun, and with him rises, weeping…” - Shakespeare

In times past the flower was a favourite and was much used by housewives and the old ‘simplers' (herbalist), and to-day many are making concoctions from the garden Calendula for beauty just as they did in days of old.


Calendulas are good for cutting. One of the disadvantages about the calendula as a cut flower is the strong odour of the stems when stood in water. Every day the water should be changed, and the stems cut down just a little. If the stems are left in the water it makes the water cloudy and unpleasant. Treating the stems also helps keep the flowers to last longer. Bits of old leaves should also be cut off. Don’t pull the leaf off as that encourages the stem to ‘bleed’ or weep where it is tore. 


Calendulas have a long flowering season and the plants are strong and hardy making them an excellent cut flower, and one that should be used for decoration under artificial light as it is a showy bloom which brightens up any corner of the room.


I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Hankies for gifts -1939


I found this handkerchief edging in a November 1939 Australian women's magazine. It seems a bit complicated but the pattern is doable for someone like me with little experience in crochet. I tried doing the edging when I had a flu and there was a couple of attempts to figure out the pattern. I'm not really sure if I managed to get the pattern right but the finished edge looks nice enough. 

The finished handkerchief was teamed up with a hand painted greeting card and I used the greeting card painting as an embroidery on the handkerchief. For the embroidery I used the ever popular crayon tinting technique that was popular in the '30's for the embroidery.


(Note: The crochet stitches are English/Australian. American crochet stitches are different. I have a chart on my blog in an old post to translate stitches: Here)

Use fine handkerchiefs with a narrow hem and work over the hem into actual holes of hemstitch.

Abbreviations: Ch, chain; dc, double crochet; tr, treble; pic, picot ( 3 ch, 1 dc back into first) spl, single pic loop (2ch, pic, 2 ch, pic); H, hole of hemstitching. If plain linen be used, roll edge and close dc all round, then call every dc an h.

Double picot Edge:
1st row: 1 dc into any h, * 3 ch, miss 1h, 1 tr, 3 ch, 1 tr into next; miss 1 h, 1 tr, 3 ch, 1 tr into next; 3 ch, miss 1 h, 1 dc into next; 5 ch, miss 1 h, 1 dc into next, Repeat from * all round.

2nd Row: 1 dc into 5 ch loop, * 3 ch, 1 tr, 1 spl, 1 tr into 3 ch between first pair of tr; 1 tr, 1 spl, 1 tr into next 3 ch between next pair of tr; 3ch, 1 dc into 5 ch loop repeat from * all round. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.



Sunday, 24 June 2018

Cottage Journal - Winter and flu season


I took an unintentional blogging break due to getting a bad case of the flu. With winter arriving, it is of course, the season for flu's. It didn't help we had some icy weather after really nice winter days that were much milder. With my recovery I'll be back blogging again.

Blogger also has changed the way it collects information so they are now including the use of cookies. It is likely visitors to my blog will see a pop up to agree to collect cookies.


My study for 1939 is continuing. I'm now saving newspaper and magazine clippings into a scrapbook. There's just about mostly everything that could be useful for a 1939 home now collected into sections of the scrapbook. The articles cover the kitchen, the garden, other parts of the home, and beauty.  Reading the articles have been very interesting and it is true what they say about there being nothing new under the sun, a lot of the articles are really relevant for today's home and have been written about today.  

In the front pages of the current 1939 newspapers there are articles about the problems with Germany and Japan. War is lurking around the corner!


 I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

You say tomato - 1939


In 1939 an Australian woman’s magazine recommend tomatoes have a place on every Australian table. The article cited the high vitamin contents of tomatoes as one of the reasons to keep serving tomatoes. And, as they were easily prepared or quickly cooked the busy housewife, it said, would appreciate serving tomatoes for a meal.

Tomato soup is perhaps one of the easiest to prepare. Very ripe tomatoes, or a can of peeled tomatoes, can be use. I used a can of peeled tomatoes because that was already in the pantry.



If you don't want the skin on the tomatoes cut a cross in the top of them and in a dish pour boiling hot water over them, this will split the skin and it will peel away easily.




Tomato Soup - A can of tomatoes, 1 large onion, 1 garlic clove, bunch of parsley, pinch of thyme and sliced basil leaves for garnish. 

Melt butter, add in garlic clove, lightly cook onion until transparent. Add in the can of tomatoes, chop them down in the pan. Add in herbs and bring to boil. I used a whisked and whisked the soup you can also use a stick blender to break it down. At this point you can add tablespoon of flour and bring to boil, add a cup of milk, then boil again. I didn’t do this but I added grated cheese through the soup and used cheese to garnish. 

I saved up with grated cheese garnished basil and homemade Damper bread.

Serve hot. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 11 May 2018

With Fond Regards - 1939



It's 1939 and I'm looking at greeting cards. Christmas greeting cards were perhaps the most popular. During this time there were a lot of massed produced cards available and often sold in boxed sets. However, a lot of articles were still written in publications describing how to make your own greeting cards.


In this day and age we take electronic-mail for granted but exhibits back in 1939 was also sending voice mail too.


Today, it's easy to reproduce a photo and have it printed on a card and it may seem a modern idea, but  there were articles to show you helpful guidelines to prepare your photos for greeting cards.



I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.



Dianthus - Pinks

Old-fashioned garden pinks were the first choice for perfume for many cottage garden lovers. John Parkinson, a 17th-centruy author ...