Saturday 9 May 2020

75 years ago: Victory England

I have been quiet on the blog front, but I couldn't pass up the 75th anniversary for the ending of World War 2. I'm currently researching 1943, and Victory Day is a long way away yet. The women's section in the newspapers for 1943 are encouraging the Homefront to live simply and not to spend on unnecessary luxuries. 

In Australia, we have had some of our stay at home restrictions lifted for covid-19 but there is a long way to go before we return to normal. 

So there are some happy times to speak about and rejoice in even if some restrictions remain in place.
Like many, I don't think there will be a normal after covid-19. Many of us see the necessity in living within our means, making the home a viable place to rest in, and make sure we have all that we need to stay in and do our part at the Homefront.

When the war ended, the rations continued and they needed to live simply without expenses. The home was the place for many to be in. There was a survey of women at the end of the war and during the war asking women if they wanted to work or stay at home. A lot of women declared they wanted to be home, or have a home of their own. This of course shows how the 1950's home was born. 

The advertisement from 1945 looks very much like it could be from the 1950's.  With many women now declaring the home as their right place to be, this made the changes for the extravagance seen in the early 1950's home. While a lot of people believe that era to be far removed from the 1940's home, there were many similarities between both era's. The main one is, the home was the best place to be. 

And that is what it is like today, staying home as much as possible, making do with what you have, and being with family.  

Below is the Queen's speech for the 75th anniversary of V.E day.

 I hope everyone is having a good day or evening, where ever you are. And staying home safe with loved ones.

Monday 6 April 2020

Flourless - Home front rations

In Australia we are in lockdown, shelter in place, stay at home, the only time to leave home is for essential shopping and exercise.  As I mentioned I do my part to stay home when I'm not needed as a carer for essential driving. Now is the time to stay home, do what you can with what you have, and be kind to one another. 

As I follow the wartime home front of the 1940's much of what is in the news today, seems to be what was happening then but for a different reason.

 Focusing on the home and family is important for today,  but also remember we are in anxious times. Not everyone can be productive in the home, many still work out side the home, have health issues, or are elderly.

Just focus on what you can do. Take the time to give yourself some leisure time too, remember we can still go for walks and do hobbies.

It is a good time to prepare, even now. Make sure you have what you need without hoarding unnecessarily. Return to  simple living as much as possible by doing: Home made, home cooked, home grown, and, home living.

Returning to simple home living is a way to stay home in this time where it is expected we aren't doing 'unnecessary spending'. Not only that, it also means by supplying what we need at home we aren't putting on a strain on the lack of supplies available in the shops.

Keeping things simple is important. Focusing on 'plainer foods for health & energy' as the wartime advertisement says. 

Return to meals that are 'economical',  don't waste electricity, or time. Be prepared to use leftovers for  second meals as this will save going out for more essentials and not be wasteful with food.

With the shortages now, it is a good idea to start writing down alternatives you can use for cooking if you don't have or can't find the necessary items. Writing things down is important because the internet may not be available or with everyone home it will become slower and more difficult to navigate. 

Find out substitutes for eggs, and or, flour like this wartime recipe for 'flourless French cake' (if you click on the picture it will bring up a larger image). It does use flour but not the usual types of flour that is currently being limited to the amount everyone can buy, if they can find it. If you don't have yeast for bread there are other substitutes such as potato yeast or sourdough. You can also make dampers and scones, which don't use yeast. These are handy recipes to know because you don't have to use eggs or milk (substitute with water) as well.

Most of all, remember to keep calm and carry on (at home).

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are. Be safe.  Be kind. Stay at home. 

Sunday 29 March 2020

Home Stay- Useful hints for the garden

Like everyone, I am self-Isolating with family and staying home as much as I can because I'm the designated driver for shopping essentials. While I'm at home I have been looking through my treasure trove of saved household hints, tips, and recipes. I thought I would start to share these along with the regular posts from the Wartime era. 

Many of these useful hints and tips are tried and tested over time, in today's world they still are relevant.  The useful hints and tips for today are all about gardening. As always these are frugal tips and won't cost you the earth and many of the items can be already found at home.


1 tbsp (20g) Epson salts dissolved in about 1 pt (550ml) luke warm water is a marvellous tonic for plants, especially roses.

Eggshells ground finely may be used not only as a fertiliser but also a slug deterrent.

After putting garden waste on a compost heap, cover a black plastic bag weighed down with stones. This gives the best and quickest conditions for rotting.

Don’t throw away those nettles; when they have rattled put them into a bucket outdoors, cover with water, and leave for 2 to 3 weeks. The resulting strongly smelling liquid is an unrivalled fertiliser, especially good for tomatoes.

Bury banana skin and crush eggshells near the roots of rose trees to supply them with extra vitamins and minerals. 

Garlic grown near roses is supposed to keep them clear of Aphids (greenfly).

Use leaf mould on your garden instead of expensive fertiliser. Collect autumn leaves in sacks, put a brick on each sack and by spring your free leaf mould is ready for use.

Use an old bicycle pump as a pest killer spray in the garden.

To get rid of ants in the garden, sprinkle some talcum powder. 

Sprinkle salt on paths and brickwork crevices to get rid of weeds and grass. Salt will have the same effect if sprinkled on the roots of weeds in the garden. Sprinkle salt on slugs to kill them. (*Always be cautious about using salt as it will also kill everything else too.)

Spread soot or coal around the lettuce bed to keep off slugs.

Remove green fungi from a cement path or patio by pouring on water containing bleach, then scrub with a brush.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening. Staying safe at home. And being kind to one another.

Monday 16 March 2020

Not a penny spent

The weather is changing into our Autumn and the days are becoming a little bit cooler and we're still have rain as well. All in all a very good time for the garden if you have one. 

In the wartime letters there is talk about tomatoes growing even though they were experiencing a bit of a heat wave and nothing else was growing in their gardens. Tomato recipes were also included in the kitchen section. 

There is still a lot of talk of saving and making do. I'm currently saving a lot of orange peels to use in potpourri crafts.  During the war they wouldn't waste full orange slices for crafts. The peels were put to use in recipes like marmalades, and candied, if sugar was available.

Savings were encouraged more often now and plenty of advertising gave the call to save for war bonds. The money saved was sent to the government to help with the war of the time.

Even though there isn't a war to send savings to, it is still a good idea to put away the 'pennies' for the rainy day emergency. There's lots of ways to save a few dollars here and there, for myself I'm not thrifting which is a hard thing for me, but a nice thing for my savings purse. I'm also considering my no spend challenge again. Perhaps in April.

Also, for now I've turned off comment ability on my blog as sometimes it is just nice to look and not have to participate...well, I think so.

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

Monday 9 March 2020

A return to Austerity

I took a break from blogging after dealing with some personal issues. I thought by now I would be well settled into a new home, however drama happened and a move hasn’t occurred just yet. I usually refrain from posting in-depth personal setbacks and drama in detail on my blog so I’ll just move onto blogging.

The return to blogging is going to include the letters posted in Eleanor Barbour’s “Dear Eleanor Barbour” from the wartime newspapers. A lot of the ladies wrote in letters giving an account of their day to day life, what they were doing to make savings, recipes and home hints. The letters give a wonderful insight into the era for homemakers of Australia.

As I continue with the 1940’s homemaking theme there will also include advertising of the time, as now coupons have become introduced to  Australians and the adverts show how much something cost the average homemaker or if a coupon was needed to purchase the item. Without a coupon you could not receive the item. Australia had a lot of items available but things like the Nivea creme stopped being produced after 1939 due to it being a German product. English Yardley perfumes and creams became more popular to support the British and were widely available.

As the war continues, many are still fighting with the Germans, for Australia the bombing of Darwin brought home the war and soldiers were also enlisted to fight the Japanese. Now more than ever, Australians were encouraged to help the war effort and send what they could to the war bonds. Austerity became the key focus of homemakers, spending less, making do, and travelling less developed into a major theme of the era. The homefront became important for many families and home made became a necessity. Home made meals were part of keeping a home and supporting the troops by spending less to save for war bonds.

With the make do motto, I’m going back to creating items for the home using what I have and putting those items away for a future home. The main aim is to spend less and be at home when I can be. The advert above shows pillow cases were available and no coupons were needed. Transfers were also available and in keeping with the era but did not become very popular until the 1950's.

With the state of the world today, all of this sounds very familiar. By posting the letters, the adverts, and continuing with a 1940’s lifestyle, I hope to pass on something useful for today’s homemaker.

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

Thursday 2 January 2020

Welcome back to 1943

The new year has come and gone. It was a quiet one at home, our town didn't have fireworks due to the fires around Australia and the drought we are currently facing. Many people feel like 1943 seems to be a long time ago, but if you look around there are still reminders of that time. How they lived then isn't too far removed from now, there were phones, cars, television, radios, and other modern cons. They were anxious and had sad moments of course, but they learn how to move on and made do with what they had. In today's time there are many who are trying to do the same.

As the world moves into 2020, I'm moving into 1943.  World War 2 is continuing and Australian households are facing a necessity to tighten spending habits to give money to war bonds and so that the government doesn't have to force people into harsher rations. Coupons are in full use for most items and many of the advertising of the day such as this ad for LUX washing powder encourages the use of being thrifty and taking care of clothing items so they last longer and coupons weren't used wastefully.

 Many of the articles in the newspapers are now talking about saving, being careful with money, and making do. The government of the time is asking people not to spend and instead find ways to put pursuits to wartime efforts instead. For those on the Homefront, that meant making sure the home was presentable and meals ready for those who were working outside of the home and doing late shift work for the war.

Many of the recipes of the day included very simple, quick, thrifty meals, for those who were watching how they used their coupons. All of this of course sounds very familiar as those of us who are doing it hard and trying to find ways to simplify, live simply, and spend less.

I'm doing my bit for the 'war', by using things I currently have and making the most of those items. I recently made a Christmas stocking from this thrift store brought cross-stitch kit I brought for $1. The stocking also used up fabric scraps I had.

This will likely be the major theme this year, to use what I have. The letter from 'Mauve Delphinium' is just one of many written in Jan, 1943 to Eleanor Barbour. The letter sums up the way everyone was helping with their bit for the war to save as much as they could. I am planning to show more letters of the time because they are  good example of what was happening in Australian Home-fronts.

As the war continues into 1943 the homemakers of the time are finding ways to be more thrifty to do their part for the war. This year, I will continue to follow along as they did, it may not be exactly the same as they live because I'm not trying to be a re-inactor. I'm trying to learn how they lived and take away parts I can use in my own life to make my life more thrifty too.

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

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Holiday cheer


Today is Christmas day for us in the Southern Hemisphere and in the next week we will have New Year’s Day. Like my 1942 counterparts we are all wondering what the next 12 months will bring to us.   The last year has taught me many things as I attempted to live like 1942. It has taught me that I can do without luxuries which are considered necessities and unattainable during 1942.  Living like 1942 has taught me that I can manage with a limit to my clothes, sugar and tea. The 1942 ethic of Australian of the time has shown me they sacrificed a lot to help their country to save that country and its people. The Austerity living didn’t deter those to lend their bit to “Save their all”.

While researching the time period of 1942 I realise it had been a sad one for many. You cannot have war without sadness and 1943 will bring more of it as the war of the time goes on. 1942 reflects much of what is current today with most of us struggling on the homefront and times are hard.

 Even during the difficult times many of us are learning to live simply and make do like our 1942 folks. We are still keeping the home fires burning, preparing meals with less money, making do with less things, and hurrying to keep up with the housework while we also have jobs to do outside of the home.

Next year, no doubt, looks like it will be a continuance of the work of the last year, and perhaps even more intense. For myself, my vintage life will continue while I wait to go into my own home. I will continue this blog taking it now into 1943 to follow the homefront of the time to see how they continued to live under the hardships of world war 2. 

There won’t be another issue of  “A PEACEFUL HOMEMAKER” until after the New Year, so let me now wish you all the best that the year has in store, and a very merry holiday for Christmas day.

Have a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday 4 November 2019

Keep calm - Blog hiatus

I wasn't planing to place this blog on hiatus, but for now I know I have to while other more important things require my attention. Trying to maintain a home blog is impractical when you have to actually pack up and move into a new home! 

Our current place is up for sale and we made the decision to move on after nearly 4 1/2 years in this place. We could have resigned another lease but the thought of people coming in and out for house viewings, and on a month to month lease, wasn't an ideal way to live. So it is move we must. 

I sort of see it as keeping with my 1940's study as we will be with an Aunt until we find a place so I suppose you could say I've been billeted out as an evacuee, like Joyce ( in the book they changed her real name to suit the era. Her real name was Tracey) from the wartime kitchen and garden series! The hardest part is packing everything up for storage to only keep a few craft supplies out to keep me a bit sane. Obviously the crazy quilt is going to be worked on...who knows I may even get it finished in time for a new home.

So for now, I wish all my readers well and have a good day or evening where ever you are. Eventually I will resume blogging at a later date.

And here is a link to watch the Wartime kitchen and garden series.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Letters from "Sour Grapes". The farm life quilt: 1942

While reading through the newspaper articles from 1942, I came across a request from "Sour Grapes'"who asked for the patterns of the farmyard quilt and I thought I would look through the archives to see if I could find those particular patterns.

It took a bit of searching, but I did find it in older archives and I printed the entire set of patterns out.

Following the guidelines suggested for the quilt blocks I cut out my fabric. As every one now should be aware of, I do things frugally and these white blocks came from an old sheet. I'm planning to use the crayon tinting method to make up the blocks.

Each of the blocks in the quilt alternate with a cornucopia as the pattern. I'm thinking of making my alternate blocks crazy quilting as I have a lot of pretty cottons I can use on the blocks which keeps in with the 'make do and mend' of the era.

As you can see, "Knitter" replied to "Sour Grapes". The other quilt patterns "Knitter" mentioned I have also printed out and there is a three little pigs quilt too. All these were printed in newspapers from around 1932-33.

A lot of the patterns from the war era have always been knitting of some kind but  to see quilts mentioned is interesting and I am sure too there will be a lot more embroidery patterns available as this is when the tea towel and pillow slip embroidery came into fashion again.

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