Friday, 21 December 2018

Peace on the home front

 The 1939 year continues as I prepare to move into the full new year next year. I've been following newspaper articles which writes about what they did back then on the day and month of that year. The garden section gives help on what to plant out now and what to do in the garden. I've started the garden following the instructions. They say after rain to weed then turn over the soil, so this week I've got out all of the grass growing along the fence line and turned over the soil ( the picture was before I got in and weeded).  For flowers, Zinnias and Dahlia's are recommended for planting at this time of year. I have those planted out because the articles say a cutting garden to brighten up the home is a must.  

The meal menu for the month of December has been very basic and costing little. Most of the meals are for salads. So far there's no talk in the articles about rationing and it is late December. They are telling homemakers to be wise about saving and are offering dishes 'At Small Cost'.  I found this recipe for Spaghetti Pie. The only difference I made was to throw in mixed diced vegetables of corn and peas. I also added in grated cheese between the layers. 

Spaghetti Pie:

Boil up spaghetti pasta until soft. Set aside to drain. Take chopped up onion and garlic, fry in small amount of butter. Add in diced mixed vegetables and cook until soft. In a buttered oven proof dish, place a layer of spaghetti on the bottom. Sliced tomato layer. Layer of diced mixed vegetables. Layer of cheese. Continue this until the dish is full. Add a layer of cheese and bread crumbs and dot pats of butter on top. Cook 180 for half an hour and then turn up to 250 (hot) to make sure the breadcrumb/cheese top is brown crunchy and cheese is well melted. 

I served up the Spaghetti Pie hot with steamed vegetables. It really is very nice served up cold as well with a salad the next day.

With Christmas around the corner the presents are getting wrapped. I've been adding in a few small homemade gifts as well. 

I use up the scraps of material I have. I had some lavender given to me during the middle of the year. I dried it so I'm now adding it to sachets. 

It's always useful to have a scented sachet in the drawers for moths and silverfish. Back then they were also needed for wardrobes. Older people I know who used to have free standing wardrobes always told me how the wardrobes stank which meant you had to air them out. A scented sachet would have been welcome to keep the inside of the cupboard smelling sweet. 

I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday, what ever it is you celebrate, and have a safe New Year. I wish to thank all for reading and commenting.  I will be back in the New Year, which will be the start of living like 1939. 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Floral Gingham Applique

The floral gingham appliqué pattern first appeared in a late 1938 newspaper. Even though I am looking at 1939 timeline, patterns from the year before are still something I can use in the time period.

The pattern it self is for needle turn appliqué as at the time the heart and bond we have today wasn't available. The best way to approach the needle turn appliqué with this type of design is to cut paper smaller than the material and then baste the fabric around the paper. Pin the pieces to the fabric base (tea towel) and then appliqué using very small slip stitches around the out side edge. The embroidery is done last.  For the embroidery I used DMC 310 Black using three strands through out.

If you haven't the time or patience for paper basting and needle appliqué, then use heat and bond. When doing this type of appliqué I like to use a heat n bond that is a lite (brand) which makes it suitable for embroidery. But if you don't want to mess around with reversing the pattern, go with the traditional needle turn appliqué.

The article had instructions at the bottom of the illustration which read: Those readers who wish to embroider tea towels will find this design most useful. The checks marked on the flowers indicate the checks of the  gingham. Any odd scraps may be used. Plain colours are also attractive and can be used with very good effects. A heavy thread is advisable for the working.  Breakfast cloths or luncheon mats look well decorated with this design.

I used the pattern on a yellow check tea towel and scraps from my stash. I also used a fade away pen to draw in the pattern for the embroidery design as a guideline for stitching.

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

Friday, 7 December 2018

Summer and December

December has come in and so has the heat. With the start of December, I began to follow up with the 1939 era at home. The newspapers of the day have a couple of sections devoted to the kitchen and garden. There's also a few coloums for the home with handy hints. When December started I began a  small kitchen garden. This type of garden will become known as the Victory garden as the war comes in. For this month, the kitchen garden gave advice to plant out vegetables for your plot. 

I planted out corn, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, and beets. I'm not a very good gardener but I try. I know with the hot weather about I'll have to get in and mulch this. For now I have the recommenced 1939  December vegetable crops out. I also planted out dahlias, zinnias, and petunias as suggested.

The lettuce and strawberries here, were later changed as I had them in too much hot sun with not enough shade. They are now in a cooler part of the yard. I had a first strawberry the other day.

Fried Bananas may seem like an odd recipe, but it has been around as early as the late 1920's. The recipe picked up interested again in the late '30's and later during the war. Britain, of course, once the war started didn't see bananas the British government requisitioned Banana boats for military service. Here in Australia we grew bananas and the shops where selling them through the war. 

It's a simple enough recipe and one which can be fried up with bacon. I fried mine up with tomato and onion. This is one of those recipes meant to use up kitchen food that is over ripe which was why it was popular during the war. 

 If fried banana for your breakfast or tea isn't your thing, you can always use up ripe banana's in a banana cake or banana muffins recipe.

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

Friday, 30 November 2018

The Vintage Way

It’s been a while since I last posted in the blog! Time to dust away the cobwebs and start posting again.

Since I’ve been away, I’ve being collecting articles from 1939 to continue with learning about the time. In September, war was announced. In December thoughts of Christmas and making life bright for the home are being written about. For many men, conscription has started but in Australia the rations hasn’t begun yet. 

As I move into the end of the year, I begin to think about what I want for next year. Obviously I’m continuing the vintage way of life. Because I’ve only really touched on the 1939 life style this year, my plans are to take up a whole year of living 1939 during next year. I can put into proper use a lot of articles I have saved. There will be more home made meals, hand made, and garden talk. 

In the December newspapers the women’s sections are now encouraging making use of the kitchen garden and having a few cut flower beds to take flowers in the home to make the living areas cheery. I’ve begun preparing beds in my small backyard to move up from potted containers to make a kitchen garden and a little area for cut flowers. I’ll still keep use of some of the pots to plant in cut flowers and more herbs.

With the move towards a vintage living, I find myself replacing a lot of modern items such as plastic and using more textiles. I’m lucky enough to have been gifted a lot of old doiley’s, found many in thrift stores, and made a few myself. I’ve cleaned out clutter to replace items which have a useful purpose. I’ve returned to lining bedroom drawers with scented paper and handmade potpourri sachets. 

In the kitchen the table has cloth napkins and tablecloths to replace the plastic tablecloths and using less paper towels. In the 1939 kitchen there’s still a lot of meals using expensive meat cuts and rich desserts because rations aren't in effect. Now in December, the home sections are encouraging not to waste in the kitchen. It is starting to turn to the ‘Make do and mend’ wartime thinking. 

With making use of what I have in mind there will be more embroidery and handmade items. I have a few things I want to finish many of the items are for the home use. I have some new transfers too particularly from the early 40’s which I will also include as I post. 
Me as a child with mum and dad's mother, my grandmother. Both these ladies grew up and raised families without modern trappings. This is 1977 before cell phones and the internet! The dial phone was on the wall, you walked to it, and you answered it without knowing who was calling! You can see the old chest freezer in the background.

I’m looking forward to making more use of 1939 menu planning, the kitchen garden, and home sewing. I don’t want to live exactly like they did in the past but I hope to learn how those before me did live without fast past technology, faster takeaways, and less reliance on consuming supermarket goods. In this day and age, it is a good idea to learn how to live without our modern trappings to be prepared for  not only when the grid goes down, but when we can’t get the necessary items we are so used to thinking is available on tap.

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

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Cut Flowers -1939 cut flower hints for keeping winter flowers

It is well known flowers are at their best on show in the garden, but when cut and placed in vases; their show fades with dropping petals or wilting stems. For flowers that drop their petals the best remedy is to sweep them up as they fall, flowers such as Larkspur is an example whose petals drop rapidly.  In many other cases a few simple precautions taken when picking the flowers will help prolong the life of the average cut flower.

Shrubs and hard-wooded plants, such as roses, and lilacs, should have one to two inches of their stems smashed by a hammer so that the water may be sucked up through the stems to help preserve the blooms longer. Another method of skinning the stems of their bark is useful but not as good as smashing the stems. 

Flowers such as Dahlia, Poppy, and others, have sap which evaporates fast when cut, they will remain fresh if the stems are singed with a candle flame for a few minutes after cutting. If this hint is followed, it is known that poppies, if picked in the bud, will open and remain in blood for three or four days.

A lesser known fact about cut flowers is that yellow and white flowers last a lot longer in water than those which are red.

Some more hints from the 1939 to make cut flowers last longer:

When cutting, be sure to use a special cutting shears, or a sharp knife, and cut at a slant to get the largest absorbing areas. This also prevents the stem from lying flat on the base of the bowl, blocking absorption.

Stand cut flowers in a bucket of water, right to the flower heads, in a cool, draught-free room. Never leave the foliage in the water when arranged, as they decay and will pollute the water.

Cut winter flowers:

Anemones - Add half cup vinegar to two cups of water.
Aquilegias - Five drops of peppermint oil to one pint of water.
Carnations - Cool water up to the flower heads. Do not submerge blossoms.
Daffodils - All like small quantities of water. Arrange in no more than one inch of water.
Delphiniums - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Violets and Violas - Bunch. Submerge for two hours after picking, then place in container filled with iced water.
Tulips - Roll in wet newspaper to keep the stems straight. Place in cold water up to flower heads.
Forget-me-nots - Plunge into hot then cold water - add eight drops for alcohol to one pine of water.
Sweet Peas - As for forget-me-nots.
Gypsophila - One teaspoon of alcohol to one pint of water.
Iris - Three drops of peppermint oil to one quart of water.
Larkspur - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Poinsettias - Burn ends of stems - one handful of rock salt to two quarts of water.
Lilies - One cup of vinegar to two quarts of water.
Hyacinths - Squeeze substance from end of stems immediately after picking. Plunge into very cold water.

Lilacs - Never pull the green leaf off near the flower head, as it is the water-conductor to the bloom.

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

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.