Monday, 18 February 2019

The Well Dressed House

In 1939 the home was featured a lot in the woman’s articles of the day. Many tips were given on how to go about making the home attractive. One woman dressed her home in the same materials as she dressed her-self! She kept the background as simple and inexpensive as possible. Then changed accessories in the home. 

Articles also talked about the benefits of changing the home view by moving furniture around. This is something I’ve been doing for years. It seems, ‘move-itis’ isn’t a new condition of the modern era. Accessories were the main feature of the articles and using what you had was an important part of making attractive changes to dress the home. 

Lamps during the time were a popular feature and the writing suggested placing lamps where a person reads and try dividing lamps around the room at intervals to spread the light around. A lamp at the end of the lounge suite could be put on a tall stand, so light would cast down on the occupants of the lounge. if the stand has a lower shelf, a vase at the bottom or fancy pottery was suggested to make the arrangement attractive. At the time, there was a trend to break away from central lighting and scatter it as much as possible around the room.

 Cushions were considered a must for a well dressed home, as they are today. They brighten up the home, and at the time they were available in many designs and colours to add cheer. Home advice of the time suggested it best to match or contrast with curtains. Make or buy them from rich variety of silks, velvets, or other fabrics, according to taste. The rule during 1939 for cushion fabric was: don’t put cotton and silk fabric cushions in the same room as ‘One laughed at the other’.

New table mats of the time were also put in place to make for an attractive home. Hand-Embroidered mats tucked away should be starched and brought out to add a new change.

Other ways to dress up the home during the era was to buy new nick-nacks, because they were inexpensive way to making the room bright and fresh.

For the well dressed home, the changing of accessories and furniture in the home is as important today for the wise homemaker as it was then. The main emphasis is not to put out a lot of expense when making the changes but simply use what you have.  

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

Friday, 15 February 2019

Changing seasons

The corn from the garden has been harvested and used in the kitchen. This is a sign summer is over and it will be time to consider what to grow for early autumn.

As I continue to study the year of 1939 it makes sense a lot of their recipes are seasonal and the newspaper and magazine articles follow the changes of the season. The housewives would do the same in their homes depending on where they lived and what their local season was like. Almost everyone had a hot summer and the menus of the time suited the heat. Nobody wanted to be in the kitchen cooking in the heat which introduced many salads and request for cold cuts recipes.

The study of 1939 seems an odd place to start. The depression of 1930 was still in effect and war on Germany had not been declared yet. People were living comfortably for the most part and there was no talk of being careful with waste or watching the ‘pennies’. I choose this time to see how people lived in a mostly quieter time before the war and when the depression seemed to be lessening. It is still early in the year with this study. I haven’t fully implemented a lot of what I have researched. This is more a start to making changes towards living more vintage.

As the year moves on there is more planning now to grow as many vegetables as possible in the small space I do have. As I study more of gardening habits of the time I will also be looking at how to preserve the harvest. I’ve invested in a dehydrator and a waterbath canner. Next purchase for preserving the harvest is going to be a pressure canner. They did have both back then. The dehydrator they used the oven or had a drying screen which is something I’ll consider making as well.

This study isn’t about wearing the clothes of the time or looking like they did back then. I’m trying to remove the distractions of our modern era and make a more old fashioned life for myself. 

The small steps I am doing now may not look like much, in the end they will add up and help me live more like they did in the past. 

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

Monday, 11 February 2019

Aubergine or Egg plant

The garden section from a newspaper article in early November of 1939 wrote: Those who like variety in their vegetables and home gardeners who like to grow uncommon vegetables should take an interest in growing the egg-plant or Aubergine. 

I took up the suggestion and planted out a couple of plants. This can be done by planting out seedlings, which I did. Or sowing direct in the open ground, three or four seeds to the site and afterwards thinning to one plant. The plant likes warm temperatures and the seeds germinate in hotter weather and flourish better when the weather is warmer. I planted my egg plants next to tomato plants as they are of the same family and require the same cultivation methods. The plants produce a lot of fruit and it is best to keep the crop to five or six per plant. Any garden work around the plant should be very shallow as the roots of the plant are at the surface and can be easily damaging to the plant. 

The above recipe for Aubergine tomatoes reads:
Wash large ripe tomatoes and cut in half cross wise. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or oil in skillet, place the tomatoes in the cut side up and sprinkle with the following seasonings, 2 cloves of farce finely minced, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and finely minced (chopped) parsley. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of parsley and serve immediately with any kind of fish (or meat) course.

Egg-plant fruits are ready for uses as soon as they reach a good size, and while they have a glossy appearance. If dull, they are over-mature and seedy, and not very good for cooking with. To prepare for cooking, simply wipe with damp cloth and remove stem and calyx. It can be peeled or left unpeeled. Egg plant is a watery vegetable; if cut into thick slices, salted, and covered with plate with weight on top, some of the excess moisture will drain away.
When frying egg plant do not cover the pan - slices should be crisp.

Cut unpeeled egg plant crosswise in thin slices. Coat light with seasoned flour, fry in hot butter until pale golden brown. Serve pipping hot as vegetable accompaniment with meat, fish, etc. 

For the right seasoning egg plant is best with: Basil, dill, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary.

Growing the plant was no more difficult than growing tomatoes and I will keep adding the plant to my kitchen garden now I know how easy an egg plant is to grow and how versatile it can be in the kitchen.

Thank you to all who have left comments. I have read the replies but I just haven't had time to respond to them. 

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

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Happy Road

The 1939 lifestyle is moving into early February. The kitchen garden is slowly producing for the home with harvested vegetables and cut flowers from the cutting garden. The blooms don't have scent or not much scent but they are showy and remind me of the flowers seen in the embroidery of lazy daisy flower gardens with crinoline ladies and sunbonnet gals.

The newspaper articles continue to give advice for the kitchen garden and what should be planted for this time of year in Australia.

Living like it is 1939 and following the newspapers of the day is now a part of how I go about my daily home routine. I try to do a little of how they lived back then and keep to the old fashioned ways of the time even though the articles say how homes are now very 'modern' to help the housewife in her home making. 

The modern home of the 1939, especially the kitchen, allowed the homemaker more leisure time and the only thing that was considered missing was the dishwasher! Articles from the newspapers give plenty of leisure time instructions for crocheting, knitting, sewing, and embroidery. There is also a lot of advertising for movies to go to and radio programs to listen to. 

The 1939 lifestyle is really about slowing down. Taking time to place a tablecloth on the table and preparing dinners for the table. 

The older home economic skills gives a wealth of knowledge that is still usable today and is still used either as it was originally done or more updated to suit today. The methods are practical, sound advice, and makes sense to use them when possible. 

One of the practical methods was to follow a cleaning routine. It may take some time to pause and clean, or fold up items taken off the clothes line, or take out a dusting rag. But it really isn't any more time than scrolling through facebook or youtube. A few minutes of unplugging and slowing down to do the home chores is a step towards making a house a home and not just a place to live in.

For me, I'll continue down the road of learning what I can to unplug, slow down, and use ways which seem to make better sense to me.  I'm only just starting but now I'm down this road towards a more vintage life I feel this is the right way.

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

Friday, 1 February 2019

Early February in 1939

A bad case of the flu meant a break in blogging posts. I also had to help with a family member who underwent a major surgery and that took up a lot of my time. It did mean falling off the 1939 living and going back to modern convineces of fast food. I'm now looking at using lunch boxes and making up meals for those times when I'm sick. After the flu hit I did go about and cleaned up the house, which was just as well because not soon after it was back and forth to the hospital for the family member who now is coming along fine after their surgery.

The February 1939 newspaper articles for the garden encourage mulching and staking up tomatoes, eggplants and dahlia's. And with the heat around there's advice to keep the watering up to the plants that need it.

I had my first harvest from the garden and I expect more to come in as the plants grow.

With summer in full swing and the heat soaring, many newspaper articles are giving out summer recipes or advertising meals useful for the heat. Arnott's Sao biscuits is advertised regularly and cordial drinks are popular. The cordial drink is probably not the healthiest but Cottee's is an old brand from the time of 1939.

I'm looking through a lot of advertisements now and trying to find many of the brand names used for the time. Some brands are still around today but the original recipe for them has changed like the SAO biscuits. Their's were much larger and I remember as a kid the SAO's were larger and thicker than what they are now. The packaging from 1939 was also very different, they had a packet that let you cut through the packet and you closed it back up to keep the contents fresh. 

I remember a while back SAO company trying to say they didn't change anything and the news found a lady who had a really, really, old packet stashed in her pantry she forgot about. Of course they compared the biscuit size and yes the company changed the size. 

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