Monday, March 31, 2008

Embroidery - Another Treasure from Project Gutenberg

A Handbook of Embroidery, published in 1880 and edited by Lady Marion Alford, has just been put up at the Project Gutenberg website. It can be downloaded here.

Vintage Book Covers - Cricket at the Seashore

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In durance vile

This morning I went down to the storage room at the very end of the basement to retrieve some 2007 financial paperwork. It took me a while but I finally found the right file, turned off the light, and carefully closed and latched the door as our cats have a bad habit of sneaking in there when our backs are turned.

It was a Sunday much like any other; we went to ReallyTinyVille for the volunteer fire department’s pancake and sausage breakfast. After that we drove to Smug City for a couple of hours and when we got home, we took Funnyface for a long walk and then had a nice nap. A calm and peaceful day of rest.

Until around 6pm when it finally dawned on me that I had not seen the Drama Queen all day; in fact, Reserve Cat had occupied the spot on the sofa during my nap she usually claims.

Hell hath no fury like a cat that has been locked in a dark, cold room for several hours. She came up from the basement riding on the spousal unit’s shoulder with a look in her eye like Boadicea getting ready to descend on the 9th Legion, and proceeded to tell us in no uncertain terms what kind of people we were.

After she was done, she slapped Reserve Cat away from the food dish and settled down to make up for lost time.

Wartime Recipes - Lemon Chiffon Pie

1 envelope Knox Gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
3 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup (or 2/3 cup sugar)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspooon salt
1 teaspoonful grated lemon rind
1 crumb crust or baked pie shell

Soften gelatine in cold water. Beat egg yolks, add 3/4 cup of the corn syrup (or 1/2cup of the sugar), lemon juice, and salt. Cook in double boiler until custard consistency, stirring constantly. Add softened gelatine and stir until dissolved. Add grated lemon rind. Cool, and when mixture begins to thicken, fold instiffly beaten egg whites to which remaining corn syrup or sugar has been added. Turn into baked pie shell or crumb crust and chill. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, if desired.

(from a 1943 Knox cookbook. Notice that the recipe offers corn syrup, which was not rationed, as a substitute for sugar, which was. You would have had to use precious ration points for the eggs, but no butter, milk or cream -- also rationed -- was required).

Saturday, March 29, 2008


(photo courtesy

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I had a dog once. I cared so much for him that when he died I couldn't bear the thought of ever getting another in his place. He was a friend—you understand? The Captain's only a pal. I'm fond of the Captain—all the fonder because of the spice of deviltry there is in all cats. But I loved my dog. There isn't any devil in a good dog. That's why they're more lovable than cats—but I'm darned if they're as interesting." (Abel and His Great Adventure, by L.M. Montgomery)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A la recherche des bathing suits perdus (and no wonder)

Acting on a tip from Meggiecat, yesterday evening after a strenuous day of hiking around Vincennes (the one in Indiana), I sat down to do some exploring on Google Patent.

Meggie suggests you type "design" in the search field and go from there, but I decided to narrow the parameters a bit and typed in "design dress," "design sweater," and finally "design bathing suit."

The dresses were quite fun, and a couple of the evening gowns were pips (although one 1941 day dress with life-sized artificial chrysanthemums centered over the bust points would never have found it's way into my wardrobe). The bathing suits, on the other hand...

This one falls, I think I can safely say without fear of contradiction, smack dab into the "what were they thinking?" school of design.

Another mind-boggling number; can you imagine a live human female willing to be seen out in public in this?

And this one...oh my. To be fair, it is supposed to be a sunsuit rather than a bathing suit. I don't know whether the aesthetic is more Tarzan or The Last of the Mohicans.

This one, though...ah, this one makes up for them. You'd have to have the figure of a goddess to carry it off and I see buckles instead of the bows, but what a smashing, sexy suit.

Go play around on Google Patents (and tell Meggie I sent you!)

Vintage Sewing - Scuffs

To go with the housecoat I posted two weeks ago, here are two versions of the ever-popular scuff. These came from a 1949 Smart Sewing magazine and full instructions can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vintage Crochet - A "Junior" Edging from 1917

This is from the April, 1917 Modern Priscilla. A larger copy to download may be found on my Flickr account.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Vintage Advertising - Downs' Self-Adjusting Corset

(trade card image courtesy of the Ephemera Society)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For some reason, I am not the least bit surprised

The spousal unit took this test, too.

I am a: Colt model 1911 in 45ACP
Firearms Training
What kind of handgun are YOU?


Friday, March 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then, surely, I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me; I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet;
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.

(The Donkey, by G. K. Chesterton. Paper cutout, comme d'habitude, from Patricia at Agence Eureka)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vintage Dressmaking - Fashions from LHJ, 1913

A pretty little lagniappe was tucked into the pages of a recent eBay purchase; two pages from some woman or girl's scrapbook, with dressmaking and pattern images from a Ladies' Home Journal of January, 1913.

Despite their grimy, tattered condition, the colored pages are still fresh and luminous. I know of no way to remove them from the paper to which they are glued but I have scanned them as best I can. The sprigged green and white woman's dress could be worn today (if you removed the panel at the hem) and the lingerie provides ideas for a half-dozen summer blouses and tops. Larger images can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kids and their toys

I upgraded my printer yesterday. After it had been unpacked, the fun really began.

Amazing how much amusement they can get from a cardboard box; not much different from human kids.

Reserve Cat spent much of the evening tearing through the hallway and then throwing himself into it at top speed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tatting - A Three-Dimensional Daisy from 1929

This is from a recent eBay purchase and it will take a while for me to work up to it (it's a little out of my league).

Vintage Sheet Music - And Let The Rest of the World Go By

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Royal Usquebaugh

"You must take Raisins stoned two Pounds, Figs sliced half a Pound, Cinnamon two Ounces and a half, Nutmegs one ounce, cloves half an Ounce, Mace half an Ounce, Liquorice three Ounces, Saffron half an ounce; bruise the Spices, slice the Liquorice, etc. and pull the Saffron in Pieces, and infuse them all in a Gallon of the best Brandy for seven or eight Days, ‘till the whole Virtues be extractedfrom them; then filter them, putting thereto a Quart of Canary wine, and half a Dram of Essence of Ambergrease, and 12 Leaves of Gold broken in Pieces, which reserve for Use."

From: The Whole Duty of a Woman (1737).

Saturday, March 15, 2008


(photo from

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Everyone's a critic, Part II

I am listening to the soundtrack to "High Society," and every time Louis Armstrong begins to play, Funnyface puts his ears back and howls.

(I'm surrounded by furry Philistines).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vintage Knitting - Cardigans for Warmer Weather

These are from Modern Needlecraft, 1950, and the patterns can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This can't be right

I am a: Glock Model 22 in 40 cal
Firearms Training
What kind of handgun are YOU?

I hate Glocks.

Obsolete Information Dep't-On the Correct Adjustment of Corsets

"Any woman can be charming if she is well groomed and graceful; and, like Eve, she attains this most subtle of all charms by giving time and thought to the adjustment of each garment, even the most intimate. Many a good corset fails to do its work because the woman who wears it is too careless to put it on properly."

Let that be a warning to all us shiftless slatterns out there. The full article can be found here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vintage Magazines - Needlecraft

Needlecraft magazine, June 1923 (note the little...what are they, mermen? at the top of the page doing bodybuilder poses).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Silver Wedding

Forget the old truism about finishing each other's sentences.

You know you've been married a long time when you know exactly which scene from "The Quiet Man" is showing, even from the next room, by the way your husband is laughing.

Sunday Dinner

Suggested Menu for a March Sunday:

Winter Fruit Cup
Pan-Broiled Steak with Oyster Sauce
Creamed Potatoes
Finger Rolls and Butter
Salted Peanuts
Apple-Celery Salad
Pineapple Delight

"Finger Rolls: Bring cup of milk to the scald and melt in it a tablespoon butter or substitute. Let cool, and when lukewarm add teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup warm water in which has been dissolved 1/2 yeast cake. Stir in 3 cups flour. Knead with the spoon and set in a warm place to rise for 3 hours. When light knead with the hands, working in a little more flour if necessary. Make into oblong roll. Cut in pieces the size of an egg. Roll these on the bread board into the usual shape of the finger roll, pointed at the ends. Be sure not to get them too large. Put side by side in a shallow pan and let rise until doubled in size. Brush tops with egg beaten with a tablespoon milk, and bake in a hot oven from 12 to 15 minutes."

(From Fifty Two Sunday Dinners, Woman's World Magazine Co. Inc, 1927).

Saturday, March 8, 2008


(photo courtesy

Friday, March 7, 2008

I've been tagged

I’ve been tagged for my first meme by GDad. These are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Well, I have #1 and #2 out of the way. Now for the six non-important things.

1. I can play the dulcimer.
2. My right arm is over an inch longer than my left arm.
3. I skipped a lot of grades in school and started college when I was fifteen.
4. I know exactly how many Union Army quartermasters resigned their commissions in the first six months of 1864, and why.
5. I am right handed but knit and eat German-style, with the left hand.
6. I have six brothers and sisters, and I married a man with six brothers and sisters.

I would like to tag the following:

Julie – for leaving the very first comments on my blog.
Nurhanne – for being an inspiration both as a needlewoman and as a human being.
TMom – for letting me be her evil twin.

I would have liked to tag the following people but they were already tagged:

Valerie – because she inspired me to start my blog
Alison – for her encouraging words AND her alpaca.

And I would really like to tag this guy but he's up to his eyebrows in challenges right now and won't have time to participate.

William -- because his blog makes me think and makes me laugh (don't read this post while drinking coffee!)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

25-Motif Challenge - Update

Yesterday was Dante's 4th circle (I am a production mgr for an IT company and we had a major rollout this week) but I staggered home late in the evening and tried this edging using a #10 in navy. It does look better in coarser thread but the question now is, what does one do with it? It would make a great edging for a dishtowel, if I were the kind of woman who had edging on her dishtowels.

It has a gentle inward curve so a doily or a coaster edge, maybe?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

25-Motif Challenge - Tatted Edging with Josephine Knots

This edging is from one of the Creative Hands books that I got at the thrift store last week. It's very simple; the rings are 4-4-4-4 and the chains are 4 ds, a Josephine knot of 9 stitches, another 4 ds, and then another ring, joined to the first ring at the first picot.

This was needle-tatted in #20 generic chain-store cotton thread; I think it would look better in something a bit larger. I'll have to try it in #10 (five brand new, still in plastic-wrap balls of which I picked up at the Sally Ann's on Monday, along with two 1940's headscarves. I love Sally Ann. I get all my tatting thread there and at the hospital thrift shop. Who needs Hobby Lobby?).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March is coming in like a lion

This does not make Reserve Cat happy.

He has been to the door three times and each time gives me the look that says this is all my fault. When he finally can bring himself to go outside, he takes two steps, raises one front paw and shakes it; hesitates; takes another two steps, raises the other front paw and shakes it, etc.

(in the meantime, I'm laughing myself sick watching him. I have depths of cruelty even I did not suspect).

Vintage Sewing - 1950 Housecoat

This housecoat is from the magazine Smart Sewing, 4th edition, 1950. The instructions to draft the pattern for the reversible jacket and full skirt are here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Quick Sunday Supper

This is nice on a cold winter's evening.

Rice Cooker Beans & Rice

1 can diced tomatoes with juice
pinch sugar
1 can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 c rice
2 cups frozen meatballs, thawed
½ of a small onion, peeled and minced (optional)

1 garlic clove, mashed
1 T. oil
1 1/2 c water
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the tomatoes into the rice cooker, add the sugar and stir well. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, put the lid on the rice cooker, and turn it on. Depending on the timer of your rice cooker, this should be done in 20-25 minutes.

(This can also be cooked on the stove top in a heavy, covered pot in about the same amount of time).

Make sure your rice cooker is big enough to hold everything; you can always heat the meatballs separately and add them at the end. A spoonful of plain yogurt or leftover sour cream folded in at the same time is pretty good, too.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


(photo courtesy