Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vintage Paper Crafts - Dennison Dolls

At this sale last summer, I bid on a box of what I thought were vintage knitting booklets. How could I lose, for a dollar? There turned out to be only one knitting item in the box, the rest were craft publications put out by the Dennison crepe paper manufacturers and one or two others (Highlights most of us know but Pack-O-Fun, anyone ever heard of them?) All of them from the 1945-1960 time period, lots of paper flowers, party and holiday crafts, and children's activities. I thought that between now and Mother's Day I would post some selections.

Dennison's is now, sadly, defunct, but any crepe paper will work for these. Left click to enlarge, or download these two pages from my Flickr account.

Monday, March 30, 2009


firefox iz now on pause
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

The spousal unit met one of these in the alley between the post office and the machine sheds early Saturday morning. That's about...100 yards from the house? If that?

I hope he was just visiting. No fox worth his salt is going to bother chasing rabbits when there are plump housecats for the taking.

Vintage Advertising - Acme Soap

(copyright-free image from Dover. I wonder if this is the soap that Wiley E. Coyote uses?)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Further Signs of (a Midwest) Spring

The cats have filed a grievance.

Diet For The Sick

(image from the LOLCats).

By Audrey C. Bullock (Modern Priscilla, January 1915).

THE problems in diet for the sick are two: (1) To keep up the bodily strength by sufficient nourishment. (2) To administer this nourishment in an easily assimilated form so as to tax the energies of the patient as little as possible.

A small amount of unsuitable or indigestible food may mean overfeeding, taxing the strength of the patient to a dangerous degree when he is obliged to eliminate the resulting evils; while, on the other hand, the customary diet of liquids is apt to be a process of slow starvation, containing as it generally does an insufficiency of nutrients. If you wish to succeed in avoiding nausea, vomiting, loss of strength, and even loss of life, you must learn to offer nourishment to the patient in a suitable form, in the quantity and at times suited to his digestive power and so adapt his food to his capabilities. Even when the patient is confined to bed and prevented from taking any kind of voluntary exercise, he still requires heat and energy for the involuntary action of heart, lungs, and the process of living, and this must be procured from his food.

When the temperature is high there is always a demand for a large quantity of easily digested food, usually in liquid form, and water is given to assist in carrying off the waste products. The hours of alternate ebb and flow of vital force should be most carefully watched for in order that you may anticipate the best time to offer nourishment.

By diluting milk, stimulants, gruels to much, or making beef tea too weak, the quantity of the fluid is so great that the patient soon tires of swallowing and stops before enough nourishment has been obtained. When a strictly milk diet is ordered during fever the amount given should never fall below three pints daily, and two quarts is often considered necessary. To make a liquid diet bearable for any length of time without destroying all desire for food, it is necessary to offer as much variety as possible; but do not give solid foods too soon, as they may cause rise in temperature and rapid heart action. The first meat consumed should be in a finely subdivided state, such as scraped beef or minced chicken.

The lack of desire for food on the part of the invalid may be due merely to defective cookery, the serving of meals at inopportune moments, or to the fact that the food selected is not to the patient’s liking. A desire for food may exist, but not for the particular food offered, and you must learn what to give in its place. It is much better to serve small quantities often than too much at one time, and punctuality in serving meals should be observed, for an appetite ready at the accustomed hour may fail if the meal is delayed. There is much unconscious habit in regard to eating.

Overcoming a Poor Appetite

Have the tray covered with a spotless cloth or napkin, and everything about it as dainty, clean, and attractive as possible, remembering that with a sick person appearance counts for a great deal. He may seem to ill to notice these details, whereas he is only too ill to speak of them, for one feeds with the eyes quite as much as with the lips. It often proves pleasing to carry out a color scheme. Nervous patients are apt to be depressed in the early morning, therefore for this reason make the breakfast tray as attractive as possible by using bright flowers, etc. The tray should be of correct size, so that when laid it will not have the appearance of being overcrowded; on the other hand, if a small amount is to be served, use a small tray. Have the dishes so placed that they may be easily reached by the patient. An individual coffee or tea pot will keep the beverage much hotter than it can be kept in a cup, and there is not the same danger of its being spilled while it is being carried on the tray. Have the hot things hot, and the cold things cold, not lukewarm, and taste all foods and drinks before serving, using a separate spoon, to ascertain if they are properly seasoned and at the right temperature. Remove the tray and all traces of the meal as soon as the patient has finished, thus giving him no opportunity to grow weary of looking at the food, and never leave half-emptied cups or glasses in the room.

Beverages are almost as necessary during fever as liquid foods, not only to relieve thirst, but to assist the organs of elimination in carrying off the poison that accumulates in the system. While pure cold water is usually the most acceptable, barley water, rice water, and beverages made from fruits, as lemonade, orangeade, etc., are useful alternates which may be sipped freely between meals. When a large amount of nutriment is required these beverages are sometimes combined with the white of an egg.

In convalescence, when the first part of the meal is hearty, a light and delicate desert properly follows, while in a case where the dishes first served have a comparatively low food value the desired average may be made up by finishing with an especially nourishing dessert. Fresh fruits, nature’s own ready-made desserts, may be prepared in many attractive ways. An orange, for example, may be cut in halves, the pulp and juice removed with a spoon, placed in a sherbet glass and dusted with powdered sugar.

Delicacies That Tempt

The following PINEAPPLE AND BANANA PUREE is especially nice. Press a sound but perfectly ripe banana through a potato-ricer, sweeten and add one tablespoon of orange juice. Pile a little mound of this mixture on a thing round slice of pineapple and place one unhulled strawberry on top.

A GRAPEFRUIT is usually cut in halves, the seeds and tough membrane removed, and the pulp cut loose from the outer skin. Sprinkle with sugar and put a maraschino cherry in the centre.

For convenience the following recipes have been arranged in individual amounts.

RICE WATER. – Wash two tablespoons of rice in several waters. Soak thirty minutes in three cups of cold water, heat gradually to boiling point and let boil until rice is soft. Strain, reheat rice water, season with salt, and if too thick dilute with boiling water. Milk may also be added if desired.

TOAST WATER. – Cut two slices stale bread, one-third-inch thick, and remove crusts. Put in pan and bake in a slow oven until thoroughly dried and well browned. Break in small pieces, add water, cover, let stand one hour. Squeeze through cheesecloth. Season with salt and serve hot or cold. This often proves efficient in extreme cases of nausea.

SYRUP FOR FRUIT BEVERAGES. – Add three-quarters of a cup of sugar to three-quarters of a cup of boiling water, stir until dissolved, then let boil without stirring for twelve minutes. Cool and bottle.

LEMONADE. – Mix together one and one-half tablespoons of syrup, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and three quarters of a cup of cold water. Use a glass lemon-squeezer and strain the juice. Place mixture on ice to cool and serve in a thin glass with a slice of lemon floating on top.

ORANGEADE is made in the same manner as lemonade, substituting orange juice for the lemon juice. Should the orange be very sweet use less sugar or add a little lemon juice.

A delightful invalid drink is made by blending three-quarters of a cup of strong lemonade with one-quarter of a cup of grape juice.

A dainty way of serving raw white of egg is to add two tablespoons of lemon, orange, or grape juice, and two tablespoons of sugar to the well beaten white.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Panhandle Hooker

...is not, as I initially assumed, a working girl from Amarillo or Lubbock. It is what appears to be heading in our direction. Tomorrow should be interesting.


(image from the LOLCats).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Further Signs of Spring

The common or vulgar Catalonian Poopinjardinensis watcherstep...

...and the less often seen varietal Windowsillems felissimax.

Quote of the Day

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it's your own affair
But... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long
So why in Heaven (before we are there!)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A (Relatively) Mild Rant

I recently bought a couple of issues of the new sewing magazine from the UK, Sew Hip. It's fun and funky, sometimes painfully so, but there's an interesting mix of projects and articles. Lots and lots of free patterns for everything from pincushions to kid's clothes to adult garments. Well worth the arm and the leg that my local chain bookseller charges.


Even if the publisher is targeting the novice seamstress/er, shouldn't the person who sews the project samples know what she/he is doing? The photograph of the tiered peasant skirt in Issue #3 shows clearly that the sample maker has managed to catch part of the tier in the seam, and the zipper in the a-line skirt (Issue #4) is not only the wrong color, it's humpy at the bottom.

(humpy at the bottom is an industry term for put in wrong.)

Rant over.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Patterns of the Past - Embroidered Orchids

This was featured in the Winter 1945-1946 issue of McCall's Needlework and Crafts. This particular pattern was not intended for kitchen or bedroom linens, but could be embroidered on a blouse or jacket to give it just a little bit of "oomph." A larger image can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Knitting - a 1925 Golf Sweater

"The girl who golfs will find this slip-on sports jacket smart and becoming." The sweater is from Modern Priscilla, April 1925, and the photo and two pages of instructions can be found on my Flickr account.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sixty-Seven Years Ago This Month

In March 1942, Congress signed the law establishing the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), allowing American women to enlist for auxiliary service with the U.S. Army.


They were organized into units, trained and served at Army bases, wore uniforms and performed military duties, but while wearing different rank insignia and receiving lower pay. The Army Air Forces (AAF) and Army Service Forces (ASF - logistics) couldn't get enough of them but the Army Ground Forces (AGF) took a long time to come around. In July, 1943, Congress finally did away with the WAAC, replacing it with the WAC (Women's Army Corps).

So if you have ever wondered why they were sometimes called WAACs and sometimes called WACs, now you know.

(The Navy and the Marine Corps did not begin enlisting women until July 1942, but even though they had a cute-sy little name--Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service--the WAVES were never considered an auxiliary, but rather part of the Navy from the get-go.

On the night Marine Corps Commandant Major General Thomas Holcomb announced his intention to recruit women, the portrait of 5th Commandant Archibald Henderson fell off his wall at 8th & I with a resounding crash. Commandant Holcomb did not welcome the idea of bringing women into the Marine Corps but he was a realist. By 1945, 80% of the enlisted personnel serving at Headquarters, Marine Corps, were female. When it was mentioned to Holcomb that these women didn't have a nickname, he replied "They are Marines. They don't have a nickname and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.")

(a H/T to Dan Thompson for the Male Call cartoon).

Vintage Scrap Art - Edwardian Spring

A page of copy-right free spring (or mostly spring, anyway) images from Dover.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sheep Shape

(H/T to Tamar at HistoricKnit).

Stand By To Repel Boarders

Reserve Cat has designs on that basket.

Fast and Abstinence

From Modern Priscilla, April 1925. At least this doesn't look any worse than my mother's signature Lenten dish, Irish spaghetti (boiled noodles, cheese and a can of diced tomatoes. It was awful and since my mother was a pretty good cook, I don't understand why. It occurs to me now that maybe she was trying to make us suffer for the good of our souls).

Left click to enlarge or download from my Flickr account.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eye Candy

If you love classic American women's clothing of the 1940's and 1950's, go spend some time at My Vintage Vogue's photostream.


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, March 20, 2009

And Some Birthday Wishes

For Amy.

In Honor of the First Day of Spring

From those nice folks at Dover!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

Libraries can get you through times of no money better than money can get you through times of no libraries. Ann Herbert

(vintage postcard from Dover).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free Stuff From the Toymaker

Marilyn has some new paper toys up for spring.

Patterns of the Past-McCall's Aprons

This pattern was featured in McCall's Needlework and Crafts and my note to myself says 1950--but those hairdos don't look it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If you are anywhere near central Illinois this weekend

....mark your calendars for this.

So True


Sewing and Crochet-A Twenties Negligee

A straight, floor-length negligee with smocked Empire waist, trimmed with crochet, from Modern Priscilla, May 1923. Two pages of instructions for making the negligee and crochet trim can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

The boudoir cap pattern is not included; but is a length of crochet with a circle of linen or muslin sewn to it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

She Does It On Purpose

Somebody disappeared again today. Somebody was missing for five hours. Somebody had us running all over looking for her and finally revealed her presence by a pathetic, Camille-like mew from where she had crawled up in the basement ceiling.

In Honor of Saint Patrick's Day

I should be offering some recipes for corned beef and cabbage, but I think I'll just show one of the selections from another vintage cookbook I brought home from Detroit, the Heinz Recipe Book, copyright 1939.

"Note: This salad may be used as a main dish salad for St. Patrick's Day, serving sandwiches or hot bread with it."

If all I gave the spousal unit for dinner was toast, three pieces of dill pickle and some watercress, I think he'd kick. And not just because he's a Protestant.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


(image from the LOLCats).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.

G.K. Chesterton

(Image from Patricia at Agence Eureka).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shuo Zhongwen?

Babyface is busy digging a hole to China.

Actually, I checked this site and the opposite side of the world from Myvillage is a patch of water about three hundred miles West-SouthWest of Margaret River, Western Australia (which looks like a nice spot. Margaret River, that is. Maybe I could get Babyface to veer just a tad to the left). I think Saki wrote a short story once in which he observed that you can have sheep or a nice garden but not both. This statement applies equally well to German Shepherd puppies.

To leave you with something more constructive (or less destructive) to look at, here's the flowerbed along the east wall of the bungalow. These were not here last week--I checked.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. Randall Jarrell.

Go read this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Patterns of the Past - Vintage Unmentionables

Ten cents got you these patterns in June, 1914, from Needlecraft magazine. If you had to make all of your clothes (except corsets), one-piece patterns like these would be popular. And when laundry day involved removing all ribbons, washing, drying, ironing, and then running the ribbons back through every piece of lingerie, something that would lie flat for the iron was a great time-saver.

This kimono has an unusual cut. It looks like a Poiret evening coat, but it's a bathrobe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tatting-25 Motif Challenge

I have fallen so far behind on my 25-Motif Challenge that I should probably just start all over again. The first motif above, in blue, is from McCall's Needlework and Crafts and I can't provide the pattern because the parent company has gone through so many changes of ownership that no one seems to know if the older patterns (mine are all from pre-1955 magazines) are still under copyright.

The pink edging (pattern below and on my Flickr account) is from Needlecraft magazine, September 1920. It's a very easy pattern to tat, all the rings are 4 picot 4, and so are all the chains except the very bottom scallop (5 picot 5) and the connecting upper chain (7, no picots). You will notice that there are no picots along the top edge so this edging would have to be sewn directly to fabric. Of course, you could throw in a few extra picots if you prefer!

(edited to add designer credit: the pattern was submitted by Mrs. W. I. Klingensmith).

Sewing - a Corset Cover from 1916

The Art of Dressing, by Dora Douglas, Needlecraft, September 1916

(Modern observation; the sleeveless version could easily be cut without a pattern from eyelet fabric, for a summer blouse or camisole. A full sized scan is available for download on my Flickr account).

"The corset-cover made of flouncing has become so popular that a few words of explanation in regard to making it are timely. There are several types in vogue, but the simplest is like pattern No. 7082. It is designed so that the flouncing completes the entire upper edge, which lessens the amount of sewing considerably, as this part of a corset-cover is frequently the most troublesome.

The flouncing selected should have embroidered eyelets in such an arrangement that ribbon can be run through them to shape the corset-cover at the neck, and draw in the fullness at the bottom of the sleeves. You will need, if you take the medium size, 2 5/8 yards 14 ½ inches wide. Also procure 1 yard of inch-wide embroidery beading for a belt, something that will go well with the flouncing, and 4 ½ yards of ribbon to run through the upper edge, sleeves and belt.

Fold the flouncing crosswise through the middle and lay the pattern on it with the edge having the large single perforation along the fold and the straight upper edge of the pattern along the finished edge of the flouncing, that is, at the tip of the scallops. The sleeve is cut with the line of three small perforations straight of the material and the lower edge of the sleeve along the border of the embroidery. Pin the tissue smoothly to the material and then cut out.

The pattern allows for a box plait finish at the front edges, and this is desirable for plainer embroidery; but if the embroidery is heavy a hem is a better finish. Turn under 1-½ inches at both front edges for the hems, which may be stitched on the machine or hemmed by hand.

At the underarm edges 3/8 inches is allowed for seaming; first take up 1/8 inch on the right side, then turn to the wrong side and make another narrow seam to catch in the raw edges. Turn the lower edge of the corset-cover up 3/8 inch and gather close to the edge and make another gathering one inch above. Measure the waist for the belt-size and add 1-½ inches at each end of the beading, to provide for the lapping and finishing.

Try the corset-cover on, pinning the right hem over the left, the middle of the hems being center front. Draw the gathers in the waist-size and pin the beading over them, pushing most of the fullness toward center front and center back. Baste the beading along both edges as pinned and then stitch; turn the ends over the front edges of the corset cover and hem them in place inside. If the beading has unfinished edges, turn them under before basting the beading over the gathers.

Close the seam of sleeve; gather the upper edge between double perforations and sew to the armhole-edge matching the notches. If made without sleeves each armhole-edge must be turned over on the right side ¼ inch and basted. Clip it wherever it draws, so that it may lie flat. For a binding cut a bias strip of muslin not more than an inch wide and turn the edges under and baste it along the armhole. Then stitch the binding along both edges. Narrow beading may be used instead of the binding, if preferred, and is applied in the same way.

Run ribbon through the eyelets at the border of the flouncing and through the beading at the waist and leave enough to each end to tie. Buttonholes may be worked through the right hem if the embroidery does not interfere with their being smoothly made, but a fly for closing is even better.

For the fly, cut a piece of material 2 ½ inches wide, and fold it lengthwise through the middle, and then turn in the raw edges at the side and ends ¼ inch and stitch or hem them together. The fly is now an inch wide and all the edges neatly finished. Work three buttonholes midway between the middle and the ends, and attach the seamed edge to the back edge of the right hem. Sew buttons to the left hem to correspond with the buttonholes.

Another way to fasten flouncing edges is by means of loops and buttons. The loops are made of very small cord or fine tape which is sewed along the inside of the hem and run from one loop to another without being cut between.

Corset-cover pattern, No. 7082, is cut in sizes from 34 to 44 inches bust measurement."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vintage Embroidery Books - Art in Needlework

May be downloaded from Project Gutenberg. Lots of black and white photos and examples of several types of embroidery stitch, including some I have not seen before.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not a jury in the land would convict me

Babyface came prancing up to me for some affection as I was knitting on the sofa this afternoon. After she got her due, something made her decide to race into the next room.

And her collar was hooked in my knitting.

By the time the spousal unit stopped and untangled her there was a HUGE snag about five inches from the beginning of the project. And yes, I tried to fix it. And no, it can't be fixed.

Culinary Mysteries

I returned from my last trip home to Detroit with an armload of cookbooks, including one published by the Detroit Times in 1936. My home town has fallen on hard times but in the 1930’s it had 1.5 million residents, the largest streetcar system in the world, and three major dailies as well as a German language newpaper, the Abendpost. The Times started life as an abolitionist paper in 1842 and went through several owners and points of view before becoming part of the Hearst empire. It eventually folded in 1960.

This cookbook appears to be made up of recipes submitted by local housewives rather than the work of the newspaper’s cookery correspondent, so there is a certain amount of duplication. It looks like the editors tried to put the recipes into a uniform format, but the directions are all over the place – some are very exact, some seem to leave out key bits of information.

Or ingredients. Notice there is no mention of cocoanut anywhere in this recipe except the title. I’m guessing that an experienced home cook knew enough to press flaked coconut over the top and sides of the cake after it was frosted.

This torte needs to be baked in a slow oven – probably 325° -- but there is no mention of time. Fifty minutes? An hour?

The recipe portion of the cookbook is only about 270 pages long, and the first hundred pages are all for desserts. I’m not sure what’s so Spanish about “Spanish Bun.” Maybe the cocoa. Anyone who has any other suggestions, keep them G-rated!

And this cake (which I remember from my days in Paris was called “Quatre-Quatres”) lists the ingredients and basic instructions, leaving everything else up to the cook.

This recipe should look familiar, it’s a "war cake" and I’m including it for the frosting recipe, in case Rebecca wants to make it again!

(scans of all of these pages can be downloaded from my Flickr account, if you’re interested).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Cat Silliness

"None of the cats, humans, or engineers were mistreated in the making of this film. They were however, slightly annoyed."


Commander Kitteh  reviews the troops
see more crazy cat pics

Friday, March 6, 2009

The first signs of spring

The Drama Queen is sitting under the bird-feeder with a napkin tied around her neck and a fork in her paw.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. It has been sunny but cold and windy for the past week and today is beautiful. I think we may have the annual ceremonial unveiling of the grill this evening. Since the temperature has been pretty clement, the door has been open to allow the livestock in and out of the back yard. But with the spring come new perils.

Reserve Cat got caught in a plastic shopping bag out in the alley yesterday and managed to wrap the handles around his neck. I have no way of knowing how long he tried to fight free of it but at some point he got spooked and ran.

The snapping, rattling monster followed, hanging onto him like Superman’s cape. He got himself back over the fence and through the doggie door into the house where he tried to hide from it under the spare-room bed BUT HE STILL COULDN’T GET AWAY!

I nipped in behind him, closed the door, and even though he was terrified he didn’t claw me when I picked him up. I got the bag off him and then held his poor shaking body until he calmed down.

He was very subdued for the rest of the afternoon and stayed curled up in the linen closet, which is one of his Happy Places. I wasn't too chipper about the incident, either. We try to keep our yard cleaned up but we can't police the whole town.