Saturday, October 31, 2009


Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

There is no such thing as a dangerous woman; there are only susceptible men. ~ Joseph Wood Krutch.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Patterns of the Past - "Garments for Home Wear"

To go with last week's garments for general use, also from Needlecraft, May 1916. I think the little girl's garment at the top is an apron or coverall of some sort. I do know that the fetching two piece outfit and cap on the lady at the bottom of the page used to be called a breakfast or matinee set. Presumably this is what the stylish young wife wore while serving her husband his breakfast.

Note the bell-shaped "war crinoline" silhouette of the skirts. Note also that the faces of the models are beginning to evolve (or devolve) away from the sophisticated, glamorous look of the Gibson era and into something more fluffy and child-like. A reaction to the war? Who knows.

Left-click to enlarge or go to my Flickr account for a larger image.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crochet - Two Edgings from 1948

Two crocheted edgings from Modern Knitting, 1948. Instructions may be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vintage Ad Cuts - Halloween

Copyright-free images from Dover.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Language of Cats

(Warning: not safe for work unless you have headphones on).

Mother's Delicious Dishes

Mrs. Sarah Moore, Needlecraft, March 1921

"CERTAINLY the mothers of twenty-five or thirty years ago used to be good cooks, for what man or woman of today but remembers fondly some oldfashioned dish that was the especial treat on high days and holidays, and very few of them can honestly say that anything every tasted as good since. Of course this is partly accounted for by the glamour which kindly time throws over all pleasant recollections, and partly by the youthful appetite which forms the finest sauce for any dish.

But there is no doubt at all about it, my mother and your mother, in fact, almost everybody’s mother of that day was an excellent cook, and though in all probability the good lady never heard of domestic science she could give points to many a cooking-school graduate of the present era. And many a capable housewife of today now keeps among her most cherished possessions mother’s very best receipts, perhaps written in faded ink on the blank pages in the back of the old-time cookery-book. Some of these old rules, of course, are too expensive for modern use now that eggs and butter have risen to prices of which mother never dreamed, but not all belong to this category. Every family has a collection of rules for making these oldfashioned dainties and wholesome meat dishes, and it is with the thought that perhaps the modern housekeeper would like to add to her collection a few more appetizing dainties that have been carefully selected from the household treasures of old friends in New England, in the south and in the middle west, that this article has been written.

OLDFASHIONED GRIDDLE CAKES. These cakes often came on the table at supper time, and were appreciated by the young folks. Beat three eggs and add to half a pint of milk, then stir in flour enough to make a thin batter. One teaspoonful of baking-powder must be added to the flour before stirring it all in. Fry the cakes the size of a breakfast-plate, and pile one on top of another, making five layers each covered with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, or shaved maple sugar after buttering of course. When served, cut them in pie-fashion right through.

CHOCOLATE CREAM-CAKE. Beat one egg light in mixing-blowl, add one cupful of sugar, one cupful of cream, sweet or sour. Sift together one cupful of flour, five tablespoonfuls of cocoa and one teaspoonful of soda. Add flour to thicken, flavor with vanilla, bake twenty minutes in gem or layer-cake pans. Ice with white frosting.

CHICKEN CHOWDER. Have a three-pound chicken cut up as for fricassee and cook in two quarts of hot water until tender, then remove the meat. Brown two onions in one half pound of pork cut in inch squares, when done discard the pork-scraps and add the rest to the chicken stock. Dice six potatoes and cook in this until soft; when these are done add one cupful of hot milk and thicken with one tablespoonful of flour. Simmer ten minutes, add to the chicken, season, and serve.

(by pork I wonder if Mrs. Moore meant salt pork. I think she must have).

APPLE SLUMP. Some of you may remember eating this oldfashioned dish in your childhood. Measure one quart of flour and into it sift three tablespoonfuls of baking-powder and shorten with one tablespoonful of butter rubbed into the flour. Mix with cold milk or water, the same as for biscuit. Put two quarts of pared, sliced or quartered apples with one pint of water into the dish in which the slump is to be cooked. Roll the crust about an inch thick, cut into quarters, and with it cover the apples in the dish; then cover the whole with a close-fitting cover, and boil or steam until done. Take out on a platter and grate nutmeg over the apple. Serve with a sweet sauce or sugar and cream.

MAPLE-SUGUR COOKIES. Mix together one cupful of sugar, one cup of crushed maple sugar, one cup of butter, two well beaten eggs, two tablespoonfuls of water, two teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, and flour enough to roll out. Do not make too stiff. Bake in a quick oven."

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Friday, October 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night. ~ Margaret Mead

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Online Bookshelf - The ABCs of Foxhunting

A comic alphabet-book from the early years of Victoria's reign, available for download from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Patterns of the Past - "Garments for General Use"

From Needlecraft magazine, May 1916. I like the dotted swiss dress, bottom center.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Have Duct Tape and a Radio. Fear Me.

The county health department conducted the first mass vaccination clinic for H1N1 today. Somewhere in this crowd is a woman in an ill-fitting green vest with Logistics written in big white letters on the front and the back. She is sweating profusely, trying to answer three questions at once, and looks as though her feet hurt. She has been on duty since 0730. She is me.

(And I have news for that reporter; it didn't remotely resemble any military operations with which I have ever been associated).

Crochet - Some Pretty "RickRack" Trims from 1916

I have a stack of teens and early 20’s Needlecraft magazines and unfortunately several of them are in shreds and almost too fragile to scan. These photos are from an article in the May, 1916 Needlecraft magazine and accompanied instructions on how to create pretty, inexpensive novelty trims using crochet and ricrac braid. The article is called “The Renaissance of Rickrack,” by Adelaide Carr Baker.

“A very simple needlepoint edging of ‘ye olden time’ is made as follows:

1. Count 6 points, join 1st and last by sewing, then draw the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th close together to form a point.

2. Count 5 points (on outside), join first 2, then draw next 3 together.

Repeat these 2 rows to required length.”

“The horseshoe pattern is an old and favorite one for rickrack trimming. It may be made as wide as desired, and serves prettily as an “allover” design for yokes, cushion-covers, etc.; may also be used as an insertion, the lace to match having a crocheted chain along one edge to sew on by.

1. Fasten thread with a double in point of braid, chain 3, * a treble in next point, chain 1, repeat from * until you have taken up 15 points of braid, turn.

2. Same as 2nd row, joining to top of 3 chain at beginning of 2nd row to form a circle, chain 8, fasten in 2 points next above circle, taking them together with 1 double, chain 4, connect next 2 points in same manner, chain 14, a double in point opposite the 2nd treble of 1st row. This completes the “horseshoe.” Repeat from the beginning until you have the desired length.”

“A half-wheel edging makes a pretty border for doilies, or may be used as a straight trimming. Fasten back the braid 5 points, overlapping 4, and the middle folded in half.

1. Fasten thread in the half point, (chain 3, a treble in next point) twice, taking each treble through the overlapping points, then continue with (chain 3, a treble in next point) 7 times, fold the braid as before, (chain 3, a treble in next point, putting hook through both or lapped points) 3 times, making 13 points, with 3 chain between, from the beginning, counting both sides folded back.

2. Chain 4, * a treble under chain between points, chain 1; repeat.

3. A treble (chain 3 for 1st, always) under each chain of last row, turn.

4. A double between each 2 trebles, chain 5, fasten across wheel in 1st double made, chain 4, fasten under last treble of 1st row, chain 4, fasten in point folded in middle, and repeat from 1st row to length desired.”

“A very pretty border with turned corner is useful in many ways.

1. Fasten thread a little at the side of a point of braid, chain 3 for a treble, make 3 trebles close together * chain 4, 2 trebles in the hollow, or depression, between points, chain 4, 4 trebles in next point; repeat from * until the corner is reached, then after the 2nd 4 chain make a treble in each of next 2 points, keeping the top loop of each on needle and working both off together, thus drawing the 2 corner points close together; then continue from *.

2. Two trebles under 4 chain (chain 3 for 1st treble of row), 4 in 4 trebles and 2 under following chain, chain 2; repeat; at corner, make 2 trebles under 4 chain, working off together, and 2 under next 4 chain, chain 2, and continue as before with the straight lace.

3. A treble in a stitch, chain 1, miss 1; repeat. At corner make a treble in last of 8 trebles and in 1st of next 8 trebles, drawing them together above the 4 trebles of last row.

4. A treble in each stitch; at corner join to top of treble following the 2 corner trebles of last row, slip back over 2 trebles, and continue; this makes a square corner.

An insertion matching this edge differs from it slightly, but may be made exactly the same, if preferred.

1. Three trebles in point of braid (chain 3 for 1st treble of the row), chain 6, a treble in depression between points, chain 6; repeat to corner, where chain 4, 3 trebles in next 2 points, taken together, chain 4, treble between points, chain 6, and continue as before.

2. Three trebles under chain, 3 in 3 trebles and 3 under chain following, chain 1; repeat to corner, where make 1 treble under chain, 1 in 2nd treble and 1 under following chain.

3. Same as 3rd row of edging.

4. Same as 4th row of edging.

5. From the outer edge, work as directed in 1st row to corner, where chain 6, 3 trebles in corner point, chain 4, 3 trebles in same place, chain 6, and continue.

6. Like 2nd row to corner, where make 3 trebles under 4 chain, chain 4, 3 trebles under same chain, then continue as before with treble in treble, 3 under chain, and so on.

7. Same as 3rd row to corner, where make a treble under 4 chain, chain 4, a treble under same chain.

8. A treble in each stitch, with 9 trebles under corner chain to turn nicely.

The straight lace or edging and insertion are pretty for many purposes, together or singly; the insertion makes a very attractive towel end. Used together they are very effective as a finish for scrim curtains.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vintage Advertising - Colgate Toothpaste

From Needlecraft magazine, April 1921.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

But She's Siamese, not Japanese

9 Chickweed Lane

She's a Betty

From The Bride’s Blue Book, published in or near South Bend, Indiana but missing the cover and undated. There is a reference to leg powder but none to rationing, scrap drives or Victory Bonds so maybe 1946? Someone who lives in that area and recognizes some of these advertisers could tell us, perhaps.

Apple Betty

3 c. soft bread crumbs
3 T. melted butter or margarine
3 large tart apples
1 ½ t. lemon juice
½ t. grated lemon rind
¾ c. firmly packed brown sugar
¼ t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. hot water
Hard sauce

Toast crumbs; mix with butter or margarine. Place 1/3 crumbs in greased baking dish. Pare apples, core; slice thin. Arrange ½ apples on crumbs. Sprinkle with ½ juice and rind, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Repeat, ending with crumbs. Add water. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 45 min. or until apples are tender. Serve hot with sauce. Serves 4.

Apple Wheat Betty

4 wheat-shred biscuits
4 apples
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter or margarine
1 T. lemon juice
½ c. water
Orange custard sauce

Crush wheat-shred biscuits. Pare apples; core; slice. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Place alternate layers cereal and apples in baking dish, sprinkling with sugar mixture. Dot with butter or margarine. Mix juice and water; add. Cover; bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 50 min. Serve hot with sauce. Serves 4.

Pineapple Betty

1 No. 2 can (2 ½ cups) crushed pineapple
2 ½ c. corn flakes
½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
¼ t. nutmeg
1 T. lemon juice
½ t. grated lemon rind
3 T. melted butter or margarine
Sherry Fluff sauce

Drain pineapple; place in baking dish. Combine corn flakes, sugar, nutmeg, lemon rind and juice, and butter or margarine. Sprinkle over pineapple. Bake in hot oven (400° F.) 20 min. Serve hot with sauce. Serves 4.

Blushing Betty

2 lbs. rhubarb
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. seedless raisins
2 T. shortening
1 egg
1 c. flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1/3 c. milk
½ t. vanilla extract

Wash rhubarb; do not peel. Cut in 1-inch pieces; mix with 1 cup sugar. Place in greased baking dish; add raisins. Cream shortening and 1/3 cup sugar. Add egg; beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture; add vanilla extract. Spread over fruit. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 1 hour. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.

Red Cherry Betty

1 No. 2 can (2 ½ c.) pitted sour red cherries
3 c. corn flakes
1 T butter or margarine
2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg

Drain cherries, reserving sirup. Mix corn flakes, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place alternate layers corn flake mixture and cherries in baking dish. Dot with butter or margarine; add ¼ c. cherry sirup. Bake in moderately hot oven (350° F.) 20 min. Serves 4.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Just Love Your Sense Of Humor, Doc

During Her Majesty's check-up this morning, the vet noticed some tartar buildup and suggested we brush her teeth.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

(Washington Post photo)

God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~ Galatians 6:7.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Interracial Couple Denied Wedding License

HAMMOND, La. - A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

Yes, one of them might even grow up to be President.

The Online Bookshelf - A Nursery Rhyme

A delightful little book full of black and white drawings and color plates like these. It can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Patterns of the Past - Novelties for Children

From Needlecraft, September 1914. The dress and bloomers would be pretty and practical today, but I'm not sure any child over the age of five would be willing to wear it. I like the look of the straight front and gathered back, though.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Liberté, Egalité, Sororité

(In the car with my oldest sister. Explanatory note: she is on a doctor-monitored diet that instead of food, allows her to drink three glasses each day of something resembling the goop I used to scrape off my boots after a twenty-mile hike in the hills around Quantico).

She: So what’s the plan this morning?
Me : Find a coffee shop, get some coffee and …
She: I can’t have coffee.
Me. Fine. Find a coffee shop, I’ll get a coffee and you can have some tea…
She: I can’t have tea, either. No caffeine.
Me. Fine. Find a coffee shop, I’ll get a coffee and you can have a bottle of mineral water.
She: I hate having to watch people drink coffee.
Me. FINE. I’ll get a coffee and you can have a bottle of mineral water to drink at a different table.
(there is a short silence).
She (wistfully): I’ve started fantasizing about cheese.

(In the car with both sisters).

Youngest sister: We have to stop at the Grand Traverse Pie Company™ and get a pie for dessert tonight.
Oldest sister: They sell pies at the Grand Traverse Pie Company?
Me: No, they sell artificial limbs. What do you think they sell at a place called "The Grand Traverse Pie Company!?!"
Youngest Sister (hurriedly): What kind should we get?
Oldest sister: What kind do they have?
Youngest sister: Peach-blackberry, apple, strawberry-rhubarb…
Me: What does she care? She can’t have any anyway.
Youngest sister (under her breath): Someone’s about to get slapped.

(In the car with both sisters and assorted nieces/nephews)

Youngest sister’s youngest son: Is Aunt S**** going home?
Youngest sister: Yes, honey. She’s leaving right after we go see Grandpa.
Youngest sister’s youngest son: Is Aunt K**** going home?
Oldest sister: No, I get to stay at your house for two more nights. You can come downstairs in the morning and cuddle with me (with a significant glance in my direction).
Youngest sister’s youngest son: Is Mamma going to sleep on the sofa bed with you?
Oldest sister: No, Mamma is going to sleep upstairs in her own bed.
Youngest sister’s youngest son: Is Daddy going to sleep on the sofa bed with you?
Youngest sister: Not if he knows what’s good for him.

Crochet - A Drawnwork Bonnet from 1914

From Needlecraft magazine, September 1914. Three pages of instructions for creating the drawnwork and crocheting the trim are on my Flickr account.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stand By To Repel Boarders

My youngest sister insists that during my last visit when her four year old crept down the stairs to the living room and tried to climb up into the sofa-bed with me, I put my foot on his chest and shoved him out.

It was 5am, I was still asleep and I thought he was a German Shepherd, okay?

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm Just a Butterfly

And I'm taking advantage of the three day weekend to head up to Detroit and see my dad. I'll be posting again on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Online Bookshelf - The Fifth String

A bizarre little love story by John Philip Sousa, with nothing to recommend it but half a dozen Howard Chandler Christy illustrations.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Patterns of the Past - Ladies' Skirts from 1915

From Needlecraft, December 1915, and showing the bell-shaped "war crinoline" shape that had superceded the hobble skirt. I think #7488 must be a petticoat; and what an unusual yoke on #7459.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crochet - a Bib from 1915

From Needlecraft magazine, June 1915, a baby's bib to crochet. Two pages of instructions can be found on my Flickr account.

Notice the last line of instructions: she decorates bibs with blue bows for a girl and pink for a boy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Notes on Another Business Trip

Lovely town, Milwaukee. Nice people, good bars and copious amounts of beer. We stayed in what is now the Hilton and was once the Schroeder, a charming 1928 Art Deco edifice. One of my fellow conference attendees woke in the night to the sound of ballroom music and saw someone or something sitting on the foot of her bed. According to the staff, this happens a lot.

Amtrak is a pleasant change from flying. I eavesdropped on a toddler conversing in her own language with a very patient Seeing Eye dog named Verna, from Bloomington until the child’s mother removed her at Joliet.

In Union Station three fresh-faced Amish teenagers watched, fascinated, while a trio of plainclothes cops frisked a young man with a guitar case.

A two-hour layover in Chicago gives one ample time for a side trip to Fishman’s and Vogue Fabrics, conveniently located less than a block from each other. I have recently taken the Wardrobe Refashion pledge and so I only bought a belt-buckle (sigh).

Learned the story behind the Great Milwaukee Fry-Up of 2009. Turns out that a young man home from Iraq had brought his little brother an M158. Popularly known as “red star clusters,” these are pyrotechnic devices designed to shoot a flaming trail of red sparks high into the air as a pre-arranged signal during combat operations.

Unfortunately the two of them fired it off in proximity to the Patrick Cudahy Co. food-processing complex and some of the residue landed on the roof of the bacon-processing plant. The resulting fire forced local officials to evacuate a one-mile square area of adjacent neighborhoods and took twenty-seven fire departments two days to control.

(Next time your brother asks for a souvenir, son, get him a t-shirt).

An Edwardian Picnic from The Delineator

A lavish al fresco autumn meal, from the September, 1902 Delineator. Left-click for a larger image.

Several issues can be found at Google Books.

Saturday, October 3, 2009