Saturday, March 31, 2012


Friday, March 30, 2012

I love cats because I love my home, and after a while they become its visible soul. ~ Jean Cocteau.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Knitting - "Everyone Wears Sweaters"

As it so happens, I have a copy of this booklet - it's from 1952 and the patterns are available on the Purple Kitty site.  Knits for the whole family, even Fido.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vintage Images - Signs of Spring

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Notes From A Weekend

Matthew 13:57

When I arrived at my sister's house, I was met by her oldest son, who looked past me and, seeing that I was alone, demanded in aggrieved tones, "Where is your big man?"

At Least He Wasn't In Cognito

My sister's younger son had finished his bath and was curled up on the sofa in such a way that he could not be seen.

Brother in Law:  Where's Andy*?
Me:  He's in defilade.
Andy*:  No I'm not!  I'm in my underwear!

Why Not?  Everyone Else Seems To Be Running

Youngest sister:  Some of the Republican candidates are nuts.  Just nuts.  Like that guy RuPaul.
Me:  Who?
Youngest sister:  You know, the crazy one.  RuPaul.  The one with the son who's in Congress, too.

They Grow Up So Fast

We were in the car and my sister had given my niece her smartphone to play with, to keep her quiet.  At four years old this child cannot pronounce the letter R but is already ten times as tech-savvy as I will ever be.

Mousie*:  Mamma, you got lots of pictures in your cam'wa.
Youngest sister:  Yes, dear.  Daddy needs to download them for me.

There are several minutes of ominous silence from the back seat.

Me:  Mousie*, what are you doing?
Mousie (tersely):  Deleting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Home to Detroit for a few days.  Blogging will resume on Monday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Access Denied

I'm having some furwall issues.

Tatting -- Another Workbasket Edging

Not from one of Barb's stash, but pretty and spring-like, and I'm in the mood.  Workbasket magazine, May 1960.  Left-click to enlarge.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vintage Images -- Butterflies and Blooms

Lovely old images, copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Something Else I Take For Granted

"In the city, I believe, it is better to exchange ashes and grease for soap; but in the country, I am certain, it is good economy to make one's own soap.  If you burn wood, you can make your own lye; but the ashes of coal is not worth much.  Bore small holes in the bottom of a barrel, place four bricks around, and fill the barrel with ashes.  Wet the ashes well, but not enough to drop; let it soak thus three or four cays; then pour a gallon of water in every hour or two, for a day or more, and let it drop into a pail or tub beneath.  Keep it dripping until the color of the lye shows the strength is exhausted.  If your lye is not strong enough, you must fill your barrel with fresh ashes, and let the lye run through it.  Some people take a barrel without any bottom, and lay sticks and straw across to prevent the ashes from falling through.  To make a barrel of soap, it will require about five or six bushels of ashes, with at least four quarts of unslacked stone lime; if slacked, double the quantity.

When you have drawn off a part of the lye, put the lime (whether slack or not) into two or three pails of boiling water, and add it to the ashes, and let it drain through.

It is the practice of some people, in making soap, to put the lime near the bottom of the ashes when they first set it up; but the lime becomes like mortar, and the lye does not run through, so as to get the strength of it, which is very important in making soap, as it contracts the nitrous salts which collect in ashes, and prevents the soap from coming, (as the saying is.)  Old ashes are very apt to be impregnated with it.

Three pounds of grease should be put into a pailful of lye.  The great difficulty in making soap 'come' originates in want of judgment about the strength of the lye.  One rule may be safely trusted -- If your lye will bear up an egg, or a potato, so that you can see a piece of the surface as big as ninepence, it is just strong enough.  If it sink below the top of the lye, it is too weak, and will never make soap; if it is buoyed up half way, the lye is too strong; and that is just as bad.  A bit of quick-lime, thrown in while the lye and grease are boiling together, is of service.  When the soap becomes thick and ropy, carry it down cellar in pails and empty it into a barrel.

Cold soap is less trouble, because it does not need to boil; the sun does the work of fire.  The lye must be prepared and tried in the usual way.  The grease must be tried out, and strained from the scraps.  Two pounds of grease (instead of three) must be used to a pailful; unless the weather is very sultry, the lye should be hot when put to the grease.  It should stand in the sun, and be stirred every day.  If it does not begin to look like soap in the course of five or six days, add a little hot lye to it; if this does not help it, try whether it be grease that it wants.  Perhpas you will think cold soap wasteful, because the grease must be strained; but if the scraps are boiled thoroughly in strong lye, the grease will all float upon the surface, and nothing be lost."

The American Frugal Housewife, by Mrs. Lydia Marie Child.  You may download a free pdf of this cookbook from the Michigan State University site, Feeding America.

I imagine that this was a chore saved for the first warm and sunny spring weekend (like today), using a winter's accumulation of ashes and also the cooking fats that had been set aside in a cool place until soap-making day arrived.  I also imagine this soap was awfully hard on the skin.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Well, Hell

I'm not sure what it is I thought I was doing, but I've deleted about four months' worth of comments.  Blogger is obviously not Marine-proof.

Definitely NSFW.


There was too a starling in the woodstove.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

There is no "i" in team, but there are two in idiot.  And three in sanctimonious git. ~ (British army noncom whose name I can no longer recall).

I Can't Help But Wonder What She's Up To

Evidently the hospital that employs my sister has lifted its hiring freeze because she informs me that she's just interviewed and hired several new members for her administrative team.  One retired USAF master sergeant, two Marines, two ex-soldiers (including a rocket systems specialist).

Oh, and one former military blasting and explosives engineer.

(Yes, this is the sister who was in the Navy.  How did you guess?)

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Two-fer Tuesday

"Fascinating Toppers" for those who crochet.  Tons of hats, bags and rather odd little accessory-thingies from 1944, at Purple Kitty.

Workbasket Magazine, September 1946

According to the lady who maintains an online index of old Workbasket magazines, this one is from September 1946.  Four pages are on my Flickr account -- print them off and staple them together.  If you enjoy it, thank Barb.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Somebody Down Here Likes Me, Too

A lovely lady named Barb who lives in California and reads this blog just sent me several pounds of vintage Workbasket magazines.  O frabjous day.

I am going to post the first one, in its entirety (don't hyperventilate, it's only 8 pages), tomorrow.  Can I get an "amen!" for the lovely Miz' Barb?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Herb Teas

"...Are made by infusing the dried or green leaves and stalks in boiling water, and letting them stand until cold.  Sweeten to taste.

Sage tea, sweetened with honey, is good for a sore throat, used as a gargle, with a small bit of alum dissolved in it.

Catnip tea is the best panacea for infant ills, in the way of colds and colic, known to nurses.

Pennyroyal tea will often avert the unpleasant consequences of a sudden check of perspiration, or the evils induced by ladies' thin shoes.

Chamomile and gentian teas are excellent tonics taken either cold or hot.

The tea made from blackberry-root is said to be good for summer disorders.  That from green strawberry leaves is an admirable and soothing wash for a cankered mouth.

Tea of parsley-root scraped and steeped in boiling water, taken warm, will often cure strangury and kindred affections, as will that made from dried pumpkin-seed.

Tansy and rue teas are useful in cases of colic, as are fennel seeds steeped in brandy.

A tea of damask-rose leaves, dry or fresh, will usually subdue any simple case of summer complaint in infants.

Mint tea, made from the green leaves, crushed in cold or hot water and sweetened, is palatable and healing to the stomach and bowels."

Common Sense in the Household, Mrs. Marion Harland, 1873.  Available at the Michigan State University website, Feeding America.

(Of the above, I think the only advice I would take is the drinking of mint tea.  I often had it in the Middle East and although I don't know what good it does the stomach and bowels, it's delicious).

Botanical print from Patricia's site.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

The real problem with wireless technology is that it makes it harder to find something to strangle people with when they deserve it. ~ Doghouse Riley

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tatting - A Hankie Edge From 1960

From Workbasket magazine, October 1960.  Left-click to enlarge.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Only Difference Between Men and Boys

Wyoming State Representative Kermit Brown thinks that his state should buy an aircraft carrier. Maybe he just found out that Texas has its own gunboats.

Vintage Images - Silhouettes

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Day of Fast and Abstinence

From blogging, anyway.  I'm doing taxes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Is My Idea Of A Chick Flick

I get such a case on Robert Mitchum every time I see this movie.


Seamstress kitteh is helping Cinderella get ready for the ball....

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Spousal Unit Will Be Glad When The Primaries Are Over

If only because I've been using the word "Dickwad!" a lot.

It Would Certainly Explain Gaelic

The word ghoti can be pronounced “fish”:

gh as in laugh
o as in women
ti as in nation

If that’s true, and if

gh is pronounced “p” as in hiccough
ough is pronounced “o” as in dough
phth is pronounced “t” as in phthisis
eigh is pronounced “a” as in neighbour
tte is pronounced “t” as in gazette
eau is pronounced “o” as in plateau

Then it should be possible to spell “potato” ghoughphtheightteeau.

Let’s call the whole thing off. ~ Futility Closet.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This Is True

He: Just because I love you, I'm giving you the last red jellybean.

Me: You want a medal, or a chest to pin it on?

He: I've got both.