Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Knitting - Lace Patterns from 1916

From the Woman's Home Companion, May 1916.  Left-click to enlarge, or go to Google Books for the entire year's issues.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vintage Advertising - Heinz 57 Varieties

From the Ladies' Home Journal, September, 1922.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


They're Not Just Cheeseheads Anymore

Milwaukee is experimenting with something new as a sidewalk de-icer.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Quote of the Day

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true. ~ Francis Bacon

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Plus Ca Change

I should like to be home this Christmas night.~ Lt Elisha Hunt Rhodes, 1862.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  ~ Isaiah 9:2.

(vintage Czech creche here).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Vintage Images - More Christmas Cards

(Copyright-free, from Dover).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

God Rest Ye Merry (But Not TOO Merry)

"The writer was once inclined to the common opinion, that dancing was harmless, and might be properly regulated; and she allowed a fair trade to be made, under her auspices, by its advocates.  The result was, a full conviction, that it secured no good effect, which could not be better gained another way; that it involved the most pernicious evils to health, character, and happiness; and that those parents were wise, who brought up their children with the full understanding that they were neither to learn nor to practise the art.  In the fifteen years, during which she has had the care of young ladies, she has never known any case, where learning this art, and following the amusement, did not have a bad effect...

It is encouraging to those who take this view of the subject, to find how fast the most serious and intelligent portion of the community is coming to a similar result.  Twenty-five years ago, dancing was universally practised by the young, as a matter of course, in every part of the Nation.  Now, in those parts of the Country, where religion and intelligence are most extensively diffused, it is almost impossible to get up a ball, among the more refined classes of the community."

Catherine Esther Beecher, A Treatise on Domestic Economy.  And a depressing read it is, too.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Friday, December 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

"When we wish to speak of our "good friend or friends," in our enlightened tongue, we stick to the one form and have no trouble or hard feeling about it; but with the German tongue it is different. When a German gets his hands on an adjective, he declines it, and keeps on declining it until the common sense is all declined out of it. It is as bad as Latin. He says, for instance:

·        SINGULAR

·        Nominative — Mein guter Freund, my good friend.
·        Genitive — Meines guten Freundes, of my good friend.
·        Dative — Meinem guten Freund, to my good friend.
·        Accusative — Meinen guten Freund, my good friend.

·        PLURAL

·        N. — Meine guten Freunde, my good friends.
·        G. — Meiner guten Freunde, of my good friends.
·        D. — Meinen guten Freunden, to my good friends.
·        A. — Meine guten Freunde, my good friends.

Now let the candidate for the asylum try to memorize those variations, and see how soon he will be elected. One might better go without friends in Germany than take all this trouble about them. I have shown what a bother it is to decline a good (male) friend; well this is only a third of the work, for there is a variety of new distortions of the adjective to be learned when the object is feminine, and still another when the object is neuter. Now there are more adjectives in this language than there are black cats in Switzerland, and they must all be as elaborately declined as the examples above suggested. Difficult? — troublesome? — these words cannot describe it. I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective."  ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Stuff for Germans

(I had to read this out loud to get the full flavor of it, and the woman in the next office is convinced I'm off my rocker.  Although it's possible she's felt this way before).


German is a relatively easy language. If you know Latin you're used to declensions and can learn German without great difficulty.

That's what German teachers tell you at the first lesson. Then you start studying the der, die, das, den... and they tell you that everything follows a logical order.

So it's easy. And to prove it, let's look at an example more closely:

You sign up for first-year German and go out and buy the textbook.

It's a beautiful, expensive, hard-bound book, published in Dortmund. The book mentions the customs of the Hottentots (Hottentotten in German).

The book tells us that when opossums (Beutelratten) are captured, they are placed in cages (Kasten) with bars made of wood slats (Lattengitter) to keep them from escaping.

These particular cages are called Lattengitterkasten in German and when there are opossums inside them they are known as Beutelrattenlattengitterkasten.

One day, the Hottentot police arrested a would-be murderer (Attentater), who allegedly tried to kill a Hottentot mother (mutter).

Her son is a good-for-nothing stutterer (Stottertrottel), so his mother is, therefore, a Hottentottenstottertrottelmutter and her would-be murderer is a Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterattentater.

Easy, right?

So the police captured the suspect and put him, temporarily, in an opossum cage (Beutelrattenlattengitterkasten) for safe-keeping until they could take him to jail, but the prisoner escaped!

A search ensued and a Hottentot warrior cried out, "I have captured the murder suspect (den Attentater)!"

"Yes? Which one?" asked the chieftain.

"The Beutelrattenlattengitterkastenattentater!" replied the warrior.

"What? The murder suspect who was in the opossum cage?" asked the Hottentot chieftain.

"That's right," said the warrior, "the Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterattentater."

By now you know enough German to understand that he's talking about the would-be murderer of the mother of the good-for-nothing Hottentot stutterer, right?

"Oh, I see", says the Hottentot chieftain, "why didn't you say so right away? You could have begun by saying that you had captured the ... wait for it.......


(sent by Jen in Oz).


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vintage Accessories -- Belts from 1949

When tiny tummies and fancy fobs were all the rage.

Send This To Everyone You Know Who Speaks German

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vintage Image - Christmas Cards from NYPL

One of the vintage Christmas cards that this blog is posting from the NY Public Library.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Full Knee-Deep Lies The Winter Snow

We've gotten about seven inches so far, and it is still coming down.  Reserve Cat gave me a disbelieving look when I informed him that making it stop was not in my skill set.  Her Majesty is sulking.

The spousal unit has gone to a pancake and sausage breakfast that the American Legion is holding about three towns away.  Huddled by the woodstove and clutching my coffee cup, I ventured the opinion that it would probably be cancelled.  Nonsense, quoth he, or words to that effect.

"They're veterans!  They'll be open!" he shouted as he bounded away.

(What's annoying is that he is often right).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
 Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china  and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
 Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return
 but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost,
 golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.

~ author unknown

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Monday, December 9, 2013

Vintages Images - Christmas

Christmas has snuck up on me this year, so I figured I'd better post some nice Dover copyright-free holiday clipart.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheap and Easy

It has been snowing since just before dawn today.  The Drama Queen went out the back door and set a land speed record coming back in.

(And then, cat-like, proceeded to the front door expecting the weather in the front yard to be nicer).

I don't usually cook breakfast, as the spousal unit is a cold-cereal man, but this morning I hauled out my new electric skillet and made French toast. Also known as pain perdu and (to our cousins across the pond in both directions) as Poor Knights of Windsor, it's the ultimate in cheap and filling food.  If eggs are out of season and therefore expensive, as they used to be before we all got used to a year-round supply of eggs, the frugal housekeeper just used a bit more milk (probably condensed, in those days before a year-round supply of milk).

The eggier the better, says I.  My copy of Better Home and Garden's Easy Skillet Meals has a recipe that calls for French bread, powdered sugar and grated lemon peel, but this slightly simpler one kept us happy. It literally melted in our mouths.

FRENCH TOAST.  Preheat the skillet to 300°.  Beat three eggs into one cup of whole milk.  Add 2 T. sugar, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Take slices of bread (Sunbeam's Texas Toast works a treat) and dip them briefly in the batter.  I only do each side to the count of three, and if you're using flimsy store-bought bread, don't soak it any longer, no matter what the King Arthur Flour people say.  It'll fall apart.

Cook for two and a half minutes on each side.  A little longer won't hurt it.   10 slices fed the two of us and I blush to tell you which percentage I consumed. Serve with syrup, cinnamon sugar, or the following fruit compote (also from Easy Skillet Meals).

PINEAPPLE-GLAZED BANANAS.  Cut up 2 cups fresh pineapple over a bowl, catching juice.  Add water to juice, if necessary, to make 1/2 cup (screw it, used canned).  In skillet combine pineapple with juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 tablespoon butter (electric skillet 350°).  Cook and stir 2 minutes.  Reduce heat.  Peel and halve 5 bananas lengthwise.  Add to skillet, simmer until heated through and glazed, turning once.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Friday, December 6, 2013

Sign Of The Times

I could have used either of these this morning.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Monday, December 2, 2013

Vintage Advertising - Martex Towels

From the Ladies' Home Journal, September, 1922.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Maybe He Can't Cook

But he can sure follow directions.

I have spent the entire weekend on my backside (knitting) with my foot up and an icepack on my knee. Brian cooked the Thanksgiving dinner, from turkey to pies.

Okay, I helped (I opened the can of cranberry sauce).