Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Workwoman's Guide, 1840

I have been discovering Google Books lately. It is amazing what you can find! As I like authors from years gone by, it is not hard to find something interesting.
I did a search on "aprons" and look what I found! A fascinating book from 1840. A sewing book really, on how to sew just about every household item. Curtains, dust cloths, bassinet covers, bed linens, day caps, drawers, petticoats etc... Here is the bit about aprons.
If for common use, aprons are made of white, brown, blue, black, or checked linen, of black stuff, calico, Holland, leather, nankeen, print, or long cloth ; if for better purposes, of cambric muslin, clear, mulled, or jaconet muslin, silk, satinette, satin, &c. The length of the apron is, of course, generally determined by the height of the wearer, and the width, by that of the material, and by the purpose for which it is intended. For working aprons, the width is generally one breadth of a yard wide; for dress aprons, two breadths, one of which is cut in half, and these halfs put one on each side of the whole breadth. If the material should be wide enough, one breadth, of from fourteen to twenty nails, will answer very well.
The simplest kind, and that generally worn by working men, is a yard wide or more, hemmed at the bottom and at the top, with a string run through to tie round the waist. It is thus worn by brewers, &c.

PLATE 11. FIG 12.
May be worn either as a common or as a pretty dress apron, according to the material and trimming. It may be made of silk, coloured muslin, or print. After being properly gathered into the band, two shoulder-straps, in the form of four lappets, are cut out, either pointed, as in A, or rounded, as in B. These lappets may be piped, and either edged with lace or fringe, or left plain. For a full size, the lappet is five nails along the selvage, from D to C, and one nail and three-quarters from C to B. The two straps are sewed together at C, and fastened with a bow of ribbon. The lappet is piped all round with a strong cord, to make it wear well.

PLATE 11. FIG. 14.
This is a neat pattern for a housekeeper, cook, or kitchen-maid. The bib is quite plain, and pins to the gown at the corners. The size given in the Plate is suitable for a girl, but the bib should be cut to suit the wearer at once, and not made by guess. The apron is made of check or strong linen.

If you absolutely need to read the rest of the book, here is the link. It is quite fascinating! And goes along with the most resent mini-series I have been watching, Cranford.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Beauties of Shelf Paper

This is just a random thought out of no where. Somehow I found myself mulling it over. Shelf Paper. Why do we use it? Why should we use it? Have women just been doing it for centuries for no reason? Or a reason not valid anymore?

I had never really paid any attention to shelf paper before. I helped my Mom tear off the old paper and re-paint the kitchen shelves when we moved, but that was about all. Then I got an antique bedroom set. A bed, dresser and dressing table. It was in beautiful condition. As I polished and cleaned them, I suddenly knew I needed drawer liners! I just cringed thinking about my hairbrushes and makeup rattling around in the drawers. So there is one reason to use drawer liners (or shelf paper), Protection. This would also work for kitchen shelves too. Day after day all those plates and dishes going in and out, in and out. I know our painted shelves needed another coat of paint after a few years.

Then there is the question of cleanliness. When my sister moved into a new apartment, the management gave her shelf paper. And was she glad to have it! No matter how much we scrubbed those shelves, they didn't look clean. So out went the old paper in went the new paper. No more worries!

How about protecting dishes? Shelf paper protects dishes as well as the shelf. Especially if the shelf is painted. Ever go to move a dish that has been on a newly painted shelf for a few months? It is stuck!

Well, those are my reasons for using shelf paper! There is also the ascetic reason of course! Nothing is more cheerful than flowered shelf paper in the bottom of a drawer. It takes away that yawning hole look. And if you ever feel the need to wipe out your dresser drawers, you won't have to worry about ruining the wood with a little water.

I like to use wallpaper to line dresser drawers. A roll will do a couple of dressers and it has enough of a finish on it to be water proof. With shelves it is a little harder, as it really needs to stay in place. Most stores carry a self adhesive kind, but that tends to leave a sticky residue behind. There is also a waffle weave kind that stays in place by it's self that is nice for utensil drawers.

What do you think? Which side are you on? Have you ever used shelf paper?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Park Avenue

This is my new pink glass. Isn't it beautiful? If you remember this is one of the items I bought last weekend antique shopping. I have it on my dressing table so I don't have to traipse all the way downstairs to get a drink of water at night. Also I was tired of having a green plastic cup marring my decorating theme. The pictures captured the color wonderfully.
I didn't really know anything about the pattern or who made it, so I did a little research. The pattern is called "Park Avenue" made by the Federal Glass Co in the 1940s. The color is called "Ruby Flash". To make it ruby colored they had to put a thin layer of colored glass over clear glass and reheat or flash it to bond them. In the picture above you can see the company mark, an F in a shield.
I really love the color. Maybe I should start a collection of ruby glass...

Happy Easter!

He is Lord, He is Lord,
He is Risen from the dead and He is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess,
That Jesus Christ is Lord!
I remember singing that at the top of our voices while swing on the swing set, when we were kids. We were so excited that spring was here and that Easter candy would soon be plentiful.
Happy Easter!!

P.S. The little chicks are my newest Easter decoration. They look old, but are not!

Lemon Pudding Cakes

My sister and I have been in a baking mood. I think it is all the gloomy, rainy, cold weather we've had. We needed some comfort food! The King Arthur Flour catalog had just come and this is one of the recipes they featured, Lemon Pudding Cake.

The recipe can be found at:

Contrary to what the name might imply, these little cakes do not have pudding in them. You actually make a cake batter, then pour a "sauce" over it before it bakes. When it is done the cake is on top and a pudding has formed on the bottom.

We did change the recipe a bit, as we didn't have lemon powder or lemon bits. Instead we put lemon zest(peel) and lemon juice(2 tbls) in the cake batter and 3 tbls of lemon juice in the sauce.

So Yummy! And very English. I have an English cookbook and there is a whole chapter on "puddings". Did you know pudding is slang for dessert in England?

Aren't they cute? In vintage Fire King custard cups.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trip to the Antique Store

I went antique shopping last weekend. You probably think that is all I do, but not really. It goes in cycles. Spring always gives me the bug. Besides, I was on a mission! But I did get a little distracted. I was looking for a pink glass drinking glass for my room, so I don't have to traipse all the way down the stairs for water in the night. I found a marvelous glass, but I don't have pictures yet.

I did come across these darling little cookbooks! There were each only a dollar and aren't really books, little paperback pamphlets really. I don't feel as guilty about buying them and they won't take up a lot of space, so I can squeeze them on my cookbook shelf.
Menu Magic is from the Diamond Walnut Company. A very cute, colorful book. Judging from the pictures it was probably printed in the late 30's.

I opened it up and that was it, I knew I had to get it, an Apron!

Don't they look good?

Next up, is a Swift's Bland Lard cookbook. Probably 1930s also. I love the size and the color of this little book.

It has just about every sort of recipe, cakes, biscuits, fried chicken, doughnuts, pies, cookies.

Yum! Doughnuts! My mouth is watering at this picture. I love the recipe title too, Tea Doughnuts. Didn't know there was such a thing?

I just fell in love with this title. 12 Pies Husband Like Best. Don't you love it?

Aunt Jenny's forward is too cute. Nearly every man loves pie. Then give him pie to his hearts content! Any one of these recipes is sure to be pie to his liking- they were chosen because they're the pies that surveys, research, letters in my mail show most men like best. So begin anywhere- run your own popularity contest- see which pie wins with him!

Aunt Jenny seems to be right, I have never met a guy whose eyes haven't lit up at the thought of pie. I really want to try I few of her recipes, they look interesting.

This little book was put out by Spry Shortening. Interesting way to make pie crust, wonder if it works. Anyone ever made it this way?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Gold

Spring has finally sprung here in Wisconsin! The dafodills and forsythia are in bloom!

They always remind me of April Gold by Grace Livingston Hill. In the book she calls her daffodils and forsythia her "april gold". They are so cheerful to see in the spring!

Have you ever read April Gold? It is such a cute little story. Copyright 1936. It is about a mother, son and daughter who have to sell their family home and move to the wrong side of town because they have lost their money. How they settle into their new life and make it through with determination, family and God. I love the part where the mohter misses her "april gold", so the son digs up all her daffodils and forsythia, and re-plants them at the new house.

I love Grace Livingston Hill books! They are so sweet. And give a good picture of living in the 20, 30s, 40s. Even though it is romantizied!

Federal Glass Pitchers

Here is another of last weekend's finds! A small Starburst pitcher made by the Federal Glass Co. These were very popular in the 40s and 50s, I always see quite a few in the antique stores. I had been wanting another one and was trying to decide whether I should really spend money on another pitcher! (but a dollar! who can beat that!) On the left is the new one, on the right is the first one I bought a few years ago. These pitchers came in three sizes, so I still have one more to go. A lager one, I think. They are too pretty!

Also, in the last scene of State Fair, Mrs. Frake uses the same exact pitcher to serve lemonade on the porch!! Isn't that neat! One of the reasons I decided I needed them. State Fair is one of my favorite movies. I love how simple the story line is. And the songs are marvousless!! Who can do better then Rodgers and Hammerstein. Unfortunatly, I couldn't find a clip of the last scene. So I have included a clip of It Might as Well be Spring instead. But! In this song Margy and Mrs. Frake are both wearing aprons! So take note! I think I need to make a Margy apron, don't you? Too cute!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Finds!

This weekend we went to estate sales!! One of my favorite things to do. Not only do you get to go shopping, you get to tour a house as well! I saw so many lovely things that I wanted to bring home. But either I didn't have a place or purpose for them or they were out of my price range. :( I did find a few goodies though. A few books, a box of trim, garden tools, a glass pitcher.
Today I am sharing two of the books I bought. The first, a small cookbook copyright 1936, "Baker's Best Chocolate Recipes"

The pictures are so cute! Love the coffee pot.

Next is a book from 1947, "How to Make Paper Flowers and Party Decorations". It just looked intriguing. It tells how to make favors, flowers, centerpieces and decorate with crepe paper. Isn't that fascinating! That is certainly a lost art. The flowers are gorgeous!

How to deck a room in 5 minutes!

This reminds me of another book I have about parties. "Parties, for Special Days of the Year". Quite a cute little book with lots of ideas and games to play. Everything from a New Year's party to an Education party! Someday I will have to host one :)

Such cute little illustrations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vintage Dressers

This is another project that has been keeping me busy. My sister bought a new dresser and my Mom gave me one. And they BOTH needed painting! So out came the paint brushes and some new hardware, and we have two lovely pieces of furniture!
My sister Mandy, loves red white and blue, her bedroom is decorated in it. She mixed white paint and navy blue together for the pefect shade. It certainly had to be the perfect shade, that was all the blue we had!
The handles go so well and give the dresser a clean look! I think the dresser is from the 20s or 30s. It is very solid. The bit of scroll work on the bottom and little wheels on the legs are so cute. Mandy is working on finding a key to go in the locks, wouldn't that be neat?! So this is my little dresser. Probably from the 50s. It was painted a horrible mud brown when I got it. White is so much better! The blue knobs were from another dresser. I think they work very well. I am planning on putting this in my sewing room. A new home for my vintage pattern collection! And possibly thread, trim and fabric. All depends on how much room the patterns take up. I am so excited! I just have to do a major overhaul and spring clean!
My cute little knobs with blue flowers.

A Find from Holland

I found this bais tape with lace edging on etsy.

Mailed all the way from Holland! She has a lot of fun things. Very bright, colorful fabric and trims. It just arrived in the mail yesterday. To to cute!

I can't wait to sew an apron. I haven't decided what pattern yet. I am thinking 40s. As they loved ruffles and trim. I might make up my own pattern. Still thinking, but with this for inspiration, it shouldn't take long!

A close up. So you can see the tiny little Strawberries and Cherries! And the cute flowers! I almost didn't get the fruit one, I know! what was I thinking?!

Life has been rather busy lately. Tax season you know, and of course since I do really like doing taxes, I do them for the whole family! I was so hoping that I would have a bunch of aprons sewn by now. But I haven't had the time. They are still all cut out, waiting on my sewing table. I did sneak an hour or so of sewing in on Tuesday. I have a little half apron almost done! It was so rejuvinating to be able to sew! I am hoping next week I will get time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I picked this up a couple of years ago at an estate sale. I love the colorfulness!

When Walt Disney came out with Cinderella in 1950, J. C. Penney gave this flyer out free. It looks like a magazine when it is folded up. As it opens up, you are treated to a show of color!

"It's Magic!.... how much you can sew! Take this apron design... You can make it as an everyday apron or as an apron accessory to lend the Cinderella touch to a dress-up costume!"

" sanforized silvermoon prints! sanforized needle and thread broadcloth! crisp printed waffle pique!"

"Eyelet edging! Rick Rack! Bright Patches!"

The inside opens to reveal the pattern. I can't wait to make one! I love the curved edge and how it ruffles. Too bad J.C. Penney doesn't sell fabric any more..... we could use another fabric store....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vintage Ads

Aren't they cute! And just what we need, a bit of spring!

Miss K-Dee send me this link to a collection of vintage ads at Duke University Here are a few of my favorites. I love how colorful they are.

Of course I had to post this one! An apron!