If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris

30 May, 2017

Tuesday's Tip ~ Cleaning Fur Fabric

To Clean Fur Fabric Jackets

To clean Fur Fabric Jackets, purchase a good quality of yellow cornmeal.  Rub this into the fabric of the jacket., letting it remain for a short time to absorb the dirt.  Brush out with a clothes brush.  If badly soiled, repeat the process.  
D.M.R., Valley City, N. Dak. 

Woman's World, February 1935

Editor's Note:  

Although it probably goes without saying, I'm saying it anyway.... 
I assume they mean for you to leave the cornmeal UNCOOKED!

27 May, 2017

Serial Saturday ~ Independence Part III

Woman's Home Companion ~ August 1926

A New Feature ~ Stories presented weekly in a serial format.

'Independence' by Sarah Fletcher Milligan ~ Illustrated by Pruett Carter

Part III

Isabel was an attractive little woman as she trudged off to her meeting.  She was rather short and prettily rounded, with crinkly brown hair and a pink skin which flushed easily under excitement or pleasure.  she had a nice taste in dress and always managed to have a stylish and becoming hat.  This afternoon its summery brim shaded a tiny pucker in her brow, a pucker which was growing to be a more and more frequent occurrence.  At first it had merely indicated perplexity; now it spelled rebellion.

"I have had just about enough of this dictation," she mused, as she walked down the elm-lined street.  "Here I am, thirty-six years old, and cannot say my soul is my own!  I cannot even do the work in my own house in my own way!  I cannot go where I like or see whom I like nor do what I like and I am sick to death of it!"

It seemed to her that she would gladly exchange several years of her life for a taste of freedom.  As Belle Pike, she had been one of a large family and had had a delightfully carefree girlhood.  Where there are five girls and two boys coming and going, all about of an age and all full of liveliness and sociable habits, there is bound to be considerable latitude for each one.

Perhaps it was the law of opposites which had attracted her to the serious, conscientious young preacher.  She was proud of his ability and he was proud of her gay charm.  Then, after their marriage, with apparent unconsciousness, he had gathered the reins into his own hands and guided both his affairs and hers undisturbed by any doubts as to his own competency.

It left Isabel bewildered.  It was as though a gay yellow butterfly, accustomed to sunlight and warm caressing airy breezes, had flown through an open window into a room and could not find its way out.  The butterfly was not broken; it still flew around in evident activity but always within walls and now it seemed as though the walls were closing in, like those in a nightmare.

"I am getting older and older and there is nothing different ahead of me,: thought Isabel, wildly, as she mounted the steps of the Community House.

The speaker of the day had already begun her address, "Sociological Problems in America."  It  seemed a big subject to be handled that warm afternoon, just as they were about to adjourn for July and August and could not attempt much in problems before fall anyhow, and Isabel did not give full heed to the earnest lady who had come from out of town to start them untying sociological knots.  After awhile, however, she realized that they had arrived at point three, which was Marriage, and she suddenly sat up.

"Statistics show," declared the earnest one, "that more separations occur after eleven years of married life than at any other period either before or after.  When a man and a woman have been married eleven years the first illusions have worn away, the first romance has passed, charm is likely to have been buried in routine and life begins to seem like a treadmill.  This truth is most vividly portrayed in Pinero's 'Mid-Channel,' that realistic drama of married life.  the fact that so many separations take place during this vital period would seem to indicate--" She paused for emphasis and Isabel fiercely finished the sentence for herself:

"It would seem to indicate that after eleven years women have had about all they can bear and they can't stand it a minute longer!  I am an eleven-year woman and I know!"

She slipped out before the program was over.  On the way home she stopped at the library and took out "Mid-Channel" and so far had her desperate defiance advanced that when the hour came for mid-week prayer meeting she announced that she was not equal to going.  Then, when her husband was safely on his way, she sat up in bed and read the realistic drama of modern life.

Her sympathies were all with the poor heroine.  To be sure, it seemed foolish to quarrel so fatally over which hotel they should patronize on their pleasure trip but with sisterly insight Isabel realized that with matters at such high tension it would have been something else if it was not the hotel.

26 May, 2017

Scenes From the Garden ~ Late Spring Blooms

Much is blooming.  I can almost tell the timing of the seasons by what is in bloom.  
Right now daffodils and tulips are long past, and the late blooming lilacs just finishing up.  


The last of the lilacs

A gorgeous flower I planted and have lost the name for!  I am still digging through to find my plant notes from last year.

Two different Columbines

 A Day Lily

25 May, 2017

A Visit to Sonnenberg Gardens

Located not very far from me in beautiful Canandaigua, New York is Sonnenberg Gardens.  Built in 1887, it is a place my family and I visit frequently throughout the year and I never tire of it.  This will not be last post on this wonderful place.  
From their website, it is 'One of the most treasured landmarks of our region, Sonnenberg Gardens, greets 35,000 visitors annually and has been doing so since it opened its doors to the public in 1973. Visitors from all over the globe come to enjoy the relaxing nature and beauty of its gardens. Many also come to learn about the history of this unique place and its original owners, Frederick and Mary Clark Thompson.'

This post is about my very favorite part of the garden, the statuary.  I am absolutely in love with old stone work.  Its beauty only gets more intriguing over time.  One can only wonder at the things they have seen over time or if perhaps, in some Narnian way, they come alive now and again.

24 May, 2017

Womanly Wednesday ~ The Secrets of Charm

From Secrets of Charm by Josephine Huddleston ~ 1929

The dictionary tells us that charm is a number of things-- "a trinket to be worn around the neck to ward off dangers; the chirp of a bird," and as the interpretation of "Secrets of Charm," "it is the ability to fascinate, to please, to allure, to bewitch, to enchant."

To be charming one must cultivate the inner power that lies in every human being.  This power is awakened through the emotions and comes to its fullest development only when the individual can make people laugh or cry, curse or pray, love or hate, by merely touching upon the heartstrings.  When one has progressed this far, he must go still farther and make people laugh and cry at the same time; curse one and pray for one with the same breath; hate and love one with the same heartbeat.  When one can bestow happiness so poignant with pain that misery is pure joy, then and only then has the inner power or charm been cultivated to its fullest.

I'm not talking nonsense!  It is the development of the emotions and the ability within one's self to arouse and play upon the emotions of others that has made every great opera star, actor, writer, painter, musician and hero the world has ever known.

It is the cultivation of this inner power that lifts a few human beings out of the restless, bored, unhappy, seething horde of people called humanity.  It is this power that leads the shop girl who is mistress of needles and pins into the mansion where she is mistress of silks and satins.  It is the power that takes a chorus girl out of tights and puts her name in electric lights.  It is the power that makes the Only Man place a plain gold band or diamond circlet upon the finger that tells the world you are his to love, cherish and protect for as long as you both shall live.  And it is the power that makes most woman hate with a burning intensity the woman who has it, for women know its great influence.

The name of that power is CHARM.

(To be continued...)

23 May, 2017

Tuesday's Tip ~ Leftover Applesauce

Leftover Applesauce

Spread on biscuit dough, roll up tightly like a jelly roll and bake in a moderate oven (see oven temperature conversions here) for twenty minutes.  
Serve hot with cream or hard sauce.
 Mrs. J.T.J., Eagle Grove, Iowa
Woman's World, February, 1935

22 May, 2017

On the Menu ~ Strawberry Shortcake Two Ways

I ask you, lives there such a man?  Perhaps.  However, in my research I found that 'short cake' applies to a vast array of different types of 'cake' on which to place one's strawberries, meaning that, depending on the type of cake such a man's mother, wife or sister made that is still burned in his memory and palate, he may very well be offended by a differing recipe made by you.

According to Jane Eayre Fryer of Mrs. Fryer's Cookbook and Practical Home Economics (1926) 
(I own a crumbling original copy of this tome), a plain short cake consists of the following:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 tbs butter and
about 2/3 cup milk.

It should make a soft dough, rolled out about a half inch thick and baked in a hot oven.  When cold, it is cut open, buttered and spread with fruit and meringue.  She suggested (and I simply don't know how this is possible), to bake it in two round cake pans and when cool, split them and layer into four layers.  They would be extremely thin layers.  She suggest that strawberries are the best but other berries and peaches work too.

It strikes me that this would make a very dry, thin biscuit type platform and in my experience, probably wouldn't work terribly well gluten free, something I have to do out of necessity.

I have labeled a dessert 'shortcake' using both angel food cake (which I haven't made since I had eggs coming out of my ears while raising my own hens) and both a simple, plain white square cake. 

Of course there is the more southern version, kind of like a sweet biscuit.  I have to say, I personally like that one the best as it transfers flawlessly to gluten free baking.

This particular recipe was clipped from a copy of Southern Living for which I have no date.  I hesitate to call it classic however because of the reasons listed above.  

There appears to be no 'one way' to do it right.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

2 1/2 c gf flour or 2 3/4 c regular flour
1/4 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 c cold butter cut up
2 large eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until crumbly.
Mix the eggs and sour cream together and add into the dry ingredients.
I brought mine together with my hands and then rolled it out to about 1 inch thick on a parchment covered baking sheet and cut them into 9 squares and separated them about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 450 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Split them and butter (or not) lightly, add your strawberries which I normally slice ahead, sweeten to taste with sugar and mash a little with a fork.  The longer they sit the juicier they will get.

Top with home made whipped cream.

20 May, 2017

Serial Saturday ~ Independence Part II

Woman's Home Companion ~ August 1926

A New Feature ~ Stories presented weekly in a serial format.

'Independence' by Sarah Fletcher Milligan ~ Illustrated by Pruett Carter

Part II

"It would help some," he continued, "if you would always put things back into their right places as soon as you have finished with them.  Now this pan is dry,' he lifted it from the stove and put it up on a shelf, 'it ought to be put back and if all the handles were placed one way each one would be easier to pick up.  You ought to have separate places for spoons and knives.  As it is, you are likely to cut yourself with a knife trying to find a spoon."

"I was going to use that pan for frosting.  Then I'll be through here and I am due at the Women's League meeting, the last for the summer.  Perhaps I'll stop a minute at Mrs. Spicer's on the way home.  She has a book for me to read."

He had started toward the hall, but that arrested him. 
"If I were you I wouldn't go to Mrs. Spicer's today," he called back.  "You are going there pretty often and you don't want to run one place into the ground."
Sudden hot tears sprang to Isabel's eyes, partly from indignation and partly from disappointment.  She had been looking forward to the refreshment of a few minutes with Julie Spicer.  She loved Julie; they were warm, congenial friends and she could drop in at any time, sure of a welcome, a good laugh or an understanding which included, as a matter of course, absolute loyalty to any confidence.

"The next time I wish to go anywhere I will keep the idea to myself and just go," she thought, but she immediately yielded all intention of the Spicer visit that day.  It would be wildly imprudent in the face of Aunt Libby's coming.  Stephen would be provoked if his wife deliberately ignored his expressed opinion.  With Stephen, "If I were you" was just as effected as "Thou shalt not."  He declared his views with apparent mildness but if Isabel did not promptly act in accordance with them it aroused his anger.  His temper was not of the flashing variety, quick and crashing and sooner over; it was still and cold and unyielding.  Perhaps a more phlegmatic temperament than Isabel's could have battled it out on the same lines, but to her, lively, loving and companionable, an impregnable silence was a torturing thing.

To do him justice, Stephen Chapin did not realize that he was afflicted with a temper of any kind.  He was simply right and when his wife deliberately ignored that rightness he was astonished, grieved, hurt, and he managed to convey the impression to the culprit across the table.  There was unconscious histrionic ability in the Reverend. Mr. Chapin.  He could put his feelings "across" beautifully.  Perhaps that was why he was a good preacher.  He was no hypocrite; he always meant what he said but any thoughts that happened to lie too deep for words could be expressed wonderfully with a gesture, a shrug or a sigh.

Isabel had tried to harden herself against his disapproval and to learn not to care when these times came but she did not seem to make much progress at that.  The best she could do was to avoid trouble, to guard her tongue and watch her step, but even there she was not too brilliant a success.  There was a good deal of spontaneity left in her yet.

19 May, 2017

Scenes From the Garden ~ Plants You Ought to Know

A Few Scenes From the Garden

I make a special point to grow as many interesting, rare and useful herbs and plants as I can in my home gardens.  Here are just a few:

Lovage (Levisticum Officinale) 

Wood Betony (Stachy Officianalis)

Costmary (Tanacetum Balsamita)

Sweet Woodruff (Galium Odoratum)

The raised beds have gotten a make-over... cement blocks should last a long time.

The garden angel overlooks a tiny Black Snakeroot (or Bugbane) (Cimicifuga Ramosa)

16 May, 2017

Tuesday's Tip

For Washday

When hanging clothes on the line, I use my son's wagon to set the clothes basket on.  It is easily pulled along the line and prevents so much stopping.
 Mrs. B.A.H., Buckhannon W. Va.
Woman's World, February, 1935

14 May, 2017

A Poem for Mother's Day

A Little Boy's Bedtime
by Helen Maring
Woman's World, February 1935

"Look, Mother! Look at me
Stand on my head!"
(Cuddle down, sonny,
It's time for your bed.)
"But, mother, just watch;
And a summersault too!"
(Postponing the moments 
As little boys do.)

Precious, so precious
With hair all awry,
And the sand from the sandman
Dropped into each eye.
(A kiss for your mother....
Your prayers, dear....Sleep

Oh, Father, protect him
Beyond this still night.

13 May, 2017

Serial Saturday ~ Independence Part I

Woman's Home Companion August 1926

A New Feature ~ Stories presented weekly in a serial format.

'Independence' by Sarah Fletcher Milligan ~ Illustrated by Pruett Carter

Part I

The Reverend Stephen Hopkins Chapin was passing through the kitchen.  It seemed to his wife that he was always passing through the kitchen and stopping to make suggestions on the way.  Today he noted the confusion of utensils on the table, the two sweet-smelling brown layers of cooling cake, the gas stove burning full-head and the moist beads on his wife's forehead as she stepped quickly around in the pantry.

"I should think," he commented, "You would plan to get our cooking done in the forenoon when it is cooler and not bake in the very hottest part of the day."

"I do plan, but what do you suppose happens to a plan when old Mrs. Whipple comes and stays an hour and a half?  She wanted to see you, but I told her you were preparing your prayer-meeting topic, so she stayed on with me.  Then that agent came and talked and talked and the telephone has rung every five minutes all day with somebody asking a question about the church sale."

"Of course everyone is liable to have interruptions; you have to allow for them when you plan your work."

It was on the tip of her tongue to retort, "You don't have them because I save you," but she kept the words back.  She did not want to say anything that might upset him, because Aunt Libby was coming the next day, Thursday, to stay over Sunday which was also the Fourth, and she wanted Aunt Libby to have a pleasant visit.

So, she quietly dodged around him as he stood in her path to the oven, wiped her fair flushed face and only answered placatingly, "I'll be through here in a little while,” hoping he would move on.

The Reverend Chapin held his ground in the middle of the floor.  He was unusually tall, a slender graceful figure topped by a sleek black head a trifle too small for his height.  His face was always white and his regular features were dominated by large dark blue eyes which ran the whole gamut of expression from vague vacuity, when he was dreaming out some theory, to the hardness of agate when he was opposed.  Opposition rarely occurred because he had an almost hypnotic way of making people believe that he was right.  However, the effects of hypnotism are not permanent and after eleven years of married life Isabel Chapin was well out from under the spell.  She knew that quiet frequently Stephen was wrong, but she kept that knowledge to herself.

"The trouble with you," went on Stephen, the omniscient, "is that you lack system.  If you worked with more system, you would not get so far behind."

Her mind leaped to his own system, which he never seemed to get perfected.  When he first came to Rockton he had made a complete card catalogue of his parishioners, their families and addresses, so that in the matter of calls he might deal all in exact impartiality, but unfortunately the A's had not grouped themselves into one neighborhood; they were scattered all over the village.  When he went to see Mrs. Adams it seemed very foolish not to call upon Mrs. Minot, who lived next door.  Besides, Mrs. Minot might feel hurt.  The sensible thing was to call on both, but it worked havoc with the system.  Some day he was going to do the whole thing over by districts and try that, but he had not got around to it yet.

"Housework is different every day," argued Isabel.  It doesn't seem to fit into a system.  You see, you are baking on one day and mending on the next and the interruptions are never twice alike; some take more time and some less."

She stopped, realizing that she had tried, quite futilely, to explain this to him at least once a week for a long time.  She might as well save her breath.  

She might indeed, for he was not half listening.

(To be continued....)

09 May, 2017

Tuesday's Tip

To Mend Linen

Should a tiny spot wear thin on a linen doily or cloth, brush a thin layer of colorless nail polish on the under side.  This will strengthen the spot and look much neater than darning.  Laundering will not affect the polish.  

~ B.E.S., Freeland, Pa.  Woman's World, February, 1935

08 May, 2017

Delphinium, Queen of the Blue Flowers

Photo from Flower Meaning a website worth touring for more interesting flower facts.
From the February 1925 Better Homes and Gardens

'You simply cannot resist the charm of a blue garden queened over by delphinium or hardy larkspur. A favorite blue flower of our grandmothers' gardens, it has, fashionably speaking, come back into style with the introduction of English hybrids which have made possible a wider range of color and a continuous blooming season.

"Blue flowers," an old woman from whom I used to buy flowers on the streets always called them, and she knew them by no other name.  True, perennial larkspur may also have pink and white but its real fascination lies in the blues, both delicate and intense, which it is capable of producing.  There are flower spikes of a clear turquoise so beautiful that they seem almost ethereal; others that are like nothing so much as a May sky; and the gentian and dark, almost purplish-blue, that is sometimes called the "old fashioned."  This whole range of color is possible from a package of the English hybrid delphinium seed.

If you are looking for something to make a particularly interesting spot in your garden or that "just right" clump by the garden gate, choose delphinium.  It may be used as a partial hedge between lots or grouped with hollyhocks and canterbury bells against a back fence border.  Or try a little colony of madonna lillies and Delphinium belladonna in the house border where can enjoy them intimately in mid-June.'

06 May, 2017

My Recipe for the Best Gluten Free Biscuits

Mr. Ken's Favorite Biscuits

Being married to a Texan comes with its own set of culinary requirements.  Being gluten free comes with another.  So making my husband's favorite recipes and having them taste good and familiar is a constant challenge.  

After years of experimentation (literally, we have been gluten free since 2007) I finally hit on the perfect combination of workability and taste.

These biscuits taste just like the real thing, are flaky, pull apart and delicious.

1 3/4 cup all purpose GF flour (I use Better Batter)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 c salted butter
1/4 crisco, lard or shortening substitute
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well.  Cut in the butter and shortening until crumbly and well combined.  Mix yogurt into buttermilk and gently mix the wet and dry ingredients to bring them together.  At this point I use my hands to pull it together, gently knead enough to shape and turn it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  I form a rectangle and use a rolling pin to get the dough to about 1" thick.  You can cut your biscuits to size.  I usually do 9 medium or 6 large biscuits.

At this point you should let them rest at least 15 minutes.  I have refrigerated the unbaked dough overnight with no issues.  I even tried freezing the unbaked biscuits.  They still worked fine, but the texture was slightly different although not unpleasant.

Put them in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.

Serve hot or lightly toasted the next day.

05 May, 2017

Recipes for Mother's Day

I was surprised to note that in my entire collection of Woman's World recipe booklets there was not a great deal of attention placed on Mother's day, despite it becoming a national holiday in 1914.  It is quietly noted as possible 'cakes for mother' in the Cakes and Desserts booklet table of contents.   So I chose the menu from the second Sunday in May as well as a recipe for an unusual buttermilk custard. 

I am continuously amazed at the amount of cakes and desserts that call for beaten egg whites, given the amount of elbow grease it takes to make those without a modern mixer. 

I can only assume our forebears had sturdy biceps.

Suggested Menu for Mother's Day

Fried Chicken w/ Cream Gravy
Creamed New Potatoes
New Peas
Hot Raised Rolls
Lettuce Salad
Sour Cream Dressing 

Poinsettia White Cake
Strawberries and Cream

Recipe for Poinsettia White Cake

Cream 2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup butter working the mixture until it as creamy as for hard sauce.  Sift with 3 cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Sift 3 times and sift the flour before measuring.  Add the flour to the butter and sugar alternating with 1 cup milk put in by spoonfuls.  Fold in last the well beaten whites of 3 eggs.  Flavor with a tsp of almond or vanilla extract, and bake in a tube cake tin for 30  or 40 minutes.  Spread with white icing and when it is dry make poinsettia flowers along the edge with maraschino cherries cut in strips.

Baked Buttermilk Custard

2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon extract

Beat eggs until yokes and whites are well mixed, add sugar, buttermilk and flavoring.  Strain into custard cups, grate nutmeg on top, stand in pan of hot water and bake until firm in a moderate oven.

03 May, 2017

Homemade Bread, Marcel Waves and Holding Affection

From February 1925 Better Homes and Gardens ~ 'Let's Bake Some Bread'

"Whether home baking is a money-saver or not is a matter for each one to work out according to her own local conditions.  There is a wide diversity of opinion on the subject.  It is probably not much of a saving to bake bread for a family of two, but by the same token, it is not much trouble to make it!  It would be interesting and illuminating to take a census of all husbands' opinions, as to whether a fresh baking of homemade rolls or a fresh marcel in their wives' hair had the greatest power for holding affections!  It is possible, of course, that one can go so far as to greet one's husband occasionally with both."
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