Monday, August 31, 2009

Vegetable Chopping Tip

From Popular Mechanics, June, 1957, a tip for chopping vegetables in a bowl -- so the bowl won't rock & roll. Personally, I'm not sure this would make things any less dangerous for me...

Washing Knitted Garments

Tips on how to avoid stretching knit clothing during washing & drying (1940's Modern Woman magazine).

Frosting Flower Tips

From this Chefmaster Food Decorating Supplies Catalog (#10), stock numbers of decorating tubes as well as tips for using them -- including the suggestion that frosting flowers be made several days in advance, with butter cream flowers being refrigerated, but those made with Royal icing should air dry.

How To Make A (Retro) Entertainment Center

From the November-December 1967 issue of Workbench, pattern & instructions for a wooden console for your "portable or 'component' stereo set" -- aka a turntable. The finished entertainment center is coffee-table height, with pivoting speaker cabinets.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Irons!

You do remember what an iron is, right? With today's wrinkle-free fabrics, home dry-cleaning kits, and wrinkled fashions, heck, you might not even own one... See if that heavy triangular thing is doing duty as a doorstop, or hiding in the closet somewhere, and get it plugged in to see if it works; because not only is ironing coming back, kids, but in today's economy patching clothing with iron-on appliques (mighty handy, especially if you can't sew) and other DIY projects are making the use of irons virtually mandatory.

If you don't have an iron, or don't want to risk your iron's potential ruin by using it for craft projects, check for irons at your local thrift shop.

Retro and even nearly-new steam irons -- in working order -- can be purchased at thrift shops from between $3 and $19, as compared to $20 to $70 for new irons.

Thrift shops may also have vintage and antique irons available. These will usually be more expensive, but when your projects call for more muscle, these old ones offer much more weight -- the vintage steam models are quite heavy when compared to modern makes designs to literally make light work of ironing.

Most antique irons are basically like bricks your set in the fire, they can come in handy for gluing projects.

Lightweight vintage irons seem to vary in price widely (here anyway), but I know a few fans of them who refuse any other type of irons. They swear that sans steam these vintage irons work better than any steam iron, are especially wonderful for ironing out wrinkled vintage sewing patterns, and that the shape better suits the shaping of vintage clothing.

You can also find used irons expensively priced at rummage sales & estate sales, but note that many of these irons have not been used or even checked in years whereas thrift shops test them and only put working appliances out for sale.

Since used irons are rather plentiful, I never bother with irons with bad, missing or frayed cords; unless your iron belonged to grandma or otherwise has sentimental value, it's not worth investing in a repair.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Double Chocolate Cake Recipe

I've not tried the following vintage recipes for Double Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Icing Deluxe yet; my favorite chocolate cake recipes are vintage but use powered cocoa not melted chocolate... If anyone tries this, I'd appreciate hearing from you!

Recipes from clipping glued into this vintage wooden recipe scrapbook.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recycle That Matchbook & Be Prepared

A vintage tip for turning an old matchbook into a small portable sewing kit -- make a bunch for kids going off to college, girls' purses, mens' wallets etc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Exfoliate With Reusable Organic Cotton Facial Products

One way to save money, go green, and still have beautiful skin is to exfoliate with reusable organic cotton face scubbies. (Skin care & cosmetic companies don't want you to know it, but washing gently with a wet washcloth works better than exfoliating products -- I know, I've worked for those companies!)

Rather than spending money on products to scrub away your dead skin cells -- and having a product container &/or packaging to sit in a landfill -- why not use this pretty handmade set?

This three-piece set is made of organic cotton and includes not only a pretty pink spiral scrubbie, but two smaller rectangular pads for removing make-up, apply toner or astringent etc. Washable & reusable, they save the environment from all those daily used cotton balls, tissue squares & swabs which, while they may be degradable, wind up petrified sitting in garbage bags in landfills.

I know what some of you are thinking... "Why not just use a washcloth then?" Well, you certainly could; but having special scrubbies that are just yours (and not used by hubby or the kids etc.) not only makes you feel special (and when they are cute, more feminine), but means you can keep track of them & their use. (Can't tell you the number of times my favorite washcloths have ended up being used as rags for household projects -- arg! -- but pretty pink pads are likely to say "Hands off, bub" even when you're not there to do so!)

If this 3-piece set is sold out -- or you just want more than one set, so that one is always soft & dry waiting for use -- check Play With Fiber's Twolia shop for more.

Tips Off Shoe Laces?

This tip from Good Ideas: An Interesting Collection Made By Eddy's ("that good bread in the bright gingham wrapper") says you can mend the ends of shoelaces with paraffin wax; worth a try before new laces you buy!

High-Five Friday: On A Wednesday

Because kids home from school have me hoppin' here, what was started last week didn't get finished until this week -- and if I wait for this Friday, well, I think you know where I'm headed *wink*

1) Recipes & Food: Found this a few Thursdays ago & been meaning to share it because it's fabulous! Thirteen Foods & Food Mixes You Can Make Yourself.

2) Green Living: Updating your home environment need not be bad for the big environment we all share; see Eco-Reupholstering with Rubie Green, Mod Green Pod and Zafu Kapok.

3) Creativity: DIY Inukshuk (Don't worry; if you don't know what an Inukshuk is, she'll tell you! I'd never heard of this before myself, but what a cool, inexpensive, creative, green thing to do -- with children too!)

4) Recycling, Thrift & Entertainment: New Vintage Reviews Carnival, 4th Edition: Reviewing "old stuff" with hopes to inspire you to go into that attic, basement, or closet (maybe even the thrift store or yard sale) dust off that old stuff, and let it entertain you.

5) Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Mrs. Green of for giving Things Your Grandmother Knew the One Lovely Blog Award. How cool is that? Grandma would say that is pretty darn cool.

When Do You Add The Salt?

Salt is in a great number of foodstuff already, but if you're cooking from scratch, when do you add the salt to things like homemade gravies & puddings? Well, if what you're making has milk as an ingredient, you add the salt last:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Curtain Tiebacks From Spoons

From the March 1951 issue of Profitable Hobbies magazine, converting kitchen serving spoons into window treatments.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Storing Jams & Pickles

This tip on storing pickles & jams on lower shelves is especially helpful during warm weather and when you crank up the winter heat too.

Bobbie Pins For Hems

I wish I would have found this issue of Modern Woman Magazine earlier this summer when my daughter was doing theatre costuming at Trollwood... Bobbie pins would have been easier to control than pointy pins.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How To Soften Hard, Lumpy Sugar

Have problems with lumpy &/or hard sugar in summer? Aside from getting the Kool-Aid making children to properly reseal the canisters, try this vintage tip:

From a 1952 issue of The Workbasket (sorry I can't remember the exact issue; I had a boo-boo with my computer while scanning & was lucky to save the 30 or so scans, even if they were no longer in their proper folders).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reuse An Old Umbrella To Dry Your Clothes

This would have been nice to know when I was in college; those flimsy fold-up racks for drying clothes took up a lot of space in the tiny dorm room -- especially when you consider the few times you actually put them to use. I imagine a broken umbrella would work nearly as well, giving an old umbrella new recycled life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Crochet A Powder-Puff Top

Authentic vintage crochet instructions for making a pretty cover for your powder puff; 1952 issue of The Workbasket.

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