Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gifts For Every Month Of The Year

From Modern Woman Magazine (Volume 15, Number 7, 1946), a two-page article by Margaret Carrick (photography by Jack Carrick) titled "A Gift From Every Month Of The Year" that discusses the lovely gift package the author received.

The gift package contained 12 items, one for every month of the year -- and each handmade. The author boasts that the total monetary cost of the gift was 10 cents as the gifts themselves were recycled items or made with scraps and other leftover items.

It may be too late for this year, but once the New Year starts, you know you'll be hibernating and want projects to work on!

You can click the images to read the larger scans, but I'll break the gift items down for you:

January -- A crispy little apron made from a bit of left-over dimity, all neatly trimmed with rick-rack braid and with a roomy pocket, too. There should be a rule against making aprons without pockets!

February -- And what could this be? Oh, yes -- as clever a little sting-holder as you could ever hope to see. A tuna can with a hole punched in the bottom holds the strong and allows it to be drawn out as you want it. The can fits into a crochet draw-strong bag. Hang it on any convenient nail and there you are. If a bit of string is as hard to find around your house as it is mine, you will say "Welcome, welcome indeed."

March -- Blustery winds blowing the washing on the line must have suggested this one -- a roomy clothespin bad made from a piece of pillow ticking fitted over a clothes hanger.

April -- A kneeling pad for working beside a flower bed. This is something I've always intended to make for myself and, of course, never did. Conjured out of a scrap of white oilcloth, sprinkled with red strawberries and bound with tape to match, it has an ivory ring sewn on one corner to make it easier to hand up when not in use.

May -- Flowers for May, and here they are in two beautiful flower prints cut from a magazine and pasted onto backings of plywood. Shellacked to make a permanent finish and provided with a taped-on ring on the back to hand them by, they will add a note of cheerful color to my breakfast room.

June -- "Where have I seen this lovely quilted satin?" I ask as I admire two stunning coat hangers with sachet bags attached, smelling of my favorite flower fragrance. But of course! They are covered with the narrow strip which was cut off to shorten the beautiful robe which my friend received last Christmas. Now that, I say, is using scraps to their very best advantage.

July -- A small box reveals two dainty handkerchiefs. One from a wisp of chiffon with a delicate lace edging and the other a bit of pastel-flowered batiste with a hand rolled hem.

August -- Unique, indeed, is this velvet pincushion. It is fitted into a filagree metal base which once held a very fancy bottle of perfume. Just the sort of thing that I'm always saving but never do anything about making into something useful.

September -- Another small piece of plywood is used here to make the backing for a memorandum pad and pencil. A small decal adds interest. The pencil has a metal ring ring taped to the top so it can hang from a little nail on the board beside the pad.

October -- Potholders! Do we ever have too many? One is crocheted, the other made from a gay print.

November -- Time now for cosy gatherings near the fire as the evenings begin to chill, so here is just what we need -- a card table cover of black cotton bound with green.

December -- "And now," says my friend, "I was beginning to run out of ideas, but I found that I had some extra asbestos stove-mats that I'd bought once at a bargain." With a family snapshot and a calendar which will be pad, one became a kitchen calendar which will be useful in its own right after the calendar has served its purpose.

Obviously some of these ideas are a bit dated... String is rarely looked for, let alone considered useful outside of the craft room, and anything with asbestos is a no-no, etc.; but these ideas sure do illustrate the power of recycling and creating things from scraps.

PS If you're wondering what the 10 cents was spent on, I'll tell you: The ball of strong to go in the string holder.


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