Monday, December 26, 2011

Of Wedding Invites & Guest Plights

Seems a lot of folks got engaged for the holidays! So I've been spending some time looking at affordable wedding invitations. What started as helping people has now just turned into looking about and reminiscing about weddings...

Of most interest in all this to you readers of Things Your Grandmother Knew, is this post from Jaynie with a funny story about wedding guest books. I've never heard that bit of etiquette about using the guest book as a holiday card list -- but then again, I've never heard of anyone writing or even saying what that one "lady" did either. *wink*

I may have to start looking through my old magazines and books for some vintage wedding tips, but meanwhile, if you have any tips or stories, please do share!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays

I'm not ignoring you or the Things Your Grandmother Knew. It's just difficult this time of year to keep up with the scanning and posting of things found in vintage magazines; piles of old periodicals are simply not conducive to holiday decor -- and room for guests, expected or not. *wink*  (Plus, if the number of dropped needles are any indication, I think the volume of old paper makes the Christmas tree more than a little nervous!)

But I did want to make the time to wish you all a happy holidays!

(And I'll be back to more blogging when the tree's down and I can drag more piles of vintage magazines back up here.)

Image via my lat minute holiday gift list.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Coke Rewards Is Here To Stay

Coke announced today that My Coke Rewards is here to stay; that means I'll continue to offer them at Listia and trade the credits for things I really do want, i.e. vintage magazines and other "old junk." *wink*

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Can't Afford A Bad Fitting Bra

Our grandmothers may have had better fitting bras than we do today, for a myriad of reasons. I recently spoke with bra coach Ali Cudby and got the scoop. Here's a bit from part two of the interview:

In Chapter Two, in Once Upon A Time, When Fit Was A Fairy Tale, you discuss the fairy tale of fit:
Bra fitting can be confusing because there are so many pieces to literally fit together, and it’s not something most American women are taught — not at home, in school, or anywhere else. There’s no real mechanism for that education. It’s not taught in high school health classes. Many mothers overlook the chance to help their daughters get fit correctly, perhaps because they never experienced the benefits of the right fit themselves.
So poor bra fit is literally passed down through the generations!
There's lots more to learn, including how improper bra fit can cause health problems, how you waste money buying bad bras and more -- and thankfully Ali's put it all in a book for us: Busted! The FabFoundations Guide To Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic. Along with another interview, A Slip Of A Girl is giving away five signed copies of the book -- so go enter!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Things Your Grandmother Knew Blogroll Eaten

Apparently, when I got the domain name for this blog, Blogger ate the sidebar blogroll. *sigh* So, please, let me know if you were on it, want to be on it, etc. so that I can rebuild it. Like the 6 Million Dollar Man, we can rebuild it. *wink*

Shrinking Woolens?

The 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, edited by Ray Geiger, says that shrinkage in woolens is due to overwashing: "In ordinary circumstances, three minutes is long enough."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips

When it comes to being eco-friendly, we often have the greatest impact in our daily routines. Laundry is one of those routine chores that most of us have to do several times a week, if not every day. Therefore, even a small improvement can make a huge difference in terms of energy consumption and overall environmental impact. With that in mind, here are eight tips that can help you go green in a big way just washing your clothes.

1. Upgrade to an energy-efficient washer and dryer.

Don’t upgrade unnecessarily, but when it’s time, spend the extra money necessary to buy a high-quality energy-efficient washer and dryer set. Energy Star models can earn rebates as high as $250 under the federal Cash for Clunkers program, and a standard pair can cost as much as $150 more per year in water and power usage.

2. Wash with cold water.

Image Source: Last chance training.

Washing in hot water can use as much as ten times more energy than washing in cold water. In situations where heat is required, such as destroying dust mites for those with allergies, rinsing in cold water can still make a big difference. In fact, the EPA estimates that the average person can save at least $100 per year just by washing in cold water whenever possible.

3. Wash full loads.

Image Source: Dryer Vent Cleaning

Even the most energy-efficient washer and dryer set is going to use about 40 gallons of water and a minimum amount of electricity per load. In other words, every time you do a partial load, you’re throwing money away and using far more water and power than you need to.

4. Hang clothes to dry.

Image Source: Learn

Just because you own a dryer doesn’t mean you have to use it. In fact, by using it sparingly, you can save a considerable amount of money each year while extending the life of your wardrobe. Also, consider using an indoor drying rack. It’s perfect for wintertime or when hanging clothes outdoors simply isn’t an option.

5. Use natural detergents.

Image Source: Latest Wall paper

Many people are reluctant to switch to natural detergents and stain removers due to preconceptions based on outdated information. Today’s natural options are effective and cost-effective. They’re plant-based, biodegradable and specifically formulated to work well in cold water better than synthetic cleaners do.

6. Use homemade detergents.

Image Source: Shabby Art Boutique

It’s possible to make homemade detergent that is more effective and cost-effective than even the store-brought options. Not everyone has the time for that, but there are homemade options that are quick and easy: Vinegar boosts the power of detergents and lemon juice is an awesome stain remover.

7. Use natural softener alternatives.

Rather than use an expensive, environmentally harsh store-brought softeners, use lavender water in a spray bottle and lightly spritz the top of the load before washing. You can also purchase reusable dryer bags, which you can then fill with lavender and other natural softeners and scents.

8. Avoid phosphates and other environmental hazards.

Whatever you use on your clothes, a great deal of it makes it into the ground via backwash. Detergent makers use phosphates because they work and are inexpensive. Phosphates, however, don’t occur in the natural world in their pure form, and at great levels are a hazard to people, animals and the environment.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Copy Of The DinnerRevolution

Chef Jeff is giving away free copies of his latest book, DinnerRevolution. These recipes from Chef Jeff Pirtle of are super family-friendly, healthy, have less than 10 ingredients, and take less than 30 minutes to prepare. The ebook has a $27 value, so grab your free copy here! Oh, and the book is the 2.0 version he's counting on us to give feedback for the final, 3.0 version; so send your thoughts in to him.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How To Whip Wax To Frost Candles

Instructions on how to frost candles with whipped wax from The Glo Candle For All Occasions, The Glow Candle Co., Kansas City, Missouri; copyright 1952 and 1956 by Consumers Cooperative Association. ("Special credit is given to Noma Glahn whose ideas, experiments and cooperation helped make this booklet possible.") Note the tips for decorating with sugar, glitter, and paint too.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meatless Italian Dishes From Chef Boyardee

Meatless recipes from a vintage Chef Boyardee cook booklet titled Famous Italian Dishes, by Chef Hector Boiardi -- with Recipes tested and approved by The Chef Boy-ar-dee Housewife, Lois Nichols. These meatless recipes were not for the benefit of vegans or even wartime rations. No, these inexpensive and tasty dishes to take the place of meat, "thereby making Friday or Lenten Season dishes of them."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Make A Recipe File

From 4-H Food Preparation, Extension 4-H Bulletin #32, dated June 1952, by Mary R. Anderson and Grace D. Brill (a 4H Club booklet put out by the University of Minnesota, Agricultural Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University Farm, St. Paul 1, Minnesota), information on two types of recipe files, how to make them, and how to use them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Worst Thing About Fruit? The Fruit Flies

The worst thing about fresh fruit is the darn fruit flies. I know, because we've been hit - arg!

Normally, they seem to live and die and cease to be a problem, but this time...

I'm not one to tolerate bugs or insects of any variety in my home. Especially having just been battling with the icky Box Elder Bugs this fall.



So first I grabbed a left-over roll of the sticky fly tape.

But it didn't seem to be working fast enough for me. (Patience may be a virtue, but so is a house free of fruit flies!)

My complaints spurred on the hubby who went and created The Farm Version Of The Fly Trap.

This trap is based on the bait method; a bit of fruit juice in the bottom of a clear glass jar (another excellent reason to keep baby food jars!), with a funnel of paper taped at the opening. You can modify this by using wine, sugar water, etc. -- any sweet and fermenting liquid will work.

The theory behind this natural method of ridding your house of fruit flies is that the flies will be lured to the sweet stuff, flying into the wide opening of the paper funnel mouth but, as the end narrows near the liquid, they will land in the liquid and drown.

It's a theory, anyway.

The fruit flies we had seemed to not only survive the death trap (including, when one did manage to die in the juice, other fruit flies standing upon the dead body of their fallen comrade to partake of the juice), but thrive. Yup, after two days of watching the damn things walk around inside the jar, I concluded that The Farm Method of fruit fly removal was more like feeding and perhaps breeding than ridding us of the pests.

Seriously, other than my concerted efforts to spot them near the tape and smush or imprison them, they seemed to proliferate.

I again brought hubby into the bathroom, told him my (obsessive) observations, and asked him if he had any modifications up his sleeves. When the answer was, "Nope," I has him disassemble the contraption and just left the store-bought fly paper roll there and tried to ignore it all.

Two days later, food and beverage gone, the fruit fly population not only dwindled, but the infestation seemed to be over. (Though I'm keeping the ugly roll up a few more days, just to be sure...)

While The Farm method sure looks better than a long unwound roll of sticky tape with dead insects on it, it just didn't work. And while you can argue that The Farm method is more natural, and/or, pending on the manufactures of all the items in question, more environmentally friendly, I myself just wish to be rid of the icky insects.

PS I've filed this under Advice From My Grandma because hubby learned this from his mother and grandmother and that's close enough for me! *wink*

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Icing Too Grainy?

In the 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, a tip on adding a pinch of salt to your icing recipe so that it will not sugar or grain when it dries on the cake or baked goods.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Knit Turkeys Fit For A Child

A sweater with turkey on it to knit for children -- just in time for Thanksgiving. Maybe? Or next year... This pattern is from the March 1956 issue (Vol 21, No 6) of The Workbasket; another pattern, for bunny booties, is here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recommended Serving Sizes, Chilling Times & Uses For Jell-o Gelatin

From my 1962 spiral bound copy of Joys Of Jello, General Foods Corporation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sandwiches & Butter Balls, 1914

Sandwich recipes, circa 1914, from The Drexel Institute of Art, Science & Industry.

Photo of young women outside the Drexel Institute in the 1930s; via.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vintage = Less Slaves

Most everything we own has been produced using slave labor in one form or another -- from raw material to finished product. The Slavery Footprint Calculator shows how your consumer acts affect the enslavement of people, including children. Of course, using vintage, shopping at the thrift stores, recycling items by trading with family and friends, repurposing, etc., really cuts down on this sort of horror.  (Found via Chloe Joe.)

How To Get Your Curtain Tie-Backs Even

A "foolproof" tip for getting the ties for your curtains and drape even -- use the window shade! Supposing you have no window shades, blinds or even the window sash will do. In fact, the window sash might be the best option as you can easily place a level on it. Found in the 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, edited by Ray Geiger.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knit A Nautical Sweater

This Sailor Collar Cardigan comes from Coat's & Clark's Favorite Designs to Knit & Crochet, book number 198, copyright 1970. (Another knitting pattern from this publication here.) The pattern / instructions are below, for children's and adult sizes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Surprise Pumpkin Pie Recipe

From the 1962 Christmas Recipes booklet put out by Wisconsin Power and Light Company, Loreen Jackson, Home Economics Director. This recipe is "an 'Old Hat' idea with a new trim. You will like this up to date version. Texture wise, it's different. The flavor's the same."

Before I share the vintage recipe, I wanted to note a few things... Such as how in 1962, the convenience of store-bought pie shells makes its way into cook booklets from home economics leaders -- but canned pie filling has not. This recipe is a great way to make use of what's left after you carve jack-o-lanterns.

Surprise Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
2 cups raw grated pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1. Peel and cut pumpkin into pieces Fill jar of electric blender. Cover with water. Blend for a few seconds until finely grated. Drain thoroughly. May use a fine grater or grinder.

2. Mix all ingredients in order given.

3. Pour into unbaked pie shell.

4. Bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40 minutes, or until center tests done with a silver knife is inserted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How To Keep Paint Fresh In The Can

Another tip from the 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, edited by Ray Geiger.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crocheted Window-Pane Dress

If this isn't the most mod little thing... Well, I think it is -- I just love it!  Instructions etc. for making this retro  mini are below. From Coats & Clark Fashion Forecast book, No. 199; copyright 1970 -- that I'm giving away!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Basics In Vegetable Cookery

Cooking suggestions (including by vegetable color!), methods of cooking and serving vegetables, and three recipes from Food Preparation, Extension 4-H Bulletin #32, reprinted June 1947, by Ina Row & Eva Blair, Extension Nutritionists and Mildred Schenck, State 4-H Club Agent. (A 4-H Club booklet put out by the University of Minnesota, Agricultural Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University Farm, St. Paul 8, Minnesota.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cleaning Dish Cloths

To cut through grease and generally ease cleaning of dish cloths, soak the dirty dish cloths in water to which a little ammonia has been added. (Another tip from the 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, edited by Ray Geiger.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beginner Sewing Machine Stitches Help

From Vintage Clothing Construction Helps, advice for beginning sewers which begins with the recommendation that one practice learning to stitch straight on the sewing machine by using an unthreaded machine on paper. Then, once proficient:

Before stitching on garment, check the tension on the machine and the length of the stitches. In the correct stitch, the upper and lower thread should lock at the center fabric (figure 2).
Here's figure 2:

This vintage booklet was by Margaret Fobes, Alice Linn, and Ethel Gorham, Extension 4-H Bulletin #13, February 1944; a 4-H Club booklet on sewing clothes put out by the University of Minnesota, Agricultural Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University Farm, St. Paul 8, Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rid Your Rooms Of Tobacco & Smoke Smells

This tip or recipe for making your own "homemade" deodorizer comes from the 1967 American Farm & Home Almanac, edited by Ray Geiger.

Time Saving Trick For Sewing On Snaps

A nifty tip from the March 1956 issue of The Workbasket (Vol 21, No. 6) on working with snap fasteners. I guess you could "chalk" this one up to experience *wink*

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fashion Forecast Is Retro -- And Free! (Enter My Giveaway Contest!)

Weeks ago I promised a giveaway here at Things Your Grandmother Knew -- well, here it is!

I'm giving away a copy of  Coats & Clark Fashion Forecast book, No. 199; copyright 1970.  It has patterns and instructions for knitting and crocheting pullover and cardigan sweaters and vests, a pouch shoulder bag, a mini-dress, caps, scarves, a beret, suits and other two-piece dressing.  Here's a scan of the front and back covers:

(Before you get into the whole "how to enter" thing, I also wanted to let you know that I'm also giving away a copy of God In My Kitchen: Fifty-Two Thoughts For Homemakers (1958) at my other blog.)

There are many ways -- options -- to enter.  Multiple entries are allowed -- but not necessary.
To Enter:
* Follow me on Twitter: @DPopTart. (Please leave your Twitter username in your comment so I can check.)


* Tweet the following:
I entered @DPopTart’s contest to win a FREE copy of a retro knitting and crocheting book!
(Remember to come back here and leave a comment with your tweet for me to verify.)

You may tweet your entry once a day.


* Friend me on Face Book: Deanna Dahlsad. (When making the request, note that you are entering the contest.)


* Post about this contest at your blog or website — if you do this you must include in your post to this contest post or to Things Your Grandmother Knew in general.

(Please include the link to your blog post in the comments section so that I can find your post.)


* Post your entry as a comment — if you do this, please make sure I’ve got your email address, because if you’re the winner I’ll need your email address to contact you regarding your shipping information.

Here’s the giveaway fine print:

* Giveaway is open to US residents only
* Be sure that you leave your email so that I can contact you
* Contest ends October 16, 2011; entries must be made on or before midnight, central time, October 15, 2011. Winner will be contacted by October 18, 2011, and has 48 hours to respond; otherwise, I’ll draw another name.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vintage Baking Recipe For Mothers

From Happy Holiday NSP, a cook book celebrating the Northern States Power Company's Golden Anniversary (50 Years of Public Service, 1909 - 1959), this charming little "recipe" appears on the last page:

Preheat oven; check to be sure that there are no rubber balls or plastic soldiers lurking on the shelves. Remove blocks and toy autos from the table. Grease pan. Crack nuts. Measure 2 cups flour; remove Johnny's hands from the flour; wash flour off him. Re-measure flour. Crack more nuts to replace those Johnny ate.

Put four, baking powder and salt in sifter. Get dustpan and brush up pieces of bowl Johnny knocked on floor. Get another bowl. Answer doorbell.

Return to kitchen. Remove Johnny's hands from bowl. Wash Johnny. Answer phone. Return. Remove 1/4 inch salt from greased pan. Look for Johnny. Grease another pan. Answer telephone.

Return to kitchen and find Johnny. Remove his hands from bowl. Take up greased pan and remove layer of nut shells in it. Head for Johnny, who runs, knocking bowl off table. Wash kitchen floor, table, walls, dishes. Call bakery, place order. Take to aspirin. Lie down.
Few things have changed! The type of toys, maybe. And, with cell phones and cordless phones, we don't need to leave the room to answer the phone. But some things certainly do remain the same. *wink*

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Do You Know What Grandma Called "Organic?"

Probably not her food -- even though it was! Back in grandma's day, there was no need to label food organic or otherwise; food was just plain organic. Until DDT ect. came along, anyway. I'm not saying science and agriculture haven't produced some wonderful things -- and things we can safely eat. But now, unless you grow your own, it's actually more expensive to eat organic. A head-scratcher, right? Anywho...

Chloé Jo Davis, of the fabulous GirlieGirl Army, and her friend Alexandra Jamieson are brainy vegan Mamas with a common goal: helping the world eat cleaner! In the debut of their new monthly series, Little Sprouts/ Big City, they talk about getting deals on organic foods for your family.

Little Sprouts/ Big City: Alexandra Jamieson & Chloé Jo Davis Share Tips On Healthy Eating On The Cheap from Chloe Jo Davis on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vintage Tea Ring Recipe

Making a Tea Ring with the basic roll dough recipe from the 1943 The Photo-Method For Rolls, by Virginia Roberts, Occident Home Baking Institute.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Giveaway Contests

As a collector and lover of antiques and vintage things, I’ve got a lot of "stuff." Too much stuff. So I’m giving a lot of it away. Not only on Listia (my review here), but at most of my blogs.

I will be posting a contest here at Things Your Grandmother Knew soon -- but meanwhile, here's a round-up of all the other giveaways:

Enter to win one of five copies of The Suburban Diva's humorous mommie book.

Have even more time to read and pamper yourself now that the kids are in school? Enter to win a copy of The Bombshell Manual Of Style.

Tell me about antique and collectibles hunting in your area, and you'll be entered to win a vintage barbecue cookbook.

Go here to win a kitschy vintage postcard.

Thanks, and good luck!

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