Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pillsbury Bake-Off Tradition Continues

Entries for the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest are in and judging is now underway. And once again the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest is letting you vote for which 10 of the final 100 recipes will compete at the 45th Bake-Off® Contest in Orlando, Florida. Every two weeks (May 26, June 9, June 23, July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18, Sept. 1 and Sept. 15), you can vote on the original recipes posted at

Monday, May 23, 2011

How To Clean Suede Shoes

In case your friends didn't listen to Elvis... Or if you have other suede items to clean and spiffy up...

Cleaning suede is more like cleaning corduroy than cleaning felt: Cleaning and brushing suede shoes in the steam coming from a teakettle. The Netherlands, 1950-1960.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Tip On Preserving Eggs

From the May 1, 1944 issue of Pathfinder magazine, pre-refrigeration, using dry ice to preserve eggs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of Feminism & Homemaking

Thoughts on the rights of women to be more "traditional," posted at Homemaking... My Final Frontier:

I think sometimes women look down on other women who like to cook and clean forgetting that the women's rights movement and the movement for women to be treated equally was not so that women could judge those who chose to stay home and be homemakers, it was to give women the choice the ability to decide for themselves what they wanted to do with their lives. To let them know that it was totally possible for a woman to head a company or work in a factory even when her husband was not at war. But this is also the other way around women who stay home look down on those who work or go to school. We have to stop being our own worst enemies. Support each other in our goals help each other and understand that not all mothers are meant to be the same. There is no cookie cutter mold for the perfect mother. What works for one family does not work for the other.

Which rather echo my own thoughts, posted here, about Farrah Fawcett.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Laundry is being passed through the mangle"

This vintage photo reminds me of something I spotted on the label of my heated mattress pad...

I removed the electric heating mattress pad on our bed and read the label before washing it and packing it away for the season. On the label there were various methods of washing, by hand, by machine, and one line warning "us" not to put it through the wringer (or "the mangle" as the photo's titled).

Who buys and pays to use an electric mattress pad and also has a wringer washing machine? No judgement; just jaw-dropping amazement!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Link Round-Up: Old Recipes, Thoughts About Food & Bargains

Professor Walter's Recipes of Yesteryear: Vintage recipes from a century ago. Long before refrigerators and electric stoves these recipes tell not only how we ate, but how we lived.

FYI, Top Ten Deals of the Week for May 17th (keep updated on these deals here).

And a thoughtful post from Liberating Home Economics on food production and industrialization.

Let's Make A Pie! Vintage Pie Crust Recipe

From another vintage Photo-Method booklet: The Photo-Method For Pies, by Virginia Roberts, Home Baking Institute Occident Flour, Minneapolis, Minn., copyright Russell-Miller Milling Co. 1944.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Cleaning Supplies Do You Have?

I found this vintage photo of a woman with her cleaning supplies really interesting...Notice how many brushes and tools she has, the few bottles... Soap and water, elbow-grease, individual tools to clean specific surfaces, shapes to reach the right places, that's how you clean.

I was just discussing this issue with the kids -- how today's so-called consumer products of convenience aren't really cleaning products at all. The easy-peasy Swiffers etc. are sold on the idea that you only need one tool in your cleaning kit -- but that's false.

What these things do, by and large, is just wipe things off. It's like my dad used to admonish my sister and I when we cleaned as young girls: "You girls aren't cleaning; you're just rearranging dirt."

Now dad was a military guy (the navy), and while he did have a few anal requests (such as a particular way his undies had to be folded), he wasn't about hospital corners on beds. But he did want clean. It was part of his work ethic: a job worth doing was worth doing well. This was something both he and my mother instilled in us.

How they did this in terms of cleaning was to teach us how to clean and then supervise us doing our chores. Once they were satisfied we could achieve the proper results, we were left alone to do them. (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they came back later to check the results; but by then we knew if we had done a poor or rushed job and expected comments on poor performances -- and knew we'd have to go back and do it right. But we might still have gotten out earlier on Saturday night to reclean on Sunday.)

I remember being supervised during my chores... It was unnerving. But it also instilled a great pride too.

I vividly recall one time when my father watched me sweeping the kitchen. It was that texturized linoleum with a pattern on it (in avocado green, of course), sold on the idea of camouflaging dirt. (No, dad didn't buy it; it came with the house.) It was difficult to sweep and wash because the pattern did hide the dirt, and was rather dizzying, nauseating to look at. So I developed a method to ensure I never missed a spot.

I took the broom and began on one side, right up against the wall, and swept down the full length of the room, leaving a pile of the dust & dirt at the far wall. Then I walked back to where I had started and, one broom length away from the wall, repeated the same sweep pattern. Over and over I did it this way until I had done the full kitchen. Then I went back to the far wall and swept along that edge to get all the dust & dirt into the dustpan.

One day while doing this, I was surprised to look up and find my dad watching me. I was in junior high/middle school by this time and it had been years since he'd supervised my chores.  But this was a new house I was cleaning. Was he going to stare at me while I did all my chores?

I (rather snottily) asked him what he was watching me for and he replied that he was fascinated with how I was sweeping.  Still feeling defensive, I told him I couldn't see the dirt on the floor and I didn't want to lose my spot in the busy pattern and miss some dirt. He replied it was a brilliant plan -- and that he planned to use it himself.  Beaming with pride, I then replied that when I scrubbed the floor (because no, we didn't sponge-mop!), I used the same pattern, modified in smaller sections. (That would be harder to describe without a diagram lol). But my point is, I was really proud of being complimented on how well I cleaned -- on not "just moving dirt around."

My other point is, getting back to the photo, that too many people have sacrificed clean for the sake of convenience.  If you don't have at least half of what this lady does (and the mop doesn't count!), if you have a vacuum, a mop, a bucket, a sponge, some Swiffer-esque things (one for dusting and one for floors), and an array of cleaning product bottles and cans, you are not cleaning -- you are just rearranging dirt.

Now, confess, what's in your cleaning kit, what's missing from it?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Save Money & Make Money With Coupons, Rebates, Etc.

In her post about vintage Las Vegas ephemera, Shawnee reminded me of something I've been intending to write about here: How to save money selling coupons, , etc. at eBay.

As I (frustratingly) confessed, I sell my unwanted gift cards at eBay; it's the fastest way to get paid and usually at top dollar. (Usually I get paid the same day I list the card and at 80% of the gift card amount, which is far better than those gift card sites -- so even if you can only sell one card at a time, it's more money in my PayPal pocket and faster too.) This is a great way to make money off your gift card reward programs.

But perhaps you didn't know you can also sell other bits of paper, plastic, and cardboard at eBay -- making green for your wallet and keeping the earth greener too by putting these things in the hands of those who will use them.

The paper, plastic and cardboard I'm talking about here are coupons, "points," and other consumer member reward program materials

Even if you participate in any coupon swaps (local, among friends, or groups on the Internet), selling your unwanted coupons etc. can bring you extra money.

(I'm now saving my-hated My Coke Punishments Rewards to sell them on eBay -- because money can be tight, but I can be bright. *wink*)

Of course, those of you into making use of coupons and rewards programs, extreme or not, can find bargains for you and your family too.

Save money with the coupons, use them for promotional proof-of-purchase offers, consumer reward programs and rebates -- or sell them for cash on eBay.

Image of a vintage pudding promotional offer via my Kitschy Kitschy Coo post.

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