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If I had a hammer . . .

feminine tool kitOn this snowy Saturday morning, I’ve been enjoying an old (1909) copy of a ladies’ magazine. In particular, I’m noticing how often the writers encourage homemakers to create something, do-it-yourself style, instead of encouraging them to go out and buy something.

For example, one tip says, “Floor cleaning is made much easier if one will take a piece of a two-inch board about twelve inches square or large enough to set a pail on; bore holes about one and one-half inches from each corner and insert casters. The pail may then be pushed from place to place with the foot, and saves much lifting. Such a device may also be used for many purposes, such as moving heavy jars of meat and barrels of apples in the cellar or kitchen.”

Today, the advice would certainly be to purchase a brand-new rolling bucket or cart.

Another hint says, “For a cheap and serviceable wash-stand in the kitchen, take two orange or lemon boxes with partitions and nail them together lengthwise. A curtain of dark silkoline [fabric] and a piece of oilcloth on top complete it. In this way, one has four handy little shelves in which to keep small articles necessary in the kitchen.”

What? No enticement to go out and purchase a new piece of furniture?

To be sure, the magazine does contain ads for many products. But I found it interesting how the editors also kept in mind the homemaker on a budget, and also assumed she possessed some degree of skill with a tool kit. Refreshing! And makes me think I should start brushing up on my own next-to-nonexistent carpentry skills.

Decorate for Fall (31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Fall, Day 15)

I don’t have much in the way of autumn decorations–just a few candles, leaf garlands, a leafy wreath for the door. Historically the homes I’ve lived in have had limited storage space and thus not a lot of room to store seasonal decorations. But frankly it doesn’t take all that much to celebrate fall’s beauty and embellish a room with seasonally-appropriate grace notes. Victoria editor Phyllis Hoffmann DePiano, over at the Ribbon in My Journal blog, offers up some great ideas for vintage-inspired fall decorating, such as making the most of the warmth of wood and putting family heirlooms to good use. I might have to take a second look at that soup tureen I keep tucked away!

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