A Sparkling Vintage Life

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Returning to bliss: Confessions of a VICTORIA fangirl

Source: Hoffman Media

It will probably come as a surprise to exactly zero readers of this blog that I’m a huge fan of Victoria magazine, that venerable grande dame of gracious living. I keep back issues organized by season and flip through them whenever I need some inspiration or a little pick-me-up.

I was perusing the Victoria blog recently (The Ribbon in My Journal) and was thunderstruck to stumble across my own name, on a comment I posted in 2014. The question was something like “why do you like to read Victoria,” and I was tickled to realize I still agree with every word I wrote some four years ago. Here’s what I wrote:

“I always appreciate seeing examples of ways to incorporate vintage-style clothing, etc., into modern life without appearing too “costume-y.” Love reading about other kindred spirits who appreciate the best of the past and suspect that sometimes we’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to modernization–who don’t roll their eyes and say, “Yeah, but cholera! But no air-conditioning!” when I wax nostalgic about the past.”

But that wasn’t enough laud and honor, lol. I gushingly continued:

“I’ve been enjoying a book called Let’s Bring Back by Lesley M. M. Blume that talks about things we’ve lost and sometimes miss, such as hats on gentlemen and “powder rooms” and steamer trunks. Then when I pick up Victoria and see a way to use, say, a steamer trunk in my home, maybe not for its original purpose but in some other way, I feel like I can honor the past and keep bits of it always with me. I look forward to Victoria as a refreshing respite from the harshness of modern life, but I REALLY love it when I get an inspiration for grace notes to add to my life in a practical way. I don’t have to just shut the magazine with a sigh and a wistful “Wouldn’t it be nice…” but can actually incorporate elements of a more gracious time into my everyday life. Thank you!”

If you enjoy old-fashioned things and ways of living the way I do, give Victoria a try.

(FYI I’m not connected to the magazine or company in any way, financially or otherwise; just an avid fan.)

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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