Friday, May 15, 2009

14 & 15 May 1955 “Treaties signed, Mountains climbed, Gardens Grown, and the Solitary Life”

warsaw pact signing Yesterday, May 14th 1955, Eight communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was an organization of Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe. It was the counterpart to our NATO. In 1991, the Warsaw Pact will break up after most of the Communist governments fall, and the Soviet Union disintegrates. in 2005 Poland will decide to make its military archives available to the world. We will find that Poland, itself, was home to 250 nuclear missiles. It is funny how we all live so closely on such a taught thread. When I see this photo, which is from 1955 of the members signing the Warsaw Pact, I cannot help but think, what a better job, or at least a fair better job, we women might actually do running things. Strange, indeed.

The Austrian State Treaty  or Austrian Independence Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state today, May 15 1955. The treaty re-established a free, sovereign and democratic Austria. It would not have been long ago, today, that that poor country would have been taken over by the Germans. How fresh the fear and amazement of that war was in 1955, particularly to Europeans, I am sure, as they were left with the destruction and aftermath, food shortage etc of the war. When viewed that way, it is easy to see how we tried to ‘forget the horror’ and threw the baby out with the bath water. Everyone wanted things new and better so nothing like this could happen. Now, we look back on such a short time in history, the 20th century, and wonder where did our basic ‘good human qualities’ go? I know we are definitely better off today, I do not doubt it, but I think there is room in our modern fast paced life for manners, personal pride, and community.

makalu Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world on the border between Nepal and China, was first climbed successfully for the first time today, May 15, 1955 by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition led by Jean Franco. [I know there are many women climbers and I am not saying specifically that it is an a men’s desire, but I do feel sometimes that men needed the ACTION of bravery and show sometimes over shadows women’s bravery of being at home and quietly keeping the world going. In so many ways, particularly before women were give the right to fight or be ‘out there’ we have had to ‘keep the home fires burning’. That is why I say our ACTION does not have to be climbing mountains or jumping out windows. Even on a very basic brain level, if our bodies respond with happiness and adrenalin after a successful day of cleaning and decorating our home, we feel the same as the man standing on top of the mountain. Is one more valid than the other? I honestly don’t think so. Hurrah for the man on the mountain but Brava for the smiling homemaker in her kitchen, dishes done, dinner cooking, cake in the oven and a basket of mending on her lap. I think if we, those we feel drawn to it or wish to try it, can see the honest inherent value in homemaking in this way, we will endeavor to follow it’s path and not be ashamed to show it to our daughter or even, imagine that, offer it to them as a CAREER choice.

Yesterday I cut my finger whilst making my hubby lunch for the day. In the end, he had to buy lunch and I was left a bit slower for the remainder of the day. Every time something comes up that causes my schedule to change, I realize how elastic homemaking is, really. I am all for lists and schedules and think to run a home on the level I think we all deserve, they are a must! Yet, as we are our own boss and staff, we can, at any point, change things up. On occasions such as yesterday, that is what we do. But, while having learned the importance of the list, we use that power to restructure our day. Not unlike a great General who has been ‘outflanked’ we must rally our troops and using our keen intellect and prowess in warfare, reassemble and charge on with new strategy. So, that is what I did.

Part of yesterdays plan was to continue with my next ‘house project’ which is actually in the garden. I have been planning a new fence along the front of our property. My veg garden sits at the front of the property nearest the road, as that is the spot which receives sun all day. I want the front of the house, it’s curb appeal, to be addressed first. I feel that way I am working from the front to the back. Also, I think the view we offer to the world is very 1950’s and, I must say, it does make one feel good to know we are showing our best to the world. Of course, right now you would not know that by the condition of my yard, as it is in flux, but a gal must do things in stages.

Now, back to the fence. I have toyed with a few different designs in my sketchbook for fencing. The idea of hiring someone to do it is out as the amount of fencing, which is not really alot, would be VERY expensive. I figure, I am a homemaker and clever, I certainly can manage to design and then execute a fence. What is a fence, really? Some boards and post fastened together to either exclude or impress or a little of both. I mean, certainly I adore this classic-fence-design-gate but it would look rather silly on our small drive leading to our little cape cottage. That brings me to another thing, SCALE. It is so important, I think, to remember scale in your home. Obviously, no one would put this massive gate in front of their little home, but I have seen many things done horribly out of scale. When I used to watch design shows and a designer would create a ‘theme room’ I would shudder. Yes, you may indeed like an Italian villa, who wouldn’t, but if you live in a ranch house in Wisconsin, it is not going to fit the scale of the house and really, it won’t feel right.

So, I wanted something in scale that would look nice, express the idea of ‘private property’ but still say ‘welcome neighbor, lets have a cup of coffee.’

Now, I love the look of this type of fence rounded-corner-fence as it is very equestrian. It makes one think there might be a fine thoroughbreds head peeking over it at any moment in search of an apple. But, I also wanted a bit more ‘style’ to frame the yard. The front of my house is also where I have planted my little orchard, so both my veg garden and the orchard will be viewed from passers by, even more reason to make them more than just functional.

Here are some of the very rough sketches of plans I had from my little sketch book. fence ideas I decided to go with the simple ‘X’ pattern. It is remeniscent of a horse paddock,  or even a fence to be jumped, but decorative enough to frame a small home.  The central X makes a great spot to highlight a low growing flowering plant, of which variety I have not yet decided. Here it is in its beginning states.veg fence1 First the poles had to be sunk in. I use a post hole digger. It is one of my favorite tools, as I love fencing. It is the architecture of the garden and if you get the architecture right on your project, the rest will follow wonderfully. Without a good sound base, your home or garden could be as unflattering as an ill-fitting dress. So, I dug the holes, leveled off the posts (pressure treated garden posts quite cheap only 4 dollars a piece). Then you need to level by eyesight. There was much standing back, as I did not only trust the level, because how it looks to the eye in this case was more important to me. I am sure my neighbors, who probably already think me a little nuts, were wondering what I was up to now. So, here is the next phase veg fence2 You can see I installed the top and bottom sections and the cross pattern. I can see this garden and fence from the windows in my little sitting room  (my command central)view of new fence from sitting room 1 You can see the picket fence I installed last year. It was going to be white and may still be, but I have not yet decided. I was happy that I can see my veg garden from this room. Certainly, it does not look as nice and orderly as I will want it to be, as I envision it, but part of the homemakers skill, I believe, is to be happy in the moment. Knowing there is more to do to make this look ‘finished’ feels good to me. For, I can enjoy it as the work I have done and also the thrill of seeing my ideas come to life. But, unlike some jobs, I do not dread the future work, for I am doing what I love.

I have in my sitting room what I call a ‘thought box’. It is an antique drawer from an old cabinet that used to keep old letter type. I am sure you have seen these around. They are narrow and full of little compartments, but when you tip them up on their side, like a frame, it is a little divided world. I have one that rests on the ledge of the chair rail in my sitting room. mind box bw I sometimes haphazardly put things in the little boxes. It changes with my moods and sometimes I don’t think about it and then look back later and go, “ah,”. It can be therapeutic and also reveal a little of yourself. In it right now are some shells and sea sponges from my hubby and my time on the water in our boat. Treasures. Old family things, a calling card form a great grandmother etc. But in one of the little cubicles is a fortune from a fortune cookie, it reads : “Doing what you like is Freedom. Liking what you do is Happiness”. And, really, I think that says it all.

We can be in the midst of the chaos of our ‘making over our homes’ but if we do try and keep to a schedule to make living in the moment happy, then tomorrows work load is not a dread but a happiness. Liking what you do is Happiness.

Now, back to my fence. If you were to have such a fence designed and installed it would be very costly, but this is very economical. In fact the cross pattern is made from strapping, which is under a dollar a piece! It is not pressure treated, but it doesn’t matter, as it is getting painted white in outdoor weather sealant paint. In the old days, there was no pressure treating, you merely treated it yourself. Even the little finials, here I have only one installed, are very cheap at my local lumber yard and they simply screw into the post. I have since decided on another design finial, which you will see when the fence is done and painted. You can also see that this section sits in front of my veg garden. This, too, is in a very ‘beginning’ state. But, the important bits are in, the good soil and some of the plants, they don’t know rather or not the garden looks pretty! I will show before and after of the veg garden, however, as it progresses. I have some lovely sketches of different ideas I want for my veg garden I will show one day.

Speaking of sketchbooks, you should, as a homemaker, keep not only a journal of your schedule, but  a ‘sketchbook’. It doesn't matter if you can draw; stick figures and boxes filled in with marker and labeled with scribbles are fine and do wonders to help you plan. Things from gardens, room design, to even table layout for your party, because easier, more fun and have a more tactile ‘real job’ feel to them in this manner. It might seem silly, but later on you can look back and remember and recall how you have built up your little world from ideas to scribbles to reality. It is a very powerful tool and helps to feed your future ACTION! Then, when you recall the man at the mountains summit feeling powerful, you can look around you at the world in which you and your family live and think, “I made this”. Climbing a mountain is pretty great, but so is creating a world in which to live and feel ‘at home’. A very powerful breed are we homemakers.

As I mentioned, having cut my finger did slow down my day. I was not able to work on my fence, but I did get to my usual chores. I even had time to make a quick batch of cookies for our tea after dinner. I doubled the batch and put the rest in waxed paper. I thought it so cute, I had to snap a shot of it. cookie dough tube Now, this is about the size of what you would buy ‘ready made’ at the grocery store for around 4 –5 dollars. I made a double batch of cookies, baked up half and put the other half this way, and I think the whole thing cost me around 2.00 for both the baked cookies AND this tube of dough. This is definitely cheaper and better and I am sure many of you do this already. And, when I bake these I sprinkle a dab of coconut on the top and it gets brown as they bake. They make very yummy cookies. It is just a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from my old Betty Crocker book. I use almond extract instead of vanilla and add the coconut. I have not made a dessert in awhile, as we are all trying to watch our waistlines around here.

I have promised more pictures of what I wear and have been very lax with the camera in that respect. I went out to lunch Wednesday and here is what I wore. bw me suit

Today, I have to go out marketing and to the shops, so here is my outfit.bw head scarf I definitely need to lose weight and am going to now try to really follow my 1955 diet. I have to say, though, that still being heavier than I am happy with, I feel better and more confident in my vintage clothes.

I love the head scarf and my new glasses. These are very vintage looking and are tortoise shell with little orange rhinestones in the corner. The head scarf is great if you are having an unruly hair day, or just to look pulled together last minute.bw head scarf glasses

Now, I really want to touch briefly on the solitary aspect we sometimes feel as homemakers or vintage women. That aspect of feeling not quite ‘in touch’ with the world. I think it deserves its own post. But for now, really, it is the attitude and position of many artists to feel so disconnected and through our art, we try to make sense or connect in someway. And we homemakers, we are artists. We take in the world, digest it and remake  it in our homes. In a sense, we are sending out an SOS signal, “the note in the bottle”. We are waiting for the answer. Living unique and outside the norm is never easy, but most often rewarding. There are days of tears and sadness. Moments when you just look at the world and those around you and think, ‘how easy to join you to just be part of it all’ only we know, deep down inside, we wouldn’t really. We’d be imposters, masquerading about with the smiling bland faces of ‘normalcy’. Sometimes, it is better to be alone and know you are in the right place, then to be awash in the crowd having lost yourself.

I know that is little comfort when one feels alone at home. But, the modern world has given us this medium to use. The internet can connect us together and though we are not next door to one another, we can still try and connect. I really do want to, now more than ever, pursue my idea of a vintage organization and perhaps someday, we could meet in various cities, one never knows. We must think of our sisters of the past, sitting quietly bent over their needlework by the fires, the clock ticking, the cat stretches and the isolation is numbing. Yet, it is this very thing, this power in the moment of quiet contemplation, that has made we women what we are today. So, though it is often sad to be alone and we should try to find or make a way to share our vintage passion with others in our community, when we are faced with that day alone in the house and feeling blue, think of those sisters of the past. Take their power of silence and determination, and take a task to hand and sit by your own fire and create. Perhaps no one will find the bottle with the message, but at least you will have found yourself.

37 comments:

  1. I had an idea to start a forum, so that we could share tips and ideas, but in the end I figured that I would start another blog, and get people to e-mail me their tips and there would be one or two or three a day. I even thought of a name "Modern Housewives, Vintage Knowledge"

    I think it would be a nice tool and place for people to share the different ways they do things. It would also be a community spot. I'm very happy to take on the responsibility I would just like to know if others think it would be a good idea.

    Other than that, what do you do if you get one of those days when you really really really don't want to do anything? I had that kind of day today and nothing except my white washing got done today.

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  2. Better idea for the name of the blog: "Modern Women, Vintage Know-How"

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  3. Girl InterruptedMay 15, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Honestly, I can't believe you can put up a fence. I would never think to do something like that myself, I would just automatically ask my fiance to do it. I would have always assumed that thats something a man should do, I dont know but did women put up their own fences in the 50s. I remember that one I lvoe Lucy episode where she wanted Ricky to make the brick bbq but he wasn't getting to it in time for her so she started to do it herself just to get him to do it because she wasn't going to do it correctly.
    Putting up a fence just sounds so difficult to me I woulnt know where to start. I think its amazing that you just do it like its no big deal, like oh todays house project is to put up a fence no biggie.
    Oh wanted to ask you why do you use almond extract instead of vanilla extract and if the recipe calls for vanilla extract when you put the almond extract do you put a little bit more? I want to try this recipe I found for Orange Vannila cookies but I think orange and almond sounds better.

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  4. Girl interrupted- I think, if a woman in 1955 wanted a fence and her husband was busy at work and she did not have the funds to hire out, she would have. You have to realize the women of the 1950s took over all the men's work during the war. I think particularly at this time women were aware of how much MORE they could do. And, really, putting up a fence is no different, to me, than vacuuming or sewing. They all take planning and using tools and creativity. I suppose I just don't think rather I can or cannot do something, I just do it and see.
    it called for 1 tsp vanilla so I did 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 almond. I have tried adding more in other recipes, but find if you add too much you can sometimes get a bitter 'alcohol' taste, so do be careful over flavoring. Orange and almond would be devine so maybe try 1/2 vanilla and almond with the orange. I may ask my husband to help with a project, but for the most part he wouldn't have a clue how to go about it and he doesn't care one way or the other, so I would rather do it. I think women today, though they often seem to feel more 'liberated' find the need to ask men for things they certainly could do themselves. I remember a friend telling me about her 'honey do' list and I just laughed and said, "I'd rather do it myself then it gets done when and how I want it!" Good luck with the cookies and next time, try something you would ask your husband to do and see if you cannot do it yourself, it is very liberating!

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  5. Vintage Angel- I sometimes have those days, but what I do is grab a magazine or book and sit with some tea and then I find myself recharged as I start to think of what I would like to do, so I will say "in one hour I will just start this or that" and then when the time comes I start and before I know it, I am back in the swing of it all! That is how I approach it, though it will be different for all of us as we have different personalities.

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  6. well, i am feeling keenly the isolation of motherhood and wifedom today! up all night with a sick child, absolutely no homeschooling accomplished, and dinner to fix. so as i stood, making chicken soup for my little sugar pie, i almost had a pity party. but then i looked out the open window and smelled the breeze. i put on some frank sinatra and concentrated on being grateful for the modern things like medicine to cure my baby, and thankful for the old fashioned things like muffins and soup ~all of which make life better. i think as i make it through the day, fully capable of running a household of five children and a menagerie, i feel liberated too. :)

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  7. Kelly-Brava, good for you! AND you are their teacher, you must be a saint!

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  8. The fence looks nice. You did a good job, fences are not easy. I like the x design. I also like your head scarf. So chic.

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  9. “Doing what you like is Freedom. Liking what you do is Happiness”

    I love that quote! I also love this quote, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Yes, I know that I couldn't just pretend to fit in; it's like trying to make oil and water mix. It's not that I don't get along with others, but it's always just your typical polite conversation that never develops into a deeper connection because below the surface it always turns out that we really don't have much in common. I mean, other women/mothers I have met over the years have been nice, but they go about life is such a different way that nothing ever develops beyond acquaintance level.

    Kelly, I love Frank Sinatra as well. He's another singer that I listen to during my "off" days. I have a handful of singers that I love listening to to help lift my mood.

    50sgal, I found a copy of both books you recommended online for a good price. I'm hoping they will re-inspire me and help me to get my focus back. I think part of my problem in regards to where we live is that our remodeling is being done for potential buyers, and the more we remodel, the less it feels like home to me. I'm not fond of the modern style at all, but that's what sells so that's the direction that our remodeling is going in. We are doing our remodeling ourselves as well. It's just hard to remodel in a direction that I'm not happy with; it takes the excitement factor away. I can't wait until we are in the house that we plan to stay put in and can fix it up the way we really want it to be. After we sell our house, I hope to get lucky enough to find a house to rent that is closer to our style. For those who are wondering, we will be moving in four years, so, with the economy the way it is, we want to sell our house now so that when we do move we don't have a house to worry about trying to sell at the same time. BTW, your fence looks great!

    I need to go for now, I'll catch up with you all later tonight.

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  10. pl-so glad to find another blue eyes fan! his flawless delivery makes me happy every time!

    50's gal-I AM NO SAINT!! haha.

    hey has anyone ever read "hidden art of homemaking" ? by edith schaeffer. it is a "christian book" but talks all about the endless creativity one can have in the home. kind of a neat book. pub in the '60's i think?

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  11. Other eras have been honored with Historical Societies, why not the 50's? I think an organization is a very real and feasible idea, and if anyone can create and pull it together, it's you (with a few helpers, of course! Wouldn't want to put the whole world on your shoulders.)

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  12. Okay, it's later tonight and I'm tired and want to go to bed. :) Talk to you later.

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  13. My father did not consider girls any different from boys so in 1956 when he bought an old army barracks to deconstruct, he purchased 4 nail pullers for my two brothers, my sister, and me. We spent all summer on ladders pulling nails. Since then I always thought I could do anything a man could. By the way, many people then would take apart old buildings so that they could have access to cheap but quality lumber. Recycling is not new.

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  14. gardener-b-That is what I am finding in my project. We have to now 'try' to be green, but in the 1950s you just were. It is ture this is the decade that the pesticides and all that comes out, but they didn't know what harm they would cause, they were trying to make more and plentiful food so we would not be unluncky as we were during the war. Now, it is popular to look at the 1950s and think "oh, they were so stupid and mindless" which of course is exactly how we are now. We will often say we wish to be green and then go and buy bottles of water (which comes out of our taps) We will buy from a farmers market but get there in our huge SUV's guzzling gas. I am glad people are starting to go 'green', but if we look to the past when we didn't need to be green, we can see the way entire generations lived their lives without polluting. I found that people used to bury their trash, how on earth could we today if we are aloud to? Think how much garbage we make today compared to 1955. Most meals come in separate packaging etc. I am glad you said that, as I was concerned at first and then thought, "OF course I would know how to do such things, I probably did many things during the war". Even Duchesses dug ditches during the war (their is a mouthful to say!) I honestly do think that today many women, though thinking they are liberated, though I suppose men too, just aren't able to do physical things. Perhaps it is video games and computers, which are not bad and should be enjoyed but why can't you play a video game AND build a fence? They are not mutually exclusive?

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  15. Good morning. gardener-b and 50sgal, my neighbor, that I have mentioned before, is somewhere around 75 years old. She has amazed us and inspires me. She is always doing and fixing things all the time. She always does her yard work, including mowing (front and large backyard). At first, we were worried that she would overdo herself and asked her if she would like us to help her with her yard work. She thanked us for the offer but said that she loved doing it and it gave her something to do and kept her busy and moving. She does ask my husband to do things for her that includes getting up on a ladder because she doesn't trust her balance as much these days, or helping with heavy things, but other than that she pretty much does everything herself. It just impresses so me. I want to be like that when I get older...strong and independent. Not the stubborn/rude type of independence, just doesn't have a problem doing things for herself type of independence (self-sufficient).

    I think it's so important for people to learn self-sufficiency again. When you think about it, why have someone else do something for you that you can do for yourself, especially if it helps to keep you healthy and saves money as well? Of course, everyone has a limit to what they will do for themselves, but there's a lot more that we could do for ourselves that we don't do. Like you, 50sgal, my husband and I have developed skills along the way. You don't learn a new skill until you do it. I'm quite impressed with how much my husband has learned to do for himself and our family as the years have passed. My Dad is a "Jack of all trades", so I grew up with this type of thinking and have learned that the limits to what we can do is the limits we put on ourselves. That doesn't mean we can do anything/everything, we all have our limits, but we can sure give everything our best effort, and do that much.

    I'll have to send you a picture of the pine bed that my husband made for us from the pine trees from our own yard. It's stored in our shed right now because my husband bought me a sleigh bed as a surprise for me several years ago because I love the look of sleigh beds. But since that bed broke, I would love it if my husband could convert the pine bed he made into a captain bed. Like I mentioned before, I want a captain bed at this point because I'm tired of chasing dust bunnies under our bed all the time; a bed that sits solidly on the floor will solve this problem.

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  16. Your fencing is beautiful. I admire your willingness to tackle any project.

    This may not apply to you, but those who want to raise fruit and vegetables in areas close to busy streets and highways may want to consider the information from the Univ. of Minn. Extension here (www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG2543.html)

    Gasoline used to have lead in it, and soil next to busy highways (and houses that have had lead-based paint) may have higher levels of lead.

    Don't want to alarm you, just something to think about, when considering garden placement.

    Connie

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  17. I grew up in the '50s and '60, and the much older mother across the street rebuilt her car's carborator on the kitchen table, put in a slate floor herself, had a compost pile, refinished furniture, sewed and needlepointed furniture covers, cooked great meals, stayed politically outspoken and learned to swim at age 45.
    She was a first time mom at age 40, a widow at 43, and a role model for me. Yes...you CAN do just about anything you if you want to.

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  18. Wow, so I definitley feel that I am being a true 1955 woman, then. It does seem as if then, though we now view those women as wilting flowers, they somehow managed to do it all, look great, and not complain about the bad times. Those are role models I love. I am beginning to really see my and other generations so concentrated on themselves and how they feel about every little thing that they never DO anything, just talk about it! I am proud to be a 1955 woman and hopefully I can live up to half of what the actual women in the 1950s did. Great comments one and all, thank you.

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  19. Amazing to think that feminists now say (and many believe) that the iconic housewife of the 50's was oppressed and suppressed and what have you. Really, they were so liberated, yet responsible for the upbringing of the future, the comfort of their "now" and the reminders and scholars of the past (from which they learned and strove to make life easier.) Women of the 50's were stronger than today's feminists is so many ways. What a revelation!

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  20. It's so funny how in our society it's the norm to hire others to do so much. This practice of course creates jobs but as the economy weakens we're turning into a generation of "do-ers" and act like it's a fantastic new idea. A few weeks ago I made a tablecloth for my kitchen with some fabric I had forgotten about and my glue gun. I couldn't find one the right size so I thought I'd try it since if I bought a new one Id have to alter it anyway. Well, a friend called while I was working on it and she was so impressed, like I was the first woman in the world to ever think of making something for myself.

    There's just so much we can do if we take the time to consider the option.

    Regarding the cookie dough- this is the best secret ever. I often have a batch in the freezer so when the kids have a taste for cookies I can make just a few and not all and not over eat myself. It's a much healthier (yes, I'm still talking about cookies) alternative to the store bought tubes with all those chemicals, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and who knows what.

    I love the fence design you chose.

    S

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  21. Renee of the Fae-This was a revelation for me as well. It is sort of now thought that since history has been writ by men only the things they did count, while women have passed on their history amongst themselves mother to daughter for generations and then, abruptly somewhere in the 60's something clicked, and it stopped. It is almost as if the women, themselves, are now repressing the women of the past and those of the future from their true birthrite of knowledge and power. I am glad we seem to want to 'return to these things'. Just because something is not writ down in a book does not make it invalid. I am glad for our freedoms to vote, own land, and have rights to our own children and body, but we must, with these rights, include our ancient rights of doing. Men may have made the wars ahte built the buildings, but without women they would not have, nor would they even have been there to do it. We need to realize that equality is not trying to be a sort of new amalgamation of what men like to do but for us, but to embrace those things we have been good at and really invented ourselves. This might merit its own post.
    Thank you for the nod to fence design I do love it. And, it is true, if we do just one minor thing our grandmothers would have just taken in stride others are amazed, which is nice and makes one feel they want to try more things. Though, for those who think they cannot, I hope they will try and unleash their hidden potential. I know that sounds so 'self help' book, but what is better self help then helping yourself to make and create your own happy surroundings. Again, our consumer society mixed with the baby boomers rebellion has sort of stripped us of our abilities or even the act of wanting to try to use them. Perhaps, video games are so fun and popular because they make a world where you are DOING something and not just sitting and staring. We do all hunger for ACTION, I think.

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  22. "We need to realize that equality is not trying to be a sort of new amalgamation of what men like to do but for us, but to embrace those things we have been good at and really invented ourselves. This might merit its own post."

    Yes, this is a very good post topic. Were there any feminist books written by 1955? I think Betty Fredian's book came out in the late 50's. There were feminist books in the 1920's though. I would think an educated woman our age would have been more aware of the 1920's feminist movement more than a young fresh idealistic housewife would.

    S.

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  23. Good point on the video games; a way I'd never seen it prior. It is so much more fulfilling finding my own tune plucking my harp or messing with my flute rather than trying to get fake fingerings down on a piece of plastic that only makes clicking noises on its own.

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  24. If you ever need a second pair of hands, just ask. A quick walk down the street to lend a hand is no problem.

    It's still a few weeks before the fresh veges arrive at the farm stand. Then you'll be able to walk to the market for the extra items you need.

    And as always, you look marvelous!

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  25. Vintage Angel,
    The idea of following another vintage blog sounds nice but I don't know if I would actively be a part of it since I limit my time to pretty much this blog, checking my e-mail, and the occasional research moments. It's so easy for me to get sucked into the computer and find that too much of my time/day has been eaten up by the computer, and I don't like living my life at the computer. Time Warp Wives already has a lot of vintage information gathered together and organized for easy research, etc. The only thing they don't seem to have is an active chat forum, but that's what I do here, so I feel like I'm good to go. What do the rest of you think?

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  26. So, does anybody have any ideas to share on what to do on a blue day? Either, none of you have these days, or you don't do anything about them so you have nothing to share. :) For me, I have a hard time motivating myself to do things because I just feel so out of it. Not necessarily a good thing, but I know it will pass in a day or two so I don't worry too much about it. Usually, I will listen to music that makes me happy or I will plop on the couch and watch one of my favorite older movies. Sometimes it's hard for me to read when I'm in one of these moods, but if I force myself to sit down with a book that I normally enjoy reading I begin to feel better and start having sparks of interest begin to re-appear. I would love it if any of you would share how you motivate yourself out of your slumps.

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  27. PL- I sure have these days. Actually I'm either ultra productive or relative slug. On my slug days I let myself give into it and just do the bare minimum- like making dinner, tidying up the kitchen (but not to the level I normally do), washing a load of laundry but not folding and putting it away- that sort of thing. It really helps if I'm talking on the phone with a good friend while doing these chores. Feels like we're together making dinner or cleaning.

    The thing is after one of my slug days I'm usually raring to go in the morning (usually these days are the result of being over tired and a good night's sleep does wonders) so I make a nice long list to plow thru and make up for lost time.

    I think those unmotivated days are ok. They break up the week a bit and allow for some extra planning. It's just that if all we have are slug days our homes and families tend to show it.

    Good luck. You're in good company.

    S

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  28. I agree and yesterday was a slug day for me. I am normally also rearing to go but I just have a lot of things I need to do outside the home in the next week and that stress level makes it harder to just concentrate on the home. I do the same, which is pick a few normal home tasks and do them so you feel you have accomplished that and usually after a day like that you do feel when you go to bed, "Boy, I can't wait until tomorrow, watch me go then!" So, sometimes a day like that really makes up for it in the makeup day as you might actually do more.
    As far as being blue, maybe that should be part of the post too. I know I have had some blues days this year and have been thankful for my project to 'train' me to deal with it and to get on and not dwell. The old me would have dwelled or tried 'shop thereapy' or 'pointless gab sessions' about the problem, the whole time never solving it. My various family things this year have been rather hard and made me blue, but having things to do, making lists and chores it just gets you into living and out of dwelling. Good luck and YES you are in good company.

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  29. on my blue days i try to take a walk. sometimes just the fresh air and sunshine (or clouds) and a view of some green things does a body good.
    a hot bubble bath also helps.

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  30. Girl InterruptedMay 18, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Thanks for the advice I tried 1/2 almond and 1/2 vanilla and orange zest and the cookies were delish!!!
    The "honey to do list" made me laugh because I have one as well!! But you are right, I will try to do things more myself instead of automatically thinking "oh thats something HE SHOULD do" If anything Im sure he will be pleasantly suprised!

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  31. 50sgal, your fence is great! Wow, I will confess...that is awesome. I do sometimes feel as if I'm too weak to do that sort of thing (and in some cases, yes, I am, b/c of my health). That said, here I was, feeling pretty good about myself for thinking I'd get some inexpensive boards and paint and fix up our entry & bathroom closets so they are more efficient, and here you come with a fabulous fence. :)

    The idea of a forum is nice, but for me it would probably be too much to keep up with as well. With the house & Hubby, a part-time job, my itty-bitty business, the pets, my writing, and doctors' visits...Plus the approach of gardening season (we are getting a FROST and FREEZE tonight *again* tonight, oh my darling little plant children...!)...I'd have no time to keep up. I wonder if an email list would work, or perhaps a once-a-week "hens get-together" in an online "chat room" or something would work better? Maybe a newsletter that came out once a week or every other week updating each other? I don't know, just tossing out ideas. This is a fine forum in its own right, though.

    The "honey do list" makes me laugh, especially about "doing it right myself". That is what my mom says! She'd ask Dad to help her paint the foyer, or the ceiling, or whatever, and get tired of waiting more than two days and start herself. That way it was either done, or he'd come home and end up helping so that it would get done. It's so true!

    Blue days...they happen a lot around here, and some of it is my health (meds not working right, not that I'm groaning in agony or dragging a bleeding, broken limb behind me sort of thing, tee hee). Sort of "What Lies Beneath" drugged mouse/drugged Michelle Pfeiffer moments. Anyhow, how it's handled depends upon my mood, or what they're talking about on the radio. Sometimes I just decide that I have to pay tribute to God and my patriot forbears by digging in, gritting my teeth, and doing the very best I can no matter how I feel; it might take longer, it might not all get done, but I try, right? Sometimes that in and of itself helps me feel better. I might shift the schedule so that instead of killing myself mopping the floors and vacuuming, something gentler is being done, like mending, grooming the pets, embroidery, deadheading in the garden, write letters, that sort of thing.

    Still, some days I seriously can't or simply don't want to do things. Then I'll turn to embroidery, reading, listening to favourite music while browsing cookbooks, photobooks, or design magazines, or watching a favourite old movie with some embroidery in hand (obviously, embroidery is something I love). If the weather is nice and I'm up to it, Ben (our collie) and I will take a walk around the block, or I'll throw a toy around in the yard for him to chase. I might grab my idea-book and scrawl little fantasies in it, from putting glass doors on the bookcases and designing an insanely fantastical porch railing to scribbling a fun vacation ideas list or the "someday" plan of putting a bathroom upstairs for the master bedroom. Believe it or not, I will even nap (the horror!).

    Sometimes, we need such days to recuperate, recharge, and give our minds and bodies a break. I don't think it's healthy for us to gogogogogo all the time, much as we might sometimes wish to do so. Even the trees take a break for a few months out of the year; everything seems to have a little 'time off' to do, to all appearances, nothing at all. Under the surface, though, a lot of recovering and preparation for what is next is going on. It seems to me we're not that different (we just caffienate!).

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  32. Jen - I really like the tree analogy... it really makes sense.

    On my off days I do nothing... which may make some of you shudder but I don't do anything except maybe wash my hair and watch TV. I am looking for ideas to make myself feel better afterwards.

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  33. GIrl interupted_ I am glad it worked, I love almond anything!
    Jen B-so true about the days to relax. Also, those days we sit and dream and scribble away our ideas are also days of ACTION, as the physical work is just part of the actual making of a home. WE have to use our imgaination and dream up or else it would just be a flat uninspired place, right? I definitely had a 'day off' sunday and realize, as a homemaker i need to schedule a day off, but as you said, I end up looking through magazines, jotting down ideas, mending, that sort of thing, which is fun but it is also work. Yes, I am not sure about the forum either, today in my post I mentioned the idea of it, but want everyone to sort of vote on it, as I don't want to take away from this space. I really am so happy that we all gather here to chat and share. I like the idea of a newsletter, that could be very fun and vintage and I could print it up and mail it out to all of us. It could sort of be our own vintage magazine!
    Looking for ideas and dreaming I think are as important as doing! NOw, speaking of doing, it is FINALLY a sunny day and my garden and the rest of my fence is CALLING to me. Have a great day gals, I will check back periodically.

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  34. Hee, I was out first thing this morning, my hair in a Rosie-the-Riveter bandana, uncovering all my plants, checking for frostnip, and dragging all the potted and wintersown plants back outdoors. The garbagemen must have thought it was hilarious.

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  35. Jen B-I often wonder how much I entertain my neighbors as well.

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  36. “Hurrah for the man on the mountain but Brava for the smiling homemaker in her kitchen” – I cannot help thinking that a homemaker’s work is so much more worth. What does the mountain climbing give us? I mean any of us??? Ha!

    I have several of letter cases like yours, they were very popular in the seventies in Denmark. I have two in the basement with a collection of various tiny things, great memories. And I have one for my smallest perfume bottles in my collection: http://samati.dk/images/parfume/parfume3.JPG.

    Lovely dresses and fab sunglasses! Thanks for showing. We have exactly the same figure, I also need to loose 4 kilos (8 pounds), but it is SO tough and the bikini season is coming closer, ough! ;)

    Are you feeling lonely – or do I misunderstand the last part of this post? I don’t hope for you that you are feeling lonely. Have you ever thought of advertising after other same-minded homemakers like you in your neighbourhood? Perhaps there are more women like you “hiding” in their homes, and perhaps you could have a real coffee-table gathering in your kitchen. Have a lovely weekend. I’ve had surgery in my jaw, so I’m behind with your blog, but it is nice to have something to look forward to.

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