Friday, February 19, 2010

18 February 1955 “Some Fun Bits and Bobs and Making Time For Your ACTION or Doing It All.”

This is a great British short about a movie star/journalist doing over a country cottage. I love the blue paper in the stair hall, though she doesn’t use it in the end. Look for it when she unrolls it to show to her little poodle.


I think I have shown this before, but we have been discussing hair in the Forums and I felt it would be fun to show this one again. If they still made this home perm, I think I would give it a try. I wonder if I could get a salon to do a pin curl permanent on me?

I found this a fun little ‘story’ about a British ‘Farm Girl’ who become’s Beauty of the Month.


I have to say, I am not completely in love with her hairstyle after her make over. This is from 1957 and you can already start to see the move to a bouffant look.

Now, one of our fellow Apronite’s, Zebu,  posted this question on my last blog:

Do you ever find yourself with your plate too full when you are always making yourself trying new things rather than saying, “Well, after this or that”? This is an area that I need to work on, and I am just wondering at which point you tell yourself to stop or that learning something new will have to wait until you have less going on. I really appreciate your insight, as I was just thinking, about an hour before reading this, that I have been wanting to try a particular new thing but that this year is taken up with other goals and maybe it would have to wait.

Now, this is something for which I definitely struggle. It may have been a bit more of a problem before 1955, but I do have to watch it now.

I have always wanted to do a billion things. I like to try them and am lucky (or unlucky not sure which) in that my personality and general demeanor is okay with trying something, not liking or losing interest, and moving on. I try not to beat myself up over things tried and failed or interest waned.

Now, having said that, I also know that one good lesson 1955 taught me was Lists and  Prioritize. There are still so many things I want to try, but have put them on the back burner. That does not mean I do not think about them and in fact because they become part of my Hierarchy of Hopes, I can always, of a day, jot down ideas or items to them in my journal of future endeavors. Yes, I have plans or things I would like to try out and then I jot them down and if I think of aspects of it or things I would like to add then I can jot them down with the idea in a journal (like thorough note taking-I was a whiz at note taking, as I loved to procrastinate study and could always rely on my notes last minute to give me a good point by point synopsis of the terms lecture).

A case in point is the website. This was a big undertaking for me. It was not something that I ever really wanted or thought  about before 1955, but due to our wonderful talks and all the information I was collecting and enjoying doing so, I felt it needed a repository of sorts. Now, of a morning, I might have a little grip of panic as I think, “Good lord! I have so much information I want to upload, so many images to scan, to have another hand at laying it out” I get overwhelmed with it. I have to stop myself and say, “Okay, one hour of time on it today. Even if what you do does not immediately show up for others to see, just go at a steady pace and keep it in context to your day”. This will help me to calm down and to, literally, ‘schedule it’ into my day.

It has come to be my opinion that for the most part we modern people (not all of us, as I am sure there are many of you out there that are amazing people who do a million things a day)but we seem to still desire to try and do things but often find our self never beyond the planning stage. And I see, in bookshops, online etc, that there is an entire business niche built around this very attitude. The “Get organized” “You can do it” “Planning” books. I am not saying these are bad and I love my vintage organizers, but they seem a different breed of book to today’s versions. Now, I am not saying, don’t use them or buy them, but realize they are a part of the process of DOING and that simply, wanting to try something, watching a few shows about it, some YouTube, and buying a stack of magazines and books about it is NOT doing it. That is the prep work, at the most.

I was guilty of such things. I am sure there are homes littered with organizing books and magazines that are simply part of the piles of disorder and chaos of the home. This hardly seems helpful and in fact seems to only add to the very thing you are trying to dispel.

Now, as for trying new things, I certainly have a lot on my plate. When I see or hear something, as someone asking about a little scrubby you can make, I become intrigued. I look it up, find out it is crochet, and then I want to try it out as well. In this case, I learned a quick little stitch pattern that can satisfy that need for now. I can hardly crochet a sweater or blanket yet, but I don’t necessarily need or want to. I can learn a ‘bit of the skill’ and still get a great deal of satisfaction from it. So, I feel, in some cases things can be only done half way with still pleasing results. For the most part, if you are going to do something, they say, then do it right or don’t do it at all. That could be true for some things, but I fell, particularly with our modern world of easy diversion and uber procrastination, that sometimes learning only a bit, enough to make one  satisfied and enjoy it, can be enough. Then, if that skill or study becomes of more interest, you will wish to follow through more and make a better show of it. You will naturally be driven to want to perfect it and that is when you could easily let another thing go to the wayside.

I think we see so many reality shows about ‘who is the best, or supreme chef, decorator, designer etc’ that we feel we need to be the best at something or why bother. Just sit back and watch someone else fail or succeed. It is all a competition for the single BEST of that thing. Well, it is not really a great message for the masses. We don’t need to be a great designer and seamstress to have a happy sewing life. I am proof of that. I am only now learning to use the different feet and about more than basic sewing on my ‘new’ machine, but before that I could sew forward and reverse. I did not even change the foot to a zipper foot to put in zippers. I merely figured out a way to do it with the normal foot. This may seem lazy or a half-attempt, but for me, at the time, I needed to make some vintage dresses and things, I knew sewing to be a part of my day in 1955 so I used and learned what I could. Now, I could happily go forward with what I know, but the eventual curiosity of ‘well, now how did they do that?” will find me learning more. But, I did not let a thorough knowledge and understanding of all of sewing and pattern making stop me from sewing and making my own dress style and pattern up.

So, I really think, if you have a list of things you want to try you should, prioritize them. You will also find that some will feed off others. Such as ‘dress more vintage and learn basic sewing’ go hand in hand, two sides of the same coin, really. Don’t be afraid to start something a little bit. Better to schedule an hour or 1/2  hour on a day off to attempt it’s beginnings than to only relegate it to a list and a pile of magazines.

I think the other BIG task in undertaking and beginning to try out and do new things is to take away some of your tv/computer time. I know, I know, I shouldn’t go on about it and yes, I know I am currently writing this on a computer, but we do , we modern people, waste a lot of time. If you have made a little list of things you would like to try/learn then go through your week mentally and think about the tv/computer time. Can you steal half an hour here and there to put towards this skill/idea/ task you would like to undertake? You might be surprised how much time, like pin money with nickels and dimes, you can ‘store away’ to ‘spend’ on trying out new things. Think of it as a little ‘skill bank’ where you collect up minutes and hours here and there to try out your new project/skill.

  I am not sure if that is helpful or realistic for all of us. I would really encourage you to not feel as if you are ‘spreading yourself to thin’ but actually, trying out some things to see which is worth investing more time and energy into. If you like a multitude of things, then see where and when you can steal more time for it. I still think a person would be happier doing a few things not on a professional level, but still a satisfying level more so than not doing anything at all. There is truth to doing one thing very well, but if you are craving more, than you aren’t satisfied with that one thing.

Another aspect of the modern world (and modern education) is the over specialization  of things. There seems to be a very separate way we wish to break things into little boxes.  Thus,  there are 20 magazines, one on sewing , one on knitting, one on crochet, one on cooking, one on decorating country, one on decorating modern etc. When really, many of these things could and should feed off one another and are often all found in one contained copy of a magazine or book from the 1950s. We seem to separate so many things so they become disparate parts when they are, in fact, all intertwined and feed off one another. No wonder we often feel lost or unable to start. We even have people who ‘specialize’ in helping us decide what to do.

Perhaps it is part of the marketing and selling of the modern world as you can sell more magazines and items that way. But,  I think the ‘renaissance man’ approach to life is better: to be well versed in all aspects of life, not just a few and the rest just idleness.


  1. I seem to have some problems viewing two of the clips included. Could you include a link, perhaps?

  2. You should be able to click on the picture and it takes you to the page. Odd, it isn't working. Here are the links in order.


    I hope this works.

  3. Very good advice there. I have several other needle crafts that my main goal is just to learn the basics of it. It doesn't matter if I never master them.

  4. It's true, we do waste a lot of time at the TV or computer. I've tried to be more cognizant of it, especially TV time. Having a DVR and watching only television shows that I have recorded because I truly want to see them has helped.

    On the first video of the cottage -- which was pretty terrific -- did anybody think the stairs were really, really steep? I can't figure out how she got the bedroom furniture up those stairs!

  5. Donna, I'm interested in hearing more about how your 50's planner. I love my planner but find the "to do" list is too small (or is that just my modern perception??). Can you post pictures of yours?



  6. sarah-I have meant to post pictures. Which planner,my day planner? I have so many lists and planners, silly probably, but it sort of categorizes my actual life to have it writ out and organized on paper. I have one modern store bought planner that hubby bought me. The pages are about 7 x 10 and on the left side is the wekk in big margins and on the right is an entire lined page so you can plan out your week on one side and make notes and such on the other. I also make my own 'planners' by telling hubby what I want and he lays out a spreadsheet for me and prints it on paper that looks old and yellow then I three hole punch it into a binder. I will try to scan some of them for others to see.

  7. i think a lot of the 'specific craft' books did come about when market researches said, 'hey! make one mag for each craft and we can quadruple our money!' (and while we're at it, lets make each one the cost of a regular book, right!) but i am sure it makes sense, too, in that i don't knit or crochet, but i do, on ocassion embroider (not well, but i try) for me to spend $8-10 on a magazine with some embroidery, but also 2/3 of which is useless to me as a non-knitter/crocheter seems a waste. So i think in today's world where most people don't do every craft or for those who just want to try one, it is helpful to get a mag/book specifically for that task.
    I do see how it can get expensive for those who do everything. i guess that is why martha stewert was able to make so much money!? i think she even started a fitness section in her magazine after she spent time in prison, didn't she?

  8. Once again great post 50's gal :)

    I haven't been on lately because my grandmother has been ill, and it's pretty much been a rough week.

    I looked forward to your future posts,

    Mom in Canada

  9. You are so right, it is all about prioritising. You have to prioritise the number of tasks and your time and what you WANT to do first, what is most important? Since I work full-time I know all about prioritising, because I also want to do a thousand things and don't have so many hours to do it. I also have a lot of interests, and fx. I have crocheted lately. Rachel has promised to make a recipe out of my explanation. :) Have a lovely Sunday, dear. I'm going to bake cake for my guests now.

  10. -> RACHEL, I cannot find your e-mail on your blog-profile, could you please send it to me at "samati(at)". Thank you. :) Then I'll write the double-disc crocheting recipe for you to translate.


    PS: Sorry, Donna, for using your blog but I didn't know any other way to get in contact.

  11. Jen-wow, even fitness, that woman has it ALL covered!It must be easier when you are an OMNIMEDIA though.
    Mom in Canada-Oh, I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. I hope she is feeling better. Perhaps that Spring is around the corner will lift her spirits.
    Sanne-You are very good at prioritizing, as you are our 'model' of the full timeworker who still does HOMEMAKING very well. Clean organized home, even your site that has all the organized jewelry and such that you collect shows your skill in that area. I can't wait to see the 'recipe' the pair of you come up with. Have fun with your cake. What type of cake is it?
    Don't worry about it Sanne, this is part of our Apron Community, after all.

  12. I've emailed you, Sanne! Unfortunately all my hooks are packed up right now but as soon as I get them unpacked I'll figure out the pattern and post it.

  13. Very well put, Donna. And, I want to thank you for taking the time to post to this question of mine--it is much appreciated.

  14. Thank you for understanding and for all your nice words, Donna. It was an old-fashioned apple cake, simple doug, in which you press pieces of apples you first have shaken in sugar and cinnamon. Everybody loved it. Perhaps I could translate it.

    I have received your mail, Rachel, thank you, and hope to write to you this evening.

    Have a lovely day, both of you. :)

  15. That farm girl is so darling! Look how she works with a smile on her face. (I know how she feels!)
    Well said, on the subject of not spreading ourselves too thin, yet making time for those endeavors to which we feel drawn. My flute practise is getting better each time and I find that my ability to play for longer without getting lightheaded is growing! Your ACTION posts are always so encouraging and inspiring!


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