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Saturday, November 13, 2010


Back in the days before two job, two car families when there was no television in the evenings, women turned to handwork when their house was tidied from supper and the kids put to bed. From time to time, too, during the busy day, things became quiet and women sat down to listen to the radio soap operas with some handwork to occupy them.
I'm drawing on my own memory here as I grew up during the 1940's, and was not in school until 1944.

During this period of time, many women subscribed to weekly women's magazines that specialized in dress patterns, and knit, crochet and embroidery patterns. Quite often an iron-on pattern or two were bound into the magazines as a free bonus - such patterns might be good only for a few transfers but after the colour was all gone, they could be copied using a pencil and thus were saved. (When I went through my mother's things upon her death 20 years ago, I found many of these patterns, carefully saved through all those years. Embroidery floss was cheap and plentiful and once I was in school I was often sent to the tiny yarn and embroidery shop to pick up floss for my mum. It was up an alleyway behind a radio and record sales and repair shop and the victorian counter's plate glass top had been so worn by coins that you could not see through it. Floss was three skeins for 10 cents at that time. Pure linen to work your pattern on could be had for very little and if you were too frugal to spring for the linen, Indian Head cotton (a firm, heavy, close-woven fabric) was to be had for around a dollar a yard and worked equally well.
So you see, cost was minimal and time was available because there were fewer distractions.

The attitude toward household linens was one of respect and care; and orderly and protected storage was regarded as necessary as well as just being a nice touch. Both the linens storage set of two cases and the nightgown case are shown on I think we might do well to revisit this sort of value today as we strive to make-do, recycle, repurpose and reduce our carbon footprint. Perhaps sometime in the future we again will have no plastic in which to wrap things and 'preserve' them..... ?
Be sure to contact me if you wish to purchase any of the items listed, and also make sure to visit my GIVEAWAY post ( enter the draw for your choice of a $25 or $50 gift certificate which will take place November 30 and be announced here on December 1.


  1. What a lovely post to read Janet. I often feel as though I was born in the wrong era, I don't like the busy rushing and I become very flustered. I have never fit into my own age group, therefor only have a few select good friends, because I have never been into partying or clubbing or anything like that. I am happiest with a pen or a book in hand. My grandma taught me how to crochet and now it's one of my most favourite things to do. I always have it on hand and I often take moments to just sit and crochet (or paint or draw or sew) while listening to some lovely music. One of my most prized possessions is a linen tablecloth that my great grandmother crocheted and embroidered. I also have many things that my grandma handmade, I love them all so much. My heart melts over such things.

  2. Thank you for the heartfelt comments Tahnya Marie. It must be hard living in a large city to preserve a more contemplative lifestyle. I find it very easy as other than paved roads and internet, not an awful lot has changed here in rural Nova Scotia, and the old values are still to be found.

  3. You're welcome, I enjoy looking through lovely blogs such as yours. Thankfully I am not in an overly large city, it's only 30,000 people apparently, however, we are right on a main street and I am constantly hearing traffic. I used to live in a much larger city back home in Australia, but as they were on quieter streets, it was more pleasant. I would LOVE to live in the Country... I fear as I am getting older, I am losing my tolerance for the loudness of industrialistion and modernisation. As I am still only in my 20's, I can just imagine how I am going to feel when I am in my 30's and so on. LOL.

  4. Hi Again Tahnya Marie: I gather from reading back through your blog that you are in or near Orillia - a lovely area - I used to vacation in Huronia at a small family cottage colony north (well north thank goodness!) of Wasaga - an idyllic spot we returned to year after year - my friend's aunt and uncle owned the property. I lived in the small town of Paris for close to 15 years. It is about 40 miles west of Hamilton and quite lovely if you can't live near the sea.
    Chck back a bit later today as I have done some photographing and am ready to post some new treasures - vintage embroidery transfers this time!