Over the summer, I decided to redecorate my kitchen. A very fun process that took my predominately red-based room into one that featured a blend of old and new, along with a variety of bright, sherbet colors. I am so in love with it that I am hesitant to put out any of my fall decorations as I don’t want to change a single thing. Maybe next month I will be ready! 🙂
I thought that I would share a few different kitchen styles from the early 20th century in case any of you are in the mood for a little revamp. I also included some items that I felt were inspired by these wonderful decades!
Plenty of storage space, wood cabinets, and clean lines are the hallmark of a 1910’s kitchen.
I was so delighted to be contact several weeks ago by the equally sweet and talented Grey Dove, of the blog From Goats to Soaps. A wonderful blog that chronicles the adventures of two friends, Grey Dove and Isabelle (along with Isabelle’s family), as they raise some of the cutest goats, alpacas, and llamas I have ever seen, along with creating very high quality bath and beauty products sold at Les Belles Bouclettes.
Located in the idyllic landscape of eastern Ontario, Ferme Bonne Mine (“looks good/ healthy”), is the passion of Isabelle, her husband Jacques, and her four children, Dominque, Denis, Fanny, and Sophie, who moved from France in 2006. In addition to goat milk beauty products, Isabelle and Grey Dove also offer a wide array of rovings and yarn.
Isabelle and her family
Waiting for some dinner….
Milking in action
When Grey Dove (her preferred creative name) offered to send me a collection of their handmade products, I was very excited, as I am a firm believer in using natural products whenever possible!
Here are pictures of just a sampling of goodies offered by Grey Dove and Isabelle:
This puff is so luxurious and fluffy and unique! Grey Dove created this in purple, which was so exciting as it is one of my favorite colors. I found that dusting myself with the powder after a shower was glorious as it soften my skin and gave a wonderful scent.
I can not say enough about these felted soaps! They are hands down the best! I love how you not only have a gentle scrub on your hands, but the scent of these (my favorite was the oatmeal) lasted for hours and gave a wonderful aroma to the whole room. I highly recommend these as they are great by both the kitchen and bathroom sinks. They are great for kids too, since they do not slip around when you use them. Grey Dove offers a tutorial on how she created these little beauties.
While there are many scents offered by Isabelle and Grey Dove, I chose the blueberry pancakes lip balm and fell in love. The fabulous thing about this particular lip balm, in addition to the wonderful scent and taste, is that it goes on very smooth and doesn’t feel sticky on the lips. I loved using it as a base for my lipstick and then popped a little more in the center of my lips for a bit of shine.
These alone are enough for me to have a bath every night. Period. It fizzled and popped just as the title says. Rose happens to be one of my favorite scents and when I came out of the bath, my skin had the most wonderful essence of rose for hours.
As tough as it was to pop that amazing cup cake into the water (it looked so amazing, I just wanted to leave it on display) I loved the rich scent it created in the water. Same can be said for the bubble scoops…I felt like I was dropping ice cream scoops into the bath, which was a wonderful thought during the heat of the summer!
I hope that you take some time to treat yourself to these beautifully crafted products. Not only are they a fantastic deal (and for all you Americans, the exchange rate certainly works in our favor :-)), but Grey Dove and Isabelle are offering my readers a very special deal of 10% your entire purchase! Simply use coupon code aimee2015. This deal will last until the end of September, and with international shipping offered, it is a great way to pamper yourself or a friend during the last days of summer.
And with such great products, a fantastic approach to crafting, and a mutual love of all things vintage, I knew that I wanted to learn more! Grey Dove graciously allowed me the opportunity to interview her….I hope you enjoy!
What are your favorite ingredients to use in your beauty products?
I love experimenting with different ingredients, and one of the best parts of making beauty products from scratch is the ability to try something new just because it appeals. Being able to customize by adding, changing quantities, and removing ingredients in a product recipe is also a treat.
In soap making every oil has its own properties and I’d have a shop full if I could buy all the ones that interest me. Finding ones that are affordable while still creating a luxury product were my first goals, and I feel we’ve succeeded in doing this pretty well. I have always loved crafting, especially “old-fashioned” crafts like spinning (which I haven’t yet, but want to master), weaving and knitting. Learning soap making fell into that category for me. However, the more I learned the more fascinated I became. I also have sensitive skin that reacts badly to a lot of things, and some relatives who have true problem skin along with a ton of other allergies so I began thinking there might be a market for good quality hand-made unscented soap. Unscented did not prove popular, so I started adding essential oils. Now I also use high-quality fragrance oils in my soaps and bath products. Although they aren’t all natural they do not have any petroleum by-products in them, and they do offer a much wider variety of aromas to choose from and enjoy.
I like ingredients that help me to create products that are gentle, do not dry the skin, and moisturize in a way unlikely to cause problems to people with oilier skin. (Oily skin generally needs moisturizing which makes caring for it very tricky.) My bath candies, solid bubble bath (Bubble Scoops) and fizzies are all made with ingredients that should soften your water, may moisturize (particularly the bath candies) and won’t leave your skin feeling dry. I choose high-quality ingredients that have been processed as little as possible. And of course in our soap we only use farm fresh goat’s milk, which has added a whole new wonderful dimension to the final product!
What are three things you would like people to know about you and the items you create?
I probably pretty much answered this question in my ramble above. I suppose I’d like people to know that each batch is made by hand. There are and will be slight variations, I do my best to keep them to a minimum but it is the nature of hand-made not to be able to reproduce items identically.
I really enjoy most of what I do,and take-care with every product I make. I test most items in person, although Isabelle and her daughters some times help in the product testing department, … Fannie has been a particular help as she is enthusiastic about bath products!
Because of my own skin condition issues (I suffered from adult acne for many years, and still can struggle with eczema) and my relatives problems, I always keep possible skin conditions and how each products ingredients may effect people in mind while creating. I recently met someone online who is gluten intolerant and while I was delighted to realize that nothing I make would pose a problem to someone suffering from this difficult illness it did make me conscious of one more way in which to check and double-check my products ingredients.
What led you and Isabelle to collaborate?
Pure luck and Isabelle combined! We had both put items for sale at a local tourism office. At the time Isabelle was playing with the idea of felting soap. She bought some of the soap I had for sale at the office. It particularly appealed to her because it was all natural. It felted well and she was happy with it. She contacted me and after discussing what she wanted, she placed an order. At the time I was unhappy with the methods I had been using to sell and promote my products so shifting into wholesale suited me. I took a bit of a break at that point. Essentially Isabelle was my only customer so I was busy during her show seasons and had time off in between. Once she switched to goat’s milk, I began experimenting since making soap with milk presents certain challenges. It wasn’t long after we began using goat’s milk in our soap. By this time we thought of them as “our” soap even if “I” make it, and a project she had been talking about for some time actually came to be. Les Belles Bouclettes, an online boutique was born! As the site took shape, Isabelle asked me to look over the bath and body care pages and to help with the text for them. She isn’t a knitter so I offered to check over the yarn pages as well and soon I had begun writing text for the website. With a larger audience and more potential customers to show our products to, I was able to start letting myself play with ingredients and products I had only read about or made for friends and family. We didn’t like the original web host we were with so after a few months Isabelle switched to a different host. The new one had an option for a blog and she was very excited about the idea of doing one. I hadn’t thought of doing a product centred blog before then, … it is and has been an adventure!
Do you have any new products in the works?
Always, Aimee, always! Exercising self restraint and not making products is my challenge. Top of my list right now is a fizzy for footpaths. It will have a little oil blended in to the fizzy formula to moisturize the tougher skin on the feet.
I also have a dry shampoo I am very pleased with, and soon as we have the packaging, we will be adding it to our product line.
In early autumn, we’ll be ready to show you some new soaps, ones made with cucumber and pumpkin (two different soaps), from Isabelle’s garden. And before that we will be pinching a few eggs from her hens to make a special limited edition batch of egg soap!
Several different mixes of salts (Epson, Dead Sea, Himalayan Pink to name a few) in bath soaks and formulations are something I’d like to work with soon, and I am really excited about our new solid bubble baths, hoping to do more with the basic idea, … maybe bubbling bath salts?
Pumpkin soap! Egg soap! Yes, please!! I can’t wait!
I was so intrigued with the uniqueness and the old-fashioned way in which Isabelle and Grey Dove run and care for their farm, I asked them for another interview….and they said yes!
Therefore, next month we will take a tour of the farm, learn about daily life caring for such amazing creatures, and more of the story of these two wonderful women. Stay tuned!!
As mentioned in this month’s From My Sewing Table, August is a time when I take on the dreaded task of organizing my closet. On the whole, I keep a very clean house, but I have had this belief since I child that if it has a door, what is behind it doesn’t matter. This goes for my linen closet, pantry, cupboards, and most definitely clothes closets. It has become a such a problem that I may have been known to open the door really fast, throw the stuff in, and then shut it immediately so nothing falls on me. I have become better as I have gotten older, however, there comes a time, at least twice a year, that something must be done. Around April I I simply organize, but in August, I go through everything! A daunting, but much needed process.
When I began to take the job more seriously, I remember it was after reading a 1950’s section on the seven steps to a tidy and functioning wardrobe along with tips on shopping. While I still have a hard time with step one, these guidelines always ensure, if properly followed, that my closet will be organized and my wardrobe will be functioning by the time the weather changes. I hope it helps you too!
A General Guide to Organizing Your Wardrobe
1.Compress Your Wardrobe
Be relentless. If it’s out of style – makes you itch or squirm with discomfort – it turns your skin sallow – get rid of it fast!
Unless you have a cedar-lined attic or more closet space than I’ve ever seen in the biggest household, don’t hang onto things that: may someday come back into style – you think might look okay if you change your hairstyle or bought a complete new set of accessories – has sentimental value and the teardrop stain to remind you – or that’s good enough for rain or wearing around the house.
Fashion is for today. Don’t look back. Don’t buy something at the end of season to wear the following year. End-of-season bargains can boomerang.
With the dross and fool’s gold cleared away, the real nuggets shine. An uncluttered wardrobe gives you a warming knowledge of what you have and full control over selections. Complete costume planning is possible only with an intimate awareness of all your clothes.
2. Weeding is a money-saver.
Collect your discards, and if you don’t have favorite people such as a sister, or cousin, or niece who can wear them, do one of two things. Sell them to a dealer in used clothing, or have them evaluated and donate them to a social organization. Their value may be deducted as a charity contribution on your tax return.
3. Old shoes must go.
Old solids may fade away; old Garbo movies may make you cry – but old shoes are only good for hanging on the back of a bridal car or giving to the children for dress-up play. Nothing spoils an outfit more than time -worn shoes and shoes which are obviously out of style.
Old shoes should not be worn as house shoes or bedroom slippers. They lack both the proper support and good looks. You will feel better and look better in appropriate footwear.
As for expense, my feeling about shoes is the same I have about other clothes. If you feel guilty about spending lots on shoes, spend a little less on each pair but replenish frequently. Fashion is a living, changing part of your life.
4. The skeletal jewel box.
It may be pleasant to dig your hands into an overstuffed jewel box while visions of pirate treasures pass through your mind. It is an idle fantasy. Not being able to tell the forest for the trees is the chief woe of the overstuffed jewel cask. You won’t be able to find what you want. The chain of one bracelet will be snarled in some earrings. In your haste or annoyance you may break something valuable or wear the wrong jewelry.
The reason is simple. Why panic over making a choice among twelve pairs of gold earrings, some of which are scratch or dulled? One or two fresh pairs is enough.
5. Excess accessories.
Another case of the Confusion of Profusion is too many scarves, belts, gloves, and handbags, and by “too many” I mean relics of former years which keep getting in the way of the accessories currently in use. Admittedly, most accessories can be worn indefinitely because classic styles change very little. If an accessory hasn’t been worn for a year, if it’s shabby, if the color is faded or doesn’t go with anything you have, if you simply can’t stand to wear it – that’s right, out it goes. And you’d be surprised how much fresher and easier to use your remaining accessories will seem with all the deadwood cleared away.
6. Shop in a shopping mood.
The worst mistake you can make is to force yourself to shop. The most important part of shopping is your frame of mind. How can you make a proper choice if you feel like the mistreated heroine of a soap opera? One thing that makes me really bristle is the subject of dressing to go shopping. How can you possible see what a dress will do for you if your hair is in pins under a kerchief, your face devoid of makeup, your girdle left home in the drawer?
And….that explains why so many clothes are such a big disappointment when they are finally worn.
7. Dress for everything.
From early morning to late at night, dress actively for whatever you are doing. Don’t wear an aging cocktail dress to the office or a “beat-up” wood for housework. Their original design was for something quite different and they will be uncomfortable as well as unattractive. Study your clothing needs as carefully as you furnish your home. If you live in a cold climate, have a collection of boots in various colors and heel heights so that you can be warm all winter and still not look like a lumberjack. For working around the office, wear understated, simple clothes in comfortable fabrics and styles that retina their lines after a full day’s activity.
Know who you are, and what you stand for – your enthusiasm, your ambitions, your hopes, your responsibilities.
Good luck and happy organizing!
Source: Wife Dressing – The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife by Anne Fogarty
June is winding down. A beautiful reminder though, that summer is now officially in full swing and along with it the wonderful holidays, vacations, and simple relaxation that comes with the warmer weather. Even as I write this, I am enjoying the delightful summer sun and breeze on my front porch…although I have just now noticed how weedy my front beds have become and how that little creeper vine keeps creeping closer. I guess my “spring cleaning” isn’t quite over yet.
Have you been able to get everything on your spring cleaning list accomplished? I came so close and then lost steam. But if you are interested in learning some helpful “Household Hints” from women of the past to maintain your spring-cleaned” house, just keep reading:
Emptying the Sweeper
If one will sprinkle a large piece of paper with water (must as clothes are sprinkled) it will keep the dust of the carpet sweeper from flying when emptied on it. The wet paper is equally good, of course, for use when the vacuum cleaner is emptied.
Paraffin in the Kitchen
Keep a cup of shaved paraffin in an enamel cup on the back of the stove where it is ready to be melted at an instant’s notice. When you are through with olive oils or flavoring extracts of any sort, cork the bottles and dip the heads of the bottles into slightly cooled wax, in this way preserving the strength.
Removing Marks of Hot Dishes
Use a thin paste of salad oil and salt to remove marks made by hot dishes on your polished table top. Spread over the marred spot, leave for an hour or two and then rub off gently with a soft cloth.
Stop Squeaking Doors
If you are troubled with a door hinge squeaking take either a bit of soap of a soft lead pencil and rub over the squeaking place. The noise will stop at once.
Use a Thimble
When hanging freshly laundered curtains on rods that snag and pull the curtain, place a thimble over the end of a rod and it will slide through.
I may have to try the salad oil on a few marks on my dining room table, and my bathroom door has been squeaking a lot lately… 🙂
I have to say that overall, June has been a banner month. I was excited to have a “Rapid Interview” with Jessica from Chronically Vintage, as well as a sewing tutorial featured on Sew Mama Sew. I also have several other collaborations in the works that I can’t wait to share with you over the next few months….stay tuned!
July promises to be just as exciting with family visits, patriotic holidays to celebrate, and not to mention creating posts for next month (which has a theme I am very excited about.)
I wish you all a happy and sunny rest of June, and will see you all in July!
Source: 1922 Women’s Weekly: Home and Arts “Household Hints”
Whether sunny or rainy, there are so many “summery” activities that can keep you, your family and friends, happy and occupied!
Here is a description for a Rainbow Picnic designed to be enjoyed on the most perfect of summer days:
“There is a magic sound in the very word ‘picnic’ and from our earliest childhood all of us have heard of and most of us have made many a strenuous quest for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
At a recent May birthday party, the hours were from four to seven, and the cards of invitation had little watercolor rainbows across the corner. Out on the lawn where there were four trees in just the right position a canopy was made with the rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, and violet.
A basket luncheon was served under this canopy, the baskets being covered with crepe paper with ribbon tied handles. Rugs were laid down on the grass, and the guests were seated real picnic fashion with the contents of the baskets spread around. Trays of iced cocoa and lemonade and ice cream and the birthday cake were brought from the house.”
Raining outside? How about a Rainy Day Picnic:
“Baskets were packed as for an outdoor picnic, and nobody was allowed to return for forgotten articles once the party had started. Paper plates and napkins were used and a paper tablecloth, although the affair took place in the attic instead of on the lawn. Coffee was made over a little “hard alcohol” stove, thermos bottles carried lemonade and chocolate and the group sat around on the floor to have their luncheon.”
Looking for a few games that require nothing but fun and a few unusual ingredients? Try any of these:
The Dressy Dog “This is like the game of pinning the tail on the donkey. The children are told that the dog was invited to the party, but he lost his neck ribbon and felt so ashamed he would not come. So the children are asked to help him. The picture of the dog is fastened on the wall low enough to be easily within reach and then each child in turn is blindfolded, turned about three times and given a bit of colored paper that he is told to give the dog. Each bit of paper is of a different color or is numbered so the children can have their own identified and a pin is in each with which to fasten on the ribbon. The child who gets the bit of paper nearest its proper place, wins the prize: a hair ribbon for the girl and a necktie for the boy whose effort is best.”
The Peanut Race “Put several rows of peanuts on the floor, each row containing the same number of peanuts as the others, and give each contestant a teaspoon. At a given signal, each child is told to gather in back, using his spoon only to lift and carry back the nuts. There is a box or basket at the beginning of each row into which the child drops his nuts. The one who gets back his nuts first without using foot or fingers in assisting to get the nuts on his spoon, without dropping any, wins the race. The same game can be played with potatoes and using a tablespoon instead of the teaspoon.”
This next game may require those few friends who do not embarrass easily…
Yankee Doodle Kitchen “The only requirements are a platform and a curtain, which, when it rises, shows a number of busy housewives in colonist attire. Some are washing at a tub, some scrubbing the floor on hands and knees, others are churning, others sweeping, some dusting, one is ironing, etc. The piano or orchestra at first plays very slowly, with well accented beats, gradually increasing the tempo, the workers increasing their movements until both are going at breakneck speed and the audience in in a gale of laughter.”
I hope you try some of these very sweet ways to enjoy each other’s company…. just remember, no electronics allowed!
Decorating and furnishing one’s front porch can be viewed, in my opinion, two different ways: coordinated and classic, or eclectic and refurbished. Both are modes in which the homeowner can portray not only their personal decorating style, but also can create an inviting space for family and friends. Mornings spent chatting with old friends, or afternoons enjoyed catching up on some reading or handwork, are all better enjoyed on a comfortable and colorfully decorated porch.
Read on for some advice in porch decorating from 1920’s experts:
“As you ring in the summer when the family living room is transferred out-of-doors, it means a great deal to have the outside so furnished that it is a pleasant place to spend one’s leisure hours. By furnished, I mean not so much the chairs, settees, or tables, but the accessories that go so far toward creating out-of-doors an atmosphere of sunny welcome both to the members of your family and to the guests who by chance come to visit your home.
Because color is so much a part of summer, it may be used more freely on porches and decks that would be possible indoors. Once you decide on a color scheme, be sure it is carried out in the rug as well as the materials used for cushions or chair upholstery. These materials should always be durable and sunfast, if possible; so you will find cretonne, gingham, chambray, and cotton duck fabrics best not only for their color choices, but also for the ease with which they can be laundered.
To carry out your plan of beautifying your outdoor living room, you must consider the furniture, too. The work of painting a chair is not all that difficult, so even if you have not had any previous experience, do not delay your first step for you will find this branch of reclaiming furniture truly fascinating. A miscellaneous collection of chairs, when painted all one color, are surprisingly improved, and when you finished the cushions of harmonizing colors, they will fully repay you by their appearance for the time you have spent on them. The list on this page provides ideas for colors to be used for your furniture as well as provides ideas for colors to be used for rugs, cushions, and upholstery. select a scheme that is harmonious with the color of your house if it is possible to do so. “
When you picture your perfect summer afternoon, what do you see? For me, it is relaxing in the shade of a lovely park with perhaps a nearby pond with tiny fish darting about, robins bopping along looking for a snack, and of course the delicate aroma of flowers wafting in the warm smelling breeze. Can a summer breeze smell warm? Of course it can!
The warmth of summer brings with it a jolt of life which, if you look carefully, touches every living thing around us. The crickets sing louder, the birds chirp livelier, and the children run faster and play harder (of course, the end of the school year could have something to do with that.) Our bones respond to this new change, and crave the outside as we collectively meander into our gardens, both large and small, to pull out the old, and plant the new.
While I may not be a great gardener, I do love the feeling of dirt under my fingernails, and the earthy scent of soil, fertilizer, and roots. For one living thing to help another living thing grow and prosper is a unique gift that should be treasured and cultivated. The sign of a well-loved garden, in my opinion, is one where the plants are allowed to grow as they please with only mild intervention as time and nature pass by together and where even the bees and butterflies view the plants as old friends.
I remember this one painting my mom had hanging up in our house for years of a mother and daughter wandering together through what had to be the most beautiful flower garden I had ever seen. Perhaps you have seen such a garden? One where all colors are present and lush, and where tall hollyhocks and iris watch over their flock of the smaller bachelor buttons and pansies. Oh, to have such a garden myself…. 🙂
The beauty of an old fashioned flower garden is timeless. It speaks of love, care, and a sense that time does nothing but add to the beauty of the flowers and their caretakers.
The size of the garden isn’t important, nor the amount of money one spends. It’s the thought and care one takes into creating a beautiful spot for humans and animals alike. Remember even the ladybugs have outdoor picnics…and I bet they have them right underneath the golden heliotrope!
Wish to start an old fashioned garden of your own? Here are a few links to get you started!
Old-Fashioned Inspired Garden Sources
To learn about various types of “old-fashioned” flowers, Frances from Fairegarden gives a wonderful overview.
Looking for that classic “old-fashioned” flower collection? Try this seed kit by CheapSeeds or these unique Heirloom Stock seeds from Natures Potions Ltd.
I thoroughly enjoy sending letters and cards. Not that I do it all that often, but when I do, it is a delightful process which requires my best handwriting, prettiest stationary, and the inevitable search in the catch-all drawer for stamps. To some, letter writing is outdated, to others, it only happens on certain occasions, and to a few, it is apart of their daily connection with friends and family. Whatever your fancy, letter writing is a centuries old tradition with as many rules and regulations as one could imagine.
Below are a few selected excerpts on the proper behaviour of letter writing for women.
The Writing Materials
“The selection of the paper ought to always to be in the keeping with the person, age, sex, and circumstances of the correspondents….It is extremely impolite to write upon a single leaf of paper, even it it is a billet; it should always be double, even though we write only two or three lines.”
Spacing the Letter
“If we are writing to a superior, we should leave large spaces between the lines. In writing a familiar letter, it is as well to begin near the top of the sheet, and write compactly, but legibly, leaving a small margin, or none if preferred.”
Folding and Sealing
” Every letter to a superior ought to be folded in an envelope. It shows a want of respect to seal with a wafer; we must use sealing wax. Men usually select red; but young ladies use gilt, rose, and other colors. Both use black wax when they are in mourning….If a friend takes charge of a letter as a favor, it would be quite impolite to put more than one seal upon it. If the letter should be folded in such a manner that, by opening it at the end, its contents may be read, it would be equally regardless of delicate propriety to put a little wax upon the edges. This precaution is only to be used when the letter is sent by post, or an untried domestic.”
Proper Arrangement of what is to be written:
“When you write upon any subject, consider it fully before putting upon paper, and treat of each topic in order, that you may not be obliged to recur to anyone again, after having spoken of another thing, as it confuses the mind. If you have many subjects to treat of in the same letter, commence with the most important; for if the person to whom you write is interrupted while reading it, he will be the more impatient to resume the reading, however little interesting he may find it.”
This particular author also included several examples of letters for a variety of occasions. Here are two in regards to an engagement announcement and bride’s maid inquiry. What a beautiful, if not loquacious, way of sharing the news!
So whether you say it by phone or say it by letter, say it beautifully!
The Ladies Guide to Perfect Gentility by Emily Thornwell (1856)