My Mother’s Ways

From time to time I like to post something from this wonderful book.

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So here is a little more…enjoy the yesteryear.

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Making and Caring for Clothes

Fresh orange peel is excellent for restoring black shoes that have lost their smartness. Rub well with the inside of the rind, and then polish with a soft cloth.

When cutting out patches for a patchwork quilt, use a piece of sandpaper for the pattern shapes and the cloth will not slip. The rougher the paper the better it clings.

Keep a roll of surgical bandage in your sewing basket. It is handy for facing when letting out children’s dresses, for slipping between front and facing of a fine dress to give extra strength, for tacking over holes in household linens. It has many uses and gives a good foundation for darning.

When commencing to crochet a cap, use a steel hook, rather thick instead of a bone hook. The cap will be much firmer and less likely to finish in a peak at the top after it has been worn a few times.

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If the men are going out into the bush, make a hearty round of scones by adding half cup of fine oatmeal to the ordinary mixture. A little more milk may be needed. They can toast them over the camp-fire if they like.

When making the pot of tea at dinner, fill a thermos flask and leave it for those working late on the farm. Very tired, late workers appreciate that cup of tea put straight into their hands when they come in the door.

Fill wet boots with dry oats and set aside for a few hours. The oats will draw out the moisture and prevent the leather from shrinking and cracking. Dry out the oats and use again. When they are no longer needed, feed the oats to the fowls or the horses.

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Chopped raisins and horseradish make a good relish to serve with meat, hot or cold. Men love it.

Don’t go into the scrub cutting or snigging without taking a tin of ‘cocky’s joy’ with you. Besides being a good spread on dry bread, it’s reviving in the pannikin.(a small metal drinking cup.) ( Snigging:  drag (a heavy load, especially timber) using ropes or chains.”bullock teams would snig the logs to the winder”)

Carbon tetrachloride, used on all sheep stations for drenching sheep, is an effective and rapid remover of obstinate stains – particularly greasy ones – from all clothing. Good for men’s suits and not as dangerous as petrol.

The old bush hat with a row of corks is a good way to keep off flies, but if each cork is dipped in a little phenyl and allowed to dry before being attached to the hat, it will work twice as well...and finally.

Before wearing new boots or shoes, mix and melt over a slow fire half pint drying oil, one ounce yellow wax,, one ounce turpentine and quarter ounce Burgundy pitch. Apply with a sponge to make footwear waterproof. (Galipot is an impure resin of turpentine. It is obtained from pine trees by evaporation of the essential oil and once purified is called yellow pitch, white pitch or Burgundy pitch.)

To add my own photo to this post is my Mum and Dad on their wedding day…approx 1929.

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Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.

 Doug Larson quotes 


Gifts and Books

Another wonderful day in 2012. I met one of my niece’s today for coffee and chat. It was just lovely. The weather has cooled but we still had the sunshine. It was non stop talk, laughing and sharing. She gave me a ‘bag of gifts’. Each and everyone is a treasure. Let me share them with you. As you can see I like ‘owls’ and books and of course bookmarks go with them. I am soooo lucky…


My dear friend Nia send me a parcel before Christmas (I posted the gifts in an earlier post). Among her gifts was this book:

The beginning and its beautiful page marker

I am not very good at giving reviews as such but I want to talk about this book in my way. For a start, there are some books that I will press down the spine to make it stay open (certainly without damaging it). There are some books I will allow to rattle around in my large bag. There are some books I will turn over pages with slightly sticky fingers…and so on. Then there are some books that come to me with elegance, a special quality…this is one of those books. The moment I touched it I knew it was special. Beautifully bound with the lovely page marker (I love books with ribbon page markers).  Good quality paper has been used. Double spacing and a nice easy font which allows the prose to flow.

Buket Uzuner (the author) writes using Istanbul in the first person (hence the title), which gives the story strength and depth. I am not sure what to call the style of writing I would say prose but it so poetic at the same time. Let me give you an example:

I am Istanbul; I am Constantinople; I am Dersaadet! For millennia I have been on the minds and lips of those who would claim me for their own. For me have emperors, kings and sultans vied; for me have pashas and soldiers shed sweat and blood: ah, those men of varied tongues, faiths and races, all of them a tremble at the prospect of storming my nuptial chamber and of possessing a city elusive and legend! I, enchantress and seductress, am Istanbul. (quote from the book).

By delivering the life of Istanbul through the eyes of Istanbul itself,  I felt I got to know the city intimately.

I found I held the book gently and turned the pages slowly, deliberately, respecting the city, the author, the book itself. It was a magic experience. Thank you my dear Nia

As long as there are beautiful well made books, they will never die. e-books are valuable for travelling and I would like one but I will never give up beautiful bound books.

and now another great book:

Watercolours – Author: Adrienne Ferreira (Australian)

As you can see on the cover it is ‘The story of a boy artist, a river town and its mysterious underworld’.

This book has 342 pages; being paperback it was easy to hold, the font is easy to read and the paper, whilst not of the highest quality, it was nice to feel.

Novi is 11years old and loves to draw. The author gives each character a strength of their own so that I was never confused about who was who, as you do in some novels, (by the way, this is the author’s first novel).

She allows Novi to be in the first person which is delightful. Each page has an ‘wow’ moment. Here is an excerpt:

(Novi is speaking): When I need to draw, it feels like something inside me is being squeezed, like when I walk through the paperbarks down to the swimming hole and the cicadas are all around me, their voices like a throbbing heart. My heart starts throbbing, too, as though there are cicadas inside me, bursting to escape and join the others in the trees. Then I draw a picture and they fly off. For a while the pressure goes away. But they always creep back when I am not looking. Before long their little drum bodies start to hum and I need to draw again.

The author carries this idea throughout the book, using it to describe Novi’s emotions toward his art. He visits Sydney for the first time, he has never been to a big city before. There are so many things to look at his ‘cicadas’ becomes silent and he worries.  What a beautiful way to describe the emotion when your muse leaves you.

This was a book that I couldn’t put down yet I didn’t want it to finish.

I hope you enjoyed snippets of these books. We are so lucky to lose ourselves in wonderful stories…I say thank you to those authors.


My name is Rosemary so I just had to post this next picture. Oh to look so refined. I wonder if I practice all the hints in this book would I turn into an elegant, refined woman…..NO, NO, NO. My creative brain just doesn’t allow me to be elegant, besides I wouldn’t survive in all those clothes of that era.

Maybe me in a past life?

I am having my grandson for the next three days (school holidays) so if I go missing it is because I am having fun and learning from an 8year old. He has just started ringing me and having a ‘general’ conversation. It is so lovely.

TIP: When your frying pan develops a small leak, cut off the portion opposite the handle, paint the pan with any paint desired and you have a neat and serviceable ‘dust-pan’ that will last for years.

May your creativity last for the next 100 years. Thank you for visiting…


Holiday time – My Mother’s Way’s

Here in Australia it is ‘holiday’ time. Our roads are quiet from traffic. Families are at the beach, camping or overseas enjoying other cultures. Yesterday it was 40c so some of us who are not away flooded to our larger shopping centres for a cool down or to the beach, swimming pools. As children in my day, before water restrictions, we would put on our swimmers/bathers and turn the sprinkler system on in our backyard and play for ages frolicking under the cool spray.


A necessity

The limited time available for recreation in this era was spent in a variety of ways, In town, tennis parties and cricket matches were becoming popular; in the country, the family picnic or bush trip was a popular source of pleasure. Great preparations were made for these outings; the hampers packed full of delicious, home-made provisions, the billy stowed carefully into a saddlebag or cart, suitable hats and boots donned, and the horses saddled.

Some lucky folk took holidays to the seaside or other parts of the country, and a few even packed their trunks for long sea voyages to other parts of the world. Most, however, contented themselves with outings closer to home, and derived their amusement from the local show, annual church picnic and municipal get-togethers. A gret deal of entertainment was had at home. Evenings around the piano, tea parties on the verandah or picnics in the far paddock or on the riverbank were convenient and inexpensive way of entertaining friends and neighbours. Even these events required considerable preparation, as the hints here illustrate, and reliable ways of lighting the campfire and cooking the butter were always sought by wives and mothers. Mothers and grandmothers were expert in planning and preparing for these family-centred forms of relaxation. These hints reveal that no detail was over-looked, and that their economical and practical ideas contributed greatly to the enjoyment of the whole family.

Carry a square of waterproof canvas or sailcloth in the car for laundry purposes when touring in the outback. Lay the spare tyre on the ground or on a rock, spread the canvas over, press it in and fill the depression with water. Safe, clean and easier to carry than a tub, large bucket or basin, and the wheel is always with you.

When out camping, put unpeeled bananas into the coals of your fire to taste the pleasure of real, natural food.

Make oilcloth or baize slips for your cushions before going on a holiday tour. You will not have to worry about the ground being damp, and a soapy cloth keeps them looking like new.

Keep moths from your bathers during the winter by placing the perfectly dry costume in a screw-top Mason jar –                                            (How interesting…or…bizarre)

**** This is a gem…is this before or after she has cooked the dinner and washed up etc.?

If you live in a lonely, isolated place with little opportunity for social evenings, dress up for your radio entertainment at home. A quick warm to cool shower, a liberal shake of your favourite talcum powder, clean undies and a nice frock, and instead of the family drudge, a dainty leisured lady is ready to enjoy the evening’s offering of music, comedy or drams. It may startle the family at first, but it acts as an example.


Instead of carrying toilet soap when travelling, pack a tube of shaving cream. No waste, no wet cake of soap and delightfully refreshing to use…This is interesting, I hate travelling with oogy, gooey soap.


Great idea…anyone still do this?

When going away for a holiday, put a little lavender oil on a few saucers and place them in some of the rooms. This will destroy any moths in the house and the usual musty smell or ‘shut-up’ atmosphere will be absent on your return.


Keep your butter cool for a picnic in this way. Soak a brick in cold water, wrap it in a wet cloth and place it in the shade. The evaporation of the water will keep the brick cold, and the butter placed upon it will be kept as cool and firm as though it were on ice.


One for us ladies:

Just before leaving by train or car for a long journey, wipe your face with a pad of cottonwool moistened with witch hazel to which has been added a few drops of eau de Cologne. Dry with another pad of cottonwool and then use the powder puff. This avoids using hard or lime-rich water that damages our fine complexions.


Squeaky things are such an annoyance, especially on holidays:

If, while travelling or away from home, you have a squeaky handle or rusty catch on your suitcase, rub a dab of face cream onto the offending item. I oiled the hinges on a cabin door aboard the Edinburgh Castle with face cream and enjoyed the journey between England and Africa much better for doing so!


Stocking, long dresses and hats in hot weather, on holidays…groan.

In hot weather, keep a piece of blotting paper cut to the shape of insoles inside each shoe to absorb perspiration of the feet. This saves the stockings from becoming hard and difficult to wash. Renew the paper often


A brick soaked in kerosene and packed in a leak-proof container will quickly start the campfire even if the wood is not quite dry.


If anyone decides to do this hint, I want a photo.

Avoid a sun-peeled nose at the beach. Cut or tear a piece of paper – newspaper will do – into the outline of a plump fig, fold down the centre lengthwise and tuck the tapered end under the bridge of your specs or sunglasses. This cowl fits snugly and protects the nose at all angles.

Happy holidays for those having a break and for those that are not I suggest you take the advice of this book and have a quick warm to cool shower, a liberal shake of your favourite talcum powder, clean undies and a nice frock/suit and be ready some home entertainment.

Hope you have enjoyed these snippets in holiday season. I cherish each and every one of them but at the same time I can’t help a giggle. If anyone would like to share their own stories of family holidays it would be great to hear them.

Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you…Thinking of you this holiday season!
— T.A. Barron




New Years Day

If my start to 2012 is anything to judge the rest of the year, then I am going to have the best time of my life.

Today in Melbourne the weather is going to be hot, hot, hot – around 35/38c. So, up early, coffee (of course) and water the garden. Good morning to them all. Tomatoes are huge but still green, azalea, resting with her deep green leaves thankful for being in the shade all day. Alyssum flowers drinking deeply knowing they will wilt under the hot sun. Maindenhair fern smiles from her deep shaded area and enjoys the gentle misting and deep watering.

Next, headphones on, new music (A Christmas present-I had the best fun choosing from i-tunes) and off I set for my walk. Sun shining on the gentle side at this stage, red roses nodding to me from between picket fence. White cockatoo, cheeky and brave, didn’t move when I walked passed him; his morsel in the lawn was more important. I whistled to him, he cocked his head, saw that I wasn’t a threat and went on fossicking. Music, sunshine, and nature made me step it out. One song had me doing a hop, kip and jump (the man behind me probably thought…silly old woman). Saw a friend in his garden, I stopped and wish him a Happy New Year then skipped home (well…almost). Here I am now, cyber visiting all my friends from near and far. Now that, is a brilliant start to the day and the new year. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

I don’t know which to start with. I am torn between my two delicious books at the moment. Everything Alice and a novel titled: Watercolours – Author: Adrienne Ferreira (an Australian author).  Adrienne was born in Sydney in 1975 and grew up in Sandy Beach on the mid north coast. She has written short stories and poetry. This book Watercolours is her first novel. Adrienne now lives on the NSW Central Coast with her husband and twin boys. I just have to tell you about this book, but first, I have to return to Alice as I spoke of her in my last blog. Here are some of the pictures from the book. I couldn’t stop photographing them. There are many more pages:

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I am sure you can see why I just had to have it. Beautifully presented, bright, colourful, and totally de-lic-ious! (I just realised I haven’t got the pics in order, but, that’s me, never quite in order…thank heavens)  Pop over and visit Pollyanna, a very interesting blog, so well written and interesting, a bit of everything and thought provoking as well. I love it.

Over at my other blog I will post the little orphans I found on my walk this morning.

Thanks for joining me here…