Domestic Life

Mrs. White's sewing project at the dining room table.

I have 2 yards of pretty cotton fabric. I am using it to make 2 dozen cloth napkins.  I have a pattern for the napkins, but wanted mine smaller than the instructions called for.  I folded the pattern piece over and just cut to the size I wanted.  I use my kitchen table when I do my sewing projects.  Then I take the cut pieces and my sewing basket and hand sew when I have time.  So far, I am almost finished hemming the sides of 4 of the napkins. It has taken me about a week now. This is because I do it as if it were an old fashioned work basket from days gone by.

Homemakers used to have mending, knitting, and sewing projects in a work basket. They could take this with them wherever they went, or just have it near their favorite chair near the fireplace.  They would sew during their leisure hours, or when visiting with guests and family in the parlour.  I am sewing without pressure and without rushing. 

My sewing basket was given to me when I was a teenager by an Aunt.  I have carried it with me through many homes, many moves, and many states during my lifetime.  It is an essential part of my housekeeping.

I also have an old yardstick which was found in our 1850's house.  (It was in the sewing room, which we later converted to my dressing room.)   I am guessing it is from the 1940's or 1950's.  It is very lightweight and has an advertisement on it.  It is for a Real Estate company here in Vermont. This was a brilliant tactic to keep their company in the eyes of homemakers.  Most women were sewing clothes, curtains, tea towels, and tailoring hand - me down clothing to fit their children. That yardstick was in constant use!  The ladies would see that company name several times a week.  These days, companies give calendars and refrigerator magnets.  But I love to see the ad on my yardstick!  It makes me think of all the homemakers before me who were capable with their household sewing projects.

I have been so busy around the house doing projects. I have staircases to sweep, baking to do, and, clothes to organize.  Today, I had a visit from some of my grandchildren.  They arrived at the lunch hour and caught me by surprise. I was grateful for a steady supply of wheat bread, peanut butter and jelly, and fresh apples with cinnamon. I also keep apple juice and juice boxes on hand for such visits.  I have lots of little books I read to the babies while they eat their lunch.

Late last month, I bought a few toys which were on clearance. I keep them here for the grandchildren to play with.  When my oldest grandchild arrived (he is 3) I brought out an imitation etch-a-sketch for him. It cost me 75 cents and he was greatly amused with it!

I keep two little bowls full of crayons on my sideboard table near the kitchen. There is also a stack of scrap paper.  My granddaughter (21 months) enjoyed coloring in the highchair.

Soon we went downstairs to play in "grandmother's nursery."  This is a charming playroom full of toys for the babies.  There is also a cozy love seat for me to sit and rest while the children play.  I brought out a toy tea set which delighted the babies.  There is a set of four cups, spoons, and plates along with sugar bowl and teapot.  We have two toy kitchens in the room so there is much to do and enjoy.

When the grandbabies went home, the house got very quiet and I went back to my work.  I had supper to make and napkins to hem.  I will rest in the little back parlour and read for awhile and drink some tea.

Tomorrow there are errands to do with Mister.  I will bring a blanket and sit in the passenger seat while he does the driving.  It is snowy and cold here in Vermont and it is so nice to bring a blanket for comfort and warmth. Then we will head back home to our cozy fire and enjoy our domestic life.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Peacefully at Home - Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking.

What Would Happen - If I Visit You at the Dinner Hour.

Remembering Old Time Thrift - Building our Homes with Little Money.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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