Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sharing Some Common Sense

September fattens on vines. Roses flake from
the wall. The smoke of harmless fires drifts to
my eyes. This is plenty. This is more than
enough. ~Geoffrey Hill

A few years ago one of my readers sent me a reprint by Oxmoor House of Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland. It was first published in 1871 and is a fascinating read. I wanted to share a few of her tips today.

Boil a double handful of hay or grass in a new iron pot, before attempting to cook with it; scrub out with soap and sand; then set on full of fair water, and let it boil half an hour. After this, you may use it without fear.

To wash White Lace Edging: Have a quart bottle covered with linen, stitched smoothly to fit the shape. Begin at the bottom and wind the lace about it, basting fast at both edges, even the minutest point to the linen. Wash on the bottle, soaping it well, rinse by plunging in a pail of fair water, and boil as you would a white handkerchief, bottle and all. Set in the hot sun to dry. When quite dry, clip the basting-threads, and use the lace without ironing. If neatly basted on, it will look nearly as well as new-if not quite.

Dry ink stains can be removed from white cloth by lemon-juice and salt.

If china is rough to the touch, it is dirty. Hot, clean suds, a dry, clean towel, and quick wiping leave it bright and shining.

Glasses: Roll your glasses around in the water, filling them as soon as they touch it, and you need never crack one. A lady did once explain the dinginess of her goblets to me by saying that she was "afraid to put them in hot water. It ROTS glass and makes it so tender! I prefer to have them a little cloudy." Certainly not that a year's soak in hot water could make glass tender!

This is a fascinating article on OFL on doing laundry in the 1920's:


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