Thursday, 21 February 2013

Prayerful Break

As much as I love blogging, and will miss you all, my husband and I are taking some necessary time away from all distractions. We need to focus and pray about a serious issue that we require guidance in, concerning some family situation.

This may take a couple of weeks, or many weeks to resolve as we patiently wait to hear God's voice in this matter.

I hope that you will understand and bear with me at this time. I look forward to the time when I can get back to writing Heart for Home-making, and reading all your blogs again.

Anthonore Christensen (Danish, 1849-1926), "Blomstrende rose"

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Home-maker's News and Weather this week.

Charles Courtney Curran

Who wants to buy a newspaper and be made anxious and depressed reading all its gloom and doom, violence, nasty gossip, un-edifying pictures and photographs?

Well, I hope you enjoy this alternative 'newspaper' edition of Heart for Home-makings, hot off the press...

Home-maker's News and Weather

Health News

Arthur Hopkins
Arthur Hopkins 'A blow on the cliffs'

Home-makers of today are reviving the custom of a daily 'Constitutional' as an effective means of reducing stress, keeping healthy, appreciating the awesome beauty of God's creation - and gaining lovely rosy cheeks in the process.

A expert in these matters states 

Isaiah 55:12 - For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands.

It is also worth readers noting that many older women today are quietly, yet actively teaching the young women the health benefits of regularly being busy with their hands in their own homes and gardens. Families are enjoying coming home to the well-tended house and garden, and the home-maker can take breaks to sit in pleasant surroundings with her cup of tea, and to peruse a wholesome book.

Ernest Albert Chadwick
Ernest Albert Chadwick 'a cottage garden, Saintbury'


The Home-maker's news is happy to report the Good News that although the world is evil...

Galatians 1:4 - Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet

There is no cause for alarm because,

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Victor Gabriel Gilbert 'picking flowers'

Calling all Labourers (and those who are heavy-laden)

 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


This morning all areas will be refreshed by some 'Still Dews of Quietness' (see below)

 Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace

John G Whittier

There will also be prolonged and pleasant sunny spells

 Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory

Thomas Mackay
Thomas Mackay 'A girl sewing at the door of a cottage' 1906

Practical Home-making

The sink is full of dishes - how fortunate we are
to have those china plates and cups, imported from afar.
The carpets need a vacuum - how wonderful that be -
This labour-saving vacuum is of such a help to me
Who needs to visit price-y gyms? - I have my workouts here
A simple going over gives clean carpets AND good cheer!

The load of dirty laundry calls - give thanks for clothes to wear!
For we may wash and freshen them to show how much we care
The garden needs-a-weeding, oh blessed I am today, 
for I'll enjoy the good fresh air to blow the blues away
Another dinner to be cooked - a blessing surely too,
soon fragrant foods will grace our plates, with love from me to you.

So don't be glum, dear wife and Mum
And feel your work's unseen
For home's a godly kingdom
And each one needs its queen! 

 © Budgeteer 2013

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Fresh and Crisp Laundry

Charles Courtney Curran
Charles Courtney Curran 'Summer clouds' 1917

Today I would like to talk about an aspect of household laundry with which we are less familiar nowadays, and yet it can be an enjoyable and satisfying part of our regular domestic tasks.


Here is an excerpt from a popular book published in 1893

The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking
Adapted to domestic use or study in classes
By Helen Campbell

"Starch is the next consideration, and is made in two ways,—either raw or boiled. Boiled starch is made by adding cold water to raw starch in the proportion of one cup of water to three-quarters of a cup of starch, and then pouring on boiling water till it has thickened to a smooth mass, constantly stirring as you pour. A bit of butter is added by many excellent laundresses, the bit not to be larger than a filbert. Any thing starched with boiled starch must be dried and sprinkled before ironing, while with raw starch this is not necessary.
To make raw starch, allow four even tablespoonfuls to a half-pint of cold water. Dip collars, cuffs, and shirt-bosoms, or any thing which must be very stiff, into this starch, being careful to have them dry. When wet, clap them well between the hands, as this distributes the starch evenly among the fibers of the cloth. The same rule must be followed in using boiled starch. Roll the articles in a damp cloth, as this makes them iron more smoothly; and in an hour they will be ready for the iron. In using boiled starch, after the articles have been dried, and then dampened by sprinkling water lightly upon them, either by the hand, or by shaking over them a small whisk-broom which is dipped as needed in water, it is better to let them lie ten or twelve hours.
All clothes require this folding and dampening. Sheets and table-cloths should be held by two persons, shaken and "snapped," and then folded carefully, stretching the edges if necessary.
Colored clothing must be rinsed before starching, and the starch should be thin and cool.
For ironing neatly and well, there will be required, half a dozen flat-irons, steel bottoms preferred; a skirt-board and bosom-board, both covered, first with old blanket or carpet, then with thick strong cotton-cloth, and over this a cover of lighter cloth, sewed on so that it may be removed as often as may be necessary to wash it. If a bag the size of each is made, and they are hung up in this as soon as used, such washing need very seldom be. Having these, many dispense with ironing-sheet and blanket; but it is better to use a table for all large articles, and on this the ironing-sheet can be pinned, or tied by tapes, or strips of cloth, sewed to each corner. A stand on which to set the irons, a paper and coarse cloth to rub them off on, and a bit of yellow wax tied in a cloth, and used to remove any roughness from the iron, are the requirements of the ironing-table.
Once a month, while the irons are still slightly warm, wash them in warm water in which a little lard has been melted. Never let them stand day after day on the stove, and never throw cold water on them, as it makes them very rough.
If the starch clings to the irons, put a little Bristol-brick on a board, and rub them up and down till free. If they are too hot for use, put in a current of air a few moments; and in all cases try them on a piece of paper or cloth before putting them on a garment. If through carelessness or accident an article is scorched, lay it in the hottest sunshine to be found. If the fiber is not burned, this will often take the spot entirely out."

(a filbert is a small hard-shelled nut by the way) 


 If we encounter starch at all nowadays, it is likely to be the foul smelling, aerosol spray starch that makes the ironing board and the floor like a skating rink, and leaves nasty little bits over the item we are starching! It is not necessary to buy this expensive and inefficient product

But using starch on cotton pillowcases, nightdresses, blouses, shirts and nice handkerchiefs, can transform them in an instant. There is nothing so pleasant to lay your head on at night, than a beautifully starched pillowcase. Shirts and blouses look fresh and of better quality when they are lightly starched, and a Victorian style nightie doesn't look or feel authentic without it.


1896 Underskirt with 1891 Corset Cover
1896 Underskirt with 1891 Corset Cover (flickr)

Here is a quick recipe for making your own spray starch

All you need are:




Dissolve about a teaspoonful or two of cornflour/cornstarch into the water and pour into your bottle. Give it a shake just before using. Add more cornflour if you find that you need more 'crisp-ness'

You don't have to own lots of nice cottons and linens. It is a pleasure to look after the ones that you have. This is an embroidered pillow slip which is in regular use

This Victorian Style, Rosebud nightdress is my favourite

Starching and pressing the trim neatly

You can see here, that often, you cannot press things such as nighties and pillowslips flat, because there is 'ease' incorporated into the design. When you are ironing them, pull out the ease. You will find that there will be less creases ironed in. 

Only make as much starch as you need for the day. It does not keep very well, and it is best to make a fresh batch as required. Rinse out your bottle when you have finished, so that you do not have any sediment building up inside it.

It is tempting for the home-maker to be too much of a perfectionist when ironing or pressing items. I know this because it was my problem at one time. Please do not make this mistake. Enjoy looking after your pretty linens and keeping shirts and handkerchiefs looking smart and cared for. Perfectionism leads to unnecessary stress and can make you feel like a martyr, who is no fun to be around in the family.

Happy Starching, Ladies