Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

The subject for today's blog is Clothes pins. If you happen to have a clothesline, you must have pins to peg out the wash.

Monday seems to be the day of choice for doing wash. If you have the clothesline and the needs a vessel for the pins. Books with household hints from the 1900's usually included directions on making clothespin bags.

Image result for clothespin bags

Image result for clothespin bags


Image result for clothespin bags

Not so simple
Image result for clothespin bags

Here is a tip from Audel's Household Helps, Hints and Receipts, 1913.

In cold weather if towels are rinsed in salt water after being washed, they will not freeze on the line. Bring them in and, without ironing, fold and put away. Salt is particularly good for bath towels, as the salt left in the towel is exhilarating for the skin when used after a bath.

How clothespins started

The first American clothespin patent was issued in 1832 and was quickly followed by many adaptations for its simple but effective design. Wooden clothespins are made from maple, white birch, pine, or oak. In the early 1900's, sailors on long whaling voyages made scrimshaw clothespins for their sweethearts.

Image result for clothespins

Image result for clothespins

Image result for clothespins

Image result for clothespins

these are some of mine


When I was in grade school I made clothespin dolls, something like these.
Image result for old clothespin dolls

Not really as fancy but you get the idea.

Image result for old clothespin dolls

Image result for old clothespin dolls

more like mine!!


Laundry sprinkler bottles were also in use. I have a couple.

Image result for laundry sprinkler bottles

Image result for laundry sprinkler bottles

Image result for laundry sprinkler bottles

Adding the sweet smell of lavender to the water is not only a powerful antibacterial and a natural insecticide but, for centuries, it has been associated with good household management.

Here is a recipe for lavender ironing water.

What You Need


  • 30 drops essential oil
  • 1.5 cups Distilled water
  • 3 oz. Vodka
  • Spray bottle (I use a bunch of small spray bottles and keep them all around the house!)
  • Funnel
for the directions, go to

Image result for clothespins old fashioned plastic

Image result for clothespins old fashioned plastic


Bakelite clothespins in faded colors like sage green, summer-porch blue, Chinese red, and soft amber are lovely but expensive and difficult to find.

Image result for clothespins bakelite

Image result for clothespins bakelite
Image result for clothespins bakelite

These are cool, I did not know about this kind.   

Most of my information came from the internet and from my Clothesline Book.

To learn about the history of the clothespin, and to see clothespins that are more than a century old, including models of the nation's first patented clothespins, visit the Museum of American Art (part of the Smithsonian Institution ) in Washington, D.C.


And now for a few pictures of what has been happening in the Studio.

Such awesome stitchers. If you would like a schedule of classes, email me

Thank you again for joining me in a trip down memory lane.

Words of Wisdom for today.

October 27, 2008
" Decide to be happy today, to live with what is yours - your family, your business, your job, your luck. If you can't have what you like, maybe you can like what you have. Just for today, be kind, cheerful, agreeable, responsive, caring, and understanding. Be your best, dress your best, talk softly, and look for the bright side of things. Praise people for what they do and do not criticize them for what they cannot do. If someone does something stupid, forgive and forget. After all, it's just for one day. Who knows, it might turn out to be a nice day."
Author Unknown --- Submitted by Lauren Covington --- New Jersey
Morning Affirmation

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Thoughts on a Thursday

Image result for clotheslines

Remember these??

Image result for clotheslines

I had a clothesline for a while in the 70's. I liked hanging things out to dry and liked the smell, but sometimes the sheets were a little stiff.

From Wikipedia

clothes line or washing line is any type of rope, cord, or twine that has been stretched between two points (e.g. two sticks), outside or indoors, above the level of the ground. Clothing that has recently been washed is hung along the line to dry, using clothes pegs or clothespins. Washing lines are attached either from a post or a wall, and are frequently located in back gardens, or on balconies. Longer washing lines often have props holding up sections in the middle due to the weight of the usually wet clothing.


I have a book called 
the clothesline

Front Cover

It has a history of clotheslines and lots of pictures.

It has a simple soap recipe dating from the 1940's. This is for making  lemon verbena and lavender soap. 

12 oz. of unscented soap (approx. 3 cakes)
1 1/2 t sweet almond oil
1 t dried lemon verbena, finely crumbled or chopped
6 drops lemon verbena essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil

Finely grate the unscented soap with a cheese grater. Put into a double boiler over low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally. Gradually the soap will melt into a thick paste. Add the sweet almond oil and the dried herbs. Transfer the mixture to a clean, nonreactive bowl. Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. 

For soap bars: pour immediately into a wax lines container like a cut-down paper milk carton. After it hardens (about a week) slice it into squares with a sharp knife

For soap balls: When mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into round balls with your hands. Put the balls on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper to harden. Make sure you won't need the cookie sheet for 4-5 days, which is how long it will take the soap balls to harden. This recipe makes approximately 3 four-ounce balls.

Recipe is from the clothesline book.

You could tell a lot about the family by what was hanging on their clothesline. Maybe baby clothes or diapers, white shirts, work shirts or overalls, all told something about who lived there. It seems that a woman who hung her laundry by color or size was a good woman. If the laundry was hung out haphazardly she might be an indifferent housekeeper. If she hung out her underwear fir everyone to see.....a hussy!!


Stories of the Clothesline

“We had a clothesline in the backyard when I was growing up. Mama would hang those heavy winter 
quilts on the line. They were so heavy that Daddy had to put a stick in the middle to keep the line from 
dragging on the ground.” 
- Debra in Durham, NC

“My Grandmother used to make her own lye soap. It was light brown and I’m not sure you can get soap 
like that anymore. She used a great big pot in the back and she would keep all the scraps of fat until she 
had enough to make the soap. It took all day. I still remember that lye soap!” 
- Mrs. Jones in Bonita, LA

(My grandmother also made her own lye soap. Not much lather....and she used my grandpa's worn out sock for a wash cloth!! She was very frugal...she had to be.)

“We used a rubbing board to wash our clothes. It was hard work. We washed the clothes on Mondays. 
Mama had me and my sisters help with the wash. It took all day. Folks cooked red beans and rice for 
supper on Mondays because you didn't have time to watch the stove and do the laundry.” 
- Helen in Gainesville, GA 


Wooden tubs with rope handles on bench

A tub of hot water, a washboard in a wooden frame with somewhere to rest the bar of laundry soap in pauses from scrubbing - this is a familiar image of how our great-grandmothers washed the laundry. It's not wrong, but it's only part of the picture. Factory-made washboards with metal or glass scrubbing surfaces certainly spread round the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and bars of soap were cheap and plentiful by the late 1800s, but there were other ways of tackling the laundry too.

In the idealised images of early advertising or today's nostalgia products, the washtub is on a stand near a bright, breezy clothesline, though in reality it may have been in a cramped kitchen or dark tenement courtyard, or by a tumbledown shack. Alternatives to the classic washboard and tub included dolly tubs (photo left) used with a dolly stick (aka peggy or maiden) in the UK and parts of northern Europe. These were tall tubs, also called possing- or maidening-tubs, in which large items were stirred and beaten with dollies or a plunger on a long handle.

Packages and ads on shelves

This site is full of fun and interesting things.


I love the magazine called Somerset Life, it has so many beautiful pictures and lovely things to try. On Tuesday while at Barnes and Noble, I looked at the current issue and there was an article called "The Simple Charm of a Clothesline" by Jennifer Clawson Farnes . If you have a chance, get the magazine and enjoy.

The writer talks about her love of clotheslines and how it began when she helped her mother each wash day. There were three children under the age of 3 so the clothesline was used every single week, day in and day out all through the seasons. As they grew older they transformed it into castles using blankets. Often they had tea parties with their dolls or picnic lunches.

She goes on to talk about other homes that they lived in and about her grandmother and how her linen closet too on the scent of all her sun-dried linens.

What are your memories of clotheslines? My grandmother...the soap maker...lived in a rooming house in The Dalles. My grandparents rented rooms to men who worked in town. She had a laundry area in the basement that I always thought was a little scary. She had a rub board and that lye soap. I remember she had a clothesline in the basement as well as one outside in the back yard. She worked very hard. When the sheets started to wear in the center, she would tear them in half and then sew the outside edges together so they would last even longer. I remember my toes going through the sheets once in a while. I'm sure they turned into rags or other uses when they couldn't be sheets any more. She was a sweet and kind grandma.



Fun Ode to a Clothesline



You have to be a "certain age" to appreciate this one.... 

(If you don't even know what clotheslines are, better skip this.)  
(But you YOUNGER ones can read about "The GOOD ol' days"!!)
I can hear my mother now.....

1. You had to hang the socks by the toes... 
NOT the top. 

2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs... 
NOT the waistbands. 

3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes - walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines. 

4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first. 

5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail! What would the neighbors think? 

6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven's sake! 

7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!) 

8. It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather... clothes would "freeze-dry." 

9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were "tacky"! 

10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item. 

11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed. 

12. IRONED???!! Well, that's a whole OTHER subject!

How do the Amish dry their clothes during the winter? Ask the Amish on
Q. I’m curious about hanging laundry on the clothing line outside in the colder months of the year. Would you please explain a bit how Amish women deal with getting the clothes dry after they are frozen stiff, or is there a technique they use to keep them from freezing?
       ~ Angela Oehlert
We put them outside first, even if it’s freezing. Then, we have drying racks situated around heat sources in the house where we hang them after they’re frozen. Having been stiffly frozen on the clothes line gets rid of excess moisture so that the clothes won’t drip as much water in the house as they finish drying.

next week we will continue with laundry and talk about clothes pins!!

Thanks for stopping by. Betty

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

I was watching

on PBS Sunday night. In the second show  the bakers made English muffins and at the end of the show they talked about the Muffin Man and sang the song. I thought it was very interesting.


Muffin man - Project Gutenberg eText 20338.png

Do [or "Oh, do"] you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Yes [or "Oh, yes"], I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.[1]       from Wikipedia

The rhyme is first recorded in a British manuscript of around 1820 preserved in the Bodleian Library with lyrics very similar to those used today:
Do you know the muffin man?
The muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man
Who lives in Drury Lane?[1]
Victorian households had many of their fresh foods delivered; muffins would be delivered door-to-door by a muffin man. The "muffin" in question was the bread product known in the United States as English muffins, not the much sweeter cupcake-shaped American variety.[2] Drury Lane is a thoroughfare bordering Covent Garden in London.
The rhyme and game appear to have spread to other countries in the mid-nineteenth century, particularly the US and the Netherlands.[1] As with many traditional songs, there are regional variations in wording. Another popular version substitutes "Dorset Lane" for Drury Lane.[1][3]

They said that some of the poorest people would make the muffins and then walk around the city ringing a bell announcing the arrival of their muffins for sale. Of course, some had to complain and then the couldn't ring their bells any more and that ended them selling door to door.


Here are a couple of recipes for English Muffins. I'm sure they are much better than the ones we buy.

Image result for english muffin images
It is well worth rising an hour or so early to make Homemade English Muffins. While the dough rises, you can doze back off or leisurely sip a cup of coffee.
LEVEL: Moderate


·                                 ½ c. water
·                                 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
·                                 1 tsp. sugar
·                                 2½ c. all-purpose flour
·                                 1 c. bread flour
·                                 1 tsp. salt
·                                 ¾ c. milk
·                                 2 tsp. cornmeal


1.       Make the dough:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until bubbly -- about 8 minutes. Combine the flours and salt in a large, ovenproof bowl and warm in the oven for 5 minutes. Place the flour mixture and the yeast mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. With the motor running, add the milk in a steady stream. Process until the dough is smooth and rides the blade. If needed, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough is smooth and supple. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume -- about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, transfer it to a clean work surface, and knead for 3 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
2.       Shape the muffins:
Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and set aside. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, gently form each into a patty and place the patties on the prepared baking sheet, turning to coat both sides lightly with cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
3.       Cook the muffins:
Lightly oil a cast-iron skillet and heat over low heat. Place 4 muffins in the skillet and cook until the bottoms are golden brown -- about 15 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining 4 muffins. Store in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Serve toasted.

Image result for english muffin images

Another version

Go to her site for color illustrations of each step.

Whenever I eat/make English muffins, I think about how they’re probably the only food on Earth to which I would refer as having “nooks and crannies” and how I don’t even really know what a cranny is but I know they’re in English muffins along with the nooks and that both are absolutely required as butter receptacles in the perfect English muffin and hooray for run-on sentences about English muffins.
But seriously, have you ever had an English muffin without the nooks and crannies? It’s just not the same. It’s like eating a hockey puck of bread. But add the nooks and crannies and, suddenly, that hockey puck is actually a soft, chewy, delicious circle of bread just begging to be toasted and topped with butter, jam and/or cheese with a runny egg on top, oooooh yes. Dream a little dream with me about that for a sec.

English Muffins

·                            4½ cups bread flour
·                            2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·                            2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
·                            1½ teaspoons salt
·                            1 egg
·                            1¾ cups milk
·                            3 tablespoons unsalted butter
·                            Semolina or farina, for sprinkling on the griddle
1.                In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg (do not stir).
2.                Combine milk and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stir and heat until an instant read thermometer reads between 110 and 115 degrees F. Remove from heat.
3.                Pour milk mixture into bowl; stir just until a dough forms. Use dough hook attachment to knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes until dough is smooth, soft, elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl; OR, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.
4.                Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled large bowl; turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
5.                Meanwhile, lightly spray a griddle or large pan (or two) with cooking spray, then sprinkle generously with semolina or farina. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
6.                Punch down risen dough; divide into 16 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball; press down to a 3 to 3½-inch diameter. Place dough pieces on prepared griddle or pan about 1 inch apart (depending on the size of your griddle/pan, they will not all fit. Place the extras on a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina or farina, and cover with a sheet of parchment paper).
7.                Turn on griddle to low heat (about 275 degrees F) or place pan over low heat on stovetop. Cook muffins 7 to 15 minutes each side until deep golden brown. If muffins puff up too much during cooking (and they probably will), cover them with a sheet of parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top to act as a weight. The muffins are cooked through when an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads about 200 degrees F.
8.                If the muffins are sufficiently browned on both sides but are still not fully cooked in the center, place them on a clean baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
9.                Repeat the whole cooking/baking process (steps 7 and 8) with remaining dough.
10.            Cool muffins completely. Use a fork to gently pry muffins open, so you get all the nooks and crannies.

Image result for english muffin images

Image result for english muffin images

Image result for english muffin images

Next week the topic will be Clotheslines.

Classes this week include Maggie B on Thursday from 10-4, Doll Class Saturday the 17.

Next Week we have the Rebekah L Smith class on Monday Oct 19. Email me for more information.

Wisdom Words:

Image result for fall wisdom quotes