Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vintage Wisdom from the Past

Vintage wisdom from the past when recycle was the norm and not a new catch phrase.
Mom’s survival tips from the depression, when rice sacks were made into pillowcases and aprons.
Just wash them out good and the colored print on the outside came off, and you were ready to make a pillowcase, an apron, or garment for a little girl or boy.
Times were tough and there was some joy in making something out of nothing.
Mom always used old bed sheets for patching worn out quilts, sewing patches onto the elbows of worn shirts and the thin pieces were cut out and used for washing rags, floor wash rags and polishing cloths. Small squares were cut into handkerchief sizes, these were much easier on the nose than some of the paper wipes we have today.
The strong outer edges of the old sheets were cut into long strips and neatly folded and stored in a clean place to be used for bandages. We would wrap up skinned knees; twisted ankles were wrapped as though it was a tensor bandage. When you had a cold Watkins menthol rub was slathered on your neck and wrapped up with a sheet strip.
When you had a really bad cold Mom would get out a nice soft piece of bed sheet and smooth Goose grease on your chest then place the soft cloth, with a paste made of flour, water and dry mustard spread on it, onto your chest. Another soft cloth was place on top of all this mess and you were covered up and left to cook. It was quite an operation that we hated as kids, but we got better in a hurry.
When I got married I took many of these handy hints with me. One Christmas my little daughter got a nurse kit as a gift and she instantly became Nurse Nancy and her little brother became Dr. Bluenose, when Daddy came home he was led to the couch to be nursed back to health. Ab Doman as he was called laid down and was wrapped from head to toe with my lovely bed sheet strips, he looked like a mummy. It was so funny , but I was running out of sheet trips very fast. And Daddy was running out of patience.
To this day I keep some strips in my drawer as a safety precaution, you never now when you might need a nice clean piece of cloth. They are great for polishing the furniture, the brass, and the silverware or tying up the newspapers when you have run out of string..
Big pieces of bed sheets make good tea towels as they absorb the water from the dishes and leave them nice and shiny. Cut a flannel bed sheet into four squares and you have perfect little blankets for baby, nice and soft on tender skin. They were often cut into squares and used for diapers on the babies. (These were the kind folded into a triangle and wrapped around baby and pinned with two pins, very effective.) Just wash and reuse, how easy and convenient.
I actually think the ChattaNooga Shoe Shine Boy had strips of his moms old bed sheets. That’s why he became so famous when he fanned the air and made them pop.
The bed sheets in those days were pretty much organic as chemicals etc had not been used at that point and the cottons were so nice and soft yet strong.
I know where you can get some Organic Cotton bedding that you can cut up after you have worn them out.


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