Sunday, October 2, 2011

Super Couponing... and loving it....

Today was the day to get some goodies and while I clipped for a bit and planned my shopping strategy, it surely paid off.


I got a total of $179.19 and OOP was: $39.95. BUT received $40.50 rewards at Rite Aid which means I got my items for free and got paid .55 cents to take them! That's right, I got everything for FREE! This is my best shopping trip yet and even took the hubby along for the ride and of course his "viewing" pleasure. He was excited, even more so than I. Seems like he might be taking the ride with me on Sundays more often.


Another thing I noticed is the shelves at Rite Aid and CVS were full, this has NEVER happened to me before so Sundays will be my usual day for getting my goodies.


Nows here a peek at what I got, I see Christmas gifts in here!






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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Time Living

Wow it's been a while so I send you my apologies but I started working again and yes, I'm still crafting.

I happened to go to an art festival last weekend (a small one) but there was a particular artist who caught my eye, he made guitars (acoustic and electric) out of boxes and many other things. I was quite amazed at the talent. I saw one made out of a cigar box which gave me a twinkle in my eye but I know I cant play a guitar for anything but I can craft, so that's what intrigued me.

There were other great artists there selling handmade jewelry, photos, dolls, mosiac items and hand blown glass too! I was in awe that's for sure.

Has anyone else found any intriguing items to tell me about?

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Junkin' Day Finds...

Ok so I went to the HUGE flea market and while I saw a bunch of things I "wanted" I only picked up a few things. Those being a small handheld boot scraper, a tin measuring cup with pouring spout and 4 bags of Chef Michaels Dog foods for my pups. (psst.... they were only $1 a bag and the expiration isnt till 9/2011).

The family and I did however see tons of dogs, 2 birds that the owners let us hold, pet rats (ewwww), chickens, baby chicks, turkeys, goats, pigs and alpacas. We made a pit stop to Country Junction and I was a good girl, didn't get a thing but sure had fun seeing the animals and spending time with the family.

Goes to show that you can get a few things for a couple bucks, have time with the family and actually have fun. Now that's Simple Living.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Goin' Junkin' tomorrow...

Haven't been junking a while, so hubby and I decided to hit the Saylorsburg, PA flea market with the hopes of finding some awesome goodies to show you all.

At the top of my list of course is antiques BUT I would love to also find some wooden bowls and other kitchen type items I can remake over into something spectacular, lol PLUS finding some primitives would be a major plus.

With all the money we've been saving doing my couponing, I think this is well deserved, plus it's going to be a beautiful day.

I will post tomorrow of my awesome finds so wish me luck!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

My stockpile has gotten bigger and I am saving more...

I am pretty sure I am getting the hang of using coupons, and my stockpile can prove it.









 
  

More pictures to come but this is just a little less than what I really have, but it sure is growing.

I have 7 more Tide Stain Releases and 20 Suave Deodorants, Body Washes, Shampoo/Conditioners, Razors, paper towels and even more toilet paper that is not shown.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

My ever growing stockpile of non-food items...

I am coupon crazy and even more so that I am getting items for almost nothing.

Take a peek.

  

I have more magic eraser boxes downstairs, 10 of them in the other bathroom closet, lol.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Who would have thought?...

That couponing could save me so much money? I went to Target yesterday and since I have gotten my olay coupons for the $4 off in the mail, I had a field day at Target, lol. I split up each order using 4 each of the coupons and had some fillers. I saved 98.86, I got 20 packs of olay soaps, 20 trial size secret deodorant, I added 1 filler per each which is: 1 jar of Target Salsa, 1 jar of Giada Pesto Sauce, 4 Starbucks Frappacino (4 packs) - Got a $5 GC for each 2 packs, so received $10 in GC (Had 2 $2/2 coupons), 1 LockTite Power Grip adhesive (for hubby), bag of Mission Tortilla chips and a cute outfit for my granddaughter. Total Spent OOP was 21.31. I was so GIDDY walking out of the store!

Today I am thinking about going to Rite-Aid since they have a deal on Ritz Bitz crackers. They are BOGO and on SmartSource.com they have a coupon for $1/2, so they wind up being 10cents each per bag. Not bad and my daughter loves these.

Then off to Giant to pick up my Garden Delight pasta, since in last Sundays paper there was a coupon for $1 off 1, making them free and believe me, they taste no different that the normal pasta.

3rd stop is going to be Target again, so I can pick up the Shick Hydro 5 razors, I have 2 $3/1 coupons and they are on sale for $7.49 each but if you buy 2 you get a $5 Target GC, so I wont spend anything since I still have the $10 in Target GC's from yesterday's purchase + I gain $5.

After that I will be heading home to put my goods away and straighten up the house, make dinner ... maybe pasta? lol.

If interested and live in PA or NJ and want to get into couponing, I started a new group called PA & NJ Couponers, ask to join and invite your friends too!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_130546263689635&ap=1 <-- CLICK HERE TO JOIN US AND SHARE THE WEALTH!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Monday, May 16, 2011

It's time to get back to Simple Living...

Yeah, I said Simple Living, lol... Sometimes when times are hard or money is scarce you tend to go into simple living mode, well that sounds just like me right now. Not that I need to be living simply but I often wonder how back in the days, families of 10 fed, clothed and provided for everyone which brings me to conquer my next task of living simply.

For the next couple weeks I am going to try and make-do with what I have, spend less and just live simple, yeah I said it. I've already started with couponing to help save money and well, the sound of getting things for free or close to free, appeals to me, lol.

Now the family might not like the idea of me making food from what's in the pantry but whatever I make it will taste super yummy and they will like it. So if anyone, has a simple recipes with ordinary items that "should" be in anyone's pantry, send them to me!

Now who ever said you can't make your own clothes or conjure up you own neat idea when it comes to preparing food? It's time for me to keep my sewing machine in order, get some primitive crafts made and some new food on the dinner table.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sorry, been missing in action.

I have been on a learning curve these past couple of weeks, learning how to coupon and do it well, that is..... I am learning and doing pretty good.

There is a facebook group called "I got a coupon for that" where you can join too and make your money go farther and spend less (no scams or anything here, just a bunch of us looking to save money and I want to pass that on to you).


I did awesome today at Target and Walmart, I spent OOP $8.84, total for everything was $83.66, I saved $74.82! I am sooooo happy. The John Freida hair stuff was $12 I had a $5 off coupon and then a Target coupon for $5 off! (Go to target.com, click on See More, and on the left hand side is Coupons) WOO HOO, I only had 2 of those but I got myself and my daughter some hair color. Also, since I got the hair color at Target I received a $5 gift card for use on my next purchase, I wasn't expecting that.

To learn more about couponing, heres a great site, www.hotcouponworld.com and also http://thekrazycouponlady.com (sign up for her newsletter).

Here's what I got the other day: I went to Walmart, Walgreens, RiteAid & Giant and I spent OOP $41.60 TOTAL was 115.26, so I saved $73.66. WOO HOO!


Got some tips or tricks on Simple Living and Couponing, send me your comments.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boy, have I been busy...

On top of renovating our upstairs bathroom I was able to get some flea marketing done and for me, it feels like I hit the jackpot! I found such wonderful stuff, I came home all happy and ready to go back to being the clean-up crew for my husband who is actually doing "most" of the work on the bathroom, lol

Take a peek at what I found!




  


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Just wanted to wish my fellow readers and bloggers a wonderful Easter. May you spend your day with friends and family and have a great day.

HAPPY EASTER!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The First Soap

This certainly cannot be documented; but it is quite possible soap could have been discovered even in prehistoric times. Early people cooking their meats over fires might have noticed after a rainstorm there was a strange foam around the remains of the fire and its ashes. They might have even noticed when water was put in a pot that had been used for cooking meats and then got ashes in it, which often happens with outdoors cooking, also had this strange foamy substance. This women, most likely who was doing the washing, might have also observed the pot became cleaner or at least her hands became cleaner then usual.

It is recorded that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C. and that it was known to the Phoenicians around 600 B.C. These early references to soap and soap making were for the use of soap in the cleaning of textile fibers such as wool and cotton in preparation for weaving into cloth.

Read more about the first soap here...

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kitties on the way....

UPDATE: KITTIES ARE HERE!

I love kitties and even though I dont have a "real" kitty of my own I do love making them. I made this pattern YEARS ago and made up a bunch for friends and family and then well, I got out of making things for a while. As I was cleaning up my computer I found my old pattern and thought, why not go ahead and make some kitties up again? So today, I will be sewing up 2 of them for you all to see and hopefully you might want one for yourself or to give as a gift.

Come back a little later today and take a peek, you wont be disappointed ~meow~

Let me know what you think of them! Aren't they just adorable?

Price: $14 set of 2 + shipping. Each kitty measures approx. 8-9" from tip of ear to bottom and are approx 2-3" across. They come with little jingle bells with a rusty pin and Mrs. Kitty has a cute little osnaburg blankie with Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much handstamped on there. Such a cute pair!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Have you seen my creations?

I make a bunch of items that are handmade by me to include: wax tarts, candle mats, room sprays, prairie dolls and grungy tapers too! Coming soon are kitties!

If you haven't checked out my creations, please do by clicking here... I make all my stuff by hand so please allow a few days for me to make and ship our your goodies.

I offer my tarts and room sprays in a variety of scents too! If your in West Alexandria, Ohio, you can check out my goodies at Lizzie's Log Cabin!


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is a Floorcloth....

Floorcloths or "Oylcloths" are first mentioned in Britain in the beginning of the eighteenth century. They were painted by humble housepainters and often offered in the classical designs used for marble floors by the fashionable architects of the day.

Originally hand painted and stencilled, by the middle of the 18th century floorcloths began to be printed with hand held wooden blocks. The trade had become a proper industry with factories springing up in ports such as Dundee and Bristol as well as London, where the looms used for the weaving of sail cloth were also used to weave the great widths necessary to cover a large floor without any seams.

The apogee of floorcloth manufacture was perhaps around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, when many great houses ordered floorcloths for their entrance halls. At this time companies such as SMITH and BABER of Knightsbridge did a considerable trade not only in Britain but also abroad, particularly to America. Although there soon sprung up an American Floorcloth industry to rival the British, floorcloths continued to be imported to America such as the rare example still preserved in situ in Natchez, Mississippi, imported in 1849.

The trade continued to flourish throughout the 18th century but the patenting of linoleum by Frederick Walton in 1860 proved to be a blow from which the industry was never to recover.

This once flourishing industry has been all but forgotten, mainly because so few examples have survived. In Britain there are only fragments preserved at Calke Abbey. American floorcloths survive not only in Natchez but in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps the oldest cloth surviving in situ is the charming floorcloth in the Swedish Royal Palace of Tullgarn, dating from 1800. This cloth is not factory manufactured but painted as a one-off. Its existance suggests that perhaps other cloths were also painted for European palaces at this period.

Unknown original source. If you wrote this excerpt, please contact me so I can give you credit.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My great finds....

Well as you can see from my previous post, I was going to the first craft show of the season for me and while everyone there made wonderful items, it just wasn't the primitive/old time living style I was looking for BUT I did pick up an awesome Bunny Gourd.

On my way home, I stopped at the antique store and picked up a large crock and also some vintage linens, now what am I going to do with them is the question. Not sure if I want to use the linens for making stuff with, since they are 3 1/2 yards (2) and the other one is 4 yards, so that's pretty much. I could make quite a few things with these.

Now the crock of course will be going in my kitchen and I will be putting my utensils in them so no guessing on what I will do with it, however, it is my first crock so I might change my mind later on down the road but for now, utensils it is!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Hitting the Craft Show ....

First one for me for this year and I am a bit excited, I am hoping it's not all crocheted items or even Easter items, now don't get me wrong, I love bunnies and grungy handmade quilt eggs but I'm hoping to find some things I can keep out all year long, not only for a particular Holiday.

When I return tomorrow with my goodies, I will be sure to post some pictures to share.

Is anyone else hitting any Craft Shows this weekend? I was hoping to go to the Simple Goods show one April 23rd but with an 8 hour drive, right now it just isn't in my craft show planning.

On that note, those of you who are going to the Simple Goods show, please be sure to stop by Lizzie's Cabin Primitives and Love the Prim Look. They will be having some awesome handmade goods that you will fall in love with, tell them I sent you!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Butter-making - home churns and utensils

Home butter-making took time and energy, but only needed simple equipment. Low-tech methods were still well-known in rural parts of developed countries like the USA in the mid-20th century. In the UK it became less common for ordinary families to make their own butter in the course of the 19th century, but the old ways were still used on small farms and in the dairies belonging to grand houses.

After the cow(s) were milked, the milk was left to settle in a cool place, in shallow dishes, or pancheons, so the cream would rise to the top. (Unless the butter was to be made from whole milk: less common than making it from cream.) Brass and earthenware dishes were used in the UK in the 17th and 18th centuries, with earthenware becoming gradually more popular, as brass sometimes tainted the flavor.

After half a day or so, the cream was skimmed off and put ready for the churn. Small home producers would want to collect a few days of milking to have enough cream to be worth churning, and a little fermentation would "ripen" the flavour. But the cream couldn't be left waiting too long in summer-time.

Churning
Moving the cream constantly is the churning that actually produces butter by separating out the yellow fat from the buttermilk. Simply shaking it in a closed jamjar for an hour or so will work, or you can swing unseparated milk in an animal skin hung on sticks, an ancient method still used in some parts of the world.

Read more on Butter Making by visiting Old and Interesting...
(A special thank you to Old and Interesting for this information)

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vintage Double Lock Post Office Boxes

I think I hit the jackpot yesterday, yes I am super happy about it. Someone posted a listing on our local Cheapcycle group with the hopes of selling these wonderful double lock vintage post office boxes and I was the lucky first one to respond.

I am in love! Thinking about what I am going to do with them but not quite sure yet, for now I can just admire them.

Anyone know what they are worth? I will have to look around for any markings today but here's a pic, please dont drool.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Colonial Homes

When the colonists first came to America, there were no homes to move into. Some families would build a small hut and live in it until their home could be built.

In colonial times most homes were simply one big room. It was used for sleeping, eating, cooking, and working. The older children would sleep in the attics while the grown-ups and babies slept in the large room. The babies slept in cradles close to the fire. Bags filled with scratchy straw were used for mattresses in the attic. Mothers and fathers slept in a jack-bed. They could not sleep stretched out because the bed was short to save space and it was not long enough to lay straight.

A colonial home was very cold in the wintertime and it was not easy to heat the house. Each home had a giant fireplace and people burned huge logs in them to help keep the room warm. Sometimes the logs were so big that they had to be dragged into the house by horses or mules. They were kept burning all year long, even on the hottest days of summer. Sometimes in the winter, homes would get so cold that the ink used for the quill pens would freeze.

There was not much furniture in a colonial home. Sometimes a table was just a wooden board placed on two sawhorses. If there were chairs, the father was always the one to sit in one. However, most of the time there was only one chair and the family would have to sit on the floor. Some homes had a big bench called a settle. It was not comfortable to sit on, but it was a place to stay warm during the winter because it had a high back and sides.

The colonists had no glass so they would cover the windows with cloth or paper rubbed with fat to let in some light. There were many kinds of houses. One home was called a saltbox house because it had the same shape as the boxes that salt used to come in.

Colonial homes did not have bathrooms. The people would have to go outside to small places called privies or necessaries. The people would also have to get water from a well. They did not use the water for drinking or frequent bathing because they thought it was unsafe. When the colonists did take a bath they would stand in a large tub placed by the fireplace and wash themselves.

There were no closets for hanging clothes in a colonial home. If a home did have a closet it was a small, private room and it was a special honor for people to meet in someone's closet. Clothes were kept in trunks and chests or they were hung on pegs.

As a colonial family grew, the homes got bigger. Extra rooms were attached when time and money would allow. No matter how large the space was, each family thought their house was a "Home Sweet Home."

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laundry History 1800s

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.

Water could be heated in a large metal boiler or copper on a stove. A big pot boiling over an outdoor fire suited much of rural America. In urban areas there were public laundries: some with hot water and modern equipment, some much simpler and older, like the communal open-air sinks with a water supply in Italian cities. There were washing machines of a kind, but not many homes had them. Ideas from inventors working on washing machines helped improve the design of simple washboards and dollies. A plain wringer was the most common piece of home laundry machinery in 1900.


Read more on Laundry History 1800's here...

(A special thank you to Old and Interesting for this information.)



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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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We're on the prowl...

Nice title I suppose but I am really not on the prowl, just getting myself ready to hopefully be in a craft show in the fall. I am a little nervous as this will only be the 2nd craft show I've ever done and to be honest the first one.... was advertised well but I didnt sell one thing so I lost out on the money I spent to rent the booth, on top of spending all day there. Needless to say there is a craft shown on April 9th, nearby so I will check it out and see how it is before I apply to be in their next one in November. Just hope it's not on the same weekend as the Simple Goods Show in Ohio.

My first attempt was making price cards for my goodies, which by the way I will be selling double scented tarts, prairie dolls & candle mats. Here's a picture of the price cards I made, took me a while but I love how they turned out. My candle mats are currently being sold through me and also at Lizzie's Log Cabin. Be sure to give them a visit for early american items. You can also find my tarts there too! Head on over and visit them today, you will be happy you did!


I hope everyone had a wonderful day and be sure to come back tomorrow for another lesson on learning something new about Living in Simple Times.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Farming in Colonial Times

Farming in Colonial times was not just a job; it was a way of life. The whole family had chores to do. With some smaller plantations, 200 to 800 acres in size, it generally took about nine adults to keep the crops growing and harvested on time. The bigger plantations had armies of workers who labored from sun up to sun down.

Significance
Farming in Colonial times was different from farming today. Whether you were farming in New England in the 1500s, the middle colonies in the 1600s, or Southern colonies in the 1700s, there was a difference in what crops were grown. Obviously, this had much to do with the climate and type of soil. Colonial farming was a serious job and meant the difference between eating well or starving, especially in the winter months.

Farming was not limited to working in the fields, where slaves often did the back-breaking work by hand. Cooking and cleaning was done by the mistress, children and house slaves, as well as mending of fences and tools used on the fields. There was a constant stream of work to be done. Middling plantation owners not only provided for their families, but also had a chance to advance in society and afford a few luxuries. The slaves did not have this same hope. The farm was all they had to show for their hard labor.

Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, is a great place to visit to see how an actual farmhouse might have operated. It gives visitors a chance to experience the sights and sounds that might have been heard in Colonial times, as well as a chance to work hands-on with the tools that farmers used in Colonial America.

Geography
New England colonies often had the roughest time in farming. The soil near the ocean was not necessarily good for farming, and the winters were harsh on the crops that were often killed before they even grew. Still, New England farmers were able to grow enough food to feed their families and neighbors. Eventually, colonists turned to fishing as their main source of earning a living, but still continued to grow the crops they could.

The farmers in the middle colonies grew the most food during Colonial times (1500s to 1800s). In fact, much of the wheat, oats, barley, corn, and rye came from these colonies. The wheat was used to make flour, which was sold to other settlement regions. Settlements often traded crops as well, and this grew to be quite a business during this time period.

The farmers in the Southern colonies grew several different types of food as well. Of course, tobacco was of utmost importance to this region; it was treated like money and was in very high demand. Tobacco was grown mostly in Virginia (the first crops were started in Jamestown) and into North Carolina. South Carolina and Georgia grew mainly indigo and rice.

Function
Farming was a family affair. Many of the parents who ran their own farms included their children at a very early age. As the children grew, the family helped their sons establish farms of their own to help give them a head start in life. When the sons married, the fathers gave their sons the gift of livestock, land and farming equipment to help them get started. When daughters got married, they also received farm animals to give to their husbands to get their own farm started.

Slaves were a big part of Colonial farming; they did most of the hard work on the fields and helped the mistress run the house in an orderly fashion. The first slaves were brought over from Africa in the mid-1500s. Each century, more and more slaves were been transported to Colonial America and made to work without pay. They did receive food, which was usually scraps and leftovers, as well as housing accommodations that were often small and unsanitary.

House slaves were treated somewhat better than field workers. Their food was of better quality, and they oftenwere given hand-me-down clothes from the family. Female slaves were encouraged to have many children to keep a steady line of slaves in the works for the plantation owners. In fact, some female slaves were promised freedom if they had 15 children. This meant freedom for the woman, but not for her children.

Potential
Besides the food, farming was different in the type of equipment that they had available to them. Colonial farmers did not have the large machinery of today's farms. Instead, they had to rely on pure manpower as well as larger animals to help sow the land and plant the crops. Oxen were used as well as horses to pull the plows, and the family members and slaves did a lot of the picking and sorting by hand. During late Colonial times (1700s to 1800s) hand sickles and scythes replaced some of the old fashioned equipment. These were used to harvest the barley, wheat and hay.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Junkin' Finds

Well, today I hit the antique and craft mall and I picked up a few things. I got 2 Vintage Metal Banded Pantry boxes but these do not have any marking on them, so I am hoping someone can tell me their value, there was another larger pantry box (identical) to the 2 I purchased that was priced at $75 but this one also didn't have any marking on it.
I also picked up this cute little handmade bunny with a adorable tail.

There are some more things I got today too. I had 3 stump prairie dolls made by a friend and they are adorable, I am in love with the material she used on the dresses. I also just met this lady friend for the first time since meeting on facebook, I love to meet new people so this was great, we even talked a bit too.

Some other things I picked up on Junkin' Journey are a tin hanging double candle holder and 2 taper candles to go with it. Will get that up pretty soon after I get to working making my own set of 5 curtains (10 panels). Sounds like I have some work ahead of me, but in the long run, it will surely be worth it. Pictures to follow of the curtains once they are done :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Clothing in Colonial Times

As with any historical period, Colonial days had their specific dress code, which governed the types and styles of garments that were appropriate for different occasions and temperatures. Fashion trends, occupation, social status and economic power are several of the factors that determined what each Colonial citizen was supposed to wear. One possible approach to understanding Colonial dress involves dividing it into categories based on gender, occasion and social class.

Formal Menswear
The Colonial dress code dictated that men wear suits for formal occasions. Made of fabrics such as woolen broadcloth or silk, these suits were trimmed with ornate button accents. Men belonging to the upper class would order custom-tailored suits from London. Other forms of formal attire included waistcoats, striped breeches constructed of velvet, white shirts and stockings. The Colonial man would complete his ensemble with a powdered wig and leather shoes trimmed with polished metal buckles.

Formal Women's Attire
For formal occasions such as a ball, most Colonial women wore gowns. The gown was typically made of silk, with crisp ruffles and frills that began at the elbows and at the bottom of the gown. The top of the gown consisted of a bodice layered over a corset, which was constructed of boning and also known as a stay. The skirt of the gown, which was made of draped fabric layers measuring several yards, was often cut to reveal the bottom of a second, lighter skirt, referred to as a petticoat.

Casual Menswear
To cope with the hot temperatures of the Colonial summer, even upper-class men dressed in informal clothing. They choose bridges and stockings in easily washable fabrics such as linen and cotton. They traded their suits for unlined coats and light waistcoats, also made of cotton or linen. As men perspired throughout the summer day, they would change their waistcoats to hide any signs of perspiration. A light, thin cap would protect the man's head from the scorching sun.

Casual Women's Attire
Casual women's attire during the Colonial times included informal garments known as bed gowns. Bed gowns were worn daily, particularly while performing household chores. Made of loose fabric, bed gowns had three-quarter-length sleeves and were worn along with a petticoat and sometimes a stay. The result was a practical and comfortable outfit that provided women with the freedom of movement. In addition, by the 1780s, there were new trends in casual wear, causing women to shorten the skirts of their garments to end at the ankles.

Slaves' Clothing
Colonial plantation owners expected all slaves, whose days consisted of working in the field and performing household tasks, to dress alike. A male slave's clothing consisted of a linen shirt, woolen hose and a knitted cap. These garments were constructed from inexpensive imported fabrics purchased specifically for outfitting slaves. Women's attire would include calico cloaks and aprons. Both male and female slaves attempted to personalize their clothing by wearing their hair in elaborate styles, using kerchiefs for head wraps and sewing decorative fabric patches to their garments.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Colonial Baking & Ovens

How did the colonial American housewife bake her bread & cakes?

"The home brick oven--whether adjacent to the hearth in the kitchen or a separate structure outside--was designed and used exclusively for bread, cake, and pastry. If the niceties of regulating several fires on the hearth at one time challenged the skill of the cook, even more difficult was the proper regulation of the oven. One built a fire directly in it for the purpose of heating the walls, which had to hold enough heat long enough to complete that particular baking load. Since the oven had no flue, the fire smothered if the door was closed, therefore, the door was left partly open to supply oxygen for the fire and to allow the smoke to escape. The open door also allowed the cook to watch the fire. For even heat she stirred it periodically and pushed it about to different spots on the oven floor. When the fuel had burned to ashy coals, she raked them out and then tested the heat with her hand. If the oven was too hot, she allowed it to cool to the proper temperature; if it was not hot enough, she had to repeat the heating procedure with another fire. Using an oven peel to protect her hands, she put in the bread, which had been kneaded earlier and set to rise so as to be ready to bake when the oven was ready, and closed the door, not to open it again until she judged the bread done. small loaves could be baked directly on the bricks without scorching the bottom crusts. Large loaves or a very hot oven floor dictated the use of bread pans, as did cakes and pies of all sorts."
---Colonial Virginia Cookery: Procedures, Equipment, and Ingredients in Colonial Cooking, Jane Carson [Colonial Williamsburg Foundation:Williamsburg VA] 1985 (p. 71)

"Baking in the beehive oven has traditionally been an all-day task. Once one has done it, it is easily understood why colonial cooks only did one major baking each week. On baking day the family meal would most likely be a simple stew or cold meats and pies. The cook rose before dawn to set her dough and start the fire in the oven, and it would be nightfall before the products of her efforts would be finished and ready to grace the cupboard shelves. The procedure was time consuming but not complicated. The oven floor was, or should have been, swept clean with the long-handled hearth broom kept for this purpose. A small fire was started on the oven floor using the same principles used in starting a fire on the hearth. As the fire took hold, larger and larger pieces of wood were added to the oven. The oven door was closed between each addition of wood. After the largest logs were added to the oven, the door was closed and the fire allowed to burn to ashes. This process took anywhere from three to five hours, depending on the type of wood being used, the construction of the oven, and the efficiency of its draft system.

"When the fire had burned to ashes, the iron peel or a fire-shovel was used to remove any of the larger pieces of charred wood,. The hearth broom was dipped in water to keep it from catching fire, and the rest of the ashes were swept out of the oven. In a beehive oven with a built-n ash chute, the ashes could be pushed right down onto the hearth. There were many methods used by colonial cooks to test the readiness of the oven for baking. They might hold their arms just inside the oven opening and see how high they could count--less than five, too hot--more than fifteen, not hot enough. Sometimes the cook tossed cornmeal onto the oven floor. If it turned black immediately, the oven was too hot; if it turned a nice, even brown, then the oven was ready. Having determined that the oven was ready for baking, the items to be baked were placed into the various parts of the oven, dense breads in the middle, and light breads or cakes toward the front. This permitted easy removal when their cooking time was done done. The door was sealed and the food left to bake in the heat retained in these brick ovens.

"One essential piece of equipment for handling baked goods was the peel, a long-handled, shovel-like tool that permitted the cook safely to put breads and baked dishes into the heated oven and remove them once baked. Peels were either made of wood (similar to those used today by pizza bakers) or of sheet iron. When bread was to be baked without a pan, right on the oven floor, the dough was placed on the flat wide face of the peel and, with a twisting motion of the wrist by the cook, was turned off the peel onto the oven floor." ---Pleasures of Colonial Cooking, prepared by the Miller-Cory House Museum [New Jersey Historical Society:Newark NJ] 1982 (p. 14-16)

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Food in Colonial Times

Colonial meal structures/times were also different from what we know today. Breakfast was taken early if you were poor, later if you were rich. There was no meal called lunch. Dinner was the mid-day meal. For most people in the 18th century it was considered the main (biggest) meal of the day. Supper was the evening meal. It was usually a light repast. It is important to keep in mind there is no such thing as a "typical colonial meal." The Royal Governor of Virginia ate quite differently from the first Pilgrim settlers and the West Indians laboring in Philadelphia's cookshops.

If you need a basic overview on what was served for colonial meals, this information will help:

"Breakfast. The Colonial American breakfast was far from the juice, eggs and bacon of today. The stoic early settlers rose early and went straight to the chores that demanded their attention. In frontier outposts and on farms, families drank cider or beer and gulped down a bowl of porridge that had been cooking slowly all night over the embers...In the towns, the usual mug of alcoholic beverage consumed upon rising was followed by cornmeal mush and molasses with more cider or beer. By the nineteenth century, breakfast was served as late a 9 or 10 o'clock. Here might be found coffee, tea or chocolate, wafers, muffins, toasts, and a butter dish and knife...The southern poor ate cold turkey washed down with ever-present cider. The size of breakfasts grew in direct proportion to growth of wealth. Breads, cold meats and, especially in the Northeast, fruit pies and pasties joined the breakfast menus. Families in the Middle Colonies added special items such as scrapple (cornmeal and headcheese) and dutch sweetcakes wich were fried in deep fat. It was among the Southern planters that breakfast became a leisurely and delightful meal, though it was not served until early chores were attended to and orders for the day given...Breads were eaten at all times of the day but particularly at breakfast."
---A Cooking Legacy, Virginia T. Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan [Walker & Company:New York] 1975 (p. 14)

"Dinner. Early afternoon was the appointed hour for dinner in Colonial America. Throughout the seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth century it was served in the "hall" or "common room." ..While dinner among the affluent merchants in the North took place shortly after noon, the Southern planters enjoyed their dinner as late as bubbling stews were carried into the fields to feed the slaves and laborers...In the early settlements, poor families ate from trenchers filled from a common stew pot, with a bowl of coars salt the only table adornment. The earliest trenchers in America, as in the Middle Ages, were probably made from slabs of stale bread which were either eaten with the meal or thrown after use to the domestic animals. The stews often included pork, sweet corn and cabbage, or other vegetables and roots which were available...A typical comfortably fixed family in the late 1700s probably served two courses for dinner. The first course included several meats plus meat puddings and/or deep meat pies containing fruits and spices, pancakes and fritters, and the ever-present side dishes of sauces, pickles and catsups...Soups seem to have been served before of in conjunction with the first course. Desserts appeared with the second course. An assortment of fresh, cooked, or dried fruits, custards, tarts and sweetmeats was usually available. "Sallats," (salads) though more popular at supper, sometimes were served at dinner and occasionally provided decoration in the center of the table...Cakes were of many varieties: pound, gingerbread, spice and cheese."
---A Cooking Legacy (p. 24-28)

"Supper. What is there to say about a meal that probably did not even exist for many settlers during the eary days of the Colonies and later seemed more like a bedtime snack made up of leftovers?...In the eighteenth century supper was a brief meal and, especially in the South, light and late. It generally consisted of leftovers from dinner, or of gruel (a mixture made from boiling water with oats, "Indian," (corn meal) or some other meal). One Massachusetts diary of 1797 describes roast potatoes, prepared with salt but no butter. Ale, cider, or some variety of beer was always served. In the richer merchant society and in Southern plantation life, eggs and egg dishes were special delicacies and were prepared as side dishes at either dinner or supper...Supper took on added importance as the nineteeth century wore on. This heretofore casual meal became more important as dinner was served earlier in the day."
---A Cooking Legacy (p. 79-81)

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sewing Machine

Hand sewing is an art form that is over 20,000 years old. The first sewing needles were made of bones or animal horns and the first thread was made of animal sinew. Iron needles were invented in the 14th century. The first eyed needles appeared in the 15th century.

The first possible patent connected to mechanical sewing was a 1755 British patent issued to German, Charles Weisenthal. Weisenthal was issued a patent for a needle that was designed for a machine, however, the patent did not describe the rest of the machine if one existed.

The English inventor and cabinet maker, Thomas Saint was issued the first patent for a complete machine for sewing in 1790. It is not known if Saint actually built a working prototype of his invention. The patent describes an awl that punched a hole in leather and passed a needle through the hole. A later reproduction of Saint's invention based on his patent drawings did not work.

In 1810, German, Balthasar Krems invented an automatic machine for sewing caps. Krems did not patent his invention and it never functioned well.

Austrian tailor, Josef Madersperger made several attempts at inventing a machine for sewing and was issued a patent in 1814. All of his attempts were considered unsuccessful.

Read more about the sewing machine, here....

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tobacco Cloth

Early American window treatments were rarely lined, simple in design and easy to prepare, more necessity than decoration in most cases; if used at all, or a combination of the two. Hung on iron, wooden rods, or heavy twine, a simple tieback or drawing back of the curtain was common during the day. It wasn't uncommon for the window coverings to be shorter, narrower, wider or longer than the actual window to achieve the desired look or functionality. With all of these things in mind, there are many who nowadays have chosen to reproduce a two colored figured woven fabric popular in the 1770's as the perfect companion for our bedding line. Adapting the same basic practices and styles for homes of modest means of the mid 18th and early 19th centuries, we hope that many will embrace the reproduction of early American inspired window coverings.

You an also find tobacco cloth (real) but not from back in colonial times for sale. It's time for me to get a few panels or even just the cloth so I can make my own curtains.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Antique Finds and makeover Spice Rack

I had a great time with mom and also visiting the 2 antiques stores, while I wish I had more money I did pick up a few things.

1. A beautiful firkin, small sized but very nice and the patina is perfect.

2. A Vintage soda crate with 12 compartments, that I made over into my own personal spice rack. I did nothing to the crate itself, but I did use some 8 oz. square mason jars, put spices in them, wrapped a tag around the top with red/beige check homespun and I love how it turned out.

3. An adorable bunny, that I am sure will be out all year round.

4. 2 magazines. 1 is Early American Life 2/11 and the other is Country Accents 2/98 (I know a bit older but looks like it has some great articles and awesome pictures inside.)

That was my day and I am happy with everything I purchased.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Today is antique finding day....

Yep, it's Saturday and what a better way to spend this wonderful, sunny, warm day, then going out to the antique mall with my mom with the hopes of bringing home some wonderful goodies? Nothing, I tell ya.... well except winning the lottery, lol.

I just might hit the primitive store while I am there to see what new goodies the lady has out, bummer for me since everything lately has been for Easter (bunnies, chicks, etc..) now dont get me wrong, I love all the handmade holiday stuff BUT I am the type of person who likes to keep my goods out all year long with just some minor re-arranging throughout the year.

What's your type of decorating style? Do you leave your goods out all year or do you decorate for each season/holiday?

Let me know, leave me a comment and you enjoy this wonderful day.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Log Cabins...

A log cabin is a house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house. A distinction should be drawn between the traditional meanings of "log cabin" and "log house." Historically most "Log cabins" were a simple one- or 1½-story structures, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less architecturally sophisticated. A "log cabin" was usually constructed with round rather than hewn, or hand-worked, logs, and often it was the first generation home building erected quickly for frontier shelter.

By stacking tree trunks one on top of another and overlapping the logs at the corners, people made the "log cabin". They developed interlocking corners by notching the logs at the ends, resulting in strong structures that were easier to make weather-tight by inserting moss or other soft material into the joints. As the original coniferous forest extended over the coldest parts of the world, there was a prime need to keep these houses warm. The insulating properties of the solid wood were a great advantage over a timber frame construction covered with animal skins, felt, boards or shingles. Over the decades, increasingly complex joints were developed to ensure more weather tight joints between the logs, but the profiles were still largely based on the round log.

In the present-day United States, settlers first constructed log cabins in 1638. Swedish settlers in New Sweden (present-day Wilmington, Delaware) used log structures. Later German and Ukrainian immigrants also used this technique. The Scots and Scots-Irish had no tradition of building with logs, but they quickly adopted the method. The first English settlers did not widely use log cabins, building in forms more traditional to them. Few log cabins dating from the 18th century still stand, but they were not intended as permanent dwellings. Possibly the oldest surviving log house in the United States is the C. A. Nothnagle Log House (ca. 1640) in New Jersey. When settlers built their larger, more formal houses, they often converted the first log cabins to outbuildings, such as chicken coops, animal shelters, or other utilitarian purposes.

When cabins were built with the intention of applying siding, the logs were usually hewed on the outside to facilitate the application of the siding. When logs were hewed on the inside as well, they were often covered with a variety of materials, ranging from plaster over lath to wallpaper.

Read more about log cabins, here...

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Telegraph....

It was Samuel Morse’s demo of an electric telegraph in 1838 that popularized the machine. The history of the telegraph began years before Morse’s invention, but it was his invention that was able to send messages in a consistent manner.

The Beginnings of the Telegraph

In 1794, Claude Chappe came up with a non electric telegraph. Chappe’s invention employed a semaphore and flag based alphabets. It also required line of sight. The first electrochemical telegraph was invented in 1808 in Bavaria.

Samuel Soemmering employed 35 wires together with gold electrodes immersed in water. The messages could be sent a few thousand feet away.

In the United States, the first telegraph prototype to be developed was courtesy of Harrison Dyar. His invention used chemically treated paper to make dots. The chemically treated paper allowed him to relay the electric sparks.

William Sturgeon’s Electromagnet

The history of the telegraph changed when the British inventor William Sturgeon created the electromagnet in 1825. He first showed how the device could lift heavy objects. Sturgeon used a 7 ounce iron enfolded by wires and a battery cell. It would also form the basis for future telegraphs.

The Electric Telegraph Emerges

In 1830, American inventor Joseph Henry (1797-1878) displayed the electromagnet’s potential. He sent an electric current over a mile long wire. This turned on an electromagnet that set off a bell. Using the same principles, British physicists Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke unveiled the Cooke and Whetstone telegraph a few years later.

But while these early telegraphs were workable, it was Samuel Morse (1791-1872) who was able to utilize the electromagnet most successfully. He was able to combine it with Joseph Henry’s machine which no else could do. This would alter the history of the telegraph forever.

The Morse Telegraph

Morse was a professor in New York University when he showed how signals could be relayed by wire. He utilized current pulses to redirect the electromagnet. The marker would then make written codes on paper. This was how the Morse code came about. He changed the device so that the paper was covered with dashes and dots.

He gave a demo in 1838, the first in the US. But it was only in 1843 that he got Congressional approval to fund a telegraph line. It would run from Washington to Baltimore (40 miles). The history of the telegraph shows that after six years, messages were sent and received over the line.

The first news item sent was the nomination of Henry Clay by the Whig Party in 1844. That same year the line was finished. The message sent was “What hath God wroth?’. It was relayed from the Supreme Court chamber in Washington to Baltimore.

The words were picked by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of Morse’s friend.Soon the line was expanded to include New York and Philadelphia.

Several states would follow suit and it would spread throughout the country. The history of the telegraph shows that by 1877, it would face competition from another invention – the telephone. As technology improved, the telegraph would be replaced by other communication devices.

Did you know:

If your lucky you can actually find an original telegraph at many vintage and antique stores, they will still work too!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My First Prairie Doll Creation

Yesterday I mentioned that I finally got myself a pattern and low and behold even though I had gotten a pattern I actually didnt use one to make my set of 3 prairie dolls, which by the way, are for sale. The set of 3 is $25 and that includes shipping within the USA going priority mail with delivery confirmation. If your interested, leave me a comment.

Dolls on Left & Right measure 6" from head to bottom of body and doll in middle measures 8" from top of head to bottom.


Did you know:

Dolls made in North America, from the earliest primitive examples found at the sites of prehistoric villages, to those made in contemporary times, all share a handcrafted folkart tradition. Many of these dolls were made out of necessity from whatever scraps were on hand, and were substitutes for costly store-bought toys. Parents and children in Colonial America fashioned dolls from easily obtained items such as clothespins, corn husks, dried apples and rags.


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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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The Curling Iron...

The original inventor is lost in the mists of time but this much I have found out…
In 1866, Hiram Maxim applied for and obtained the first of many patents at age 26 for a hair curling iron. He also has a machine gun bearing his name.

Hiram Maxim 1840-1916.
Four years later, two Frenchmen, Maurice Lentheric and Marcel Grateau, used hot-air drying and heated curling tongs to make long-lasting Marcel waves. Twenty years later, Alexandre F. Godefroy, a French hairdresser, invented the hair dryer, composed of a bonnet attached to a flexible chimney that extended to a gas stove.

In 1905, Sarah Breedlove Walker created a cosmetic industry in Indianapolis, Indiana. She became the first African-American female millionaire in America after inventing a method for straightening hair using emollient creams and hot combs. In 1906, Charles L. Nessler, a German hairdresser working in London, applied a borax paste and curled hair with an iron to make the first permanent waves. This expensive process took a long twelve hours. Eight years later, Eugene Sutter adapted the method by designing a dryer that contained twenty heaters to do the job of waving more efficiently. Following Sutter was Gaston Boudou, who modified Sutter’s dryer and invented an automatic roller. By 1920, Rambaud, a Paris beautician, had perfected a system of curling and drying permed hair for softer, looser curls by using an electric hot-air dryer, an innovation of the period made by the Racine Universal Motor Company of Racine, Wisconsin.

Did you know:

The first made curling irons are actually still around and used to this day? Although the curling iron has evolved since Marcel's time, Marcel curling irons are still used today. They are mostly used by professional hair stylists because it is more user-friendly to have another person hold the handle and apply the pressure than to do it yourself.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Keeping Room

C/O Winter Berry Primitives
A keeping room is an area just off the kitchen of a home. Keeping rooms date back to Colonial times when families would sleep in that area when the rest of the house was cold.

Since the area could be heated by the kitchen stove, it often provided the only heated place in the house.

In Colonial times, children played there and families gathered there to read, talk, play games and often keep warm by the fire.

Today, a keeping room is called a family room, a great room and a hearth room.

To read more about The Keeping Room, click here...

Picture listed above,  is posted with permission from Winteryberry Farm Primitives, they can be visited online through their website at: http://www.winterberryfarmprimitives.com

(You can click on the picture for a larger view)

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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