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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Prairie Dolls in the making...

Ok so I finally got myself a Prairie Doll pattern from Chestnut Junction and I am excited to try them out. I was looking for this pattern, but the 2 I did get will do just fine.

Prairie dolls are perfect to tuck into your cupboard or display in your hutch, hoosier or wherever your heart desires, while I am not sure where I will display mine I will love them no matter what.

Did you know:

Rag or cloth dolls have been around since approximately 300 B.C. An Egyptian linen doll is displayed in The British Museum. Colonial Americans made rag dolls called pioneer dolls in the 17th century. One of the first Raggedy Ann dolls is marked with a patent date of Sept. 7, 1915.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Canning, preserving and all that jazz

I have to admit, I am totally new to canning and preserving and REALLY want to learn how to do it, especially drying out spices for my custom spice jars I want to make. I am one who dreams of having a pantry stock full of preserves to include jams and jellies, dried spices and vegetables too.

So if any of my readers knows a great recipe or even the perfect book to get to help me get started, please leave me a comment and also let me know what supplies I will need such as the perfect canner, tools and jars.

As many of my friends and family can tell you I surely dont have a green thumb and wish to try my hand at gardening this year, so tips and tricks are appreciated.

Did you know:
Canning began its illustrious history with Nicolas Appert of France who in 1795 discovered that food sealed in glass bottles under heat was an effective food preservation method. However, it was Englishman Peter Durand who patented the tin can packaging process in 1810.

Until next time,
Living in Simple Times

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

Welcome to Living in Simple Times

I am glad you stopped by, I appreciate that visit. Be sure to check quite often to view my daily ramblings, quotes, vintage finds and so much more! Most of my posts will include a Did you know fact, so enjoy!

Did you know?

In 1849 Walter Hunt (1776-1859) invented the safety pin. The modern safety pin was the invention of Walter Hunt. For those of you who don't know what a safety pin is; it is an object commonly used to fasten clothing (i.e. cloth diapers) together. The very first pins used for clothing date back to the Mycenaeans during the 14th century BCE and were called fibulae.


~Tracy~
Living in Simple Times