Getting Bossed Around by 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers

1948 was fraught with potential perils-- many of them right in your very own home!...

At least, that's the way it seems in this vintage booklet, 1003 Household Hints and Work Savers. From making the most of your vegetables, to dressing on a budget, and cleaning your house, this book tells you how to avert the disaster that lurks around every corner.... And with an excessive amount of exclamation points, so you know they're serious!!!

So come with me today, as we get warned... curtailed... lectured... and overly punctuated...


  • Bulging ends on tin cans signify real danger! The food inside is spoiled and poisonous. Don't open the can!
(Ack! RUN-- that can of creamed corn, it's gonna blow!)


  • Don't you throw that bacon rind away! Clean, then save it for flavoring soups and vegetables.
(Yes, MA'AM!)


  • Can't afford whipped cream? Nonsense! Light cream will whip if you will spend a little time.
(But I've got a thousand-and-three things to do and-- no, no, I'm not arguing with you. Fine, I'll do it.)


  • Don't pour milk or cream down the drain simply because it has turned sour! In the first place, if the cream is just turning, you can restore it to sweetness by adding a pinch of baking soda. If it's really sour, use it as topping for soups, in salad dressings, gravies and in baking.
(It sounds so tempting, doesn't it? Spoiled cream with baking soda in it... yum.)


  • Never-- oh, never, never!-- use soda in cooking green vegetables. It increases loss of vitamins-- and even if the vegetable looks pretty, it won't mean much with important food-value gone.
(So, um, never?)


  • No one need know you scorched those vegetables! Just set the pot in a pan of cold water and let it stand for 15-30 minutes. Don't scrape the bottom of the pot.
(Well, everyone knows now that you put it in your darned book, lady.)


  • Who's too proud for day old bread! It's not only cheaper and just as nourishing, but actually better for the teeth and gums, according to experts.

(Should go so nicely with my spoiled cream and baking soda.)


  • Many of the potato's most valuable vitamins and minerals are in the skin itself. Don't waste it-- eat it!

(Tell me, were you a drill sergeant in the war, by any chance?)


  • Not all in one lump, please! Keep raisins, citrons, currants or other fruits evenly distributed throughout your cakes by dusting them with flour before mixing them in your batter.
(Flour-crusted citrons-- my favorite!)


  • Be smart, be thrifty-- be a wardrobe magician! Plan clothing purchases to get extra service from each item in the ensemble.
(Hocus pocus and... poof!-- Giant shoulderpads!)


  • Wait, lady, wait! Before you buy that new dress, consider the possibilities for later restyling!
(Who are you and how did you get into my dressing room?)


  • If you drive a car, get in on the side nearest the wheel, instead of scraping along the whole seat until you worm your way into position, thus wearing out the seat of your fur coat.
(Yes, but you haven't really lived until you've scooched across the entire front seat in mink, dahling.)


  • Oh, them golden slippers! And the silver ones too! Applying a careful dabbing of gold or silver paint, respectively, will make them glamorously new again.
(I will wear my painted shoes with my rump-worn fur coat.)


  • Don't even think of discarding your tan shoes because you don't like the worn-out color! Give them a coat or two of good black shoe dye and there you are with an extra pair of shoes.
(Am I the only one here who see bad things afoot when the rains come?)


  • Warning! To protect your rubber swim cap, wash it thoroughly, dry, and cover with a little talcum powder or corn starch inside and out. Then store in a cool dry place.
("Beverly, you really need to do something about that dandruff." "Oh, no Marge, that's not dandruff. That's corn starch. I just forgot to rinse my bathing cap.")


  • Be good, sweet maid, and clever, too... by making a snug, warm coat out of a worn blanket... by changing a retired chenille bedspread into a short beach coat or a long house coat.
(Honey?... What happened to the bedspread?... Oh. I see. You're wearing it.)


  • To clean door knobs without injuring the wood finish behind them, cut cardboard shields to fit around the door knob and key plate. Then go to it!
(I guess this isn't one of the "time saver" activities then. "What are you making there, Suzie?" "Oh, I'm just cutting out some shields for around the doorplates...")


  • Don't shake your dust mop out the window of you want your neighbors to love you! Tie a paper bag around the mop head and shake vigorously. Then throw bag and dust away.

(Did you know the famous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys all began because of a dusty mop?)

Well, I think that's enough hints for today. Anyway, I just got a warning from the Punctuation Police-- I've reached my exclamation point limit for the entire year. (I probably shouldn't have tossed them into the mix in one lump. I really should have separated them with flour.)

Otherwise, perhaps I will see you again on this Wednesday, when we take a look at some newly thrifted finds.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Halloween Creeps Along the Mantle

Since it was a low-thrift week, this Treasure Box Wednesday I thought you all might enjoy seeing a decorating work-in-progress, with my dining room mantle. Here, you can get a sense of the long-view (please pay no attention to my streaky, streaky mirror!)...

You'll see some green foam pumpkins courtesy of Michael's, a couple of thrifted candlesticks, my great-aunt's carnival glass bowl, a terrific carnival compote I got for my birthday last year, a little folk art and my beloved little papier mache friend with his pumpkin wheelbarrow.

I was really happy how the red of my mixed media portrait-- "Ellerey," from Audrey Eclectic -- and the little costumed boy seemed to just mesh so well.

Some fresh gourds seemed appropriate, too, in this carnival bowl. I don't know why, but I am particularly fond of the ones that look like teeny pumpkins. And the more petite, the more I seem to adore them...

Here, you can see a cl0se-up of my little Halloween devil. I found him last year at the L&L Fleatique for $6, and I haven't seen his like anywhere yet.

These carnival glass plates will adorn the table, once I get my butt in gear and set it. I have some gold chargers that I think I'll use and-- well, we'll just see what kind of centerpiece moves me this time. I really never know until I play around with it.

Oh, and while I remember-- off the track of Halloween now and on to some minor thrifting-- these luster teacups were a recent thrift find. These were from St Vincent dePaul...

And here-- the small pottery face was a Salvation Army find. The larger vase was from an antique and craft mall in Monroeville. It hasn't been open long, and they seem to have some nice things. I couldn't pass this up because of the great color and the unusual shape...

So, that's Treasure Box Wednesday for this week.

If you didn't get a chance to read all about The Thrift Shop Romantic's trip back in time to the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, click here.

Or-- you could get comfy and have yourself a favorite fall beverage of your choice. Can you believe it's autumn already?

Ah, well. I guess that's what happens when you time travel. :)

A Knight- er, Day- at the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Faire

Today we're going back in time. Back... back... way back... no, a little more...

Okay, stop! Stop! Stop here! (screeeeeeech!!!!)

Here. To the middle ages. When kings were kings, and chivalry was alive, and cell phone technology was large and clunky and...

Okay, well. So a little anachronism creeps in now and then.

Yes, folks, today we are going to the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival! For those who love pageantry, fantasy, romance-- and a certain amount of silliness-- this might just be the place for

If decorating your home, you can actually find some very unique (and even tasteful) handmade items to integrate into your decor. And if decorating your own person, there's no shortage of jewelry and clothing to choose from there, either. This, in addition to exciting jousts, handsome knights, medieval nibblies, and wandering minstrels-- well, it makes a pleasant day out.

So let's enter through the guarded castle walls on this beautiful September day, and see what's in store!...

Welcome to "The Shire," a village of shops, restaurants and performance stages integrated into the landscape of West Newton, PA.

We're grateful today we wore shoes with a little bit of traction on them, because we'll be walking over fields, down glens, and into dappled forests. Starting off, we think a little bit of shopping might be in order. We'll peruse wares today from intricate pewter goblets, light switches, and necklaces, to delicate Celtic-inspired earrings, heavy brocade cloaks, incense, leather-works, forged weaponry, hand-blown glass and more.

Like here at Delight's Fantasy Art tent, we pause and are struck by the artwork's bright colors...

examine some original tapestries and clever mousepads, while I set my sights on a print that would work well in my William Morris red-and-green livingroom...

We head down the forest path and encounter the Duck Lady. Ah, there are some strange and unusual characters in these dark times! This particular one has a serious duck fetish and a repertoire of about a million duck-inspired puns...

Here she chats with a teeny little princess who is wary of any person with a strong duck fixation.

But as the rest of us quack up, the toll of bells calls to us-- and we find ourselves mystified by a truly remarkable performance...

The instrument is the Carillon, and the artist is "Cast in Bronze." The carillon consists of 35 bells, played by a modified keyboard which uses the hands and feet-- and from what we read, this is the only musical act in the world to feature this four-ton medieval instrument.

The musician, Frank DellaPenna, performs his haunting compositions to the accompaniment of recorded vocals and other supplementary melodies. One of the pieces is an intriguing medley of "Tubular Bells" and the "Phantom of the Opera" theme. We end up mesmerized.

We also end up with some CDs to play in the car. For folks who'd like to learn more about this performance and see Cast in Bronze in action, click here and go to the Media section, to check out the videos.

Appetites whetted with shopping and music, we stop for a bite to eat. Should it be soup in a bread bowl, a giant turkey leg, or...? Ah, there it is! Fish and chips and an ice cold beer-- lovely! Then a bit more wandering before the jousting begins.

This fellow in blue tells us he'll be our wizard for this evening. He basically gives us the run-down of what we can expect from the jousting today, and who our resident Knight of the Realm will be...

And this is our knight-- Sir Roderick. He's pretty dishy, which is probably why we, his people, put up with his less-than-sportsmanly "Cheat to Win" motto. He's also a bloodthirsty sort... but he wears black and gold. Always fashionable here in Pittsburgh. (Er, The Shire.)

These are Sir Roderick's challengers, Sir William in the red, and Sir IDon'tRememberHisName in green and black.

Based on his shield emblem, he may be Sir Drinksalot-- what do you think?...

Here we see the Royal Court...

The king and queen speak, to open today's jousting festivities...

And then on to the main event!

Sir Drinksalot ends up wounded due to dirty dealings by our Sir Roderick. Sir William challenges Sir Roderick to a fight to the death and... Oh wait. The exciting conclusion ends up being the 5pm show. Gosh, this is more complex and dramatic than WWF wrestling!

Well, let's do a bit more wandering.

Need any pence from Ye Olde Money Store?...

We encounter some unexpected pirates...

And in order to be fair to my male readers, we have for you this buxom wench... See, I think of you guys, too!

And in M. Sotherden Art Glass, I become entranced by some beautiful hand-crafted glass and sterling silver necklaces. These two pendants will come home with me! I love the irridecent sparkle!

I notice the owner has a web site ( as well as an Etsy shop where she sells her work ( ). Gosh, these Renaissance folks are awfully forward-thinking, in some respects, aren't they? Why, Etsy won't even exist for them for several hundred years!

Well, we take in one last musical act, and then we consider calling it a day.

Need to make a pitstop first?...

Comfy? Then we get back in our time machine and set the dials for 2008. Thanks so much for coming along with me today!

  • And did you seen last Sunday's "Fleaing Lambertville and Discovering New Hope"? If not, click here.
Otherwise, perhaps I'll see you this Wednesday for our next Treasure Box feature.

As they say in Medieval times, "Huzzah!"

Treasure Box Wednesday: The Fruits of Thrifting

Funny how a thrift store can be empty one week-- nothing but some mismatched flatware, a few old patterns and a couple of chipped cups-- and then a week or two later, the shelves can be overflowing.

That's pretty much what happened this last weekend-- the overflowing part. I hit the same stores I'd hit just two weeks ago-- the St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill in Monroeville, and it had gone from famine to feast.

Part of the bounty is this Victorian transferware bowl. It's made by Dresden (of Ohio!), a whiteware pottery manufacturer around the turn of the 1900s.

The bowl has crazing, the little character cracks which are natural for whiteware, and don't detract from the value of the piece. But there aren't any chips, cracks or mars to this one. Hard to believe, really. And for $3.00!

I also found this lovely half-finished needlepoint of fruit...

It probably was supposed to be a chair cushion, but I think it would also look lovely in a vintage frame. I was really fond of the colors they used, and couldn't resist.

The same store had a feast of reading materials for me. I'd been hoping to get to read a few of Agatha Christie's tales feature her detectives Tommy and Tuppence, and the Goodwill certainly had them. In fact, they had a lot of other Christies, as well-- ideal for anyone hoping to acquire and instant collection. These editions were from the 60s.

In there is also Terry Pratchett, who I look forward to reading, as I've been driving around listening to a terrific audiobook of his. (Thanks a bunch for the recommendation, J.D.-- you were so, so right!)

Well, once we solve the mystery of who killed whom in the library with the candlestick... you need the candlestick, right?..

I got two of these-- $0.99 a piece-- from the St. Vincent de Paul. The base is cut glass and the style really looks like some Depression era pieces I've seen, though I can't find these particular ones in my books. But hey, old or new, they're quite stylish for the not-quite-a-dollar I paid for them. Cut glass, and cut-rate prices! Not bad.

Lastly, I found this nice little black purse...

It seems to be in great condition. It's no particular name I know, but I don't really care much about that. Basically, I will be using this for fall.

So here sits the full still-life of these thrifted fruits!

And me? I'm going to go devour those books. Have a wonderful week, my pals in thrift!

Flea-ing Lambertville and Exploring New Hope

A little over a week ago, I believe I'd mentioned I was heading east to Philly to meet a couple of blogging friends. Claire and J.D. turned out to be as interesting, pleasant and funny as their on-screen personas--- not a surprise there, really, as I'd been "talking" with them online for some time now.

So, today, come with us as we experience a road-trip filled with history, intriguing architecture, delightful food and, especially, a day-trip to one of my old haunts-- the Lambertville/New Hope area along the Delaware River.

While our Saturday-about-town in Philadelphia involved much rain and puddle-jumping, there was still a lot of to appreciate-- including Philadelphia's series of elaborate murals, and its eye-catching architecture. I loved the way the top of the building showcased its shape against the hazy skyline...

The facades of many of the buildings were very ornate, though like many old cities, they're found in varying levels of repair depending on neighborhood... This building dates from "MDCDI"-- or 1901...

And here's the Ocean Harbor, a popular dim sum restaurant in Philly's Chinatown where we enjoyed our Saturday brunch. It actually looks a bit sunnier in the photo than it really was. My squishy shoes can attest to that! As Claire is from England, she was used to the rain, but the humidity-- well, it left us all a bit overwhelmed. No reason not to duck inside to the restaurant!...

The food was extremely fun and memorable, with the waitstaff continually popping up with carts offering new rounds of delicacies, which they wrote down in some mysterious-looking system of circles on the check...

The long, lean and leafy veggies there are Chinese broccoli. It had a great fresh flavor, and a texture more reminiscent of a leafy asparagus than what we know to be mainstream U.S. broccoli. You can see some half-demolished General Tso's chicken here, plus the lovely dim sum dumplings filled with things like pork, a sweet bean paste, and other goodies.

Sunday, courtesy of our kind host J.D., offered a day-trip to Lamberville, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania-- a quaint and quirky area that straddles the Delaware River. It flea markets, antiques and gift shops, and on-the-water dining.

Our first stop was the Golden Nugget Antique Market. This was particularly amusing for me, because my parents and I used to come here when I was a kid living in New Jersey...

The memories all came flooding back as I saw the rows of tables, bearing everything from Victoriana, to leather-bound books, to a gaggle of troll-dolls, to fine china...

I don't know who the lady is above, but at least she's smiling. I think she's happy with her bag of flea marketed produce there.

In one of the flea market's out-buildings I uncovered a couple of vintage cooking and homemaking books I believe I'll be sharing with you all later, as future posts. I liked in particular that the one is sponsored by Shop Rite, a grocery store chain I used to go to when I was growing up in New Jersey....

We were wondering why the "Household Hints" stopped at 1003, and not 1000 or 1001. Perhaps they got so jazzed about their hints, that they simply couldn't limit themselves to your standard number of tips.

I also got me some knobs (Claire, stop laughing...)... er, glass cabinet pulls, rather... to go on my computer desk and "Shabby Chic" it up a bit. You can see the original knob is on the right top, and the "new" old glass knob next to it.

Once we had scoured the Golden Nugget fleamarket, we got back in the car, and headed to New Hope, Pennsylvania, via Lambertville. With his Colonial and then Victorian-influenced architecture, it might remind you a bit of New Orleans, or Key West...

Here, we're headed over the Delaware River to New Hope. That's Claire's head there in silhouette on the right...

Homes, restaurants and a playhouse line this river. And as you can see, it was a perfect day-- very different, weather-wise, from just the day before!...

Here is New Hope Station, just one of the landmarks of the historic Pennsylvania town...

And we were just in-time to catch a shot of one of the local trains chugging through...

The shop below is unlike any I'd ever been in before... the TearDrop Memories "Post-Mortem Gallery." Not for the feint of heart but fascinating just the same, the shop's emphasis is on the darker side of Victoriana-- with Victorian hair jewelry (made of hair, not to go in hair), post-portem photosand paintings from the 1800s, 100-year-old preserved funerary wreaths, eerie portrait art, theatrical props, books, pottery, and Victorian birdcages.

The shop taps in to the Victorians' maudlin embrace of death as well as life. The amount of memories preserved and accumulated here can seem almost impossible to take in. This doll certainly seems to be startled by it all, anyway...

The area offers something pretty much for everyone, though. From hand-blown glass gifts and clothing from various parts of the world, to stained glass window and lamps, art galeries, kitchy bobbleheads and hologram art, and every conceivable hot sauce brand you can imagine...

The above was just one shelf in an entire hot sauce store.

We stopped for a Rita's Italian ice and strode the streets where people dined in outdoor cafes, and where motorcycle fans parked their rides and chatted with fellow officiandos.

We took in a new type of... um... lawn art that is either making a statement that simply eluded me, or is the next fad to replace plastic lawn flamingos...

And we took in the more subtle details of the town, like this quiet, shaded veranda overlooking a canal...

We imagined spending the day there with a lemonade and a laptop, just rocking on a white wicker chair and documenting the world going by... Well, we're bloggers, after all.

But what a place to blog!

Well, that pretty much wraps up our trip to Lambertville and New Hope...

Otherwise, I hope to see you this coming Wednesday, for our next "Treasure Box" post. Thanks, my friends, for stopping by!