Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Library Find

One of my all time favorite things to do is to peruse the shelves at the library and find little gems to read.  I  especially like the organizational section and the craft/sewing shelves.  This last trip to the library with the kiddos I found this book: Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman .  This is one of the most charming books I have seen in a while.  It was on the shelf with other sewing books, so I picked it up thinking it would be about notions (buttons, snaps, decorative stitches, etc.) that had been used in the past on clothing.  And the book does touch on some of that, but it is so much more.
The book's introduction acquaints you with Mary Brooks Picken .  I had never heard of this woman, but after reading her brief biography and the rest of the book, I fell in love.   She made being a homemaker, not just what women had to do, but made it an art.  She opened the The Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences.   The school had correspondence courses in dressmaking, millinery, cooking, fashion design, beauty and homemaking.  There were newsletters that went out to students between 1916 and 1934.  Amy Barickman, the author of this book, took those newsletters and felt that much of the information that was still relevant for today's woman.  And I agree.  As I read some of these articles, it reaffirmed to me I was born 60 years too late.  I have been in love with the styles and trends of the 1920s and 30s.  I would have loved to have been the housewife who would find these little newsletters in my postbox.  I would have devoured the information and tried to apply it to my life.  I would love to apply some of these tips and skills to my 21st century life.
Some of the quaint things I read were on beauty: "...too  much rouge, too much powder, like chewing gum, is seldom evidenced by a woman of refinement"
Or on having a fulfilling life: "...We must measure our lives in terms of what gives us joy.  When we do that, we build up happiness in our lives out of what we do.  Then, with the advance of our years, we can say, as did Julia Ward Howe, when asked if it wasn't harder to grow old, "No, the deeper I drink the cup, the sweeter it grows.  The sugar is all at the bottom."
On becoming a little plumper in our mature years: "In the struggle to keep young, women often view the approach of flesh with something like despair.  But good, firm flesh, rightly distributed, makes a woman look younger after she has passed 35." ...AMEN, more proof that I was just born too late.
The book is sectioned by month and within each month there is beauty advice, inspirational essays, patterns, hand stitching tutorials and recipes.  I would love to spend each month trying the patterns and skills that are taught within the pages, but unfortunately I will have to return this book to the library, but I think I am going to purchase a copy to add to my own personal library.  

1 comment:

Mom said...

For sure it is a Nikki book. Written about a time when life was slower and more refined. When people took the time to enjoy the little things more and not to plaster themselves with all of the crudity of the world.