By in Random

1886 Household Tips

Great Grandmother went from teacher to housewife pretty darn fast. Since paper was scarce 129 years ago, she clipped recipes and tips from the local newspaper and pasted them over the notes she took while attending Illinois State Teachers College in 1886.

1. Paste
You will need one teaspoonful of powdered starch for this one. Dissolve the teaspoonful of starch in just a bit of cold water. Then, pour boiling water over the starch and cold water and stir until it becomes thick. Next, boil the mixture for about 5 minutes. If you run out of Elmer's glue, you will have some good sticky stuff to use as paste. (1886)
2. A Nice Salve for Your Hands and Lips
Winter really does a number on lips and hands. Just mix "sweet oil," which is the name they used in the 19th century for olive oil, with an equal amount of beeswax. Boil the sweet oil and the beeswax for just a few minutes. Those dry hands and chapped lips will be soft and pretty again. (1886 )
3. A Lovely Rag Rug
For this decorative rag rug, you will need a "coffee sack." No coffee sack? If you can get your hands on some burlap, you are good to go. S ketch a design of your very own on the coffee sack, or your burlap substitute. Use a coarse crochet hook to drag rags in loops from the underside of the sack. I suppose a thick yarn would work also. (1886)

Image Credit » Image is mine.

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maxeen wrote on February 22, 2015, 12:25 PM

Flour and water was used as well and I remember the rag rugs,very collectable now,good ones cost a fortune..

CoralLevang wrote on February 22, 2015, 12:26 PM

My aunt DeeDee used to crochet. I remember kitchen "rugs" in front of the sink and stove, crocheted out of plastic bread wrappers. They would cut them in long strips somehow and use that as their rag yarn for them.

For those so inclined, here is the link to the Mother Earth News article from 1972:

Last Edited: February 22, 2015, 12:28 PM

Kasman wrote on February 22, 2015, 12:40 PM

Thank goodness that today we can just go to the store and buy what we need!

UK_Writer wrote on February 22, 2015, 2:33 PM

I second that! We've more choices, more options, more ways to find out about things. God bless the Internet and bookmarks ... and ebay :)

msiduri wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:00 PM

How time consuming and how tedious! When did they catch their favorite TV shows? *innocent look*

GemstonePink wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:23 PM

I wish I had one of those rag rugs! Not sure I would whip one up on my own, but would be fun to try.

GemstonePink wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:24 PM

Thank you for the link. Would love to take a look at that craft.

GemstonePink wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:25 PM

Well, I suppose those days were pretty darn boring. No TV, no Internet!! A nightmare for sure.

GemstonePink wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:26 PM

I third that! It must have taken forever to create something of need back in the day. Tedious!

maxeen wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:26 PM

Thanks for the link-just had a look--

GemstonePink wrote on February 22, 2015, 4:27 PM

Those poor folks. Work, work, work all the time. Whew!

RonElFran wrote on February 22, 2015, 6:13 PM

It must be great to have such a memento of your great grandmother's life as a young woman. I'm sure reading those notes and clippings make those long ago days real.

j2jworkz wrote on February 22, 2015, 6:49 PM

Good to know if I run out of Elmers!

lookatdesktop wrote on February 22, 2015, 8:36 PM

these are clever little tips here. I wonder why I didn't think of them. I think some of the old ways are still good today.

lookatdesktop wrote on February 22, 2015, 8:38 PM

I think this is very clever as a way to be creative but I couldn't do this. I don't have the patience.

lookatdesktop wrote on February 22, 2015, 8:40 PM

I second that. although I would never do this I can really appreciate the fact that at one time humans had the will and patience for it.

morilla wrote on February 22, 2015, 10:27 PM

Sometimes, these types of "historical documents" are a gold mine of information. Sometimes, they have to be taken in the context of their time as many of the parts and pieces are no longer available, been deemed 'hazardous to your health,' or are expensive to obtain when, once, they were everyday items.

allen0187 wrote on February 23, 2015, 8:13 PM

i know the trick about the homemade paste. That surely works but can be a bit messy when preparing it. First time I've read about the other two tips you've written here.