The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Apr 10, 1904, and is a short article on embroidery.

School for Housewives – The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

While scattered examples of the picturesque “Dutch” designs have been displayed on fancy-work counters for the last year or more, it is only of late that we have come to realize the full possibilities of these quaint patterns.

A great liking for them is manifesting itself in the advance sales of summer fancy work. Even the Japanese motif, with its topical interest, will prove no more than a powerful rival.

The sturdy Hollanders, with vrouws and children, are to be found upon every class of handwork. Whether for needle, carving tool or scorch pencil, what more effective treatment could be desired for the border of a table cover than a circle of tots in sabots playing some Dutch equivalent for “ring-around-a-rosy?”

Some good subjects for the decorator are shown in today’s illustrations. The laundry or toy bag in heavy yellow linen is trimmed with a stamped band all ready to embroider, there’s an effective little box, also decorated by needlework, and a desk outfit which then could be copied either in stitchery or burnt wood.

Pillow covers are especially attractive carried out in this way. and half a dozen or more of smart patterns have appeared.

For bureau boxes, wooden mirror backs, and the thousand and one little furnishings of boudoir or living room, it would be difficult to name a more satisfactory decorative scheme.

Marion Harland

Council Table Talks, Mainly About Babies and Mothers
Good Recipes by the Contributors

Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

This is the second article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 23, 1902, and is a fun article on how to make tissue and waxed paper flowers.

School for Housewives – Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

Tissue and crepe paper flowers can be made more handsome and durable by waxing them. The process is quite an easy one, very inexpensive, considering the result obtained.

When intending to wax flowers take care to arrange them on a stout wire stem, strongly attached to the flower, as the wax will make the flower heavy, and if the stem is weak the flower is likely to droop or even break at the base.

The paper is not waxed before the flower is made. First finish the flower and tint it as desired. The wax (refined paraffine, retailing at fifteen cents a pound at the drug store) is put in a small, rather deep agato saucepan and melted. Leave the saucepan on the back of the stove, where it will keep melted and yet not boil or get too hot. Add nothing to the wax.

When the wax is ready dip your blossoms quickly into it, one at a time, and when the surplus wax has run back into the pan lay the soft waxed flower on a sheet of blotting paper and proceed in the same way with another flower. While the wax is soft there may be sprinkled, if desired, dip each blossom or leaf a little “diamond dust.” This is procurable at the druggist’s at ten cents an ounce. It gives to the flower a dewy or frosted appearance. The flowers, however, look well without it.

In making lilies or other flowers with large blossoms that must be grouped again on a single stem to imitate nature, do not finish the stem or plant before waxing.

Make all the buds, blossoms and leaves necessary, wax them one by one and group them as desired. Then cover the stems with tissue paper and wax the main stem by pouring wax on it from a spoon.

As Easter is fast coming and many will not be able to purchase hothouse lilies, the following directions for making the different varieties of lilies will be valuable. And if well made, they look quite natural.

The Easter lily has for center one pistil and five or six stamens. The pistil is made by covering a wire with green tissue paper, forming a little mail at the upper end; the stamens are made by covering a piece of wire, about five inches long, with deep orange-yellow tissue paper, having the paper wrapped in such a manner at the upper end as to be flat and one sixth of an inch in width, for about one inch in length.

This wider part is bent over. The pistil and stamens in the tiger lily are done in the same way. In the illustration, both the tiger lily and Easter lily show the arrangement.

For the petals, cut six pieces of white crepe paper, same shape as Fig. S, about ten inches in length, and two inches wide as the widest part. Cut six pieces of white covered wire (green can be used if white is not to be had) about fourteen inches long, and paste one length wise through the centre, from point b to a of each petal. Arrange the six petals around the centre, with the wired side out and about one-third of the petal (end a) bent outward gracefully. Tie all together at base b and make calyx of green tissue to cover ends of wires, and add the leaves, which are out about the same shape as the petals, and of varied length.

If an entire stalk of the Easter lily plant is desired, first made a few buds of various sizes, then three or four blossoms, then the leaves disposed along the length of the stalk, smaller leaves nearer to the blossoms, getting gradually larger when nearing the base. More leaves are arranged at the base, that it may look like the growing plant. Then leave a few inches of the stalk without any leaves at all. This is to play that role of root and be painted in the sand of a flower pot or jardinière.

These directions apply to the making of “tiger-lilies.” The exceptions are these: The stamens in the tiger lilies are covered with a light shade of yellow, while the petals are made of orange-color crepe paper. Some blossoms have the petals only slightly curved, as in the Easter lily, while some others (those supposed to be withering) have the petals rolled as shown in the illustration. The orange-color petals can be left plain or tinted.

Make the spots on the ordinary tiger lily with ink, taking a burnt match to apply the ink. If other varieties of lily are desired, such as the “Japanese,” etc., make the markings to imitate nature, using ink or water-colors.

A small quantity of diamond dye of the correct color, diluted in water, is useful in tinting flowers, and can be made as deep or as light in color as desired.

Even if the petals of the tiger lily are not rolled as shown in the illustration they must be bent outward in a more decided manner than the petals of the Easter lily. In the last named the petals are first brought upward in a cup-like fashion before being bent outward. In nature the tiger lily does not form a deep cup, as does the Easter lily, so the petals must, of course, be bent accordingly.

When quick work is more to be desired than a close imitation of nature, the Easter lily may be made in the simple way illustrated by the blossom in the upper right hand corner. To make it, cut a piece of crepe paper four inches wide, and six inches long, the lengthwise edges together, and make six rounded scallops at one end for the upper edge of the flower; with the finger spread the wrinkles in each of the six scallops, at the same time curving and bending them outward as shown. The centre is formed of a pistil and five stamens, as in the regular Easter lily. The lower edge is gathered around that centre and the rest of the work is done in the same way as the Easter and tiger lilies. At a distance it looks quite natural and effective.


This flower is, of all lilies, the easiest to make, and whether “dwarf” or “giant” calla is desired, the directions fur cutting are the same. Four or five stalks of calla lilies, planted in a jardinière, look very pretty and natural.

The diagram A D E F B C shows how the white crepe must be cut. The edges are made alike, so that the pattern can be folded over and the line C E laid on a double fold of the crepe paper. The lines A and B from a to d, and d to b, are glued together. A long bud (for centre) is made of yellow crepe, taking a piece five or six inches long and two inches wide, shaping it as shown in the illustration.

Twist the upper end tightly and gather at the base, fastening with a wire. Insert this bud inside the pasted white petal and fasten together as the base G, leaving the ends of the wire for a stem.

Now stretch the edges D E F, flattening and drawing them backward gracefully, and the blossom is complete.

Cut green leaves like Fig. P and arrange them naturally along the stem.


It is incorrect to call this flower the “fleur de lis.” The French name “fleur de lis” belongs by right to the Easter lily, which is France’s national flower. The iris, then, to call it by its right name, is one of the most difficult of all flowers to make. It is, however, so beautiful that the effort will be amply compensated by the result.

The iris is made from white crepe paper, of a heliotrope tint, and is composed of six petals, in two sets of three each. As the crepe is cut on the bias, the petals must be made in half sections, six each (Fig. A and B) so that when joined by gluing around a six inch long petal wire, the grains of crepe will take a V course from base of petal outward. This necessitates replacing the pattern on the paper each time three half-petals are cut.

When joining half-petals hold the piece of crepe, with glued wire between, on the straight edges. Fig. B shows half of the lower petal, and Fig. A half of the upper petal. On the lower petal glue some yellow cotton, as indicated in the illustration.

In putting the flower together, two upper petals should be made to curve upward in the fashion of the tulip, with one curved and bent down close to the stalk. The three lower petals are bent outward, as shown, and the edges of each of the six petals must be pulled or stretched, to gibe a natural ruffled effect. When this has been done tint the flowers; the upper petals must be tinted only slightly, while the lower petals an be tinted from light to very dark. The green leaves are cut from green crepe paper, long, and narrow, and wired on the back at the centre.

Marion Harland

The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
A Pretty Embroidered Net
Recipes for Two Tempting Dishes

Hardanger Embroidery and Other Novelties in Lenten Fancy Work

This is the first article in March of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Mar 6, 1904, and is a very short article on embroidery.

School for Housewives – Hardanger Embroidery and Other Novelties in Lenten Fancy Work

The coming of Lent is often a single for the introduction of some novelty in fancy work, and the needlewoman has no cause to be disappointed in the Lenten output this year.

She can choose among the recently brought out Hardanger and the many attracting forms of cross-stitch, which, according to best authorities, “will be everything” for the next six months.

The Hardanger, a Swedish embroidery, is available for many kinds of fancy articles. Table covers, sofa pillows, bureau boxes are all being carried out in it.

Although hailing in modern times from Sweden, the Hardanger pattern was originally Persian. Delicate Oriental intricacies are perfectly recognizable if the motif is closely studied for a moment.

The vogue of cross-stitch has revived the old-time canvas backgrounds, which are all propitious for work of this kind. Everything, down to the smallest sachets and glove cases, is being built upon these canvases.

A couple of new sachets made in this style are shown in the illustration.

The Lenten seer will also be interested in the pair of pretty work bags shown for her benefit. Cretonne is a good material for these – and a cheap one.

For utility work, if time can’t be spared for frivolities, I would suggest one of the little crocheted sweaters represented here.

It would be hard to name a more serviceable garment than this, especially at the present time of year.

Coats will soon be coming off, and when they do, such a jacket will be found about the handiest thing imaginable.

The two models illustrated are “latest out” in their line. One of them is the Norfolk effect; the other has a nautical finish.

Marion Harland

Secret of Good “Quick Bread”
Summer Curtain Time Coming
Tasty and Delicious Recipes
Topics of Interest to Housewives Discussed With One Another and Marion Harland

My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

This is the second written article in February of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Feb 23, 1902, and is a longer article on managing the household.

School for Housewives – My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

Just now it is a couvre-pied of shaded crimson, a gift for a dear old friend who, having everything that money can buy, will appreciate the tender memories of a forty years’ intimacy wrought into the warm-colored web. Her initials are to be embroidered on the central strip as a sure seal to set upon the sweet assurance that it was designed for her, her only. If the gift will have its story for her it has a hundred stories for me. Dickens tells us how the demoniacal Madame Defarge knit the names of the victims proscribed by the Republic into the work that went with her to the shop, the market place and the guillotine. A series of home-pictures glows under my eyes as I unfold, one after another, of the strips that will presently be crocheted together with rope-silk, after which the rug will be heavily fringed with shaded wools and silks. The setting and background of all are the same. The long, low library, lined with books; the rich glow of firelight and lamp, and on the other side of a Chippendale table that once belonged to Martha Washington, the reader whose well-modulated tones have given me within six months Lecky’s “Map of Life,” Justin McCarthy’s “Reminiscences” and “History of Our Own Times.” Just now we are deep in his “Four Georges.” It is a habit that goes well with the soothing continuity of knitting-work, to improve our acquaintance with out chosen author for weeks together. After many evenings of this close communion, we know him forever. My couvre-pied is better than a chronological table to me, an album of “snap-pictures,” visible to me alone. I could indicate the vey inch that grew into being under my fingers while Bradlaugh’s six months’ struggle to take the oath of membership was in telling, and the long, bright scroll on which is stamped in (to others) invisible characters the pathetic lingering of Queen Caroline’s last hours.


I learned to knit golf stockings while on the Scheldt, while our steamer was becalmed by the stillest, stickiest, thickest fog that has visited Holland in a century. We lay “As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.” for three mortal days and nights, our dreads of famine imperfectly allayed by the purser’s assurance that we were victualed for a fortnight. An English matron, fair of face, ample of figure and low-voiced, was knitting golf stockings for her university son, and cordially offered patterns, wools and needles to me. Being English, she did not see the faint humor of the “situation” when I remarked that the transatlantic athlete would wear the stocking I had begun (if we ever saw land again) was 6 feet 2½ in his stockings, and that I expected to finish one pair before we got to Antwerp. I sent to London from Florence for pattern book and materials, and wrought six pairs than winter. They are written all over with scenes from “Romola,” “The Makers of Venice,” “The Makers of Florence,” Jamieson’s “Legendary Art” and Villari’s “Savonarola.” As they stride past me on bleak winter days, or when November stubble is russet brown. I have sometimes a queer constriction of heart and throat that means nostalgia. I could declare that I smell the violets which overflowed our table from October to March, and the roses so riotously abundant that black-eyed Lelinda strewed my chamber floor two inches deep with the damp petals to lay the dust before sweeping. Some woman, Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz, I think, once wrote a poem to her knitting work – “My Companionable Kitting Work” the called it in her verse. Mine is solace, and sedative, gentle diversion, and effective guard against ennui and impatience, the confidante of restless discontents and of unspoken dreams. Forty-odd years ago I was guilty of the vanity – pardonable surely in a girl who prided herself upon making all her presents – of displaying the results months of happy occupation that never approximated toil to “a superior woman.” She praised judiciously and satisfactorily, if more gravely, than I had expected, and when the last article had been inspected laid her hand upon my shoulder impressively: “Dear child, do you know what I have been thinking of while this display was going on? That by rights all these things should be dyed as red as blood – the blood of murdered time!” Stunned as I was, I had the presence of mind to offer a word of extenuation, as I would have raised an arm to ward off a blow. “But I have done it all in the gaps left by other things – real duties, you know. I began them more than a year ago. They have been what grandmamma called ‘holding pieces.’ If I had been busy with them I should have been doing nothing in the ‘betweenities.’ When I was hearing my little sister’s lessons, and waiting for the rest to come in to prayers or meals, and chatting with girl callers, and entertaining father and the boys in the evening, and in the long summer days in the country, when it was too hot to practice or to write or study. I have always had a bit of work in my basket that I could catch up at any minute. I can’t feel that I have murdered time. I have only used up odd quarter and half hours instead of keeping my hands folded.” She pursed her lips and shook her had. “The ‘betweenities,’ as you call them, might have been filled with better things, my love. But I was not born ??? the world right. Each of us must account for herself for the talents committed to her. Only – the napkin is a napkin even when covered with the finest of needlework and edged with lace!” I hope – and I try to believe now – that she meant well. She bruised my feelings terribly at the time, and left a raw place on my conscience that was long in healing. As I gained in life’s experiences I worked my way out of the fog she had shed about my perceptions of good and evil, and set up for myself a theory as to “fancy-work” utterly opposed to my mentor’s, and, to my apprehension, quite as dignified.


Because it has a dignity of its own to keep up, I object to the compound word just used. The dainty devices that have grown under women’s otherwise idle fingers for a thousand generations merit a nobler classification. I do not speak of professional tasks done for money. That is labor. As soon as the work element informs the needles or crochet and netting hook, the graceful play ceases to be recreation and a benefaction. She who appoints for herself a certain number of rounds or a given space to be covered within a set time at once loses the best good of her diversion. But for her “holding piece” many a woman would have gone mad under the pressure of sorrow, the gnawing worry of sordid cares, the racking of suspense. Fancy-work lightens dark days and infuses poetry into the commonplace that but for this “maybe” would be one inexorable “must do.” Ah, the stories that are tragedies, stitched into the holding pieces bequeathed to us by our grandmothers and maiden great-aunts; the comedies, love-stories and poetry laughed and cried over and lived, while we fill in the blessed “betweenities” without which life would be all unparagraphed prose! Men and moralists who decry fancy-work as frippery and wasted time are ignorant of the sedative properties it possesses, so long – upon this I insist – as it is not allowed to degenerate into a task. The flash of the kneedle, the swish of the silk, the click of the knitter’s slender steels, the dart of the crocket hook in and out of the gossamer web it is weaving – symbolize mental and spiritual conductors. They carry off and dissipate harmlessly electric charges from nerves and heart. To secure similar ends our husbands smoke and play billiards, and – if rustic – whittle. Better a plethora of golf stockings, slippers and afghans than nicotine and shavings.

Marion Harland

The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
Making a Neat, Comfortable Pair of Slippers for the Bedroom

Pastime and Pin Money in Crystoleum Pictures

This is the fifth article of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jan 31, 1904, and is a little longer article on the crystoleum method of colouring photographs. A quick google of crystoleum paintings provides a number of examples including a nice example of one where the two glass plates have been pulled apart to show the paint work.

Like many of Marion Harland’s articles this is one that is indicative of the times that they lived in. Compared to present day where a coloured photograph is the norm it is interesting to say the least on the amount of effort that was required to create coloured pictures. I must laugh, however, as I imagine the first efforts of school children who might not have abided by the instructions for acceptable colours and instead created purple or green faced people instead.

School for Housewives – Pastime and Pin Money in Crystoleum Pictures

Who has not wished, in looking at a photograph or other attractive picture, that, by some easy process, it could be colored?

The wish is now almost as readily realized as those of the nursery tales which became facts by a single gesture of the fairy wand.

The magic wand that makes real the present day wish for colored pictures is crystoleum.

Strictly speaking, crystoleum painting is by no means a new art, but until recently revolutionized by the invention of new methods and apparatus, it was a very poor art at best. The old-fashioned method of sand-papering the photograph and then treating it to a wax bath made the work at once trying and tedious, with the result that few reached the desired haven. By the new process, however, it is simplicity itself. Indeed, there are few arts which are at the same time so easy to acquire and so well worth acquiring. The labor has been abolished, and crystoleum painting today is a veritable delight and a pleasure.

The materials are neither numerous nor expensive. Before any actual painting can be done, three distinct processes are necessary. The photograph must be fixed on the first glass, he former rendered transparent by a special preparation, after which it is treated to a coating of preservative. This completes the preliminary preparations, and the photograph is then ready for painting. All colors on the first glass must be put on very thinly, and strengthened at the back of the second glass, two glasses being necessary in all crystoleum work.

Should a portrait subject be selected, the eyes, eyebrows and eyelashes will require the first attention. Then the lips should have a soft and natural appearance. Hair needs delicate treatment. Flowers, lace, jewelry and smaller draperies may be painted in appropriate colors. The second glass can then be taken in hand.

Strips of gum-paper are pasted down each see of the picture, as it is most essential that the glasses should not touch. It is the addition of the second glass that gives the wonderfully soft and ivory-like appearance so peculiar to well-painted crystoleums. Flesh tints are applied tickle upon the back of the second glass, also dresses, backgrounds, skies, etc. The picture is then mounted and bound ready for framing. Pictures can be reproduced in this way in almost any size, from carte-de-visite to large photographs 16 inches by 20 inches. The result is a really beautiful colored picture, suitable for hanging in the drawing room.

If the instructions are carefully followed amateurs will be satisfied and delighted even with their first picture, and consider it quite good enough for framing. Not only is crystoleum painting fascinating work, but as an educational medium should be welcomed by parents and school teachers. It first teaches all young people the value and meaning of colors, and how to use them. It makes them interested in everything around them, the color of the landscape, the architectural points of buildings, etc. They also unconsciously notice the color and form of flowers, trees, the decorative art displayed in furnishing rooms, etc.

But the work will owe its greatest vogue to the fact that by its means the amateur can make the most lovely miniatures of herself, friends and relations. If you look at an ordinary photograph you must admit at once that it would be far more charming if by some magic of the photographer’s art the hair, eyes, lips and cheeks revealed their natural colors. Then take snapshots; how much more interesting and fascinating they become when colored. Above all, crystoleum painting is by no means difficult to learn. It can be quickly mastered by everyone of ordinary intelligence. You can spend a few hours upon a picture, or longer, or spread it over a week, just as the fancy takes you. Some enthusiasts spend a fortnight or even three weeks in producing photographs of some of the famous masters in colors, and lovely pictures they have made.

Girls, too, can make money out of crystoleum painting. Many already do so by icing lessons to others. Some add quite a snug little sum to their income by painting pictures and then selling them, either to friends, or through dealers, or by advertising them. Photographs of local interest, nicely colored at bazaars, while colored portraits make admirable Christmas and birthday presents and are greatly appreciated.

Marion Harland

Good Recipes for the Housewife
Household Topics Discussed by Marion Harland and the Council

American Women Learn Torchon Lace Making

This is the first article of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jan 3, 1904, and is a short column on the sprouting popularity of Torchon Lace in America.

Now what exactly is torchon lace?

Torchon is one of the simplest lace making methods to learn although its popularity in mainland Europe did not spread to England until the late 19th century. In the television series Lark Rise to Candleford the main character’s mother, Emma Timmins, made and sold torchon lace as a reliable form of income until the popularity of machine made lace made her work redundant and comparatively expensive.

I can imagine that the pioneer women of the Mowat district would have had to create their own lace decorations for dresses and other cloth items by hand as they would not have had much money to buy embellishments. It would be interesting to see a comparison of all the different patterns the pioneer women might have known and brought with them from their home countries.

School for Housewives – American Women Learn Torchon Lace Making

One of the most thoroughly serviceable laces for general purposes is torchon, especially in its simpler forms.

It is only of late that women are discovering how easy some of these attractive patterns are to do.

Since the discovery has been made several little classes with an enthusiastic patronage have sprung up in our different large cities.

There are so many purposes to which a good strip of torch on can be put!

It makes a pretty and durable finish for the various articles comprised in the lingerie trousseau, and no experience housekeeper needs to be reminded of its many uses in connection with household linens.

Another good point is the inexpensiveness of the work. There is the first moderate outlay for the cushion and bobbin outfit. After that the only expense is for the thread.

It will be seen by the illustrations that torch on is a pillow lace, distantly related to Valenciennes and other favorites.

The number of bobbins for the less elaborate patters (such as the strip pictured) is about thirty-six.

The legend concerning the origins of the lace is pretty one. Some torchon maker may like to con it over as she twists her thread and manipulates her bobbins.

At a time when lace-making was yet an unknown industry, says tradition, there lived in Venice a pretty girl betrothed to a fisherman. During his enforced absences at sea she was accustomed to sit and think of him along the seashore.

One day as she sat day-dreaming of the beloved one, and idle wave washed up to her a mass of some exquisitely fine seaweed. It lay out before her in nature’s wonderful designs.

The maiden, to relieve her ennui, attempted to copy the pattern. She used for a foundation the meshes of a fisher’s net. Thus was lace-making begun.

But the story has variations. According to another version, the primitive fisher maidens used to embroider portions of nets to serve as bridal veils. From these head draperies developed lace.

As a matter of fact, nets, passementeries, broideries and their life are as old as civilization and as the first solicitude of woman for her coiffure.

However, it is not known how and from which of these garnitures sprang lace, the loveliest of them all. No trace of it is discoverable previous to the Middle Ages.

Some authorities will have it, and it is reasonable to believe, that the women of the Venetian lagoons themselves hit upon the plan of improving with fanciful designs upon the meshes of the fishing nets.

Again, the mariners of the Adriatic may have brought back with them from the Orient bobbin laws on the order of those that were recently excavated in ancient ruins of the east.

The lace which are lineal descendants of the decorated fishing net are made with hook or shuttle for the foundation mesh, and with hook or shuttle again or occasionally the needle for the decoration.

Marion Harland

Good Recipes
Helps and Hints Around the House
Household Topics of Much Interest Discussed With Housewives by Marion Harland – Letters From Members of a Great and Widespread Organization of Women Who Love Their Homes