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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)

Our Women'S Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

page 57

Our Women'S Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints.

At various times grandmothers, and even aunts, our own and other peoples, have drawn comparisons, useful and otherwise, between Then and Now. Then, of an evening, the girls of the family gathered round the lamp-lit table with their “work” and sewed industrously, even Miss Seven clenching small teeth on lower lip and forcing an obstinate needle in and out, in and out, along an apparently endless seam. Idleness was a disgrace.

* * *

Such harkings back we can receive with a complacent smile. Small girls Now are not forced to unwelcome wielding of a needle, but, somehow, as they grow, handwork interests develop. Our older maidens do not put endless hours of fine stitchery into trousseaux, but confidently embark on cutting-out and machining, leaving such finishes as buttonholes, hemstitching and pleatings to the firms who specialise in these things.

* * *

Emulation and economy seem the driving forces to-day. If Nancy-over-the-road can knit a green pullover for golf, we can match it with a sweater for the boy-friend and start a fashion up our street for macramé belts and bags, knitted “nests” for tea-pots, porcelain button-holes or anything else that intrigues our busy fingers.

* * *

No, we are never idle. The girls of Now, besides dining, dancing, first-nighting and the rest of the social occasions, besides swimming, riding, fishing and the remainder of the sporting activities, must be ready for all these things, internally and externally. That is why physical culture experts hang their sign on every second building, why doctors are listened to by the young with unusual deference, why purveyors of paper-patterns set up their show-cards from Yuma to the Hebrides—and why you never find a young thing indulging in that sin of our grandmothers—idleness!

Grandma Looks At Now.

But if Grandma goes on talking there is something that causes me (I don't know about you) a faint twinge. Grandma is an expert at fattening the theme of “lolling about in armchairs.” I know many of us do! We come in from a busy afternoon's shopping or sport, hurl our paraphernalia into one arm-chair, and flop—just flop—into another. Not all of us, of course, but more than you would expect, considering our worship of fitness. We have developed an unerring eye for the arm-chair and an increasing desire to “flop.” Even when forced on an uncomfortable piece of furniture, as in a tram, or a launch, or at dinner, we settle ourselves into the attitude of “flop” and do our best to make our surroundings fit us. It is the policy of “flop” that has developed that liking for cushions on floors that some of us evince.

* * *

If only we realized the value of a straight-backed chair! I know a woman, quite elderly now, who always chooses the hardest, stiffest, most unaccommodating chair in a room. But her back! And her walk! She wears her clothes as few of us young ones can. The question before the meeting is: Flop now and incidentally throw our organs slightly out of position every time we do it, or follow Grandma's dictum and walk beautifully all our lives? Shall we?

Fashion Notes.

Blue taffeta suit, coat featuring bouffant three-quarter sleeves and a big bow tied under the chin.

Navy blue taffeta again, lining the slightly flared hip-length coat of a neat grey costume. The blouse, of a charming fullness, also of taffeta.

A pleated lace jabot giving a feminine touch to a well-cut navy street frock.

Wide corded ribbon used to form a double collar, shirred at the neck line. Corded ribbon in two tones used as a belt. Another belt fastened with a single, large, artificial flower. A rich note struck by a belt fastening comprising a group of five near-gold pieces.

A wine frock surprisingly smart with a touch of pink inside the cowl neck and at wrists. A navy blue frock on the same lines accented with light blue “Sunburst” tucking on day frocks.

* * *

Linens trimmed with large buttons and rows upon rows of stitching at hem-lines, round capes, on cuffs.

The two-piece effect with a peplum for taffeta evening gowns.

Glamorous for evenings, a white satin tunic blouse, beaded, with bouffant three-quarter sleeves and a sash with ends trailing over a slim, slit, black-satin skirt. As an absolute contrast in type, the gown of buttercup yellow organdie over satin—large double collar, puff sleeves, bouffant skirt.

Dreamy frocks with trailing chiffon scarves—the blues and pinks, mauves and greens suggesting larkspur, lilac and pale foliage. Finely pleated ninons and georgettes for sleeves, for front panels from neck to hem, for whole frocks.

The Dining Room.

The problem of decorating the dining-room will be solved according to the answers to the following questions:—

(1) Is the room large or small?

(2) Is it a light or dark room?

(3) Are you buying new furniture?

A large room may be given an air of warmth and cosiness by having the walls papered or painted in red, orange or yellow. This has an effect of “drawing-in” the walls. If the room is fairly light, with large window spaces, have your colours cooler.

For a room with pale red walls, I would suggest hangings of sea-green, page 58 and grey woodwork. It will be noted that your red room will appear much subdued by artificial light. If your furniture is mahogany, you would not, of course, choose red walls. In a red room, a gay effect can be obtained with colourful cushions.

Deep yellow walls form a fine background for dark oak furniture. The contrasting colour note should be blue.

A small, light room.—Charming colour schemes giving an air of coolness and space may be applied to this type of dining-room. Light oak furniture, or any wood of a yellowish tinge, looks well here. If, as I suggested last month, you have used blue for your hall-way, this colour-scheme may be extended to the dining-room. Have your wood-work stained, as in the hall, a light oak.

A charming background for a Jacobean suite is provided by surfgreen walls and crimson carpet and hangings.

If you have a colour scheme already in mind, or if your room is already harmoniously furnished, I suggest a neutral grey background.

* * *

Sun Stroke And Heat Stroke.

With the advent of February, which is usually the hottest month of our year, a few remarks regarding the general effect of the sun's rays and heat, may not be out of place.

You all are aware of the beneficial effect of sunshine and warmth, but as some wiseacre once remarked, “Too much of anything is more than enough,” and it is in connection with the “too much” aspect that our remarks will deal. In short, we are going to say something about Sun Stroke And Heat Stroke.

Now, although these two conditions are to all intents and purposes much the same in effect, we mention them both as so many people think that danger lurks only in exposure to the direct rays of the sun, but this is in error, as just as much danger threatens in undue exposure to heat, even though the sun be quite hidden by clouds, especially if the atmosphere be humid. In using the word “humid,” we mean that the air is already well laden with moisture, and thus unable to absorb further moisture, thus retarding loss of heat which would otherwise evaporate from the overheated body.

Many of you have already acquired the much coveted sun-tan, and in so doing may think you are immune from sun or heat stroke, but such is not the case, your immunity being only in so far as sunburn is concerned.

Cases of sun and heat strokes occur amongst those unduly exposed to the sun or its heat during the hot season. Remember that even in the shade on a very hot day, one can readily succumb to heat stroke. The effect of sun or heat exposure is cumulative, and the greatest danger lies after the succession of two or three hot days. The symptoms may not develop until the evening or following morning, when the atmospheric temperature may have fallen considerably, the cumulative effect of the exposure having gradually overcome the body resistance.

In tropical climates, these dangers are well known and avoided as far as possible. In such countries, work is done, as far as possible, during the early and late hours of the day, thus avoiding the maximum heat of middle day. Exertion of any kind during the heat, only accentuates the danger. Another factor which accentuates the danger, is stagnation of air, hence the use of fans and punkahs in the houses in tropical climates.

Now we ask ourselves what actually happens to the body in a case of sun or heat stroke?

First, let us point out that while people who are used to moderate climates are much more prone to attacks than are the coloured races who live in, and are accustomed to, tropical temperature.

The effect of high atmospheric temperature on the brain and nervous system is to cause a general swelling of the brain and its membranes, thus decreasing functional activity. The effect is the same upon other organs, such as the liver and kidneys, impairing their functions and causing toxic substances to be retained within the body. The retention of these substances causes a form of poisoning of the system which gives rise to symptoms varying in severity according to the degree of such poisoning. The symptoms commence with a feeling of weakness, nausea, giddiness and faintness, and inability to walk. The body temperature rises and remains so usually for two or three days. The pulse becomes rapid and weak, and heart symptoms usually occur.

If early treatment is adopted, the symptoms quickly improve, but if not, conditions of a much more serious nature supervene, such as unconsciousness and convulsions, with the body temperature mounting with the progress of the malady.

With regard to treatment, the patient must be moved to cool shady surroundings, providing for free circulation of air around the body. Loosen clothing and spray the face and chest with ice-cooled water, and if available, apply ice to the back of the neck and to the head. In all cases seek skilled assistance as soon as possible.

Of course, prevention is better than cure, so be reasonable in regulating exposure and exertion during high atmospheric temperatures, keep the head and back of the neck well protected, and keep the house as cool, and as well ventilated as possible.

Remember, the sun may be curative or killing.

Beautify the Back.

We read and hear so much nowadays about improving the waistline that it is almost a relief to remember that our backs deserve some consideration, and that a slim, straight back counts for a good deal in beauty of figure.

A little firm massage applied to the back after the bath will help remove the fat deposit which often settles between the shoulders and the nape of the neck. This can be easily accomp page 59 lished with either a massage roller or a fairly coarse towel.

When you feel that your back is growing stiff make a rule of practising a bending exercise for five or ten minutes each morning. One cannot improve on the universal exercise of bending the body—keeping the knees quite straight—and touching the toes. This exercise is of course good for the abdominal muscles as well as helping to keep the back youthful.

On a beach recently it was quite surprising to hear so many comments passed in regard to the back. Backs have been more or less taken as a matter of course—but after hearing—it seemed to me—more remarks about the back than the figure generally, it seemed time that it came in for its share of attention. Faces, necks, etc., have had their innings, and now we should see that our backs are straight and supple by giving them the attention they undoubtedly deserve.

Our Store Room.

This is the time of the year when we are planning the restoration of the contents of our store room, which has rather a pathetic appearance in comparison with its jaunty look in the winter. Of course we have made the usual gooseberry jam —appreciated at the beginning of the season, despised in the middle and appreciated again at the end. Blackcurrant, too, has its place on the shelves, for we think of the tasty tarts, roly poly, etc., that we are able to make with it, and our thoughts also jump to the winter months when a hot blackcurrant drink is gratefully taken when one is suffering from a chill. Raspberry and strawberry jam have their important places, for we are always proud of our strawberry, and whoever heard of a storeroom without a supply of raspberry jam.

Various kinds of jams, sauces, pickles, bottled fruits, etc., have to make their appearance, and here are some recipes which have been taken from a particularly fine selection:

Chow Chow Pickles.

1 quart each cucumber, cauliflower, onions, French beans, green tomatoes. Cut size preferred. Mix and cover with salt. Let stand overnight. In the morning wash salt off; cover with vinegar and let it come to the boil. Mix one breakfast cup flour and scant teacup sugar, six tablespoons mustard, 1 oz. tameric and three tablespoons curry powder, with vinegar; stir into the pickle and boil for three minutes; then bottle.


4 lbs. apples, 2 lbs. brown sugar, 2 lbs. raisins, 2 ½ lbs. onions, 1 lb. lemon peel, ½ lb. salt, ¼ lb. ground ginger, 3 tablespoons curry, 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves, 2 ozs. garlic, 2 qts. vinegar. Put all through the mincer, then add vinegar and boil for one hour.

Fruit Chutney.

4 lbs. mixed fruit; 2 lbs. brown sugar; 2lbs. onions, 2 lbs. raisins; 1 lb. peel, ½ lb. salt, ½ lb. preserved ginger. Mince altogether, then add two quarts vinegar and boil for 1 ½ hours, slowly stirring all the time.

Fruit used: Apples, plums, pears, peaches, tomatoes—1 lb. bananas also if desired.

Here are two very successful recipes for cold sweets :—

Spanish Cream.

One quart milk, 3 heaped dessertspoons Davis gelatine, 5 teaspoons sugar, essence vanilla, 3 or 4 eggs.

Make a custard of the milk, yolks of eggs (well beaten) and sugar, being sure to bring to boiling point only, then add vanilla. Melt the gelatine with boiling water and add to the custard—both being luke warm. Then when the mixture is fairly cold, beat in stiffly beaten whites of eggs.

Melanese Souffle.

Yolks 3 eggs, ¼ lb. castor sugar, juice of 6 passion fruit.

Stir over fire until nearly boiling. Set to cool. Soak ¾ tablespoon gelatine in ½ cup warm water. Stir until dissolved. Whip ¼ pint cream stiff. Beat whites of eggs, then stir gently gelatine, then cream, then whites into cold mixture. Decorate with slabs of cream and passion fruit.

French Knots.

French knots, to be successful, must be uniform in size and shape. I have illustrated the most successful method of making them:—

(a) Bring thread up through material.

(b) Hold thread down loosely with thumb.

(c) Place needle under thread.

(d) Turn needle towards you over thread.

(e) Twist needle under.

(f) Put needle into material close to the spot where thread first came through; draw thread tight and hold with thumb; pull needle through to the back of material.

(g) Finished knot.