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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 4 (July 1, 1936)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

page 57

Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints.

We were laying aside our wraps in the bedroom amid the usual chatter and manoeuvring for position before the mirror. Mary, just returned from a trip abroad, was the centre of interest—in fact, we'd all been undisguisedly eying her clothes for the last five minutes. Her velvet wrap in tawny gold (almost it became bronze in folds of the fabric) with its high ruched collar and voluminous sleeves, and her slippers in the same shade of velvet; her frock, paler, yellower, but still not quite yellow, with its bodice fulness held by a casual cluster of field flowers in nasturtium colours at the neckline—so we talked clothes.

* * *

We heard a little about shopping in London and Paris, and about a dressshow a London friend had invited her to. We enquired about the tweed suit she had worn to Estelle's morning-tea party and were surprised to hear she had bought it in Sydney. We listened to a description of a more exciting suit than that—with family tartan fashioned into a kilt-like skirt fringed and wrapped to the side; of her very smartest cocktail hat, a silver toque with a coarse stiffened veil standing out round it; of her most comfortable frock on the boat and even for semievenings—a very fragile hand-knitted woollen that somehow didn't look like wool.

* * *

But by this time a move to the drawing-room seemed indicated. On the way I asked Mary whom she went to for manicures now she was back. “No one,” laughed Mary. “I'm greedy of my time, so I do my own.”

* * *

Not until a week later, at an informal luncheon-party for the returned wanderer (Mary in a mannish worsted suit with chalk white lines, and a sailor hat with flattering upturned brim), did I again broach the subject of manicures. If a perfectly groomed hand like Mary's was the result of home treatment, I was eager to learn her methods.

Here is a resume of what Mary told me. She always keeps her manicure utensils together on a tray—scissors, file, emery board, buffer, cotton wool, orange sticks, cuticle remover, cold cream, small bottle of peroxide, liquid polish. (She explained that until recently she had preferred a dry nailstone for producing a polish).

If her nails are fairly long, she uses the scissors first and finishes up with careful filing from the corners towards the middle of the nail. The emery board last of all makes an even neater job of it.

Soaking of the hands for several minutes in warm soapy water is the longest part of the procedure. The hands are then carefully dried, the cuticle being gently pushed back with the towel. (“I always do that when drying my hands.” Mary assured me). A dab of cold cream is then smeared round the base of each nail. An orange stick, wound round with a wisp of cotton wool and dipped in cuticle remover, tidies up the cuticle. Finally, the old polish is removed and the new applied.

“And the peroxide? Anything special about that?”

“No. Just for stains under the nail. I usually dip an orange stick with cotton-wool in the peroxide and wipe under each nail. They look cleaner. Occasionally, specially in the winter, I rub warm olive oil into my hands at night, and sleep in old gloves. The skin keeps in better condition.”

I've adopted Mary's manicure—and to-day Lucille, the rather supercilious Lucille, condescended to admire my nails! But I didn't tell her that I did them myself!

* * *

Important—Or Not!

A day is not long, a year is short, a life-time is but brief. To the life-time we attach importance, to the year less as we grow older, to the day but little. In this, our mathematics, at least, are at fault. The significance of the lifetime is as the significance of a day multiplied by three hundred and sixtyfour, multiplied by the years allotted to us. Increase the significance of the day, and surely the significance of a life is increased amazingly.

* * *

Wherein can we give added significance to the day? So much of it is taken up with necessary things—sleep, eight hours or more (which we sometimes cut into for things we consider of more importance), eating (whose time we cut down only at the risk of spoilt digestion), earning a living (the hours of which are set for most of us).

Remain the meagre hours of our leisure, unless we are of the lucky few whose “work” is an outlet for self. Within these hours the conflict of interests becomes intense. There is never that dull feeling of “nothing to do” which oppresses sometimes in the adolescent stage. There is too much to do and too little time to do it in. Certain matters are definitely importtant page 58 enough not to be neglected—such things as pertain to health. The needful exercise should fulfil the two ends of increasing physical fitness and of being a pleasurable activity. To the ordinary person, a complete filling of leisure with physical activity, “sports,” is not satisfactory. It is for the individual to decide how much is necessary.

* * *

To nearly everyone, a manual skill is a necessary acquisition. Have some of your leisure devoted to the development and exercise of your skill. But don't let the praise of friends, or the taking of prizes at handwork shows, blind you to the other sides of your nature.

Every human being (whether he acknowledges it or not) desires the development of cultural aspects. Your choice will depend partly on favourableness of environment, but mainly on what you have discovered in yourself of musical, artistic or literary ability. For your own happiness, do not neglect this discovery of yours.

* * *

Most of your activities will take you among people. That is as it should be. There is so much we have in common that other humans not only contribute to our enjoyment of a mutual interest, but also enable us to understand ourselves a little better—perhaps as much by contrast as affinity.

But in each day, in each year, in each lifetime, it is those moments wherein you endeavour to know yourself, when, alone, you feel the daily routine suspended and yourself poised on the brink of understanding, when your limited intellect seems to expand but just not far enough—it is in those moments, rising above the clutter of your living, that you comprehend most nearly and live most fully.

Preserving Beech Leaves.

It was in a book about rural England, a delightful book about a country cottage and its garden which seemed somehow to invade the cottage itself, that I discovered this recipe for preserving bronze beech leaves for the winter. Just plunge their stems in a mixture of half water and half crude glycerine. Do that, and autumn warmth will brighten dull corners of your home until the spring.

Winter Decorations.

Late berries and tinted foliage are eagerly gathered by the woman who loves beauty. In arranging your treasures, remember that nature herself is not scared of mixing her colours or her types.

Use a large jar, a pottery bowl, an earthenware or copper jug, and in it arrange your foliage and berries. Any lingering flowers in your garden, or the frail early blossoms of spring, may be added. If you have placed a crumpled-up piece of fine wire-netting in your vase, the stems will stay just where you want them to, and you will be able to attain that balanced effect which is necessary. The result should be haphazard, unstudied and careless, but behind all, arrangement is the sense of balance.

For a buffet, and for the diningtable, a glowing bowl of fruit is effective—and easy. For a “special” dinner-table, add the rich glow of grapes to your fruit bowl or basket. For a fairly large table, the centre-piece may be flanked by two small bowls of dainty flowers.

For The Handy Man Or Woman Rejuvenating Furniture.

Perhaps your dining-table is old and worn, or fairly new but marked by hot dishes—however it may be, it does not please you. You envy the fine gloss of Mrs. Next-Door's furniture. I asked my Mrs. Next-Door, and she said she kept the shine on it by rubbing up with a very little ordinary floor polish.

Here is how to re-do your diningtable. First, with fine sandpaper wrapped round an easily wielded block of wood, remove all the old stain. Of course you know to work the way of the grain. Now apply stain of the required shade and leave until dry. Rub in linseed oil with a very soft rag or cotton-wool pad—rub it in thoroughly. Last of all apply varnish, or shellac dissolved in methylated spirits. Apply very evenly, working always in the same direction (with the grain) and being careful not to have too much at the edges lest “tears” be formed. Leave to dry for several days away from dust.

An old bedroom suite may be given quite a modern appearance by painting. I saw one elderly duchesse given a beauty treatment. The knobs on the top corners of the mirror, and the old brass handles of the drawers were removed. The holes left by the screws were filled with plastic wood which was later sandpapered flat. Putty could be used instead of plastic wood, but is liable to shrink. Bakelitc knobs were screwed in to replace the old handles.

A small tin of lacquer in the chosen shade, and a paint-brush, did the job. The mirror was unhinged and its frame painted separately. A piece of cardboard was held at the edge of the glass to prevent splashes of paint. One coat was found sufficient, even for the bakelite knobs, and the owner of the paint looked covetously at a perfectly good oak-bedstead, but was finally prevailed on to leave it and transfer her attentions to an old cane chair, which suddenly became a possession of some value. New curtains and cushions transformed what had been a drab room.

Health Notes. Food.

In the last issue of this Magazine, we promised to take up the subject of Food in our next, so we start off with a brief explanation regarding the necessity of food. Why do we eat?

Continuous throughout life, the cells of the body undergo a process of breaking down, and building up; a process known to scientists as Metabolism. To maintain these processes at a normal level, food and oxygen are required. In the process of breaking down of cells, impurities are formed which are passed into the blood stream, carried to the lungs, and here exhaled as carbon dioxide. We then breathe in oxygen in the air which purifies the blood and through this medium is carried to all parts of the body to take part in combustion and the generation of heat and energy.

We ingest food which, in the process of digestion is broken up into minute particles, and then absorbed into the blood stream for distribution to all the tissues of the body. Remember that these processes are going on continuously even when the body is at rest, but then in a lesser degree than when the body is active. We partake of a meal, then set about our work, the strength and energy for which is provided by the proceeds of that meal in conjunction with the oxygen which we have breathed in. Now when the proceeds become exhausted, nature creates that hungry feeling which we call appetite, and we then require further provision for the needs of the body. Hence the necessity for a regular supply of suitable food is obvious. Let us stress the word “suitable,” as the ingestion of unsuitable food leads to indigestion, and lays the foundation for all sorts of bodily disorders and maladies.