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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 5 (August 1, 1936)

Our Women's Section

page 57

Our Women's Section

Timely Notes and Useful Hints.
Feeling Spring.

Despite the strengthening cold as the days lengthen, we are aware of the march of the days towards summer. Surely, even in August, one can hope for a few days real precursors of spring, when the pale yellow sunshine seems to make clear to our winter-blinded eyes the new green of budding trees, the gleam of opening petals in garden beds, the flurry, poise, swoop of bird wings elated with the winy sap of the season of growth.

* * *

The time to keep a Nature calendar is in spring. Things happen gradually then, and happily for the most part—save when some sudden late blast of winter pinches tender foliage or ill treats an early lamb. From the frost-bound earth emerges life—tiny creeping things, small growing things, pushing out of their winter prison—pupa case, bud scales, bulb, according to their kind—thrusting into the air, gathering warmth and strength from the weak rays of the sun.

* * *

It is first things we note—the brave first leaves, the opening blue of a hyacinth, a little insect creature, poised on a piece of bark, slowly raising and lowering its still damp wings. The early summer rush of growth is not nearly so stirring, so interest-compelling, as these beginnings.

An autumn calendar can be a sad thing, despite the brave riot of colour. So much is loss—leaf fall, the gathering and departure of birds, the gradual disappearance of small creatures going into hiding for the cold months. Even the return to the cities of sparrows after their orgy in harvest fields, and their gratitude for our largess of crumbs, is pathetic. How much more mournful, in countries where one waits for snow, must be the oncoming of winter!

* * *

This nature calendar of ours needs no special recording—merely to observe is enough. To be natural, conforming to the course of nature, to be one with nature, gives that feeling of harmony which is a concomitant of all true and lasting pleasures. Take then, the joy of the season. Even in city parks and gardens you may attend, as upon royalty, the levee of spring.

* * *

After The Sales. Fashion News.

Emerging from winter, we wish to emerge too, from fur coats and cloth coats, heavily befurred. For chilly days a tweed coat, double-breasted perhaps, with a double file of buttons and a high neck closing; for cool days a suit, maybe of worsted, plain or pin-checked.

* * *

Remember, with a light suit wear a dark blouse. With a light grey I have seen effective blouses in dark blue and in brown. Navy will be smart for spring. With it wear a blouse or jumper blouse in lemon, cream, pink or beige.

Coat-frocks are utility frocks. They are seen with pockets either tabbed or buttoned. A light touch is given by a gilet which may be of crisp piquè, pleated or tucked in something softer, even of lace, velvet or silk. A posy, preferably a single flower, may be worn on the lapel.

Colours are interesting. Grey is staging a revival, and is seen in combination with blue, ruby or even cinnamon brown.

* * *

“Dusty” shades are dying—pastels are clear and young-looking. Rusty reds will be rushed by brunettes and brown-heads.

Some new frocks and coats show the shoulder line, either seamed or tucked, running down the sleeve. This mode is right only for the narrow-shouldered. Another difficult style is the bateau or boat-shaped neck. If your neck is at all bony or your shoulders too wide, avoid the bateau.

Raglan sleeves remain popular and are seen sometimes in a contrasting weave or colour to the frock.

Full sleeves may be pleated into the shoulder.

* * *

Neck finishes worth noting are the gay kerchief, the demure draped collar buttoning in front, the frilly jabot, neck-line clips and scarf collars.

The gathered neck-line is new. Note also radiating tucks, pleated pockets, and the belts of self material which may be either knotted or bowed in front. Keep your eye on checks for skirts, jackets, linings, or blouses.

* * *

As the season advances, wear a light coat over a dark frock.

Rules to remember are: —


Necks high.


Shoulders important.


Sleeves widened.


Silhouette slim—fullness provided by pleats; note side pleats in suits.


Skirts a fraction shorter.

* * *

Lightness And Brightness.

The kitchen needs it after the winter. New curtains are the solution—and the kitchen is one room where very little in the way of curtaining is required.

Some of the gayest new kitchen curtainings show horizontal stripes in several colours. These will accent any colour scheme you have.

page 58
For a bright kitchen.

For a bright kitchen.

Do you have cushions on your kitchen chairs? If you use the kitchen for minor meals, cushions will greatly add to comfort. Have them made fairly flat, and with ties to fasten from the corners to the back and legs of the chair. Material, if possible, should be the same as for curtains, but if that is not durable enough, choose a hard-wearing fabric in colours to blend. Fasten your cushioncovers along one side with press clasps. This will save time in the frequent removals for washing. Remember that the secret of success for kitchen curtains and cushions is durability and freshness.

* * *

An artistic woman of my acquaintance is planning her kitchen in daffodil yellow and green for spring. All the paint-work will be green. The curtains, of deep cream linen-finish fabric, are being embroidered in a daffodil design in bias binding. If the idea proves successful, she will attempt a bias binding flower design for curtains, buffet runner and wagon cloths for the breakfast room.

Materials required are bias-binding in green, yellow and deep yellow, and stranded cotton in the deep yellow shade.

* * *

The design is sketched on paper and the size decided upon. Simplicity, of course, is an essential of success. The design is then drawn lightly on the curtain material and the bias binding tacked into position on it. Green is used for leaves and stems, the yellow for the straight line representing the petals, and the deep-yellow for the triangle of the trump. Neatly hem the bias binding into position. Fill in the hole in the trumpet with basketstitch, using six strands of cotton. It is suggested that the flower stems be eight inches, and the leaves ten or eleven inches long.

Hand Lotion.

Try this: 1 heaped teaspoon starch, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon glycerine, 1 teaspoon olive oil. Mix starch with little water, add remainder of water (boiling), and then the oil and glycerine.

Health Notes. Food.

On glancing over the dinner menu at any hotel or restaurant one cannot but be struck by the multiplicity of articles in our diet, and on pausing to think, must wonder how our digestive apparatus can deal with such a heterogeneous collection of foodstuffs. All these articles, when chemically analysed, are found to consist of three main substances, namely, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats, accompanied by water, salts, minerals, and the elusive vitamins. There is also a portion which we might call roughage, which consists of the stringy, fibrous parts of meat, fruit and vegetables, and which cannot be absorbed into the vessels lining the alimentary tract, but must pass on to be evacuated by the bowel.

It is to the first three classes of food, however, that we must look for our nourishment and energy. Taking the first group,


These are the sugary and starchy foods. They are of vegetable origin, and constitute the chief part of a normal diet. They occur chiefly in bread, potatoes, and cereals, and to a lesser extent in fruit and vegetables. Sugar occurs as cane sugar, jams, honey, treacle, and in jellies, cakes and biscuits. They, in conjunction with the fats, are the chief providers of heat and energy for the body, but they do not enter into the building of the body tissues. They are quickly digested and absorbed, and during activity are as quickly burned up to provide the required heat and energy. This explains why one so quickly feels hungry after partaking of a meal consisting of carbohydrates only. In the process of digestion, they are converted into a sugary substance, and as such, are stored in the liver and muscles until required.


These provide the most concentrated forms of energy, one ounce supplying two and a quarter times as much as a similar weight of carbohydrates. They differ from the latter in so far as their digestion is a somewhat more complicated process, and further, they contribute to the bulk of the body and to the structure of nerves. If one consumes more fat than is required, it is stored as such in the tissues, thus adding to weight and measurement. This surplus fat aids in maintaining the warmth of the body, as fat being a nonconductor of heat, prevents its escape from the body. Fats occur in our diet in the form of meat fats, suet, dripping, butter, olive oil, and to a lesser extent in fish, cheese and egg yolk.


These are the body-builders, differing from the carbohydrates in that they contain nitrogen, and go to build and repair the living cells of the body. They are absolutely essential for life. They are very complex substances, and differ greatly in composition. Some, the animal proteins, contain all the protein elements required by the page 59 body, while others, the vegetable proteins, are not so complete, and in consequence, are not of such good quality as the former. Milk is an excellent animal protein, a pint of which has the equivalent of four ounces of beef in protein content. The best proteins, occur in meat, fish, eggs and cheese and milk. Nuts are high in fat and protein content, but the protein is not of such good quality as that of meat or milk. Some fruits and vegetables have a certain protein content, but so small as to be almost negligible.

Minerals and Salts.

These elements are concerned in the building of the bony skeleton, the formation of the teeth and blood, and the regulation of various functions of the body such as oxidation, reproduction, and secretion. They are numerous, and include calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine, sodium, sulphur and others, but are required in such small quantities, and are contained in so many of the foods already mentioned that sufficient is obtained by taking an ordinary mixed diet. Only faddists need worry about them.


Most fruit and vegetables are 75 per cent. or more water. Drink at least, three pints of water daily.


Until twenty-five years ago, these elusive elements in food had not been discovered, although scientists knew long before that, that if certain foods, such as fresh vegetables, butter, milk, and oils were not included in the diet, the body suffered from what are known as deficiency diseases, and became an easy prey to infection. These diseases, rickets, scurvy, beri-beri, pellagra, etc., are now fast disappearing. They were very prevalent in the olden days, especially amongst seafarers, who for long periods were out of reach of supplies of the above-mentioned fresh foods. We do not propose to go into details concerning these vitamins, as like the minerals and salts, they are required in such small quantities, and are contained in so many of the fresh foods, that an ample supply is obtained by taking an ordinary, sensible mixed diet of meat, milk, fresh vegetables and fruit, so do not worry about them. Leave that to the faddist.

In our next issue we might have something to say on the subject of cooking.

Economical Fruit Cakes.
Gloucester Cake.

2lb. flour, 1lb. butter, 1lb. sugar, 4 level teaspoons baking soda, 3 to 4lb. fruit (mixed), 4 eggs, essence to taste —vanilla, almond, or lemon. Sift flour and soda, rub in butter and add sugar and fruit. Leave over-night. Next day beat the eggs, boil 1 pint milk, and add to the eggs; add essence. Pour over mixture, and mix thoroughly. Bake 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Wonder Cake.

1/2 lb. butter, 1/4lb. sugar, 1/2lb. dates—chopped up, 1/4lb. walnuts (if liked), 1/2lb. flour, 1 teaspoon cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 egg. Bake about 30 minutes and ice with butter icing or chocolate. Sprinkle with cocoanut.

Date Cake.

1/2lb. butter, 1/2lb. flour, 1 breakfast cup sugar, 1lb. dates, 12 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 eggs. Beat butter and sugar, add 1/2 of the milk and flour. Beat well, then add remainder of flour and milk, dates (stoned and chopped). Bake in shallow tin for half an hour.

Banana Sponge.

1 teacup of sugar, 1/2lb. butter, 2 eggs, small teaspoon soda (dissolved in 2 tablespoons milk), 2 large bananas, 1 1/2 breakfast cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Beat butter and sugar and well-beaten eggs. Beat the bananas separately in another bowl and then add to cake mixture. Add milk and soda and flour with the baking powder; add essence. Bake in moderate oven for about. ¾ of an hour (do not open oven door to try it). Ice with chocolate icing.

Butter Sponge.

6oz. flour, 4oz. sugar, 3oz. butter, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, grated rind half an orange, 1 teaspoon orange juice, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon soda. Cream butter and sugar; add beaten eggs and flour alternately, then the milk and orange, cream of tartar and soda in flour. Bake for half an hour (2nd. shelf, no. 4 regulo).

Bread Pudding (without milk.)

Melt 2oz. butter, add 1 teacup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teacup boiling water. Soak bread required, then drain and pour mixture over it. Bake about half an hour. Add lemon juice and rind—or sultanas, dates or bananas.

Foundation of White Sauce.

Flour, 1 oz.; butter, 1 oz.; milk, 1/2 pint; salt and pepper to taste.

Method. —Melt the butter, stir in the flour, remove from stove and add liquid gràdually. Cook for ten minutes, stirring all the time.