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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

page 103

Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints

Autumn Is Passing.

I Would like to visit the city of the plains just now. There is a certain time of year when autumn flaunts there, when leaffall has begun, but the willows and poplars edging the Avon cling to their shreds of gold and russet, when parks and gardens glow with the last flame of the expiring season. Not so in our Northern evergreen cities, where summer merges imperceptibly into grey-green winter. Therefore, I would go south for the carnival of leaves.

* * *

To think of seasonal fashions usually switches the mind easily to nature's seasonal change, but the return switch is more difficult. In fashion's autumn colour schemes there is not even the usual yellow to red and brown suggested by nature. This year the fashion houses have insisted on being very civilized, very formal. They prosecute the “coronation” motif.

* * *

Gold and rust are here, but with no particular reference to leaf-change. The gold is hard and metallic. Rust just . happens to arrive in new tonings. Brown is present because, when colours bewilder us, we can conservatively and artistically ally them with brown, a little brown for accent, or brown as a rich background.

* * *

New colour schemes are inclined to startle. Maroon, cerise, magenta are allied surprisingly with other shades. A cerise tunic frock is girdled in blue—quite startling until the eye has become accustomed to it.

In day frocks colour is added particularly at the neck and waist. High necklines may have turnover points revealing a contrast lining colour; slots may hold a startling bow or a soft strip of fur; a very full bodice may be looped and slotted with a strip of contrast. Sashes, girdles or belts are usually aggressive in ornamentation or basic colour. They define slim waists and seem to accentuate the flare' of a swing skirt.

I noticed one tunic whose flare was increased by unpressed pleats. The simplest swing skirt is cut in four pieces with seams at mid-front and back. This type of skirt lends itself to the raised waistline rising to a point in front. Such a skirt may be belted or fitted to a princess silhouette.

Sleeves are definitely squared or pointed at the shoulder line, but taper to a slim-fitting wrist.

* * *

Skirts are up, but not as far up as a few young persons on our streets seem to imagine. The smart length is about fourteen inches from the ground. It probably is correct that when the cost of materials, for instances woollens, rises, the couturiers encourage abbreviation of frocks for economy's sake. Silks have not followed the shortening trend in wool frocks, as evening skirts flare round the ankles or are briefly trained. The flare may be stiffened by a band of contrast material or by cording.

* * *

Evening materials are gorgeous—and expensive. Most gowns feature a combination of two materials or two colours. Mauve velvet has twisted shoulder straps of purple velvet and a purple velvet sash. The accompanying cape is of purple lined with mauve. Mauve and cyclamen combine in a draped satin model.

Taffeta or lacquered satin lend themselves to full-skirted styles. A lime green peacock's eye taffeta has a corsage drape, softly bowed in front, of pale yellow. The yellow motif is repeated in an appliqued band and bow on the skirt a foot from the hem.

* * *

Lace hangs beautifully. One of the loveliest frocks I have seen was of shadow lace touched with gold.

Shoulders and backs are displayed by the new season's evening gowns, but dinner frocks and cocktail suits have sleeves and high necklines.

The latest bolero for evening wear may be so brief that it consists merely of sleeves, a narrow strip of material at the back and wide revers in front.

Fashion Drawing.

For so long we have been accustomed to the slender goddesses of the fashion magazines with their impossible proportions—quite seven feet high, most of them, according to width, and with aristocratic hands that, lifted to the face, would cover only half of it. (My own plebeian appendages reach from hair-line to chin.)

None of us, even the slimmest, ever hoped to look like a drawing in a fashion magazine. But now one of the big pattern houses is featuring actual photograhps of girls wearing model gowns. One has an uncomfortable feeling at first that these girls are dumpy. But no! Having jettisoned our notions of a fashion drawing, we realize that the models are perfectly proportioned, and further, that we can now aspire, if we think such things important, to looking like a fashion-plate ourselves.

Self Respect In Marriage.

Mary and John have been married for ten years. Their home is a place page 104 of ease and quiet happiness. Friends love to visit them. John and Mary-are making a success of living. Their very attitude towards each other shows this. John is not courtly mannered, but he is ever quietly considerate towards Mary. Mary, in the same way, studies John. John is one of those nice chaps who is full of little anecdotes that he spreads out for the delectation of his friends. Mary has heard them all, but she hears them again with genuine interest and sympathy. John has a passion for roses. Mary does not share it, but she respects John's absorption as he does her love for cats. John always hated cats and it was a shock to him to find that Mary liked them. But Mary is Mary, so he overcame his repugnance, and now he is even known to let his hand stray over the head of her cat when it purrs against his trouser leg.

These little things which outsiders can observe are a sign of the private happy relationship between these two. One knows that from the first days of marriage each has given to the other a warm understanding and with that a respect for the privacy of another personality.

No matter how great the love between them, no two people can ever be one. There comes a point where ideas differ. At this stage lies danger. The submission of one to the other may smooth things over for the time, but resentment must grow on the one side because ideas are brushed aside by the partner, and on the other a slight feeling develops either of shame that the more forceful will is triumphing over the loved one or of scorn that the mate has so little individuality. Henceforward understanding diminishes.

But for theG pair who respect each other, a divergence of ideas means no loss of mutual understanding. They recognise each other as persons and are happy and proud that, even while holding each to a different point of view, they can yet retain perfect sympathy. It is a delightful feeling, compound of intellectual pride and human understanding.

In the petty affairs of life, John and Mary, by respecting each other's privacy, retain their admiration for each other. Letters, if handed over to the other one to read, are accepted with thanks; letters folded and returned to the envelope are regarded without curiosity.

In their personal relationships there is no prudery but much consideration.

Mary appreciates John's gentleness and has a fund of tenderness for him. If either wishes to be alone the other respects the wish. In matters of the toilet John is not expected to stand by to admire while Mary washes her ears, or Mary while John cuts his toe-nails.

In all their dealings with each other, there is the realisation of what one person owes to the other. No individual, no matter how beloved, has the right to interfere with another. A respect for the personality of the mate is the basis of love in marriage.

Health Notes.

All New Zealanders are greatly concerned about the odd cases of infantile paralysis that crop up from time to time. We think that everything is going along nicely—the schools reopen and the parents lose their fear of the disease affecting their little ones. This, however, does not last long. A fresh case breaks out, the schools are again closed, and the restrictions also tightened up again in regard to children being allowed in any crowded buildings. What happens to the children then? Possibly the mother takes them out for the day—beach or playground perhaps—and one sees a band of happy youngsters enjoying their prolonged freedom from school. However, coming home may be quite a different story. One of the children seems very tired and irritable. At night he has a high temperature, and this, together with frequent attacks of vomiting, terrifies the parents into thinking that it is another case of infantile paralysis, and it has come to their home. The doctor is hastily called in, and he diagnoses the complaint as sunstroke or even paralysis.

Looking back on one's childhood, one remembers the restrictions imposed with respect to playing in the sunshine in the middle of the day, and the slogan ruling our little world during the warm weather was: “Always keep your hat on when playing outside.” How often, too, one was compelled to abandon the most interesting of games to go inside to sleep (with the blinds drawn) during the hottest hour or two of the day. Now we seem to have become sunworshippers, and mothers are very pleased with the brown bodies and limbs of children—and proudly watch them sporting about only clad in bathing suits which are absolutely no protection against the sun's rays.

How often it is the strongest of the family who succumbs to the disease, and it makes us search for any reason why the healthy little girl or boy should suffer, while the more delicate child escapes.

Adults are usually glad to find some shade during the day at the beach—or wherever it may be—while the children are often allowed to roam around—with no protection from the heat—all day, and needless to say it is the most energetic who take full advantage of their freedom from restraint. Even the native races seek shelter during the hottest part of their day. The old slogan may therefore be worthy of remembrance during the hot weather:

“Out of the sun during the hottest hour or two of the day and heads well protected at all times from the sun's rays.”

Passing a schoolground, too, the other day, we noticed a number of children playing about without their hats. We badly wanted to go and put a hat on each child, but, of course, did not have the courage to storm the fortress, and begin our crusade of “Hats on.”


Scones, Etc.

A few hints for the success in the making of scones:

1. The dough must be mixed quickly. 2. Handle the dough as little as possible. 3. Do not use a rolling-pin, but flatten out the dough lightly with the “heel” of the hand. 4. The scones will be much lighter if cut into shapes with a knife dipped in flour, instead of using a cutter. 5. Too much flour on top will make them hard. 6. Sift the flour two or three times before using. 7. The oven must be hot, with a good bottom heat, so that the dough rises page 105 as soon as it is put into the oven. 8. Always break scones open, never cut them.

Plain Scones.

2 breakfast cups flour, 4 small teaspoons baking powder, little butter, pinch salt, sufficient milk to mix to nice consistency.

Fried scones, made with this mixture, are very appetising, served with either butter or syrup.

Golden Syrup Scones.

1 lb. flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons golden syrup, 1 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, pinch of salt.

Mix with milk, a little butter rubbed into dry ingredients.

Girdle Scones.

3 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, rub 2 tablespoons butter into flour, etc., mix with milk and bake on hot girdle.

Superior Quality Soap.

Here is an easy way of saving ten shillings on every 20lbs. of soap that you use. The only ingredients required are 5lbs. fat and a two-shilling packet of “Soapsave”—the wonder soap-maker. Add to one gallon water as directed on packet and you have approximately 20lbs. of the finest household soap. It not only lathers easily, but has a special advantage in that it does not harm delicate colours and fabrics in the washing of clothes. It is also pleasantly perfumed. If unable to obtain Soapsave from your local store, send postal note and grocer's name to A. Murdoch & Co., Manufacturing Chemists, Dunedin.

Tea Cakes.

2 breakfast cups flour, 4 ozs. sugar, 4 ozs. butter, 2 teaspoons baking powder, milk to mix, 1/2 lb. dates or sultanas (chopped). Rub butter into flour and add dry ingredients. Mix with milk, put into greased patty tins and bake in quick oven.

Brown Loaf.

Cover 1 cup of dates with hot water and 1 teaspoon of soda and let stand a few hours. Beat 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and vanilla essence. Bake 1 hour.


2 tablespoons sugar and 1 egg beaten together. Add 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1 large teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 cup of milk, small piece of butter put in last. The butter is melted and allowed to cool before adding to the mixture.

The following is a favourite recipe:

Genoese Pastry.

1/2 pound sugar, 4 eggs, sift in 12 ozs. flour, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon soda, lastly, 1/4 lb. melted butter—cool. Ice with chocolate icing.

Banana and Apricot Jam Sandwiches.

Take a good, soft banana, and mash it to a pulp with a fork. Then add about a-third as much apricot jam. Mix together and spread this on well-buttered slices of bread.

Household Notes.

Home-made Hat Stand.

Hats are quite an expensive item, so it should be our aim to keep them smart and new looking as long as possible. Of course we know that the brim should be kept off the shelf if it is to retain its original line, but after we have had the hat for a little while, we are apt to toss it carelessly aside and no consideration given to the effect on the hat of our action.

Here is ah idea for a useful and inexpensive stand: Make a roll of cardboard about six or seven inches long and pin it securely into position with paper clips. Then stand your hat on the roll and it will be out of harm's way.


Much waste is incurred in cases where bottles have once been opened and then recorked with corks which do not fit sufficiently well to keep the bottle airtight and prevent evaporation. To remedy this, melt a candle and let the hotmelted wax cover the cork and the neck of the bottle where the cork fits in. This will prevent any waste.

Turning a Mattress.

To keep a mattress in good condition, turn it from end to end every other day, and from side to side on alternate days.