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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 9 (December 1, 1937.)

Our Women's Section

page 73

Our Women's Section

Timely Notes and Useful Hints.

Holiday Wear.

Suit-Case and square hat-box? Quite enough to take about with you. But how inadequate they seem when you open the wardrobe door and think also of the suit and frock that are still at the dressmaker's. However, you have packed in a limited space before; and you fancy you are good at eliminating.

Well, what to take? Undies? Plenty! Shoes? Decide on those when you have picked out frocks. Warm coat? Certainly; but it will be carried, not packed.

If you are doing much travelling, a suit en suite with the top-coat will be trouble-saving. It need not be a formal suit. Perhaps your top-coat is of camel's hair colouring; under it you may wear a navy skirt of light-weight wool or of silk and a tunic of green (or some preferred colour). Navy shoes and hat (green-banded) are sufficiently summery. The whole outfit is right for long-distance travel, as it obviates any worry about weather, and retains its smart appearance indefinitely.

At destinations, play frocks and outfits are ever so useful and comfortable. If there will be laundering difficulties, plan to avoid them. Printed designs for play-frocks stay crisp; silks that launder easily are sensible for shorts, shirts, skirts; shantung is smart.

Admire white linen, but save it for a suit, instinct with summer, but formal as you please. Try the effect of a taffeta tie, navy perhaps, with its wide looped ends tied under the chin to form a huge bow. Add the navy touch, also, to hat and shoes. Remember that the linen coat is delightful for wear over a casual frock.

You want at least two florals in sheer silks for in-between occasions. It is possible to omit an evening gown, as summer evenings are not formal, and any frock, cool, smart and pretty, of any length, will be suitable wear. Remember that most frocks, for afternoon or evening, have their own coatees.

If you are visiting towns, and want another street outfit in addition to your travelling garb and white linen suit, match up accessories with one of your patterned silk frocks (or suit, shall I call it, for it no doubt sports coat, tunic or peplum). Be dashing with colours. Look at the frock pattern, and from it choose a colour that you will be happy with. Use this colour for your hat, or hat trim, for gloves and perhaps for purse. Don't over-do it. Remember that, with hat, gloves, purse and shoes to play with, the ground colour of the frock, which is probably navy or black, should be used as well.

As an “additional,” include an extra blouse or tunic, rather “dressy,” to wear with your smartly-cut travelling skirt.

Don't forget sports gear; and remember that your own towel for swimming is practically a necessity.

* * *

Christmas Gifts.
Bought or Made?

Lucky you, if you have the time to plan and make for your friends. You, no doubt, with deft fingers, have cut and sewed a little frock, a tunic, a négligée, which has been the envy of this friend or that. Even your smallest efforts, the crocheted coat-hanger cover, the val-lace collar and pockets for the old brown frock, the crisp organdie envelopes for the “best” undie sets, have roused interest and admiration among your girl friends.

Very well, then! If you really want to give, and really want to please those less leisured than yourself, make a little something that Joan—or Mary—or Natalie will search the shops for in vain.

Do you remember the macramé belt you made for Joan years ago? She wore it with tennis frocks for seasons. Why not get out our needles and knit her some tennis socks? Any wool shop will tell you about the special non-shrink wool that is just right for these. They'll wash and wash, and wear and wear; Joan couldn't buy their like.

Mary isn't too well off, is she? Do you remember her as your bridesmaid—pretty, vivacious—years ago? She loves colour, but is no good with her fingers. She has struggled with the children's frocks, but has never attempted extras. How about a new bedspread for her? It wouldn't cost you much, and that would be a good point when pressing Mary to accept the gift.

Buy that very cheap art taffeta. It wears remarkably well. You'll want a piece the length of the bed plus some extra to allow a good wrap over at the head, and sufficient for a flounce. Measure the length of flouncing (sides and foot of bed) and allow a third again for gathering (or more, if you prefer it rather full). The flouncing may be gathered by using the gatherer on your machine or simply by machining several rows, using a long stitch, and pulling up the thread.

Natalie, too, loves dainty things, but can't always afford to buy them. At present she's skimping for a trip. How about running her up a slip, using that sleek pattern with a brassiere top, or a nightie, bias cut, with a full flounce, or rucking, at the neck-line? The expensiveness of the material will depend on your purse, and on the likes and dislikes of the recipient. I have seen the daintiest night-gowns made of pastel, flower-sprigged, boiling silk.

Your richer friends love the little extras they haven't thought of buying. I remember how thrilled 'Retta was last Christmas when I gave her a set of page 74 six organdie envelopes, initial-embroidered, each of a different pastel shade, for keeping matched undie sets tidily together. She finds them specially useful when travelling.

Can you make flowers? Take a peep at your friend's wardrobe, and produce a spray in just the colour to go with the frock that needs “dressing-up.”

Your old macintosh has some good pieces in it. How about waterproof envelopes, bound with braid or bias trim, for shoe-cases for holiday-making friends. The waterproof obviates the danger of any stain from shoes, even damp ones—and you can't guarantee weather, even at holiday time.

Do get John, or Peter, or Brian, or whatever your husband's name is, to knock up a couple of seed boxes for Anne. You know how she loves growing things, and she has no man about the place to do those odd carpentering jobs for her. And I wonder whether Lydia has ever thought of a window-box for her flat? It's worth while dragging the conversation round to flowers for flat dwellers, and finding out. What fun you (and John, or Peter, or Brian) are going to have!

And, while mentioning gardening friends, have you ever thought of giving them a new glad, dahlia, tulip or shrub? Not that that is a matter of making something, but it is a matter of thought and investigation.

Brother Bill? Buy a large square of crepe de chine, tack a wide hem, and have it hem-stitched. He'll much appreciate his white scarf.

I'd better stop, or you'll think of so many things that you'll have no time for your very own Christmas preparations.

* * *

An Important Task.

“Thank heavens we're going away this Christmas! I couldn't bear another six-week vacation with the children at home all the time!” That remark showed me another mother who regards the school as a nursery-governess machine to relieve her of the worry of her children's company. She tacitly admits her lack of patience, and even more her lack of knowledge regarding children. She dreads the end of term because she does not know how to cope with the restless activity of her family, and regards even a holiday away in their company as slightly better than having them at home, because at least new scenes and new company distract their attention from her and direct their energies into new channels.

Most people have heard the remark that “School-teachers make the best parents.” I have no doubt that it is true, for school-teachers are the only section of the community who really know anything about children. The rest assume that parenthood, as a natural function, miraculously imbues them with knowledge and an instinctive ability in dealing with children. Even when the years have shown that their methods are producing little prigs or little “terrors,” they still pathetically cling to their belief that they, as fathers and mothers, know their job better than anybody else.

Among my acquaintances I have found that the most successful parents are those who realize their own ignorance in face of the greatness of the task they have undertaken—that of influencing, during the most impressionable years, another human being.

Rightly, these parents are self-critical. Are they being too repressive? Should they allow their child more freedom to mix with others, should he be reprimanded for venial offences, or, on the other hand, are they regarding his infant peccadilloes too lightly?

They discuss Mary and Billy with other young and equally ignorant parents. Perhaps they have a friend who is a successful school-master, and consult him—the friend, probably for fear of offending (he knows, from experience, that parents are “kittle cattle”) answers casually, without giving as much help as he is really capable of giving.

Where children are specially difficult, a psychologist may be consulted (there are special clinics for this purpose), and the resultant knowledge may be of immense help to the parents.

A few men and women take their task of rearing the men and women of the future so seriously that, from the time a family is first planned, they study “the child” from all angles, with the help of books and any trained persons they can approach. Such parents are the successful ones. Besides, the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing perhaps the most worth-while job this world can offer, they have the pleasure of the company of young things, who, later on, will be interesting and able adults.

In some future short articles I will discuss some child problems which commonly beset parents.

* * *

Health Notes.

The Child In Summer.

There is nothing better for children than plenty of sunlight, but care should be taken to prevent them from being a wilted group at the end of the summer.

Sunlight is a valuable skin food, as there are elements of iron, phosphorus and iodine absorbed by the blood when the skin is exposed to the light, but it is not in the least useful to over-do the value of exposure in the hope of hardening the children. Sunbathing should be treated with the utmost discretion, for apart from the fact that, beyond a certain point, heat is enervating and depressing, in the interests of the eyes alone, the children should be provided with large hats and made to realise they are of real value and must be worn and not flung impatiently aside.

We have come to the stage now when we realise that sunlight must be used with care. Beyond a certain point it might be harmful. The early morning hours are therefore the best for sun-bathing, as at that time we have the maximum of light with the minimum of heat.

It is also important to look over the daily diet. Modify the soft cereals, and substitute crisp cereals, fruit, etc., which will be a welcome change from the food applicable to the colder months. Plenty of liquids, too, is beneficial—cold water, milk, fruit drinks. Barley water, sweetened with honey, to which lemon juice may be added, is also a favourite drink, page 75 to those who have become accustomed to it.

The “Scrap Book.”

To keep cakes fresh for some time, put a piece of bread in your cake tin. The bread must be removed at intervals and fresh substituted.

Some cooks use stale breadcrumbs for thickening stews, etc., instead of flour and water. It makes a nice change. A wooden spoon is best for rubbing ingredients through a sieve.

Ammonia will remove grease stains from white goods.

An old-fashioned cure for sleeplessness.—Put the feet in warm water and add a little more hot water every few minutes for half an hour. Take a towel (folded about four inches wide and a foot long) and wring out of cold water, and apply to top of spine, changing when warm.

Rattling doors can be stopped by glueing a piece of cork in the door frame or on the door near the handle. Paint the cork in the same colour as the surrounding woodwork and it will not be noticed.

To keep potatoes white, add a few drops of lemon juice to the water when boiling.

Always have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your medicine chest, as it is useful for gargling, applying to cuts, and abrasions, etc.

* * *

Miscellaneous Recipes.

Christmas Cake.

Two lbs. butter, 2 lbs. brown sugar, 2½ lbs. flour, 22 eggs, 2 lbs. raisins, 2 lbs. currants, 2 lbs. sultanas, ½ lb. peel, ½ lb. almonds, ½ lb. cherries, I dessertspoon each essence lemon, vanilla and almond, I teaspoon baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, two at a time, then add flour, powder, fruit, etc.

Mixture makes two large or three smaller cakes. Bake from four to five hours, according to size, with regulo at two if baked in a gas stove.

Christmas Cake No. 2.

Two breakfastcups flour, 1 breakfast-cup sugar, ½ lb. butter, ½ lb. each sultanas, raisins and currants, 2 oz. candied peel, 2 oz. almonds, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 5 eggs.

Beat sugar and butter to a cream, then add eggs one by one, beating continuously. Add flour and baking powder together, then the other ingredients. Bake about 1 3/4 to 2 hours.

Note: Do not let cake brown too quickly as the crust hardens and cake does not rise so well.


Half lb. sugar, I½ oz. butter, ½ cup water, 1/4 teaspoon cream-of-tartar. Add flavouring to taste—vanilla preferable.

Boil sugar, water and cream-of-tartar quickly without stirring, until brittle (about 20 minutes) and then add butter and stir gently for a few minutes, then pour on to a plate lined with fruit or nuts.

Orange Cream.

Take the juice of two oranges, add to half a pint of cream, and sweeten to taste with sugar. Put some sponge fingers in the dish in which the cream will be served, pour the mixture over, and let stand for several hours. Serve very cold.

Almond Cream.

Whip half a pint of cream, flavour with almond essence, and add sugar to taste. Blanch some sweet almonds, cut into thin slices, and mix with the cream. Serve in individual glasses.

Mutton Chops.

Four mutton chops, ½ cupful diced peeled turnip, 1 cupful diced carrot, ½ cup chopped onion, ½ cup sliced celery, salt and pepper to taste; 1 cup stock or water.

Trim and brown the chops. Mix vegetables and place in the bottom of a fireproof dish with a cover. Arrange the chops side by side, on top. Add stock or water. Cover closely, and bake till tender—about I½ hours, depending on thickness. Serve with boiled potatoes—old potatoes are nicer if mashed.

page 76