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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)

Our Women's Section — For the Holiday Season—and After

page 73

Our Women's Section
For the Holiday Season—and After

The “all occasion” frock shown in the sketch owes its success to good designing. Incidentally it includes several fashion points of the season.

Sleeves? Some fulness at the shoulder line but not too much. Note the neat button finish at the cuffs. Neckline? High. Interest centres in the bodice, where buttoned closing hints at the simplicity of the shirt-waist, but clever fulness denies it. Bunched flowers at the throat give a touch of softness and colour which is reinforced by the twisted two-toned sash.

This style looks best in a heavy silk crepe. It will be equally successful for autumn in a light wool, with sash of velvet.

Notes For Now.

Printed cotton evening and dinner dresses have natural waist lines, sashes, full skirts, draped bodices, leg o’ mutton sleeves and neat collars, or are very decollete, clipped or tied on the shoulders.

Swagger camel coats appear in a variety of colours.

Girlish but extremely smart are short day frocks of chiffon or tulle with gauged waist and neck-lines, and very full skirts.

Metal incrustations add glamour to otherwise simple day frocks.

The bolero suit is a background for an elaborate blouse of muslin and lace. The bolero adds huge sleeves for evenings.

Hats are veiled for town occasions.

An edge-to-edge coat has edges and pockets (six of them) outlined with matching braid.

Net applique decorates the yoke and sleeves of a tea-frock.

Many changes are rung on mauve, blue and cyclamen, which are also much used with black.

Happy Christmas.

What is Christmas Day to you? A holy day of the church? A holiday from toil? A time of present-giving and receiving? A children's day? A feast day?

Whatever your answer, you will agree that Christmas Day is accepted as a happy day, a day of kindliness and thought for friends and relatives. Happiness, say the philosophers, is a state difficult of attainment and not to be reached at will. But a “happy day” can be assured by family forethought. Plan your day, taking into account the desires of the various members. Each will be willing to concede something in response to equal consideration from others. Then, when Christmas Day comes, there will be no sudden conflict of desires and consequent disappointments.

In a household with young children, there is less chance for adjustment. The day will be planned for the children, who will be happy with new toys and scope for activity. Father will enjoy the children's morning excitement and a special mid-day meal, followed by his pipe and a book, and a little exercise later in the day. Unmarried sister and her boy friend may come for Christmas dinner, but will be glad to find their own amusement for the afternoon. Mother would appreciate the morning church service (which won't seem the same on the radio), a rest from the preparation of meals, a quiet half-hour after dinner and an interesting outing in the afternoon. But every one knows which member of the family will give up her idea of a happy day in order to ensure the contentment of the rest of the family. And she won't complain either, but will draw happiness from those about her.

I'm not going to advise families to make it “Mother's Christmas” this year. Most mothers wouldn't thank me for it, averring that a home dinner is more enjoyable and more wholesome than a restaurant meal; that a picnic Christmas meal is just as much trouble as one cooked at home; that John page 74 likes his own easy-chair; that the children have plenty of space in their own garden; and that she doesn't need a day off.

My suggestion is that mother should be allowed, if she wishes, to give the rest of the family their idea of a Christmas Day, but that mothers’ “happy days” should be the rest of Christmas week. For instance, on Boxing Day, when things go flat round the home, the energetic husband should take charge and lead his forces out to beach or country, leaving mother outside the arrangements unless she wishes to come “as a guest.”

* * *

London, 20th, October, 1938. Dear Helen,

… . For your sake, and incidentally for my own enjoyment, I've been to several mannequin parades lately. The autumn styles are delightful, and the shows are so well organised that one hasn't time to relax interest.

To soft music, and the bright descriptive chat of the lady at the microphone, the girls (and “older women”) step neatly forward, twist and turn, and retire. The crowd gently applauds any particularly successful appearance. At one shop in Regent St., the mannequins moved among the tables for a few minutes after leaving the dais—an excellent idea, allowing an extra look at a frock or mannequin. To tell the truth, I'm as interested in the mannequins as in clothes.

Well, I enclose herewith a few notes which you won't need for three months yet—furs, and the new tawny-wine shade for outdoor wear, and sequins, ostrich feathers and hair ornaments for evening occasions.

I paid particular attention to hair and was a little disappointed—one sees more variety at the theatre. Most of the models had their hair dressed up in front and away from the ears, but it was still low on the nape, even when showing evening styles. Of course the ordinary woman has a struggle to get her short, long ends neatly up at the back, but one expects a mannequin to manage it successfully.

I'm still growing mine at the back, but I have rows of curls on top. Hair seems to me to be the most important aspect of fashionable appearance. I hope all you people in New Zealand are growing yours so that you can attempt something with it.

I tell myself it's stupid to worry about hair when, only the other day, we were trying on gas-masks. I was wondering all the time how people felt in New Zealand, and whether fatality seemed as imminent there as here. In London the crisis worked up steadily, inexorably. Newsboys were on the streets till all hours. One night I was awakened at four a.m. As usual I could not understand his call, but felt that an edition at that hour must mean war. I lay in the darkness and tried to realise it. It wasn't war, of course, but I hope never to be so near it again.

London activities seemed to reinforce newspaper news. Long queues stood for hours for gas-masks, on the Tuesday, in pouring rain. There was feverish activity in parks and squares where unemployed were called on to help build trenches—pitifully inadequate for those millions who would not be evacuated. Part of the central London underground system was suspended for “structural alterations.” Builders were working till late at night preparing gas-proof rooms in hospitals, hotels and office buildings.

Streams of taxis, some with perambulators on top, converged on Paddington and Victoria Stations, the outlets to the west. Most of the “refugees” seemed to be families with children.

In buses and tubes strangers spoke to strangers, exchanged opinions, offered words of hope which were accepted as sadly as they were given. It was a rare thing to see a smile on any face. London moved through its everyday life as in a nightmare.

I suppose in New Zealand, too, the main topics of discussion are war and peace and a suitable foreign policy. One encouraging factor in the crisis was that there was no “war-fever” among the people, either here or on the Continent.

A Merry Christmas to you.

I'm loving the prospect of coming home.


* * *

Rubbing Up For Christmas.

Furniture should be dry polished. It is “elbow grease” that gives the glow to pieces that have been in the family for generations. Occasionally wipe over with a chamois dipped into vinegar and water (two tablespoons vinegar to one quart water).

Wipe piano keys with a soft cloth soaked in methylated spirits, and polish with a dry cloth, but be very careful not touch woodwork with methylated.

If a waxed floor or linoleum is due for a “real clean,” use turpentine, which dissolves the wax. The kitchen linoleum is probably not waxed; add a little paraffin to the water with which you wash it.

* * *

Health Notes.
Hints for Foot Comfort.

Foot comfort is reflected in the face—hurting feet are good wrinkle-makers. If your feet hurt it is practically impossible to feel happy. Therefore, treat your feet well and you will be amply repaid. Here are a few hints:

Wear shoes that fit well and give your toes plenty of room.

Don't wear shoes with extremely pointed toes or extremely high heels.

Never walk on run-down heels.

See that your stockings are slightly longer than your feet when you are standing.

Learn to carry yourself properly. Bad posture is one of the major causes of painful, ugly feet.

You cannot be on a good footing with the world if you are tormented with hardened calluses, painful arches, corns, etc.

Prevention is better than cure.

* * *


New method of preserving fruit—currants, strawberries, raspberries and loganberries—without the application of heat.

Allow 1 1/4 lbs. of sugar to every lb. of fruit, 5 lbs. of sugar to 4 lbs. of fruit.

Choose a large flat dish—the largest meat dish in a dinner set, which rarely gets used on account of its size answers the purpose well. Remove the stalks from about half lb. of fruit at one time, and spread on the dish, then crush each berry separately with a silver or silver-plated dinner fork, taking care not to miss a single one. The object of the crushing is to allow the sugar to come in close contact with the juice and all parts of the fruit.

Then arrange the crushed fruit and the sugar in alternate layers in a very large china basin or a glazed earthenware jar or crock. Beat it vigorously page 75 for five or six minutes, cover with a clean cloth or paper and allow to stand until the whole of the sugar has been dissolved in the juice—about 18 to 24 hours.

During this period, the fruit and juice should be stirred vigorously or beaten four or five times; this is to ensure thorough mixing of the pulped fruit and sugar. Moreover, the beating is probably partly responsible for the jelling which occurs.

When there is no sign of undissolved sugar put the preserve into clean sterilised jars, cover at once. A teaspoon of tartaric acid may be added to each pound of strawberries because they have little acidity to aid preservation. Small berries are preferable.

The crushing and stirring of the fruit should be done in as cool a room as possible, and when a refrigerator is available, the crushed fruit could remain in the lowest part in between the “beatings.” The preserve should be kept in a cool, dry, ventilated storeroom.

The above recipe was obtained from an English paper, and it certainly has an appeal.

To experiment with, say, 4 lbs. of fruit would be very interesting. Even if we tested out 4 lbs. each of the soft fruits, it would not cost very much or take up much room on our shelves. This method would have a tremendous advantage over ordinary jam-making, because as the fruit is never heated, its fresh fruit flavour and colour would not be affected, and it would be more economical, as no heat would be needed for boiling.

Note: It is important to use fruit which is fully ripe, and not showing signs of decay. Any fruit which is even slightly mildewed or “mushy” should be discarded.

Red Currant Jelly.

Six lbs. red currants, 1 1/2 pints water, sugar. Wash the fruit thoroughly, remove the leaves but not the stalks and put it into a preserving pan with the water. Place over a very low heat and simmer gently until the fruit is cooked and all the berries pulped. Strain through a jelly bag and allow to drip for several hours. Weigh the extract, put into a pan, bring to the boil, boil for five minutes, add an equal weight of sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil, then cease stirring and allow to boil briskly for five to ten minutes. Test on a cold saucer for jelling. When the jelly is ready, skim, pour into hot, sterilised jars and cover immediately with waxed circles. Tie down when cold.

Ham Pinwheel Sandwiches.

One loaf white bread, 2 1/2 ozs. finely chopped ham, mustard, butter.

Cut the bread in thin slices lengthwise of the loaf. Spread with butter, then with the ham and mustard mixed together. Cut off the crusts. Firmly roll up each slice from the end like a Swiss roll. Wrap in waxed paper or damp muslin, and chill. Slice crosswise in quarter inch slices.

Brandy Snaps.

Three ounces butter, 2 ozs. flour, 2 ozs. sugar, 3 ozs. syrup, 1/2 teaspoonful ground ginger.

Melt the syrup and butter and allow to stand for about half an hour, then add flour and sugar and ground ginger, beating well. Put in small teaspoonfuls on a well-greased tin, and bake in a moderate oven until well spread and brown. Lift out with a palette knife and roll over the greased handle of a wooden spoon. Allow to cool.

Almond Rocks.

Two and a-half ounces sieved icing sugar, 2 whites of egg, 4 ozs. almonds dried and shredded, vanilla, coffee or chocolate.

Put the icing sugar with the un-whisked whites of eggs into a mixing bowl. Put the bowl over a saucepan half-filled with boiling water, remove from the heat and whisk the mixture, until it clings stiffly to the whisk. Add the flavouring and almonds, and measure out the mixture in teaspoonsful on a greased floured tin. Bake in a slow oven for 20–30 minutes.

Pineapple Flip.

Equal quantities of tinned pineapple juice and ginger-ale, sprig of mint, some thin slices of orange.

Chill the mixed pineapple juice and ginger-ale. Serve with ice and garnish with the mint and orange slices.

Mint Julep.

Half pint of lemon juice, 1 bunch fresh mint, 1/2 pint water, 3 pints gingerale, 1/2 lb. sugar.

Dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the lemon juice and mint leaves. Chill. Pour over a block of ice and add the ginger-ale. Serve in small glasses.

Tomato Juice Cocktail.

One and a-half pints tomato puree, a stalks celery, 1 tablespoonful chopped onion, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoonful pepper, 1 sprig parsley, 1 tablespoon green pepper.

Simmer all ingredients together in a covered saucepan for 20 minutes. Strain through muslin, put into individual glasses and chill well before serving.

Sandwich Fillings.

Chopped cucumber with mayonnaise, cream cheese with chopped ginger or red currant jelly, dates chopped and moistened with orange juice, caviare sprinkled with lemon juice and salt, cheese grated and mixed with chopped olives, or chopped walnuts, chopped ham mixed with tomato sauce, cooked salmon, flaked and mixed with chopped cucumber and mayonnaise; mashed sardines mixed with sieved yolk of hard-boiled egg.