Australian enquiry book of household and general information/Fancy Work
Hanging Vases—Wineglasses with the stems broken off make very pretty hanging ornaments to hold a few flowers. The following is a novel way to drill holes for wires to hang them by. Cover the edge of the glass with putty or stiff clay to the depth of more than an inch, through this make or bore a hole with a piece of thick wire or a gimlet till the surface of the glass is exposed at just where you want to pierce it. You will require three holes at equal distances from each other, so bore through the putty at three places. Into these tiny holes pour melted lead. It must be done very carefully, and unless the glass is of extraordinary thickness, it will melt and drop out in a circle the same size as the portion laid bare. Then take off the rim of putty, fasten the wires through and you have a hanging vase. which otherwise would have been use- less. The best cut glass does the best sometimes blown glass flys. A pane of glass can be bored in the same way if necessary.
To Frost Glass.—Make a saturated solution of alum in water and apply to the glass. It may be coloured by adding some dye to it, but the colour is very apt to fade. Epsom salts soaked in beer also makes a very good frosting for glass.
To Utilise an Old Piece of Coral—Dissolve two pounds of alum in as much hot water as will cover the coral and then suspend the latter in it for 12 hours or till crystals form on it. Dry in the air. For a very large piece of coral more alum will be required.
Perfume Jars.—Select a high jar with a secure cover. A fancy jar will be best if for a drawing room, or a common earthenware one can be used and put into a fancy flower pot. Roses, scented verbena leaves, or any highly perfumed flowers can be used. Strip off the leaves and put them into the jar and nearly cover them with spirits of wine and add a teaspoonful of cloves. Cover closely for a week and then place in the room on a high shelf without the cover. Gardenias are too powerful, also magnolias and all flowers that have a sickly or overpowering scent.
Table or Dinner Mats.—Use Macramè twine and a strong steel crochet hook. Make a chain of 20 stitches, join in a ring and work round it with single crochet in the second row, pick up only the back stitch or thread. Every second row add a few stitches to keep the mat flat. Turn the work every row and work on till the right size. They can be lined with Turkey twill or any stuff you have.
Baby's Jacket—Materials required, one ounce of Shetland wool and a bone hook, No. 12. Make a chain of 88 stitches* one treble, one chain, miss one, repeat from * There should be 44 holes in this row, which forms the neck. Second row: begin every row with two chain, work a treble in the first hole* one chain, two trebles in the next hole, two treble into the next, repeat from * Third row: The remainder is done in picots, thus, two treble, one chain, two treble, all into the same holes. There must be 22 picots. Fourth row: Five picots, increase by working another chain and two more treble into the same hole, making six treble instead of four; one picot, increase; six picots, increase; one picot, increase; five picots. The alternate rows are not increased. Sixth row: five picots, increase; two picots, increase; seven picots, increase at this side in same way to form the shoulder. Continue this for 12 rows. Thirteenth row: work five picots, now the sleeve begins; work 12 picots and unite these 12 picots into a round. Do five rounds (not rows), decrease under the arm, do three rows and decrease at the elbow every alternate row until there are only eight picots. Do two rows with a different colour, say pink if rest is white, and for the border make a deep scallop, thus, one single into the hole, two chain, two treble into the picot, three chain, two more treble into the picot. Do the other sleeve in the same way. Go on in rows again; there should be 30 picots for the whole length of the jacket. Increase under the arms, do eleven rows, now go all round the jacket with the pink wool for two rows, then a scalloped row. Run a ribbon round the throat and turn back the pink cuffs.
To Clean White or Cream Woollen Shawls, Serge Suits, &c., Without Washing.—For white articles use white starch; for cream, use cream starch or pollard. To clean the article lay a large cloth on the table next lay the shawl, or other article to be cleaned, on the cloth, sprinkle freely with starch which has been rolled with a rolling pin, fold up in the cloth and knead and rub well till thoroughly cleansed. Lastly remove from the cloth, take outside and shake well till all the white dust is removed. Infants’ wool bonnets look like new when treated in this manner.
Knitted Quilt.—Two pins. No. 15 and Strutt’s No. 16 three thread super. But as a matter of fact one can use any pins one likes and any thread. I have this quilt in white and grey Andalusian wool, and very warm and comfortable it is too in winter. But of course it looks best in white thread. It is knitted in stripes of 100 stitches, or cast on any number of stitches by five. First row: knit three, purl two. Second row: knit two, purl one, knit one, purl one. Repeat these two rows fourteen times. For the diamond pattern—first row: knit one, make one, knit two together at the back, knit three, knit two together, make one, repeat from the beginning of row, end the row with make one, knit one. Second row: purl. Third row: knit two* make one, knit two together at the back, knit one, knit two together, make one, knit three, repeat from * end the row with make one, knit two. Fourth row; purl. Fifth row: knit three* make one, knit three together, make one, knit five, repeat from * end the row with make one, knit three. Sixth row: purl. Seventh row: knit two, knit two together * make one, knit one, make one, knit two together at the back, knit three, knit two together, repeat from * end the row with knit two. Eighth row: purl. Ninth row: knit one, knit two together * make one, knit three, make one, knit two together at the back, knit one, knit two together, repeat from * end the row with make one, knit two together, knit one. Tenth row: purl. Eleventh row: knit two together * make one, knit five, make one, knit three together, repeat from * end the row with make one, knit two together. Twelfth row: purl. Repeat from the first row of diamond pattern once more, then repeat the ribbed stripe for 18 rows, work this and the diamond stripe alternately till you have the work the length you desire it to be; finish each stripe with 28 rows of the ribbed pattern. The crochet edging is worked with one treble into a stitch of the knitting, two chain pass over two stitches. Repeat.
A Lamp Shade.—A very pretty shade can be made with strips of satin ribbon and lace insertion the same widths. Cut the strips about an inch longer than the porcelain shade, and point at one end by turning the corners under and catching them together on the wrong side. When all the strips are sewn together, sew a lace edging like the insertion in at the top. A little tassel of purse silk the colour of the ribbon can be fastened to each point, run a fine cord round the neck or top to draw it round the porcelain shade. A tassel can be fastened to each end of the cord and it is tied in a loose bow on one side. Pale pink or green ribbon makes a pretty shade.
To Varnish a Picture.—Very often pretty pictures are obtained with the illustrated papers, quite good enough for framing, though one does not always care to go to the expense of getting them framed. To varnish—lake two drachms of camphor, half an ounce of pure turpentine, six ounces of mastic and spirits of turpentine 19 ounces. Make the mixture in a water bath, and first add the camphor to the turpentine, mixing well, and when quite blended, add the mastic and last of all the spirits of turpentine then strain through a piece of muslin and apply with a camel hair brush.
Imitation Coral Baskets.—Melt two ounces of fine resin in an enamelled saucepan over a very slow fire, stir in four drachms of best vermilion. Then take small twigs or little branches, dried and peeled. On swamp oak-wattle-mangrove or gum saplings you can get suitable twigs. And with a small paint brush paint them with the melted composition. Turn the twigs about over the hot coals till you get them smooth and bright. Let them cool, and having made a shape arrange the coral upon it. One way is to cover an old basket with tiny cones or cubes of wood and work the mixture on to it before the fire.
Imitation Ivory.—Many very pretty little ornaments can be made by any one who has taste and a little idea of moulding. Take two or three good sound potatoes, peel and wash in diluted sulphuric acid and boil in the same solution (to a mash), only have enough liquid for the potatoes to absorb. Let it dry slowly and it is ready to be moulded. The small tools used in making paper flowers are useful for this, though most can be done with the fingers.
Artificial Marble.—This can be made with a little care and time and is very useful for making fancy articles for bazaars. Get some plaster of Paris and soak it in a solution of alum for some time and then bake it in the oven and after that grind it to a powder. In using it, mix it with water and to produce the veins and clouds stir in any dry colour liked, it will become very hard and will take a high polish. Plaster figures are often made very durable in the following manner: first thoroughly dry the plaster figure with a warm dry cloth, place it in a vessel of some sort, and cover with the clearest linseed oil just made warm. After 12 hours remove it, drain and let it dry where it will not catch the dust. When dry it will look like wax and can be washed without injury.
A Pretty Knitted Fringe.—Cast on 24 stitches for each pattern and allow three plain stitches at the beginning and end of each row. First row. plain. Second row: knit two together four times, knit one, make one, eight times, knit two together four times. This makes one pattern. Regulate the number of patterns according to the width you require. Third row: purl the whole row. Fourth row: plain knitting. Fifth row: plain purling. Sixth row the same as the second row. Repeat third, fourth and fifth rows. This contains the whole pattern which is very simple and pretty for windows and dressing tables.
To Knit a Baby's Boot.—Cast on with two bone needles 20 stitches, and do two plain rows. Third row: wool before the needle the rest plain. Repeat this row till you have 30 stitches. Thirteenth row: plain knitting. Do three more rows plain. Seventeenth row: knit plain until the last two, which must be knitted together. Continue to reduce each row in this manner till you have only 20 stitches. Twentysixth row: at the end of this row cast on for the heel nine extra stitches. The next row plain. Twenty-eighth row: wool before the needle, remainder plain. Repeat this row till there 34 stitches. Do three plain rows. Thirtyseventh row: knit backwards and forwards on these 18 stitches for eight rows to and from the toe. Fortythird row: knit the 18 and then cast on 17 more stitches, taking the left hand needle out, after you have run a needle and thread through and tied them so that the stitches cannot run down. The 17 stitches cast on ought to be opposite those which you have left off. Do three plain rows. Fortyseventh row: knit the last two together at the toe. Now reduce in every row till you have only 31. Cast off. Take up the 17 loose stitches and 22 more from the other part with steel pins, to form the leg, making 39 in all. First row of leg: knit seven, increase; knit five, knit seven, increase; knit five. Second row: You ought now to have 44 stitches, wool before needle, knit two together. Repeat. Third row: knit and purl alternately for 12 rows. Fifteenth row: purl two, knit two, for 18 rows. One plain row and then cast off.
A Cork Frame.—Make a foundation or frame work of four pieces of wood glued together, forming an Oxford pattern frame. Now stain it any colour liked, either with dye or stain. Now cut up a lot of cork in any shapes, all small but it can be in different sizes. Thread with a needle and strong thread in long lengths and wind round the frame, but do not carry the cork to the back, let the thread be bare there. Having arranged the corks in position brush the thread at the back with glue so as to keep it in place against the wood. When that is dry varnish the front of the frame wood work and corks. Many other little things can be decorated with cork in this way and varnished.
Tam o' Shanter. (Crochet.)—For this four ounces of good fingering and a bone crochet needle, No. 10. Begin with three chain, join round and work two double crochet into each stitch of the chain. Second round: two double crochet in every stitch, working into the top and back threads of the stitches of the previous round. Third round: two double crochet in the first stitch, one double crochet in the next stitch, and repeat. Fourth round the same. Fifth round: one double crochet in each of the first two stitches and two double in the third stitch and repeat. Sixth round: Two double crochet in the first stitch and one double crochet in each of the three next stitches and repeat. Seventh round: two double crochet in every fifth stitch. Eighth round: two double crochet in every seventh stitch. And now continue the double crochet, always working into the top and back threads of the stitches of the last round, and increasing at intervals as often as necessary to make the work lie flat, till you have a circle measuring ten inches in diameter. Then work four rounds of double crochet without increasing. In the next round, to bring the cap into shape for the head, decrease by missing every ninth stitch, and afterwards for about ten rounds, or until the cap is the size required for the head, decrease about six times in each round. For the band: work eight rounds of plain double crochet. A tuft of wool is to be added in the centre of the crown, to make which wind a good quantity of wool over a piece of card about three inches wide, tie it strongly together, sew it on the top and cut and pull it into shape. The cap should be lined with silk the same colour as the wool with which it is worked.
An Oriental Table Cloth.—Make a square the desired size of good white serge, or any material you may have by you so long that it is either white or cream colour, as these make the best background. Now cut out pieces of different colors and kinds of silk, the size of a penny, if round, though they can be any shape, three-cornered pieces are best I think. Tack them carefully upon the foundation letting each touch the other. If in rounds this will leave little spaces between which must be worked with a tiny star or dot in silk. Now work button hole stitch round each piece with coloured silk. If tastefully arranged a beautiful cloth can be made, and either only a deep border worked or the whole cloth can be covered. If you have no scraps of silk by you, a good plan is to buy a half or a quarter of a yard of several ribbons, and in that way you can have the same quality of ribbon. I did a very pretty cloth all the border in half circles to a depth of about six inches. Fringe can be added or tassels if desired.
A Good Fringe.—A very handsome fringe can be made of brass curtain rings covered with floss worsted or silk in single crochet. If covered in contrasting colours they are more effective. Sew them together to form points or diamonds, and from the apex of each point as well as from between every two points, hang a silk tassel of the same or contrasting colours. This can be made a very handsome fringe.
Lady's Crochet Bodice.—Take a paper pattern of any bodice you wish. Work the two fronts separately and the back separately also. Make a chain the length of middle of front and then work backwards and forwards increasing one or two stitches at the end of each row at the neck to make it meet the pattern. When you get to the top of the shoulder decrease each row to form the shoulder slope. Work to fit the pattern as well as you can. The two fronts are worked the same. Then the back, which can be done in either one or two pieces. When ready, sew the parts together with an ordinary wool needle and then crochet an edging round the neck and sleeves.
Fancy Baskets and Boxes.—I may mention that nearly all the items given under this heading are purely original. I have sent some of them to different journals and papers, but not many, and most of them I have improved upon after once thought out. These baskets and boxes were suggested to me through watching the aboriginals of Wide Bay making their "dilly bags." They often use some sticky or stiff liquid with which to moisten and stiffen the string or wool while working. But my plan is better, as the bags seldom lose their shape, while the black gin's dilly bags become very limp when old. Macramè twine is the best to use on account of its better quality and strength but any will do. I used coarse crochet cotton at first and very successfully too. Any odd pieces of twine knotted together will do as well as any. With a bone or coarse steel crochet hook, crochet a bag. Here is a simple pattern. Make a round or circle of 12 chain and work into it in the ordinary way increasing every row till a flat mat is made of the size desired. And a jar will be a good size and you can measure it by standing the jar on the mat or bottom of the bag. Then work on again drawing it in slightly to begin the sides of the bag. Work in double stitch and only increasing at long intervals till the sides are made or as high as the jar you are moulding it with or blocking it. A Chinese jar is a very good shape but perhaps it is best to try a straight one first. Now make a thin solution of either glue or gum-arabic and stiffen the crochet bag with it by dipping it in and wringing it out. When nearly dry, not before, pull it out carefully with the hand and block it on the jar again, or any suitable thing you have. A common tin dipper is very useful for the purpose. When quite dry and stiff paint with gold paint or any coloured enamel you wish. If you use coloured crochet cotton, or two contrasting colours, you can varnish it instead of enamelling, and the effect is very good. For a work bag a silk lining can be put in, and then it will be best made of crochet cotton (the coarsest). I once made a very effective set of covers for flower pots for the table decorations. I worked them very open and with alternating in bands. It is as well to put a circle of card board inside the bottom of the bag. A square jewel case can be made in the same way and many other little things to ornament a room.twine, stiffened them, blocking upon a flower pot, and then used green enamel with gold paint
Novel Table Cloth.—I saw a very novel five o'clock tea cloth lately which had been given to a young bride as a wedding present. It was an ordinary cloth made of rather coarse linen, with a very handsome drawn thread border. But the novel part was that dozens of autographs were all over it, worked in coloured ingrain cotton. The idea is very easily carried out. One has only to make or buy a tea cloth and as visitors call ask them to write their names on the cloth, and when they have departed work over it with ingrained thread. But I think it would improve the appearance of the cloth if, instead of autographs hap-hazard here and there, a design in visiting cards was drawn in marking ink either in the centre or at the four corners and then each visitor could write on a card. The one I saw had only the names of intimate friends and relatives and was a pretty idea, I think.
Pretty Fringe for a Knitted Quilt.—Cut the cotton into lengths a little more than twice the length you wish the fringe to be, put four strands of cotton together. Cast on nine stitches knit three rows plain. Fourth row: slip one, knit five, take up a set of the cotton and pass over the right hand pin, knit a stitch keeping the set at the back of the pin, bring the set forward, knit a stitch and put the set back knit the last stitch. Fifth row: knit two, take the head or loop of the set and the third stitch and knit them together, knit the rest plain. Sixth row: slip one, knit one * put the cotton twice over the pin and knit two together, repeat from * once. Put on another set as before. Seventh row: knit two, knit the third stitch and the head of the set together * knit one, knit half the made loop, cotton forward, knit the other half of the loop, repeat from * once more. Knit to the end of the row. Eighth row: slip one, knit nine, put on the set as before. Ninth row the same as the fifth row. Tenth row: cast off four, knit one * cotton twice over the pin, knit two together, repeat from * once more, put on the set as before and repeat from seventh row.
Spotted Muslin—Very many pretty little bedroom requisites such as glove pockets, handkerchief pockets, night dress bags, wall pockets, &c., &c., can be made of the common spotted muslin, if the maker has any taste and ingenuity. Choose a muslin with rather large dots, and with crewel silk or filoselle, work a pattern with the dots, covering them with different colours working from dot to dot in a net work, or you can with a pencil draw designs round the dots and then work over with silk.
Crazy Work.—This is really a kind of patch work, very pretty and effective, and if well done looks like Oriental work. Collect as many pieces and patches of silk, velvet, plush, satin, as you can. Any of the milliners would be able to save you their scraps, and the smallest pieces will do. Bed spreads can be made in this work, but it is as well to attempt something smaller at first, a bracket for instance. I have just made a pair, a description of which will be a guide. First cut the shape in brown paper, and make it to fit the bracket as you cannot cut any of the work when finished without spoiling it. Now cut out in any strong material, ticking I have found the best, then cut your patches, or rather trim them, as the odder they are in shape the better, and have colours that will harmonize. Tack the patches on the foundation completely covering it, fitting the pieces in here and there and the edges of silk and satin under, baste securely and then feather stitch round each patch with colored silk. Choose any colour or colours you like, but I think the one looks best. I did mine with gold coloured silk and the effect is very good. That is crazy work but it is greatly improved if you get a ball of tinsel gold, silver, bronze, any will do, and beginning at one corner, cover the patchwork with a running pattern in the tinsel. Most of my patches were very small, some not an inch across either way, so there are a good many of them and of many colours. The tinsel is silver, and I finished with a silver fringe, but any fringe will do. When making a bed spread or quilt, it must be lined with some substantial material and finished with either a fringe or lace.
Mat for the Floor.—Several people to whom I have given the directions for making this mat have said "Oh, but where can I get the scraps of cloth? And I can say from almost any tailor in the town, or indeed any of the big shops where tweeds and cloths are sold, if you ask they will save you the snippings. I made my mat from the patterns of tweed and cloth sent by the different shops for several years. I merely saved all I got, for when in the bush I used to send down to the shops for patterns of tweeds suitable for boys' clothes. You may send to three or four different places, and by these means get enough scraps to make a good sized mat. For a foundation, a bag or sack is best, open it down one side and the end and then it will make a big square. Cut or tear your patterns if too wide, about half an inch in width will do. Nick them round with the scissors and then double in half, and sew them securely to the sack with a strong needle and thread, or a packing needle. Don't have the pieces too long or they will be inconvenient. When the bag is all covered take a common red or blue blanket, an old one will do, Vandyke and work button hole stitch all round. Place the mat in the centre and sew securely at each corner and you will have a very handsome mat. Another way is to crazy work the pieces on to the sack and feather stitch them with coarse fingering.
A Tea Cosy.—Take a newspaper and cut out a large circle by laying a wash hand basin or a large plate upon it, mark with a pencil and then cut it out. Fold in half and divide, and one half will make a very good pattern for your cosy. Silk cloth, plush, velvet, anything will do to make it, and it can be made either on the bias or on the straight of the material. Having cut pieces for the outside, join them round the circular edges on the wrong side. They may be braided, worked in crewels, or embroidered in any way fancied. Now take a piece of sateen or flannel for lining and fold in the same way, and cut about an inch wider on the straight side than the outside cover, on the flannel or sateen lining place one or two thicknesses of wadding and tack and quilt it. The lining is cut larger to allow of quilting. Place the lining inside the cover so that the wadding is in the middle. Firmly tack the circular seam of the cover to that of the lining, neatly turn in and sew the outside to the inside round the bottom. Sew a cord or else pipe along the bottom to cover the join and it should also be sewn over the circular seam, put two or three loops of cord at the top of the cosy and it is finished. They are very pretty made with white jean or duck with ferns in splash work done on it.
Stocking for a Boy, 12 or 13.—Material required: four or five ounces of fingering, any colour preferred, and two ounces a little finer. Four pins, No. 15, and two No. 16. Cast on 96 stitches with fine wool on three pins No. 15. Knit two purl, one plain alternately for three inches, which will be about 35 rounds. Now with the other wool continue as before until you have worked the sixteenth stitch of the third pin, pick up one stitch for the seam that is the loop lying between the sixteenth and seventeenth stitches, purl this stitch in every succeeding round. To mark it, it is as well to tie a piece of white thread through it. Work off as before to the end of the rounds. Work 11 more rounds in the coarser wool. Then with the finer wool work one round. Second round increase one stitch on each side of the seam by picking it up as described for the seam stitch and working it to continue the rib. Work five rounds without increasing. In the eighth round increase as described for the second round. Ninth and twelfth rounds without increase. With coarser wool again work 12 rounds without increasing or decreasing. With finer wool again work one round. In second round work two together before and after seam, then four rounds without decrease. In the seventh round decrease as described. Eighth to twelfth rounds without decrease. Work three stripes of twelve rounds each alternating the coarse and finer wool decreasing as described, viz., by working two together before and after seam, for the last stripe. Work five stripes without increase or decrease. Work five rounds with the coarser wool, then begin the heel. Divide the stitches thus: 21 each side of the seam, that is 43 on the heel pin, leaving 42 for the instep. Take a second ball of coarser wool so as to knit the heel with double wool and No. 16 pins. Continue the rib working on the heel stitches only for 28 rows. Twentyninth row knit two past the seam, knit two together, knit one turn, purl nine, purl two together, purl one, turn knit eleven, knit two together, knit one, continue these last two rows taking in two stitches more at each turn till all the side stitches are taken in. At each side of the heel pick up carefully with a crochet hook 30 stitches, work with No. 15 pin. Then take in the 42 stitches left before taking the heel but let them remain on a separate pin as they must continue to be ribbed. Decrease in every round until only 40 stitches are left at the sole. To decrease knit two together at the right side and slip one, knit one, pass the slip stitch over at the left side of the sole. Imagine sock on right foot to know right to left. When the foot measures about six inches begin the decrease for the toe by decreasing one stitch at each side of back and each side of front stitches, always making the decrease the second stitch from the sides. Work the next round plain. The last two rounds are to be worked alternately till you have 28 stitches, cast off and sew up on wrong side. This makes a very nicely shaped stocking; buy the coarser and finer wools, say fingering and .
Simple Work Baskets.—A very pretty simple and effective basket can be improvised out of an old hat. Take a piece of satin, sateen or any material you have by you, it must be twice or three times as wide as the depth of the hat crown. Fold it in halves and place the half inside the hat and firmly back round the edge of the crown, just as you would if about to line a hat. The half inside the hat must be gathered at the edge and drawn together and sewn in the centre of the crown. The outside half should have a wide hem twice run to admit a ribbon or cord to draw up. The hat may be trimmed with bands of ribbon, or it may be painted with gold paint before being made into the basket. Pockets of satin or silk can be sewn round the crown to hold cottons or buttons. This makes a capital basket for collecting eggs. Another way is to run a strong wire round the brim of a large hat and then indent it here and there according to fancy, with a basin in the crown; this makes a very effectivefor flowers, particularly for the larger bunches. In a fire place in summer it looks well.
Another Basket.—There is yet another way more effective than any if well done. Take an old sailor hat with a moderately wide rim and not too high a crown. A gem hat is no good for the purpose. Cut the top of the crown and sew it in again round the edge just where the hat fits round the head; when it will look like a hat with the opening for the head closed and the crown open. Now line the crown as described for the other basket and also cover the rim on the top side, that is the outside of the hat. When this is all done sew it up back and front, and at each side, securely to the crown. In this way you will have four pockets. You can sew on a little edging or anything that can be easily sewn and finish with a rosette at each side where it is sewn on. This can all carried out with gold paint instead of lining, and the bag for the centre part made of gold coloured silk or satin. For bazaars these baskets are very effective.of lace if you like either before or after turning up the rim. Make a handle of straw or
ToGrass and Leaves for Ornaments.—These make very effective ornaments and are so easily made a child can do them. Pulverise and dissolve about one pound of alum in one quart of hot water, but do not on any account boil it. Pour the solution into a deep earthen jar and let it stand by the fire till just luke warm. Select the grass you want to do, and be sure they are perfectly dry and pressed out straight. Fasten with thread or just suspend them to a stick and lay it across the top of the jar being sure that it is quite submerged in the liquid. Put the jar in a cool place where it will not be shaken or moved for 12 hours, then take them out and let them drain. When quite dry the blades of grass will be covered with crystals of alum. For yellow crystals, boil a few leaves in a little water and mix it with the solution. For red or pink add dye, Prussian red is best. If they do not crystalise the first time sufficiently, heat the solution and dip them again and so on until they are right.
Wattle Work.—This is comparatively a new work, and is really an imitation of wattle in yellow wool. To carry it out you require a couple of skeins of wool the exact colour of the wattle flower. A small comb, one of those little things sold in small cases is the best, a needle and thread, and a sharp pair of small scissors. Cut a piece of card board half an inch wide and wind some of the yellow wool round and round it till you have 12 or 13 turns. Now sew the wool securely along one edge of the card, drawing it as close together as possible so as not to make too thick or wide a stalk to the tiny flower. When all the strands are fixed so that they won't slip when combed, cut them along the opposite edge of the card. Slip the scissors along close against the card and you should have a little ball of wool strands. Now take the little comb and comb them out, so that every bit of wool is divided and the little ball looks like yellow cotton wool or wadding. Take the scissors now and trim and cut it until the size of a wattle blossom. The process is very simple and having once begun it you will see how to do it far better than I can tell you here. When sewing the strands together leave long threads of white cotton (two of them) so as to fasten the little blossom on to the side of the centre stalk which is worked in arasene of the color of the stalk. Very pretty brackets, tea cosies, mantle drapes and many other things can be made with velvet or plush and wattle flowers and leaves worked on them. The design is drawn, or you can buy a wattle transfer now I think. The stalks are worked in green arasene and the leaves in a different shade. When the leaves and stalks are worked fasten on the little blossoms on each side of stalks. The flannel flower is generally in season at the same time as wattle and looks very effective if introduced with it. You can make the flannel flowers of white flannel, the thicker or cricketing flannel. Cut the petals (by a flower) on paper first. Then pack your flannel or velveteen with stiff muslin gummed or put on with starch this will make it firmer and not so apt to fray at the edges. Let the muslin dry before cutting them with a sharp pair of scissors. Cut the flower exact to the pattern and make the centre of white wool in the same way as I have described the wattle making, but larger and flatter. Then mix a tiny drop of green dye, and with a camel hair brush just brush the centre to give it the faint green tinge and just the least tint upon each petal. You cannot do better than take a natural flower and copy it. Flannel flowers can be bought but they are very expensive and a quarter of a yard of flannel or velveteen will make dozens. Having learned the wattle it occurred to me that berries could be made in the same way and would be so much more effective, I tried them and the result was beyond my expectations. A bunch of purple grapes can be made to look very beautiful, and if the leaf of the vine is cut out of green silk and veined with sewing or crewel silks the effect is quite startling. It takes time and patience in making the berries to arrive at perfection, and great artistic taste is required to blend the colours, only the dark purples, and for the green grapes, the delicate shades of green. The red mountain ash berries can be made of red wool and are a great improvement on the crewel berries worked flat.
Carpentering for Young Ladies.—Almost any lady can use a hammer and nails with a little practice, and in the bush so many little ornaments can be made that it is quite worth while learning. I will give a few little articles easily made and from which my gentle readers, I am sure, can advance to others more elaborate. A stand for a photograph is made with six pieces of wood; common deal, or bamboo, one inch and a half wide; and the length, bar for centre 12 inches, two bars on each side 11 inches, lower cross bar 10 inches, upper cross bar 7 inches, leg or support behind 10 inches, this last must have a tiny brass hinge to it. Arrange the bars in position and glue them in place. Nail the one half of the hinge on the support to the back of the upper cross bar just in the middle. Round the corners of the cross bars and tops of the upright lengths and just below the lower bar bore a hole and insert a piece of wood in, the outside lengths to support the picture. The frame is now finished,and can either be covered with plush or be painted with Aspinall's enamel. This is merely one article of the many a woman can make if she tries. Three corner gipsy stands made from rustic wood and covered with silver paper cigarettes are wrapped in, or painted with enamel or gold paint, and tied with coloured ribbon at the corners are very effective to stand a flower vase in or to hang a small basket of moss to.
A Pretty Pin Cushion.—Make four little sacks of strong calico and stuff them firmly with bran or sawdust and sew them up. Now make corresponding bags of silk of contrasting colours, and about two inches longer so that when the filled sacks are in, the silk ones can be tied with ribbon or cord, and if a little of the top is frayed out it is more effective. Sew all four sacks together securely near the top or shoulder so that they will stand erect. Three sacks make a very pretty cushion too.
A Hair-Pin Cushion.—Get a little box, a wooden one is best, one of those the children buy lillies in will do nicely. It must be filled with horsehair curled stiffly, or fibre, and have a knitted or crocheted cover. The top can be made of zephyr, by knitting one row plain, and every other one by winding the zephyr round the first finger four times, and knitting it in, which makes a soft fluffy material in which to stick the hair pins. The cover can be crocheted of macramé twine in shell pattern to fit over the box. Then by way of beautifying it stiffen the whole of the box with a little cold boiled starch and gild it with gold paint when thoroughly dry.
Alum Baskets.—Not only baskets but dozens of other little ornaments can be made or decorated with this. I have seen glove boxes done, and once I did a little jewel cabinet for a bazaar. At Christmas time when trees are the order of the day it can be turned to various uses in making odds and ends. Dissolve as much alum as the quantity of water required will take up for your basket or whatever you are going to ornament must be quite submerged. When the water will absolve no more pour it into a saucepan, or into a kerosene tin cut down is as good as anything, and let it boil slowly until reduced a good deal. Lay a stick across the top of the kerosene tin and with a piece of thread or string suspend the basket till it is quite covered handle and all. It must be put in a cool place and where it will not receive the slightest vibration or motion to spoil the formation of the crystals. The frame work of the basket can be made of thin wire woven or twisted into any pattern liked. I have made very pretty ones from dry reeds and dead leaves to decorate it, but the best surface for the alum is made by winding every part with worsted or thread. To produce yellow crystals boil gamboge turmeric or saffron in the solution; for purple boil some logwood with it; and blue crystals can be made by using sulphate of copper, or blue vitriol instead of alum. The blue crystals are very pretty. To ensure the crystals being clear it is as well to strain the solution through muslin before it is boiled. Very lovely little frames for photographs, and larger ones for home-made mirrors, can be made by submerging them in the above solution.
To Fix Chalk and Pencil Drawings.—Half fill a shallow dish with skimmed milk and lay the drawing flat upon the surface of the liquid. Then remove and place on blotting paper in a slanting position so that it can drain and dry. A solution of isinglass and water, or gum and water, can be used instead of milk.
Bamboo Ornaments—Many pretty little things for a room can be made of bamboo. You want to get several lengths of different thicknesses, from the largest to some quite small. Make a trough or boat of the thickest by splitting it in halves. Cross two thinner pieces for trestles or legs, or rather four, and let the trough rest between. Get all the pieces to fit before putting any together and then paint with gold paint, and proceed to set them up. In crossing the two thin pieces you can bore a hole right through both and put a wooden peg in to keep them together, when both are done rest the boat or trough between. One of these can be made large enough to stand in front of the fireplace. Instead of putting water in use wet sand in which to stick the flowers. Short lengths of bamboo look very well gilded with gold paint, a bow of coloured ribbon artistically holding them to the wall, and flowers or a few spines of driedin them. But taste and the artistic faculty can do a great deal with bamboo.
Fish Scale Flowers.—This is comparatively a new work, and so far as I know the secret of preparing the scales has never been published. To prepare the scales:—You can save these yourself when the cook is cleaning fish, or what is better, you can get a supply from the fish market, or a fish shop if your town does not boast a market. In this way you will get an assortment and different sized scales, which is necessary for the work. Having secured a good sized basinful of scales, throw them into clean water, in which has been dissolved a handful of coarse salt, wash them well in this, and in the meantime dissolve as much oxalic acid as will lie on a sixpence in a large basin of cold water, and remove the scales from the salt and water to it. Stir them about well, keeping them in from five to ten minutes; and from this remove into clear salt and water again. Prepare another bath with oxalic acid in it and repeat the last process again, and until they lose the slimy, fishy feeling and smell. Three baths with the acid should cleanse the dirtiest scales, then wash thoroughly in clear water, changing it over and over again. When as pure as you can get them, spread on newspaper in the hot sun, taking them in at night and putting out in the day, till they are perfectly dry, free from smell, and snow white.
There are one or two little things to be borne in mind:—First, be sure not to use too much acid, or it will eat away the outer coat of the scale and so spoil them; the quantity will depend upon what sort of scales you get. Second, use plenty of salt water and plenty of fresh to cleanse them thoroughly.
Now you require some silver or brass wire, the silver is the prettiest but is 5/- per reel, the brass can be got at any ironmongers for 2d. per ring. You must also have some beads, tiny seed pearls, and also some small white glass ones, a pair of small sharp scissors, and a strong bonnet pin or coarse darning or ordinary needle for piercing the scales. I cannot describe to you how to make the flowers, beyond telling you to take any you wish to make, and pull it to pieces, lay a petal on a fish scale, and cut it exactly, or as near as you can, being sure to keep the butt of the scale to go nearest the stalk. A maiden hair fern is very simple, try it first. And to begin with, cut some of the wire in lengths of about three inches. Choose the very tiny scales for this, and do not cut them more than you can help, just shaving off the edges, and the least little bit pointing the butt. You want a small piece of board for piercing on. Now pierce a tiny hole just where the little leaf should join the stalk, pass a piece of wire through it, and cross the wire as close as you possibly can to the scale, and holding it between the finger and thumb, twist round and round it till you have about the eighth of an inch of closely twisted wire from the scale. The fish scale has a right and a wrong side, also a top and a butt. The top has a little delicate lining like a fan somewhat. Well, that traced part must be outside of the fern petal, Do several of these single petals, and then procure a frond of the fern and copy it as nearly as you can, always twisting the wires as closely as possible. Use a pair of nippers to twist with if it hurts the fingers, but it will not do that if the wire is the right size, it must be very, very fine. The beads are used in the flowers for the stamens and pistols. Take a bead, say a pearl (which should be kept for the pistols) thread it on a length of wire, and twist it as I have . In some flowers the stamens are long—fuschias for instance. Having twisted the pistol and three or four stamens, now twist them all together, always going by the flower you are copying.
The Fuschia.—For this you want four or five long petals, therefore, you want some large scales. Choose them out and cut the pointed petals crossways, leaving the outside of the scale for the outer edge of the petal. The king-fish or barramundi have the best scales for the large flowers. Having cut the long pointed petals, slip them backwards and forwards on the blade of the scissors (as you would if curling a feather. Do it on the wrong side, and so as they will turn outwards, like they do in the natural flower, fix them on to the wire, and then put together the centre. For this you want four medium sized scales, trim them with the scissors, bore, and put on wires. Now take first the stamens and pistol, letting the latter be a little the longest, twist these tightly together—about three or four twists will do as yet—the arrange the smaller petals over the stamens, &c., and twist them, and lastly, the long outer petals, arranging all as neatly as possible.
You can make a very pretty spray of fuschias, and then cut the leaves as well as you can from the largest scales.
A Rose.—This is the most difficult after a dahlia to do. Begin with the tiniest petals, putting one round the other as evenly and naturally as you can, letting the outside ones be loose as you go on, but the wires must all be twisted tightly. Small roses are easily made, and buds are too. The rose leaf too is very simple, and the outer edge must be serated like the natural leaf.
The Dahlia.—For this you proceed in the same way as the rose, but you have to roll or turn in each petal, which is easy enough till it comes to putting them together, and this part requires great patience and perseverance, but if properly done it repays one by its beauty.
The Geranium.—This is the most simple of all flowers to do, but as a few stamens greatly improve it, I always put them, threading the plain glass beads on the wire for the purpose.
The Jessamine.—Is a very simple little flower to make. For the centre thread three little glass beads on to one wire, and twist them together, then cut the longish petals on the cross of the scale and arrange them round the beads. The little common fern with leaves on each side, something the shape of the jessamine petal, is very easily made. Almost any small leaf or flower can be made.
Once you are able to make the flowers you can use them in many ways. And if wanted in colours the scales can he dyed with the diamond dyes very easily. I have made oleander flowers that looked quite natural of dyed scales, also red geraniums.
The double geraniums are easily made, and look very pretty in the white scales.
Useful Women or Useful Dolls.—These are very useful for bazaars, always sell well and are not much trouble to make. Get a small china doll with sawdust body. One of those you give about sixpence or ninepence for, dress her in ordinary peasant costume, viz., a red and white stripe skirt or blue and white print is the material, or if you have scraps of bright coloured merino by you they can be used just as effectively. The skirt can be made short or long, they look best short; there is a way of making the long skirt answer as a pin cushion, but it spoils the appearance of the milk maid I think. However, here are the directions: cut a circle of strong card board and having made the petticoat of strong calico. Sew it securely round the circle of the card and then fill the inside or the bag just formed with bran, cut off the legs of the doll and introduce the body into the bag and gather strongly round the doll's waist. It is best to sew it in case of it breaking if tied. Now proceed with the dressing, the striped skirt goes over the petticoat bag and should be made rather full. For the body make a muslin blouse and a little basket bodice of black, or else a swiss belt, a muslin apron and a little pocket, and a white cap with a small brass or steel thimble for the crown. Across the shoulder place a steel bodkin to represent a milkand from each side of the bodkin suspend a reel of cotton to represent the cans, in the apron pocket place a packet of needles, and that useful woman is complete. Any one who has taste can make a great many of these and each one different.
Court Costume.—For this get as pretty a doll as you can and with fair hair. The dolls with china head, arms and legs are the best, as those all china are much harder to fit, and all the clothes should fit as well as your own or they do not look nice. For the bodices always cut a paper pattern on the doll and make the same seams and all just as if making a body for a grown person. Another thing make every article of underclothing for the doll. Many ladies when buying will take into consideration the fact that they are getting good value for their money in a well dressed doll. A packet of needles, reel of cotton, thimble and bodkin, so that when they have done with the needles and thread the doll will come in for one of the children. In dressing a doll in court fashion it is well to go by a fashion plate, keeping as near to it as circumstances and material will allow. I give the description of one I did. A pink satin dress, the front quilted, and in each little square of the quilting a dot worked in a deeper pink silk. The skirt only to the feet all round, and a train from the shoulders fixed on the bodkin, or rather the bodkin run through loops to look as if supporting the train. The latter was made of deep violet or purple velveteen lined with pink satin and under it the packet of needles slipped into a casing, the thimble can be put there too, but I fixed a tiny of artificial flowers into it as a holder and tied it to one of the hands while the other held a fan-shaped pin cushion made of two pieces of card board covered with satin and the pins stuck in close together and about a quarter of an inch out of the pin cushion. One I arranged in a card board sort of crown and the needles inside for the head and feathers curling over them. The bodice of the dress was cut square at the neck, and sleeves only to the elbow. When finished it made a very pretty ornament and I got 12/6 for it which was very good profit on my outlay of 1/9, as I had the material by me.
A Fish Wife is easily carried out and if you give her a basket on her back she can carry all the utensils in it, or you can put the thimble in for the crown of the hat, but all the things must be put on so that when wanted they can be taken without trouble or without pulling the doll to pieces.
Dolls may be dressed as men for the use of men very artistically For instance I did one as a stockrider, with one of those pipes that can be taken to pieces I used the bowl for the crown of the hatMake the cabbage tree hat of brown paper plaited, and the stem as the handle of stockwhip, which I tucked under his arm to hide its length and a coil of whipcord (to use for whip lashes) round his body as stockmen often carry their whips. The leggings (made of brown paper) held matches round the tops, and the shirt opened down the front to form a tobacco pouch. I made two of these first as samples and sent them into the shop hardly expecting them to sell, but before the month was out I got an order for one dozen useful men, and I would be afraid to say exactly how many I did make within a few weeks. Bushmen were delighted with them and bought them readily.
A Fisherman is easily made with a coat with many pockets containing hooks, a rod (the pipe stem) over his shoulders with cord wound round to represent the line. The pipe bowl for a cap, you can fix the peak on the peak on the head of the doll so that it can easily be removed. A little creel of plaited grass or brown paper and filled with tobacco, while the line can be fixed to the back of the man or hung on a hook to the post against which he stands. You must have a square of flat wood with apost in the centre to fix the man doll to, to keep him upright. Or you can buy a small doll's chair and have him sitting down. I cannot now remember all the characters I represented amongst my useful men and women; the stockrider and the butcher were the favorites. The latter is one of the most difficult to dress properly; one of the easiest is the farmer, with two baskets. A pieman with a square box on his head, and another pieman with his oven. From this idea I took others making whole families, street stalls, and street . A very pretty stall can be made as a lady's work basket, but one must know how to use ones fingers, and to glue and tack together. For bazaars these things are all very useful and so easily made that a child twelve years old can make them.
In the bush it is almost necessary for a woman to know something of carpentry to furnish the home with the true comforts she wants. In making articles of furniture it does not matter how roughly they are fashioned so long as they will stand and are strong; because one can easily cover them prettily. Paint them with Aspinall's enamel, fix cushions here and there, and really make them far more artistic than many of the articles of furniture seen in city drawing rooms.
Fighting Cock.—This is only suitable for a little boy. It is a most effective dress if well carried out. Loose knickerbockers of copper coloured silk (this is the correct colour, but I have seen them made of red Turkey twill) edged with black feather trimming, dark green silk stockings and light coloured shoes with the cock's foot painted upon them. The blouse and knickers can be made all in one with a running string at the waste, and the neck edged with feather trimming, or a separate blouse can be made and worn with a little jacket made entirely of the feathers worn over it. The cap should be made to represent the cock's head as nearly as possible, and little velvet spurs should be attached to the heels of the shoes. A hen can be carried out just as well using a particular shade of brown for the dress.
Phyllis, a Milk Maid.—This is a very pretty dress and very easily carried out—is suitable for any young girl. A short red cashmere or print skirt (the former material looks best) with a blue band round at the top of the deep hem, an overskirt of the blue made so as to turn over or up on one side and a band of red round it, the same width as the blue on the red, make pretty full round the waist. A white full bodice with long loose sleeves reaching to the wrists and black velveteen basket body laced in front with red laces. The neck of the blouse can be made with a deep turn down collar, like a man's Oxford shirt and fastened with blue ribbon strings, a handkerchief tied under the chin, and the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, a bucket and a milking stool in the hand. A young married couple look well, the lady as Phyllis and the gentleman as Herdsman in corduroy breeches, or velveteen would be better, red stockings, white shirt, velveteen waistcoat, blue or red sash with fringed end, red cap and cow whip in hand.
A Charity Girl.—This is a very becoming dress to a pretty young girl, and can be made up in any sombre colour, such as navy blue, dark brown, grey or black. The best, and most like the actual dress, is dark blue print or dungaree. The latter if possible, and it had better be washed before making up as it sometimes has an unpleasant smell. A short, perfectly plain skirt, and the body to fasten down the back. A large white muslin kerchief folded across the chest artistically, white apron and large mob cap, dark blue stockings and shoes with bright buckles.
Flower Girl.—Pink striped or a a pretty figured material are suitable for this character. Short skirt with lace or muslin overskirt, looped up at the side, lace bodice, rustic hat trimmed with flowers, muslin apron and basket of flowers.
Gipsy.—For this character the face, neck and arms and hands should be stained, unless the wearer is naturally dark. A simple stain and one easily washed off can be made of sepia. You require a red, blue, or deep orange and black skirt. It matters not which colour is chosen so long as it is bright. Scallop the skirt and adorn it with hundreds of sequins. For the bodice a full white blouse and a Swiss belt in black, and full white sleeves. A small red cap trimmed also with sequins. This is a very pretty dress but only suitable for a dark brunette.
Forget-me-not.—Pale blue underskirt of silk, sateen or nuns' veiling, broad wreath of forget-me-nots across the front near the bottom. Bodice of white or cream lace, with or without a tunic, according to one's own taste. Wreath round waist and looping tunic at one side.