Week 2 and Cleaning Supplies

Checking In

First, an update. Another pound plus down this week! Only one day of exercise in – just stairs in the park at lunch. (Further proof that diet is the important part.)

After dropping my mother-in-law off at the airport on Tuesday, I did get in a round of housecleaning as prescribed by America’s Housekeeping Book with one exception – the kitchen. Probably because I spent a lot of time in the bathroom both cleaning the entire shower and scrubbing the floor to get rid of the scuff marks that had built up on the unglazed hexagon tile we have. I actually consulted the flooring section of the book to see what I should be using – steel wool, scouring powder and water was suggested…Bon Ami cleaner, water and a stiff brush worked great. I had some bank reconciliations I needed to finish for work, so I stopped in order to get that taken care of.

Speaking of cleaning

“But no matter how much or how little there is to be done, system speeds it along. A large tray for collecting small objects that have wandered into the wrong room – a bag of marbles, the sewing shears or the baby’s doll – will save many steps. A wastebasket to receive all the odds and ends that must be thrown away is another time saver.

The cleaning basket that holds everything you need for odd and unexpected cleaning jobs saves a trip or two to get this or that from the kitchen.”

“A small inexpensive open market basket with a handle makes an excellent cleaning basket which can be carried from room to room quite easily. We find that a box or basket measuring 12 inches long, 10 1/2 inches wide and 8 inches deep is large enough to hold the articles listed below.

A fitted oilcloth lining with pockets to hold small objects is easy to make, and helps to keep the basket in order.

With a cleaning basket, there will be no need for hurried trips back to the source of supply for forgotten items. Check the contents with the following list before you start your cleaning program.

Whisk brook or upholstery brush (for brushing draperies and upholstery)
Small soft brush (for dusting carving, etc.)
1 treated dust cloth (for daily dusting)
2 cheesecloth squares (for washing and drying woodwork)
cotton waste (for applying polishes and cleansers)
1 flannel polishing cloth (for rubbing or polishing)
1 cellulose sponge (for washing woodwork, walls, etc.)
art-gum eraser (for removing soiled spots from walls or from lampshades)
wallpaper cleaner (dough-type or pad)
furniture polish or lemon oil or wax
mild scouring powder or whiting
paint cleaner carbon tetrachloride (4-ounce bottle) oil of peppermint scissors”

I purchased a couple of oblong buckets that I have nested and contain my cleaning supplies. The second bucket I can fill with water if I’m washing down windows or woodwork or use to hold trash that needs to be tossed out. I purchased the oblong shape so that they fit my mop in case I want to use it for mopping the floors. I think the biggest revelation was to have a tray as part of your cleaning supplies. (I bought a cheap melamine one from Target.) Their suggested use: “Gather up on tray to take out: articles belonging in other rooms, plants or flowers to be tended.” You can also use it to hold items from a flat surface (i.e. dresser top) while you are cleaning it. When you’re done with a room, you address the items on the tray all at once. The list of cleaning supplies above is only part of the larger list they suggest you have. Here is the full list and where they suggest you store them:

Large Equipment
*Vacuum cleaner and attachments (Cleaning Closet)
Hand-type vacuum cleaner (Cleaning Closet)
*Carpet sweeper (Cleaning Closet)
*Applicator for floor wax (Cleaning Closet)
Weighted floor polisher or electric polisher (Cleaning Closet)

Brooms, Mops, etc.
1 soft bristle or hair broom (Cleaning Closet)
*1 corn or fiber broom (Cleaning Closet)
*1 dust mop (Cleaning Closet)
*1 wet mop (string, sponge rubber or cellulose sponge) and 2-compartment pail (Cleaning Closet)
*1 scrub brush (long handle preferred) (Cleaning Closet)
*1 dust pan (long handle preferred) (Cleaning Closet)
1 dust pan brush (long handle preferred) (Cleaning Closet)

*toilet bowl brush (Bathroom)
*radiator brush (if not included with vacuum cleaner attachments) (Cleaning Closet)
*whisk broom or upholstery brush (Cleaning Closet)
small soft brush for cleaning ornate silverware (Kitchen)
small soft brush for carved furniture, etc. (Cleaning Closet)
venetian blind brush (Cleaning Closet)
long-handled wall brush (Cleaning Closet)

 Cloths, sponges, etc.
*2-4 treated dust cloths (Covered metal box in cleaning closet)
*6 cheesecloths squares (24″ x 24″) (Cleaning Closet)
*2 flannel polishing cloths (Cleaning Closet) (if soiled with polish or wax, keep in covered metal box until washed)
1 chamois (Cleaning Closet)
*3 cellulose sponges (for kitchen, bathroom and cleaning basket) (Kitchen, Bathroom, and Cleaning Basket)
*2 floor cloths (for kitchen and bathroom) (Cleaning Closet)
cotton waste (this can be purchased at public garages or automobile supply shops) (Cleaning Closet)
rubber gloves (Cleaning Basket)
small funnel (Cleaning Closet)

Polishes and Polishing Materials
furniture polish or lemon oil (essential if paste or liquid wax is not used on furniture) (Cleaning basket)
*wax (paste, liquid, or self-polishing) (Cleaning Closet Shelf)
denatured alcohol (poison) (Cleaning Closet Shelf)
*metal polish (Kitchen)
*silver polish (Kitchen)
jeweler’s rouge or rouge cloth (Kitchen)
*turpentine (flammable)  (Cleaning Closet Shelf)
*lemon oil (Cleaning Closet Shelf)
*linseed oil (Cleaning Closet Shelf)

Soaps, Abrasives and Cleansers
*mild scouring powder or whiting (Cleaning Basket)
*ammonia (household) (Kitchen) water softener (Kitchen)
*toilet bowl cleaner (Bathroom)
*fuller’s earth or other absorbent (Cleaning Closet Shelf)
*rottenstone (Cleaning Basket)
*carbon tetrachloride (Cleaning Basket)
*household disinfectant (Kitchen)
*mild soap (chips, flakes, beads, grains) (Kitchen)
*paint cleaner (commercial or homemade) (Cleaning Basket)
leather cleaner (Cleaning Basket)
*art gum eraser (Cleaning Basket)
wall paper cleaner, dough-type or pad (Cleaning Basket)
solution for cleaning glass (Cleaning Basket)

* denotes minimum equipment

Some things aren’t super familiar to me – rottenstone and fuller’s earth for example. A quick search on the internet shows a definition from Wikipedia of “fine powdered porous rock used as a polishing abrasive in woodworking.” Anyway, I have most of the minimum equipment and find it enough for what I have to clean.

Progress – Week 1

Week 2 Meal Plan

I learned last week that I got tired of eggs if I had them two days in a row, so I rearranged breakfast meals this week so that I alternate eggs with other things. This week I know I’ll be eating out or at functions several days, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I did eat out Friday night, breakfast/brunch on Saturday morning as well as dinner Saturday evening, but I was able to stay within my target calorie count. Dinners planned at home include Beef Ragu with Quinoa Pasta, Baked Salmon with Rosemary, Crockpot Chicken, and Pan-Fried Pork Chops.

How I Did

2 1/2 pounds lost, down 1 1/2 inches over all. From past experience I don’t expect that to happen every week, but if I can make downward progress, I’ll be happy.

Let’s talk tech for a moment.

In case you’re curious, I’m tracking using technology that wouldn’t have been available to the 50s wife:

  • Jawbone Up band/app
  • My Fitness Pal app
  • Withings WiFi scale
  • Bodytrack.it app
  • my iPhone

Pretty much everything talks to each other except for the Bodytrack.it app (which I use to record weekly measurements and weight – basically my weekly milestone). The scale syncs to the Up band app and MFP, so I don’t have to keep typing it in every day. MFP and the Up app talk, so I can record calories on MFP, and the Up band tracks the calories I’m burning…and adjusts MFP up if needed. (That makes sure that I’m not keeping too severe of a calorie deficit. I’m looking for 1200 net, so if I work out enough to bump me above my daily estimate, I eat a little more.) I also track sleep on my Up band/app – mostly for purposes of ‘why am I so tired today’ or ‘gosh, I feel great, did I sleep different last night?’

That being said, my Up band went on the fritz on sometime Thursday night/Friday morning, so I’ve been without it this weekend. It’s under warranty, and I’m being sent a new one, but I feel like I have a blind spot at the moment. That being said, the MFP calorie estimate has been fairly close to what I have been averaging according to the Up band, so I’m not too concerned about it at the moment. One more piece of technology is about to (re)join my arsenal – my Polar heart rate monitor is currently having the battery replaced. I’m super curious to check in on my heart rate during Crossfit and walking/stairs. I had gotten fairly good several years ago when I was running at knowing when my heart rate was approaching where I needed to back off a bit – I’m curious if I’m still pretty accurate at it. I’m also curious to compare calories burned according to the HRM versus what the Up band estimates when I put in a workout.

Experiment of one, I tell ya!

Okay – back to the 1950s…


America’s Housekeeping Book – my vintage housekeeping bible. If you can get a hold of it, I highly recommend it. It covers everything from what to look for when you’re looking for a home, to budgeting your time during the day, kitchen and laundry room planning, sewing and children’s rooms, dealing with special storage problems, money management, home safety, hiring household employees, detailed information on caring for your house and laundering, decorating, and – finally – detailed care and maintenance of the home.

Let’s start with budgeting your time. I’ve hinted at it earlier with the routines I am trying to follow, but the general outline recommended is:

  • Early Morning: Preparing and serving breakfast
  • Forenoon: General pickup. Light cleaning of rooms.
    Start weekly task (Monday – laundry; Tuesday – Marketing or ironing; Wednesday – Specific jobs such as silver polishing, shopping, sewing or something to be carried on throughout the day; Thursday – Thorough cleaning of rooms (Bedrooms and Bathrooms); Friday – Thorough cleaning of rooms (Living Room and Dining Room), Marketing; Saturday – Special food preparation for weekend.) Suggested weekly cleaning of Kitchen should happen the day before you do the bulk of your weekly food marketing.
  • Noon: Preparing foods for lunch and dinner. Lunch, Dishes, Cleaning up kitchen
  • Early Afternoon (until 2): finish weekly task
  • Late Afternoon: Rest, relaxation, correspondence, reading, personal care, etc.
    Final dinner preparation
  • Early Evening: Washing dishes.

The order of work they recommend for the Daily Cleaning Routine:

  • Open windows in bedrooms, top and bottom, on arising, for free circulation of air (except in completely air-conditioned houses).
    Throw back bed covers, including top sheet, on all beds.
  • Clear away dishes and misplaced articles from dining room after breakfast.
  • Rinse and stack dishes, pots and pans in kitchen.
    Put away food.
  • Put living room in order.
  • Give all rooms regular daily cleaning, in following order:
    Living Room
    Second Living Room
    Dining Room
    Upstairs Hall, if any
    Downstairs Hall

That being said, their encouragement is to find a schedule that works for you and your family – not be a slave to the outline they propose.

“Housekeeping is a real job – a job that needs to be planned carefully if one would avoid becoming a slave to housework or have free time for social activities and outside interests.

The easiest way to plan housework is to make a schedule which assigns each household tasks to the particular day – or perhaps even the particular hour – when it can be done most quickly and conveniently.

The benefits of a schedule are many:

  1. It relieves the uncertainty and nervous strain of “never knowing when you’ll get things done.”
  2. It allows more things to be done in a given length of time.
  3. It allows planning for leisure pleasures with the comfortable, confident feeling that housework need not be neglected.
  4. It allows planning the work of a part-time or full-time helper so that endless repetition of orders is avoided and more satisfactory assistance for the money spent is obtained.

In short, when a schedule has been followed until it becomes second nature, you run your house; it doesn’t run you.

How to go about making a schedule? First write down the jobs that need to be done every day. Next write down the tasks that need to be done on a particular day of the week. Then make a simple chart, and write down each job at the day and hour when it is most convenient to work it in.

We can help establish individuals schedules by setting up a skeleton plan which can be added to or altered according to specific needs. The lists…are a start toward making a reasonable plan for scheduling daily and weekly activities.

No two homes are exactly alike, and different conditions affect the work schedule.”

They go on to detail the effect of a small baby on the household and how to adapt. They also mention having young children of school age as well as an invalid or elderly person to be cared for.

“After trying conscientiously to follow a schedule for a week or more, it is time to check up. If the day seems crowded, and if it is difficult to do all the work that is scheduled for a given day, there may be a remedy. Here are a few questions that may get to the root of the trouble:

  1. Have you tried to do too much on one day? If so, move one or two tasks to less crowded days.
  2. Do you know the one best way to accomplish a given task?
  3. Do you collect all the materials, ingredients or pieces of equipment that you need for a specific job before you begin? This always saves time and steps.
  4. Are your housekeeping tools and materials efficient, easy to use, and in good condition? Poor tools slow down work.
  5. Is the place where each job is to be done arranged conveniently?
  6. Do you take too long to do a specific job? Keep a record of the time it takes to do ordinary tasks like dishwashing and bed making. If it seems overlong, see if you cannot find short cuts which not only speed up the work, but do it more efficiently. Study the job, study the working conditions and study the right methods. Skill and speed can be acquired through practice.
  7. Are your standards of housekeeping too high? For instance: (a) Are you too tired at night to enjoy your family? (b) Do you have time to play with the children? (c) Do you consider silver polishing more important than a picnic? Couldn’t the polishing wait until tomorrow?”

I definitely don’t fall into the ‘standards of housekeeping are too high’ category. Picnic or housekeeping? I’m going to pick the picnic! I find that it’s making sure I have the tools I need all in one place the way to be quick about cleaning. Otherwise I spend a lot of time walking around the house, dropping things off that don’t belong or finding a certain cleaning supply or tool.

That being said, the best advice…

“Don’t set yourself a standard that is beyond your strength. Don’t sacrifice necessary recreation to the god of absolute cleanliness. Don’t neglect precious family relationships for the pleasure of a spotless house. Nothing dire will happen if certain less-used rooms have to be given a “lick and a promise” occasionally!

Remember, the easiest and quickest way to do a job well is the most efficient way. Organize your time and make every minute count while you are working. Then relax and enjoy life in the leisure hours that are rightfully yours because you have earned them.”

Mid-week check in

I’ve added my goals to the sidebar – mostly to help me keep track of what I’m currently trying to do.


It’s interesting to me that I’m just as full eating 1200 calories as I have been eating more. I’m also finding myself coming a lot closer to my target protein % – and not really even on purpose. I’m just following the general guidelines from the vintage menu plans. Maybe I’m a bit more hungry between meals, but I definitely don’t feel like I’m being deprived. I still remember when I lost a whole bunch of weight for my wedding by eating a lot of salad and protein and no bready- or starchy-type carbs. I was about to kill someone for a tortilla by the time the wedding rolled around. Amazing that having a piece of buttered toast in the morning and a small amount of potatoes a few times a week keeps that at bay…and I don’t crave carbs the rest of the time.

Vintage meal planning tips:

To help decide what should be included in each meal daily, it’s recommended -
For Adequate Meals:
Breakfast: Fruit, Cereal and Milk, Bread and Butter
Lunch: Main Dish, Vegetables, Bread and Butter, Fruit
Dinner: Meat and Potatoes, Green or Yellow Vegetables, Salad (raw vegetable), Bread and Butter, Fruit

For Complete or Abundant Meals:
Breakfast: Fruit, Cereal and Milk, Egg or Meat, Bread and Butter
Lunch: Main Dish, Vegetables, Bread and Butter, Fruit, Cake or Cookies or Pudding
Dinner: Appetizer or Soup, Meat and Potatoes, Green or Yellow Vegetables, Salad (raw vegetable), Fruit, Bread and Butter, Dessert (Pie or Cake)


Yeah, there’s that. Nothing on Monday or Tuesday. I did make it to Crossfit on Wednesday and am pretty sure I’ll be find it hard to move on Thursday. Still planning on a lunch-time walk Thursday or Friday.


So far, so good with the initial morning and evening routines. I’m going to hold off on integrating the daily cleaning (meaning I’ll just take a day during the week to clean all the rooms at once) until I get the whole cooking dinner thing a bit more streamlined. Ideally, I would work on the daily cleaning tasks either while dinner was baking or after we were done eating – perhaps even as a break from being in the kitchen. I also still need to work on getting into bed by 10:30.

Two nights in a row we haven’t eaten until 9pm, so I want to figure out a way to eat earlier in the evening. I think it will be part time management, so I’m cooking main and side dishes at the same time and managing prep better, and part planning, so I’m not planning super detailed meals that take a long time to cook for weeknights. Case in point – I didn’t read directions on Monday night and cooked the steak first. It was very thin and done in under 10 minutes. I had to put it in the oven on warm because I didn’t think to make the macaroni and cheese first and put the flat iron steak on during the mac’n’cheese baking time. Tuesday night went a bit better – I looked ahead and put the potatoes in the oven to roast, then put the fish together. However, the potatoes took an hour to cook, and I had to pause in the middle of potato prep to mop the kitchen floor. (Our dogs stay in the kitchen while I’m gone. They missed the potty pad, and I noticed after I had started chopping. Of course, it was soiled where I needed to be walking. So, mop+dry time = 15 minute delay.)

I’m thinking I need to look at the longest cooking time when I’m picking recipes and decide whether it’s an amount of time that I want to wait for dinner based on when I think my husband and I will be home. Who knew menu planning could get so complicated! In case it isn’t obvious, I do usually cook from scratch. I know what is in my food that way and have control over things we may not like (bell peppers, for one), spiciness or sodium. I confess I do sometimes use packaged mashed potatoes because I’m lazy like that, and frozen veggies are a lifesaver (I still consider that and canned veggies as from-scratch because they’re basic items). Otherwise, I’m chopping and mixing and assembling to get dinner together. The 1950s is when frozen tv dinners first appeared on the market, but they were not a staple item. Most people still cooked their meals from scratch at that time.

I did notice tonight that I’m filling the dishwasher more often. When we first got it a few months ago, I ran it maybe once a week. Now I’m running it every day or day and a half. That’s what happens when you’re cooking more often! Not that I’m complaining – we re-arranged the location of the fridge in the kitchen just so I can have a dishwasher, so I’m loving the convenience that most housewives in the 1950s didn’t have.

Begin with a Plan


I spent most of Sunday working on a more complete meal plan. I’d been planning dinners for the last few weeks, but realize that leaving lunch to chance (and rotating between two things for breakfast, both involving cottage cheese) leaves me with not always healthy choices…and starting to get tired of cottage cheese.

Meal planning references:

  • The Modern Family Cookbook, by Meta Given (the copyright of my version is 1961. I think it came from either my grandmother or great-grandmother.)
  • American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s, by Averyl Hill
  • Bonomo Hollywood Home Reducing Course, by Joe Bonomo
  • The American Women’s Cookbook, by Ruth Burolzheime (coming soon – but recommended on destination1940.blogspot.com)

The first difference I noticed when reading through the cookbooks is that they used a Diet Plan when creating their weekly meal plan. It’s similar to the Food Pyramid, or 4 Food Groups, or Healthy Eating Plate – whichever you may be familiar with and learned about growing up – but a bit more detailed. They recommended daily:

  1. 1 quart of milk for each child and 1 pint of milk for each adult
  2. 1 serving of citrus fruit, or tomatoes, or tomato juice
  3. 1 other fruit, either fresh, canned or dried
  4. 1 green (preferably leafy) or yellow vegetable, raw or cooked
  5. 1 other vegetable, either fresh, canned, or dried (aside from potato)
  6. 1 serving of potato
  7. Whole grain or enriched cereal – bread, breakfast food, cake, etc.
  8. 1 serving of meat, fish or cheese. Liver or other meat sundry weekly.
  9. 1 egg daily if possible; otherwise at least 3 or 4 times weekly
  10. 3 to 5 tablespoons of butter, or oleomargarine fortified with vitamin A

Though I wouldn’t really recommend the oleomargarine (and counting on cake as your serving of whole grain probably isn’t a wise long-term choice), I do appreciate the encouragement to eat a varied diet, especially fruits and vegetables. The basic idea is to try and incorporate everything from the diet plan, that calories count, and that portion control is important. Every book has emphasized that different family members need different portions, and that depends on age, activity, and gender. (Gone are the days when I should be trying to out eat others, I guess. ;) ) I know I’ve read about and appreciated the ideas behind the paleo diet, but I’m an experiment of one and certainly can’t seem to stick with a strict paleo diet for any length of time. May as well try to see whether this works. I’ve been using lots of measuring cups for the last few weeks as I try to re-train my eye to what a serving really should be.

Breakfast this week varies from an egg, buttered toast and orange juice to oatmeal with milk and orange juice. There were other juice options, but I don’t like tomato juice, and it doesn’t make sense to buy a bunch of different kinds of juice for it to just go bad since a serving is actually only 4 ounces, and I’m the only one who is drinking it.

Lunch this week varies from a sandwich with canned salmon (as an alternate to tuna) and strawberries to leftovers from the previous night’s main course and various types of fruit.

For dinners I’m going to try and theme different days to make my life a little easier:
Monday – Beef
Tuesday – Fish
Wednesday – Chicken
Thursday – Pork
Friday – Lamb or Beef
Saturday – Soup or Casserole
Sunday – Roast Meat

On Sundays, I’d like to bring back the larger Sunday dinner at lunch time and a lighter supper later in the day. We shall see!

So for dinner we end up with meals from a variety of sources but mostly from SavingDinner.com – Rosemary Steak and Arugula, Lemon ‘n’ Pepper Halibut, Baked Chicken Thighs, Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Mushrooms, Rosemary Cumin Lamb Chops, Turkey Casserole, and Pot Roast. The SavingDinner recipes have estimated nutrition information, which makes it easy to pick ones that fit in with my calorie objectives.

So that’s the food plan for this week. I hope this gets easier since I spent most of Sunday working on this – I’ll probably try to repeat breakfasts at least to make it so. After all, I have been eating cottage cheese pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks. I think I can rotate the same weekly menu for a while. Maybe once I have three or four weeks of dinners and lunches under my belt (since they are somewhat linked), I can rotate those as well until the season changes. I’m not sure if you are interested in seeing the actual menu plan – please let me know if you want me to post it. Most likely I’d just upload the excel spreadsheet that I’m using, and you can use or make changes as needed.

(Monday update: Dangit. Lunch packed aaaaaaand left at home. I did, however stay within my calorie allotment – chicken and greens caesar salad from Starbucks FTW.)


As for other planning I am doing – exercise – I’ve planned out this week for that as well. Monday and Wednesday I’ve RSVP’d for Crossfit classes. Thursday or Friday I’ll walk at work on my lunch hour – a three-mile walk with stairs in the middle. That gives me three hour-long fairly strenuous work outs for the week. Aside from variations due to appointments and events, I expect that will be a fairly typical week.

From experience, diet plays the more important part in losing weight. It takes a lot of exercise to work off extra calories…and less work to not eat the extra calories in the first place!

(Monday update: This week isn’t starting out so great plan-wise. I un-RSVP’d to Crossfit since I had to participate in an employee discipline issue that ran late. Crossfit starts at 6:30, and I get off work at 6. If I’m not dressed and out the door by 6:10, it’s not going to happen. I have a lot of errands to run tomorrow, so I’ll try and either get in a walk or try to get in some extra steps.)


Finally, to establish my housekeeping routines and get them on autopilot, I think I’m going to start with daily routines – a morning routine and an evening routine.


  1. Rise and shine: 6:30am.
  2. Open windows, top and bottom, for free circulation of air. Especially important in our house during the summer as we don’t have air conditioning. On especially hot days, the plan is to open the house up while it’s cool and then close everything before the temperatures get too high.
  3. Prepare and eat breakfast. I’m the only one who eats breakfast right now, and I’m up several hours before my husband usually.
  4. Clear away breakfast dishes and misplaced articles in dining room. Pretty much the only way to make sure that the dining room table stays clear for eating.
  5. Rinse and put dishes in dishwasher. If time, I will usually quickly wash the non-dishwasher dishes as well. Put away food.
  6. Get ready for the day.


  1. Prepare and serve dinner.
  2. Wash dishes.
  3. Prepare lunch for next day.
  4. Put everything needed for next day in one spot.
  5. Get ready for bed. Bed time: 10:30pm.

I’ll give these a go for a week, then see how it goes.

I’m also going to start by doing each room’s daily cleaning one day a week:
Monday – Living Room/Dining Room
Tuesday – Kitchen
Wednesday – Bathroom
Thursday – Bedroom

Maybe when I get it under control it’ll just be a quick daily touch up for all the rooms? I think that is what was initially intended. As for other upkeep items, my husband does most of the laundry. I usually handle the household laundry (sheets, towels, etc.) and will probably do that Friday evenings or on the weekends. I’d really like to get the ironing done on Tuesdays when I’m working from home, but that would mean getting the sewing room cleaned out a bit more so I can get to the ironing board. A work in progress. So it may be a better idea to just pull the ironing board out for now so I can get to it.

Whew, I think that’s quite a long enough missive for now. I’ll check in with an update in a few days.

My 1950s Exercise

I suppose I’ve been considering this for a while. And why not? I’ve been swing dancing for almost 14 years, have been told repeatedly that I have that retro 40s/50s look about me, and I definitely look best in that 50’s hourglass silhouette. And let’s not forget that I live in a house built in the 50’s in the historic part of my town.

I think this idea started with a book. And then a website or two of inspiration (which, unfortunately, haven’t been active since around 2010). And then a few more books. And a few more websites…

The bottom line is that I thrive on routine, long for simpler times (whether 60 years ago or, let’s face it, just a few years ago when it comes to my life in particular), and wonder if I could ever make the habits and routines of the 50’s my own – with a few tweaks here and there considering that I do have a full-time job, albeit one with a flexible schedule since I also happen to be one of the owners of the company.

The last 12 months have felt like complete chaos because of circumstances at work. Having my house in chaos as well as the office, well, it’s never good for anyone. My husband is tremendous, doesn’t complain, and pitches in where he can since he works also and has a long commute each day. I’m sure I’ll hear a few comments from the peanut gallery who associate the 50’s with anti-feminism and a backwards mentality, but I do like feeling organized enough that I’m putting dinner together when my husband gets home or at least can tell him what’s for dinner if I unexpectedly have to work late. We have had way too many nights where we’re trying to decide what to eat last minute – or he’s throwing something together or ordering pizza since I’m just arriving home at 9pm.

There’s two parts I’m really wanting to incorporate – the housekeeping side of things and what was referred to during that era as ‘reducing’ – which sounds so much more genteel than ‘dieting’ or ‘losing weight.’ I have started on both, really, but I think that having a place to be accountable, or to hash out what is and isn’t working, would be helpful. And maybe help someone else.

My goals: to lose 20 pounds to get out of the overweight category and to establish household routines that keep my house in a fairly clean state at all times. (Meaning, no more crisis cleaning before someone comes over and feeling proud to have people over at a moment’s notice.)

Where I’ve started:
-eating breakfast again. More than just coffee, anyway
-lots of reading and research. A few attempts at the suggested routines, enough to know what applies and that they are do-able.
-purchased a couple of reference books (plus one more hopefully on the way). I’ll detail those in a later post.
-working on incorporating more exercise into my daily life: crossfit twice a week and lunchtime walks (3 miles, including a couple of trips up and down a 98-step staircase) with a co-worker 1-2 days a week.

Of course, I’ll continue to do my other retro-related things that I love to do – pincurling my hair (when I’m not feeling lazy), sewing clothing from vintage patterns, and swing dancing on occasion.

What’s up first:
-menu planning to control calories
-starting to establish housekeeping routines and making them a habit

2013 Mark of Excellence dress – the maths

Last weekend I spent Sunday grading up the pattern for the dress I am making, McCall 4221, for a formal event the third week of November – the Mark of Excellence awards.


It is a 34 bust, and I am not – my high bust is a 36, regular is a 38. I’ve graded patterns up before, but not one with a bodice-and-sleeve-in-one. There’s also a scallop to the front, which limits where shortening can happen, which I nearly always have to do because of my short torso. The front bodice piece is now a frankenpiece – there are slashes and tape all over the place. Thank goodness for this book – the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. I had no clue where to start, and the internet had an underwhelming amount of information for a change.


I tried a simple addition at the center front (which would make the dart fall in a strange place) then a full bust adjustment (would have only kind of solved the problem) before I settled on a simple slash and spread method. I had to limit it to two places in the pattern as when I tried a third place in the portion of the bodice under the sleeve, it would have overlapped with the attached sleeve portion, which I assume would mess up the whole cutting out of the fabric thing. So here is what I have, and it appears to work on my dress form:


The muslin is up next!


Back into the blogosphere

Work has still been crazy – that hasn’t changed. (In fact, we’re in the throes of summer, so it’s probably a wee bit worse.) What has brought be back into sewing? Why the demise of Google Reader and the release of Colette’s Hawthorn. Oh, and the 10 or so patterns I bought from eBay. But we won’t talk about those. Yet. ;)

After a few reminders, I’ve switched to feedly.com (who now has their own cloud engine). It’s been a long while since I’ve caught up on my RSS feed – I noticed I was sitting around 1025 unread posts last I looked. (Yikes!)

Anyway, sitting in my email recently also was a link to Collette’s newest pattern, Hawthorne. Needless to say, I love it. After a few days to ponder whether I should get it, I caved.

Let’s see…I’ve also been dabbling in a little embroidery.


And some of my other projects:

Autumn Quilt Fox and Owl

So, I’ve been doing a little sewing but just no posting. Hopefully I’ll have a Hawthorne dress soon to post about as well!