The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Experimenting with domestic receipts: historic hair washes.

Image from ClipArtETC.
Over the years of reading historic household manuals, etiquette books, and cookbooks, I have seen many recipes and instructions for making cosmetics, personal cleansers and any number of toiletries, and while my allergy to almonds prevents me from trying many of them (since almond oil seems to have been a popular ingredient), I have recently been experimenting with some of the recipes for hair washes.  It began in the spring – I don’t remember exactly how – with me reading the recommendations posted to a discussion forum for people with long hair.  People were doing so many different things to encourage their hair to grow, to improve its texture, and it never really occurred to me that using anything other than my modern shampoo and conditioner would make a difference with my hair.  My hair is waist-length, very fine, and I don’t have much of it, but it has good color and a smooth texture, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with my regular hair-care routine, which is as minimal as I can make it!  I’m not one for serums and other products in my hair; I basically shampoo and condition 3 times a week, brush it every morning and evening, and wear it in a ponytail every day.  I own a can of hair spray, a canister of mousse and a tube of hair gel, as well as an assortment of bobby pins and hair pins, which I use when I put my hair up into a historic hair style, but that’s pretty much it.  However, the women on the hair forum were discussing the use of regular bar soap, bar shampoos, and various hair rinses instead of commercial shampoos and conditioners for cleaning their hair.  It was intriguing to think that I might be able to get out of buying huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and still keep my hair in good condition.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gardening operations for October, ca. 1858.

Nikolay Dimitrov,

1040. OCTOBER.—Flowers of the month.—China-aster, holly, and ivy.
1041. Gardening Operations.—Sow rose-tree seeds and fruit stones, also larkspurs and the hardier annuals to stand the winter, also hyacinths and smooth bulbs, in pots and glasses.  Plant young trees, cuttings of jasmine, honeysuckle, and evergreens.  Sow mignionette in pots for winter.  Plant cabbages, &c., for spring.  Cut down asparagus, separate roots of daisies, irises, &c.  Trench, drain, and manure.
-- from Inquire Within for Anything You Want To Know, by Dr. Chase. 
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)