Saturday, February 23, 2008

This Is The Way We Wash Our Clothes.....

Today I have been doing laundry of the traditional and not so traditional kind. Traditionally in my childhood home Saturday was major chore day. One of my jobs was to remove the mile high pile of clothing from the bursting basket in the hall closet and sort it into colorful piles down the hallway. Mother would swish through every so often and scoop up a pile and head out to the utility room under our carport to wash them. Wash day was fairly easy with the modern amenities of a washer and dryer that did most of the work. My other laundry job was to listen for the rinse cycle to kick in and run out and put fabric softener in the washing machine. This was before dryer sheets, downy balls, or newer machines that release the softener for you.
Laundry day was much different if you were to be present at my grandmother’s house prior to the early1970’s. Until then, my grandmother lived in a three room house with no running water or indoor plumbing. She did, however, have electricity. I dearly loved that old home place and laundry day was exciting indeed!
First Granny built a fire in a pit in the front yard and put her big black wash kettle over it and filled it with buckets of water hauled from the spring out back of the house. She set up the hand crank ringer to run the wet clothing through and gathered her clothes pins in their canvas stripped bag and metal pant stretcher frames. She checked the tightness of the line strung under the porch eve and got out her rub board and paddle. If I happened to be there she set up my little washing station on a nearby stump. A pot of soapy water, a mini rub board, and a pile of socks were all mine.
Granny would put on her cherry cobbler red apron and I’d don my little pink and white checked apron that my Aunt Katie helped me to sew and we were ready to begin. If whites were being washed, bluing was added to the water to act as a bleaching agent. Granny swished and scrubbed on her big rub board and I mostly slopped and spilled from mine. Once everything was washed it had to be run through the ringer and I loved to crank the clothing through. Next every article had to be put through rinse water and through the ringer twice.
Everything was firmly shook out, smoothed, and then hung to dry. I liked seeing my Uncle Charlie’s overalls hanging up. Granny would fill each leg with a frame which held them straight and stiff and hang them by the straps across the line. They hung there like denim flags in the breeze. Sometimes a wind would catch them and make them swing wildly back and forth. It was such a funny sight. Granny and I often fondly recall those wash days and times in the old house.
Today not only did I do up my real laundry but some paper laundry as well. I am participating in Sarah’s (Gypsy Mermaid) Hanging Up Springtime Swap and here is my little line of laundry: CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE FOR BETTER VIEWING!
We were to make six items: a dress, hat, a pair of gloves, bloomers, a bird, and a butterfly. The items were to be in a tea or garden theme, mine are a bit of both.
For Sarah’s garden tea party I will be wearing a sun dress with an orange handmade paper bodice adorned with vintage buttons and a pleated paper skirt with white crepe paper ruffles peeking out below the hem line. A green picot satin ribbon serves as a sash and ties at the side in a bow. As a final accent, I will wear a glittery rose and feather corsage.
To top off my ensemble I will be wearing a cloche hat, (made from an enlarged print of a teacup sticker) that is embellished with a matching feather and glittery rose corsage. If you were to look closely, tucked into the roses is a tiny teacup with a little yellow bird perched upon its rim.
Hiding under my sweet sun dress will be these lovely bloomers (made from stripped paper covered with tea pot and tea cup stickers). Real pretty pink ruffled elastic adorns the waist and ankles and is topped off by off white satin rosette trim. Across the derrière is a row of triple lace ruffles and matching rosette trim. The final feminine touch is the double white crepe paper ruffle at the ankles.
Every proper party guest will be wearing gloves and I chose classic white. (To make these I stretched white wedding hosiery, found at a flea market for $1.00, over rectangles of white card stock and spread mod podge over it to adhere and stiffen the layers. I then photo copied my own hand and made a glove pattern, traced it onto the back of the glove and cut it out gluing it to pink card stock for an extra stiffening layer and then embellished them.) My gloves are adorned with a floral tea pot motif crystal glitter swirls, white pearls, ribbon roses, with a cuff of pink lace and double crepe paper ruffle, finished off with vintage buttons and fluffy pink feathers.
Every party needs special guests and I invited two. First there is Betty Butterfly who is made out of three layers of handmade papers. She is sporting little topaz jewels on her wings and glass beads on her copper antenna. A sweet little ribbon rose rests at the throat of her glass bead body.
My other special guest is Bonnie the Blue Bird of Happiness. She is made from some blue paper; her details are done with chalks. She decided to bring along her dainty little tea cup nest, (made from an enlarge sticker), She lined it with fluffy pink feathers and added a pretty little blue button posy.
Wash day was never as fun as hanging up these little dainties!
Miss Sandy


Fete et Fleur said...

Oh Sandy... I love the paper laundry!! The bloomers are my favorite. I spent the day doing laundry too. Always an adventure. (LOL) :~)
I'm glad I didn't have to do it in a wash kettle. Thought the idea sounds quaint.

Have a beautiful rest of your weekend!

Tammy said...

I enjoyed reading your laundry memories so much...thank you for sharing that and your wonderful Cherry Cobbler Red Granny!!

Wow...I wish I had just a fourth of your creativity!
All the items you made are so very nice!!!

Have a great Sunday!

Kentucky Bound said...

Mmmmm! Memories of wash day (or worsh if you're from W. PA)! The sights. The sounds. The smells! Climbing into bed at night and snuggling down to sleep under sheets that were sun and breeze dried and laying my head on a pillow case that was always ironed - complete with creases. I'm beginning to imagine how many wash days my tattered quilts must have seen in their lifetime. A fitting tribute to all the grannies and mamas and little girls on wash day.

P.S. I LOVE your beautiful little ensemble. You have chosen just the right friends to have tea with you, too! Perhaps if you could find a way to wear your ensemble or at least take Ms. B. Bird or Ms. Butterfly with you to your next visit with Dr. Chai . . . :)

Anonymous said...

Oh what a wonderful story can you imagine washing clothes in a kettle everytime! wow!! Your swap items are so pretty! I think the bird is my favorite! I love how you mixed and matched! toodles-

Scrappy Jessi said...

what a wonderful post. i love your granny!
your creations for the swap are divine!
im in love with the teacup bird! so sweet. i can't wait to get this swap back in the mail!
beautiful photos today!
have a great week

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage said...

Sandy ~ I loved reading your laundry memories ~ it made me think about my grandma who had a day of the week for everything ~ laundry days, hair setting days or that brings back such sweet memories ~ where does the time go ?

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

How perfectly darling! Miss Sandy, you are incredibly creative!

What a treat this post was...I so enjoyed reading about laundry chores at both your childhood home and your grandmother's.

My poor mother always hauled all of our clothes to the laundrymat for years because the well would run dry so easily. No artesian that. It's only been since I've been grown that she has had the luxury of a washer.

Now at the summer cottage, we'd pull laundry duty that sounds much like your grandmother's. Ahhh, the good old days...

Sea Angels said...

Wow ! I loved the Laundry Memories, so interesting, I remember when my mom would only wash on a Monday ??? don't know why, funny isn't it.

Your line of clothes is simply wonderful so inspiring, and so beautifully made, how innovative you are, it's made my evening.
Have a great week.
Hugs Lynn xx

Happyhome said...

How lovely! What a talented lady you are.

Loved your memories of wash day.

Lori said...

Miss Sandy your paper laundry is absolutely delightful!!!

Cindy Is Crafty said...

Cuteness! It is just cuteness! Awesome job, Miss Sandy!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Love the paper laundry!! So cute!

Beth Leintz said...

Love your clothesline garland- and the story that goes with it. You put so much thought into all the details!

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