White Window Treatments for City Windows

In some Asian and Slavic cultures, white is considered to be a color that represents death; a feeling shared by the author of this brief article which was published in the March 1896 issue of The Ladies’ World. I personally think that white makes a nice contrast against the red brick and brownstone of Victorian city houses; but I’m sure that the bows would have been over the top even for me. And with child mortality such that it was in the 19th century, one can imagine that a white festooned casket and an overdressed window could be considered morbid.

Victorian Advertisement for Jays Mourning Warehouse

Vintage ad for Jays Mourning Warehouse

Decoration Notes

It is not wise to copy some of the city fashions; for instance, one fashion followed in the city regarding windows. I call it “casket fashion.” In some streets of our great cities the windows from the first floor to the roof are draped with two sets of curtains and window shades of the purest white; the curtains are looped stiffly back with pure white satin ribbons. On looking at them my first impression is that there is a death in the house and that it is an infant or young person. I cannot help fancying that I smell funeral flowers. The casket-like draping of the windows is horrible and sends a chill through the frame of one who loves color and warmth. If white must be used, let it have a creamy tone, the deeper the better, and do have ecru or buff holland shades, and not dead-white, next to the glass. Avoid, also, the white satin ribbons.

Egg Size Comparison Illustration Showing Bird, Reptile, and Fish Eggs

What is an egg! Comparative sizes and shapes of the eggs of birds, reptiles, and fishes.A nice vintage illustration that artfully arranges a cluster of eggs. The original woodcut appeared in a 19th century children’s book.

Illustration of Egg Sizes Compared

Clip Art: Bird, Reptile, and Fish Eggs

Eggs in the illustration:

  1. Epyronis
  2. Ostrich
  3. Cassowary
  4. Wild Swan
  5. Hen
  6. Pigeon
  7. Humming-bird
  8. Eagle
  9. Vulture
  10. Penguin
  11. Crocodile
  12. Python
  13. Fresh-water Turtle
  14. St. Lucia Boa
  15. Acnoides Turtle
  16. Ophidian
  17. Shark
  18. Ray

Perhaps you can use this clip art image as part of an Easter project?

There is No Such Thing as a Free Cat

Gretchen the Orange Persian Cat

Gretchen is Not Feeling Well.

Meet Gretchen, an orange Persian-like cat that I found about three years ago, wandering around busy Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia, PA.

She is the last cat in the world that a busy person such as myself would choose. Long hair requiring so much brushing that I often refer to her as my “Barbie Dream Cat”.  Yet when I first saw her, crying at the steps of an old church dangerously close to busy rush hour traffic, I had to spring into action.

Long story short, I scooped her up and took her home, but not before a visit to the Vet, where she was checked  for the usual aliments.

She loves to be loved, she hugs you and is clingy not only to me, but to anyone who comes into the house. The other cats…she doesn’t really notice them, and they pretty much have always left her alone.

Recently, she’s had an eye problem. After initially being diagnosed with an eye infection over a week ago, I took her back to the Vet because honestly, I thought she was dying. She hasn’t been eating, she’s lethargic and depressed, and would rather hide under machinery in the dark cold basement than sit on my lap.

We’re waiting now on results from her blood work; but she may have either a tumor behind the eye, an infection of eye fluid, or a dental abscess that has run amok. She has been referred to a veterinarian ophthalmologist for a more definitive diagnosis.

I hope to post happier news about this sweet girl soon. For now I am syringe feeding her and giving her extra loving and hopeful that the clingy hair ball will be back to her old self soon.

Blooming Flowering Shrubs and Trees Indoors

A Shoot or Twig with Leaves

Clip Art: Illustration of a shoot with leaves from a Victorian seed catalog.

A “green” alternative to decorating with artificial flowers is described in this brief article, original published in The Ladies’ World, March 1896. It certainly sounds possible, although I have not attempted this for the simple fact that my cats won’t let me. But if you have good results with this, let me know. I think there is still time to gather up some branches, although with the crazy weather we’ve had (in the Philadelphia PA region), many of us will probably find the buds are already in bloom.

A Pleasant Surprise

If you wish to have a pleasant surprise, put small branches of apple, or pear, or cherry, or lilac, or forsythia, spirea, syringa, or other flowering shrubs in jars of water and set them in a sunny window. Take care to fill the jars with warm water as the quantity evaporates, and never allow it to freeze. Do this in February, or as early in March as you can get the branches, and some day you will see the buds swelling, then showing hints of coming tints of coming blossoms, and you will know that a surprise is in store for you. Some other day you will find your room brightened and perfumed by sudden spring blossoms while yet it is dull and cold out-of-doors. What can be sweeter than a bunch of fresh lilac or a branch of pink and white apple bloom?

Phillips M. Ferris

Traditional Easter Sunday Dinner Menu

Clip Art: Victorian Scrapbook Image of a Pug in an Egg

Clip Art: Victorian Scrapbook Image of a Pug in an Egg

This menu for a traditional Easter Sunday dinner is from The American Family Reciept Book, by Annie R. Gregory (Assisted by One Thousand Housekeepers). Published in the early 1900s, it gives some historical insight into the Easter holiday traditions of early 20th century America and makes a reference to the White House Easter Egg Roll. You an enter a lottery for a chance to participate in the 2012 event at http://www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll

Easter Sunday

“Resurrection is the silver lining to the dark clouds of death, and we know the sun is shining beyond.”

Easter brings joy to the festival. Let the table decorations be fresh and dainty. The dominant dish should be eggs–eggs and eggs, over again.

In pagan days, the use of eggs in the spring was symbolical of nature–“the bursting forth of life.” With the Christians, it symbolizes the resurrection: “From death–Life.” The free use of eggs on Easter has now generally become a custom with all Nations, whether that nation acknowledges its religious significance or not.

White and green are the most appropriate colors for decoration. White china and pure white linen, with Easter lilies for a centerpiece, make an ideal looking table. Hard-boiled eggs sliced crosswise, make pretty garnishings for the different dishes. On this special day, for breakfast, let the eggs be cooked to order as best pleases each individual fancy. This privilege will be greatly appreciated, especially by the little folks, who like innovations.

Editor’s Note: If I’m asked, I’ll take the Rum Omelet (also from this book)

Make a very soft sweet omelet; when on the dish pour over some rum and sugar, send it to the table and then have it set on fire, basting frequently to keep it alight.



Grape Nut and Cream
Eggs “to order”
Hashed Potatoes, in Cream
Griddle Cakes and Maple Syrup


Consomme, with Egg-Balls
Roast Lamb and Mint Sauce
Greens, with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Egg and Watercres Salad
Strawberry Ice Cream
Easter Cakelets


Welsh Rarebit
Eggs, in Jelly
Easter Eggs
Palm Cakes
Russian Tea

It is a pretty custom to exchange souvenirs on Easter mornings. The candy rabbit and bonbon box of speckled eggs, fill quite a place in the boy’s heart and help him remember happily the day.

A pretty custom in my childhood was the rolling of the colored eggs out of doors on the day following Easter. I am told that this custom is now quite modern–that the children in our Capital city all repair to the White House grounds to roll their eggs, and that our Presidents, as well as the wee folks, enjoy the sport. Long live the Presidents!

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