24 August 2013

Putting it all in order

I've been collecting things since I was a child. It started with a stamp album, some stamps and a few First Day Covers for my seventh birthday and it's grown from there.

When I was thirteen I was given an old tin  of embroidery cottons and some stamped linens to embroider. They had been my great-grandmothers and they were the start of my love of embroidery. That love led to me collecting patterns and designs and instructions, mostly from magazines and newspapers. I'd see a pattern I like and tear it out and stick it in a scrapbook.

When I was in my twenties I started collecting recipes. Same sources: magazines, newspapers, old recipe books, scribbled notes from my mother and her friends. And I'd stick them in a scrapbook.

I also started to collect hints and tips and ideas on homemaking. Ideas for ironing or flower arrangements or how to decorate a Christmas tree (and one day I'll follow those instructions and have a fairy tale tree). And I'd stick them in a scrapbook.

All this was well before the days of the Internet. The magazines were bought by my great-aunty Madge, given to my Aunty Hazel, who read them and passed them on to Mum. When Mum was finished with them I was allowed to rip them to shreds. Iconic Australian magazines: Women's Weekly (which was weekly back then), New Idea, Woman's Day and Family Circle. Family Circle was my favourite, it had the best recipes and crafts. New Idea came a close second.

These scrapbooks inspire me to make a home.

Why am I sharing this? Because my scrapbooks are falling apart. I need a new way to keep my clippings in order. I could scan them and store them on a portable hard drive (and I probably will) but that seems a little clinical and well, too modern for my taste. I could bookmark webpages I want to come back to, and there are sites like Pinterest for storing my favourite pages, but I still need to trawl through all the stuff I pin or bookmark to find what I want, and it is time consuming and frustrating.

The alternative is to put them into new scrapbooks, 2013 style scrapbooks. This appeals to me.  I like having a hard copy to read, to hold, to flick through for inspiration. I like the idea of having pages where I can write notes and new ideas or variations to recipes or patterns for the future. And I like that perhaps one day I'll be able to pass my scrapbooks on to Hannah, so that she can flick through them and be inspired to make a home.

The old style scrapbooks I used years ago aren't around anymore, and as I've found they don't last all that well, especially with constant flicking. And they're a little ugly truth be told. I like pretty things.

So over the next few weeks, or months, or even possibly years, I am going to make new scrapbooks for all the clippings I've used over the years that I've come to love and rely on. I think I'll use the same style of journal that I use for the garden. It's hard-cover, with lovely soft lined paper but rather dull. I can pretty them up with a gift wrap cover and some labels and they won't cost much - about $1.50 each.

There will be room for my notes of course. I can see at a glance that MOO buttermilk with vinegar is good for a quick mix, but to get good buttermilk a real buttermilk starter works best. And that using 2 tablespoons of ground ginger is just as good as freshly grated in the ginger syrup we love to add to soda water in summer. My notes also remind me that warming the vinegar for the shower cleaner helps it emulsify into the dishwashing detergent without creating a huge bottle of froth.  It's the notes that make these scrapbooks so very valuable.

But the very best thing about my scrapbooks is that I can see there are still hundreds of great ideas I've tried over the years that I can share with you. Ideas that will hopefully inspire you to make your own herbal shampoo or try a simple sunburn remedy.

And when you've tried them perhaps you'll be inspired to start your own journal of clippings and notes, either in pretty notebooks or in neatly organized files on your computer.  Clippings of hints and tips and recipes you've tried and loved that you want to keep to use now, and keep to pass on to future generations.


  1. About a year ago I started my "Cheapskates folder" using a display book with plastic pockets. I fill it with Cheapskates tips and recipes and other tips that I find elsewhere. I also go to the Trash and Treasure market looking for those wonderful old 1960s Womens Weekly and Womans Day magazines. I have only a small collection so far as they are hard to find at the market but so much cheaper than on Ebay!


    1. I am really loving the vintage magazines - really showing my age :)

      Sadly when I was ripping and clipping they weren't vintage, they were just magazines. I love the yellowed snippets of paper though, and the quirky images they used, and the really daggy photography. Hannah just shakes her head at the fashions, particularly the knits, and swears she wouldn't be seen dead in any of them. I love to tell her fashion goes in cycles and at some point in her life she's going to wear not pink and purple paisley or enormous shoulder pads and love them.

  2. I do tend to keep cut outs of recipes & things of interest too. I have some scrapbooks but I recently started using lever arch folders. By the way, in your Family Circle recipes, you don't happen to have a Spinach a Roulade recipe with a Cheese Sauce? My mother used to make it but I've never found a similar recipe.

  3. I think from a Family Circle magazine.!

  4. The old style scrap books that were around for Cath's first scrap book are still around in school supplies as they have always been. Not as 'pretty' as the modern scrapbooking stuff, of course or as expensive.
    I, too, have heaps of collected recipes etc. My first husband was shocked when I said that I should be able to classify the Woman's Weekly, the New Idea and the Family Circle magazines as tax deductions for my job as wife, mother and home-maker.
    After all, he claimed his magazines on his tax.
    Currently downsizing my collections after over 40 years of collecting.


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