I can’t quite believe it’s 2015. The last six weeks or so passed in a blur of work, present making, family get togethers, under the weatherness, and of course, Christmas itself.
During this time I learnt that for a blog to have posts, you have to write them. (It turns out that just thinking about them doesn’t do the trick. Who knew?)
Something I’ve wanted to write about is a glorious magazine that I came across at a market a few weeks ago. It is the January 1933 edition of “Good Needlework Magazine”, and it was a huge kick just to know that someone would have been poring over the same pages more than 80 years ago.
Inside it’s an absolute treasure trove. Not so much for the needlework itself – I don’t know if tastes have changed a fair bit, or if we’re so used to full colour photographs that having most of the magazine in black and white is off-putting, but there weren’t any ideas that I longed to recreate. Which is actually just as well, as for many of the projects there was no chart provided and the reader had to send off stamps or a postal order for the design transfer needed. I’d love to know if that’s what most people did, or if they bought the magazine more for inspiration.
But it’s still utterly wonderful. The language used really is that of a bygone age – designs and projects are described throughout as delightful, adorable and charming, a jumper “strikes a very smart note”, and a cut-work panel is “something quite fresh”.
It’s clear that the Advertising Standards Authority wasn’t around in the 1930s, as some advertisers knew no bounds when it came to their claims. My favourite is for a skin cream that would take you from being a wizened hag to a fresh-faced beauty in just three days (with the line illustration to prove it).
But without doubt the most delightful, adorable and charming part of the magazine is the short story. Who could fail to be drawn in by a tale with the immortal tag line “The Everyday Can Never Be Drab to Those Who Believe in Life!” It’s the story of plucky Milly Desmond, who puts up with the bullying ways of her employer, Mrs Harman, and finds herself drawn to Mrs Harman’s nephew, Tony, although Lady Gloria is determined to marry him for his money and to regain her family’s home. (Or something like that.) Alas, the story was serialised, and so unless someone has a copy of the February 1933 issue to hand, we will never know what happened, although my money would be on a happy ending for Milly and Tony, and comeuppance for Mrs Harman.