Thursday, January 19, 2012

Even more advice from the Hausfrau's Right Hand

It's been a while since I featured some excerpts from my little booklet "Die Rechte Hand der Hausfrau" (1950), which offers advice for fixing a slew of problems around the household.

This time, I thought it might be fun to "fact-check" some of the tips by seeing if any other publications mention similar techniques.

This should be interesting! Here we go:

Problem: Narrow shoes

640. Zu enge Schuhe ziehe man mit nassen Strümpfen an und bewege die Füße tüchtig. Auch Brennspiritus hineingießen.

If your shoes are too narrow, put them on with wet socks and move your feet around well. Also pour in some denatured alcohol.

Fact check: It seems many sources suggest using either water or alcohol in some way to stretch shoes. The website "How to do things", for example, mentions two methods involving water (damp newspaper and damp grains) as well as one involving an alcohol/water mixture.

Problem: Nuts go bad after harvesting

11. Nüsse halten sich gut, wenn man sie in trockenem Sand aufbewahrt.

Nuts won't go bad if you store them in dry sand.

Fact-check: From Meehans' Monthly: a Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and Kindred Subjects, Volumes 9-10, published by Thomas Meehan & Sons in 1899, an excerpt from the section on drying walnuts, "The nuts should be laid out thinly on shelves or a floor to dry, and afterwards stored in dry sand to keep fresh."

Problem: Brittle nails

873. Brüchige Fingernägel reibe man öfter mit Olivenöl ein.

Brittle finger nails should be rubbed frequently with olive oil.

Fact check: From the website Beautiful Healthy Fingernails, "Ok, there are a couple of ways to moisturize your nails to help strengthen them; one is soaking your nails in warm olive oil for about 30 minutes, once or twice a week. If you don't have the time, try massaging olive oil into your nails. This is a great way of helping to give you strong strong fingernails."

Problem: Out of tracing paper

236. Pauspapier stellt man selbst her, indem man gutes Schreibpapier mit Petroleum tränkt und trocknen läßt.

You can make tracing paper by yourself by immersing good writing paper in petroleum (crude oil) and letting it try.

Fact-check: From the Brockhaus Konversationslexicon (1902-1910): "A very useful tracing paper of this kind is obtained by coating a thin piece of paper with pure petroleum and wiping it with a rag before use."

Problem: Delicate fabrics ruined by sewing

584. Verziehen von feinen Stoffen verhütet man, wenn man ein Stuck Papier mitnäht, das sich leicht wieder wegnehmen läßt.

To prevent distorting delicate fabrics, sew them along with a piece of paper that can easily be removed afterwards.

Fact check: From the HandmadeCatalog Craft Blog, "When sewing a thin delicate fabric on a sewing machine it may help to use some tissue paper underneath the material. This supports the material and prevents stretching. Once you have sewn the pieces together remove the tissue paper - it will tear of easily. To prevent puckering be sure you hold the material firm in front and back of the needle."


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