Thursday, December 28, 2006

Knitting Little Socks

"The next morning Dale went down to the little shop on the first floor of the apartment house and purchased some blue and white yarn and some needles, and began to knit little socks and sweaters. It somehow eased the tension and kept her from thinking."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Partners

For a free pattern for knitting baby socks, click here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dressing for Christmas

"Dinner is served!" said Betty, sudddenly appearing in the doorway looking very pretty indeed in Marjorie's green knit dress with a bit of red ribbon knotted in her hair and a scrap of holly on one shoulder.

--Grace Livingston Hill, Brentwood

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Silver Christmas Tree

Doesn't this sound just too Deco for words?

"Marjorie succeeded in getting to Betty to say that she liked a tree all in silver with just colored lights. She had always wanted such a tree."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Brentwood

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Invalid's Tray

"Marjorie gave the children orange juice and fixed a tray for her mother. Betty came down when the cereal was ready and took it up.
'She'll know something's happened with a tray looking like that,' she said as she noticed the daintiness of everything. Even without an array of silver and linen Marjorie had managed to make everything look inviting."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Brentwood

For those of us who don't know how to set a dainty tray for an invalid, The Home and Its Management (1914), by Mabel Hyde Kittredge, offers these rules:
1. Make it look attractive.
2. Have everything taste just right; Hot things very hot, cold things very cold, and each kind of food seasoned exactly right. A good cook must taste the food before she serves it.
3. Be sure all of the food on the tray is easily digested.
4. Be sure it is the kind of food that will give the patient strength. She wants to get well and strong as soon as possible, and every mouthful of food must help her towards health.
5. Let no time elapse between the cooking and serving. Food that stands after cooking is not appetizing.
6. Never ask your patient what she wants to eat, never talk about the food where she can hear you. Surprise her if possible. This surprise helps the appetite and adds interest to the dullness of a long sick-day.

The tray on which you serve the meal must be large enough to hold all the dishes without any appearance of crowding . . . Cover the tray with a tray-cloth. This does not need to be expensive, but it must be spotlessly white. It you have not a tray-cloth use a perfectly clean napkin.

Choose the best china you have; the silver and glassware must be the best and polished. In setting the tray, follow the same rules as you did in setting the table . . .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cotton House Gowns

"Here, I've got a couple of little cotton house gowns, sort of aprons they are, to slip over another dress when you're actually working. You take the blue one, and I'll take the pink, and then we can tell each other apart. We'll put those on for kitchen work."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Brentwood

(Apron can be found at Sense and Sensibility Patterns)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apple Brown Betty

"Then she turned her thoughts to the dinner. She would have time if she started as soon as she got home to make a brown Betty for dessert. Her father had said he would like one, and she knew how to make delicious ones with hard sauce."

--Grace Livingston Hill, The Honor Girl

Apple Brown Betty (America's Cook Book, 1940)

6 medium-sized cooking apples
1 1/2 c. moist bread crumbs
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 T. butter
2 T. grated orange rind
1/3 c. water

Pare, core, and slice apples; place half in casserole. Combine bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle one half over apples and dot with half the butter. Repeat with remaining apples, crumbs, and butter. Sprinkle with orange rind; add water and cover. Bake in moderate oven (375) for 45 minutes. Serve with Hard Sauce.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Church Potluck

"We've got to hurry a little because it's getting late. And I'll tell you a secret. I've got three big pans of scalloped oysters down stairs piping hot and just ready to be eaten, and I want you to help me carry them over to the church. They're a surprise. They don't know that they're going to have scalloped oysters. They think they're only having roast lamb and mashed potatoes, but I just thought I'd have a little celebration on my own hook, so I made these without telling."

--Grace Livingston Hill, A New Name

Monday, December 11, 2006

White Paint in the Kitchen

"Even the old kitchen chairs had been painted white and enamelled, and Cornelia discovered by chance one day that a wet sponge was a wonderful thing to keep the white paint clean; so thereafter Louise spent five minutes after dinner every evening going about with her wet sponge, rubbing off any chance fingermarks of the day before and putting the gleaming kitchen in battle-array for the next day."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Re-Creations

Sunday, December 10, 2006


In many GLH books, when the heroine steps into a dysfunctional home, the first order of the day is to stir up something tasty. And that something is usually waffles. With that in mind, I present a 1940 recipe for waffles from America's Cook Book:

Mix and sift:
2 c. sifted flour
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

3 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. milk

Add to flour mixture, and beat til smooth.

1/4 c. melted shortening
3 stiffly beaten egg whites

Bake in hot waffle iron.

Wrapping Christmas Presents

"She bought a lot of red and green tissue paper, and red and silver ribbon. Also some blue paper with silver stars. Because if there were to be gifts they would have to be wrapped . . ."

Grace Livingston Hill, Astra

Friday, December 8, 2006

Thoughts on The Honor Girl

I'll let Christina introduce this book (boy, hope she doesn't mind me lifting her comment!):

The story is of a young girl, who has everything provided for her by her wealthy aunt and uncle after the death of her mother. She goes to retrieve a book from her father and brothers house, and finds it in total disrepair. There is a lingering spirit of depression in the house. She feels persuaded to do something about it,and sets about to cleaning it up, and making a wonderful meal, and then manages to escape before the boys discover who has worked this enchantment. It makes me think about our homes being a haven away from the world. Do we make an effort to make our homes beautiful for our family, and our friends? A home speaks volumes about the spirit of the people inside of it. The ways that this girl in the book made the home more beautiful were both easy, and simple, yet she put great effort, and time, and unselfish love into it. A clean home, a wonderfully cooked meal to delight the senses, and a vase of yellow roses from the yard. It all produced a wonderful effect on the home, as well as everyone else. "The general sense of comfort and cleanliness that pervaded the place had its very visible effect on father and brothers. It seemed to stimulate them to be more careful about themselves. Not only did it put something of beauty back into the house from the effort, but it made the father and boys WANT to be better, and created a more pleasant spirit about the house. I was also reminded, that since it is a Christian book, it reminded me of the verse in Phillipians 4:8 about thinking about that which is lovely, of good report, of what is right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Do we look for that in our homes? In our families? Do we try to create that in our homes? It really gets involved, but it is really worth thinking about.

The Honor Girl partakes of my favorite GLH theme: complete domestic overhaul. Who can resist the story of taking a house from wretchedly gross to pleasant and cared-for?

One thing I love about this book is that it addresses the value of simply having someone in the home who cares about it. When Elsie moves home to be with her father and two brothers, it is not so that she personally can do all the cooking and cleaning, but rather so that she can be the presiding genius who cares for the family, plans for it, and gives it the benefit of her taste and imagination. And she does all this while attending high school full time!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

"The Primary Duty"

". . . the primary duty of a woman in a home is to see that her family is well-fed. . ."

-- Grace Livingston Hill, The Honor Girl

Welcome to Neat and Dainty as a Flower!

"[Her] house was just as neat and dainty as a flower, and that without half the effort [that her aunt made], and no servant at all at present."

--Grave Livingston Hill in Where Two Ways Meet

I've ben enjoying Grace Livingston Hill's books for the last ten years or so, particularly because of their devoted attention to the details of domestic life. Here is an author who takes the pursuit of happiness in the home very seriously--a woman after my own heart!

I can't read GLH without being inspired to take on her excellently high domestic standards for myself, and I intend to use this blog as scrapbook for my favorite GLH quotes and pointers.

If you enjoy Grace Livingston Hill as well, join me!