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The Housewife’s Lament

May 14, 2012

by Cate Fitt

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Before I realized that moderate tone deafness was the reason I could never tune my guitar, I enjoyed the role of teenage folksinger. I often sang Peggy Seeger’s arrangement of “The Housewife’s Lament,” a 19th century poet’s detailed recounting of all the chores that caused an overburdened housewife to keel over and die; it’s a wonder my guitar teacher (and anyone else within hearing distance) did not fall on the floor from uncontrollable laughter.

Truthfully, I knew as much about housework as I did about physics or rock climbing. My mother had hired some household help as soon as my father finished law school, and no one ever expected me to do more than set the table, fill the dishwasher, or perform the occasional vacuum once-over. My first year or so out of college, I did not live anywhere long enough to notice much dirt. It was not until I moved to Maine and lived on an unpaved road, miles from electricity and telephone service, that I had to do any housework.

[Clockwise from top right: Handmade Kitchen Broom by Broomhilde; Vintage Housemaid Doll from ParkAvenueThrift; Vintage Photo from Maclancy; Vintage Kerosene Lamp from DeconstructingRose]

Perhaps the most onerous cleaning task was the soot on the kerosene lamps. We tried washing them in hot soapy water (heated on the woodstove) but wiping them with old newspapers was much faster and almost as effective.

[Clockwise from top left: “The Wash” Linoleum Print by StageFortPress; Vintage Washing Machine from CoffeehouseVintage; Handwoven Laundry Basket by Basketsbyrose; “Laundry Day” Mixed Media on Canvas by CruzArt; Handmade Laundry Soap by Pabadoo]

Laundry was another matter. Instead of making our own soap and spending arduous days hauling and heating water to wash and rinse heavy clothing, we made the trip to town for a visit to the laundromat and hot showers (as long as a car started).

[Clockwise from top left: Vintage Sewing Machine from PriorMemories; Vintage Housewife’s Guide to Making & Mending from VintageVisageonEtsy; Vintage Spool Ring from ArcOfTime; Silver Thimble Illustration by Williamkdavis]

My father’s mother taught me to sew when I was so young I had to sit on a telephone book to reach the sewing machine. She drew spirals and zig-zags on paper. I practiced without thread until my hand was steady and accurate. I made most of my own clothes and even supported myself by dressmaking for a few years.

[Clockwise from top left: Vintage Scrubbing Brushes from UrgeStudio; Mason Jar Canning Labels by Krankpress; Vintage Carpet Beater from BiminiCricket; Dryer Sheet Alternative by zJayne; Heirloom Carrot Seeds from Cubits]

In the past, a housewife’s duties included growing and canning food to be eaten when nothing much was in season. I could never understand any modern person wanting to preserve and can until I became more of a stickler about eating locally grown foods. If I want a tomato in January, I pretty much have to freeze or can it myself in August or September.

My ignorance of housework does not mean any disrespect for the genuine hardships so many women have endured doing laundry, cleaning house with only brooms and mops, preserving and cooking food without refrigeration. Even today, girls all over the world miss school because they must spend hours walking to and from distant sources of water. All that hard labor fills me with awe, and I feel pretty ridiculous when I remember that I had to call a friend to ask her how to mop my kitchen floor when I was in my thirties!

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118 comments

  • optic

    Rhonda from opticdesign said 5 years ago

    Love the article... Love the choices.

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    Great post! Love the picks!!!

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 5 years ago

    Cleaning has a calming effect on me, once I am done, I feel relaxed and organized. Plus it's good exercise!

  • yomarismillan

    Golden Hearts MILLAN from AgapeArts said 5 years ago

    thats great! i would love to be able to make my own clothes!

  • hmmills

    Helen Mills from 1820BagCo said 5 years ago

    How about the woman who works 40+ hours a week and still has to come home and clean the house lament.

  • epicycledesigns

    Tabitha Woodard from epicycledesigns said 5 years ago

    I am a very happy housewife. Love this article!

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 5 years ago

    In my head I can hear the children's song with the words "This is the way we wash our clothes... iron our clothes... sweep the floors... bake our bread... etc. ...so early in the morning" My daughter has that song on one of our little children cd's and we sing it often together. It's amazing to think what it had been like about a hundred years ago with all that housework which was so much tougher without the more modern conveniences. It's even more funny to look back at the things called "modern conveniences" back then. My mom has told me stories about watching her grandma beating of the rugs with those paddles above when she was little, and that wasn't nearly a hundred years ago! I can't even imagine that.

  • restorationharbor

    Laura and Blakeley Harbor from RestorationHarbor said 5 years ago

    Amazing article! Brings back memories of growing up on the farm. Oh, nostalgia!

  • klb00e

    Mother Lark from MotherLark said 5 years ago

    Love it! So funny how we grow up and realize all the hard work it takes just to take care of oneself :)

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 5 years ago

    Yeah, it's not fun to discover that you actually have to clean the house and not just put things away. At least we know (now) that we can clean with earth and user friendly stuff like baking soda or vinegar instead of the nasty (and expensive) supermarket cleaners. That featured carpet beater sent me looking for my vintage book of "Tested Receipts" or what we call recipes. Here is the "recipe" for Carpet Wash. I can't imagine having to do this and I try to think about it every time I grumble about cleaning: "One bar Lenox soap, 5 cents worth of sal soda, five cents worth lump borax. Shave soap and put in with sal soda and borax into one gallon of cold water. Let come to a boil. When soap is dissolved add six gallons water. Wash the carpet with this and wipe with a dry cloth." Uhm, I don't think so.

  • SoulSeeds

    Laurie Abela from SoulSeeds said 5 years ago

    Nice article! I love gardening, preserving food, growing & making herbal medicines. I'm even learning to enjoy houswework, because of the results. Though ironing..... not so much :o)

  • littlehouseofcolors

    Lauren O. from littlehouseofcolors said 5 years ago

    Boy, we are a spoiled bunch nowadays, aren't we?! This article was very inspiring to get back to a "real" housewife's duties.

  • CoutureByAyca

    Ayca Hoser from CoutureByAyca said 5 years ago

    Great article!

  • Bananamoo

    Bananamoo from Bananamoo said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article.

  • MagpieQuilts

    Ann from MagpieQuilts said 5 years ago

    The good ole days were hard days for the women of the time. I am thankful for my washing machine, dishwasher, and especially my husband, who is the BEST cleaner upper in our house!

  • PoleStar

    Jennifer Juniper from PoleStar said 5 years ago

    Love your insight.

  • KathyGDesigns

    Kathy G from KathyGDesigns said 5 years ago

    I enjoyed this article! Brought back many memories of my grandmother doing her housework. I have that exact sewing machine from my grandmother and it still works!

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts said 5 years ago

    Great article!

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 5 years ago

    The pictures included suit the article perfectly! Great read, Thanks!

  • freesoul

    Semira from freesoul said 5 years ago

    I feel for the women back then, because it was such a hard life, but amazing to think that many women still live like this today.

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 5 years ago

    Housewives don't get paid enough!

  • tatesipoo

    Tate Pannabecker said 5 years ago

    Great post! Love the Laundry Day painting.

  • HoneyBeeHolistics

    Melissa from HoneyBeeHolistics said 5 years ago

    Love the article! This is one of the many reasons why I started creating my OWN Organic products! Not only Bath & Body products, but for the house as well! Our health is influenced by the products we choose to use, wether chemically laden, or naturally fresh chemical free! Keep it old style and stay away from mainstream chemicals.....Your lungs and Grandchildren will thank you!

  • deepblue22at

    Liliana Penelope from PenelopeHandmade said 5 years ago

    Great article :)

  • dizhasneatstuff

    deb fearon from dizhasneatstuff said 5 years ago

    I like to keep house cleaning to the abstract and romantic. I have many fine qualities and talents, house cleaning is not one of them. Though I do love my new clothesline,I built myself. great article and related items!

  • JulieMeyer

    Julie Meyer from JulieMeyer said 5 years ago

    Love the art of home keeping. Just wish my kids and husband had a little more of that desire.

  • WinsomeGreen

    Christa from WinsomeGreen said 5 years ago

    Woman's work. *smile*. It's the simple and mundane tasks that keep the world afloat. My daughters tell me they hate doing dishes and I always say, "Nobody likes doing dishes. It's not a likeable task but a necessary one." Still, isn't there a sort of small satisfaction that comes from the sight of clean stack of plates? A sparkling row of glasses? A nice bouquet of freshly shined silverware? From Marge Piercy's "To Be Of Use" I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again. I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who are not parlor generals and field deserters but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 5 years ago

    Wow, it just reminds me of how I don't want to be that typical housewife, with all the classic things...

  • thenosuchdisco

    Dave from thenosuchdisco said 5 years ago

    i am not a house wife, but cleaning is the bane of my life. i hate it. but once it is done i can't quite describe the feeling of a tidy house.... ... i just wish it would last longer!

  • jojosvintagecupboard

    jojosvintagecupboard from jojosvintagecupboard said 5 years ago

    Great article! I love sweeping, it relaxes me! I think keeping a good house is an art!

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts said 5 years ago

    You know what they say, " A woman's work is never done." It is constant. I used to live way out with no electricity and washed the clothing on a wash board. Loved it!!!

  • topsyturvydesign

    topsyturvydesign from topsyturvydesign said 5 years ago

    loved this article. i am 37 years old & i didn't discover the joys of cleaning until the birth of my 8 month old son. first thing i did when i discovered i was pregnant, was banish all toxic, chemical cleaners from the house. i became an expert at cleaning with baking soda, vinegar, lavender, lemon & tea tree oil. cleaning has never been so much fun & the household never has been cleaner.

  • laraineatherton

    Laraine from SweetLarainesTrivia said 5 years ago

    My mother had a wringer washing machine. She would not let me stand near it for fear I would get my long red hair caught in the wringer. I could be with her, in the basement...but just not next to her. Oh boy......the memories this post has caused to surface.

  • mjcoonts1

    M.J. Coonts from lilcreekmercantile said 5 years ago

    Everything about life should be veiwed as an art form. Too often we lose sight of the art of living and forget the pride of a job well done and a day well spent.

  • ScrapHappyLyrebird

    Tess from GildedNotes said 5 years ago

    I have so much respect for all the ladies (and guys!) that work jobs as well as keeping a clean house. I think I get a D- as a housewife. It's not my fault though, it's all these darn cats that don't clean up after themselves.

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    Krista from TheBeadtriss said 5 years ago

    Interesting! :} ~KK~

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 5 years ago

    Very thoughtful article. Don't feel bad about not knowing how to mop the kitchen floor. A roommate of mine, during college, poured half a bottle of straight bleach in a bowl and stuck her stained white cotton shirt in it. She left it in that bowl over night and, guess what? In the morning her blouse was in shreds because the bleach was so caustic! I personally love to clean and get great satisfaction in seeing the immediate results of my work. There is nothing wrong with choosing to excel in the domestic arts!

  • HavenClean

    Kayce White from HomeIntoHaven said 5 years ago

    Women are some of the toughest creatures on Earth! I love woman's work (and increasingly man's work, as I sit here watching my hus-babe cook dinner). I was really inspired by thoughts like this when I was developing my home care line. Love reading this!

  • wallwhisperer

    Lorinda from wallwhispers said 5 years ago

    I appreciate this writing! Many fun memories of my grandmothers wringer washer and quilts and wonderful canned food! I miss that and also aspire to capture these living arts as well for the future.

  • bellasparty

    bellasparty from bellasparty said 5 years ago

    Loved this article!

  • PaleMoonDarkNight

    Rachel Bradley from PaleMoonDarkNight said 5 years ago

    Newspaper and windex works great on windows! Of course it doesn't sound like you had any windex ;). My grandma Ellen was an avid canner. It is definatly on my list of things to learn how to do.

  • StarTribe

    Penelope Neil from StarTribe said 5 years ago

    Most people nowadays have no idea what hard work is- housework included. That may be an old folk's lament, but truly housework is so so SO much easier than it used to be. My grandmother lived in a terrace row in London where everyone had a white front step. And you had to scrub the front step every morning (around 7) - it was expected of a 'decent' house. I know well the process involved in washing clothes- copper, dolly stick, mangle, rope line...now I push a couple of buttons. And yet I have met teenage girls who can't even use a broom. I'm very glad I was raised in a household that taught me to appreciate modern ways and to count my blessings. Also I have to echo what others have said above- the task may be tedious, but there's nothing like that sense of satisfaction to see a clean and tidy house especially if you approach it with a happy acceptance. Or as my grandmother used to say 'you have to do it so you might as well just shut up and enjoy it!'

  • StarTribe

    Penelope Neil from StarTribe said 5 years ago

    Rachel- newspaper and vinegar works even better. :)

  • DGEnterprises

    Therese Magnani from DGEnterprises said 5 years ago

    I used to resent that I had to stay home and care for my younger brothers, cook and do a lot of the cleaning when my mom had to join the work force. And while I loved sewing, I longed for the money to go out and buy the latest trends. Years later, it was my girlfriends calling me for advice on how to cook, remove stains, diaper a baby, etc. I think domestic labors are underrated, and for sure, under appreciated. Thank you for a wonderful article, and wonderful items that have brought back so many memories!

  • CozyMoments

    Michelle from CozyMomentsLLC said 5 years ago

    Excellent article and awesome picks! I ♥ vintage goodies! =)

  • SunnyCrowDesigns

    darby from SunnyCrowDesigns said 5 years ago

    I remember helping my Mom with the canning when I was a little girl... and oh how I dreaded hauling in firewood. Now I just wish I could do it all over again. It is true that a woman's work is never done... but what a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day :)

  • drunkmansdaughter

    drunkmansdaughter from NaturallySonia said 5 years ago

    I say celebrate being a woman even with all the chores. Soon we will have to go back to basics anyways, so pull out your brooms ,add a clothing line, and get some chickens!lol.

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations said 5 years ago

    I hear ya, girl! My sister and I did all the same growing up because we had no other choice. Now I really appreciate the skills I picked up (though I still don't know how to make my own clothes; my sister does - lucky!), and sometimes I still enjoy a day of good, hard housework.

  • UpsideDownFrowns

    UpsideDownFrowns from UpsideDownFrowns said 5 years ago

    I have that sewing machine! It was my grandmothers. My husband thinks it's our ticket to the antiques road show. :)

  • gardenofsimples

    Lydia and Kurt McCauley from StoneHouseArtifacts said 5 years ago

    I love your story. I'll have to look the song up and learn it!

  • junquegypsy

    junquegypsy from junquegypsy said 5 years ago

    No dishwasher here. I actually enjoy washing dishes by hand. But I am grateful for the clothes washer. And I love, love, love, canning my own jams and salsas. Good article.

  • dancingintherains

    Gwen from dancingintherains said 5 years ago

    Love this great article and Wonderful picks :D Thanks!!

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage said 5 years ago

    our song learned when my daughter was in preschool was clean up, clean up, everybody do their share... times have changed!

  • leslieholz

    Leslie Holz from leslieholz said 5 years ago

    I used to LOVE to clean the house with the stereo blasting Whitney Houston while singing at the top of my lungs! Wow, I got a lot done back then. Now, with all of our livestock and running in and out of the house all day checking, feeding and cleaning up after animals, the house is less of a priority. Thankful for four daughters that I taught well, back in the day.............

  • nancywilder

    Nancy Wilder from NancyWilder said 5 years ago

    Gotta say I do love my household appliances...and love knowing or learning how to do useful stuff around the house. Next time me or someone else complains I'm going to say "shut up and enjoy it since you have to do it anyway!"

  • MomsCottage

    Ruth Ann from MomsCottage said 5 years ago

    I've always been a "clean freak", so of course I love this post! Enjoying reading all the comments. ♥

  • Powerofflower

    Lorena Balea-Raitz from BaleaRaitzART said 5 years ago

    Great article! A great reminder what women deal with! In some places of the world it's still like on grandmas time :)

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 5 years ago

    Love this post!

  • PetticoatstoParasols

    Suzanne Virgo from PetticoatstoParasols said 5 years ago

    Love these photos. I have that Singer Sewing Machine, it looks just like my 222K Featherweight. Sue x

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    When I went to university I had to teach my flatmate how to iron a shirt! Her mother never taught her how to do it, I think I took my domestic skills for granted until then...

  • mjlnojunk

    Jennifer from papersushi said 5 years ago

    I think about this sometimes...we humans made life a lot easier for ourselves by creating technological advances to cut down on the time and effort required to clean ourselves and our houses. But, then we decided we needed all the things to be cleaner! And we needed to have more things! Sure, using the washing machine is a lot easier than a washboard or river rocks. But, now we fill closets full of clothes and wash them every time we touch them. Surely we end up spending just as much time on the laundry as the women who had to scrub each thing by hand, but only did it once or twice a month. Why do we do this? Is it just human nature? Makes me feel like a rather silly creature at times...

  • muffintopdesigns

    cy and d from TheLovelySmith said 5 years ago

    a study on the news today said that "housewives/husbands" should earn about $113,000 per year in salary and that the average "workweek" is 95 hours. i can't even imagine what it would have been back in the day!!!!

  • TheHickoryTree

    Linda from TheHickoryTree said 5 years ago

    I'm in the middle of the annual spring cleaning at my house and it is actually kind of refreshing to scrub, wash, sweep and air the house out after being cooped up all winter. How wonderful it is to open the windows and doors and let the fresh outside air, scented with the smells of the russian olive and lilac blooms permeating the air and flowing through the house. There is nothing like it and the reward is coming home to a clean house with everything sparkling and looking new again.

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 5 years ago

    Interesting article! I cannot imagine having a choice to not do housework....but then I lived on my own since I was 16. I love your picks, great shops! Thank you and aloha!

  • IkvothaMashiach70

    Gabrielle Knight from RuffleNBustle said 5 years ago

    Amusing :)

  • hao13

    Caroline Beauséjour said 5 years ago

    Yes, modern day women don't need to work as hard as they used to. We don't have it though like our grandmothers did. And there's a reason for that. Our grandmothers discovered that they didn't have to be slaves to the male population. They put up a fight for equality so they're children and grandchildren would live in a world where life is the same no matter what your genitals look like. I don't like cleaning. I do it because I have to and I don't enjoy any of it. I live alone and I know nobody will do it for me. If I had a man in the house I would expect him to clean as much as I would, I would want an equal relationship. I have no problem with with women becoming housewives (if they wish to) but I will never be one myself. I am greatfull to all the women who fought for my generation (25) to be free to choose if we want to stay home and raise children or go to school, get a career and be happy in an equal relationship with a man (married or not).

  • agarrettm

    A. Garrett said 5 years ago

    I am constantly amazed at how lucky I am, as a wife and mother, that my life has been made so much easier by modern amenities. I love to cook, sew, tidy up, garden, etc. but I choose to do those things. My mother and grandmothers had to do all of that and more in order to maintain the status quo. So, on those occasions when I feel put upon to do "house work", I try to remember how fortunate I am...enjoyed your article.

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 5 years ago

    A very nicely written story with wonderful selections! That vintage spool ring is to die for... love that!! :)

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry said 5 years ago

    Super Post!!! Great Commentary!!!

  • BmadeNEW

    rikki colacurcio from BmadeNEW said 5 years ago

    There are soooooooo many thoughts/ideas/emotions raised by your article...being a woman...loving being a woman in spite of all kinds of hard work and trouble that will likely just change forms over time but never go away. I'm grateful my father taught me to work very hard though i hated it back in the day when i spent hours cleaning the yard cuz we had no brothers to do it....what's floating to the top right now is remembering my first child's first birthday. I felt as if it was my own first birthday because of all i'd learned that year. I remember realizing with a startle that no one cared much at all about what a grand day that was for me. Of course the baby was in the spotlight. Much of what women pour their life blood into isn't hightly valued, acknowledged or even known by any accept other women/mothers---we carry a million simple secrets everywhere we go!

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 5 years ago

    This made me laugh! I think everyone living in this day and age has a funny "learning how to clean" story.

  • RuralRetreatVintage

    Dena from RuralRetreatVintage said 5 years ago

    Loved reading this article!!! Brought back lots of wonderful memories of helping my grandma with cleaning and canning in the summer months when school was out. We used a wringer washer back then too.

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 5 years ago

    Ha ha ha! Thanks for the great article, it really made me laugh and reminded me of my feelings of utter helplessness when I left home - I'd never been allowed near the kitchen in case I "made a mess". I'm still no domestic goddess, but I am pretty adept at pushing a vacuum cleaner around, LOL!

  • GraysonDesigns11

    GraysonDesigns11 from GraysonDesigns11 said 5 years ago

    Once a housewife becomes a stay at home mom cleaning gets so much harder. If that women is a working mother, cleaning the house becomes mission impossible. :)

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 5 years ago

    Great post! Wonderful picks.

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits from OuterKnits said 5 years ago

    One of my childhood memories is helping my third cousin can tomatoes and applesauce to put up in the spring house. My all time favorite jam was crab apple made by that same cousin. The spring house always had a cold floor, it was made of stone, and was filled with wooden shelves packed with glass jars filled with goodies. Great picks.

  • biddlebeed

    Jennifer Petersen from biddlebeed said 5 years ago

    so many chores...so little time these days. I often hope I will move out into the woods and go back to the basics... have a bigger garden...put that clothes line back up...enjoying a song or two with the Seegers. :) Great article!!!

  • ElizabethPawle

    Elizabeth Pawle from ElizabethPawle said 5 years ago

    I'm a housewife - love this article!

  • BlackStar

    Katie McClanahan from WearYourWild said 5 years ago

    Great article! Cate, it sounds like we could have been neighbors, except for living in different states. I chose to live a simple, rustic life and learned everything I could from the local folks. I love the country life and wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • silke5763

    Silke Jordan from howcroftjordanwork said 5 years ago

    When we were kids (3 sisters) we 'played' a kind of pleasure game about cleaning ... Whose room would look best etc ... it was great !!!

  • ChrissiesRibbons

    Kevie from LittleFridayDesigns said 5 years ago

    love this!

  • ArtsyFlair

    Michaela Bowles from ArtsyFlair said 5 years ago

    Love the article!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 5 years ago

    I know when I was growing up I was an only child on Saturdays my mom and I would do our major cleaning we would do what we called cleaning wood work that meant we would wipe down the walls with a clean solution that she would make up, dust all of the tables and put furniture polish on them and I would always want to go to a dance or a party on Saturday nights so I had to make sure that I had all of my housework done before I would ask my mother. I mean back then people especially women really cleaned and it helped to instill values and keeping a clean house in us all back then.

  • basketsbyrose

    Rose C. from basketsbyrose said 5 years ago

    Wonderful post! Thank you for including my laundry basket in your great story!

  • farmersattic

    Lucy Galgano from farmersattic said 5 years ago

    Great feature!!!

  • GrandmaKringles

    Kim from CountryThymePrims said 5 years ago

    What a great feature! That sewing machine looks just like mine!

  • RenataandJonathan

    Renata and Jonathan from RenataandJonathan said 5 years ago

    Great article !

  • HeartfeltStitchin

    Jan Metscaviz from HeartfeltStitchin said 5 years ago

    Great feature! Loooove the basket!

  • PaxtonValleyFolkArt

    PaxtonValleyFolkArt from PaxtonValleyFolkArt said 5 years ago

    I love the look of old things but not the work of the old days LOL! Great post and love that handmade laundry basket by BasketsByRose <3

  • pworiginals

    Pam from PWOriginals said 5 years ago

    Fantastic blog post!

  • NoJumbledDucks

    Bonny from NoJumbledDucks said 5 years ago

    Love this article and really love the washbasket!!!!

  • KeepsakeKorner

    Susan from KeepsakeKorner said 5 years ago

    What a wonderful article. Your picks of items is perfect :)

  • ezliving

    ezliving from ezliving said 5 years ago

    Intertesting story!!

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom said 5 years ago

    Ugh cleaning. I like it sometimes, but a lot of the time I am just not in the mood to clean after work.

  • poplovedesigns

    Andrea Hughes from PopLoveHers said 5 years ago

    cute poem - the funny thing is that in our house, it's the husband who does most of the chores ;) - Modernization is a wonderful thing!

  • knitfitt

    Cate Fitt said 5 years ago

    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. It is so interesting to read about your experiences. Cate

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 from breadandroses2 said 5 years ago

    If you heat with wood or use as a regular supplement, you get a housework work-out coming and going. Everyone should know how to clean up after themselves, too. Housework is not a big deal.

  • tinsandtreasures

    Natalie Geffre from tinsandtreasures said 5 years ago

    I loved your collection and story. Good work...

  • NeatoKeen

    NeatoKeen from NeatoKeen said 5 years ago

    A picture book for adults...what a fun article with great antidotes.

  • GraciousArt

    Pamela Neswald from GraciousArt said 5 years ago

    Cate, looks like you hit a nerve, here! I did all that, cooked 3 meals a day from scratch and clean, clean, iron, you-name-it for about 15 years. I did take some pride and satisfaction in my accomplishments, but my family just didn't get it. Often enough, they'd complain about what was for dinner or even purposely mess up the house to make it feel "lived in. Well, one day I just quit. That was about 10 years ago. My husband does most of the cooking now and I never complain. As for cleaning, we just don't invite anyone over, lol. The girls live on their own now. God knows what they're eating.

  • PoetryofObjects

    PoetryofObjects from PoetryofObjects said 5 years ago

    Beautiful objects! I've been around folks doing things simply and by hand for over 30 years now. My love of domestic life began when I was a young girl and found a woman living near me to teach me how to weave and spin. After that I travelled to Scotland and the Shetland Isles in the 70's where it was a given that everyone learned to knit mittens. Coming back stateside and going to weaving school again up in VT...i was hooked on living a regenerative lifestyle. Regenerative means doing for yourself! Loved your personal story Cate! Now, if I could just get my hands on that gorgeous washing machine in all its simple glory!

  • CynsibleCreations

    Cyn from CynsibleCreations said 5 years ago

    Great items for a clean way of living. I love the collection.

  • quercusdesign

    Jennifer Steen Booher from QuercusDesign said 5 years ago

    That song is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Myartspace

    Myartspace from Myartspace said 5 years ago

    Aha...so I am not the only one :) I don't think women should always do the housework (unless they live alone)...so I make a point from having my husband clean the house once a month at least from top to bottom.....or that's what he thinks :)) he still forgets stuff, of course, but at least I can see him tired over it that day.......and....we only have a limited space, a small apartment. OH well, at least I can use the kitchen for my artwork in stead of cooking :))) it is soo fun to watch people's faces when they enter and see the brushes and canvases instead of pots :))) There is nothing traditional in our way of living and we can relax just fine on whole afternoon even if the house is not clean on a Saturday, that is one fact I know my Mom was and still is unable to picture! So...I made a pact with myself not to get trapped in the endless chores, day in and day out....so we know now the small little fun places we can eat out and enjoy ourselves and rest after a busy week at work, and take our Holidays most seriously and have 3 or 4 throughout the year. We think life is about what you FEEL .....not about what you own, or showcase for others, or buy.....or a huge house you live in......

  • SugarMtnMercantile

    Debbie from SugarMtnMercantile said 5 years ago

    Loved the article and the selections in it! Cleaning.....the never-ending chore!

  • paisleybeading

    LuAnn Poli from PaisleyBeading said 5 years ago

    I really enjoy your writing style, Cate! Loved this article. Hated to see it end. Brought me back to peeking down my grandmother's "cellar" steps to see her old washing machine like the one you featured. My sister and I gazed in awe, as if it had dropped down from another planet!

  • CalicoJunoJewelry

    Lea Marino from CalicoJunoJewelry said 5 years ago

    What a great article!

  • lauraprill

    Laura Prill from lauraprill said 5 years ago

    we used to sew endless dress for our barbie dolls...loved seeing that old singer machine!

  • ProfessorTiny

    Susan Sanford from ProfessorTiny said 5 years ago

    Enjoyable post. You might like the book "Grange House" - it is pastiche, but very evocative of the Maine seacoast, more than anything bringing New England Summers to memory.

  • remainewicked

    Rain Harbison from remainewicked said 5 years ago

    Um, I guess I better go clean :(

  • martket

    gmArt from mARTket said 5 years ago

    It's always better to have a little help from your partner! (room-mate, etc) If you're doing all alone it's a bit hard.. Nice post! ;))

  • JanetR

    Janet from JanetR said 5 years ago

    Beautifully written!!! Heartwarming, too! I loved the part about getting into the car (to drive to the laundromat) and hoping the car would start! Made me think back to those days too!

  • YorkiesPrimitives

    YorkiesPrimitives from YorkiesPrimitives said 5 years ago

    Great article!

  • CougarTShirtCompany

    Cougar T-Shirt Company from CougarTShirtCompany said 5 years ago

    With working 20 hours a week at my job that pays insurance, and trying to get my business going (30 + more hours that same week), housework takes a back seat. I do the dishes. Sometimes.

  • susiezimmerman

    Sue Zimmerman from BeadDazzlers said 5 years ago

    Oh, To turn back the clocks!

  • avesattic

    Avis Carty from AvesAttic said 5 years ago

    Oh boy! Now don't think I'm ancient, but I used the same machine to wash our clothes. I was married, 18 yrs. old with 2 children and lived in an apartment in Phila. I'll never forget it! I washed the clothes, have to put them in a pram along with my kids (1 & 2 yrs.) and (very carefully) scoot down two flights of stairs and off to the dryers 2 blocks away (Frankford Ave.) After using it for 2 days, it was repossessed. I cried all night. Oh well, just went back to the laundromat again! We did however, have one of those ironing machines which I was able to keep. Yippee!

  • sbanghart

    Sheena Lewis from BeautifulAgainBridal said 5 years ago

    My husband and I have always lived a life of east (relatively speaking) and now our dream is to move across country, buy a little farm, raise an organic garden and a few animals - which will include early morning milking, canning, and a ton more work than either of us has ever done before... I think that in this busy day and age, more and more people are going to desire getting back to a simpler life style...

  • Nakkashe

    Nakkashe from Nakkashe said 5 years ago

    What an amazing story ! loved it very much

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