Monday, 30 March 2009

Recycling your clothes

Keeping clothes looking nice can be hard. Moths love laying their eggs in your clothes when they’re in storage, which can ruin your favorite coat in no time. Plus just through normal wear and tear, holes develop and wool can wear thin – especially where the children are concerned!

But don’t throw away those old clothes just yet – there are ways to get some more wear out of them. If it’s made of wool, you might even be able to unravel the wool back into a ball and make something new. Holes can be fixed. And the Ministry of Supply has made this wonderful little film explaining how to make your clothes go further!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Make your own tea cosy!

One of my neighbours, Doris, enjoys making things out of old material - she cut this article out of Modern Woman magazine, and I thought you might enjoy it!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

We love our council pigs!

Now that we’re on rations and it’s less easy to bring in food from abroad, we’re all very sensitive about waste. It’s more important than ever that we preserve food properly, and even things like potato peelings can be put to good use.

It’s now all the fashion to keep your own hens, chickens and even pigs. And if you don’t have your own animals, you can drop your food waste either at the local ‘pig club’ or drop it in the council pig bin.

The pig clubs are run on a co-operative basis, and they’re a wonderful way to increase the amount of meat available to the community. Even His Majesty King George VI has joined a pig club – it really is all the rage!

I’ve managed to get hold of some photos for you. Below, WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service) salvage workers Kathleen Kent (left) and Winifred Jordan are collecting a pig food bin from outside some houses. They are just about to empty the salvaged kitchen scraps into their trailer. On the side of the trailer is the painting of a cartoon pig, preparing to eat, which is the emblem of the pig food campaign.

Scraps for council pig bins

And in the below photo, members of the East Barnet WVS pig food collection unit watch as a group of Large White pigs enjoy their evening meal, made from the salvaged kitchen scraps they have collected.

Guides visiting pig bins

And here’s one of the local girls giving a helping hand!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Just Add Water!

Adding water, left, right and centre!

You can see more food flashes like this on the "youtube"!

Friday, 20 March 2009


There's been a rationing system for quite some time now. Not sure if you’ve got something similar in 2009, but it’s a big part of our life here. It’s hard figuring out how to keep varied meals on the table, but we can rise to the challenge!

Most adults get this much each week (soldiers and their families get more):
  • Bacon and ham: 4ozs (100g)
  • Meat to the value of 1s.2d (I gather that’s £1.50 in your day). Sausages and offal aren’t included in the ration, but they are difficult to obtain.
  • Butter: 2ozs (50g)
  • Cheese: 2ozs (50g)
  • Margarine: 4ozs (100g)
  • Cooking fat: 4ozs (100g). Sometimes this goes down to 2ozs, though.
  • Milk: 3 pints, sometimes dropping to 2 pints. You can get dried milk as well, though.
  • Sugar: 8ozs (225g)
  • Preserves: 1lb (450g) every two months
  • Tea: 2ozs (50g)
  • Eggs: 1 egg a week, but sometimes there’s a shortage. We get one packet of dried eggs every four weeks.
  • Sweets: 12ozs (350g) every four weeks
It’s amazing what you take for granted until you can’t have as much as you want. Fortunately, the Ministry of Information has created a book called Wise Eating in Wartime which helps us make the most of things.

We’re all short of food, so most people look for other ways to bring in more. I’ve already mentioned an allotment, that’s one good way. There’s a healthy black market and barter system (a not-quite-legal way of getting round rationing!). And Doris, who lives on my street, works at a local restaurant and has been known to smuggle salmon home in her underwear! Honestly, the lengths some people go to...

Growing your own vegetables

The sun’s come out, spring is here, and it’s time to plant some vegetables! It’s much easier than you might think. You don’t need an allotment (although that helps) – you could be growing your own yummy parsnips, carrots and potatoes in a window box or small patch of garden.

Allotments are very popular here. There were 815,000 allotments in the UK in 1939, and they say it’s now 1,400,000 in 1943. Even the Royal Parks and Kensington Gardens are being converted into allotments!

It’s hardly surprising – it’s such a good way to get cheap and tasty food on the table.

The Ministry of Information has put together a wonderful clip showing how to get this done:

Go on, what are you waiting for? And if you’re doing it already, what vegetables are working best for you?

Hello m' dears!

Mrs Sew&Sew here, reporting from the home front in 1943! The nice people at the Imperial War Museum (yes, it's even around in our day) have given me a special typewriter, so I can send you telegrams from here. Don't worry, we've set it up so your replies get sent through to me as well, so feel free to have a chat!

I've got no idea how this technology works, though. It's all a big mystery to me. I just type stuff in here, and it gets sent to 2009. I don't even have to turn a handle. So I might not be able to answer any questions about how all this works, but I'll do my best anyway.

So, a little bit of information about myself. The other women in our street and I spend a lot of time thinking up ways to save money and make the most of our rations and other scarce resources. We've got to – there's a war on, after all! Anyway, someone at the Ministry of Information heard about this, and they've asked me to share our ideas with everyone. So that's what I do. The campaign is called 'Make Do and Mend', and I appear in all sorts of magazines and advice centres.

I've heard there's some kind of problem with the banks in 2009, so maybe some of these ideas will come in handy there too. Do let me know if you have any great ideas I can pass onto my neighbours. Or even if they're not relevant in my time, let me know anyway, and I'll pass them back to all the lovely people in your time.

Oh, one last thing! I've been asked to let you know that the people at the Imperial War Museum have created something called a "Youtube channel" for film. If I find anything interesting here that I think would be good there, I'll ask the Museum if they can add them to my telegrams. All very clever, isn't it?

Right, better go – it's dusk, so all the lights need to be turned off for the blackout. Bye for now!