Feminine Fix-it Handbook title page

Ladies with Tools

The Feminine Fix-it Handbooks
Ward
1972

I’m actually kind of a fan of this book. Aside from the dated advice, it is actually a pretty good book. It’s written without any cutesy condescending language. I am also a big fan of the vocabulary/definition appendix in this book. Jargon is often an extra layer of complication when someone is learning a new skill. My nerd librarian self loves good footnotes, indexes, etc. The author/publishers recognize that the use and organization of the information is also critical. Regardless of gender, this is a pretty decent book.

curtains and window treatments

Curtains for the 1980s

Curtains and Window Treatments
Fishburn
1982

This book was just dirty. And not in a good way. Seriously, just take a nice wipe to the cover. Since COVID, I am overly concerned about visible crud on books.

This reminds me of “Laura Ashley meets shabby chic” for the 1980s. Having attempted budget decorating in the 1980s, this really was reflective of the latest in home fashion, and would have been a decent choice for a home decorating collection. Those balloon type shades in the third picture below seemed to be in every house back in the day. I tried to copy some homemade versions and ended throwing in the proverbial towel since it just didn’t look straight. I blame cheap fabric and my less than stellar sewing skills.

life after housework

A Housework Revolution

Is there life after housework?
A revolutionary approach that will free you from the drudgery of housework
Aslett
1981

I don’t think one can “improve” housework to the extent it can make the drudgery disappear. Taking a task and making it more efficient is a good idea and I am onboard with the concept. As a house cleaning slacker, I am usually disorganized and easily distracted. I just don’t think I can go through the house and get everything done. I think this book assumes you can get organized and not be distracted by other stuff or people.

superwoman cover

Be a SUPERWOMAN!

Superwoman
Conran
1979

This is a lighthearted housekeeping manual that has advice about saving money, fixing things around the house, and other household tips. There really isn’t any discussion on division of labor. It’s more about doing the same chores more efficiently. Evidently, all that extra time saved will allow you to pick up YET MORE WORK as an entrepreneur. My feeling is the author is the very definition of the superwoman.

Mary

greenhouse gardening book

Get yourself a greenhouse

Sunset
Greenhouse Gardening
Sunset
1987

Quite a few Sunset books have made an appearance here on ALB. (Pop Sunset into the search box for our site and see for yourself.) These books have been around forever. They are usually home and garden topics. The cookbooks from the 60s and 70s are something to behold.

For a library collection, I think these books have a place. They are recognizable and the titles are extremely helpful in describing the book. The actual quality varies from book to book. I think they are geared to the DIY crowd.

The first half of the book is about building a greenhouse. I actually liked some of the options. The second half is more gardening advice. Hydroponics and specialty plants like orchids, African violets, succulents, and cacti are discussed within the context of a greenhouse. Not bad.

wedding speeches

Make a toast to the bride and groom

Wedding Speeches and Toasts
Jeffery
1971

Another “how to make a speech book”, this time from the UK. In the days before the Internet, this was actually a pretty common question at the reference desk. I remember when our library had lots of these types of books. We also had a bunch of books on delivering a eulogy or writing a condolence note. Aside from the age of these kind of materials, I am not sure these have a book equivalent anymore. I think most people are heading to a Pinterest board or Googling for answers. Consider this an artifact from the old days.

smart spending

Smart Spending for the Teens

Smart Spending
A Young Consumer’s Guide
Schmitt
1989

I am totally one of those librarians who loves talking about financial literacy. Teens, particularly, really need help managing the realities of debt, spending, credit, etc. In 1989, I probably would have bought this for a library collection.

Lots of good discussion about fraud and spending. Now a days I bet we would have a hard time understanding some of the vocabulary such as money orders, paper checkbooks, taking advantage of the float between deposits and checks (I was quite the expert in the 1980s), etc.

colors at home

Color My Home

Your Colors At Home
Decorating with Your Seasonal Colors
Smith and Gilbert
1985

In the 1980s, having your colors done, was quite the thing. I remember quite a few books and tv talk show segments devoted to figuring out color schemes worked for your skin tones. People were either a Summer, Winter, Fall, or Spring. I remember trying to figure this out for myself and coming up with nothing. I still don’t really understand how this works.