Below are all sorts of tidbits to help one around the home. These items came from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book ©1871 but might be found in some of her earlier volumes of this book. There are several of these I'll be using in my novels. I believe if you read the entire list you'll get excited about one or two for your novels as well.
Items of Advice.
If you keep an account of your stores, and the dates when they are bought, you can know exactly how fast they are used, and when they are wasted, or stolen.
Stale bread is improved by steaming it half an hour or more.
Grate up dry cheese, and cheese crusts, moisten it with wine or brandy, and keep it in a jar for use. It is better than at first.
Boil old earthen soaked with grease in hot lye, and I will cleanse it.
Wheat should always be washed before grinding.
When you clean house, begin with the highest room first, so that clean rooms be not soiled when done.
Repair house linen, turn sheets, and wash bedclothes in summer.
Clean house in the fall instead of spring, and you get rid of all the filth made by flies. But when you burn coal, spring is the proper time for house cleaning.
Keep coarse mats on the kitchen table for keeping it clean.
Use a coarse apron and gloves for cleaning grates. Have coal cinders sifted, and save the coarse part to burn again.
Buy your wood in August and September, when it usually is cheapest and plenty.
Have the backs of your chimneys kept clean by sweeping.
Never try a new dish for company.
To purify water, put common charcoal pounded in a common flower-pot, and fine sand over it, and let the water trickle through. Or, take an old sieve, and fill it with sand and pounded charcoal, and strain the water, and then cool it with ice.
Keep a receipt book for yourself, and write in it the improvements of your own experience.
Keep bits of potter's clay in the house, to use for a paste to extract grease from carpets, floors, and broadcloths.
Dry bran around grapes and other fruit preserves it.
All fat should be tried up once a week, for cooking, or soap grease. Good fat saves butter.
When a stove-pipe or other iron is cracked, make a cement with ashes, salt, and water, and it will stop the opening.
Faded colors often are improved by strong salt and water.
Hal volatile, or spirits of hartshorn, will restore colore taken out by acids.
Eggs are preserved longer by packing them close, 'standing on their small ends. Another way is to pack them in fine salt, small end down. Another way is to pack them, small end down, and then pour on them a mixture of four quarts of cold water, four quarts of unpacked lime, two ounces of salt, and two ounces of cream-tartar. This will serve for nine dozen eggs. Try all these ways.
Rancid butter is said, by good judges, to be restored thus :—Put fifteen drops of chloride of lime to a: pint of water, and work the butter in it till every particle has come in contact with the water. Then work it over in fair cold water.
Indelible Ink is thus prepared :—Buy three drachms of nitrate of silver, and put it in a vial with two spoonfuls of water. Let it stand a few days, then color it with a little ink, and add a tablespoonful of brandy. The preparation is made of strong pearlash water, stiffened with gum-arabic, and colored with red wafers.
Buy cheap red wafers, and scatter them about, and cockroaches will eat them and be destroyed. The roots of black hellebore scattered in their haunts is an infallible remedy.
Cold cream for sore lips, is made by mixing two ounces of oil of almonds, one ounce of spermaceti, one drachm of white wax, and melting them together, adding rose water to perfume them.
Jelly-bags should be made of flannel, and pudding cloths of thick linen, with strings sewed on to them.
Rose leaves should be gathered and preserved by crowding them into a jar with brandy, to use for cooking.
Potato starch is made by grating peeled potatoes, and rubbing them in water. Then pour off the water, after stirring it, and dry what sinks to the bottom.
Orange and lemon peel can be saved thus :—Dry it in an oven, pound it, and then bottle it close.
Orange or lemon water is prepared thus :—Pound the fresh skins in a mortar, pour in boiling water, cover close, and when cold bottle close. Or use wine or brandy.
Cologne water is made thus :—Buy at the apothecary's one drachm each of oil of lavender, oil of lemon, oil of rosemary, and oil cf cinnamon. Add two drachms of oil of bergamot. Mix in a vial, and add a pint of alcohol.
When Pearlash or Saleratus becomes damp, dissolve it in as much water as will just entirely dissolve it . and no more. A tablespoonful of this equals a teaspoon ful of the solid. Keep it corked in a junk bottle.
The following is a very useful receipt for children who go to school where blackboards are used. To make nice Crayons for Blackboards.
These directions are given by Prof. Turner, of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, as follows:
"Take 5 pounds of Paris white, 1 pound of Wheat flour, wet with water, and knead it well; make it so stiff that it will not stick to the table, but not so stiff as to crumble and fall to pieces when it is rolled under the hand.
"To roll out the crayons to the proper size, two boards are needed, one to roll them on; the other to roll them with. The first should be a smooth pine board three feet long and nine inches wide. The other should also be pine, a foot long and nine inches wide, having nailed on the under side near each edge a slip of wood onethird of an inch thick, in order to raise it so much above the under board as that the crayon, when brought to its proper size, may lie between them without being flattened.
"The mass is rolled into a ball, and slices are cut from one side of it about one-third of an inch thick: these slices are again cut into strips about four inches long and one-third of an inch wide, and rolled separately between these boards until smooth and round.
"Near at hand should be another board 3 feet long and 4 inches wide, across which each crayon, as it is made, should be laid, so that the ends may project on each side—the crayons should be laid in close contact, and straight. When the board is filled, the ends should all be trimmed off so as to make the crayons as long as the width of the board. It is then laid in the sun, if in hot weather, or if in winter, near a stove or fireplace, where the crayons may dry gradually, which will require twelve hours. When thoroughly dry they are fit for use.
"An experienced hand will make 150 in an hour. Young boys can make them and sell to their companions.