Manners Monday: Photographic Stress in The Family Shrine

Cherished readers, recently a dear friend came to The Lady for advice on a sticky subject of family photographs. She is an older lady with three children and several grandchildren. Her problem was that two of her children have children with their former spouses, but are now re-married. The bone of contention is this: Her new daughters-in-law both resent the fact that she has family photographs on the wall that still clearly display the old spouse. The Lady’s friend insists that it is her house and that the former spouses will always be the mothers of her grandchildren, so why shouldn’t she display their pictures?

The Lady offered this advice:

Yes, while it is true that one can display any and all pictures that one wishes in their home, The Lady feels that others’ feelings must be considered. The display of pictures of ex-in-laws can certainly send the message that the new spouse is not welcome or taken very seriously by the family and The Lady assumes that her friend is intelligent enough to know that this can cause strife in a marriage. (Do you really want to add another stress to your adult child’s life? It’s hard enough as it is without this petty problem) This advice applies to everyone: Regardless of how you feel about your child’s ex, when they have moved on to a serious relationship, support them and this includes taking down old pictures of the ex. It will go a long way to creating harmony in the family.

Best Framed Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A Banshee Roommate: Don’t Be One

Cherished readers, The Lady has an extensive collection of vintage etiquette books that she regularly peruses and consults. I wanted to share this little gem from the 1972 edition of Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette (Princess House edition…interestingly, Miss Vanderbilt was a special advisor to the company)

This is from the section The Agreeable Wife, page 624, where Miss Vanderbilt gives advice on being an attractive roommate (I chortle with glee every time I read this section of the book)

“I wonder how many wives could resist rising up in unholy protest if husbands suddenly took to wrapping their heads up in wire and head rags, greasing their faces, tying up their chins, putting on oiled mittens for the night. If a woman has her own room I suppose she can safely dedicate herself to the pursuit of beauty in her sleep, once she is alone. But if she shares her sleeping quarters, she is obliged to make herself an attractive roommate, not a banshee.”

Well. Times have changed, as I know no one who ties up their chin anymore or wears all kinds of hair curlers to bed (OUCH!) but I do think the advice is sound. We shouldn’t ‘let ourselves go’ and should strive to be as attractive as possible for our partners. This applies to both gentlemen and ladies.

Best Banshee Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Household Tip: The Dirty Top O’The Fridge

Cherished readers, here is a short post today and one that I hope you will find useful.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett is not ignorant of the fact that kitchens become grimy and yucky. And without household help, it almost becomes impossible to keep the top of the fridge clean. So what do I do  as someone who is interested in keeping a tidy home to solve this problem? This tip was passed on to me year ago and it has never failed me.

A simple and inexpensive solution is found by using plastic wrap. Put rows of the plastic wrap over the top and when it is time to clean, remove, discard, and lay new pieces back down.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett says Easy Peasy!

Best Tidy Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Towels in the Bathroom: Are They Off Limits?

Cherished readers, it is always an adventure to settle down with my cup of coffee in the morning and read through my emails to see what is concerning my darling friends. I came across an interesting problem this morning.

My friend went to a First Communion party at her niece’s house and when she used the bathroom facilities, was dumbstruck that her niece had only provided a small hand towel for the fifty or so guests that she had in her home. Her shock did not come from the fact that there was only one towel, however. The shock came from seeing others using the facilities and then discovering that the towel was perfectly dry…it had not been used! She found wet spots near the sink and the soap was wet, so hands seemed to be washed…so why not use the towel?

The Lady Hooper-Brackett can recall a time in her childhood when she was admonished by her dear mother to not use the ‘guest towels’ that were specially hung on a bar near the sink. So, I never used them. She had elevated them to sacred status in my impressionable mind. For years, even when using the facilities in other’s homes, I avoided touching the guest towels and wiped my hands on my pants! (Yes, I know…the horror of it!!!)

I believe that there can be a solution to this problem, however.

  1. Provide enough small washcloths for a couple of dozen to use. A beautiful stack right next to the sink. As the host, you use the first one…crumple it up, place it in a basket near the sink, and hope that this subtle message tells other guests…it is OK to use the towels! They are no longer sacred and off limits!
  2. Get a festive box of disposable paper towels and leave them near the sink. Perhaps guests do not want to feel that are creating more laundry for the host, but will feel free to use paper towels.
  3. Leave no towel in the guest bath at all, after all no one is using it anyway.

Best Clean Hand Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Household Tips: Help, An Oafish Guest Spilled Wine on My Tablecloth!

Hello cherished readers, I’ve no doubt that in the course of entertaining friends and family, there has been an instance where someone with a bit of clumsiness knocked over a glass of ‘something’ onto your table linens. One hopes that it was only water…but if it was wine…here is something that may help. *

Firstly, never show by word or action that you are peeved at your esteemed guest. Though your teeth may be clenched so hard you are cracking your crowns, smile and tell your guest that all is well.

When your guests have left, you may then feel free to scream and curse and cry over your Great-Great-Great Aunt Catherine’s linen tablecloth that she sailed across the Atlantic with when she emigrated to our fine country.

This tip is for fabrics that are bit stronger, so please do not use on flimsy fabrics. Boil water, preferably in a kettle for ease of pouring. Cover the stain with salt and set your timer for five minutes. When your timer dings…fasten the stained area over a bowl with a rubber band. I would use as large a bowl as you can find. Put in sink or tub (can be messy!) and cautiously pour the boiling water over stained fabric from about a foot above the bowl. Please do not burn yourself.

Best tidy wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A word from The Lady:

*this tip has worked for The Lady Hooper-Brackett and her friends. No guarantee that it will work for you is implied. You assume all risk in trying.*