Old Homestead Winter Scene – Model – Centerpiece (1916)

This Old Homestead Winter Scene is a great model to make to be used as a really neat centerpiece, a school project, or just for the fun of it! Just make sure if you are making it as a centerpiece that it isn’t so large that there is no room for the food! Based off of a project from 1916, I have re-written the directions (copyright 2008, The Vintage Info Network)

You’ll want to start with creating the logs for your cabin first. Some fallen tree branches will make the best logs for your home. Try to find ones that are as straight as possible. If you don’t have any tree limbs, you can make your logs out of paper (see picture). To make the logs out of paper, roll the pieces of paper around a pencil. Glue the edges of the paper to keep it rolled up. When dry, remove the pencil and pinch the ends of the tubes together.

Now, to build the walls of the cabin, use a cardboard box to make them sturdy. Using a small box, cut down the sides enough to allow for cutting the gable ends (see picture)

Next, make the base for the chimney. It is made of one piece of cardboard that is folded. Make it shaped as shown – with the top partially cut away – so the bottom of the chimney is larger. Glue the chimney form/base to the end of the cabin.

The doors and windows can either be cut out of the cabin/box or you can just draw them onto the cabin.

Now onto building the log walls. Before gluing the logs in place you should make sure they are the length needed – cut/trim them as needed. Place one log along each side and glue it to the box, then place a pair of end logs across their ends and glue them to the box. Alternate one side log on each side, one log on each end – just like building with Lincoln Logs (remember those?). Continue until the walls are to the top of your box frame.

If you are using the paper logs, pinch them where they would be “notched” if they were real logs – wherever 2 cross (at/near the corners of the cabin). For wooden logs, notch them so they fit together over each other.

Next we will build the rest of the chimney. Use either small twigs or paper twigs. You can make paper twigs by rolling paper around toothpicks. Put some cotton balls in the top of the chimney to look like smoke.

Use cardboard for the roof. Cut the roof so that it overhangs the eaves and gables. Glue it to the edge of the cardboard cabin frame. Next, paint the roof brown. The paper logs, if used, can be painted brown too.

Now you will need a foundation for your winter scene homestead. You can use the top of a cardboard box. Fill it with soil or sand to the top. You could fill part of the box top with styrofoam or newspaper so you have to use less soil or sand. Place the cabin on the foundation.

For the pond, use a small mirror placed on the foundation. Cover the edges of the mirror with soil/sand to make it look more natural.

For landscaping you can plant several small branches of shrubbery or other greenery found in your yard.

Next, make the rail fence to surround the homestead using short, skinny sticks or paper tubes.

You can make this into a winter scene using flour, corn starch or fake craft snow for snow. Put your fake snow on the ground, cabin roof, in patches. Make snow drifts just like you would find in real life.

Add a figurine or two to show the family that inhabits this homestead.

Easy Winter Window Decoration (1910)

This is an easy way to make winter/Christmas window decorations. It actually could be useful anytime of year. As this was popular in 1910, I have no idea whether this is OK to use around kids now-a-days. I also don’t know if this could harm windows if they have special glazing on them or anything like that. It’s simple enough to do – do a test patch on a small section of window first. Enjoy!

This year while searching for new ways of decorating my windows for Christmas, I happened onto a device for window decoration which may be helpful to others. I covered the window with an even coating of window wash (Bon Ami), and then drew pictures in it by rubbing it off. At first I used a cardboard pattern to get the outline, and then erased the inner part, but later I found that any of the blackboard sketches given in the educational journals could be drawn in it. Anyone with any talent for drawing will find it can be used almost easily as chalk on the blackboard. Those who cannot draw freehand, can use any of the patterns shown in the journals.

Of course it is prettier for winter decoration as it is so suitable for snow scenes, and yet it can be used any time in the year.

I found by laying it off in diamond-shaped sections, it made a very pleasing imitation of leaded glass. It could not of course, be used very well unless the windows are large. It does not shut out the light as one might think, but rather seems to soften the light. I also find that on days which are cloudy with occasional glimpses of the sun, I do not need to be continually adjusting the shades as formerly.

Homemade Picture Ornament (early 1900’s)

Finished Christmas OrnamentThis Christmas ornament was originally made to be a “needle-book”. I think it would make a nice gift as just a regular ornament. Get creative with this one and try different types of string, embroidery floss, thin ribbon, even yarn. Put a picture of a favorite scene, favorite relative, animal or a holy picture as the directions suggest. While these Christmas ornaments are easy to make, I disagree with the original instructions which state that “any first grad child can make it” – it seems a bit challenging. I think first graders might get a bit frustrated. I guess first-graders in the early 1900’s had a different skill-set than modern -day first graders. Of course, I could be incorrect. Enjoy!

A very pretty and useful gift is shown in Fig. F. Any mother would be pleased to get one of these needle-books. It looks difficult, but it is so simple that any first grade child can make it. Out of white bristol boart cut two circles. Notch the edge of each as shown in Fig. F. Wind each circle with silkateen. Proceed in the following manner: Fig. F.

  • Place the end of the silkateen in notch 1.
  • Bring it across the back of the circle to notch 2,
  • then across the front of the circle to notch 3,
  • then across the back of the circle to notch 4,
  • then across the front of the circle to notch 5,
  • then across the back of the circle to notch 6,
  • and so on,
  • continuing to wind until you come to notch 1, where you started.

Fig. F shows the result obtained by winding the circle as described. Any color of silkateen may be used, but a dainty pink or blue is prettiest. Let the pupils bring pieces of white flannel from home. Out of these pieces let them cut circles for the inside of the needle-book. Punch a hole near the notch marked 1 and tie the book together with baby ribbon the same shade as the silkateen used for winding.

Figure F1

The Christmas colors might be used if preferred. In this case, cut the two circles out of dark green cardboard (poster board). Wind them with dark red silkateen. (Instead of stopping to wind when 1 is reached, continue winding and Fig. G will be the result). Paste a holy sticker in the open space in the center. Tie with red baby ribbon. Fig. G shows a picture frame in which the needle-book idea is used. It is wound in the same way as the needle-book just described. In the center is pasted the Hoffman head instead of the holy sticker as for the needle-book.

Different effects may be produced by using different colors of cardboard and silkateen. The design made by winding is a star which makes it all the more appropriate for Christmas. A Black cardboard circle wound with yellow silkateen and hung with yellow baby ribbon is very pretty.

A dark green cardboard circle wound with red silkateen and hung with red baby ribbon is also very pretty and appropriate.

How to Make a Paper Boat (#1) (early 1900’s)

Paper Boat #1

This is a nice pattern to make a simple Paper Boat. I remember making these out of whatever paper was available and making large paper boats out of newspaper. Enjoy making this paper boat!

Cut a piece of white writing paper, but not of too stiff a quality, six inches by four (fig.1); fold it to the dotted line a, making exactly one half when folded to c;

Scroll down to see a video of how to make a paper boat!

Figure 1 - Paper Boat

then the corners b b are to meet in the center (fig.2);

Figure 2 - Paper Boat

turn down the two sides d forming the dotted lines e, take the two sides between each finger and thumb, in the left hand, and with the right pull it out until it forms fig. 3, taking care to turn over the corners at dotted line e;

Figure 3 - Paper Boat

turn down the two top lines to dotted line g, pull out the sides again, as before, to make fig. 4;

Figure 4 - Paper Boat

a a being pulled out as before described, taking care not to press the iside, it will form the boat, fig. 5.

Figure 5 - Paper Boat

Quotes about Women (1800’s)

“A plain woman takes pride in her friends; a beautiful woman in her enemies.”

“A woman will often say no when she means yes; but never yes when she means no.”

“The normal woman is capable of one love and fifty affairs.”

“A woman’s charity sometimes begins away from home, and then remains there.”

“A young girl is the nearest approach to an angel that we have – and the most exasperating.”

“It has never yet been decided whether a woman is happier when happy or when miserable.”

“When a woman is thoroughly tired, she finds nothing so refreshing as a nice, long talk.”

Make your hand into a singing old lady (1800’s)


Ok, so they didn’t have TV or video games in the 1800’s so they needed to think of other ways to entertain themselves. I think if I saw a grown man doing this I would think he was a little “off”. Could be fun for the kids though….

The experiment shown in the illustration is bound to find favor with grown-up people as well as with young folks.

All you have to do is to paint two eyes, and underneath them a nose, on the knuckles of your index and third finger, as shown in the lower part of the illustration.

(If this gave you a chuckle then Check out The Darwin Awards Next Evolution )

The thumb pressed against the index finger and moved up and down will represent a toothless mouth.

The knuckle of the index finger forms the nose, above it are the eyes.

By draping the face with a towel we have the features of an old woman, especially effective when the light is not very bright.

After a little practice you will succeed in moving the thumb (representing the lower lip and chin) up and down, while you sing a song in a nasal voice, or carry on a conversation with the audience in the voice of an old woman.

I think you should do this at work on Monday – it’d be one heck of a way to start the week! (and get dismissed for lunacy!) LOL

If this gave you a chuckle then
Check out The Darwin Awards Next Evolution

How to make a coin roll on the edge of a knife – Magic (1800’s)

This could be a fun “bet”. Set out a knife, a quarter, dime, nickel and some wax. Make a bet that you could make the coins all roll on the edge of the knife.
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