My Forty Years Scribblin's
Other Ramblin's
Spring Magic for the House

This little article, written in 1960 and published April 1, 1960 in The Montana Farmer Stockman, exemplifies Mildred's "making do with what you have" philosophy.


Now, with the north wind still daring us to poke our noses out of doors, is the time to make preparations for the brighter months ahead. Not all of us can afford new furniture or decorative items, but any one with a smidgen of imagination can brighten up the old homestead and give a lift to the family spirits.

If you do plan to sew for your home—new slip covers, curtains and such—why not get at it now so you will be finished and free when it's time for gardening, or just to enjoy the blessedness of spring?

However, if the budget will barely take care of farm expenses, take heart. An ordinary farmhouse, cellar or attic may yield up a collection that would be the envy of your apartment-dwelling friends. I have made good looking draperies, scarves and runners from dyed, fringed and embroidered burlap. Even faded denim dyes a beautiful navy blue. With bright yarn tassels you can stack up a set of TV cushions which will go well with the scarves and runners.

And pictures can be eye catchers. I have made them to hang singly or in groups from calendars and magazines.

Cover with glass, back them with thin cardboard and bind the edges with picture binding. Before assembling, fasten a cord in cardboard for hanging.

Paint ice cream containers (the two or three-gallon size) inside and out, and add a picture or decal for decorative waste baskets. The copper-tone paints contrast beautifully with most color schemes.

Old pictures, tea-kettles, odd shaped bowls, and so forth, make interesting planters, and nothing is more enjoyable than growing things for decorative purposes. A few feet of brass chain from the hardware store will make hanging baskets out of some.

The little brown jug forgotten among the cobwebs in the cellar would make an interesting lamp; as does an unusual piece of driftwood, now the rage.

So get out your dye pots and start exploring. As you finish each project, hoard it away in a closet until time to wash away the smoke and grime of winter's cheery fires.

Then bring them all out to be enjoyed and admired.

You have achieved something akin to magic—more fun than pulling rabbits out of a hat!