The buttons are one set of metal and one of plastic. We both wondered why only one of the black plastic buttons had been used.
|Contrasting styles of button and card|
The two copies of The Workbasket magazine are from August and November 1951. The November issue has a mailing label attached.
|I love the idea of knowing who read this originally|
Both contain knitting and crochet patterns, and the August edition has instructions for a patchwork quilt.
|Pineapple quilt pattern|
There are also articles on cookery and gardening, and book reviews. As with many British magazines of the period, there are syndicated dress patterns on offer.
|Mail order patterns|
Readers who didn't sew could buy dresses instead.
|Dresses for under $3|
Another regular feature is "Women who make cents"; short articles on ways in which women can make money.
|Money-making tips, and a Christmas card advertisement|
The Workbasket's masthead describes the magazine as, "Home and needlecraft for pleasure and profit", and ways to make money, either for bazaars or to supplement the family income, feature heavily. This is especially the case in the advertisements.
The August issue contains an astonishing number of advertisements for selling Christmas cards; 30 different firms in a 64-page magazine. These range from a double page colour spread to little more than a single column inch.
|Woman pictured with lots of money, just in case you didn't get the idea|
Other things which readers could sell to friends and neighbours included uniforms, fruit trees and stockings.
|Sell nylons, get a Chevrolet|
There are advertisements for learning new skills at home - although I'm not sure I'd want to be treated by a nurse who had trained via a correspondence course!
|From nursing to fashion design|
Christmas cards aside, the most frequent type of money-making advertisement is, unsurprisingly, for making things.
|Making money features heavily in all the copy|
Probably the saddest advertisement I found is this one for selling hair. You mail the hair to the company, who then make you an offer. If you don't accept it, they return the hair. No suggestion of a guide price is offered, and as you could hardly re-attach the returned locks I suspect the company worked on the basis that most people would accept whatever they were offered, no matter how low.
On a cheerier note, some of the other ads have not exactly stood the test of time. This one made me smile.
|Even a MAN can do it!|
As did this one, albeit for an entirely different reason.
|"Living image of your own child" Not creepy at all. Definitely not.|
Given that matters to do with health and safety were a bit more lax in the 1950s, I did wonder what, exactly, caused this tree to glow in the dark.
|Also not worrying at all|
Making money from religion seems a very dubious practice, but clearly some people had no qualms about it.
|Serve the Lord and earn|
However just in case you were tempted to keep the goods for yourself, or sell them and not return the cash, the sample mottos sent out are on the theme of TRUST!
The final gift from E was this pattern.
|Butterick 6758, 1972|
We were both intrigued by the body language; it's as if the girl on the left is being given a telling off. Also I suddenly realized how rare it is to see a woman of colour in a pattern illustration. I had a look through my pattern collection, and out of over 400 patterns, dating from 1923 to 1991, I could only find three other examples. Two are Butterick, from 1986 and 1991. The third one, rather unexpectedly, is this:
|Vougue Couturier 2453, 1970|
Clearly this is a whole new rabbit hole of research for me to dive down! Thanks to E for providing it.