Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category


Suggestions For The Christmas Tree

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 23, 1905

Suggestions For The Christmas Tree

A Few Aids on How to Make and Decorate The Children’s Joy.

Woodsmen in the north woods who gather the harvest of Christmas trees mae (sic) a point of choosing young spruces and evergreens that have circles of branches able to support the toys and decorations that the Christmas spirits make grow on the limbs. The more symmetrical a tree is, the better its price, and if it has a terminal twig standing straight and sturdy on the very top, with fragrant boughs in ever-widening circles to the floor, it is sure to be carried off by the first Santa Claus messenger that appears on the scene.

Cones on the branches are a decoration of themselves, and if there is a chance to make a good selection, choose a tree that is fragrant; the balsam is a joy in its healthful perfume.

Ready-made stands may be purchased from a quarter up. That significant “up” goes a long way aloft, but the 25-cent of even the 15-cent stands do just as well.  The trunk of the tree should be shaved down to fit the hole, or the hole made larger if you will, or the stand fastened to the floor with wires or hooks and the tree guyed to the ceiling or the woodwork of the room. These first careful steps prevent the Christmas tree in all its finery from meeting disaster, and it is a sorrowful matter for a Christmas tree to tumble when laden with gifts.

A soap box makes a substantial stand and is far safer than many little wooden frames. There are iron stands that may be screwed to the floor and which are perfectly safe. The box stand permits the trunk of the evergreen to go clear through the box and stand on the floor. It is well balanced in this way and when the box is covered with evergreen wreaths or green crepe paper and a little snow scene, with halls (sic) and valleys and a top house and animals made on the box surface the effect is very pretty indeed.

The question of lights is solving itself. Few persons use candles on trees since electric lights are in. The candle is a dangerous top – too dangerous where there are children, when a tipped candle may mean a blazing tree and a death or a suffering mortal for the rest of his life. Pine is very inflammable, and the beard and trimmings of Santa Claus, many celluloid ornaments, gilt streamers and dry wreaths invite a match to make a glorious blaze. Do without candles for the sake of safety. Little electric lights and a small battery cost very little more than a supply of candles and are perfectly safe.

In trimming the tree invention and ingenuity tell. Of course strung popcorn and cranberries are always pretty, and then there are those long wreaths of tinsel with stars with streamers, the Christmas angel in gold for the top of the tree and a lot of colored balls and transparent ornaments which may be bought by the dozen.

Children enjoy seeing little dolls perched about in the greenery and the little stockings filled with candy for every visiting guest, and the pink and white peppermint candies. Expenses may run high if you wish but a tree can be trimmed for almost nothing. The popcorn and cranberries may be strung by the children themselves, and the kindergarten wreathes of rings come in nicely to give color to the trimming.

A few cents invested in pay tissue and crepe paper with a pot of mucilage and some old-fashioned books to be cut up, and the children will make a lot of funny t hings for their tree. They can gild nuts and tie red apples to the limbs and make tiny bags of colored net. they just love to do these thins for themselves.

Many families who have kept up the custom for a long time trim their tree secretly on the afternoon of Christmas eve and then distribute gifts from the branches with great ceremony on Christmas eve or on Christmas morning. Even if children know the fiction, they delight in keeping alive the Christmas Santa Claus myth, and a member of the family dressed to personate the jolly elf is welcome.


Christmas Trees are in the Stores

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 22, 1904

Christmas Trees are in the Stores

Custom Grows of Decorating

The Trees Come From The Pine Forests of Michigan and Wisconsin – Southern States Furnish The Other Decorations

Holly and misletoe (sic) everywhere. There is no end to the Christmas green. The windows of all the stores are filled with it; and garlands of it festoon the interiors. There has never been a time in Fort Dodge, when there has been as great a showing of the Christmas foliages as there is this year.

Great heaps and stacks of Christmas trees block the side walks in front of the stores, and the whole atmosphere of Central Avenue is pregnant with the fragrance of the pine forest. The trees are of all sizes, and in price ranges from 25 cents ($6 today) up to as high as $5 ($120). Already the sale on them has commenced strongly. There will be hundreds of small trees sold to private families in and about the city. The Christmas tree is gaining in popularity  every year as a means of pleasing the children at home.

It is only within the past few years that this has become a yearly habit with Fort Dodge people. Eight or ten years ago, with the exception of the large trees used by the churches in their public Christmas festivities on Christmas eve, the practice of using trees in this city was rare. About eight years ago the citizens began calling for them and the merchants commenced ordering them along with a little holly and mistletoe. Both the trees and the other greens met with a ready sale, and each year since that time, the amount of such stuff ordered for the holiday season has been increased up to the present time, wehn the trade on this class of goods has become enormous.

Holly is always the more popular of all the Christmas greens. It holds its beautiful color for weeks, and the bright scarlet of the berries set off and intensified by the dark foilage (sic), makes a most pleasing bit for decorative purposes. The greater part of the holly and mistletoe received here from the southern states. The trees are fresh from the spruce forest of Michigan and Wisconsin. The evergreens, of which the beautiful garlands are made, come also from the northern part of Wisconsin, where they grow up about the bases of the big trees.

These garlands are becoming ever more popular. Up to a very few years ago they were unknown in this city. Shortly after the first of the Christmas trees arrived on the market however, they made their appearance along with the sprigs of holly and mistletoe, and at once became very popular for Christmas decorations. At the present time the making of these garlands has become a great industry. For weeks in advance of the holiday season, great forces of women and children, interspersed with a few men, are at work weaving the evergreen on the wire frames. The garlands, when completed are stored away in a damp place,  until they are shipped out to fill the orders that are flooded in upon them from every town in the country.

Foreigners Get Big Trees.

“The Danes, Swedes and Norwegians buy the finest trees they can secure for their churches and Sunday schools,” said a big dealer yesterday. “The Americans and Germans usually buy the smaller trees for home use. It shows the customs of the countries. You know in Sweden and Germany they make a great deal over Christmas and usually great companies congregate to celebrate. Thus it is the Swedish and Norwegians people here like to have their Christmas observances in the churches, and no trees are too large or too good for them. But the Americans and the Germans more especially seem to prefer to have Christmas at home, to have trees in the parlor for the children to exclaim over when they come down early Christmas morning. Hence we sell the smallest parlor trees to them.”


Wallpaper is Now the Question

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 13, 1905

Wallpaper is Now the Question

Two Cornered Paper for Parlors and Halls; Flowers, Fruit or Landscape For The Dining Room and Bright Warm Colors; Combined With Taste

Wall paper again becomes an imminent consideration in the minds of house owners and housewives, and although it is much dreaded when with its mention comes unbidden visions of paper shavings, ladders, and a pungent odor of seemingly everything.

This year and every succeeding year the task of selecting paper becomes less of a bore and mroe of a pleasure. It begins to take more thought and more of an artist’s eye to paper a house appropriately, not becasue the paper is not pretty, far from it, but because the tastes of the American are becoming more and more aesthetic.

The paper itself is showing every day how much more attention is being devoted to its designing and it will be a great relief to be able to get away from some of the hideous designs of the past. Among the newest styles of wall paper are the two tones and the duplex, says a Fort Dodge merchant adn these two designs are indeed the finest expression of wall paper art.

These two styles are designed especially for halls and parlors, and are more appropriate for this use than for any other because they are in the more delicate shades and contain only one color, with a pattern faintly suggested by a slightly different shade, or perhaps a different finish of the same shade which shows up delicately in certain lights.

The designs in this as well as in other styles are all large, sketchy, and usually  flowers, everything now being more or less in poster styles. Anything large and artistic is the proper thing, and takes the public fancy.

Fruit designs are very popular for dining rooms, as are also landscape designs in tapestry effects. these are generally used on but half or three quarters of the wall, with plain ingrain paper of the same shade on the remaining space. Ceiling (sic) are best when plain and the moire ceilings are as popular as ever. Outside of this use for ingrain paper, it is fast losing its former popularily.

Almost all the paper is hung clear from the ceiling in rooms with very high ceilings, and then a drop ceiling is better than a border. This is the American style, but it is said that the new imported papers have revived the old style of borders, and are displaying them in the samples.