The Clothesline (By Irene Rawlings and Andrea Van Steenhouse, Gibbs Smith, 95 pages, hardcover, $21.95) There was a time when doing laundry was not just about the chore – it was, instead, a time for reflection, conversation, social interaction and the traditions that women shared and passed along from generation to generation. Authors Rawlings and Van Steenhouse have captured the essence of that simpler time, celebrating the relationships between mothers, daughters, neighbors and friends. It is also a wealth of helpful and practical information. From traditional recipes for lavender ironing water and verbena soap to caring for vintage heirloom linens, to making your own non-toxic leather cleaner, there is something for everyone in this poignantly crafted book. Rawlings and Van Steenhouse also explore the phenomenon of laundry-related collectibles – clothespins, antique washboards and postcards with the clothesline-related imagery popular in the 1940s and 1950s.


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