“How blest the maid whom circling years improve Her God the object of her warmest love
Whose useful hours, successive as they glide
The Book, the Needle, and the Pen divide.”

This precious sampler was stitched by one Anne “Nancy” Mouton in 1796, and in her ten year old wisdom she added the words above to the more typical of alphabet and number fayre…

And what inspiration it has turned out to be for me, your dear old Vintage Housekeeper! For couldn’t we all do with a “useful” hour or two carved into our week?  The very concept of an hour specifically destined for “useful” tasks delights me. Though I cannot be sure how our lovely Anne divided her hours between the book, the needle and the pen, might I suggest that we modern day vintage ladies choose one hour per week to do something less puttery, and more useful instead?

Think then not of flowers and fragrance but an hour spent labeling every lead and charger in the house. Of making a list of the light-bulbs necessary for every lamp in the house. Of  spending your “useful” hour shopping for a pillow that will not make your neck ache, or organising your packed lunch supplies so mornings aren’t quite so much of an effort. Use your “useful” hour to brainstorm absolutely everything there is to do between now and Christmas, dedicate it to learning a domestic skill you haven’t got, or wander around with a paintbrush in hand, touching up the scuffs and scratches on your skirting boards.

Do something practical. Do something that will make your life easier. Do something dull that you will thank yourself for doing later.

Do something useful.