There are a few things in life that all modern women should know how to do, but somehow many of us ladies missed the lessons that our mothers and grandmothers did that saved them money and made life better. For the domestically challenged among us, there is hope. Here, SELF magazine breaks down the nine things that every woman needs to know.
Dealing with a fallen button
You’re walking to a meeting and your button falls off. If you’d listened to your grandmother you would know how to sew it back on pronto. Now you have to change shirts and pay your drycleaner to do it. But we have a solution!
1. First, assemble supplies: a button, a needle, 2 feet of thread and a pair of scissors.
2. Thread the needle and knot the ends of the thread together, trimming excess.
3. Mark your button's future location by passing a pin through one hole, then dotting that target with chalk.
4. Push your needle through the back of the fabric to the front, pulling the thread all the way through. Slide your button down the thread to meet the fabric.
5. Line up the holes with those of the other buttons on your garment and push your needle through another hole, either diagonal or adjacent, and out the back of the fabric. Repeat four times, pulling the thread tight enough so your button doesn't dangle but loose enough so the fabric doesn't pucker. If you have a four-hole button, switch hole pairs from the back and repeat.
6. Finish by pushing the needle up through the back of the fabric to the front but not through any buttonholes. Wrap this excess length tightly around the shank, which is the thread between the button and the fabric.
7. Pass your needle through the shank twice and snip the thread. No need to knot; the button is secure. Now you're ready to get dressed and look snazzy. Button up with pride!
How to tie a necktie
Not all men can make the perfect knot, so we want to show you how!
1. Drape the tie around your sweetie's neck with the wide end on your right and the narrow end on your left.
2. Gently tug the wide end down, so it hangs about 12 inches lower than the narrow end.
3. Cross the wide end over the narrow end, then bring it up through the neck loop and down the front.
4. Swing the wide end to your left, pass under the narrow end to the right, then over the narrow end to the left.
5. Pass the wide end up through the neck loop once more, tuck it through the knot and let it hang down.
6. Hold the narrow end and scoot the tie knot up toward your honey's neck to secure it. Not too tight!
How to hang a picture
This is a really cool trick for hanging photos easily.
And if you assume your wall is solid or your picture is light, then the hanging is really quite easy. All you need is a ruler, a nail and a hammer. Here are the steps:
1. Determine the height. Pictures should hang at eyelevel, which is usually about 57 inches from the floor. If you don’t want to measure, just eyeball it.
2. Hold you picture at eyelevel and mark the top of the frame at its center.
3. Flip the picture over to see how it’ll hang. If it has a wire, pull it taught and measure from the top of the frame to the peak of the wire. If it has a hook, simply measure down to it from the top of the frame.
4. Using that measurement, go back to your wall, measure down from your mark and make an x on that spot.
5. Tap a nail in at a 45 degree angle.
6. Hang and level your picture. Voila! Marvel at your handiwork.
How to perfect your posture
Women spend a lot of time on looking good, but what they don’t realize is that there are simple (FREE!) things you can do to improve your figure and confidence with easy tweaks. One of those is your posture!
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides and weight on the balls of your feet.
2. Draw your tummy in and upward — as if you want your belly button to kiss your spine
3. Keep your chin level, gently press your shoulders down and back
4. Check your alignment in a mirror (Shoulders and hips should be level, arms hand equidistant from your sides, knees faced forward and ankles straight up and down).
5. Now stand tall and carry yourself with confidence!
6. Not only does standing tall make you look good, it helps reduce injury and muscle fatigue.
How to roast a chicken
1. Buy a whole bird from your local butcher, farm or grocer. You'll need about 3/4 of a pound per person. Crank up your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Peek inside your chicken. See a plastic bag? It contains the giblets, or innards, which you can simmer to make a broth or gravy or simply toss.
3. Bathe your bird. Rinse it, inside and out, under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. These guys can get slippery! Don't forget to wash your hands and scrub down your countertop to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
4. Prep your seasonings. Mix about 1/2 stick softened butter with generous amounts of your favorite herbs and spices. Try chopped fresh garlic (4 to 6 cloves), chopped rosemary (about 5 full sprigs' worth) and salt and pepper (1/2 tsp each or more). Or experiment with lemon zest, thyme and tarragon. How much of each? A pinch is enough. Basically, just throw them all together in a bowl.
5. Pull away the skin from the meat and smoosh about half of your butter mixture in there, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. Don't be shy — your granny didn't give a hoot about saturated fat! Rub remaining butter all over the outside of the bird, too, so it will brown up nicely in the oven.
6. Season the inner cavity of your chicken. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, toss in a few whole garlic cloves, a few stalks of celery and carrots, whatever leftover herbs you might have from your butter mixture (stems included) and 1/4 lemon.
7. Place your bird, breast and legs up, in a roasting pan. Tuck the wings underneath the body; if you're feeling fancy, tie the legs together with string.
8. Cook your chicken for an hour (or about 20 minutes per lb). The deed is done when a kitchen thermometer stuck into the thigh reads at least 165°.
9. Set your chicken on a platter on the countertop and let it rest, covered with foil, 10 minutes. Serve it with veggies to your suitably impressed guests.
How to do a basic waltz
1. Place your right hand in your partner's left hand and your left hand on his right shoulder, keeping your elbows pointed out. Start counting without moving your lips, if you can help it, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.
2. On the one count, step your right foot back about a foot, landing toe-heel.
3. On the two count, step your left foot back and to the left, landing on your toe.
4. On the three count, slide your right foot to your left, landing first on your toe, then setting down both heels. (You made a triangle!)
5. Start your count again. On the one count, step your left foot forward about a foot, landing heel-toe. Smile!
6. On the two count, step your right foot forward and then right, landing only on your toe.
7. On the three count, slide your left foot to your right, landing first on your toe, then setting down both heels. Repeat indefinitely.
Mix the perfect martini
1. Pour 2 ounces of gin over ice in a tall shaker.
2. Add 1 ounce of dry vermouth.
3. Sneak in a quick dash of orange bitters.
4. Stir like crazy, until your shaker is sweating!
5. Run a lemon twist around the edge of a chilled glass.
6. Strain, pour into glass and add lemon twist. Enjoy!
Throw a yard sale
1. Collect your merchandise. Getting organized can also mean getting rich (well, sort of), so go through your closets, search under the bed and tidy up your garage. If you find anything that you no longer use, never did use or don't recognize, put it in an out-of-the-way corner. Once you accumulate enough stuff, set a date for your sale.
2. Publicize. Tell your friends and family, advertise in your newspaper or online and hang a few flyers around the 'hood. Don't forget the details: date (and rain date, if you have one), start and end times, your address and highlights of what you'll be selling.
3. Tag your wares. Write your asking prices on pieces of masking tape and stick to each item. Keep prices round — $5, say, instead of $5.49 — so you don't have to make change.
4. Prepare your "store." The day before the sale, go to the bank and get $50 in fives, ones and quarters, then tuck it all into a box.
5. Arrange your items by type (clothing, electronics, knickknacks, etc.) or by price ($1, $5, $10) on tables or blankets. Hang clothes on a rack so they're easy to see.
6. Open for business! Take your place at the designated hour. Deal hounds tend to show up early, so get your smile ready. It's good manners, and it will help sell more stuff!
How to compost
1. Construct a bin. Find a plastic or an aluminum garbage can (with a lid) and drill 1/4-inch holes, 4 to 6 inches apart, all over the sides and bottom, so your compost can breathe.
2. Kick-start it. Almost everything natural can be categorized as either a "brown" or a "green." You'll need both colors. Three parts brown to one part green works well, so begin by filling your bin with "browns" — such as leaves, pine needles, small twigs or shredded newspaper.
3. Wet the mess. Add water until your mix has the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
4. Activate it. Toss in your "greens," which include fruit and veggie peels; trimmings and rinds; weeds and lawn clippings.
5. Protect the process. Top your greens with more browns to keep your bin working properly and smelling fresh. Replace the lid. Continue feeding and watering your bin, always layering one part green with three parts brown.
6. Stir your pile every week and wait about six months, until the material at the bottom looks dark and crumbly and smells earthy.
7. Harvest the world's best fertilizer by scooping out the rich stuff and sprinkling it liberally throughout your garden.
Build a fire
1. Gather long wooden matches, a few sheets of black-and-white newspaper, several skinny sticks, some thick branches and a couple of dry, split, seasoned logs about 12 to 18 inches long.
2. Ball up the sheets of newspaper and place them in your fire pit. Don't pack them too tightly because oxygen won't have room to circulate and your fire will fizzle.
3. Balance your skinny sticks on end to form a teepee of wood around the crumpled-up newspaper.
4. Gently lay on a few thicker branches. Don't drop them willy-nilly or they may fall later and extinguish the inferno.
5. Layer a couple of logs on top of your masterpiece. Channel your inner Jenga expert and be careful not to topple the structure.
6. Strike a match and light the edges of the paper. Now is a good time to cue the music, summon your beloved and kick back with your perfect martinis.
“9 Things Every Woman Needs to Know” was excerpted from senior staff writer Erin Bried’s new book, “How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew.” For more tips like these, visit SELF’s Web site.