Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Delight of Hospitality

(Painting by a Canadian artist)

Today I am sharing a Tea fellowship because it is our Thursday Ladies Class. I am being the household Maid and trying to be efficient in getting everything ready.

I was sorely tempted to go miles away to Hobby Lobby and get some table things I have had my eye on, but the time and distance would have taken away from my preparations, so I am using things I have had for a couple of decades. I get tired of them,  but you won't, since you do not see them as often.

As usual I wanted to go out and get fancy napkins but as time was pressing, decided to get out an old ink pad and  stamp some every day napkins:

There are only four people coming today.

The name of the dinnerware is Apple Blossom by Acropal, similar in quality to Corelle.

The apple blossom teacup found in Goodwill years ago fits in quite well.

It is still dark and dreary around these parts so candles are lit.  I don't think anyone pays attention to the candles in daylight rule anymore. We just love the elegance of it all. Maybe that rule came about a century ago to prevent using up the candles, when they were an important light source on the evenings.  Today, women really like them to be lit during teatime.  My candles are  led-lights called Luminesse. There is another brand of those at Hobby Lobby but I can't recall the name.  They have a flickering flame, battery operated.

This is the tea table I keep in the front room by the window, 

and here is a display in the dining room.  I found The tea set in Goodwill, and it's dated 1992.

Mr. S. sent me to the grocery store to get us a plant or some flowers yesterday, but when I got there, the floral department was swarming with men, young, old, blue collar, white collar, and inbetween. It was too crowded to find even a slim space in which to shop, so I left to do my other errands at the post office, dollar store, the garden center. 

When I returned to the floral department at the grocery store, there was a bigger crowd of men, so I thought I would go look at the greeting cards of the season, but I couldn't get there, either. There was a row of men carefully reading the verses inside the cards, trying to pick out just the right one.  

Back to the floral department, and I decided the seed shelf was more accessible so I bought some flower seeds.  By the way Dollar Tree sells seeds at five packets for a dollar. They are great for party favors and to include in gifts or cards.

Finally with my purchases I stood in a long line behind men carrying large bouquets.  I was behind a Brit, although I have no idea what in the world he was doing in this part of the world, and he was quite conversational with everyone around. He too had an impressive collection of bouquets in his arms, which he said were for his wife, mother in law and daughter. He said his daughter was only 12.  He was getting a lot of attention with his charming Masterpiece Theatre accent, which encouraged him to keep talking.

All the lines were long, and it was early in the afternoon, so I stayed behind the Brit. Since all the lines were long, I needed to stay in the one with interesting company, and Mr. Brit was very sociable. 

Mr. Brit was so chatty, he asked the cashier, an eager young man wearing a bow tie and suspenders, if he was taking his girl anywhere that evening. The young man said he was going to a few activities after work with someone he had known 3 years.

Mr. Brit said, "So when are you going to get down on one knee and ask the big question?"  Mr. cashier replied he was thinking about it. I would be too reticent to ask a personal question like that, although it didn't seem to embarrass Mr. Cashier,  and he happily volunteered more information about his girlfriend and the interests they both shared. 

I asked Mr. Cashier if he knew who that Brit was, but he shrugged and said he had never seen him before.

Because I didn't bring home a lily plant, (I didn't want to wait for the crowd to clear in the floral department) Mr. S. found a pot of something that was peeking through the soil, on his office window sill and said we could wait and see what that one produced. He was more amused by my grocery store observations. 

One thing for certain, in spite of all the conflict you read about between men and women, that country store was not full of men-going-their-own-way or men running from women. The impression was they were headed out of the store as fast as possible to deliver those flowers to some very cherished ladies, who might also be showing their flowers off on their social media, and telling what great husbands they have. Many of the men there at the floral department looked like very hard workers, wearing  their overalls and heavy working boots, and what a contrast it was to see them holding those bouquets and looking at the pretty pink and red cards.

Photos of men buying cards. This was sparse compared to what I encountered in our local store, but this is generally what it was like.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Vintage Cards

Today I am showing my own vintage hand made cards from a past post. The cameras today are obviously better than the one I was using so many years ago when I made these cards.  The above card was made with things from the dollar store. I may still have these cards in a folder somewhere around here. 

Below, I used old fashioned construction paper which was interesting to work with and seemed to take glue and glitter without getting soggy or buckling. The pictures were clipped from catalogs.
That year, I ordered some clip art graphics of Catherine Klein clip art and some antique roses graphics, but I am not sure which company it was. 

Finally, I made a scene with pencil and crayons:
Due to things that come up which need attention, I am usually late for every event, but I still might have time to make a card, set a table, and create a new post. 

Mr. S. had an interesting mishap Saturday night while he was polishing up his sermon and finishing the church bulletin. The trend now is to put the bulletins online, but Mr. S. still likes to print the bulletin and put those nice fresh copies hot-off-the-press on a little stand at the entrance where people eagerly pick it up before they sit down.  One man calls it his "weekly reader". I hope he didn't mean "weakly" reader.

When he was a boy, Mr. S. got his front tooth chipped and that's another story. But Saturday night out of nowhere for no apparent cause, the cap on his tooth fell off. He calmly put it on his pocket and came to tell me what happened. 

I told Mr. S. To call one of our sons for a substitute preacher but he thought it was too late to arrange it. I even asked if he might skip the lesson and continue with the rest of the worship service but he was not ready to wave the white flag.

It was 10:00 Saturday night and Mr. S. contacted his dentist emergency number to find out what could be done. The receptionist told him the dentist in our nearby small town did not do any work late at night unless it was an emergency.

 Mr. S. said it was definitely am emergency because he had to preach in the morning and he wanted to be able to pronounce his words without a lisp.

The dentist drove into town from his country home and met Mr. S. at the door of his office. He unlocked and they both went inside, where Mr. Dentist turned on the lights and fixed Mr. S.'s chipped tooth. 

Mr. S. thanked him, adding, "I'm not sure my wife will be as thrilled. She was hoping for a shorter sermon tomorrow."

When I heard the door unlock at 10:30 pm I thought surely he didn't get the tooth fixed that fast! He had only been gone since 10:00. Maybe the dentist was in a hurry to get back and used a super glue for teeth.  I don't know, but it seemed like a very fast trip.

That reminds me of Mr. S.'s mother.  Every so often on a Saturday evening she would say to his father, to whom she had been married 60-plus years "Joe, I wish you would write a new sermon.  I don't want to hear another re-run tomorrow."

Friday, February 09, 2018

February is National Letter Writing Month

(All graphics today are from Pinterest, for those of you who don't view Pinterest)

Good Day, Dear Friends,

I thought I would begin this greeting with a cup of hot tea, pictured above. Today two ladies came to visit for the Ladies Class, and we all enjoyed hot tea. 

February being letter writimg month is not a rule, but a suggestion. February can be whatever you want it to be. I see online that March and April are also observed as letter writing months, so we can choose as we like. Apparently you try to write and send one letter every day that the postal service is open.

Since Februrary is National Letter Writing Month, I am including Vintage Post cards of scenes I like.
When I start painting seriously, these are the kind of scenes I want to portray. I like the background picture surrounded by florals. It is so nostalgic and sweet. 

One thing I know about mail in past times is that not everyone had a street number the way they do today. Mail was addressed with a first and last name and the town they lived in.
Apparently the postal carriers knew where these people lived.  As the streets added more residences  and businesses, it became necessary to include the street address. 
Victorians and people before their times were as dedicated to hand writen correspondence as you and I are to mail technology. In fact, mail was so prolific, it was delivered twice a day to keep it from stacking up. 

The letter-writing tools and boxes and tables with all the categories and storage areas seem similar to our computers.
This one has a letter writing pad included with the box for papers, pens, ink, envelopes, stamps, address book and enclosures, those little  things you might in the letter.

It was not so long ago that ball point pens came on the scene, and many of us were still using dip pens or fountain pens. I still remember the ink on my fingers.

Letters often included clippings from magazines, recipe cards, and photographs. 

As for paper, we would write letters on anything that had a blank area. Business mail with one blank side would be re-used, as well as wrapping paper, white side up. Another source of writing materials was the blank side of greeting cards, after cutting off the greeting part. The picture was still useable and there was room to write on the other side.  When packages came in the mail with blank paper wrapped around the contents, we ironed it to get the wrinkles out and used it for art paper or letter paper. 

Mr. S. clings to his old frugal office hobby of clipping the unused half of a business letter or a sales letter, then staples all the pieces together in a stack,  although uneven sizes,  and uses it for notepads. 

I hate to buy shopping list pads, even at the dollar store, when he has an ample supply of these hand made scrap pads in his office.  In fact, that is what I want for my birthday: hand cut notepads stapled together.

The Grands like to joke around about Papa and his office supplies, but who is it that can ALWAYS come up with a pen, a pencil, eraser, paper clip, a twist-tie, glue, elastic bands, paper, envelopes, boxes and all those things everyone else has stopped saving! Ever since his student days he has appreciated fine paper and pens, and one of his favorite fountain pens is the Cross pen, which you can still buy. He browses the Goodwill and reject stores for unused office supplies.

Sometimes we made our own dipping ink by diluting colored chalk in a liquid (not sure what it was) or diluting white glue and adding food color. Fountain pens had a lever which, when pulled opened, refilled the barrel with ink from a bottle. As the fountain pen became modernized, the barrel was replaced with ink cartridges, but we teenagers learned different methods of refilling the disposable ink cartridges to avoid buying new cartridges. 

When in my teens I wrote pages and pages of letters, and thought I would do so all my life. However, as time progresses, life gets busier and responsibilities multiply!  Time is filled with so many things and letter writing gets pushed aside, but as this is National Letter Writing Month, I will try to do better!

Now I would like to clear up a rumor I have heard off and on involving writing letters in ancient times. Some people ignorantly state that people "in Bible times" could not or did not write letters. The evidence points to the opposite, for all you have to do is use your E-Sword tool on your computer and type in the words "letter" or "letters" to see how often letters were written.  Notable among these, is the letter written in Ezra 4 to the King of Persia, and the apostle Paul writing in the New Testament: "See what large  letters I write."  Letters are a very ancient form of communication, and not only in the Bible, but among people everywhere.

Ah, I see Mr. S. Has brought me tea:
As he made such a big deal about bringing me flowers last week when he brought the tea (see a previous post), I laughingly asked him where the flowers were.

"Right here", he said as he handed me this sheet of postage stamps:
I said if I didn't know better, I would think he would do anything to get out of bringing me a real flower. As it is winter here and we have a few more months to go, I can understand but I think he is ever so clever finding flowers this way.

Now I feel I should explain about Mr. S. and his current practice of bringing me things.  He has a wonderful Doctor, a true health-care practitioner who is a Naturopathic physician. 

 As Mr. S. is now in his 70's, Doctor prescribed a certain amount of activity mixed in with his office work. He must get up and walk and be active often throughout the day.  As I am mostly at the other end of the house in the sewing room, he walks all the way there and asks if there is anything he can bring me. Then he walks all the way to the kitchen or office or wherever, and gets the item for me. It does not bother him a bit if he gets the wrong thing or does not bring every item, because it enables him to make more trips.

That reminds me of something he said to me. I had returned from the grocery store and was trying to bring all the grocery bags from the car at one time and my hands were not free to get the door opened. Coming to my rescue, Mr. S. opened the door and took the bags.

In a concerned tone he lectured me, saying,

"My dear, you should not be carrying all those heavy bags!  Make two trips!"

We are doing so much better now that we stopped using the cell phones to call each other in the house. When he is outside working on the lawn or fixing something, I go outside and find him,  rather than use the phone, and that way, I can be more active. He usually asks me to bring him something to drink when he is involved in yard work, so I get some excercise too.

Well now I must stop and have some of that tisane menthe poivre'e which Mr. S. has served.

More postcard art:

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Sweet Scent of Violets

Vintage cards like  this, with the scene inside a wreath of flowers, give me ideas for water color.

Every year when the violets cover the lawn like a scented cloth, I think of making a garment to go with, but I never quite achieve it. I think about it, sketch a design, color it, and look for fabric. The idea, of course is to sew the dress or skirt in time to have a picture taken standing in the field of violets.  Usually the violets disappear while I am still forming the plan in my mind.

Yesterday  the violets appeared (usually after a very foggy, overcast period) but again, I was not prepared.

This is what they look like outside:

Some paintings by Catherine Klein are interspersed throughout this post.

Mr. S., thinking of mowing the grass, noticed the violets and took me out to see them. He always hears of my ideas-- well of course he does-- I'm in and out of his office all day telling him something, which I am sure he is interested in 😊-- and so he offered to go hunting for violet fabric  ("Let's go look for some of that 'violent' fabric," he quips) and this is what we found at Walmart fabric department: (The cup is from Goodwill). In deference to me, and because of the appearance of the violets (so he says), Mr. S. Is not cutting the grass yet. And I was told he couldn't take me to a fancy tea room so he would stop and let me find a tea cup at the Goodwill. 😊. You girls realize we joke around a lot. 

One time there was a meeting my husband wanted to attend. We had been going and going and I finally needed to get the kitchen cleaned and catch up on so much, that I bowed out . Someone asked where I was, and he answered, "she didn't finish her work to do at home. If she gets her work done, I will let her come next time."  Well you can imagine the small-minded person who asked about me did not see the humor and went tale bearing all over the place about how Mr. S. kept me locked away working all the time at hime and would not allow me to go anywhere.  That's just Mr. S. dry humor, ladies.

As I was not sure of the style I was going to sew this into, I didn't get any ribbons or accessory type things....and they had no violet shade shoes😊 nor was there any hat to match. Would it not be nice
to find silk violets to make into a fascinator or hair clip? Yes, I think so. You may remember one year I made a violet cape and some little hair pins with fleece violets from instructions I got off someone's etsy store: 

This is all cotton with a silky feel and linen look, by a company called Rose and Hubble. I didn't look at the top of the bolt to see the name of it, but I quite like the way they name prints and solids. Seaside and Glacier, Primrose and Ballet, etc. 

I always think one should have a dress and a tea cup to "go with" the current scenery, whether at home or traveling. And, if you paint, it's a delight to get your little paint book out and make another page, with the current date, while wearing a violet blouse and keeping your violet cup in view. Going to the seaside? How about a sea shell print from the fabric store and a matching bag for your. sea side tea cup.  We will try that one later.

Well, ladies, today I am putting all the crazy "issues" away and all the controversy and inner conflict with life outside the home, to enjoy a special week of blooming violets by sewing something to go with.

I think it is ever so soothing to enjoy this sort of thing and when my children were growing up we had colors and foods and activities to go with whatever was blooming or whatever the weather.  Remember my foggy day teas in previous years, and the things I sewed to go with?

This is a mismatched cup and saucer, but I know if I keep checking our local thrift stores, the mates will turn up, like a few others in my China cabinet.

The scent is like fresh spun cotton candy at a carnival
It would also be nice to make a little violet brooch to wear. What do you think?  These days I have been using Velcro to back brooches and corsages, instead of pins.

Just about the time some of us were getting overly gloomy from the cold and dark weather, God sent us a carpet of violets, and not only that, but it enabled us to get ideas and start enjoying violet season in many different ways. I think I saw somewhere people were making violet tea.

Let me tell you more about Mr. S. There is a shop he likes near the area where I go hunt fabric and he was wanting to go there too.  However he will help me find fabric, and I know of several husbands who make the perfectly engineered  templates for their wives quilting squares.  Mr. S. likes cars, so of course he is going to find a fabric store near the area he also wants to use wasting a trip, you know.

When you see violets in the spring, or anything new in any season, it's a great influence for your children to hear you appreciate it. 

On the selvedge of fabric there is usually a color code strip that shows the color of threads that went into the print.  I cut this off and put it in my wallet to use for choosing other things like a jacket or cardigan, shoes, fabric dyes, art supplies, tea cups, florals for making fascinators. That is not to say I always do all that, but it is nice to have that handy little color strip.

The fabric looks like a good tablecloth for a viola tea. I may find as many coordinating cups as I can and host a little February tea. Since  I use plastic on top of all my table cloths, I could use this fabric before I sew it. And yes, the print is pansies, not violas. 


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