Monday, June 18, 2018

Early Summer at Home


A few things going on around here: 

I decided to change the color of this metal tray... berry pink. 

It was an intense color, so I am not sure I like it.

This tea set goes with it quite well.  
Using spray paint, I can change it back at a whim.

Like many of you in the country areas with nature all around, my laundry is flying carefree on the line. These cotton towels are from Walmart.

I know there are people who don't approve of my shopping there, but if you will look at YouTube videos by people who visit from Europe and the UK and other places, you will see how they react to their first visit to Walmart.  It is interesting to see it from someone else's perspective, when we are so used to having the convenience.

At my recent visit to Walmart, there were quite a few of what I would call elderly employees and they couldn't do enough for the customers. One person asked me what I was looking for and took me clear across the store to find it, then asked me what else I needed and took me to another place, and soon my list was filled, as this person scouted out everything I needed. They weren't able to cut fabric, so they called someone.  That was such an interesting benefit. I don't think that has ever happened before. The men there were especially enjoying themselves while at work, as they visited with the customers at the same time.

When you go shopping in some of the grocery stores in the evenings, you will find them 
 less crowded and the staff more relaxed, as they joke with one another and with the customers. When the managers are not there, they use the intercom to wish customers a happy evening or fire each other.

These people must have a lot of time on their hands or they are just enjoying the interaction with the customers. A lot of other people are talking about this, too. One lady told me if I needed anything else to call her and gave me her in store cell number!   Now if we can only get some of the local politicians to behave the same way.  

Now that you have seen my laundry, I will show you the flower beds. The vegetable garden is growing like it has been hit with some kind of super stuff, but all it has had is rain, rain, rain. I don't have a picture of it right now, but I have enjoyed going "out" to lunch there. This year I planted arugula, and have really enjoyed eating it. It is also good roasted in olive oil.

I got this folding table and chair set for the trunk (boot) of the car for when we go on road trips and stop for tea. It all folds up so nice and flat and is lightweight plastic. It comes in sage green and dusty rose and is in a catalog called Blair.

The house on the land next to us is for sale and I got a good picture of it. Isn't it cute?  I hope to meet the neighbors next week and am getting a gift basket ready to set on their porch.

Two ladies called this morning and asked to come to tea!  I gladly put aside my ambitious list of things to do (paint the bathroom, sew 5 dresses, clean out the kitchen shelves and drawers, get the bedroom clean enough to have a path to the bed ---that's a joke, you trolls---) and quickly made some hot scones and jam!  

They brought some goodies, too:

More scenes of the garden:

Some pink things on the mantel for the ladies tea:

I like changing this scene or 'scape" for the seasons. The next scene will be sea shells.

Tourist season is just in its beginnings and I am always amused at the things even my own guests from other countries say. They like the clean restrooms,the free water in restaurants and the free refills in the fast food places.  They almost always comment on the clean streets and sidewalks, although I am sure it is not always the same in every part of the country.  

If I were a tourist, neither the friendly service nor the scenery would be the main attraction. To my mind, it is the experience of taking a road trip with Mr. S. who sounds like a tour guide. On your left you see where my brother and I played, and ate dirt. On the right is where we saw a bear coming out of the woods (in 1950). Up ahead is a restaurant we have not yet been to. Etc.  You would think I wouldn't be surprised in the least at his wry humor, after knowing him for so long, but he always catches me off guard with some of the things he says. Being a tourist with Mr. S. has to be the highlight of any trip. He puts a special accent on everything. 

Road trips are a fascination with some of our visitors. We might be a bit bored with our scenery but they are not.  Mr. S. and I have a one-day only road trip planned, were we can be home at night, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The biggest thing our tourist guests  comment on is the flag. "You are never in doubt where you are," they say, "because everyone has the  flag in their front yard or on their house." No matter what the political affiliation or the political beliefs, everyone has the same flag.  And, by the way, Americans don't like people asking who they voted for. It is private, and they don't want to argue with anyone. For the most part, Americans, as my foreign guests tell me, aren't very critical and can't argue very well anyway, so there is no use starting any kind of a disagreement. It wouldn't be very exciting. We would just start talking about the price of potatoes or corn or something instead, or I  would say, "Did you know there is a new WalMart, a new Hobby Lobby and a new Home Goods in the town next to us?" 

Or, like Fanny, in Jane Austen's "Emma", we would simply say "Tea!" when the conversation gets too personal or too critical.

In closing, I want to share about my good looking Canadian cousins I had the privilege of having breakfast with the other day when they drove down from Canada for a visit to the coast. We love and admire them so much. They are a brother and sister, the children of my mother's sister.  They are just so good looking. Did I already say that? It needs to be said twice.  It felt good to connect with them, and they invited us to come visit them, for ...was it Thanksgiving or Christmas?  I think I will try the Canadian Thanksgiving.

  That is all for now.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Unfamiliar With Keeping House? A Few Tips

Hello Ladies,

I have been discussing this problem with friends and decided to post about it.  These are some basic areas of housekeeping that are sometimes overlooked. Giving heed to these things can keep the house from slipping into sloth.

These are some tips for what you can do at home during the day to make the house pleasant and clean. You might have  visited some homes of people who are not aware of the importance of keeping house and observed that the house was not just in a daily disarray but an accumulated filth of several months. I have one room somewhat like that, but everyone knows it really bothers me and that I am chipping away at it.  It's not filthy, just cluttered from an exhange of one room to another. 

-It really helps to bathe and dress, fix hair and use skin care every day so that you feel more keen, and a little more energetic and optimistic for the challenge. Your appearance should be the first thing you do because it is preparation.

-Gradually replace prepared food and ready-made foods with your own cooking. You can find a recipe for making things with natural ingredients, learn to peel and chop vegetables, and start smelling and tasting things in a better way.

-As you use food items, whether after cutting and chopping, or emptying ingredient containers, throw away the debris into a nearby bag or trash container.

-As soon as you use a bandaid or "plaster" throw away the wrapper. Don't leave things like that for a cleaning day.

-Using a cloth in a scooping motion, remove crumbs and food and dust from tables. Rinse the cloth under running water in the sink.

-When wiping a dining table, don't rub the food around, but remove it with the cloth, fold the cloth over and remove more. There is no need to wipe crumbs on to the floor.

-Sweep the kitchen floor by holding the broom at an angle and bringing the debris toward you as you move about the area, collecting it all in a dust pan.

- Daily wipe the bathroom, using window cleaner or anything non-toxic that you like. You can make your own spray with a little essential oil, hydrogen peroxide, cleaning vinegar or other things.

-Get in the habit of picking up clutter when you see it. Soon you will do it unconsciously and your house will be pleasant enough you will prefer being there than anywhere else. 

-Keep a SMALL kitchen trash bin so that it doesn't take too many days to fill it, and then it will always have a fresh liner, reducing bad smells in the house. It is better to empty it daily so it makes sense to use small trash bags. If you use a large bag and take it out daily you aren't getting a good value.

-Organize dirty dishes next to the sink with drinkware (glasses and cups) first, then stack bowls, plates, and put cutlery in groups of spoons, forks, knives. If hand washing, do cleanest items first and the cooking and serving vessels last. Stack the dish drainer (after washing and rinsing the dishes)  in an orderly way, like-things together, as you would the dishwasher. Some people do not rinse the dishes, but this is important since the dishes just came out of a pan of water filled with dirty dishes. It also rinses the soap taste off the dishes. It is more sanitary and eliminates bacteria from the dish water.

-When loading the dishwasher, put things that are alike close together so they can be unloaded and put away easily: Same size plates together, matching glassware and cups side by side, etc. If you don't, it takes much longer to put it all away. Some people like to toss it all in like a salad but are not being thoughtful of the person who has to unload it all.

-Don't put delicate, pretty teacups in the dishwasher. Wipe the tea stains off with a baking soda (soda bicarbonate) and water paste and wash by hand, rinse in hot water.

-Keeping dish towels used for drying dishes fresh smelling can be a problem, particularly the terry cloth type.  Try the stack of plain white cotton cloth towels, and boil them once in awhile like our grandmothers did, hang them on the line for freshness.

-Don't leave wet towels or soiled clothing laying around. If you don't have a full enough load for the washer, at least put in In the machine with the cleaning agent and close the lid.

--Have some semblance of the order of life when it comes to what to do all day: there is a morning time, an afternoon , an evening and a night. Develop good rituals that will one day give you mental stability when uncertainty besets you.

-At the end of the day you will delight in seeing fresh sheets and bedding turned down with proper bed clothes. 

-Have something constructive you like to do that will give you incentive to get your house in order so you can relax.  Many people find the final result of looking at a nice house is reward enough bit it's nice to have a cup of tea or do a bit of sewing or art.

It has always concerned me that young women on public assistance  are not given more instruction on how to manage their homes so that they are clean environments for their children. This list may help. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

One Aspect of Contentment

Greetings Dear Ladies,

In a few moments I am hoping to greet you by video. In the meantime, please pick a flower from your garden or meadow, dress up a little and treat yourself to a fine cup of tea.

In the video below I talk about one point of contentment and the way we view it here in our little cottage. It is simply making the life for yourself that would bring a feeling of well-being. Mr. S. knew I would be at home a lot and he wanted me to create an atmosphere there which would make me delight in being home.

I sometimes think it is possible to teach contentment in such a negative way that it makes ladies more miserable than necessary.  If you want to one day get married, there is nothing wrong with planning for it. If you want to have a house of your own, there is nothing wrong with having a scrapbook with ideas in it.  I remember how contented I felt as a girl when I made houses out of shoe boxes and furnished them with bits and pieces of cardboard and things from the kitchen. I once wanted to design clothing, and what a contented feeling it was to draw paper dolls and dozens of clothes for them. It is okay to draw house plans, landscape plans, or design your wedding in hope of the future.  There are too many negative ideas out there about contentment. It does not mean to abandon optimism or hope for the future.  Contentment does not mean atrophy of the mind and heart and life. It does not mean settling for something  when you can do something.

Of course there are several aspects of this subject on contentment, and I am only presenting one of them.

If this subject interests you, I'd be very happy to hear from you. Please leave a comment.


Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Flowers and Tea But Dress Not Finished

Hello Ladies,

Today I am busy finishing up sewing a dress. As the day progresses, I see I may not get a photo of it taken until quite late. I did so want to pop in here and leave a post anyway, and share a delightful bouquet that one of my grandchildren gave me for my birthday in May. It a couple of stems of pink flowers from the Dollar Tree.  They look so nice in my home and I'm enjoying seeing them every time I walk into the room. I also want to share this delightful real flowers she picked.

I like the way they are laid straight in the flower basket. Like me, she longs to knock on someone's door with a presentation like this, so we just do it for each other.
I had tea waiting for the children.
I have occasionally bought a new cup and saucer from Home Goods, and I am retiring some of the antique ones. They have had a good run, and I am ready for new ones, fresh off the press.
These are Grace's teaware, Gracie Teaware, (two different names) and Stechcol brands. They are usually under $7.00 and I look for one every time I'm in Home Goods (TJ Maxx).

I do wish I had the dress finished but I allowed myself to get low on a certain color of thread for the buttonholes which compliment the buttons, and now I have to go out and get some, which is time-consuming. However I still have a goal of getting it finished  today. I had hoped to continue my thoughts about end-of-the-month frugality, in a video, as I've had lots of ideas. 
Hobby Lobby had a 99 cent pattern sale and I got this one. I was interested in the table runner for a special event in my home. It is all made of cut felt and it can be glued.

There is a skill to knowing when HL has their 99c pattern sales but I haven't figured out the schedule yet.

I do appreciate your comments very much!

I have an opportunity to host a special wedding tea in my home and of course I will share that here.

This is what I do on my tea break!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Subscribe Button

I have attempted to reinstall the subscribe button in the last hour. If you have previously subscribed, it won't be there, so you will have to submit your email again. Please let me know if it is not working. I have made several attempts.

Also, I plan to re-do the header so that it fits better on the page. Too large can be a problem to load, so I'm trying to get it all in balance.

If you've left comments on previous posts, they didn't show up because for some reason they quit coming to my inbox.  Working on that, too.

I had hoped to have a video with the "End of the Month" previous post on "money", and may still be able to accomplish that.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Handling End of Paycheck With Grace

Before I begin this topic, I need to announce that the email subscription gadget on the left had to be reinstalled as it was not working. If you were formerly signed up to receive notices of new posts, you will need to sign up again. I certainly hope you will, because it is my pleasure to offer this service. Things are not as free as they once were, on the web, but this is still a place for free.

Also, comments are not being sent to me by blogger, so if you posted one and it wasn't published, it is because I have not yet found them all in my dashboard. Please keep commenting anyway because I am trying to get that straightened out.

The end of the month is not easy for many people. Most of the money (for many people on a low income, and for some stay at home ladies) has been used to pay the bigger bills at the beginning of the month, and there is always that tight feeling at the last of the month.

In this post I will not be telling anyone how to invest, save, or make money. I will instead offer some ways to live through that last week of the month with grace, so that those days can be happy memories instead of trying times.

This is an ideal time to have special tea using your formal tea cups. It doesn't much matter what you put in them, it just helps take the edge off those lean days when you don't have the extra cash to go to the market and buy what you want or need. Tea is generally very inexpensive, and every larder always has too much of it in the back of the shelf. Tea foods being tiny bite size things, the end of the month financial crunch is the perfect time to make those cute little tea accompaniments that require less ingredients.. it is times like these that you can invent rare new tea delicacies.

Many popular foods were borne during poor times. Think of some of our favorite comfort foods. When we were growing up we thought our family liked a certain food and did not know it was the end-of-the-month food.  This is a time for breakfast foods at the end of the day, or something normally reserved for picnics. It is also a time when the most inventive recipes are created out of what is left in the fridge and the pantry. The end of the month soup, the end of the month omelet, the end of the month home made breads, and the end of the month coupons are all part of the end of the month culture that is created by this "special" time. 

If you are health conscious, your pantry products left at the end of the month will not be cheap or devitamized commercial foods. 

It is also helpful to make these days special by dressing in a lovely way. Christ taught his disciples not to go around in sackcloth when they were fasting, but to wash their faces and wear good clothing, and not appear to be sad or deprived; not to let anyone know. I think that is very effective because it doesn't make us feel sorry for ourselves or depress other people.

If you are able, plan for the end of the month to be story time, whether you write one or tell it. I remember when story tellers traveled around, and for a donation, would tell a tall tale in the evenings around the fire. This alleviated some of the hardship in people's lives and I believe it can lessen the end of the month grind. It may end up becoming some of the most memorable times of your lives and maybe even a source of income.

Save favorite foods such as crackers and cheese (you can make your own crackers) to have with hot tea.
I thought these goldfish tea bags were so amusing. I'm not sure where to get them, but I understand there are other shapes, such as birds and flowers.

Learn self-control, and no matter the stress, be extra kind during hard times. This is really the mark of a refined and mature person. This is especially important at the end of the month when the money has run out and the worries begin.

And now that I've stated a few ways to alleviate the strain of finances at the end of a paycheck, I will go on to a few other things:

First of all, I want to say there are always people who will give you advice, which invariably includes setting aside money for food at the beginning of the month for the end of the month, but that is not always possible.  Do not be too suggestible, and weigh what people say against your own situation.

Money is a gift, and of course, should be treated with respect. We should never feel we owe it to the national economy to spend it, nor should we be so frugal we make life dim and dull and unhappy for our families. 

Each person's situation is slightly different from another's, so not all frugal advice is workable for everyone.

People (even I) will suggest making things, but this may not be possible in your situation and may end up costing your more in some ways.

There are some "interesting" ways to keep from spending money that I have heard, which I do not at all  endorse, either because of personal experience to the contrary, or because they are not truly frugal.

There is a general idea among some people that for a woman to be able to stay home and manage the house and look after her family, that she has to suffer by doing without any comforts or good pleasures, eat inferior food, have inferior home furnishings, old, used clothing, and borrow equipment such a a sewing machine, yard equipment, etc.

Doing the above does not necessarily prevent expense. It may actually cost more. In my house there is a combination of new and used, as some pieces came from our parents house, and some from stores.  

Used clothing that has been given by people you know, may have a little wear in it, but if you buy it at a thrift store or a Goodwill, sometimes it costs more than new clothing on sale, and has only half the amount of wear in it. Add to this the possible extra labor of repairing it, or laundering it back to original freshness, and you may not be getting much of a bargain. 

 I think it is important also to dress children with dignity and give them the message that they are important enough to you to dress well. While I do agree there are some very good quality used clothes, I know for a fact they are not always less expensive than new clothes of the same quality. Inferior quality can effect children in different ways. I've seen mother's dress their children in thrift store while they wear trendy new clothes. Always make the children's clothes a priority and make sure they have a Sunday-go-meeting set of clothes. Iron them the night before and give the children the sense that wearing dignified clothing is important. 

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes that it was good for a man to work hard and to eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of his labor. You are allowed to have comforts in this life, and enjoy purchasing things to make your home a bright and happy place.  While some people insist you must exist on used furniture if you have very little money at the end of the month (or any time), I have also found this not to be sound advice. Some of the used furniture I have had was deceptively beautiful but was rotten, or was already half gone in wear and tear. New furniture sometimes will not last the distance either. It costs money to transport furniture in and out of the house when you have bought something unsuitable. You have to be discerning about this. Your family will be glad you furnish your home in beautiful things that work well for you. You are also creating memories for them. I don't believe "used" is always advisable, financially or quality-wise. 

Generally, used things do not improve or get better and can cost more for repairs. I would not recommend a used sewing machine or a used vacuume cleaner. Others may have good success with used things, but it is not always the case, including vehicles.

When grandparents are in the picture, you will never have to buy used toys. Grandparents are always overly exuberant about buying toys for the children and will often ask you what they can get the children. Personally I do not like the used toys, if they need repair or have seen a lot of wear.

Someone emailed me to ask about shoe repair. Repair places are not easy to find, and getting shoes re-soled is very expensive in some places, higher than the cost of new shoes. The exception would be getting a good pair of boots or an expensive pair of shoes repaired, but I never found it very frugal to get ordinary shoes repaired. By the time children have worn out the shoes, they have also outgrown them. Regarding used footwear,  our  parents taught us not to wear handed down shoes because they didn't think it was bad for young feet still in formative stages if shoes had been used. Supposedly the use shoes would be slightly bent in areas.  I'm not sure what the other reasons were, but the grandparents offered to pay for  new shoes for the children.

One way to have less money going out and more in your purse, is to know what you have. Go through your things regularly so you know where everything is and are not tempted to buy more supplies just because it's easier than trying to find it at home. I know this is not always possible in emergencies but keep it in mind for the future.

Own your own sewing machine, hedge clippers, kitchen tools, and everything else. Borrowing can be very expensive if you have accidentally damaged your neighbor's shovel or your Dad's wheelbarrow. You have to replace it or you have bad feelings between you. Wear and tear on other people's equipment is another factor. Eventually everything wears out from use. Consider whether you want to pay your neighbor a little for that wear and tear, or of it is better to own it yourself and let your family experience being good caretakers of your own things. Be careful too about lending tools, books, etc. People appreciate things more when they have to buy them. It isn't always good for people to borrow.

Frugal advisors always recommend using the library. What they are not taking into account is:

Books are used by children during the illness season when people pass their colds around. They handle these books and I cannot be certain these items are properly sanitized before the next person borrows them. While families seem to be more tolerant of family bacteria, sometimes they can't withstand things they have caught outside the home. You may not agree with this, but it is what I have observed.

Some of us live outside the library district in country areas where we have to pay a larger fee to borrow. While the fee is "only" $25 a year, it has to be paid in one lump sum, and if you are low income or at the end of the month, that is a lot to pay out all at once. If they allowed a $2.00 per month fee for we who are outside the district, it would be a whole lot easier for those on limited cash income. It is cheaper to buy our own books, enjoy owning them, and build our own libraries.

I quit using the library when so many of them had very unsavory novels with graphic immodest covers , which were often displayed at the entrance at eye level of young children. Not all public libraries have good material in them or wholesome reading materials.  These days you can order what you want, sometimes for just a few cents, and often get brand new books in good taste that only you family handles. Since I haven't been to the library in a long time, I cannot say for certain if it has improved, and of course it will vary from town to town. 

In their favor, most small towns allow residents to request titles and movies of their own choice, which they will supply. One town in my state is so full of British residents that the library is brimming with gardening books and videos, English cookbooks, tea books and videos, and BBC movies.

I've heard frugal advisors say to shut off all lights and heat in rooms you are not using, but if you have active children there will never be any rooms you are not using. To make children unable to go into a room ( particularly the bathroom) because it is dark and cold just wouldn't work for me. I want to have a normal, warm, happy home where the family feel comfortable, so this is something I won't be doing when there are people around.  (On the other hand, we need to teach the next generation not to leave lights on if they aren't going to be in the room. It increases expense and it causes more problem for someone to replace the light bulbs.)

Consider making your own quick breads at home, or learning to make yeast breads. Commercial bread, even the supposed health bread, uses nutritious ingredients up to a point. Most of the health food breads still contain datem, Soybean oil, corn syrup and a myriad of other ingredients,  and costs an average of $4.00 a loaf. Consider making stovetop scones in the fry pan, or other quick breads with good flours. That will put more money in your hand for the things you cannot make.  All bread products can be handmade at home, from cookies to cakes, crackers, noodles, rolls and sliced loaves.  Keep the cash for fresh fruits and vegetables, baking ingredients, meats and fish and things you cannot make.

shudder to think how much I have spent on detergents over the years.  You don't have to do that. Those caustic ingredients can wear your clothing out much faster and make your skin itch, as well as plug up your drains and put an over all chemical haze in your house. Everything from itchy eyes to breathing problems and brain fog can possibly be abated by eliminating laundry detergents. Cleaning vinegar ( not always labelled as cleaning vinegar, but a white vinegar) is only $1.00 at Dollar Tree, and larger containers are $3.00 in other stores. It can be used as a wash and a rinse, has no scent when the clothes are dry, and keeps drains and septic clean. I noticed an overall improvement in clothing and the clearer air in the house. Consider other laundry alternatives such as soapwort. Do a web search for natural laundry and see what there is available. There is a company called Mountain Rose Herbs that sells non-toxic natural laundry solutions.

If you do insist on using detergents, remember the agitation of the washing machine does most of the work, so try using just a drop and make your supply last longer. Also, the sun sanitizes laundry hanging on the line and bleaches out stains and eliminates odors.

Just not spending on bread and laundry detergent can allow you to keep more cash in your hand.

Even when there is a sale, packaged food products indicate processed foods rather than natural foods, with a lot of additives less food value. The price of packaging is built into the total cost of the product. Bagged, bottled and boxed foods (barring exceptions) are generally not high quality or nutritious. You get to use that money for something you can't make yourself.

Most of the time when we have helped people on welfare, we have noticed they do not cook. I generally do not buy canned or bottled foods, but some people who have been given food supplies will not even open a jar or a can to heat up anything to eat.  Their freezer may be stuffed with frozen foods but they will not cook. Just learning to cook can keep you from having to spend money for prepared food. 

I remember when my children were home how frugal-advisors were always telling us to use left-overs. We never had left overs. There was never anything left over from a meal. Some people thought that was unusual but we ate the food. Another thing people would tell us was to have a cookie jar.  When I was growing up, there was no need for a cookie jar. Home made cookies didn't last long enough to store them in a jar. 

I planned to save this for the accompanying video, but decided to add it anyway. My husband never liked the home run in such a way as to deprive everyone of the comforts of life in order to "save money." He put away a small amount for "savings" and the rest was supposed to be lived off, and provided things for the home.  His belief was that since he had worked for the money he wanted to have top quality food, heat, lights, a working vacuum cleaner, a working washer and dryer, a good quality chair to relax in, and all that makes life at home worthwhile. He wanted his home to be the reward of his labor. I bought new suits for him and our sons and made girls  clothes from new fabric. That gave us money free for buying something we could not make, such as shoes and footwear. Grandparents were eager to supply things for the children so we always kept a list of things they needed, for when the grandparents called and asked. Since we were in a church, the members didn't want us going around looking poor and bedraggled, as they were supplying our income. We had to be careful to represent them, too. I think this can be translated to any couple, as the wife and children are a reflection of the living the father is providing for them. We don't want to make them look bad!

All of these things considered, you will never be truly destitute if you have no vices. I won't go into what vice is here, because that is another topic. You can find its meaning yourself and give a good lesson to your children.  So take heart in that.  When you really are running out of food at the end of the month, at least no one will be able to say you spend too much on vice. 

Remember the prophet David said he had not seen the righteous forsaken or their sons begging bread. Be polite to your parents and grandparents, who are always eager to help in time of need. Don't  cut off your supply. One day you will be in a position to help your own children but if they are rude, you will lose your willingness. Families can benefit one another, and not be a burden on other people if they continue in good fellowship.  That being said, it is good to avoid being a burden. However if anyone has extra and wants to share, accept it with grace, and when in life your turn comes, pass the favor on to someone else.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Lovely Pictures

Hello all, 

Until I can get a few pictures of my own taken of some of the things going on around here, I will share some lovely pictures from Pinterest.  I hope to be here again soon!

The past three day vacation was called a long weekend, and it seemed  the entire population had gone somewhere else to enjoy some camping or experience something "country." Since we already live in one of those places (farm land with a view), we spent the days enjoying a quieter world without the noise of tractors and trucks. We knew we were the ones having the retreat.  It was a delight to pretend I had gone to a country inn.
I spent the first day getting the flower beds cleaned up, and prepared it for a nice fresh layer of bark mulch later when we to the garden center. My pictures will come later.

Afterwards I planned a "Low Tea."  Have you never heard of this? Maybe I invented it this weekend. I gave a little calling card to some people I knew and told them to call me if they were ever feeling low, and I would provide a tea for them. It is one thing to provide tea on a sunny day when everyone is happy and everything is lovely, but it is more beneficial to have a low tea on a low day when people need some pampering and  cheering up. (My pictures later).  Sounds like a good title for my next book :-)

Somehow, the echo of quiet made it easier to sweep floors and wash all the sheets, resulting in a very freshly scented house. 

During this vacation where I have decided I am "somewhere else" I have written a little story (I'll show it to you later), sewn a little more on a dress, and collected materials for a hat. You'll be amused to see what I'm using from Dollar Tree. We don't have a shopping area of any great size nearby and our selection of things is limited, so I will share later how I found a piece of fancy fabric I needed, and some other things.

We are still grinding away at storage boxes full of papers and old things, but are trying to sort and empty one box a day.

As my house is a bit "rustic" I have given the bathroom and kitchen an extra scrub and added some orange essential oil for scent, even sprayed some on rugs and floors and laid out a few things for bliss! There isn't much I can do to change the gnarly old walls but I can get them clean, and it is such an uplift.

Although this is a Pinterst, there are scenes like this around here, but my pictures don't turn out this well! If Mr. S. Is inclined to chauffeur me on a little drive to the next county, I'll try to get a photo from the window.

I met someone else who stayed home this weekend and she had a wonderful time in the quiet,  getting caught up with some things, organizing, beautifying the house, herself, the car, etc.  There is something about that still, unsettling quiet where hardly a sound is heard. You can either break down and cry from the lonely chill it sends or you can pretend it was YOU who got away from it all.

  Everyone thinks they went away to camp and get away from it all, but they probably camped right next to their neighbor and didn't know it til the next morning. We have heard that story many times. Meanwhile, we stayed home and had a most relaxing time. We will not have to unpack, do the laundry, put away the equipment or recover from the exhaustion.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Video: Housekeeping Inspiration

Painting by Emile Vernon (1872-1919)

Hello All,

It is quite a task to get a house in real order, and very easy to let it all slide. We know we should do the daily work, such as dishes and laundry, but how can other things be included? It seems to take all day just to do the daily work. In this video I give a few suggestions about how to do one extra thing a day, to finally get back into control of the house.  I know some of you are probably entering another stage in your life where the children are more active and require more time doing other things, and may get that overwhelming feeling regarding housework!

I would love to have your comments here, even if this doesn't exactly apply to your situation!

I hope to add a full picture of the dress (with hat) and show the different ways I can use this dress for home, for public, etc.


Below is a picture of the print on the selvedge  edge of the fabric, with the designer name. It is from Walmart.  I buy a yard of it when possible, so that when I have time, I might make something from it. I think a big puffy skirt would be nice! I don't know if you have seen some of the long floral skirts on Pinterest . They are quite lovely!
I also like the color code circles on the edge (selvedge) of the fabric, to see what colors would coordinate, but I usually take a swatch of the fabric with me to see the overall effect when trying to match up a yarn or solid fabric, shoes, floral for fascinators, hats, etc.

Long floral skirts from Pinterest

I know there are some kinds of fashion "experts" who don't like floral fabrics, but when you are at home, and have your own circle of friends, or like florals, there shouldn't be any self-consciousness about wearing them, even in public. The nice thing about home, is that you can dress as you like, or even as you have always wanted to. I quit waiting for fashion to change, and quit saying I was born after my time, and instead created my own "time" and culture here at home, where I can wear all the flowers I want!
 Would you not like to wear this to pull weeds in your flower garden, 
 ...and would not the flowers be so glad to see you in the morning, wearing this?

I don't care for the shirt and boots they matched up with this, but thought the skirt might be fun for wearing at home or the nearby grocery store. There is no sense wasting a moment of life being too cautious to wear something pretty!

Before-and-after kitchen drawer that I mentioned in my video:

Clutter like this always looks so daunting it is easy to put it off. It took five minutes to clean it.


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