Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fabric Tip: Using Less Fabric With Patterns



                       

Pattern companies are getting better about the pattern layouts, requiring less fabric. We used to follow the layout instructions included in the pattern envelope, which required folding the fabric in half, then placing pattern pieces on the fold, selvedges and throughout the middle. Sometimes there would not be quite enough room to put a large pattern piece, and would require either buying extra fabric for a sleeve, or piecing scraps together for part of a skirt. As you can see, there is still some fabric in the middle but not enough for a certain pattern piece.
Today at tea, a visitor told me how her mother, who learned to be frugal during the Depression, used less fabric. 

Instead of folding the fabric in half, she only folded a small area and cut out a pattern piece, such as this sleeve.


After that, she folded a more narrow area and cut out an even smaller piece, as shown below.


Then she folded the rest of the fabric in half and had more room for a piece that would not normally have fit onto the regular folded fabric space.

Now, there is enough fabric for that big pattern piece that would not fit.


This is very encouraging, as I want to cut down on expenses and use less fabric. I am going to try it soon on a small piece of fabric.

Scrappers, artists and paper-people know how to do this with paper. It is the technique of beginnng your cutting at the outer edges and saving the bigger part in the middle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Angela



(Painting: A Lady by the Sea by John Simmons)


There were hard times in 1967 as my family of 9 adjusted to a new life in Tasmania. My father had to find work wherever he could,  and my mother faced the daily challenge of taking care of us at home.

I was the eldest of a lively bunch of children, but at the age of 16, I sometimes longed for a friend my own age. It was in the middle of this longing that a 16 year old girl named Angela Rogers appeared at our door with her Mother, Ruth.  In a small town, news travels fast, and they had heard about us. Wanting to make sure that I was comforted a little from this drastic change (being transplanted Alaskans), they visited to extend an invitation to my sister and me to spend a weekend at their holiday home in Crayfish Creek.

The only way to describe my first impression of Angela is with the word "breathless." She was everything from a Robert Burns poem and a romantic novel combined. There she stood next to me as though she was sent by heaven.  Now I saw the romantic ladies of novels.  Dressed in a cape and   matching tam, she stood beside me, catching her btreath as though she had been in a hurry to meet me. Her hair was long, curly strawberry blonde, though not quite a redhead. She had soft, fair skin, with lips painted in an apricot color from Rimmel, misted with the scent of 4711 (or was it 1001?) cologne, British brands that seemed exotic to a girl like me from the northern woods.

The weekend at Crayfish Creek was enchanting. Angela's family maintained some traditions from their Scottish heritage, as well as common Tasmanian customs in conversation, food, and life at home. It was here in their summer home that we were shown how to toast English muffins in the fireplace and prepare them with butter and honey.  I thought this was ten times better than toast and have not forgotten the smell and taste of that first bite, sitting next to Angela. What a glorious time this was, as we ate our breakfast and looked out the big window facing the sea. 

Angela posessed a loveable humor with easy come-backs to anything that attempted to dissuade her. She was a possibility thinker. "Do not give any heed to such things!"  She said this when any discouragement reared its ugly head.  She was also the oldest of her family, and quite responsible. She came out to Cowrie Point every weekend until I moved away, and then, I did not see her again.  My Mother told me she had married the same time I had married, and was living on King Island with her husband, who was a builder. 


I did not see Angela for over 40 years but thought of her often throughout the busy decades.

When I finally located her and we visited again, I was astonished at the many parallels in our lives. She too was married over 40 years and had children near the same ages as my own.  She had a bed and breakdast while I had a tea room.  We owned similar furnishings and antiques in our homes. She also hosted a ladies Bible class on Thursdays in her home, which existed for several years, just as I, on the same day of the week and same time.

The first thing she said to me when we met again, was, "We had a wonderful childhood, didn't we? And what great parents we had!"  It was due to both our Mother's persistence that we became friends. 

She is a very uncritical person, unlikely to cut anyone down, having no jealousies.   I like the balanced view she portrayed of accepting the unpleasant along with the pleasant, forgiving the bad experiences and going on to create good ones.

My favorite picture of her is one that I took while she stood under a tree of white blossoms 40 years later. She resembled a pretty porcelin doll. I liked her just as much as the day I met her when we were both 16 years old. Her friendship turned the shock of sudden change into a beautiful, breathless event.

Angela's husband and mine got along very well. My husband said he was the first person in a long time who used the words "Beg youse?" for "beg your pardon" and it was good to hear a phrase  that was once common. Even though it was used in Australia decades ago, he remembered it as a common saying on his Grandparent's farm in Kansas where he spent his summers.


Below: Here she is.  Description - Works well with people!


Photo is property of Lydia Sherman,copyright 2016. do not take or use. 

Patience



I was asked a long time ago to write a few things about children.

Today I am addressing the mother's temperament. 

Years ago when our children were small my husband found this poem in a church bulletin and framed it for me.  I no longer have the original gift but I know the poem by heart:



I can understand mothers innudated by noise and questions losing patience and giving hasty, sharp replies, but this is a good reminder to older women too. The phone rings, a friend has problems, company is coming, and the housework is piling up.  It can make you snap unfairly at the next person who says something to you.

This is a principle that  some people do not quite understand. Teens and young adults, and even some old adults, think nothing of giving a sharp and rude reply, not thinking that it created memories and taints the home. Occasionally a guest will criticize or begin a rude diatribe, spout smart remarks or dirty jokes. Staging long, involved arguments may seem smart, as they outwit their parents over issues, but this does not fill a room with happy memories.

When patience with children is learned, it helps in all other areas of life.

Helpful in creating the virtue of patience is to recall the most embarrassing or terrible thing you ever did, or something you just can't even believe you did. Then, you are more patient and forgiving of others.

When that child is screaming and being miserable, patience, rather than resistance, gathers him in her arms and kisses him.  I remember a mother saying tenderly to her child, "Is her having a bad day?" And then patiently gathering her little resistant self into her arms. In no time at all, the child melted and love was restored. If you can train yourself to respond this way, there will be love in the home and patience will reign.

For women of all ages: quickly confess to God, reconcile with loved ones and be "bonded" with them as brethren, as the New Covenant teaches.  They are also your brothers and sisters in Christ. Patients is a willingness to love, despite circumstances.

You can train your temperament to withstand stress. Just think, "Will I end up regretting this snappy, sharp reply later?"  Remember, your children will pick up your attitudes, as they see more than you realize. You are supposed to watch for their souls, and so you would want to be a good example.  Be patient.

I have been a preacher's wife in the Lord's church for  nearly 45 years.  I had to learn very early to withstand some awful criticism from outsiders, and not respond in kind, because I could not put a bad light on the church.  Many times, for the sake of harmony, I had to acquiesse to people who were not mature, in order to prevent trouble. Some times troublesome people tried to overrun patience and control my temperament.

Are you quick to forgive and to reconcile or do you carry hatred, bitterness and resentment? Do you want to punish people? Do you bring up past sins and dredge up faults from years ago?  These are things no Christian should be carrying in his heart.  This poem encourages Mothers to create memories through patience.

Our grandmothers seemed so much more patient than our mothers. They had grown wiser.

The culture around us is very rude and it is easy to think we are normal when we act like the rude people around us.  Let me give you an example of how to get our temperaments the way Christ would want: patience is a virtue.

Two young women were in a double room of a birthing center, being assisted by midwives in the delivery of their first babies. One woman uttered terrible oaths and cursing each time she felt a labor pain. The woman on the other side of the curtain prayed to God whenever she had a labor pain. The latter is an example of a woman who had trained her mind to think on things above. Even in all that pain, she was aware of her Lord and conscious of her accountability to Him and courteous of those around her."

We often excuse anger and hasty, sharp replies, hatred or bitterness, by saying the person is under stress, having a bad day,  in financial trouble, just lost a loved one, etc. but the test of the heart and the temperament is trouble.  Each time you bite your tongue, a victory over your own temperament is won.  I can attest to the fact that a moment of release of a bad temper is not worth what it will cost you.  The price seems to take on compound interest!

Everyone has their own experience to talk about, on the subject of patience.

It is possible in the midst of trouble to keep our temperaments in line with our Lord; to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If we fail over and over, we can keep praying and God is gracious to forgive and start anew. Children can know that, too.

There is comfort in God's promise that He is faithful to forgive, when we lose patience. He is also there to call upon for patience.

The original poem below, contains a verse left out of current copy: Let not weariness, confusion or noise, Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Outwitted

One of my Mother's oft-quoted favorite poetic verses, and also on a plaque in the office of a preacher:

“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !

From the poem " Outwitted” 


That is Loving, Christian thing to do. When she read this poem to me, my Mother explained this is what  you do when people are trying to shut you out. Sometimes even in very loving homes where children generally lived in harmony, one of them would ignore the others.  It is wise to remember the pouting prophet and pouting king of the old testament. Usually when children pout, there is resentment and unforgiveness.

 Please read further for more about this:


I think these scriptures can be taught to your children to teach them to love the family! They teach a warmheartedness; a weeping-with-those-who-weep and a rejoicing with those who rejoice.

Marks of the True Christian - A 13-Step Study

Rom 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Rom 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Rom 12:11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Rom 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Rom 12:13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Rom 12:14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Rom 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Rom 12:16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Rom 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Rom 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Young's Literal Tranlation : 

Rom 12:10  in the love of brethren, to one another kindly affectioned: in the honour going before one another.

When I was 12 years old in the 1950's, my Mother talked to me about a social trend that she had never experienced before. She said, "We liked people across the generations. We did not only associate with people in our own age-group or our own class or status. We liked married people with children, unmarried people, the elderly, our parents and grandparents, and children.  We did not get in cliques and exclude others. There were no popularity contests."

In her old age, my Mother's neices and nephews were still phoning and writing to her regularly.

"In grade school, we sang a song: 

Make new friends,
But keep the old, 
One is silver 
And the other gold."

"It sems now, if people make new friends, they discard the old. I do not like it when people stop speaking to us. That was not done.  It is now a practice. We did not ignore old friends or new ones, parents or children."

"There is no room in their lives for older acquaintances when people get new acquaintances. Yet in our book shelves, we kept old books alongside the new books."

She also was astonished at a new trend to take vacations away from your young children. The Mom-needs-a-break trend was only just emerging.  There were also the new coffee-klatch groups forming among housewives that she did not enjoy. People used to be able to periodically visit someone just to check on their welfare or keep up a friendship, without forming a coffee-klatch.  (Note: I am not sure what that was about, as the trend had disappeared before I knew of it.)

Instead of eliminating the things that were really over-crowding people's lives, such as too much shopping, too much extra work, too much driving,  too many activities, too many things, etc., folks were eliminating love  and family from their lives, as well as forming cliques in churches.

A new practice of "sidelining" people was occurring.

In families and churches, people of different ages can interact and be friends.   There is no need to eliminate one, to make room for another.


My parents , born in the 1920's, were shaking their heads in unbelief and sadness at the tendency to eliminate people God had put in their lives.  A married couple included in their lives other couples of all ages, their in-laws, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, old friends and new. They understood the need to stay away from people who would draw your heart away from Christ, but this was something different.

I have thought about posting something on this subject but was not certain if it was of interest to anyone here.

Several people have been telling me about a very harmful teaching in pop-psychology religious books which promote these attitudes. While Christ encourages us to draw people into our circle, these pop- psychology religious books teach the opposite. At a time when people need to be supportive and sympathetic, empathetic, etc. these pop-psych religious books promote the "cut-off culture" which causes loved-ones hearts to bleed.

I love meeting new people but I keep in touch with my old friends. Some of them have been "sidelined" or retired by others. In Jane Austen's Emma, Mr. Knightly said he could not secure his own happiness and ignore her father's happiness. It was obviously a mark of courtesy to care about your own wife or husband but still be civil and kind to the parents and siblings.

Someone was recently telling me of a movie about how sympathy and empathy were eliminated from people, turning them into alien creatures with no tears or crying or sentiment of any kind.  As Christians, we want to feel sad and to be sad with others, or express our love for others with our tears.

The little poem should make us smile: if people shut you out, take them in. The cut-off culture has always existed in all history, and few people will escape its sting.  Jesus example of drawing people in, will suffice!







Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ladies at Home Make Sacrificial Contributions to People





Hello Dear Ladies,

Susan's comment on the previous post:

GIRLS GRADUATING: Future Homemakers?


 is worthy of headlines on this blog, so I am making a separate post here of that comment. Thank you so much, Susan, for translating your heart into words regarding the subject of women staying home.

Here is the comment:


To the young girls graduating:

Take it from someone who went the career route, you will regret it when you turn 60 and have no family ties or children to turn to. You will not change the world one bit by a career or by sitting in an office 10 hours a day staring at a computer. Your life will speed by so quickly that you can't imagine it possible. Don't waste it on a "job." The job will one day go away and you will have the realization that it was wasted time. There are no "rewards" in slaving away your life for a corporation that won't even remember your name.


You can make all the difference in the world by being the keeper of a wonderful home. Your children and family will be your comfort. If you are curious about the world, take some time and travel and see it, and then settle down in a place you love. The most important things in life are the little things, the daily joys, and the happiness of a family that loves you. The rest of it is just a waste. God put us here for a purpose. Please think hard about your choices before you make them and don't let other people decide your future for you.

Lady Lydia has designed this blog for young women to learn about becoming homekeepers. Take the time to read through the articles and decide for yourself.
The world can become a better place one home at a time. 

Another comment, from reader Heartshome:

Bravo! I concur completely. I was in corporate America for over 20 years. I made good money and advanced to a Director level in marketing and advertising. What was my reward? Being laid off, finding out that people I thought were friends were really just acquaitences, and having a feeling of deep loss for several years. I delayed having children until we were financially "ready". Whoops, we waited too long and consequently were never blessed with babies. However, I have been a homemaker ever since and have realized that it truly is the most wonderful job in the world. I LOVE each and every day I spend at home have I've learned so much and keep learning more each day. It's difficult in today's world to be taken seriously in our chosen profession, but those who lack understanding of its joys and supreme value to the family and the world are to be pitied and then lovingly educated.


Maggie writes:

I hope the younger ladies take this post to heart. I was one of the lucky women that God blessed with children at the ripe old age of 40, and after years of working and college, but not everyone is so lucky. In hindsight, I would have not worried so much about my place in corporate America and just focused on my home and family. It's a tough balance, so anyone thinking they can have a perfect work-life balance after the kids come is in for a huge disappointment. It's HARD! I tried it all...working mom, work-at-home mom and SAHM. Being a SAHM is hard but it's so much better than trying to do it all...and I have a hubby that pitches in when he's asked. Plus, I get the satisfaction knowing that *I* am raising my kids, not some paid child-care worker. Seriously, young women need to take into consideration their future and that of their children when picking a husband. Not only is he ABLE to support a family, but is he WILLING? Being a Homemaker is not demeaning, but it's hard to get out of that mindset after spending over 2 decades in the working world. I'm coming into my own as a homemaker and I'm starting to enjoy it, but life would have been so much easier if I did what I wanted to do, and felt was right, from the beginning...have and take care of a family. 

A Reader Writes:

Thank you for this post and many thanks to readers comments. I am a product of a mom who worked outside of the home. We lived in a messy, cluttered place. I followed suit, went off to college to find a career, because being taught by the leaders of the feminist movement that's what I was suppose to do. Fortunately, I married a man who was raised with a stay at home mom. I tried to balance home and work and made some very good money, but failed in "home life" I was always stressed and mean. One day, I was listening to a radio show that encouraged women to stay home. It made so much sense that I use the talents I was using out in the world at home instead. It was the best decision we've ever made. I homeschooled the children and gave them a nice neat home to live in. Everyone is happier....and I am truly blessed to have the best job. My husband loves that I take care of him and give him special atte

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Painting-Inspired Ladies Dresses from the Art of William Henry Margetson 1860-1940


                                           

Here are some paintings by William Henry Margetson, whose earliest paintings depicted a more Victorian style of ladies, and later paintings, the 1920-30's styles.

I noticed the hands: securing her hat from the wind, holding purse and shawl, carrying a basket, mending a hem, looking at shells, putting up the wash with clothespins, holding a hat, knitting, carrying an umbrella, picking flowers, and holding the door open.  In some of my classes for women I hace asked the question "What is in your hand?"  It is interesting to hear the answers and to analyze what is good and lovely. I am accustomed to being ridiculed for this, but there is nothing prettier than a little girl happily carrying a bunch of wildflowers to give to her mother. I want to keep striving for that innocence of the hands, where what I do is lovely: writing letters, using tea cups, washing dishes, sweeping, picking apples, hanging the wash, shaking someone's hand, an encouraging pat on the back, baking bread, and more.

Above: would it not be lovely to wear a pretty print that goes with a field of wild flowers, going for a little nature walk?

Below: perhaps this is autumn or a cool summer evening, when a shawl is drawn snugly closer while walking hme from a friend's tea.

These are inspirations for my sewing, as I also notice how the subject coorinates with the settings and seasons, in the paintings.  I like dressing that way at home, even if it is only a new apron that matches the mood of the weather or something I am doing in the house. While I do not wear the Victorian clothing and many of my dresses are 2016 patterns, the thing I like about these few Margetsons is the  countenance and the homey atmosphere they display. There is such happiness amd contentment there with the warmth of the sun, the sweetness of the gestures and the simple treasures of the house.


Above: those of us who have had lavender growing outside know why it brings a smile when it is gathered into a basket to give the house a fresh scent.

Below: many a woman has stoppd to take a few stitches in a hem.



Below: A natural pose that inspired an artist.
Below: Hanging out the wash is an up-close experience with nature. It is so nice to look over the line at the sky and the clouds and enjoy the clothing merrily dancing in the breeze.  There is no way a dryer could add that scent to the clothes.

Below:  Surely we have all done this: sat on the shore letting pur minds rest, while enjoying the beauty of the sea. This gives me ideas of a special dress for a trip to the beach. What about a sea themed cotton print with a sea-shell border?



Below, you can catch a glimpse of the dress I wore to the beach, which I made of a blue toile linen print. It went well with the colors that day. There were other people nearby and I cropped them out  for their privacy, and that is why you cannot see much of me. Well, that is one way to get thin :-) I will try to put the dress on the dress-form for a better picture.

Later I was able to get this view of the birds and the waves and capture some of the color I was trying to match the fabric to.



Would it be splendid to have your picture made in the doorway of such a pretty cottage, wearing something sweet and feminine? It is not the era of clothing that I try to imitate, but the attiude of prettiness. In any era of time, pretty, practical clothing for ladies can be had. Though they migt not be as long as the ones in these paintings, they can be modest and feminine.

Below: I am planning to make a coat similar to this and have some of the fabric.


Below: more of my beach dress.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Prayer



Have you ever stopped to wonder what this life is all about

Why you're here and where you're going when your lease on life runs out?

Maybe you've been far to busy, trying hard to reach your goal;

Would you let me ask you kindly, have you thought about your soul?

 

You may reach the highest portals, and your dreams may all come true;

Wealth and fame may be your portion, and success may shine on you.

All your friends may sing your praises, not a care on you may roll;

What about the great tomorrow -- have you thought about your soul?

 

Don't forget your days are numbered though you may be riding high;

But like all of us poor mortals, someday you'll just up and die.

Your success and fame and glory won't be worth the bell you toll;

Let me ask you just one question, have you thought about your soul?

 

If you never thought it over, spend a little time today;

There is nothing more important that will ever come your way,

Than the joys of sins forgiven, and to know that you have been made whole;

In the name of Christ the Savior, have you thought about your soul?



Being home is a wonderful freedom, but we can easily fill up the time with busy-ness, forgetting to set aside time for prayer.  Homemakers sometimes can feel they are carrying a great deal of responsibility all by themselves. There is not much reinforcement or encouragement for this solemn duty.  When there is so much to do, it is important to pray.  Prayer is faster than any other communication. Do not let anything make you feel too unworthy to pray.



 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Sewing: Garden Hat and Dress and Video 19


"Faith". by William Henry Margetson



Hello Dear Ladies, 


I have been going through old patterns and sewing the garments once more. This is one of the 1980's patterns for woven fabrics, which is perfect for touring the garden.  I enjoy my first cup of tea as I check out the vegetables and flowers around here. This is a perfect garden-walk dress.  Although I know many of my viewers do not sew, I want to share it because of the way choice clothing creates a mood.



The hat was very easy, using iron-on (fusible) heavy-weight interfacing instead of the buckram (expensive) it called for. There are three size choices for the hat. You can determine the size with a measuring tape around the head, however, fabrics all behave differently. Generally I have found in hat making the bigger sizes work better.  You can always sew a tuck here and there if it is too big. 


Dollar stores have these plastic totes in all colors, useful for containing the garden pickings; in this case, little red apples.



The pattern for the hat is a 2016 Butterick:

The dress is not a house dress. Many of the high fashion dresses of the era were not very comfortable, and were a lot different than the house dresses.
This is the dress, (from an old Lanz pattern, 1980's)  close-up:


Shoes, $5.00 from Walmart are great for photos.


And the old truck is a nice "prop". Other people have used it for country western-style wedding photos.


The nearest thing to the house dress worn in the 1940's and 50's can be found in some of the dress patterns made for wovens and cotton fabrics.  There is a renewed interest in the retro designs, but  very few of these styles were like the every day house dress. The dress worn at home was generally more ample at the waist and was made of bright prints and plaids. These were worn at home, and ladies liked to change into something else before going out.









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