Monday, April 14, 2014

Victorian Style Clothing

Today I enjoyed picking out several dresses to showcase here. They come from a site that has many new dresses of various eras in history, made to order. The dresses are as pretty as the 19th century paintings.
Check at the end for some patterns I have included for the stitchers.
Woodbines, by William Affleck, 1869-1943

Click on the name of the dress to read more and see other fabrics in which it is made.


Painting by Alfred Corbould, 1852



Calico Skirt and Blouse

Find florals like this at Shabby Fabrics



Here are some sewing patterns, from Rising Phoenix pattern company.

An old Jessica McClintock pattern

More patterns available from the recent pattern books in your fabric stores.

Homestead dress from Cattle Kate



Prairie Dancer dress from Cattle Kate


Cattle Kate


1990s patterns that will work for dresses at home in the Victorian style.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Distinctive Feminine Dress Outdoors

Summer, by Charles Courtney Curran 1861-1942

by Charles Courtney Curran

Apple Blossoms by Charles Edward Wilson 1854-1941

The clothing of the 1800's and early 1900's, a period commonly referred to as the Victorian era, is so soft and pretty and appealing. It lacks the edgy look of the decades that followed. I believe the principles of this kind of clothing can be used to create feminine fashion today. All you need is to observe the color and line, layers and embellishments, to make clothing today.
I see from the paintings also that the clothing "goes" with the mood and scenes. I have had an instinct for this ever since as a child I saw my first calicoes with the tiny flowers that looked just like a spring forest floor or the tiny strawberry prints so much like the wild strawberries growing in fields. It seems that ladies clothing is created in styles and colors to go with the modern workplace of employment, not the home or garden or all the natural creation. That is one reason so many ladies like to create their own style by sewing. Still, without sewing, pretty, feminine, appropriate clothing for your figure and coloring is a matter of choosing the very best you can buy. You may have to search for it but it can be found.
Also interesting is that the outdoor scenes on the beach, in the meadow or orchard did not require wearing anything that resembled men's attire, or being immodestly dressed.
I am hoping to add some dress patterns and some of my own sketches for ideas of how to Victorianize today's fashions, so there might be more added to this post later, or a new post.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014


I know housework must be done so that the family can function. To those who have not been able to keep up, I would suggest keeping several places tidy. If you can at least have the front porch, entryway if you have one, and the front room or living room clean, you can work without pressure on other areas of the house. If you are pressed for time, having those entry areas clean is a big help.
While it is perfectly alright to hire housekeeping help, I find that most ladies here would rather clean their own houses. It gets complicated when there are papers to sort and clean laundry to distribute, books to put away or a bedroom to clean up that has for too long been used to stash things. No one can read our minds to figure out where things go. Helpers have to be told everything and so ladies like to do it themselves. If you are raising children, they can be a great help, and they will learn what your preferences are, sometimes to the detail of where you put your mail or your sewing things. I have also known of sisters who help each other with housework when needed.

Today there is a lot of information on the web about good housekeeping, and anyone who wants to learn can search and find it.
Here is a page on how to sweep a floor. I prefer a good natural straw broom.
Here is one on how to wash dishes.
Here is one on how to do laundry.
If your energy and time is low, at least get the room that people see when they first enter the house, presentable. How to clean the living room.
If company is unexpectedly coming, here is a page that will help you get the house in order quickly.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Peaceful Afternoon

A Tranquil Setting, by Louis Aston Knight (1873-1948)

Today I took some time to put together a fancy pincushion for a gift. Because did not take step-by-step pictures, I will just tell you briefly how it is made.

I placed a round pincushion made from a small piece of fabric, inside a large artificial flower, using hot glue. The pincushion is a circle of fabric, stuffed with fiberfill. Before the circle is pulled closed with thread, a juice can lid is put inside of it for a backing. There are plenty of free online tutorials for this kind of pincushion, if you want to know more.

The interesting part comes after it is all securely put together and it is time to add a few other little gifts to the pincushion. I chose dressmaker pins with colored heads, buttons, a ribbon rose, and safety pins, that coordinated with the fabric.

I am glad you stopped by and I hope to post more often.

Some thoughts on the role of older women:

There is a false idea that older women should be Mary Poppins types who do all kinds of marvelous things, including cleaning the houses of younger women and looking after their children. Those who think this way have not really read Titus 2 very carefully. If they had, they would see the older women are to be busy making their own homes a priority. This makes them knowledgeable to teach the same things to younger women: home life, marriage and child-training, modesty, manners, and propriety.

Sometimes people want to use older women to put on meals for them and give them a break, or maybe just so they can learn how to do it. There is nothing wrong with an older woman doing this if she wants to and has the time for it. What people need to realize is that this is an older woman. An older woman will likely not have the strength and stamina that a younger woman has. Young women are more able to look after children and do housework.

Older women can be great in an advisory capacity. It is better to teach how to do something and equip a person with knowledge, than to do it for them.
An older woman might want to teach but has no energy to wash someone else's dishes or sweep their floors. I would like to suggest they create a homemaking instruction scrapbook or colorful journal on various homaking subjects, or a blog. A younger woman who might desire to one day teach, could start writing down the things she has learned that she can pass on to younger women in the future.
Not all older woman will be able to teach in a formal way. Some ladies will teach by the orderly and quiet way they live, or by the way they occupy their time.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Home Repairs and Some Sewing



Flower basket from ftd

It has been busy around here. I live in an older home that is being replaced, section by section as things break down. If it is not plumbing, it is electric. Today a very interesting man came to replace several outlets and figure out why the electric does not work on some walls. I noticed he spoke with a slight accent. I was curious to know where he was from, but not clever enough to guess, so I asked him if he was from Texas. I figured that sounded kind and diplomatic.
He said was from Armenia and spoke 7 languages fluently: French, Spain-Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, to name a few. When I said it was a great talent, since he could fix electric things in all those countries, he replied quickly, "I have no desire to go anywhere else."
We all told him how glad we were that he was making things work in this house and apologized for the fact that he had to move the piano all by himself to get to the outlet behind it. "I do not mind," he said. "It is my job. It is what I get paid for." He joked a bit about how the electric was wired in this house in such an untypical way 50 years ago without following a code, and he called it a daisy chain.
Next week the window man comes to measure the broken window so that we can get it replaced. I wonder where he will be from, or where his grandparents came from.

I have been to the dollar store and found some black check towels for the kitchen, which look great with the black appliances, and they come in a package of two, for a dollar, all cotton.

I have finished a little accent cushion using a small piece of toile fabric with a scene of children fishing. It looks good with this old tea cup that has a similar picture.


Also at the Dollar Tree was a shipment of these taper led-lite candles. I had seen led-lite tapers in other stores but they were too expensive so it was nice to find them for a dollar each today.

I suppose many ladies are involved in spring cleaning and packing away winter things. Our houses are going from a cozy, warm look to a light, airy summer look as we put away the extra blankets and rugs and make things more spacious.

Living room suite from Magnolia Hall


Anonymous comments are enabled for the time being. I had previously prevented them because of an enormous amount of advertising spam.

Pro 3:5    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.Pro 3:6    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Temporary Situations

Beach Cruiser Cottage by Paul Brent

Sometimes when I have been in a day trip to the coast, I have driven past a beautiful newly constructed house in the Queen Ann style, with pink color with white trim, like strawberries and cream. Since the house has a beach front, (which is not always the case with coastal homes) the road only goes behind the house, so I have never seen it from the front. I have not yet found the access to that beach, but I hope to the next time I go there. I found this lovely painting which shows a similar pink Victorian.


I have a few friends who are experiencing temporarily inconveniences and discomfort. Some are traveling away from home, others are families whose jobs move from place to place and they are trying to have some kind of life while living in temporary situations.


I can identify with the feeling of being a "camper" because my father sometimes moved us to where he was working, and we lived in tents or a camper or what was called a shack, used by summer people. We lived that way all year long, so after the summer people were gone, we had the village to ourselves and the beaches as well.


Domestically, it was always a challenge, and so I did not collect many personal belongings. When I got married, I had a Samsonite ladies suitcase in powder blue and it contained a set of clothes for church and two other changes of clothes, my letter writing supplies, a notebook, a Bible, personal care items like shampoo and soap, my winter coat and boots, and a few other things. My husband took me shopping but the clothing was just not suitable at the time, so I asked for a sewing machine instead.


That sewing machine served me well no matter where I lived, because it fit nicely on a table in a camper or on a picnic table outside. I used it in an apartment to sew quick curtains and furniture covers to make the place look more homey. In those days people were still using tablecloths and so I enjoyed hemming a square of fabric just to put on the table.



Another thing I found very helpful in a temporary situation was my correspondence supplies and scrapbook things. Although the beautiful papers and pens we have today were not available, (the scrapbooks were just filled with brown pulp paper and had ugly covers) I enjoyed using a fountain pen - they were not expensive - and what was called resume paper, on which to write home.

During those years of less than permanent settlement, I sent bulky letters to my mother, pouring out every detail of my situation. She in turn would tell me of her earlier days when they didn't even have running water. On the margins of my letters I doodled pictures and designs, and sometimes enclosed pictures clipped from magazines.



Today we have the internet where we do not need to feel so isolated, and I know that helps when you are in a temporary living situation. The internet certainly would have helped years ago! Going to like-minded bloggers and seeing their beautiful posts is like visiting with a good friend.


On the internet there is no difference between the park resident or the castle dweller. What comes through is your tastes, your manners, your likes and dislikes. Your personality and your spiritual values are more important. I realize many ladies post scenes of their lovely houses, while some viewers are temporarily without a real home, but it is nice they share their lovely homes. It is like being invited to a nice house to visit.


On visits away from home, I look for things to do that my hostess has probably no time for. I usually ask if she has any mending or buttons or any kind of hand sewing done. While she is busy with something else, I sew on the buttons and we talk. In a temporary living situation, I want to make life better for the hostess. At the end of my stay in a temporary place, whether it be a camping area or other place, I try to arrange to take anyone who has waited on me or served me in any way during my stay to an afternoon tea, or purchase a picnic style afternoon tea to take to them.

The main point is that in any temporary living situation, whether living with your sister's family while you are waiting for a house, or whether on a business trip with others, a Christian woman has an opportunity to be an influence to promote whatever is good and lovely. If you go into a temporary living situation, be strongly aware that people around you, even your family, can feel tense and it can cause disruption and quarreling. That can be prevented if you remember two things: do and say what is the most polite, and try to look to the comfort of others, not being a burden on anyone.



In temporary situations, you have probably given up a lot. Maybe you have stored or sold your furniture and packed away most of your clothes and valuables. There is one thing you must try to hang onto, and that is dignity. It is tempting to be more casual and forget who you are and what you represent. It is important to have a strong sense of what kind of person you are and why, and to maintain your manners and a sense of propriety. If you let down on that, you can become a victim of camp gossip and rumors, as people can sometimes build a kind of opinion of you and spread it. To prevent it, maintain good habits, dress properly and have a schedule, if possible.

I knew of a lady whose husband had to spend a few weeks away from home for a temporary job. She stayed in an inexpensive motel with him. Because the room was so bleak looking, she brought framed photographs, a pretty quilt, a plant and some other things. I remember visiting her there and noticed a tassel hanging on one of the doors, and a painted plaque in a standing frame that said "Home Is Where the Heart Is".


Temporary situations may just be having to live in a motel for awhile when waiting for a house to be ready to move in to, or maybe on a business trip where you will be in contact daily with others in the same company.

Keeping your dignity means dressing well, having regular meal times, and finding interesting things to do that

use time wisely. Others are watching you and will tell a talenof your life in these temporary situations. Take your water colors, crochet, reading material and other things with you, like you used to on summer holidays, and put your mind to something.


Hopefully, you will come way from your temporary situation with a notebook full of paintings or a scrapbook, a little quilt, or maybe some pretty blog pictures. Hopefully, others who live in close proximity will be looking at their ipads and iPhones and minding their own business, making it easy for everyone to enjoy peace and quiet.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday Serenity

Photo: Tea Time Magazine

Cold rain and darkness greet us some days, but every cloud has a silver lining. To prove it, I am stopping for tea while I make my list of 50 things that need to be done, ranging from urgent to important. If the important is not done, it eventually becomes urgent.


I have been thinking how easy it is to be discouraged when housework gets overwhelming. Sometimes after a trip, after illness, after events that come up that need attention, the housework piles up. The best thing to do is get dressed up and fixed up and presentable, and work from the front door, going clockwise, picking up, straightening up, cleaning and dusting. Listen to some music or a movie you like, to pace you.


Think about the little thoughtful touches you can add when each section is completed: a tea tray with a tea set on it, ready to fill up with food and drink for afternoon tea, a few flowers, fresh or fake, (it's the color that counts the most), a neatly folded fresh towel near the kitchen sink, a soft cushion on he couch. There is ever so much that can be done as a motivation.

Ladies want to make life good for their families, and need to keep their minds renewed with good things. Replacing gloomy thoughts with good thoughts makes a difference in your countenance and your feelings.


Any job is repetition, and I do not suppose the men liked it much in the jobs that sustained their families for years and years while the ladies maintained the home. I rarely heard that older generation complain, and yet I know some of the jobs the men did were grueling and monotinous, and the housework was not as easy as it is today.


"In due season, we shall reap." "In all labor, there is profit."

In time, work will pay off. You are being kind to yourself and others when you care about your home, so it is a great profit to you to keep it as best you can. You make it comfortable for yourself,which is a good reward. And it costs less to keep the home in good order. It is expensive to replace things that have deteriorated or broken due to neglect. So in a sense you earn money when you keep house by picking up things and washing things and putting them away.

"Ecc 11:4    He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Fierce winds whistle and rattle the windows, but pay no attention to it unless to appreciate its drama and adventure. To give up on yourself or your home, and to fail to guide your children into good behaviour, because of a storm, is to set yourself up for moodiness. Ladies cannot let what happens outside of their homes deter them from normal life, housekeeping, creativity, or worship. Once you learn to make your homemaking the focus, things like the weather, the news, and other people's distractions, cannot discourage you.

In the time we spend waiting for impending storms and disasters, we could probably do one thing on our lists.

I once lived in a place where the climate was dry and hot most of the time. Not a blade of green grass was to be seen anywhere in this remote, depressing place. I learned to ignore it, and carry on my duties at home. After awhile my habits were automatic and it seemed as of there was no weather, pleasant or unpleasant. I reached a stage where I could not remember the weather or the climate effecting my mood.

Of course we need to make allowances for illness, tiredness and urgent duties that throw off our housekeeping plans. Pleasant weather can mean having to leave the housework and take advantage of being outdoors. We have to make allowances for some things, but always pick up where we left off and keep our goals in mind, or, a picture in our minds of what we want the home to be, both spiritually and physically.

Gal 6:9    And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We are not keeping house just to have nice houses. It is a spiritual matter, as well. As we clear the surfaces of clutter, it is like clearing our minds of all the things that come between us and God. Being keepers of the home and guiding and guarding it, is cooperating with God.



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