Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hopelessly Devoted to the Garden




These, and many more FANTASTIC Igor Levashove paintings are now at Lovely Whatevers



The artist, Igor Levashov, is fast becoming one of my favorite contempory artists. How does he do that? I can almost smell his roses!


Here are some garden quotes:


“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.” - Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Your mind is a garden,your thoughts are the seeds,the harvest can be either flowers or weeds.- Author Unknown


I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.- Emma Goldman

I must dress my best today. My roses will want to see me. (unknown)




The last quote made me think: yes, the flowers and even the vegetable gardens, are so beautiful that I get the feeling I ought to dress up in a special way in order to inspect them. I am afraid I've been very obsessed with the garden this month and quite unable to think about anything else. I did receive a nice hint about bringing flowers into the house bug-free. Take a bucket of water, and cut the flowers into the water. The bugs will rise to the top and then you can take out the flowers and put them in vases for the house.




Other gardens: In the Bible: The Garden of Eden, and the Garden of Gethsemane, where the first time the word "agony" appears in scripture. In history, who can forget the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. Persia was famous for its gardens up until recent times! Gardens in country areas could extend the living spaces of small cottages. Don't feel bad if you haven't got a garden. If you just grow one lily in your house or plant one tomato plant, you can experience the wonder of gardening.



This is the pattern for the dress you see on the left of the blog above the contact link. It is two piece. It is sewn in white flocked muslin, with a type of trim that looks like ribbon woven through lace. My experience with this pattern was very positive. It looks more complicated than it is. The only change I would make would be to have a button down front of the blouse instead of a zip in the back. Regarding comfort: I put this dress on just for a staged photo as you see, however, it was so comfortable, I forgot I was wearing it and wore it all day. So contrary to popular myth, the Victorian clothing was not straight-laced and uncomfortable. It DID improve my posture. It just made me want to stand straighter, and I needed that. It felt so dignified.
Close view of flocked muslin and ribbon-threaded lace.







People always seem to want to know why the girls at Sensibililty.com and others are so interested in costume sewing or in making their own dresses. Indeed, many people seem to be preferring costume clothing these days, and it is no wonder, when you see what is available for fashion these days. When I have more time, I'll include a list of catologs that have some colorful skirts.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Welcome to the World

A Place to Dream, by Susan Rios from Susan Rios Inc. and Pierside Galleries.

I would just like to warmly welcome my new friends on the web who have viewed my blog in the last couple of days, and some old friends who have visited again, from the following places: (Outside of the U.S., these represent only one visit each.)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Bahamas

Lithuania

Iraq

Bosnia

Ghana

Russian Federation

Indonesia

Hungary

Dominica
Qatar
Hong Kong

Thailand

Barbados
Spain
Uruguay
Denmark
Switzerland
Puerto Rico
Okay, I'll list Florida. Yes, it is like a different country.
Florida
Kuwait

Poland

2 Romania

Italy

Serbia

Burkina Faso (this is in Africa: see someone's comment)

Bangladesh


Malta

3 Israel

2Canada

India

3France

5United Kingdom


Argentina


3Netherlands


Malaysia

Singapore


Germany


Philippines

Hungary

4Australia


Belgium

Iran, Islamic Republic Of



Dubai, United Arab Emirates



Ireland, Republic of



Scotland



Kenya



South Africa



Brazil

Ukraine

Turkey

Afghanistan

4Alaska

Finland

Luxembourg

Estonia

Spain

Korea, Republic of
Mauritius
Trinadad and Tobago
Singapore
Dominica
2 New Zealand
3Israel
Taiwan
Bulgaria
Belgium
Uganda
Peru
2 Guatemala
Japan
Portugal
Sweden
Croatia

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sewing

Sheep Reposing from Lovely Whatevers


(I am busy sewing for the next day or so. Comments are suspended right now. ) Speaking of sewing and other simple home things, see what Aimee has to say here http://momzoo.blogspot.com/2008/06/old-fashioned-education.html a most inspiring post, and if I had a prize to give, I would give it to her for this article.
In answer to two post requests, I have in my drafts articles coming up on the principle of submission (the myths, the truth, and examples) and on working with children underfoot. There was one more article I haven't finished that was requested, about weight control. In the meantime I hope you will continue to share your beautiful homes on your blogs! In the meantime, check out this fun Bed and Breakfast Historic House tour
It is always inspiring to see the inside of other people's houses.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scrap Flags

This is a banner flag from Victorian Trading Co.





Gardeners just love the little garden flags that fly about on wrought iron flagpoles. I have had some for several years that were so faded and shredded, and sought to replace them. However, there were none available locally, and I could not find the special kind of fabric to make them with. The above flag was a frugal way of replacing the old banner, by using a scrap of fabric. It is a butterfly print that was glittery, made by tracing around the old flag and adding hem allowance and the fold over pocket for inserting on the hanger. Even if you don't sew, you could use something like fabri-tack, a fabric glue, to make one of these.

I dug into my fabric scraps and found enough to make my own flags. Click on for a larger view. The nylon flag material looks the same from both sides, and the cotton calico fabrics will only have one side that is worth viewing, but against the side of the house, it looks okay. Click on for a larger view.

Since the store-bought banners eventually fade out and wear out, it doesn't really matter that these cotton ones will probably only last a couple of seasons. The butterfly fabric is actually quite high quality and stiff. I put a bit of starch on the patchwork print fabric. I can imagine what an enjoyable time the crafters and quilters and scrap-artists could have in making these little flags. They could add ribbons and buttons and laces and all kinds of things.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The First Year At Home


The Rose Room, by Susan Rios, from Susan Rios Inc. and Pierside Galleries

There are several young ladies preparing for their first year of marriage. In all the advice they get, the people that encourage them to spend that first year out working, are the most vocal. I wanted to write something to show the wisdom of staying home, as did the women before us, who took the time to really invest in their marriage and establish a great spiritual foundation for the home, in the first year.

Here, we have an opportunity to show the importance of staying home that first year and getting used to a routine. I hope many people will post about this subject! Several young ladies say they want to be home the first year but they "feel guilty" because their husbands have to work everyday, while they, the wives, "are not contributing." It grieves me to hear this, because it is a quote straight from the mouth of Karl Marx, author of the Communist Manifesto. He claimed women at home were "not contributing," and did much harm to the home. You all know what a lazy bum he was, refusing to look after his own wife and children. They lived in squalor in London while he wrote long thesis about how the world ought to be run. His ideas were rebellious and unBiblical, yet they are ingrained in the minds of most young women today.

The words of the Bible, addressed to young women, are quite the opposite of those of Marx. The Holy Spirit said that women contribute the most by being helpmeets to their husbands, and it shows them how to do that by guiding and guarding the home. This was well-understood by generations before us. The apostle Paul warned Christians not to believe myths and old wives tales, yet there is a huge population of young ladies who believe in this myth. They actually think that in order to "contribute" they have to bring in money.
Money seems to be foremost on everyone's mind, but what about love? Sadly, the young connect the word "money" with "love," but money cannot keep a marriage together, make you a good cook or a good housekeeper, or hand down good values to your children. These are things that must be learned, whether or not you have money. In fact, getting out and earning money that first year might handicap you and prevent you from acquiring the skills you will need the rest of your life, in your marriage.

As Jesus said to Martha, "You are worried about many things," that is one of the main problems that exist in homes today. Young women are taught to worry from an early age. They worry about money. They worry about how they will survive. They worry about education. They worry about careers. They worry about poverty.

I listen often to young women in their conversations in Ladies Bible Classes in places where I have been a guest, at tea parties, in church, and other places and one thing stands out supreme: they don't seem to be worrying about their spiritual condition or the spiritual condition of their children. They don't worry about whether or not their husbands are happy. They don't worry about their children's character development. They don't worry about whether or not they will be able to keep up with the housework and maintain the home. They don't worry about whether or not they will be able to have proper nutrition at home. They don't worry about their husband's health. They do not reveal any of this in their intimate conversations with other women, so if they are concerned about these things, it is a big, big secret.

I sat and listened, a few years ago, to a young married woman who said that her children were going to join clubs that would teach them to race cars, drive speed boats, and many other things. The child's soul was never mentioned. I've heard many women talk about all the "things" they want in their houses but rarely talk about the spiritual journey they hope to have, with their husbands and future family. Whereas years ago women would say, "I hope my son knows and follows the word of God," today the young women are saying, "I hope my son makes lots of money." I realize not everyone is like this, but this represents what I've been hearing in my corner of the world.

In keeping with my attempt to have shorter articles, I will now proceed with the things that can be done in the first year of marriage at home.

These future brides wonder what they will do all day at home, while their husbands are at work. I used to sympathise with this question, while I was raising my family, but when they all grew up and I was left with just my husband in the house, I was ASTONISHED at how much time it actually took to look after one man again! You have to keep his clothes ready for work, remind him of his schedule, check his mail, show him the bills that need to be paid, keep track of some of his paper work, remind him of upcoming events, and keep him from losing his mind. I know a couple in retirement, where the wife is always always busy.She quilts and she gardens and she fills up her days at home, even though there is just one man to take care of.

Here are some things that have to be done, that take the entire day:

-If your husband is health conscious, you have to "get your food from afar" as did the Proverbs 31 woman, by seeking the best natural sources in the form of local farms and organic markets. This takes a lot of scrutiny and time.

-You will have to plan some menus so he won't get tired of having potatoes every night.
-You will have to pack his lunches. This in itself is a learned skill, that can be acquired that first year of marriage. You may need your mother's expert help for the first few days. Seasoned married women know how to make a packed lunch beautiful, nutritious, interesting, and sentimental.

-You will have to begin early in the day while he is gone, to get the evening meal ready. When he comes home, you need to have the major labor of it out of the way so you can relax with a cup of tea or a cool drink and visit with him. You need to have the table set. You need to have dinner on a back burner, warming. You need to have taken a shower and dressed in fresh clothing. You might not do this years later when you have children and live in a bigger house, but the first year of marriage is your honeymoon, and you will have more time to pay attention to yourself.

-You will need to have his clothes washed, pressed, mended, and ready for him to wear the next day. When he gets ready for work, you don't want him running around desperately looking for matching socks and shoes or trying to find his watch, his cellphone, his keys.
-In the morning you can make him a hot breakfast. When he leaves, you can clean up the kitchen and get out a project to do: maybe a new tablecloth and placemats, or framing a picture. You might need to go to a thrift store and find some things you need. While you are out, you can check on your mother and your new mother in law. Maybe you could take them a batch of cookies that you have baked. You have time to teach a younger girl something like sewing or crafting.

-The first year at home is a good time to send out thank you notes for the wedding and shower gifts. Many young married women neglect this.

-The first year at home is a great time to fix up your living quarters. It will give you the experience that you will need when you move to something else. I remember reading in an old magazine written in the 1800's called "The Dileanator" about a newly married girl, who had very little in the way of material possessions. From scraps of fabrics, she sewed together a table cloth, some napkins, curtains, and made coverings for the tops of boxes which she used as end tables and coffee tables. She did this by cutting the fabrics in strips and alternating them so that they matched. Smaller pieces were made into doilies by cutting them in circles (traced with a dinner plate) and stitching a border of lace around them. Her home, this article said, was the coziest of homes, and if I can find the article I will reprint it in full for you here. (Fabric scraps can also be used for card making. Just put saran wrap between the cardstock and the fabric, and using a press cloth on top, firmly press and let dry, repeat if necessary.)

In doing this, the young married woman shows an example to other young women just how it can be done. Learn to live on your husband's income that first year, and you will be well on your way to prosperity in the future. If you start out working, it will be almost impossible to quit, as your expenses will go up, and you will want to reward yourself by buying things, with your money.

In the story "When Queens Ride By," one of the theme articles on the side links, a woman tells her story about how her husband wanted her to go to work with him in his business when they first got married. She explained to him that a woman's place was in the home, and later he found out what an advantage it was to him to have one person to come home to who was calm, had a good day, and made life comfy for him. If he had a bad day at work, at least there was only one of them in a grumpy mood. This story was made into a movie on "The Loretta Young Show". It was one of the episodes, and I saw it myself when I was younger. It showed the difference it made when a woman cleaned up her house, took a bath and put on fresh clothing and put a hot dinner in the oven. It showed the difference it made in the men, who, instead of coming home to chaos, neglect and tension, came home to peace, beauty, order, happiness, smiles, cleanliness and good children. A woman cannot achieve all this without staying home and really concentrating on it during the day.

-The first year of marriage is a time to establish a routine. You will need this all of your life, and having that first year free, is crucial. If you wait, and do not come home until you have children, you'll feel huge pressures upon you. Learn to adjust to a homemaking routine when there is just you and your husband, and it will be much easier when additions come into the family.

I know there is so much more to this subject, but I've already gone beyond my self-imposed one page limit, so I'll let the others add their useful comments to this.

When a woman goes to work, she cuts herself off socially, from the home, the church, her parents. I have seen this many times, as a preacher's wife. Christian women know the importance of such spiritual qualities as accessibility, availability, and flexibility. Working away from home that first year cuts off your flexibilty and your accessibility. I remember when we were able to visit aunts and uncles and the aunts were home, so we visited with them until the husbands came home. Years later when so many women went to work, you couldn't make a trip to visit a relative because the women were not home anymore. You had to wait til they both got home, and when they did, they were in no mood to entertain. Homemakers are flexible with their time. Although we must get our houses in order, we know we can drop it all at a moment's notice and attend to something else when it comes up.

If you are bored, as a young married woman at home, then you are not discovering the work that must be done. You are not doing enough. Boredom does not exist in the mind of a thrifty, industrious, creative, spiritual person. If you will really apply yourself to the job and be the best you can possibly be, you will find that there is not enough time in a day to complete everything. You can begin sewing a skirt or dress on Monday and have a new one to wear by the following Sunday. Building your wardrobe through sewing, the first year, will prove to be one of the most important things you ever did, because the next years will keep you so busy you will not have time to do so.

Everyone remembers a lady I wrote about, a friend of mine that I see every week, who married at the age of 15. That first year her husband only earned a couple of dollars an hour. She kept a list of all they spent, with the receipts, and she figured out how to make his paycheck last for the month. She had kept a good relationship with her mother, who graciously helped them in many ways by fixing the little cottage up and inviting them over for meals

. Being a successful young married couple depends a lot on having a good relationship with the parents, who want to help in many ways. If the young woman goes to work, the parents will not see the need for such generosity. After all, the girl is working, they will reason, and will not have as great a need. Many young women in the past stayed home, even though there was no money or very little money. They used to say they could "live on love," and they were right. In that first year, their appreciation for each other dimmed the desire for worldly goods. They were happy to share their food and share their possessions.

Lauren Christine is newly married, and her blog shows the kind of contented busy-ness that I am talking about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hospitalty Can Revive the Home

Summer Porch by Kevin Liang, from Lovely Whatevers





And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galations 6: 9 -10

This can be a hard thing for a home maker to see. She notices daily that her work becomes undone as quickly as it is done. This is one reason that I like to sew or craft or have people over to show hospitality. These things are pleasant rewards for the daily cycle of life. Dishes and meals have to be done over and over, but something you sew or craft, stays around for awhile. One of the things I am teaching the young girls to do in sewing classes is to make their own table cloth and napkins. The project is actually quite small and is completed quickly, and the results are lasting. Sewing and crafts stay a lot longer than meals, and so they are a lasting reward.

Hospitality is another thing that will encourage the homemaker to keep doing well. Her home efforts pay off when she can share her work with her friends. I like to get the house all cleaned up and prepare the table for tea and sandwiches and invite someone over. They always like coming, even though my house is not new and updated. They just enjoy getting out and going to see someone. Hospitality is something I am afraid the younger women will neglect. It should be included in their lives regularly. It is something that the Lord took the trouble to mention specifically in the Bible. Yet today there is a great neglect of hospitality. I am sure many women have noticed it, too.

In spite of nice homes and prosperity, there seems to be more lonely hearts than ever. I believe that it is a result of the neglect of hospitality. Just inviting one person over for a cup of tea can lift them up and do wonders in their lives for days. I know that is how I feel when I have returned home from visiting a friend. It always inspires me to do well and not get discouraged. After a friend has invited me over, I look forward to inviting her back to my place.

So, if you are a young person and you get invited out, be sure to plan a time to return the favor. It is good practice. Too many times people are the recipient of good hospitality but they never extend it in return, or pass it on to anyone else.

Hospitality revives the giver the most. It makes the homemaker come alive as she bustles about and brisks her home up. She gets excited thinking about having someone over. Children sense that something special is in the air. They are greatly blessed by seeing their mother show hospitality. I really hope the young homemakers take this to heart because it puts life into the home and provides a personal ministry that is most refreshing. It gives you a chance to use your home for the Lord.

It is good to share our personal surroundings with others, and I have always been blessed by it. I have had only a few rude guests, and for the most part, hospitality has been a pleasant experience.

It is easy to grow faint and weary at the prospect of doing mounds of dishes and laundry every day, and preparing for hospitality adds a bit of glamor and brightness to that life.
PS. There are 500 posts on this blog, and only about a tenth of them are labelled yet. If you are looking for a subject, try typing in a word in the search area, or going through the archives.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vogue 8281

Since I am a seamstress, I am always looking for patterns. I found this in the 2008 dress collection at Vogue patterns.




MISSES’ TOP AND SKIRT: Loose-fitting, unlined top has shoulder pads and front and collar variations. Purchased trim. Below mid-calf or floor length skirt has back invisible zipper, hook and eye closure.
NOTIONS: Top A, B: 23/4 yds. of Soutach or Cording, 1/4" Shoulder Pads. Also Top A: 4 yds. of 1/2" - 5/8" Flexible Trim, thirty-two 1/2" Buttons. Also Top B: Thirty-four 1/2" Buttons. Skirt C, D: 7" Invisible Zipper, Two Hook and Eye Closures.
FABRICS: Tops: Crepe de Chine, Soft Faille, Velvet and Jacquard. Skirt: Lightweight Woolens, Embroidered Fabrics and Crepe. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals, plaids or stripes. Use nap yardages/layouts for pile, shaded or one-way design fabrics. *with nap. **without nap.
Combinations: AA(6-8-10-12), EE(14-16-18-20)
MISSES’ TOP AND SKIRT: Loose-fitting, unlined top has shoulder pads and front and collar variations. Purchased trim. Below mid-calf or floor length skirt has back invisible zipper, hook and eye closure.
NOTIONS: Top A, B: 23/4 yds. of Soutach or Cording, 1/4" Shoulder Pads. Also Top A: 4 yds. of 1/2" - 5/8" Flexible Trim, thirty-two 1/2" Buttons. Also Top B: Thirty-four 1/2" Buttons. Skirt C, D: 7" Invisible Zipper, Two Hook and Eye Closures.
FABRICS: Tops: Crepe de Chine, Soft Faille, Velvet and Jacquard. Skirt: Lightweight Woolens, Embroidered Fabrics and Crepe. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals, plaids or stripes. Use nap yardages/layouts for pile, shaded or one-way design fabrics. *with nap. **without nap.
Combinations: AA(6-8-10-12), EE(14-16-18-20)



If you look at the pictures on this page, this one stands out in a beautiful way. I love the color and the design. However, I noticed today it is sewn with special fabrics that I usually do not wear. I like cotton! I have sewn cottons before, when other fabrics were recommended, but not all patterns do well when the recommended fabric is not used. I enjoyed looking at this but not sure I would sew it.

Getting the Day Started

Room to Breathe, by Susan Rios, from Susan Rios Inc.



If you are adjusting to homemaking, you will find quite a few things different. It helps if you acquaint yourself with women who have mastered the art of home keeping, and get some ideas from them. One thing I learned was to get up and prepare a tray with a cup of tea or some other favorite drink, and go sit in a comfortable place.

While my eyes adjusted to the light and my brain began to wake up, I was to make a list of the days necessary work. In this list I put reminders of things I had to do at the market, or in various businesses in town: the bank, the post office, the gas station. Also, I included something like: 4:00 p.m. start getting dinner ready. For some people, it will be necessary to begin dinner earlier, if it is something that takes a bit more preparation. You have to account for time peeling potatoes or making a soup, if that is on the menu.

Another thing that was very important to me was to dress up as though I were going somewhere, even if I was not. This was the first thing on the list, always after a shower, using a favorite soap and cologne. Dressing in clothes that were clean and dignified, meant that I would approach my job in a serious way. That way, if I had to go out suddenly, I would not have to change my clothes, or be caught in dirty tennis shoes and a sloppy tee shirt.

If you wake up and feel overwhelmed, this is what seems to work for many homemakers:

Make yourself a cup of tea or favorite drink and put it in a fancy cup on a tray.

Sit in a comfortable place, even back in your bed, and while you sip your tea and eat your apple or orange or whatever you choose, make yourself a list of things you must do. It will help your mind to get moving in a logical way.

Get a shower or bath and get dress, fix your hair, and add scent. For mornings at home, I like light scents like strawberry, melon, pear, cucumber, etc. For afternoons, or evenings, maybe something a bit less energetic and sweeter like musk or vanilla. Just find one that inspires you and speaks to you of the mood of the day.

Smile.

If you are overwhelmed, just make a simple breakfast and get everyone fed so that you can concentrate on your tasks. As much as possible, get the family to help with the meal so that the burden is not all on you.

I have found that if I can at least get the front room, the one that is first seen from the front door, clean, it gives me confidence to do other things. That room is quite easy to put in order and beautify. The dining area, the bathroom, and the bedrooms should be next. Just go through and pick up and straighten up and clean up. Listening to your favorite music helps, and having a candle lit can bring a feeling of peace while you work. I was taught to save the kitchen til last, but others might prefer to do it first, and I can see the wisdom in that.


The way to maintain the work you have already done is this: on your way to the door, or the bathroom, or the bedroom, just check around and pick up and put away anything out of place. While in the living room or kitchen for other reasons, look around with a critical eye and put things away. It is actually more work to save things for a cleaning day. If you get in that automatic habit, your children will also pick up the habit of "cleaning as you go" and "picking it up, not passing it up."

One very motivating thing to do is to have someone over for tea and scones after I've prepared my house. It is nice to share the results of my labors and give someone else the inspiration to do the same. I love the conversation of other ladies who love their roles at home, and I have never been disappointed in their visits. If you need ideas for tea table themes, go here to this delightful site http://www.teas2dine4.com/ideas.html Check out www.teatimemagazine.com for some colorful recipes, and be sure to look at Lovely Whatevers for the lovely pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mood Lifters

Lighthouse, by Ghambaro,
available at Lovely Whatevers


Everyone feels a bit lonely or sad at sometime in their lives. Even the great men and women of the Bible experienced feelings of sadness or emotional stress. I have been collecting mood lifting ideas from friends, and have come up with several good things that will not destroy your finances.


There is a tendency to believe that buying something expensive will make a person feel better. This may be true but the feeling soon passes and then the realization that such extravagance has broken the budget can bring on a worse depression. In particular, having something with a label on it seems to make people feel better. However, once you are at home, no one knows what the signature is on your shoes or your sunglasses. It is surprising how boys and girls as young as 12, strongly desire to have a name label on their jeans or their shirts. They do not realize that they are making rich people richer, and making themselves much poorer.


Having lived long before such labels existed, I never desired them. Knowing how to make many things brought a degree of contentment to the older generation, and many of us were never impressed with a signature on a product. When you can make your own things, you can also add your own signature to them, whether it be hand made stationery and cards, or bags.


It is tempting to go out and buy something for a mood lifter, but for those who do not want to harm their bank account or collect too many pairs of shoes, there are alternatives. Calling a friend, if she is of a cheerful nature, is always helpful. Doing something for someone else can help that self-pitying feeling to disappear. If you have a stash of fabric, sewing something new for the home or something new to wear, can lighten a cloudy mood.

I think there are some beautiful shops to visit and I go there when I need to have some bling in my day. I may buy some little thing, but the experience of it is what I am looking for: I like the colors and the arrangements. It is like visiting someone, but these types of shops are about the home, not about wearing labels. For example, I like to look at high quality sheets and towels and good dishes!


If every sense is tested, it is possible to find things that give the mood an instant lift:


Scent: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of chocolate flavored coffee beans or ground coffee. Even if you don't drink it, the scent will lift your mood.


Sound: The dollar stores often have very good soothing music on CDs, which make the sad heart smile again. If you can't do that, singing a song does amazing things for the mood.


Sight: Often, just cleaning up a corner of the house and staging it for photographs, can make you feel happier.


Taste: Various flavors, like orange, mint, cinnamon, strawberries or chocolate, and even comfort foods like potatoes and corn, can make you feel better.


Touch: This is an even more interesting area. Apparently, we deprive ourselves of much pleasure by limiting our choices in life. If we spend all day only doing one thing, we do not receive the good feelings in our sense of touch. Handling fabrics and yarn, kneading bread, preparing food, hanging out clothes and bringing them in when dry, ironing, making the bed with fresh sheets, ---the list is endless--translates the feeling from the touching of the fingers, to the brain. If we only swept the floor all day, or only used the keyboard all day, we would not receive the extraordinary benefits that the touch brings.



In the old days before shopping was a popular hobby, women used to lift their moods by visiting a friend, or washing their hair, writing a letter, singing, making cinnamon rolls, or maybe putting on a newly ironed dress. In those days everything was ironed, and each garment felt brand new when we wore it. If clothes were dried in the sun, it seemed to put a special starch in it. These things caused no harm, while making things better than they were before.



I am looking forward to seeing what people can add to this list of mood lifters.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Family Scene

Psalm: 68:6 "God setteth the solitary in families..."



Table For Tea, by Ghambaro


available from Lovely Whatevers


The most important people in our lives will be our families. The most important investment we will ever make will be in our relationships at home. We can really make a difference at home because we have the time to set a table and eat around it, sharing our thoughts and our values with each other.
Included on this post is the book where I got some of the altered box ideas. This page shows the ice cream containers.
Although it is a Christmas book, the crafts could be adapted to any season or color or theme.

"Christmas With Victoria," Volume VI is a good quality hardback book, well illustrated.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

In Quietness and Hope

" In returning and rest you shall be saved; and in quietness and hope shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Whatsoever Things Are Lovely..

"whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. " Philippians 4:8

The Proposal, by British painter, Sydney Muschamp, (1851-1929)

To see a larger view of this painting, go to Lovely Whatevers

Many years ago I home educated my children in classical education, which included English painters of the 19th century. I believe with all my heart that a classical education enhances the home and elevates the mind to the good, the lovely, the pure and the truthful.


As the children ,study great art, the inventions, earth science, the heavens (telescopes and all) , history, (with biographies of many world leaders and many common people as well) early exploration, Blackstones Law, mathematics, grammar, speech, drama....the list goes on; it is reflected in life at home.


The bookshelf changes with the addition of great works, the walls change with the addition of beautiful art, the furnishings change with the addition of learning skills in architecture, room arrangement, textile knowledge, sewing, resourcefulness, etc.

As learning continues in things like nutrition and gardening, the palate and the appearance of the plate changes! As speech and drama emerge, the children begin speaking differently at home and as logic and writing are learned, they begin to produce their own newspapers and start their own classes. I believe the home is greatly benefited by the classical education.


The Bible in particular comes alive as its meanings are grafted into the soul. The music of Handel and Hayden and others, take on a new significance, in its relationship to the poetry in Scripture. Our interest in these things gives life a great purpose. Life at home becomes sacred and important. Honoring of parents is one of the great products of a classical education, or at least, it was for us, as we saw our children happy and productive and able to live right. The final blessing was to see their high regard for the sanctity of the home and their trust in God.
On the Beach by Sydney F. Muschamp




I've posted this art piece by Sydney Muschamp, (British, 1851-1929) called "The Proposal," from Lovely Whatevers, where more of his art is displayed.


A brief biography of this painter:

Muschamp’s brush was motivated by his love of the past and he concentrated on portraying Shakespearean, Classical and Baroque lifestyles. This becomes quite evident, when reviewing titles of paintings he exhibited during his lifetime – these include: The Merchant of Venice, The Sonnet, Much Ado about Nothing, Juliet and her Nurse, The Fool and Maria: A Scene for ‘Twelfth Night’, The Winning of the Golden Fleece and Ivanhoe.

Born in Hull, the artist lived in London and exhibited his works between 1870 – 1903 at many of the major halls, including: the Royal Academy; Suffolk Street; Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham; Dudley Gallery & New Dudley Gallery; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Manchester City Gallery; Royal Society of British Artists; Royal Hibernian Academy; and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He died in 1929. http://www.rehs.com/Francis_Sydney_Muschamp_Bio.html




Llandudno Beach by Sydney Muschamp
Looking into the paintings gives a glimpse of the textiles and homes of the era. I always enjoy seeing the architecture and the interiors, including draperies, tassels, fireplace mantels, clocks, mirrors, chairs, rugs, window seats, floors, etc. Many other things in the beach paintings can be observed, but I will let the readers do that!

Friday, June 06, 2008

And that ye study to be quiet....

...and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." Ist Thessalonians 4:11-12

My mantel for June...the one place that no one lives in or touches or parks their wallets, eyeglasses, mail or keys! This is the new poster from Lovely Whatevers


More June Mantels and June House Tours:


http://www.enchantedtreasures.com/mantel-of-the-month/?month=6&year=2008

http://theoldpaintedcottage.wahmweb.com/store/WsPages.asp?ID=3

http://www.shabbysuite.com/articles.php?article=8



The verse I posted today reminds me that working with my own hands can prevent "want" or poverty. Money seems to go out as quickly as it comes in. Living on your income may require some imagination and some inspiration and some innovation. Resourcefulness is a great blessing. It means that we can make many things that we might have thought we could only buy. I've been to see a sight about the pioneer spirit, that shows how to make everything from your own potato chips to your own catsup (ketchup, tomato sauce) condiments, and cereal. There are a lot of things we do not have to buy, if we are trying to save money. If we buy everything, and make nothing, it is hard to keep up with the grocery bill. Even with a large income, the grocery bill comes in next highest to the rent or house payment. I am not saying women should feel obligated to do this, but that in a pinch, there are alternatives.
Studying is referred to in several places in the Bible, and it is always in reference to studying that which is good, lovely, pure, and builds the inner man.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Altered Boxes

I just added this card which is made with the saran-wrap or plastic wrap method. Cut a piece of fabric from your fabric scraps and layer a piece of saran wrap beneath it and iron it on the same size card. I use a press cloth to keep the iron from getting sticky. Then, trim excess plastic wrap, and add glitter or glitter glue. This one, I sent to a friend. For a tutorial on how to make these, go to Kelli's House





These are altered round boxes that were formerly cans of almonds. Using scrap papers and paper doilies, and a few pieces of sparkly cord, this is what can be done with them. The finished pieces are then slathered with a layer of clear glaze that has glitter in it, a product from Folkart paints. The rose embellishments are stickers, outlined in a glitter glue called Dimensions. Click on for a larger view. These two boxes, one of them an empty tea box, are covered in Carol Wilson art papers. Each has holes punched in the sides and a rope strung through, and each is glazed with the glitter paint from Folkart.







This is the ice cream container. It had to be washed out with cold water and not soaked, so that it would keep its shape. Then after it was thoroughly dry, it was lined with art paper and covered on the outside as well. It is a good craft for children, using things you already have. If you have no scrap paper collection, you can use calendar pictures or magazine clippings, like we used to do before all these papers were available.




Check out this interesting piece about a descendent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, from
"Little House on the Prairee" fame. http://quillcottage.blogspot.com/




The Pleasant Times is updated, and today there is an article about how the Shermans are not welcome in the south. I must protest and say that my husband's name was not always Sherman, but originally "Shereman", related to the "Clothier" family, associated with sheep-shearing and clothing. We are not really related to other Shermans, and not General Sherman, who burned Atlanta, Georgia, during the Civil War. I've a mind to change it back to the original spelling, which was altered by Great-great-great Grandfather, who admired General Sherman. I have historical proof that my husband's family was Shereman and not Sherman!


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June Victorias

I have a tradition of getting out the old issues of Victoria. Here are ten years worth of issues beginning with the premier issue in 1988.

This is the cover of one of the first issues in 1988.

Here is a look inside of the first issue. Now you know why so many people were sentimental about the original Victoria magazines.


For online Victoria newsletter go here http://www.victoriamag.com/

There is a blogger in Germany here http://ein-stueck-garten.blogspot.com/search/label/Creative%20Sewing who does lovely hand work. It is an inspiration to look at!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Home Management Booklet


I do not have a home management binder, although I used one many years ago. I believe you really need one when you first start out in your own home, just to get your mind focused on what is important and to keep from getting behind in the management of the home. However, as years go by, you, like me, may find that after using the h.m.b. often, you memorize a lot of things and will have no need for the large book on a daily basis. I now use little notebooks from the Dollar Tree, or make my own. I wanted to show how I made my own for the month of June. My daughter and I are trying to use up all our scrap papers and stickers, and these were perfect for this little book. The covers are made from Miss Elizabeth's short stack of scrap papers, from Dollar Tree. The stickers also come from the Miss Elizabeth supply only at Dollar Tree. I punch holes for the ribbon to bind the booklet. Click on photos for a closer view.


The inside covers have a pocket I pasted in from the scrap papers. The white pages are from computer paper. Notice I fold the shopping list so I can tear it off and put it in my purse. This booklet will also fit in a purse. You can put recipe cards in the pockets when you go to the market. The columns on the work page are: Things to Do, Menu, Write, Phone, and Extra. The extra things will be the fun things I like to reward myself with (after washing that humungous pile of dishes, or cleaning the bathroom) like altered boxes or gift-giving.




Here are some of the divider papers in the back of the book. The front of book has about 15 pages and I will use the other sides of the pages also, so that it will last a month. If I don't want to re-do the cover, I can always take out old pages and add new ones for the next month.



This is what the tabs look like. They are just cut from the pink paper.





Here is what one of the subject pages looks like. I think you can click on for a larger view.






I saved the cellophane from the package of scrap paper, and slipped it on the cover of the booklet, because it was already a perfect fit. Be sure to click on these photos for a larger view.


I believe every day is exquisitely sweet and special. There is no dull or dark day when we can do things like this to brighten it. I think the things we glance at will feed our minds depression or happiness, so I really do appreciate having a beautiful notebook to refer to aid me in home keeping. I have named this booklet the "house keeper" because it keeps all the notes I need to manage things daily.




Each woman is different, and needs to design her own book. I used various books over the years and since the organizer book authors don't know my personal life style, they never had the things I really needed in it. Notice too that I do not put the times in this. If I had to look at things like "8:00 am, 9 a.m., 10 a.m." I would be too anxious. Without the times there, I usually get things done ahead of time. There are no pre-dated pages, because there will be days that I do not use the book. If I had a deadline, I might write emphatically on the page "Pick up husband at 2 pm at the airport," but I do not keep a by-the-clock schedule because I have been doing this for so many years that I'm on automatic pilot. I know I have to eat lunch at noon, because I am hungry, and because the clock says 12, so I don't have to write it down.




I challenge any place of work where a woman is, to produce a schedule book for her that can appeal to her sense of beauty, and touch her heart, the way these personal homemaker notebooks can.

The Bible says that there is a season for everything, so a woman can adjust her life to whatever comes her way, whether it be seed time or harvest. The home organizing notebook allows her to do what needs to be done, but still remain alert to needs at hand, and adjustable to unforseen problems.

With this method, you can make any kind of special book you want: a guest book all in white with roses around the edges, a garden book to keep track of when and what you planted, a child's scrap book, a gift book with selected stickers and quotes. When you need something, first ask yourself "Can I make one?" and then look around for possible materials. That way, you can use money for things that would be impossible for you to make. The total cost of this project is less than a dollar, and the materials left over will make quite a few more things.


For some beautiful pictures for your home, please look at Lovely Whatevers. I have added some beautiful paintings by Dennis Lewan.
The Pleasant Times is featuring an ettiquette article today. Since I've been blogging, I get some flames and insulting emails. Mrs. Humphrey (apparently related historically to a king in England) has engaged an ettiquette lady on her staff, who takes my flame mail and tries to make sense of it. Check out the new article on The Ettiquette of Summer Dressing.

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