Although I have taught a lot of homemaking classes, I had never attended a Titus 2 class taught by anyone else,( which is a time when older women teach younger women how to guide their homes and become good wives, mothers and homemakers), and when I received an invitation from a lady to come and observe her first class, I gladly went. It was more than I expected! I travelled quite a ways from my home and was so pleasantly greeted by this lovely Victorian Farm House with its pretty porch and oval window door. Nearby was the soothing sound of a creek, where the hostess can go for rest and relaxation.
Having grown children, Mrs. J. now looks after the needs of her husband's parents and her own parents, and yet wants to share some of her life with young girls. There were 5 students in this class, including one of the mothers who wanted to learn alongside her daughters. The girls were just delightfully eager to learn. Mrs. J. began with a well-set tea table which I would like to describe to you. She had a floral oval cloth on her oval table, and on top of that she laid a white see-through lace cloth, giving a wonderfully Victorian look of depth, fullness and warmth to the table. I had never done this with a printed table cloth, but the effect was so beautiful that I am eager to try it.
Each tea setting was from her collection of tea cups which she had procured from yard sales, antique stores, and second-hand stores, and the young ladies felt so special being offered such pretty vessels to drink from. Mrs. J. showed them how to drink from the cup and hold the saucer close to catch any drips. She served a light, fluffy scone with cream and jam and explained a little of the technique of making perfect scones: do not over-work your dough, but pat it gently after kneading it only 6 or 7 times.
Our hostess is using a book called "Polished Cornerstones," which she let us look through, and which is well worth the investment, for it covers all aspects of life at home. Her lesson began with instructions about modest dressing, and modest sitting. After demonstrating how to sit on a tall stool in a kitchen, a regular chair and yes, the carpet or ground, each student was allowed to practice and see if they could do it. She showed how you could be modest when sitting in all these places, and how a long skirt could help you sit more modestly in all situations. She was wearing a pretty blouse and a long skirt and apron.
Mrs. J. then took us on a tour of her kitchen, where she had things set up in what she called stations. Her baking ingredients were in top shelves, where she had installed lowering spice racks and her baking equipment and pans were directly underneath in the lower cabinets. She had a drink station, a dinner station, formal dinner station, and other places where she had organized her kitchen with helpful slide-out organizing units to store her kitchen things more efficiently, all from a Lowe's store in her area.
Organizers help keep the baking station neat.
She showed each student how to hold a broom and angle it to sweep the floor effectively, and instructed them on other things concerning sweeping.
When the kitchen tour was completed, Mrs. J. took her students upstairs to the sewing room, where she gave the first lesson in sewing, and began their first project, a bag in which to hold a travel iron, after learning to thread a sewing needle and tie the knot. As an iron is a companion to sewing, this is a useful container that will serve her students well.
Door racks and pull-out drawers make it easy to store things, find them, and keep them neat.
Married in 1969 at the age of 18, Mrs. J. and her husband have spent nearly 40 years developing their dream home. In the beginning, when her husband was earning $200.00 a month, they rented a garage to live in, in which they bought only the bare necessities to live on, and that did not include a phone. However, as time went by, they prospered from this frugality: Mrs. J. says,
Five years later in 1975 we were able to afford our first down payment on a fixer-upper house. We improved the house with a new roof, half a house room addition, fence, veg. garden, a postage stamp orchard of fruit trees and a concrete driveway, paint and stucco on the outside of the home. I planted trees in the front yard for shade and privacy because we lived on a busy street.
We drove old fixer-upper cars because my husband was handy at repairing them. I sewed many of mine and our child's clothes and my husband was able to save some money every payday. We didn't eat out much or go to movies. We entertained our children and made our own fun. Holidays were special and we made a big deal out of baking, and making handmade gifts and cards.
In 2005 we designed and built our final home using home plan magazines. We found a home plan we liked and tweaked the plans to customize the house for our needs. Then we contacted a draftsman to draw up the blueprints according to our design. I had 40 years to plan where everything would go, how we would use the house right down to the way I wanted the kitchen arranged. It had to be a large kitchen because we planned on having a large garden and orchard. I loved the cottage style farm houses of the Victorian era so I designed the house to appear Cottage Victorian with wood gingerbread trim and fish scale siding over the front porch peak. We found a contractor who gave us a bid we could work with and a time frame to look forward to.
The drink station as everything she needs to make tea or cool drinks, without having to walk to distant places in the kitchen to gather supplies.
We need to know the stories of how people have built their lives and their homes, not all of a sudden, but patiently, over time, with goals in mind. This is a great encouragement to people, and they should also know, that even in the tiny garage apartment they can live a beautiful life and create good memories. Much of this depends upon the woman, who puts a lot of time and effort into making a home homey and creating family dinners and special moments. Mrs. J. has been a homemaker from a very young age, and yet, she still was able to have a home and the things that mean the most to a woman. Her husband gladly earned the living from the age of 21, and she carefully looked after their income, looked after their children, and created contentment even in the poorest of circumstances. This was the first Titus 2 class she had taught, and I thought she had an excellent presentation.
View of her kitchen.
During the sewing class, she invited me to share a homemaking scrapbook that I had made for my daughter between the years of 7 and 11. There were no scrapbook materials as we know them, available at the time, so I put together some pretty typing papers and did the best I could at the time.
This is the cover, decorated with an advertisement for a plate, from a magazine, and holes punched to thread ribbon through. The book looks old and faded but at the time it was made, the quality of the papers was not high, and things available to us such as glues and acid-free supplies, were limited.
Little handmade dividers glued in to show the different subjects in the notebook.
From a sewing pattern, she made a pair of felt skates for a doll. You recognize the fold-out house card here, as I have given a printable pattern for it earlier on this blog. The fan came from directions in a pioneer girls book.
From a quilting magazine, she learned to make different
kinds of patterns. She did not make entire quilts at this stage, but enjoyed trying different blocks. This is a block called "Windmill."
This was from a Victorian doll dress pattern, where she learned to stitch tucks, sew a set-in puffed sleeve, do cuffs, collar, and add trim.
We scrapbooked different decorating styles,
and found things in magazines about foods and cooking.
She learned to crochet, and knit, just a sample. The crocheted item is a circle, the same as a doily, with a ribbon threaded through the holes to make a doll hat.
Learning to teach a Bible lesson to little children, we
saved several patterns and samples so that she could be prepared if she
ever needed to help.
Example of a child's Bible class craft depicting a house where the doors and windows all open to reveal an indoor scene.
Landscaping was included, as well as architecture. In those days we had no access to copy machines, so the favorite architecture and house designs were kept in the books.
We created a pocket in the back page, where we tucked pages from magazines that had instructions on the other side.
Our hostess allowed me to share this book, and hopefully with the marvellous scrapbook materials available these days, the girls will save samples of their own work in pretty memory books.
More of Mrs. J.s Home: