Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making A Home Anywhere: Lessons for Young Ladies


The Homecoming by Jennie Brownscombe, American 1850-1936  Click on the picture for a larger view.

Art by Susan Rios
(This artist's  “favorite things” are wicker chairs,  pretty tablecloths, lace, vintage china and teapots, and bird
and butterfly objects.)

I have been lately stressing to young ladies who live at home with their parents how important it is to learn every aspect of home life, so that they can one day easily settle in to their own homes and confidently make a home for their families. 

Sometimes young girls do not realize that their parents may have begun their first home with nothing, or very little in the way of material things. They may need to learn how to make a home anywhere, and make home living important. Even if they expect to be well-off,  they should at least be prepared to live in reduced circumstances if they have to. I think it is important to prepare for a hard life, rather than an easy one, and to know how to be resourceful (finding resources from other things) and make many things from basic ingredients, and how to substitute when they do not have everything they want. 




 (I like how these artists put paintings inside their own paintings.)


Southern Hospitality






When I was very young, my family, and others like us in those circumstances during homestead days, lived in tents while our houses were being built. In spite of that, our mothers rolled up the bedding each day (which we then used as seating), swept the floor, shook out all the towels and clothes and hung them on hooks, cooked meals, washed dishes, washed clothes, and in general made life happy and pleasant. While not everyone will have to do this in their lives, they should prepare for it in case they have to do it.  Not everyone will begin with a big, furnished house. Quite a lot of good information can be gleaned from homestead sites on the web, and of course, it depends upon the teachers and the kinds of things they wish to provide for their classes. Every homemaking class is different and people do things their own way, depending on their climate and their needs.



Some commenter's spoke of making a home in the most humble circumstances, and I have enjoyed looking at the little trailer that was fixed up here, http://rosevinecottagetwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-camper.html  as well as visiting her links which show creative ideas for fixing up old things, as well as using fabrics and natural resources to make the family feel rich while living within their incomes. Another camper can be seen here, which is called a Cottage on Wheels.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Homemaking Class










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:









Sunday, September 12, 2010

Printer Friendly


Summer Roses
by Edmund Blair Leighton

This site helps you turn web pages into printer-friendly pages easily, and it is free. I typed in Home Living and it brought up the article only, without all the sidebar things.  If you are having any problems getting printed pages here, this site should work.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Of Interest to Young Ladies: A Quiet Place

Springtime in the Fields


Springtime in the Fields
Dahl, Hans...


Hardanger Fjord




The lovely paintings of three 19th century Norwegian artists, Johan Christian Clausen Dahl (1788-1847), Hans Dahl (1881-1919) and Hans Andreas Dahl (1849-1937) exhibit the sweet freedom of young ladies surrounded by mountain majesty and quiet waters.  It was, however, very difficult for me to distinguish between these three painters,  particularly between Hans Dahl, and his son, Hans Andreas Dahl.  Some of the art sites were inconsistent in their claim of artists, saying that the ones by Hans Dahl were done by his son, and vice-versa.  It is good that father and son shared their values so closely that one could not tell their art apart. They must have been wrought together at the heart.




Summer Morning Before the Fjord
by Hans Dahl   1881 - 1919  or  Hans Andreas Dahl, 1849-1937

One reason that it is so hard to figure out the difference in these artists, is that the styles of clothing and hair stayed fairly consistent between 1800 and 1900, the period of time that these three artists lived. The length of skirts and hair seem to have been long, and other artists of the period have shown the same thing in their paintings of women.




Summer in the Mountains of Norway
by Hans Dahl


I have included these paintings in this lesson for young ladies, because I believe that the faces show genuinely happy expressions from freedom, quiet, surrounded by God's big garden. In today's jaded world, it is rare to see young women with countenances that show a pure love of life.

 Youth was once a time of care free days and wonderment, with time for learning to be creative and observant, but today, many young women carry around a huge burden of discouragement and despondency.  Today, I hope to share some things that might be of value on  how to overcome that discouragement and develop confidence in life.

One of the most basic things to creating a sense of well-being and ultimately, happiness, is time spent in beautiful solitude. I have been trying to encourage young ladies to find a quiet place each day, in which to take in the word of God, speak to God, and  find ways to creatively carry out His will. On several occasions, Christ asked his disciples to come away with him to a quiet place.



Our hymns admonish us to seek quiet places to be alone: I Come to the Garden Alone, There Is A Place of Quiet Rest, and many more. Spend some time alone singing all the verses of these old songs.

  A quiet place can be a back yard garden, if you have one, and if it has enough privacy. If there is not a place like this, there might be an opportunity to create one.  Indoors, a girl might find a quiet corner with just a chair by a window, or a special desk where she can keep her Bible and some writing materials.

We begin by finding as many places in the Bible where the word "quiet" appears. Carefully write out the verses, decorate them with borders, and think about them. Let God speak to you through the scriptures. Speak to God through prayer.  Translate the words into your life. With prayer and God's help, you may be able to do them.

 The word "quiet" has great significance to God, for His Word records the following:

Psalm 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
1Th 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The last verse here, which is Ist Peter 3:4, is very significant. It shows how the Lord admires the quietness.  While it is good to have some social skills, God has said that he prizes the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Cultivate this quietness in your life by finding at place apart from the noise and haste, each day. It will renew your mind. The busy world around us can be very uncertain and upsetting. Those quiet times in life will provide stability.


A Young Harvester At Sunlight, by Hans Dahl






Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Edmund B. Leighton: A Brush With Refinement


Edmund Blair Leighton, British Painter 1853-1922


A few years ago, the only paintings I knew of Edmund B. Leighton were Stitching the Standard and Favour.  Many more of his paintings have gone to auction and been photographed and reproduced for the public to enjoy. He was very talented at painting human figures, and so accurate with his backgrounds of bridges, doorways, entries, buildings and other structures, that one might think his secondary interest was architecture. Linger a little at each painting and look into the backgrounds. Notice the roof tops, the gates, the boardwalks, the oval entries and the building structures. He included these in many of his backgrounds.

During his life as an artist, his critics claimed he was just living in the past, and that his art would probably be unknown to future generations. How wrong they were: today, thanks to people who share his work on the web,  Edmund B. Leighton's canvases are enjoyed by young and old alike and his work is probably more popular than it was during his own lifetime. His paintings are a little evidence to we moderns of the clothing and building materials that people admired.

As you look at the paintings and read the titles, you can certainly see what Edmund Blair Leighton admired the most in life: ladies going to or coming home from worship services, gentlemen tipping their hats, beautiful fabrics, country scenery, and stone structures on which he sometimes signed his name. By beholding the paintings for awhile, you can probably figure out the story going on in each one.

I have posted here only a fraction of the paintings now available for public viewing.  Some of the paintings seemed to me to be a kind of series, as they had similar themes and faces.He collected swords, helmets, furniture and other things from former days, which he used as props for his paintings. His wife reportedly helped him a great deal by sewing the costumes depicted in his paintings.  He painted a world that was fast fading from his own times. Those who live the country life today will be able to appreciate the scenes created by  this Victorian artist.


Sunday Morning, 1891
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Nibble
by Edmund Blair Leighton


Waiting
by Edmund Blair Leighton

The Gallant Suitor
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Quiet Moment
by Edmund Blair Leighton


After (church) Service
by Edmund Blair Leighton


Chaff
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Sorrow and Song
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Look carefully in the background of this painting and see the story that is going on. I wonder if the boat in the distance is carrying a family in mourning, hence, the title that was given. The young lady in the boat in the foreground seems to be looking over at the other boat, making me wonder what she is thinking. Edmund Blair Leighton's paintings all seemed to have a story going on inside of them.

Wash Day 1898
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Ribbons and Laces
by Edmund Blair Leighton



A Wet Sunday Morning
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Sweet Solitude
by Edmund Blair Leighton




Favour
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Lay Thy Sweet Hand in Mine And Trust Me
by Edmund B. Leighton


On the Threshold
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Fond Farewell
by Edmund B. Leighton

Lilacs
by Edmund B. Leighton


The Request
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Leighton in 1816
by Edmund B. Leighton

The Shadow
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Market Day
by E. B. Leighton

September
by E.B. Leighton

The Golden Train
by Edmund B. Leighton


Courtship
by E.B. Leighton


Stitching the Standard
by E.B. Leighton



The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton.


A few years ago I reviewed briefly the plight of these Victorian painters who brought life so vividly to the canvas and compared them to the 19th century radicals who wanted to squirt paint all over the place and call it art, leaving only the most sophisticated intellectual to understand it.

 Paintings such as those you see listed here, need very little more than a glance to reach your heart with their message, and it takes only a moment to see the story inside of it. The average person does not have to have the painting explained to them. 

 When the modern-art painters came on the scene, they knew they would need more than just a showing of their paintings, to make them popular and to sell, so they ridiculed the Victorian painters and their work, using the media to print all kinds of things that would create doubt about the value of their work. 

 They could not exist, side by side, with this wonderful art,  so, some of them  put powerful pressure on the museums and art schools to remove the old paintings and substitute the modern art, with verbal shame tactics that made people feel they were not being fair or open minded if they did not exhibit the modern art and put aside the realists. 

 Seventy-five to a hundred years later, the old paintings surfaced out of the attics and basements and back rooms, and were put on auction.  What a loss that even our own grandparents had never seen art like this, as it was hidden from the eyes of the world for so long, to make way for the likes of Picasso (a communist who hated America but who gladly took the money from the American people for his "art"), and Henry Matisse, Edward Munch, Marc Chagall, and many others. 

 Visiting a nearby museum that featured Winterhalter in one room, and, across from that room,  a modern artist, visitors naturally drifted to Winterhalter. The modern artists were long deceased, but they must have observed this during their own time, and figured the only thing to do to promote their work would be to get rid of the competition.  They succeeded for many years in keeping many of the Victorian paintings in the dark. 

 As more of these beautiful paintings come to light, I realize what a great influence they are on refinement and manners of our own times. Perhaps that is what it was all about: a war between the rude and the crude, and the refined and the mannerly. The way the prevailing culture dresses and behaves, looks more like "The Scream" than "Coming Home From Church." 

 I have been ridiculed, without success, by these same kinds of liberals, for years, over my insistence that these beautiful Victorian paintings, which can be purchased as posters, should be on display on the poster racks at WalMart, instead of pictures of  the so-called stars that young women drool over.  Both have an influence, but one will be positive, and one will be deadening and negative.  One kind of art gives life and optimism in the hearts of young people. Another, gives them a dead-end.

 Pictures do have an influence on young people, and that is why I say that they need to have these kinds of paintings in their rooms to wake up to in the morning. If parents cannot afford them, then, at least, they can buy calendars with good art on them.  I am currently working on a Leighton calendar for next year, which I will offer here. If that cannot be done, at least, show them the paintings and encourage them to make their own, or just to observe nature and scenery around them at every opportunity, enjoying God's great big painting of the sky and the sea and the land. Young people are either going to scare us all to death in the future, with their values, or they are going to inspire and give us security in knowing they will follow what is good and right. Good art has an effect on their souls.

These artists are still inspiration, as we note their time in history, which was a time of turmoil. Having lived through national calamities and wars, they continued to produce beautiful, peaceful paintings that showed the glory of God's creation, dignity and honour.

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