Tuesday, April 25, 2006


When your life is based in the home, you might as well make it the most wonderful place on earth. There are certain elements that make home life different than anything else. Some things that change the over all look and atmosphere of the home are surprisingly simple and only require a few cents and a little bit of effort.

*Use all your senses--touch, smell and taste, sight, and sound, and get an over-all feeling for your home. Use a combination of old and new, handmade and purchased items to give it that homey feeling.

*Use colors in the house that make you like best and feel happiest around.

*Make the most of light. Don't block windows where there is a pleasant view to certain spots of your yard around your house. Arrange furniture in such a way that it takes advantage of the daylight, or the sunset.

*Line up books according to their subject and size, or for a change, try putting them in color categories, according to the color of the binding.

*Add interesting touches to your house cleaning: a photo in a shelf of books, or a left over gift-wrap inside of a drawer. The number of things you can do to make things beautiful while putting things in order, is limitless.

*Clean up the living room on your way to retire at night. When you get up in the morning, your mood will not go down immediately, as it often does when we wake up to piles of disorganization.

*While reaching into a space such as a cabinet or refrigerator to get something, take a second to neaten and discard empty containers.

*Think about breakfast the night before, so that it can be planned to be more leisurely even if you have a time limit. Set the table and prepare what you can ahead of time to be retreived easily from the fridge.

*If you'll allow yourself time in the morning to prepare your appearance for anything (company, being called suddenly outside the home), you will set your mood on the upside in the very beginning of the day. If possible, dress to compliment your home. Home sewing is a great advantage, in that the sewer can sew clothing for inspiration as well as use.

*When you change your bedding, engage the help of someone to turn the mattress around so that it has equal wear and tear all around it. Make a decorative pillow to add to the newly made bed. I used to make these pillows whenever my husband had to go on a trip, and now I enjoy quite a number of them on the beds, from a birdcage shaped cushion to a large pink pig, and satin heart-shapes with ruffles for the guest room.

*If you haven't pruned your apple tree, you can cut down the shoots just when the buds appear on them, bring them into the house and perch them in a large tin vase on a table, to watch them unfold into those enchanting pink apple blossoms.

*The dollar store has a scented cleaning product that doesn't seem as toxic as commercial products, which comes in lime, berry, vanilla or other scents, which you can put on a cloth to wipe your sinks, cabinests, floors,or just about anything except wood, in the kitchen or bathroom. Get one in the color that goes with your decor, and it helps make cleaning pleasant.

*If you don't like to burn candles for light and scent, there are now battery opperated candles from www.victoriantradingcompany.com and some electric ones with scented bulbs from www.thecountryhouse.com

* If you have small trash cans in different rooms, always line them with a plastic bag. It is very unsanitary to put trash directly into a container, which collects mold and mildew and requires cleaning. You can purchase scented trash bags or use plastic grocery sacks which you can scent yourself by placing those "free" perfume strips on cards that you often get in the mail or in promotional sales flyers in the mail. Emily Barnes suggests you add a paper doily to the edge and fold the bag over the container, tying it down with a wired ribbon.

*Keep a basket or atrractive container by the front door to collect items that must be returned or delivered somewhere else. If you have a stairs, keep a container to collect items to go upstairs in one trip.

*Have an assortment of "house ingredients" to make your house complete: books, lamps, pillows, wrought iron, shiny metal, lighting (lamps, candles, etc), wood, rugs and floor coverings, crystal and glass, ceramics, and cloth items. Everyone has some of these things, and they can be combined to make your surroundings comforting and bright.

*If you have children, they need to grow up in the most cheerful atmosphere possible. YOU can do it better than anyone else. Create a decor that will having meaning to them. Take them on a house tour of your own dwelling, pointing out the reason that things are being used or placed where they are, where they came from, and why they were chosen. This "house appreciation" tour will increase their love for their home and family.

*Keep a house journal, with pictures of progress you have made. Include a pocket to keep purchase papers and care instructions, receipts and paperwor. Write dates that things were done, such as painting projects, furniture rearranging and replacements. This will be an inspiration later on. I know one woman who has a photograph scrapbook journal where she kept a running log of her husband's work on their house. She has photographs of all the things he made in his wood-working shop--shelves, a quilt rack, a table, etc., and his yard work from start to finish. This may not be feasible for everyone, but it is not too late to photograph a finished room and see how it looks, put it in a book, and enjoy it later.

*Plan to host something in your home at least once a season, whether it be a celebration, or a teaching opportunity of art, sewing or crafts, or a friend for tea. These kinds of things increase the meaning and purpose of home living and motivate the homemaker to maintain it make it attractive so that others can learn from her example and be comforted by her hospitality.

*Besides keeping a daily list of things to do, and a daily routine, set out work reminders or work stations in various rooms that will beg to be done. For example, put your peat pots and seeds beside the kitchen sink when you have finished cleaning the kitchen. This will remind you to get that job done sometime during the day. Put a pile of unfolded towels from the dryer in the bathroom. That will remind you to fold them the next time you are in the bathroom. Set out a sewing project in a neat basket, or letter writing materials on the desk with the letters you need to answer. Put hooks and decorations that need to be hung, in the room that they need to go, so that it will jolt your memory as you walk through.

*The most neglected rooms in the house seem to be the bedrooms, laundry room, pantry, porches, offices and spare rooms. We think that no one will see these rooms so we may not pay particular attention to their organization or decor. However, they will have an effect on your mind and your mood. Cleaning them and arranging them will add to a sense of well-being in the home.

I'm not an expert on home organization and still have a long way to go to get caught up after the children have grown. I am just learning many of these techniques as I've been able to take a more critical look at my house. When you are home most of the time, you might as well make it as pleasant as possible, and if possible, better than anywhere else you've ever been. If you can look at work as an opportunity to improve your home and your own stamina, it will increase your willingness to do it.

photo from www.bhg.com


Lady Lydia Speaks said...

To add to this: if you find yourself being exhausted in the evening, then do all the prep for the next day, early in the afternoon. It helps a lot.

annewithane65 (Kim) said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog...I've been reading it for awhile now.

Teri in CO said...

These are wonderful suggestions and some reminders... Thank you!

Mrs.B. said...

These are GREAT ideas Mrs. Sherman!

I did two decorating posts on my blog, a few weeks back and I just added them to my side bar if you're interested in checking them out.

I love to talk about decorating and organization...not because I'm a 'pro' but because I find it so interesting to see how others do things. (o:


Anonymous said...

The book "Creating a Scentsational Home" by Terry Willits is a wonderful inspiration for creating a home that can be enjoyed using all five senses. Many practical ideas. She has two more but I can't remember their names-one is on Christmas decorating and the other is similar to the one mentioned above. I found mine at Amazon in the used books section.

glad2bheld said...

The book "Creating a Scentsational Home" by Terry Willits is a wonderful inspiration for creating a home that can be enjoyed using all five senses. Many practical ideas. She has two more but I can't remember their names-one is on Christmas decorating and the other is similar to the one mentioned above. I found mine at Amazon in the used books section.

glad2bheld said...

The book "Creating a Scentsational Home" by Terry Willits is a wonderful inspiration for creating a home that can be enjoyed using all five senses. Many practical ideas. She has two more but I can't remember their names-one is on Christmas decorating and the other is similar to the one mentioned above. I found mine at Amazon in the used books section.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Wonderful suggestions!

Lisa said...

Your paragraph on candles reminded me of something I saw in a store the other day. They are scent diffusers that use reeds to let liquid scents out of a bottle into a room. It worked very well. The link to the store in which I saw them is here. http://www.zgallerie.com/shop/viewmult.asp?sku=ghma005802&searchfor=diffuser&cat=&Listabsolutepage=1
To God be all glory,

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Kim, your home is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it online. It is a country woman's dream. How did you come to live there?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Terry Willits books are very good. They are a must for a decorator's library, if you can find them.

Terri said...

If anyone is interested, there is a great website called Bookfinder4u.com which finds the lowest prices on used books on the web. I found Terry Willit's books plus Mary Englebreit and Emilie Barnes plus tons of others VERY inexpensively!

annewithane65 (Kim) said...

Mrs. Sherman,
Thank you for taking the time to tour my home. My husband, daughter and I live on a private estate in PA, where my husband is a caretaker. We have lived there as a family since July of 2005. This is the home where my husband grew up, along with his 4 brothers. His parents were caretakers on the estate for 49 years before moving to a smaller home.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Mrs. B. I hope everyone will look at your articles on decorating. They are right on and very exciting!


Kimi Harris said...

Thanks so much for the helpful hints and advice! I am inspired and have all sorts of plans. Now if only I didn't feel so tired with my pregnancy I would have a beautiful and clean home. : )

Mrs.B. said...

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Mrs. Sherman!

I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read them. (o:

Blessings to You!

Sabrina said...

Dear Mrs.Sherman,
I have been reading your web site, LAF for quite some time. I am inspired by what a lovley lady that you are.I have a little testimony that I think you must praise God for.
You see, I am a homemaker as God has called me to be. I am a believer in Jesus Christ of the bible. I have been following your examples of how a lady should present herself. Modesty has been my main focus, as the summer months are approaching.After reading your web site, I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit, to change my rebelious wardrobe, into a ladies wardrobe. I have been working on it for about 5 months now, and have finally transformed my wardrobe to, dresses that aren't tight fitting, and skirts that are flowing and beautiful. On account of my convictions from your site, I have been trying to convince women of all ages and sizes to be modest for the sake of a woman who professes godliness.
I am taking a stand for good, to a woman of beauty and discreetness, and also have my daughter following my example! My husband is very honored that I have made this decision to be an example inwardly, and outwardly,as a follower of Christ the King.
I have not sought permission from you, and have copied some of your articals on modesty, an placed them on my blogs. I'm sorry for not seeking permission from you first! I welcome you to visit my blogs at any convienience to you if you desire to do so. My blog that is linked below is called," The King's daughter." On that blog is a link to my other blog, that you will find. Have a blessed day, and thank you for being a sister whom I can look up to!
Love in Christ, Sabrina

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Sabrina, It is okay to use my articles!

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

There are some good articles and an online radio speech you can listen to here on modesty http://www.reviveourhearts.com/topics/modesty.php

Sabrina said...

I listen to Nancy Lee DeMoss, on VCY america, But thank you, and thank you for your permission on the articals.

Kelleigh said...

Thank you for this very inspiring article Mrs Sherman. It does my heart good. I'm just about to drag myself off to the office for the day. What a grey drab place that is!

Wish I could stay at home, there is so much to do. Have found I have not the time to attend to everything at home and do outside paid work too (full-time now). There's the ingredients for a batch of butterfly cakes waiting to be baked, lace pillowslips that have been half made for two or three weeks now. Although the house is tidy, it looks sad. The wood furniture would come to life with a polish and the kitchen floor would look oh so beautiful with a re-wax, the laundry is full of lint...*sigh*. As for relaxing to do a little blogging on my Homemaker's Haven...well that will have to wait. Can't write about being a homemaker when working outside the home! I guess could blog about the conversation I had with my team mates yesterday though; about the *wonders* of these new workplace childcare centres...The youngest lady on our team exclaimed how great it is these days to have both a career and children too. Curiously, I noticed older women remained silent. I guess this young lady will learn that you can’t have both and succeed in either. The first-time-pregnant Mum is already putting her unborn child onto the waiting list for childcare so she can continue to work. It’s so depressing. My supervisor spoke disparagingly about “friends of his” from the country that are homeschooling I'm like a fish out of water in the work place!

Any way, better get off to work now. Nice to chat with those who are like minded. Thanks for listening.

Terri said...


I read your comment above and my heart ached as I read it. I feel the same way. I want to encourage you that if you feel that God is calling you to stay home, discuss it with your husband (if you're married), and ask Him to show you how you can do it. He will! I'll be praying for you!

Kelleigh said...

Thank you for your caring words Terri. You sound like you might be in a similar situation? If you are, my heart goes out to you too. The reason I must work is a consequence of a business mistake my husband and I made, despite the warnings and counsel of our parents. Sadly we had to sell our home to cover the debts incurred. I'm now working to help raise a deposit for a new home. My husband is working long hours, six days a week, so that the time I have to spend outside the home is as short as possible (hopefully only another 7-9 months). It's not all bad news though, we're now in a much better situation to make a success of our lives than we were with our previous business. God has been good to us despite our past foolishness. It has been a humbling experience though.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I lived in Australia in the late 60's.


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