Saturday, November 25, 2006

Making Your Home A Place You Like to Be In

Have you ever wondered why there are certain shops that are more appealing to you than others? Take a look at the elements that go into drawing in the customer. The place is well-lighted by something called indirect lighting. This means that small lamps and lights behind soft lampshades are coming from corners and places that do not hit you directly in the face or overhead. They seem soft and natural.

Secondly, everything is orderly. The shops have the same things where the same things belong.

Thirdly, they are clean. You rarely find gum wrappers or used tissues and soiled clothing among the merchandise. Thirdly, everything is beautiful, and even things that are not aesthetically appealing will be displayed neatly and attractively.

Fourthly, you want to visit again because there was nothing unpleasant to confront you, and that what you see there is appealing. This is the sort of thing that needs to translate into our homes to make them places of comfort.

Home living can be creative and even exciting to you. It takes a lot of study and intelligence to design the shops I am describing, and it takes a lot of thought and effort to make a home a place you want to stay in.

I have found some shops online that you might be able to get some ideas from. And, speaking of women, working, and shops, let me say that every woman at home has a home business. If you clean your house and find things to discard, putting them in a box for a summer yard sale, you are in business. If you shop for bargains so that your husband's provision can stretch, you have a home business.

If you are guarding your husband's income and investing some of it, you have a business.There is nothing wrong with women earning money. A good wife uses thrift and economic opportunity. The problem comes when she begins to put her family aside, when she has to rush a half hearted dinner, or run through the housework doing a less than perfect job, in order to accommodate her business. If she puts earning money first, her home and family will suffer. I know several women who have never had to work or earn their own money because they took such good care of their husband's money that they now have extra income.

Not all women will desire to have a shop or sell things. Some of them are in different stages of life. When my children were teenagers, I wanted them to understand enterprise, so I turned my back porch into a garage sale shop. There, we put discarded but usuable items, with price tags, and some hand crafted things. One of my children made beautiful grape vine wreaths that he sold.

Women who make things, often make more than they need, and sell to their friends. That is enterprise. The Proverbs 31 woman gave her garments to the merchant to sell. She did not sit in a shop all day while her home was negelected. Even if your house is clean and you are organzied to the hilt, if you leave it empty day after day, it will not be the same.

There is not the same atmosphere there when a woman is absent, as there is when she is home during the day. Her husband can testifiy to this by comparing the days when she has to be away at her mother's house, or when she is not home, and he comes home to an empty house. The atmosphere of home is just not there as much as when she is home all day to put all the finishing touches on everything. You can see the difference yourself when you come in after having to be out shopping or on errands. It takes several hours after that to get a feeling of "home" back into the house.

Men whose mothers stayed home, know this. That is why they like to go home for special celebrations. Their mothers somehow put a feeling there that modern homes do not have. That feeling was very simply the presence of the woman. Even if she is not well and has to lay on a couch or recliner, that home feels more like a home than one that is abandoned all day. There is a reason that the Bible says women should guard the home, and guide it. One is to keep others from breaking in and stealing things, and another is to create a sense of ownership and personality in it.

This is not to imply that women have to be home every single minute--indeed, that would be impossible, and it is a real treat to go somewhere else and see what is new and what other people are doing, to get refreshed and gather some new ideas for your own dear home.

Now let us go on to the shops I was speaking of. I have found many women who have shops at home, and why not? Little children love the idea of shops. When I was young, we never tired of playing store during the cold winter days when we had to be confined. Instead of waiting for a yard sale to get rid of their old things that they don't have room for, many people are setting up shops online, on ebay, or other places. The beauty of such shops is that they can monitor how big or little they will be. If there is only one product to sell, one time, the housewife will be done with it after the sale, until she decides to sell another product. She can close her store when she wants to. She doesn't have to be a slave to it. Many of these shops are very feminine.

This one is very pretty and the owners look like they are from the same family.

This one has a "suite of the month" where you can view the rooms of someone's home. Just look at the menu on the right.

Here is one that has the mantel of the month which is fun to look at and can give some ideas about creating the kind of atmosphere in certain corners of your home that are pleasing to you. Just look on the left for the icon.

I like which also has a cottage website. has some interesting things if you like pink and frosty things.

Try some of these blogs, the owners of which also have online shops
Sweet Necessi-Teas
Alecia's Attic
Janet's Creative Pillows
Of Bluebirds and Roses
Katie's Rose Cottage
Casual Cottage
Cottage Blooms
Wildrose Cottage
Shabby Suite
Beloved Creations
The Cottage Chronicle
C'est Chouette
Artful Creations
Barberry Field
Beloved Creations
Cottage Blooms
Cottage Chronicle
Janet's Creative Pillows
Just Art Pottery
Katies Rose Cottage
Make Mine Pink
My Hydrangea Home
One Womans Cottage Life
Sweet Remembrance
The Sewing Divas
The Shabby Suite
Treasured Heirlooms

Some of these blogs and online shops take ordinary things and make them look extraordinary. Contentment at home is partly the ability to appreciate what you have and to be able to use it in a creative way.

Someone reminded me to add these:


Anonymous said...

Excellent and encouraging post, Lady Lydia! Thank you for it!

Most sincerely,

Anonymous said...

Great article. I love,love, love "shabby chic" style myself.
ANother wonderful site is... (click on at the top "this old home" to see nice pictures as well as click on at the top "Spirit of home".
Its one of my favorite sites.

I ONLY wish MORE sites would SELL and SHIP to us here in CANADA!!!!! :)

Lydia said...

There is also

a series of shops with some vacancies, but you will like the village look and the homey old fashioned shops on the main page.

If you get on some of the blogs I posted, after you find something you like, you may be able to befriend the owners enough to persuade them to ship to Canada.
Or you can have it sent to a friend in the US and have them send it on to you. I don't know why they don't ship to Canada. I exchange packages with a friend in Canada every year, and the only thing customs does not allow is food.

Lydia said...

Look at

Anonymous said...

what a great post! i love it!

Lynnz said...

Just found your blog though people finding me :D Just wanted to mention to the posted above. That most of the ladies that you listed are on the website and I am sure that most of them would be happy to ship to canada... just email them! You have a great blog !!
Lyndsay ~

Ruth Welter said...

Hi Ladies, my site was mentioned in the post as have a lovely blog. I know I will gladly ship to canada. Just contact me first to find out what the shipping on a particular item would be. My suggestion is ...just as, you would be surprised how many shops will ship to canada.

Lydia said...

I would just like to add to those women who have the desire to work other than homemaking, that having a shop of one's own is a leap beyond the tedious routine of applying for a job and competing with hundreds of others for the same postions. You don't have to fill out a resume or an application form. You don't have to abide by the dress code of the said business (you can actually dress better ;-), and you don't have to worry about losing your job. Ladies shops don't seem to interefere in men's business or try to take over where a man wants to reign. I certainly never saw a feminist marching in the street with a placard demanding the right to have her own shop. Women have had shops for centuries without depending on an act of congress. We've had indoor garage sales on occasion, which are quite fun in inclement weather. Your own shop allows you freedom.

Lydia said...

If you visit any of these blogs, please be sure to leave a compliment!

Lydia said...

...also, I know that when you purchase something from a shop like this, you may be helping homemaker to be able to stay at home and take care of her own house, her husband and her children. I forgot to include oilcloth aprons, but I will post those sites soon. I found that these kinds of aprons will keep your tummy from getting wet while washing dishes or bathing a child, and keep normal household grub from ruining your clothes. I prefer to buy from someone who creates their own product, and some of the oil cloth aprons are sold by girls at home with their mothers, as a home enterprise.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to see the sites you have listed for us. The idea of buying from other women like this is such a good idea. Showing us ways to beautify our homes is a very welcome. My one question though is on looking at so far 3/4 of the sites listed they mostly cater to the color pink. I like pink and love roses but not as the formost color. I like the shabby jadite type of green. Others may prefer blues. Would you please tell us how to type in a search engine to find cottage places that would cater to other colors? I have looked around and so far found none on my own.

Lydia said...

Cottage Collections here have many sites featuring the greens that you like. I have a preference for sage green, myself. Cottage Collections also has yellow and lavender, red, and other colors. Just click on each site, and use the dial on the left to pull up more.

wendybirde said...

I can't wait to hear more on the olicloth aprons Lady Lydia : )

These were very sweet homeware links, and I just thought I'd share one of my favorites too, the Amish catalog Lehman's, at
I really love the simplicity there. I also really love stores with authentic homeware reproductions from the colonial and medieval etc period. I find them very simplifying and grounding. And I'd really love it if anyone perhaps had some good simple living or reproduction sites for homeware/homemaking?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful mention. I know most of the boutique owners and am proud to call them friends even though we have never met~ they are best business women on the web. Most will go out of their way to ship, do custom orders, find certain colors, or just offer the best customer service. Thank you for your support of the small businesses represented here. Enjoy thier blogs~ they are interesting, informative and fun!!

Anonymous said...

You might like

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This might have something you need

Roxie Morrow said...

Thank you for the mention of my site
This is a very beautiful blog and will return often to read your entries.
I will take great consideration in the near future to add more colors than pink to my site. I know I love PINK the most, but need to realize that it is not the only color out there. I have 4 daughters, so I have found it hard to sway from anything pink, white, sage, yellow, etc.....LOL
Thanks again Lydia for spotlighting many of us Stay At Home Moms who love to craft and want to be in business for ourselves.
P.S. I just shipped a big order off to Canada, so that is no problem, but could you ladies let us know what is the best way to advertise that we ship Internationally? Because usually we have to have you email us first to get the exact shipping quote. So right now, I have it on my Order Info page, but not sure if many people actually look at that page before ordering or not ordering. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The (good) woman really does make the home. Just think of all those godly women who came before us, who tended to their homes and families without ever a thought of their own importance. They would have considered themselves ordinary, but we rise up and call them blessed. They kept the faith and kept the home fires burning. Theirs was a steadying, nurturing, civilizing presence, and often they brightened and
beautified the humblest and dreariest of dwellings by their loving care and devotion.

When my own dear mother passed away, I realized that the "heart" of her home was gone as well, and left behind was only a house, a shell of what the home had been.

The funny thing is, those things I sought from what she left behind were the "homely" things - her rolling pin, her every day dishes, the things she used to create the art of a beautiful home life.

She is most present to me when I emulate (or try to) her housekeeping, her home making; making the holiday recipes, keeping the kitchen clean, pouring the afternoon coffee, showing hospitality.

I also feel it is my calling, my duty, and an honor to instill the love of family and home life to the next generation. For those who didn't have the benefit of a good home life, places like this blog and other sites are here to help, and they are wonderful.

Unknown said...

Hello Ladies,

I just wanted to say Thank You for mentioning the boutiques at Make Mine Pink. This is truly the most wonderful place to be. We would glady ship to Canada or anywhere in the world. Your blog is wonderful and I have truly enjoyed reading all the kind and thoughful posts.

I wish you much success!
Janet Bernasconi
Janets Creative Pillows
Make Mine Pink

Lydia said...

Ladies, her front page has a pretty scene, just great for soothing the nerves!

Lydia said...

Does anyone know where I might find pastel bubble lights--the kind on a string? I've seen the plug-in type, but am interested if there are any that are pastel or pink, similar to the green and red ones that were used decades ago. If there aren't any out there, it is time they were invented.

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

I am so thrilled to find this wonderful blog !!! I am from one of the shops listed and am very thankful to be added to this lovely post ~
Thank you !

P.S. ~ I do ship to Canada upon request ~

Lydia said...

I don't think it is so much about shopping, as being able to see our houses in a cheerful light. It is especially enriching to be able to view a room on one of these sights, that is pleasingly arranged, and yet contains the elements of home and family, which is something you don't get when looking at catalogs of furniture.

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

Thank you again Lydia for mentioning all of our blogs/sites.We truly appreciate it! I also will ship to Canada, I just need to be emailed first for a shipping quote! And if you are looking for colors other than pink - a lot of the Make Mine Pink sites carry all colors. I even have many products that are not on my site yet - and always take special requests for anything you are looking for. Just let us know! We are all very willing to help!

Lydia said...

Dawn is from My Hydrangea Home.

I think what ladies at home would like the most is to look at rooms and see how things are used and arranged. My Shabby Suite has the suite of the month, and Enchanted Treasures has the mantle of the month. It would be great if the rest of the shops would have such rooms to look at, in different colors, of course.

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

Lydia, after the New Year, I am redesigning my site ( to do just that. I feel that showing the rooms helps to visualize using the products better. Also, to give more of that homey feeling, like when you walk into a well arranged shop. I love looking at beautiful rooms on those websites too!

Anonymous said...

Hi ~ Oh my goodness ! I am so glad to find this blog ~ it is wonderful ! I also wanted to thank you for mentioning all of the wonderful websites and ladies at Make Mine Pink ~

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

I so enjoyed your thoughts on making your home a place you'd like to be in. I have an online shop because it allows me to be home for my family. My goal in life is to be a Proverbs 31 woman... Hooray that there are other like-minded women out there!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

What a feast of ideas for consideration. On the topic of home decorating, whether simple or a little more elaborite, I have some questions. My husband's home (I was a renter prior to marriage) is narrow, ill designed and poorly lit (especially downstairs in the living area (think 19th century terrace home size with kitchen, dining and living area squeezed into a space too narrow and cluttered (kitchen bench, unnecessary huge pillar in the middle of the room etc) and you've got it. There's no pantry and nowhere for a cupboard to be placed - I think you get the message. On top of this, the colouring is dark brown, biscuit or sandstone which blocks light etc etc etc etc. You can imagine what happened when two adults with two households of stuff collided, so to speak; even after getting rid of mountains of things.
Then there's my guide-dog (who now lives outside as there's no room for an indoor bed or for both his smaller dog and mine to be inside) I can sweep outside and in half a dozen times per day, literally, and the hair just keeps on coming back - any dog owner who lives in a confined space knows it just hangs in the air, as it were.

To give you an idea of scale, the previous owners built it after knocking down a small two bedroom fibro cottage and put this duplex in its place - money spinner.

Yes, I am grateful for my beloved's home - our home now, but there's a part of me that'd just like to bring a buldozer inside, do one huge chuck, gut the place and start again (ridiculously expensive) it's also designed in such a way moving furniature around won't work as it will either block traffic areas or simply won't fit anywhere else.

I'd love your imput, ladies, having seen better designed demountables!!!


Mrs. E,

Lydia said...

On the subject of shops: when our daughter was a teenager, she had her own catalog.She hand drew the items she wanted to sell, including doll quilts, doll clothes, and hand made cards and stationery. She had a ledger where she kept track of the orders and the money. She printed the catologs on a copier and hand colored them. She did quite a good business and still has people asking if she is selling anything. This was before computers. She also had a newsletter where she adverstised her own things and other people's products.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am Nancy Guenther, the owner of Roses and Teacups at Thank you for mentioning my store! It is my great delight to be running a business and homeschooling my children. My husband also has his own business, so my children are learning a lot about running businesses! All three of my children have numerous disabilities, so it is my hope not only to earn enough money to pay for their medications, but also to give them job skills through letting them assist me at my work! I would also just like to share that Roses and Teacups has 4 programs designed to promote giving among women...come for a visit! Nancy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering my post about sites for colors other than pink. I haden't checked back on this comment section since the day I posted the question. It feels so good to feel other ladies are out there in the world that feel like I do about home and family. I find so few in "real life" in the area where I live. It is a real blessing to have you all to share with. Thank you again.

Cherie ~ Bella Rosa Designs said...

Hello ~ What a lovely blog you have! I just wanted to mention that I am happy to ship to Canada ~ just email me before purchasing for a shipping quote.

Thank you ~
Cherie Perry