Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ideas for Your Home

Both these paintings are by Sung Kim from If you want to find pictures there, click on "fine art," and in the search space, write "cottages," "cabins", "living rooms" "flowers" or whatever you are looking for. That way, you find only the things you want to look at without having to go through a lot of undesireable things. These can be ordered as posters and make excellent art for the rooms of the home. Families will be greatly influenced by what they see day after day in the home, and good art can help them become more refined and lean more towards preserving and protecting marriage, home and family. Great paintings show values that help paint a dream before the family of something they could achieve by having harmony at home. If we do not create such a dream for the family, they will accept the lowest standards and think they are normal.

I found the following sites that have some really uplifting things in them. This lady has scripture stencils, and an article on the front page about the house, in a Biblical perspective. gift boxes shaped like cakes coming in February. I just love boxes and am looking forward to seeing these. this lady has a beautiful home page that will give you a lift today. I saw a few heart shaped things here. has more boxes, plus you can read the history of the band box and the hatbox

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Homemaker's Time

In view of the previous article, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little about the time that it takes to really do a satisfactory job at home. Time is not on our side at home, as there are many interruptions and time-absorbers that may not have anything to do with real homemaking. That is why I was telling the young women not to get involved in long, drawn out issues that will detract from concentrating on the more important things of homemaking. I've placed pictures here to show the women with children that time could be better spent with their children than in politics or any other cause. Your cause of marriage, home and family, will be all the politics you can handle as a young homemaker.

Even without children, the work is never ending. If you only did what you had to do, you would still not have time in a day to do it all. All you really are required to do as a homemaker is take care of the home, provide meals, keep up with the laundry and the groceries. However even this can get to be overwhelming if you aren't from a home where it was bred into you by your mother.

While talking to a few young mothers lately, I have discovered that they as homemakers tend to think that because they are at home, they have time to do more than is required of them. They will take in someone else's kids and look after them, or they will take on extra sewing. They might try to sell a product from a company that hires home sellers, such as cosmetics or household products. If these kinds of sales things are not kept in their place, they will take over and your homemaking will suffer.

While there is nothing wrong with these things, they will eat in to your home life and rob you of the time you need to really look after your own home and enjoy it. The word "enjoy" is important because anyone can take on extra jobs and then rush through their housework and make it look like they are coping. However, this kind of living will catch up to you and soon you will hate your housework (because you are in a rush and not really enjoying it) and be more inclined to do the other kind of work. Extra jobs are distracting. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other. Homemaking and having your own husband and children is enough for one woman. Having too much to do at home is the same as running from one job to the next. You will end up exhausted, not doing any jobs well.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Creating A Feeling of Home

I've been looking at pictures of rooms. Of course, they are done by designers, and are only intended for examples. It was really difficult to find anything that had all the elements of a real home where people spend time. That is why I find the blogs and sites where women take pictures of their own homes, so appealing. I find their ideas

fit in better with real home living. Many of the photos
in decorating magazines feature sophisticated architectural details that the ordinary homemaker will never have to deal with.

In reality, most people cannot afford the elaborate drapery or furnishings for their homes that many of these decorating sources portray. The hardware for such drapery is difficult to manage, especially those terrible drapery hooks. I gave up on that style long ago. A simple curtain of muslin, edged in fringe, can be made in just a few hours on a sewing machine, even without much skill in sewing.

Have you ever heard a realtor say that in order to get your house ready to sell, you should take down all personal photographs and collections? My friend who called me the other day informs me that it is not true. She said she heard a decorator say that on the contrary, photographs of a happy family, and their collections, if displayed nicely, make the potential buyer feel that they are in the home of a happy family.

We do not live in our homes hoping to increase their market value as much as we hope to increase the stability and loyalty of the family. Homes are not public places, and contrary to some thoughts on this subject, not everyone in the public is welcome to go in and out of private homes. There is a saying: "If I treat everyone the same, I treat no one special." This means that those who enter into homes are there because the family loves and trusts them, or have chosen them in a special way to extend kindness and hospitality. Houses can be arranged and decorated in such a way that they represent the family. They are an updated display of the family's character and talents.

Creating a feeling of home does not require that everything come from a furniture store or that anything matches. Mixing colors and styles can add to the homey feeling of a room.

Coziness is achieved by bringing furniture together in a close circle, rather than pushing it up against the walls. In this picture, the pathways are around the furniture rather than inbetween, so that one need not interrupt a person's conversation with another by walking in front of them on the way to another room.

I've been told by many homemakers that they are not very fond of wall to wall carpeting. I have grown to dislike it as well. It is a very poor investment, for the parts that are nailed closest to the walls never get any wear and tear, and the pathways that the family uses become worn down and unsightly. Wall-to-wall-carpets are difficult to sanitize. They are very, very expensive, and there is no return on this kind of investment. They also do not offer the housekeeper any variety in color because once they get one of those expensive things installed, they can't change the color or style for years and years. I noticed in some of these photographs that the floors are immitation hardwood, made of vinyl, with various rugs put down over it. These rugs can be washed in the machine and hung to dry. This is the way floor used to be covered, and it seems to be a returning trend.

Decorating sources:,22116,1097487,00.html&h=240&w=320&sz=39&hl=en&start=11&tbnid=A9uEooigG58XRM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=118&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcottage%2Bstyle%2Bdecorating%26svnum%3D50%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN

Terry Willets "Creating a Scentsational Home" books have beautiful art work and ideas that do not require rennovation or expense.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Woman in the Window, Sewing

I once lived in a neighborhood that was as silent and empty during the day as the top of the moon. I was a dedicated homemaker, and longed for the warm association of

other homemakers. I had grown up at a time when it was very easy to find other wives and homemakers at home. If a woman needed a little refreshment or inspiration, all she had to do was talk with another homemaker, and she would come away reassured that all was well.

There was one woman who was home during the day and I saw her quite unexpectedly. There, in an upper window, she sat looking at her sewing. At the same time each day, she could be seen from the end of the street. One day I noticed this same woman outside tending to her flower beds. I told her I had seen her in the window, sewing, and we began to talk about the many things that required a woman to be home during the days. I remarked how empty and lonely the neighborhood felt. I had grown up in the country, but with visits from other country people, had never felt isolated. I had not lived in suburbia before. When I married, I thought it might be
quite interesting to have such close neighbors and was really looking forward to it. Think of it--you could talk to someone without having to drive many miles or plan a visit for days and days. How disappointed I was to find that the neighborhoods were more isolating and lonely than the country. The women had gone away to work for wages. They rarely saw their beautiful houses in the day light.

I am fortunate to have lived at a time when the homes and families in America were different. I can remember when women talked to each other unashamedly and unselfconsciously about the house, the children, meals, marriage, and ironing.

One conversation I overheard was between my mother and a visiting neighbor. After I relate it, maybe someone can spot the basic difference between homemaking conversations today and the conversation then. The neighbor was asking my mother how many shirts she had to iron each week. Then she told my mother that she had to iron quite a few of them, and she had figured out how to iron four shirts in one hour, compared to two, previously. This was in the days when clothing was not permanent press.

One day a woman with a large family asked me to iron a huge box of clothes for her. In those days no one would wear something that was not ironed, not even a poor person. She had a lot of other responsibilities at home and offerred to pay me to do that ironing, and I was happy to do it for the money. It was not an easy job. I had to sprinkle each piece with water, and then roll it up and put it in the refrigerator. The next day I had to iron it and what a job it was. The fabrics in those days required hard pressing, and when you ironed one half of the garment, there was a problem with wrinkling the half you just ironed. It took quite a skilled person to iron something well. This is why I took such interest in the conversation between my mother and the neighbor woman talking about the intricasies of ironing.

Because the neighborhood was so dark and lonely, I always felt a warm reassurance upon seeing the woman in the window, sewing. I cannot explain all the thoughts I had but here are some: somehow, I thought that she was very brave. She was not ashamed of her homemaking and was not self-conscious about being seen in the window, sewing. It brought back memories of my mother singing while she swept the front porch. The other feeling was that it somehow made the world better. It showed that no matter what the current news media hype or world threat was, the woman in the window as still going about her daily work and taking her duties seriously. And still another feeling it gave me is one of wanting to go home and be very creative and industrious. The sight of her in that window was like a light in the darkness.

I wonder as women at home go about their work, who will see them sitting in the window. It is rare to see anyone sitting in their houses.

Have you guessed the difference between my mother's generation of homemaker's conversation and what you might hear today?

Here is the answer: In all the time that I was growing up, I never heard women talk about whether or not they SHOULD be home all the time seeing to matters of the family or husband. Today, a homemaker is more likely to get embroiled in a conversation about the issue of homemaking vs. the working woman. In my mother's time, they talked about how to best DO the homemaking. They never found it necessary to justify doing it. They liked discussing better ways of doing things like ironing or cooking or cleaning.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Living the Dream

Those who have come home to make the home and family the center of their lives may find that it is not as easy as it seems.

There are many facets to the home. It isn't all about house keeping and it isn't all about home making. There are greater challenges than one can explain--all the way from how to get everything done in a day, to handling spur of the moment crises. However, home making cannot be measured by performance. The main ingredient in this job is the woman at home. Even if she is not really feeling well enough to keep house, her presence is needed and felt.

No one can quite explain it, but there is a completely different atmosphere in a home that has been lived in and guarded during the day compared to coming home to an empty house. The importance of the wife at home can not be minimized. Her presence gives the members of the home a feeling of assurance.

One thing that is important is for the wife to maintain her position at home without apology. She must exhibit confidence, even when she hears negative remarks. She should take pride in her house and in the people that she is helping. Sometimes, even the friends she loves and serves, will question what she is doing.

Rather than get into the politics of why she is a full time homemaker, she can show her reason for staying home by the things she does at home. It is a lengthy, involved thing to get tangled up with other people arguing about why she should or should not stay home. It is better to just get busy and do things that make the home a refuge from the world.

Do not worry about what other people are saying. You might even be attacked face to face with words that are very demeaning, and words that are dishonoring, from your own family and friends. However, you need to stand your ground if you really want to live the dream. Just live it, and refuse to argue about it. If you get embroiled in a debate about the home and family, you waste a lot of your energy and will not be able to focus on what really needs to be done. The safety of the children, the beauty and comforts of the home, and the wholesome meals, are a far better way to prove that what you are doing is right, than arguing about your right to stay home.

Looking around your house at the end of the day, there will be times when you will be filled with gratefulness for being able to be there. You may thank God that He not only enables the woman to be home, but commands it. It is not a choice but a duty, but duty becomes choice when the heart is convicted to do what is right. Although she can thank her husband for his care and protection, it is God who designed her to care for home and family.

No person "lets" a woman stay home. It is part of the divine order of things. It is part of the nature of women to care for the family and the home. It is a position appointed by God. No one "lets" a man work by the sweat of his brow, and be a provider and protector of his family. It is part of his right as a human being. It is part of his God-given make up as a man. To deny him the freedom to work and earn a living would be to deny him the very thing that makes a man a real man. To deny the woman the freedom to manage the home and the family, is to deny her natural womanhood. Although I do show appreciation for my husband's provision and for the work he does, I do not thank my husband for "letting" me stay home, because I would stay home whether he approved or not. The command to do so comes from a higher authority than him. No one has to ask permission to do their God-given duty.

Getting back to living the dream: There is no point in trying to prove your point with people. Save your breath and put your energies into making your home the kind of place that you imagine it was when most women stayed home. One thing that helps is a reward system. This is a way can pay yourself each week in some way, whether it be a fresh bouquet of flowers from the grocery store, or the luxury of a trip to your favorite fabric store.

There will be some men--our sons, brothers, fathers and husbands, who will need to be re-educated about why it is essential that women make the home their career, but they will only believe what they see. The rest is just a lot of talk. I believe that it takes a lot out of you to fight for your position in life. Instead of doing that, just do the things that you came home to do.

When I was little, mothers of the era would tell children who wanted to criticise, that if all they could find to do was criticise, there was plenty of work around that needed to be done. If they criticised, they would be put to work. Homemakers always have long, long lists of things that could be done. When someone challenges their role at home, they could get out this list and say, "I would be willing to debate this with you maybe at another time, but first, I could use your help getting some of these jobs finished."

In general, just being happy and content at home goes a long way to telling without words, why you need to be home. The atmosphere of your home will also be very revealing. Those who enter into it will know that there is something very different going on there. The way you care for your things, and the pride you take in your family, will be a greater testimony than a long discussion trying to prove you are right. I always say that if someone wants to argue with me about it, they will win the argument, because they are better at arguing than I am.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The End of Confusion

Everyone has days that start out in confusion. Clutter is everywhere. Laundry and dishes are piled high. The floor needs cleaning. Meals need to be made. I find the best way to tackle such days is with a calming cup of tea. Follow this with a bath, clean clothes, with nice shoes and a little perfume. This makes you feel put-together for a job and seems to organize otherwise muddled thoughts. Then sit down with another cup of soothing tea and write down the most important things that need to be done. Most homemakers find that after doing the dishes, catching up on laundry, cleaning the floors, making the beds and getting meals, there is not a lot of time left. They may do this day after day, wondering if they are ever going to get around to some of the other things that need doing, or things they would like to do. When these basic, routine things are in control, though, there will remain a little time for leisure. I would suggest that everyone do one creative thing a day, whether it is writing a letter or re-arranging items on a mantel. It gives you time to think about the things you have that make your life good and comfortable. It gives you energy for those other tasks.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Please, Daddy, Let Mamma Stay Home

This is a summary of one of the chapters by Gwendolyn Webb, in her book "Training Up a Child" written in 1977, concerning the responsibilities of the husband:

Husbands allow or insist that their wives work for such reasons as:

1. Their mother's worked and they think it is the normal thing to do.
2. They have set their standard of living too high. It has been said that it is not the high cost of living that drives women to work, but the cost of high living.
3. The couple has gotten themselves into debt.
4. The husband may want more things.
5. The wife may want more things.
6. He may think his wife has more time on her hands and is not accomplishing much at home (something that a husband needs to become more knowledgeable about in comparing the world's definition of accomplishment with the life time accomplishment of marriage, home and family).
7. His wife may have a college degree or other credentials and he doesn't want her to neglect her profession or "waste" her qualifications and her money earning ability.

No matter what the reason for the wife working, the husband should not encourage his wife to forsake her home in order to add another paycheck to the family income. God's principles remain the same, says the author, and it is still the God ordained responsibility of the husband to make the living for the family.

Mrs. Webb then relates the story of a little girl she knew who did not want to go home. She said she liked school but she did not like to go to an empty home. Her parents were both professionals--her mother a pediatrician and her father a nuerologist. The parents were usually away at conferences or trips. This little girl had a luxurious home in a nice neighborhood and lots of things, but the watchful care of a mother at home was the one thing that was missing.

Even if the couple has no children, there is much harm in the woman working outside the home. She loses a sense of herself and her role when she is out there competing. She is exhausted when she comes home and cannot give her best at home. She cannot give her best to the home when her time and loyalties are divided. No one can serve two masters for they will either hate the one or love the other.Now instead of getting the support and encouragement they need as homemakers, young women have to go online or read books.

I remember women talking over the fence when they hung their laundry. Though they were always busy, there was a pride in what they did and they had time for each other. Now the younger women want to go back to work from the sheer isolation and loneliness of the home during the day. It is even more trying if her husband is not supportive or resentful of her role at home. I am not afraid to say that it is most unmanly for a man to be jealous of his wife at home and to insist on her working. It reduces his own masculinity when he whines about the bills or has no pride in being the breadwinner.

We can restore our families and our neighborhoods when even one woman decides to stay home. Her presence is like a light showing a path in a dark place. Her attendance to the home full time shows the seriousness of that life.
I wrote an article here a few years ago showing the meaning of the light house. While the flashing light at the tip of the tower shows the location of the light house, the lower lights send a beam across the water so that the ships can be guided around the rocks and brought safely home to the shore. The woman at home may not be broadcasting her location, but her daily work is like the lower lights that actually provide the path to life for some "poor fainting, struggling seaman." Boys who grow up in homes where the mother is present will more likely want their wives to stay home, but they can have their beliefs altered by peers and higher education, so in order to change things, it requires much,much time, and much, much teaching.

For more information on the song "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning," go here

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Accomplishing Something

A friend of mine who has recently quit her job and become a full time homemaker gave me the idea to write about the world's concept of accomplishing something.

When a woman first begins to tackle the work at home, she will discover that it is like walking on a treadmill, and that it takes a different sort of managment than a job with an employer in a company. It may look like she is failing in her work while the women who work outside of the home have it all together.

Let us take a look, though at what they are doing. During the day, the woman who works out, does only one job: the one she was hired for. Hospital workers, for example, do the job they are hired for. Around them is other staff hired to do things like cleaning services, deliveries, messaging, and cafeteria work. An woman working in the admissions office would probably not go to the cafeteria and start cooking her own food and then wash her dishes and put away the cooking pans. Neither would she sweep and mop the floor, or wash the bedding of the patients. If she did all those things, she would not get a fraction of the record-keeping done during the day that she currently does.

Now let us take a look at the homemaker. During the day she has many tasks. If she were just being a companion to her husband and nothing else, she might only accompany him during the day and sit next to him, have tea with him, and be present at all his meetings or beside him handing him tools while he constructed a building. However, she has more to do than hang around her husband all day. For the good of them both, someone must manage the home, and the best time to do it is when her husband is away.

She is so multi-faceted that it does not seem like she is accomplishing anything. But wait! There is a lot more to homemaking than meets the eye. All the little things that she does that go unnoticed, are little things that the working women pay other people to do: food preparation, care of children, (which is another book in itself), laundry, cleaning, mending, shopping, and errands such as paying bills, and correspondence. Besides all this, she is social organizer of the family for major events and celebrations.

It happens that at the end of the day it might not look like she is very accomplished, but let us have a look at basic child care. If she has several children, she is going to be fixing little toys and finding things, tying shoes, and buttoning up jackets. She is going to be keeping track of hats and mittens in winter and trying to find the beach toys in the summer.

She will see that their evening baths are given, that they are dressed in fresh night clothes and that their prayers are said. She will take a flashlight into the bedroom later on that night and check on each of the children. She may even get up several times in the middle of the night to check on them and see that no cover is wrapped around their necks or smothering them, or that they are not too hot or too cold, or wet. If they are wet, she might change them and their clothes and then put a new set of sheets and bedding on the bed. No one sees these things. No one sees her doing them. If the man who is working to support the family had to do this, he would hardly be in any shape to be alert at work the next day or to drive.

The woman at home may feel tired and people do not understand the reason. They understand only what they see. Those who have this opinion ought to take over a young woman's home for one week. They will find that there is so much to be done, and even the little unnoticed details like picking up clutter, can drain a lot of energy.

She will be keeping albums and scrapbooks of her families progress and growth. She is creating a history. It might not show up right now, but in years to come it will be "seen." Her house will accumulate clutter that will need to be constantly monitored. A woman with a husband and 4 children who provides meals at home, will wash 12 place settings a day and one set of cooking pots 3 times.

She will probably do her laundry every third day, but if she has a baby in the house she will wash every day and then on top of that, do her regular family washing. After it is washed it may need to be hung out on a line or put in a dryer. After it is dried it has to be put back in the places that it belongs--the clothes, the dishtowels, the bath towels, and so forth. Keeping a house is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge: when one end is finished, the other end is needing repair.

Some people may say "What is the use? It only gets messed up again. Why not hire someone to do it?" If you hire someone to keep house, the housekeeper will know what happened to everything, but you will not. The homemaker needs to have a feeling for her home. When she puts time into taking care of it, she will be more likely to value it.

You, the homemaker, will be the one who will go through the out grown and old clothes and send them to a second-hand shop. You are the one who will know what is in everyone's closets. You are the one who will know where the problem areas of your house are. If you clean your own bathroom, you will discover things about it that will aid you in being a better house keeper. If someone else does it, you will not have the same love and feeling for the house that you could have. It is your place and you have to put your heart into it in order to give it the atmosphere that you like.

I am sure that people did not think that George Washington "accomplished" anything during his life, but here we are so many decades later and long history books are being written about him.

The homemaker may not think that she is accomplishing anything, but, day by day, she is making some progress here and there in little things that she formerly let someone else do for her. If she is teaching her own children at home, she gets to listen to their personal observations and discoveries. She knows personally their strengths and weaknesses, which formerly would have been noticed more by teachers and staff. Now, she gets to personally mold her child's personality and really invest in his/her future with her sayings, her stories, and her instruction.

By now, many people have read the book we had on the LAF bookstore section, called "Mother," about a girl who thought her mother was not much and had not accomplished anything because she was "just a homemaker." Later on, through some trials, she discovered that her mother had given up selfish pursuits in order to mold the destinies of 5 other people in the family, and that in doing so, had actually accomplished much more than they.

Occasionally I get emails from young feministic girls who think that women at home do not "do" anything. I always tell them to try being married 35 years and raising several children before they make this rash judgment. Many young girls are critical of their mothers. I ask them, "Have you been married as long as your mother? Have you successfully raised children? Have you kept house as well as your mother?"

Having had a slight cold over the holidays, I decided to lie down and see if I could find a good television show. I have not watched tv for some time, but tried to see if I could get any reception. On a particular day, only one program bled through, but it was clear enough that I could decipher it. It was a court show. A man was suing his wife for divorce because she would not find employment outside the home.

The wife did not want a divorce and had explained that as a wife and mother, her job was to see that the meals and the laundry and the house were cared for, and was trying to make him comfortable and enable him to get to work. He said, "Yes, but that won't pay the bills." She explained that she was trying to be a help-meet or help-mate to her husband. His interpretation of that was that she should help him pay the bills by getting a job outside the home. He wanted her all dressed up looking like the professional women he admired, and he still wanted the lovely meals and the ironed shirts she provided for him.

We have entered a sad part of our history, where men have no shame in sending their wives outside the home to work. Many homes remain empty and neighborhoods are lonely, and for what? That the family might have a nice car and a vacation? Most of these families lose the very thing that they got married for: the home and the children that they love. Sometimes these men will say they want their women to be like the women on the covers of the magazines they see at the checkout in the grocery stores. Yet every single one of the women on the covers have had broken marriages, troubled children, and mental problems of some kind.

The women at home may feel they are going crazy sometimes, but they are free from the demands and stresses and worries of the workplace and the world. They need to find nobility in the smallest of things, whether it be buttoning up a little boy's shirt, or putting a centerpiece on a table. While she is buttoning that little boy's shirt she looks into his eyes to connect to her own dear son. She may brush aside his hair with her hand or feel his cheeks and forhead to see if he is well or has a temperature. If she outsources this, someone else will get all the pleasure and feel the connection.There is more importance to this than anything that could be accomplished in the outside world.When the family is discouraged or lonely, they don't need a corporate president, rocket scientist or an opera singer--they need a wife and a mother.

I often look at the paintings of the 18th and 19th century, and notice there were a lot painted of women doing very domestic things. They seemed to have time for things like a leisurely tea with their mothers and sisters at home. This is one of the things that the full time homemaker can do, that her working counter-part will have trouble fitting in to her schedule. The more you are at home and getting things under control, the more leisurely time you will have to share with others in your realm.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Make Mine Pink

We have opened comments for a little while!

Upon the arrival of our daughter's first little girl, (after 3 boys) born at home with excellent midwives who have attended her before, we set about trying to find the perfect floral gift for her and this special little doll! I remembered the porcelin bassinett filled with flowers

that I received when my daughter was born. I searched far and wide for a florist that would supply this for her. My husband ordered one from a local florist to have sent to our daughter in the town she lived in. We were dismayed to see the results at the other end. Instead of a pink ceramic baby carriage that he had picked from the display that they showed him, she was delivered a tacky orange duck with some (in my opinion) cheap looking flowers.

My opinion now is this: if you want someone to have the kind of flowers that you really picked, buy them yourself and have someone deliver them for you or take them to the recipient. I've had several disappointments from the wired flower services, but I won't go into the atrocities they have committed over the years. Suffice it to say that when they know the buyer will not see the display, they seem to be careless in what they deliver.

I promptly returned the vase and explained to the florist that after having three boys and plenty of the orange and yellow duck-type toys and things, our daughter needed some kind of keepsake container for her little girl. I chose the porcelin buggy you see here, in pink, from another store, and put the flowers in it. I took the old vase back and exchanged it for a lovely pink porcelin baby shoe, which the florists were quite happy to trade. As I was arranging the flowers in the new containers for my daughter, she suggested that I become my own florist. I will share some of my ideas.

The grocery store provides very fresh flowers and in some stores you can buy one single rose and put it in your own vase. The bouquets are quite inexpensive compared to the florists. You can be your own florist, and the choices are limitless as to the flowers and the container. Vases can go inside of all kinds of things that the mother will want to keep: chenille covered hat boxes, little luggage sets, tea cups, and even small trunks painted white or pink or the color of your choice. You can paint just about anything with craft paints, which are non-toxic and odorless.
One of these pictures shows a clever gift of baby necessities made to look like a bouquet of flowers.

Gift bags these days, even from the dollar store, are beautiful enough to serve as a vase. Just put a jar inside the bag and fill with flowers. Most people re-use the gift bags, passing them back and forth several times before they need to be discarded. For a dollar, gift bags are a wise buy.

If you feel awkward about arranging a bouquet of flowers, try the new "frog" vases, such as the pink glass ones you see at the top. They provide little wires where you can stick individual stems. Lacking that, all you need is some masking tape which you criss-cross over your container, and insert your flowers. Nothing is more precious, however, than a bunch of flowers tied in a ribbon and put in a simple jar, so one need not be overly concerned about matching the arrangements of professional florists.

You can even make your own little boxes. Check out some of these, which you can print out on card stock. Hide a tiny little vase inside the box or use an empty bottle from your spice cabinet and buy one rose and some filler, or pick a flower from your garden.

At the top of this article is a sample of the rose bag-box that you can print out on cardstock, from the following sites. Check out the other printables here. They are very uplifting. Remember that sometimes new mothers need flowers and gifts several weeks after birth, when that down-feeling can really set in!!

Don't you think it is nice to make the floral gift a little more lasting by putting it in a useful or beautiful container that will be kept? You might even find something that could be used as a toybox or a baby keepsake box, that you can put a vase in. Small picnic baskets make great containers. Gift boxes with lids, that are already wrapped and have a bow on them, are good, reusable containers.

Decorative birdcages are good flower containers, as well as pretty enamelware buckets and tubs. The container is really the thing that is the most appealing, because it can be kept and used to improve the home. I grew tired of the plain glass vases years ago and look for unusual containers that can be used for something else. If you don't want to arrange flowers, try an ivy or small flowering indoor plant inside a little wheelbarrow or sleigh. Many of these things can be purchased at your Dollar Tree.

If you want to send something, try some artifical flowers and arrange them in a styrofoam piece in an attractive box and mail them yourself. The key to arranging flowers is balance. Check out this sit and click on all the 7 pages at the end of the article here to see how to arrange your own flowers. But be that as it is, do not be overly concerned about correct arrangements. Just gather up the beautiful flowers and put them in a container!! The flowers speak for themselves and stand on their own, without special arrangements and techinques.

By the way, the baby was born on Christmas Day, and her name is Lillian Elinor. I found a song that used to be popular, called "Daddy's Little Girl."

You're the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold

You're daddy's little girl to have and hold

A precious gem is what you are

You're mommy's bright, and shining star
You're the spirit of Christmas, my star on the tree

You're the Easter Bunny, to mommy and me

You're sugar, you're spice, you're everything nice

And you're daddy's little girl
(Repeat all)
You're the treasure I cherish, so sparkling and bright

You were touched by the holy and beautiful light

Like angels that sing, a heavenly thing

And you're daddy's little girl


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