Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How to Stop Fretting About Politics...

...and enjoy an abundant life. A few days ago I sent an article into LAF about ways to make political changes in our society while improving life at home. I'm really looking forward to Jennie Chancey updating LAF so that everyone can read it. In the interim I sent a copy to Mrs... She may have been influenced by it, hence her decision to move on to a more effective web approach in her life. I really appreciated her first hand experience living inside of communism, and its efforts to get women out of the roles of homemakers, wives and mothers at home.

This painting, although made in the 19th century, is amazingly modern. Click on the name of the artist for more pieces by him, and you will see what I mean.

Flower Girl
Flower Girl
Art Print

Harlamoff, Alexei...
Buy at AllPosters.com

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Favorite Tea Cup

Lillibeth started a "favorite teacup" post on her blog, The Pleasant Times. I am joining her and adding more blogs with favorite cups. One is a wedding tea cup posted by someone who is recently married. The Prairee Rose teacup was one my husband bought me when we left Calgary, Alberta, Canada after spending a number of years there. It is Royal Albert and at the time, it was available in some grocery stores! Therefore, I always thought I could go back and get one whenever I liked. However, as times changed, this pattern became rare and now it is nearly impossible to get it.

White cup: Royal Doulton, "Richelieu"

I inherited these white cups from the grandmother of Rebecca and Amy Newton in Oklahoma. I knew her when I lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada back in the early 70's and we were friends for 30 years afterwards.

Any flavor tea tastes good in these cups. They have the right amount of thin-ness, and I've always thought that the thinner the cup, the better the tea!

You can view another favorite tea cup at http://www.thepleasanttimes.blogspot.com/

If anyone else puts a tea cup on their blog I'll add your link to this article.
Here is one:http://asimplehomemaker.blogspot.com/

http://www.xanga.com/mrsmonise/622467922/my-favorite-tea-cup.html (this is a favorite friend of mine that calls me regularly!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eva Hollyer (1865-1948)

Be sure to view the Eva Hollyer gallery today http://hollyer.org/gallery.aspx which has a slide show. You do not have to click anything. Just sit back and watch as the pictures change.

I discovered Eva Hollyer from a post card that I had framed and put on my mantel. I was adjusting it in the frame yesterday and noticed her signature printed quite clearly and went to the web out of curiosity and found more of her paintings. YOu can also learn more about her at these places



Monday, October 15, 2007

Adding Interest to a Plain House

This is concerning those who live in plain houses with no architectural details, who would like to make them distinctly special. The intention of the articles on 19th century was certainly not to depress anyone who lived in a tract home or to make anyone feel they weren't in the right setting. Instead, we can use the elements that made these homes so homey and appealing, inside our own little houses.

The first thing that is perhaps the easiest is to add prints of good paintings. I was never so astonished as when I went to visit a studio in an architecture school. The students were working inside of places that were worse than jail cells. I wondered how in the world they could produce something good without the inspiration of beauty around them.

Romantic Pathway I
Romantic Pathway I
Framed Art Print

Brevard, Michel
Buy at AllPosters.com
If I had free reign and money enough, I would allow each student to decorate their own studio using architectural salvage like columns and steps, arches, gates, fountains, roofs, gables and dormers. The steps could be drawers containing their supplies. The columns could be holders for tools, with real plants on top. The walls could be Trompe L'oeil, similar to murals (painting a scene on a wall) of gardens or houses or villages or old cities that had a lot of architectural interest. I would totally revamp each student's headquarters so that instead of thinking they were returning back to their slavery or back to the dust mounds, they would feel they had entered a world of of love and beauty and creativity.The Well
The Well
Art Print

Warwick, Dwayne
Buy at AllPosters.com

The paintings have stories in them or messages of peace and tranquility. A house without beauty can be really improved with such paintings on the walls. Now they are available at the same cost as a poster or a card, and fraimed quite inexpensively. There are even ways to mount them without traditional frames by a type of clip that has a fancy cord with a tassel to hang on a hook on the wall. Mural are wonderful and their themes can inspire the home owner to do more outside, adding a gate or a trellis or just a bench and a pot of flowers.

With paintings and posters of good art, a person can feel the joy of having a garden or living in the country even if they do not. This sort of thing, in my opinion, improves the home considerably. In choosing the kind of pictures you like, you can determine what colors appeal to you and why you like the painting. It has to make you smile, and in a way, speak to you. I like to feel something about a painting in all the senses: what does the picture make me think about? Is it reassuring and calming? Will I like it in a few years? Has it got the values that I love (home, family, beauty, children, domestic arts, etc.).

Another way to add interest in the house is with columns. Columns now are quite available, even in discount stores and can be used for any number of things: as a lampstand, a place to put a few books, an end table, or just a place to display something you value.

Paint is the best, easiest and cheapest way to change the look of a plain house. If you don't like it, you can re-paint it. Wallpapers are another way to make home a little less plain. Because it is expensive, sometimes you can decorate just one small area with one roll and it gives enough of a change.

Adding curtains made with interesting fabric purchased at a fabric store can also make a difference inside. Those kind of curtains generally give a softer and gentler look to the home, than the severely formal type of pleated drapes with those awful, sharp hooks and the pulley to open them. Those are also so extremely expensive that it explains why many people use sheets and blankets over their windows until they can afford something. The roller shades are very inexpensive compared to the venetioan blinds, and are more versatile. They can be trimmed in braided ropes and you can iron fabric on to them using a fusible web.

Little embellishments here and there take away the sharp edges of the modern house. Someone recently made me some gingerbread trim for the porch and two railings for the walk area so that it looks like a real entry. Inside, there are things that might not even occur to you that could add a more uplifting atmosphere; things like frames for pictures that are beautiful and colorful or just elegant, or the kind of accent cushions you choose for your home.

We really enjoyed a recent trip to the new TJ Max in our nearest city, where there is a big selection of beautiful things for the home. Some of it makes you feel you just stepped in to a beautiful walking garden or a garden cottage. Some of it inspires you just to have someone over for afternoon tea.

The point is, you do not have to have choses a 19th century style house in order to be happy at home. I did describe in detail how some of the modern architects seemed to have deliberately made homes, public places and parks very inaccessible and undesireable for human life, but I also showed how many homemakers have thwarted this plan by painting their houses and adding trims and gardens and other embellishments. It is perhaps this plain-ness that has caused the demand in the market place for things like architectural type of decor and things to hang on the inside and outside of the house to make it feel like a real home where people want to be, instead of an institution.

Many years ago I could not figure out why the houses we lived in gave me such a feeling of lostness. I was happy in every other respect, but some houses just seemed to make my stomach lurch or made me uneasy. I did a study about the effect of color and discovered some interesting things. Some colors are used in public places to get people to move through fast and not stay too long (such as fast food places), and some colors evoke a feeling of home. There are also things that evoke moods and feelings, such as shapes, which can be studied and adapted to the home.

These are all rather large ways to change things, but if you want to start small then I would suggest the following things:

candles in your favorite scent and color (you don't have to light them)

a special pen at your desk

a pretty tea cup

buying every day products in pretty containers--such as your tissue and your dry goods

opting for the prettiest if you have to choose something for your table or your house.

You can go through some of the shops listed on the side bar for some ideas of what people are doing to make their little houses look great.

I have seen several small dwellings with hardly any yard to speak of around them, that have been transformed by a woman's imagination and use of garden decor. Inside, they changed things so dramatically, using practically free things, that when I visited I was transported in such a way that I forgot I was in a neighborhood and thought I was in a dreamland. I really admire women who can do this, for everyone around them benefits from it.

New address

I changed the web address of Guard the HOme, to www.guardthehome.blogspot.com because I wanted it to match the title. You remember it was formerly savethehome.blogspot. I haven't figured out how to redirect people on blogger, so don't panic--it is still there, for those of you who like to go read it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Older Women at Home

A request has been made for me to explain the reason for older women to be guards and guides of the home, even without children to care for. It is sad that such a subject is even necessary to discuss, because for generations, women, whether they were single or childless, married or widowed, were protected from the pressures of earning a living, and the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, proudly took their responsibility to be good providers and protectors of the family.

The women were then free to develop their talents in just about anything, from gardening to decorating. I had aunts who never had children, yet stayed home, and they were very active, doing many things for themselves and for others.
Garden Table with Blue Chair
Garden Table with Blue Chair
Art Print

Stolerenko, Piotr
Buy at AllPosters.com

One good reason to be at home, even when the children are grown, is to be available. If women would try staying at home, they could understand more clearly what it is like to be available to their families and friends and the church members. They will notice how often they are needed, and wonder what life would be like if they had not been there to rescue someone who forgot their keys, take a packed lunch to someone else, or Once she goes to work outside the home, she looses her flexibility with her time. She cannot receive visitors or accept invitations of other ladies. She cannot go to her children's homes and help them when they are sick, or when they need her for encouragement.

Yet another good reason for older women to stay home is to preserve their health. They have more opportunity to get adequate rest when they manage their own schedule at home. At home, there is less chance to catch every single cold and sore throat that is going around the workplace.

Women who want to make their homes better places will always benefit from visiting these women who love their jobs at home. It is very encouraging to spend time with older women who are at home full time. This does not mean they are confined. They have more freedom to come and go as they please, without restriction.

Older women at home is a perfect plan to pass on the values of marriage, home and family to younger women. Men and boys also learn from this example, and will understand the value of the women at home, when they marry. There is nothing more stabilizing than coming home to a house that has been occupied all day by a loving homemaker. The scents and sights; the feeling of it differs greatly from the house that is empty of its residents all day. The men who come from these homes are generally more happy in their business and in life and have less health problems themselves.

Older Women at Home

Monday, October 08, 2007

My Mantel

This summer I got out things I had and tried to put them together for an arrangement. The cloth is a pillowcase from my mother in law's things, made by her mother. The frame has a vintage post card in it of a girl on a swing. The doll on the swing reflects that. The tea pot was a "dribbler" so I put it on display, and the electric candle was from the dollar store. I got the little silicone pink bulb for it at one of the the Make-Mine-Pink shops called Jorabeels. The fireplace is electric, and the piece that goes in the corner is hinged, so it can be put down and moved to a wall.

This one is the same kind of fireplace on the flat wall. I tried to reflect the painting in the arrangement.

What is nice about upper shelves and mantels is that arrangements can be made that won't get in anyone's way.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Art of the Home

Apples And Hydrangea
Apples And Hydrangea
Art Print

Chabrian, Deborah
Buy at AllPosters.com

It is interesting to see art depicting the kitchen sink. I've written about pictures, posters, people's examples, and the things young girls are exposed to that form their opinions, in several other articles. Today after I saw this painting I was again struck with the thought that our posters for young women are giving them messages that send them in less than exalted directions. With the money that is spent on the posters that are popular these days, I wonder why parents couldn't afford at least one poster a month that had this beauty and the message of home and family in it.

In my childhood, my mother's cast iron stove did not seem a thing of beauty to me, because it was a common appliance that we saw daily. Now, compared to modern stoves, I think it it with wistfully. It certainly had more style and art on it than the many electric ranges I've worn out. I never thought at the time that artists would be painting nostalgic pictures of the cast iron stove.

There are many beautiful paintings depicting the home and the family, the center of life.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Art Print

Del Missier,...
Buy at AllPosters.com

I finally learned what that means. I have to tell 7 little-known things about myself, and tag seven more people. Since I've been on the web for quite a few years, I already over exposed myself, so I find it hard to find anything that no one knows about me. I will use the handy dandy 7 children in our family when I was growing up and tell what became of each one of them.

1. The oldest is me. I grew up on the frontier with 6 other siblings. When people asked us how we could stand to live without running water we would say "We do have running water. We run up and down the hill with buckets of water."

2. The next eldest was my brother, 11 months younger. He was brilliant and when we got electricity, he liked to read in bed at night. In those days the light was overhead and he didn't want to get up and turn it off manually by pulling the cord. He rigged up an elaborate system by connecting the cord to a string that went around the ceiling and down the corner to his bed. He could pull on it when he was ready to turn out the light.

3. Our sister was the third child. She married and had a son, who is studying marine biology.

4. The next brother became a nurseryman. He has his own company and sells the most wonderful mint mulch for gardens. He can make anything grow. He married and has 3 sons.

5. Another brother is very good at carpentry. Even without materials, I've seen him build things with rope and twigs. He once made me a wonderful bench using that technique and a clothesline that would open and shut. He married and his wife is a great cook and hostess.

6. The next brother is an electrician.

7. The youngest brother became a plumber by trade. He married and had 6 children.

That is a brief description of the family I came from. My parents are still as lively as ever and recently when I phoned them I heard some banging in the background. I asked my mother what the noise was. She said, "Your Dad is building me some cabinets in the kitchen." He is 83.

And also, something very interesting that almost no one knows. Yesterday, I found out that my grandmother's brother, who is 99 is living in the same city I live near and has been here for 11 years. I was never told about it, and didn't know where he was. I went to see him yesterday and am glad I did. I think of all those years we could have had him over to our house had I known he was in town. It was quite an emotional meeting, I must say!

I took him a book of photos of his kin, with pictures dating back to the 1800's. He cried upon seeing those of his mother and father and he pointed to the house and the barn and told me it was where he learned to milk a cow. He asked if my father was still living and implored me to please give him his love when I next talked to him. Normally I don't put things so personal on this blog but this was so exciting and so different I just had to share.

He is the baby on the lap of his mother in this picture. My grandmother is the little girl on the lap of her father.

Now to tag 7 people

My daughter, Lillibeth at The Pleasant Times,

Her friend, Rebecca Newton,

The Happy Homemaker, Micah

Mrs. Monise from A Crown to Her Husband

Mrs. Pea, our friend in England

Best At Home, our Australian sister who lived with us a few years ago

Miss Amy, Rebecca's sister, if she has a blog.

Please check comments to paste the blog addresses in your browser.