Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hopelessly Devoted to the Garden

These paintings will be on Lovely Whatevers


The artist, Igor Levashov, is fast becoming one of my favorite contempory artists. How does he do that? I can almost smell his roses!

Here are some garden quotes:

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.” - Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Your mind is a garden,your thoughts are the seeds,the harvest can be either flowers or weeds.- Author Unknown

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.- Emma Goldman

I must dress my best today. My roses will want to see me. (unknown)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Welcome to the World

A Place to Dream, by Susan Rios from Susan Rios Inc. and Pierside Galleries.

I would just like to warmly welcome my new friends on the web who have viewed my blog in the last couple of days, and some old friends who have visited again, from the following places: (Outside of the U.S., these represent only one visit each.)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines






Russian Federation



Hong Kong


Puerto Rico
Okay, I'll list Florida. Yes, it is like a different country.


2 Romania



Burkina Faso (this is in Africa: see someone's comment)



3 Israel




5United Kingdom










Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ireland, Republic of



South Africa










Korea, Republic of
Trinadad and Tobago
2 New Zealand
2 Guatemala

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily Benefits

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits..." Psalm 68:8

Meditation, by Elinor Polin, from Lovely Whatevers

(check the older posts at Lovely Whatevers, for more beautiful paintings)

With my 50 percent off coupon at Jo-An Fabrics, I bought this book. "Sew Pretty" has high quality pages that are nice to the touch. I'm very particular about books and if the paper is cheap and it sends me shivers when I touch it, I usually won't keep it around for long. This book is a pleasure to read, even if you aren't going to sew anything, because it gives so many good ideas for storage for the home, as well as how to use scraps of fabrics, for all kinds of useful things, from how to make yourself a pair of slippers, to wall pockets, place mats, wall pockets and cozies for coffee servers. My "staff" has moved away and I cannot figure out some things about the camera, or I would take pictures of the inside of this book for you. I haven't seen such a nice book in a long time. Well done, well done.

In my post about the first year at home, I did urge young brides to spend that year making things for their homes. There is a reason for it. Life just gets busier and busier. I am so glad I had that first year because, even though I have long worn out the home made place mats and matching curtains, it gave me the knowledge for future projects, which I did with ease, in later times. This book, I really, really think the woman at home in her first year, would enjoy having. It is mostly done in pink, but some projects make you think: ah, this would be lovely in sage green or lemon meringue.

And now on to something new, for me, at least. Before my staff (those next door neighbors you can read about at The Pleasant Times )
they introduced me to Netflix. I have often spoken of movies that were made many years ago that had bright color, good lessons and historical content. I found that Netflix has many of these movies and I gladly put in my order. Being frugal, I found this program to be much cheaper than the local video store rentals, and it has a lot more movies. Our first order was the series "Sissi," about the Empress of Austria. We enjoyed this colorful story, but were pleasantly surprised that included in the series was "The Story of Vicki," or "Sissi: Victoria in Dover, " a fictional romance about Queen Victoria meeting her Prince Albert. It was portrayed by the same actress, as the Sissi series, and we actually liked it better.

In this series, including the flick about Victoria, Romi Sneider stars with her own mother, Magda Sneider, who plays her mother in the film. Romi looks amazingly like the portraits that were painted of Sissi,by Franz Xavier Winterhalter in 1865. "Sissi" is entirely in German, with English subtitles. The man who plays her husband is the same actor who starred in the German/English film about Ludwig Von Beethoven which we saw as children, called "The Magnificent Rebel." This movie is in English, and features the music of Beethoven throughout the film. It is not available for American DVD players, but if you have a computer, it may allow you to play a foreign film.

Empress Elizabeth, by Winterhalter, from Lovely Whatevers

Another Netflix series we are immensely enjoying is the first season of Daniel Boone!! Remember the song? I think this is a good series for children, as it shows such resourcefulness. Daniel is in danger and finds ways out it, quite skillfully. He has a close bond with a friend from an American Indian tribe, who teaches him all kinds of survival skills. When the men of the fort are away and the women need to defend themselves, they really use their wits.

Zorro, the original, with Basil Rathborne and Tyrone Powers, is the last one we have seen and of course, enjoyed. It is in color, and while watching it I think I discovered an actor in the recent BBC film, "North and South." Remember Mr. Bell, Margaret's benefactor? The young captain in this film, is a lot like Mr. Bell. I loved the Spanish interiors in this movie and the wonderful costumes, and mantillas.

Having this system of viewing movies, ends up being about $13.00 a month, for people like us, and enables me to preview videos I might like to own in my library.

The Fallacy Detective 36 Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning

Before my staff moved away for the summer, I was privileged to sit in on some of the daily lessons that these young parents offer their home-schooled children. Mrs. H. has a lovely technique that reminds me of the description of the Dame Schools in early American colonial times. She sits in grandmother's chair (the one with the crocheted lace header on the back of it, also belonging to her grandmother,) while the children sit at her feet and the baby is in her lap. She reads aloud anything she wants them to know, and this is one of the books that she has been using. I'm utterly fascinated with it. Throughout the reading of any of her books, the children get closer and closer, until they almost have their noses in the pages.
This is a book that many serious homemakers could use, especially if they have children around, or, like some of us, get objectionable viewers who want to argue. The stories in it relate many examples that you will recognize: for starters, a father wants his son to do something, and the boy does not want to do it. The father reminds him that he didn't do his job, and the boy says, "You ought to be glad that I am not a criminal or an axe murderer!" Then, the story shows the techniques used today, of distraction, false reasoning, and accusation, designed to take attention away from the point. The Fallacy Detective

Apparently there is an entire series of these kind of books. If I had to do it over again, this is one book I would use with my children. It prevents them from taking you on a long, long trip around the block (or around the world) and makes them focus on the important tasks at hand. It prevents circular reasoning, a problem that besets many people, not just children, today. I can't help but think some of these bad conversation habits (faulty reasoning, distraction, accusation, focus on self) are habits formed in childhood.These books help parents teach their children about sound reasoning, and teach them how to use their minds.

I just wanted to share a site called Victoria's Rose Cottage. As you know I am very supportive of women in business at home, and love the way they love their homes! I personally don't have the time to have a shop but admire those who provide these lovely places.

I recently got two beautiful magazines in the mail. One is the new "Make Mine Pink" catalog, and it has the nice glossy pages that feel so good to the touch. While so many of our favorite magazines are using cheaper paper,(many which I've stopped buying for this very reason) this was a refreshing change. Inside, is a pictorial demonstration of how to paint an old coffee table, as well as a very good article about the history of braided trims.

Since our neighbors, the Bumpfries, moved away, (you know, that family from the hills that Lillibeth writes about on her blog), I've been missing Miss Pooh Bear, and her singing (she likes to hum the tune "Marie's Wedding" by The High Kings, one of that families favorite Irish groups.) Apparently they get their name from some legend of Highland Kings, as opposed to Lowland Kings, or something, but Miss Pooh Bear can hum this song perfectly. Her Daddy is Irish, you know. Oh Miss Pooh I just want to scoop you up and squeeze the sweet juice right out of you and kiss those fat cheeks, but while you are gone, I am going to try to clean up the mess you and your brothers made here. With your family absent, Papa and I are getting very fat, having to eat the entire Lemon Meringue Pie all by ourselves. But your other Papa and Grandma will be very thin, having to share the pie with all you children.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Love in Marriage

This is the article on submission that a reader requested. I have not written anything on this before, because I felt there was already so much out there to read, on the subject. I will try to be short and to the point.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Sheep Reposing from Lovely Whatevers

I am busy sewing for the next day or so. Comments are suspended right now. )

Silly Women

Tea Party by George Kilburne, from Lovely Whatevers

Someone alerted me to a blog where apparently I am the main topic. There, they demand that I explain what I meant by this or what I meant by that. I will not explain that, but I will explain something else:

From the beginning of blogging, I believed that our time and space was limited and that we should do the most good to the most people in the most time that was available to us. I love my home and family and noticed that many young girls had little or no exposure to the great possibilities in homemaking. In schools during "career day" there were many booths full of alluring literature to get girls interested in going out every day and working for a wage, but never any information offered on the advantages of being a wife, mother, and homemaker. I thought that blogging would reach more, faster, and allow me more time, without involving me having to leave the house for long periods of time.

I meant to keep the subject matter, subject matter, and avoid personally running anyone down, naming anyone, attacking any particular religious organization, criticizing any minister or woman personally, or talking about anyone on this blog. I believe the Bible says that when someone offends us, we are supposed to go to them, first. I have found, though, that sometimes people will not come to me, even though my email is visible, and will not personally tell me how I offended them. Instead, they gossip about me on their blogs. Some people have asked me to refute such talk, here, on this blog, but I always wanted the blog to have pretty pictures of homes and gardens and flowers and all that, along with some inspiring ideas to make a success of marriage, homemaking and family life.

On the sidebar, I included a section for the curious, sometimes mocking students all over the world, who seem to think I ought to be shut up, to allow them some study material so that they could be better informed before they drew conclusions about me. Having that list there has slowed down the emails full of accusations and hatred, and it also frees my time to blog about happy things. So, that is why, in spite of the urging of some of my friends to refute these silly women, I don't answer their questions daily on the blog or keep debating the same old things over and over. All the things they want to know are on the side bar and I would encourage them to study it.

I rarely go to other blogs unless they are (1) pretty, (2) creative, (3) inspiring or (4) edifying. I don't like to go places that gossip about other people, but I seem to be the subject of such gossip on one blog. I have read a lot of gossip about me by radical feminists, but what is sad is that some blogs claim to be Christian and are accusing me of being "from the pit of Hell." Personally, I have nothing against any of these people. I will not say anything personally against them nor name them, but I just wanted to thank the ones that keep their blogs clean and beautiful and free of gossip that runs down other people.

I check out my homemaking blogs occasionally and they are always nice and encouraging and am proud to have these ladies on that list because they never indulge in name calling. I know not everyone has the exact same beliefs as I do, but I appreciate it that they don't put their thoughts on the air about it. As I have said in many articles, we live in an age of letting it all hang out, telling it all, and "venting."

We are not better, for that. We are worse. From the beginning of the web, people have claimed a right to vilify me personally by name, because, they said, I was a public figure and deserved it. Well, personally, I will answer to God if I write on my blog that Mary so and so is a rotten stinker and she is from hell. I wouldn't do it even if she was a rotten stinker, because I would be sullying my own soul. I couldn't eat or sleep if I my blog's main theme was about some woman on another blog that I didn't like. I don't think it is good manners and I think it is immature.

So to sort of outline what this blog is for, is to encourage homemaking and to find ways to make it lovely. There were several books I have read over time, that have helped me, and one of them was "The Spirit of Loveliness" by Emilie Barnes. I hope that those who are engaged in debate over me, will read this book and will relax and have a cup of tea, and dress up and look as pretty as they can, and think whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is good. (Philippians 4:8)
The Holy Spirit mentions this sort, when He says:

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
. 2 Timothy 3:6 and 7
Here is part of a sermon written in 1947 by George DeHoff:
...Paul then tells us not to keep company with a railer. That simply means a man who talks too much. It means one who rails out against other people. Such a person is worse than a murderer. The church of our Lord is afflicted with people. some of them preachers, who are continually gossiping about other people. Any scandal is sweet morsel to their ears. A brother once told some scandal - lies - about a brother preacher. That preacher said, "You apologize or I'll sue you for slander." The brother said, "Oh, you'd violate the Bible law about going to law with a brother, would you? " Of course, the brother preacher was wrong in threatening to go to law, but a man ought to "put up or shut up." There ought to be some weay to stop the mouths of scandalmongers. We ought to treat them as heathen and barbarians. Indeed, they are such.

So, here is to keeping blogs lovely!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scrap Flags

This is a banner flag from Victorian Trading Co.

Gardeners just love the little garden flags that fly about on wrought iron flagpoles. I have had some for several years that were so faded and shredded, and sought to replace them. However, there were none available locally, and I could not find the special kind of fabric to make them with. The above flag was a frugal way of replacing the old banner, by using a scrap of fabric. It is a butterfly print that was glittery, made by tracing around the old flag and adding hem allowance and the fold over pocket for inserting on the hanger. Even if you don't sew, you could use something like fabri-tack, a fabric glue, to make one of these.

I dug into my fabric scraps and found enough to make my own flags. Click on for a larger view. The nylon flag material looks the same from both sides, and the cotton calico fabrics will only have one side that is worth viewing, but against the side of the house, it looks okay. Click on for a larger view.

Since the store-bought banners eventually fade out and wear out, it doesn't really matter that these cotton ones will probably only last a couple of seasons. The butterfly fabric is actually quite high quality and stiff. I put a bit of starch on the patchwork print fabric. I can imagine what an enjoyable time the crafters and quilters and scrap-artists could have in making these little flags. They could add ribbons and buttons and laces and all kinds of things.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The First Year At Home

The Rose Room, by Susan Rios, from Susan Rios Inc. and Pierside Galleries

There are several young ladies preparing for their first year of marriage. In all the advice they get, the people that encourage them to spend that first year out working, are the most vocal. I wanted to write something to show the wisdom of staying home, as did the women before us, who took the time to really invest in their marriage and establish a great spiritual foundation for the home, in the first year.

Here, we have an opportunity to show the importance of staying home that first year and getting used to a routine. I hope many people will post about this subject! Several young ladies say they want to be home the first year but they "feel guilty" because their husbands have to work everyday, while they, the wives, "are not contributing." It grieves me to hear this, because it is a quote straight from the mouth of Karl Marx, author of the Communist Manifesto. He claimed women at home were "not contributing," and did much harm to the home. You all know what a lazy bum he was, refusing to look after his own wife and children. They lived in squalor in London while he wrote long thesis about how the world ought to be run. His ideas were rebellious and unBiblical, yet they are ingrained in the minds of most young women today.

The words of the Bible, addressed to young women, are quite the opposite of those of Marx. The Holy Spirit said that women contribute the most by being helpmeets to their husbands, and it shows them how to do that by guiding and guarding the home. This was well-understood by generations before us. The apostle Paul warned Christians not to believe myths and old wives tales, yet there is a huge population of young ladies who believe in this myth. They actually think that in order to "contribute" they have to bring in money.

Money seems to be foremost on everyone's mind, but what about love? Sadly, the young connect the word "money" with "love," but money cannot keep a marriage together, make you a good cook or a good housekeeper, or hand down good values to your children. These are things that must be learned, whether or not you have money. In fact, getting out and earning money that first year might handicap you and prevent you from acquiring the skills you will need the rest of your life, in your marriage.

As Jesus said to Martha, "You are worried about many things," that is one of the main problems that exist in homes today. Young women are taught to worry from an early age. They worry about money. They worry about how they will survive. They worry about education. They worry about careers. They worry about poverty.

I listen often to young women in their conversations in Ladies Bible Classes, at tea parties, in church, and other places and one thing stands out supreme: they don't seem to be worrying about their spiritual condition or the spiritual condition of their children. They don't worry about whether or not their husbands are happy. They don't worry about their children's character development. They don't worry about whether or not they will be able to keep up with the housework and maintain the home. They don't worry about whether or not they will be able to have proper nutrition at home. They don't worry about their husband's health. They do not reveal any of this in their intimate conversations with other women, so if they are concerned about these things, it is a big, big secret.

I sat and listened, a few years ago, to a young married woman who said that her children were going to join clubs that would teach them to race cars, drive speed boats, and many other things. The child's soul was never mentioned. I've heard many women talk about all the "things" they want in their houses but rarely talk about the spiritual journey they hope to have, with their husbands and future family. Whereas years ago women would say, "I hope my son knows and follows the word of God," today the young women are saying, "I hope my son makes lots of money." I realize not everyone is like this, but this represents what I've been hearing in my corner of the world.

In keeping with my attempt to have shorter articles, I will now proceed with the things that can be done in the first year of marriage at home.

These future brides wonder what they will do all day at home, while their husbands are at work. I used to sympathise with this question, while I was raising my family, but when they all grew up and I was left with just my husband in the house, I was ASTONISHED at how much time it actually took to look after one man again! You have to keep his clothes ready for work, remind him of his schedule, check his mail, show him the bills that need to be paid, keep track of some of his paper work, remind him of upcoming events, and keep him from losing his mind. I know a couple in retirement, where the wife is always always busy.She quilts and she gardens and she fills up her days at home, even though there is just one man to take care of.

So you cannot say that I was married so long ago that I cannot remember what it was like as a newlywed at home. When children are grown, it is like being a newlywed again, and here are some things that have to be done, that take the entire day:

-If your husband is health conscious, you have to "get your food from afar" as did the Proverbs 31 woman, by seeking the best natural sources in the form of local farms and organic markets. This takes a lot of scrutiny and time.

-You will have to plan some menus so he won't get tired of having potatoes every night.

-You will have to pack his lunches. This in itself is a learned skill, that can be acquired that first year of marriage. You may need your mother's expert help for the first few days. Seasoned married women know how to make a packed lunch beautiful, nutritious, interesting, and sentimental.

-You will have to begin early in the day while he is gone, to get the evening meal ready. When he comes home, you need to have the major labor of it out of the way so you can relax with a cup of tea or a cool drink and visit with him. You need to have the table set. You need to have dinner on a back burner, warming. You need to have taken a shower and dressed in fresh clothing. You might not do this years later when you have children and live in a bigger house, but the first year of marriage is your honeymoon, and you will have more time to pay attention to yourself.

-You will need to have his clothes washed, pressed, mended, and ready for him to wear the next day. When he gets ready for work, you don't want him running around desperately looking for matching socks and shoes or trying to find his watch, his cellphone, his keys.

-In the morning you can make him a hot breakfast. When he leaves, you can clean up the kitchen and get out a project to do: maybe a new tablecloth and placemats, or framing a picture. You might need to go to a thrift store and find some things you need. While you are out, you can check on your mother and your new mother in law. Maybe you could take them a batch of cookies that you have baked. You have time to teach a younger girl something like sewing or crafting.

-The first year at home is a good time to send out thank you notes for the wedding and shower gifts. Many young married women neglect this.

-The first year at home is a great time to fix up your living quarters. It will give you the experience that you will need when you move to something else. I remember reading in an old magazine written in the 1800's called "The Dileanator" about a newly married girl, who had very little in the way of material possessions. From scraps of fabrics, she sewed together a table cloth, some napkins, curtains, and made coverings for the tops of boxes which she used as end tables and coffee tables. She did this by cutting the fabrics in strips and alternating them so that they matched. Smaller pieces were made into doilies by cutting them in circles (traced with a dinner plate) and stitching a border of lace around them. Her home, this article said, was the coziest of homes, and if I can find the article I will reprint it in full for you here.

In doing this, the young married woman shows an example to other young women just how it can be done. Learn to live on your husband's income that first year, and you will be well on your way to prosperity in the future. If you start out working, it will be almost impossible to quit, as your expenses will go up, and you will want to reward yourself by buying things, with your money.

In the story "When Queens Ride By," one of the theme articles on the side links, a woman tells her story about how her husband wanted her to go to work with him in his business when they first got married. She explained to him that a woman's place was in the home, and later he found out what an advantage it was to him to have one person to come home to who was calm, had a good day, and made life comfy for him. If he had a bad day at work, at least there was only one of them in a grumpy mood. This story was made into a movie on "The Loretta Young Show". It was one of the episodes, and I saw it myself when I was younger. It showed the difference it made when a woman cleaned up her house, took a bath and put on fresh clothing and put a hot dinner in the oven. It showed the difference it made in the men, who, instead of coming home to chaos, neglect and tension, came home to peace, beauty, order, happiness, smiles, cleanliness and good children. A woman cannot achieve all this without staying home and really concentrating on it during the day.

-The first year of marriage is a time to establish a routine. You will need this all of your life, and having that first year free, is crucial. If you wait, and do not come home until you have children, you'll feel huge pressures upon you. Learn to adjust to a homemaking routine when there is just you and your husband, and it will be much easier when additions come into the family.

I know there is so much more to this subject, but I've already gone beyond my self-imposed one page limit, so I'll let the others add their useful comments to this.

When a woman goes to work, she cuts herself off socially, from the home, the church, her parents. I have seen this many times, as a preacher's wife. Christian women know the importance of such spiritual qualities as accessibility, availability, and flexibility. Working away from home that first year cuts off your flexibilty and your accessibility. I remember when we were able to visit aunts and uncles and the aunts were home, so we visited with them until the husbands came home. Years later when so many women went to work, you couldn't make a trip to visit a relative because the women were not home anymore. You had to wait til they both got home, and when they did, they were in no mood to entertain. Homeakers are flexible with their time. Although we must get our houses in order, we know we can drop it all at a moment's notice and attend to something else when it comes up.

If you are bored, as a young married woman at home, then you are not discovering the work that must be done. You are not doing enough. Boredom does not exist in the mind of a thrifty, industrious, creative

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hospitalty Can Revive the Home

Summer Porch by Kevin Liang, from Lovely Whatevers

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galations 6: 9 -10

This can be a hard thing for a home maker to see. She notices daily that her work becomes undone as quickly as it is done. This is one reason that I like to sew or craft or have people over to show hospitality. These things are pleasant rewards for the daily cycle of life. Dishes and meals have to be done over and over, but something you sew or craft, stays around for awhile. One of the things I am teaching the young girls to do in sewing classes is to make their own table cloth and napkins. The project is actually quite small and is completed quickly, and the results are lasting. Sewing and crafts stay a lot longer than meals, and so they are a lasting reward.

Hospitality is another thing that will encourage the homemaker to keep doing well. Her home efforts pay off when she can share her work with her friends. I like to get the house all cleaned up and prepare the table for tea and sandwiches and invite someone over. They always like coming, even though my house is not new and updated. They just enjoy getting out and going to see someone. Hospitality is something I am afraid the younger women will neglect. It should be included in their lives regularly. It is something that the Lord took the trouble to mention specifically in the Bible. Yet today there is a great neglect of hospitality. I am sure many women have noticed it, too.

In spite of nice homes and prosperity, there seems to be more lonely hearts than ever. I believe that it is a result of the neglect of hospitality. Just inviting one person over for a cup of tea can lift them up and do wonders in their lives for days. I know that is how I feel when I have returned home from visiting a friend. It always inspires me to do well and not get discouraged. After a friend has invited me over, I look forward to inviting her back to my place. So, if you are a young person and you get invited out, be sure to plan a time to return the favor. It is good practice. Too many times people are the recipient of good hospitality but they never extend it in return, or pass it on to anyone else.

Hospitality revives the giver the most. It makes the homemaker come alive as she bustles about and brisks her home up. She gets excited thinking about having someone over. Children sense that something special is in the air. They are greatly blessed by seeing their mother show hospitality. I really hope the young homemakers take this to heart because it puts life into the home and provides a personal ministry that is most refreshing. It gives you a chance to use your home for the Lord. It is good to share our personal surroundings with others, and I have always been blessed by it. I have had only a few rude guests, and for the most part, hospitality has been a pleasant experience.

It is easy to grow faint and weary at the prospect of doing mounds of dishes and laundry every day, and preparing for hospitality adds a bit of glamor and brightness

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vogue 8281

Since I am a seamstress, I am always looking for patterns. I found this in the 2008 dress collection at Vogue patterns.

If you look at the pictures on this page, this one stands out in a beautiful way. I love the color and the design.

Getting the Day Started

Room to Breathe, by Susan Rios, from Susan Rios Inc.

If you are adjusting to homemaking, you will find quite a few things different. It helps if you acquaint yourself with women who have mastered the art of home keeping, and get some ideas from them. One thing I learned was to get up and prepare a tray with a cup of raspberry tea (called an infusion) or some other favorite drink, and go sit in a comfortable place.

While my eyes adjusted to the light and my brain began to wake up, I was to make a list of the days necessary work. In this list I put reminders of things I had to do at the market, or in various businesses in town: the bank, the post office, the gas station. Also, I included something like: 4:00 p.m. start getting dinner ready. For some people, it will be necessary to begin dinner earlier, if it is something that takes a bit more preparation. You have to account for time peeling potatoes or making a soup, if that is on the menu.

Another thing that was very important to me was to dress up as though I were going somewhere, even if I was not. This was the first thing on the list, always after a shower, using a favorite soap and cologne. Dressing in clothes that were clean and dignified, meant that I would approach my job in a serious way. That way, if I had to go out suddenly, I would not have to change my clothes, or be caught in dirty tennis shoes and a sloppy tee shirt.

If you wake up and feel overwhelmed, this is what seems to work for many homemakers:

Make yourself a cup of tea or favorite drink and put it in a fancy cup on a tray.

Sit in a comfortable place, even back in your bed, and while you sip your tea and eat your apple or orange or whatever you choose, make yourself a list of things you must do. It will help your mind to get moving in a logical way.

Get a shower or bath and get dress, fix your hair, and add scent. For mornings at home, I like light scents like strawberry, melon, pear, cucumber, etc. For afternoons, or evenings, maybe something a bit less energetic and sweeter like musk or vanilla. Just find one that inspires you and speaks to you of the mood of the day.


If you are overwhelmed, just make a simple breakfast and get everyone fed so that you can concentrate on your tasks. As much as possible, get the family to help with the meal so that the burden is not all on you.

I have found that if I can at least get the front room, the one that is first seen from the front door, clean, it gives me confidence to do other things. That room is quite easy to put in order and beautify. The dining area, the bathroom, and the bedrooms should be next. Just go through and pick up and straighten up and clean up. Listening to your favorite music helps, and having a candle lit can bring a feeling of peace while you work. I was taught to save the kitchen til last, but others might prefer to do it first, and I can see the wisdom in that.

The way to maintain the work you have already done is this: on your way to the door, or the bathroom, or the bedroom, just check around and pick up and put away anything out of place. While in the living room or kitchen for other reasons, look around with a critical eye and put things away. It is actually more work to save things for a cleaning day. If you get in that automatic habit, your children will also pick up the habit of "cleaning as you go" and "picking it up, not passing it up."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mood Lifters

Everyone feels a bit lonely or sad at sometime in their lives. Even the great men and women of the Bible experienced feelings of sadness or emotional stress. I have been collecting mood lifting ideas from friends, and have come up with several good things that will not destroy your finances.
There is a tendency to believe that buying something expensive will make a person feel better. This may be true but the feeling soon passes and then the realization that such extravagance has broken the budget can bring on a worse depression. In particular, having something with a label on it seems to make people feel better. However, once you are at home, no one knows what the signature is on your shoes or your sunglasses. It is surprising how boys and girls as young as 12, strongly desire to have a name label on their jeans or their shirts. They do not realize that they are making rich people richer, and making themselves much poorer.
Having lived long before such labels existed, I never desired them. Knowing how to make many things brought a degree of contentment to the older generation, and many of us were never impressed with a signature on a product. When you can make your own things, you can also add your own signature to them, whether it be hand
It is tempting to go out and buy something for a mood lifter, but for those who do not want to harm their bank account or collect too many pairs of shoes, there are alternatives. Calling a friend, if she is of a cheerful nature, is always helpful. Doing something for someone else can help that self-pitying feeling to disappear. If you have a stash of fabric, sewing something new for the home or something new to wear, can lighten a cloudy mood.
If every sense is tested, it is possible to find things that give the mood an instant lift:
Scent: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of chocolate flavored coffee beans or ground coffee.
Sound: The dollar stores often have very good soothing music on CDs, which make the sad heart smile again. If you can't do that, singing a song does amazing things for the mood.
Sight: Often, just cleaning up a corner of the house and staging it for photographs, can make you feel happier.
Taste: Various flavors, like orange, mint, cinnamon, strawberries or chocolate, can help.
Touch: This is an even more interesting area. Apparently, we deprive ourselves of much pleasure by limiting our choices in life. If we spend all day only doing one thing, we do not receive the good feelings in our sense of touch. Handling fabrics and yarn, kneading bread, preparing food, hanging out clothes and bringing them in when dry, ironing, making the bed with fresh sheets, ---the list is endless--translates the feeling from the touching of the fingers, to the brain. If we only swept the floor all day, or only used the keyboard all day, we would not receive the extraordinary benefits that the touch brings. In the old days before shopping was a popular hobby, women used to lift their moods by visiting a friend, or washing their hair, writing a letter, singing, making cinnamon rolls, or maybe putting on a newly ironed dress. In those days everything was ironed, and each garment felt brand new when we wore it. If clothes were dried in the sun, it seemed to put a special starch in it. These things caused no harm, while making things better than they were before.
I am looking forward to seeing what people can add to this list of mood lifters.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Family Scene

Psalm: 68:6 "God setteth the solitary in families..."

Table For Tea, by Ghambaro

available from Lovely Whatevers

The most important people in our lives will be our families. The most important investment we will ever make will be in our relationships at home. We can really make a difference at home because we have the time to set a table and eat around it, sharing our thoughts and our values with each other.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Do People Need Labels?

I felt a bit sad last week when several young girls that I met at a tea party told me about their must-have bags, shoes, jeans, sunglasses, and I don't know what else. These girls were barely 10 years old. They showed me some of the wares that cost their parents fifty to a hundred dollars. These mothers are trying to stay at home and homeschool their daughters, but I saw there something that made my heart sink.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

In Quietness and Hope

" In returning and rest you shall be saved; and in quietness and hope shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Call Your Representative About This Urgent Family Matter

Please make sure to call your representatives about the unconstitutional interference of the UN in America.
They don't bite. They are your employees!
You pay them to represent you.

Sample Letter:

HJM 23 urges the US to take up the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child.

I strongly oppose any action of this sort, for a number of reasons.

1. Sovereign people do not willingly subject themselves to foreign control.
The United States of America is a Sovereign nation,
and its citizens are to be subject only to the laws of the United States.

No representative of a United States Citizen
should attempt to cede any portion of a United States Citizen's rights
to the oversight of a foreign committee, body, or nation.

No representative of a United States Citizen
should attempt to pass legislation
which could be perceived as recognizing
any earthly legislative body
with authority overarching that of United States.

If there is some principle worth adopting in UN Resolution 44/25,
then it may be evaluated in principle
for the establishment of a new United States Law,
or a new law of one of the United States,
without reference to
or acknowledgment of
any higher earthly lawmaking body
than that of the United States Legislative Branch.

This is a first principle of all sovereign nations,
which no reasonable representative would attempt to confound.

By definition,
it is a plain and straightforward act of treason
to forward any business
which could subject the sovereign people of the United States
to a foreign power on their own soil.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties does not permit member nations to invalidate treaties which conflict with their internal laws:

United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 27:
“ A party may not invoke
the provisions of its internal law
as justification
for its failure to perform a treaty.”

Our laws are the product of a Democratic process.
The laws of the United Nations are the product
of a far distant political fabrication
which does not owe any direct accountability to
or suffer any direct supervision by
the citizens of its "member" nations.

This brings me to the second Foundational principle being affronted by HJM 23:
2. Democratically self-governing people avoid structural hazards to their legal foundations.

Part of the genius of Democracy
is that it respects the inherent structural hazard
of unnecessary institutional distance
between the subjects of law
and the makers of law.
The greater the institutional distance
the makers
the subjects
of law,
the greater the likelihood
for the maker of law
to oppress,
either through ignorance or disrespect,
the subjects of law.
the greater the sensitivity of a decision
to highly localized information,
the greater the harm
in subjecting that decision
to oversight from a very distant law making body.

If, for instance,
your child is about to run into a thicket
which you can see is hiding a hunting trap,
there would be great harm in inserting a layer of government
between you and your child.

The necessary information required for a right decision
is of a highly localized nature.

It is of no secondary importance
that it is also of a highly time sensitive nature.

By relocating the ultimate authority for many critical aspects of child raising
from the parent to a distant, overarching legal body,
HJM 23 acts to confound the essential genius of Democracy,
and to set a freakish precedent for further degradations of our Republic.

No reasonable representative of a Democratically self-governing people
would attempt to set a precedent for the rule of the United Nations
overarching that of current local, state and federal bureaucracies.

3. Mature Adult Parents retain the inherent and God-given right to raise their children according to their own values,
and recognize the ceding of that control as an act of negligence.

The Preamble to General Assembly resolution 44/25 (Convention on the Rights of the Child)
states that
"...the child should be...brought up in the spirit of the ideals
proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations..."
I am a Christian father who intends to bring up my children
in the Spirit and ideals of the New Testament of Jesus Christ -
-by the life and example of Christ.

The spirit and ideals of the Charter of the United Nations
is subject to the shifting sands of distant political machinations.
It is an intrinsically poor choice for a child's foundational authority.

The Spirit and ideals of Jesus Christ are constant through the ages, have produced highly productive, mature adults for the past two millenia, are foundational to Western culture and to this nation which, to this point has afforded us the great freedoms we enjoy

. The Spirit and ideals of Jesus Christ are an intrinsically good choice for a child's foundational authority.

It would be an act of grave negligence to turn over control of my children to a man whom I did not know. Likewise, it is an act of negligence to imply the faintest hint of dominion of the United Nations over my children, as the United Nations is a body comprised of people and principles which are not knowable except in the immediate present.

The people and principles of this international construction may change in the next twenty four hours.

They already are, in the immediate present in sharp conflict with Biblical child raising, in one key point especially, which brings me to my final point:

4. Biblical Doctrine teaches corporal punishment as an essential, though small,
component of child raising, which the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child directly denies.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, stated in their General Comment No. 8 (2006): The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (arts. 19; 28, para. 2; and 37, inter alia), CRC/C/GC/8, (2006):

“The Committee is issuing this general comment to highlight the obligation of all State parties to move quickly to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment…. Addressing the widespread acceptance or tolerance of corporal punishment of children and eliminating it, in the family, schools and other settings, is … an obligation of State parties under the Convention.”

Pro 13:24 Whoever spares the shêbeṭ hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (shêbeṭ is from an unused root meaning to branch off - a switch from a sapling for instance.)

When a Christian parent sees that his child is badly misbehaving,
he does not permit the behavior to persist.

He calmly goes outside and pulls a slender, small shêbeṭ (switch) from a bush or tree.

He goes back inside, gently takes the child aside and tells the child in a calm voice
that he is going to get a switching and that the behavior will not be allowed to continue.
He gives the child a swat or two on the bare bottom.
The child cries and comes back to his senses.
He "reboots" as it were.
The parent asks the child if he understands why he was disciplined,
and when the child asks to be forgiven,
he gives him a hug and tells him that all is forgiven.
The child goes back to what he was doing knowing that he has been disciplined,
and that his slate is clean, and that he is now right with his father or mother.
He may very likely be exceptionally well behaved for a good while to come.
The parent in this situation can well afford to keep his calm,
knowing how well the discipline works,
and how little of it is going to be needed over the total child raising process.
Pro 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
He can also be calm because the switch only stings - it does not injure the child.
He may want to test out a switch on his arm once or twice to calibrate his stroke.
Contrast this to the harm that is caused
when a parent becomes so aggravated by a rude child
that he or she loses his composure and begins loudly berating the child.
He subjects his child to the abuse of beholding an adult
who is no more in control over himself than the the child is over himself.
This is real abuse - because children have a fundamental need to see
that their parents are as in control over themselves
as they are over the home in general.
There is a bizarre collection of psychological flotsam and jetsam afloat in our cultural waters that posits that if a parent spanks their child,
the child will grow up to become a violent person.
The facts are otherwise.
Detective Robert Surgenor is in charge of the Juvenile Crime unit
of an Ohio police department.
He has interviewed hundreds of juvenile offenders and their families
and found that the majority of violent juvenile offenders come from homes
where there is no corporal punishment.
In his book, No Fear, Detective Surgenor relates an example:
"It took the help of five other police officers to assist me in getting the handcuffs on the fifteen -year-old boy
who had just broken his mother's nose, knocked his father to the floor, and thrown a table through the front window.
As I compiled the information for the report, the mother indicated that they had lost control of the boy at an early age.
Time-outs and groundings just never worked.
When I asked the mother if they had ever tried spanking the boy when he defied their authority,
she replied angrily,
'We don't believe in spanking. Violence begets violence!'
I wondered if she realized how foolish she sounded."
-xiii, No Fear.
Parents who withhold discipline from their children abuse them. Biblically speaking, they hate them; and their children may at times grow up to return the sentiment in one way or another.
Pro 29:15 The shêbeṭ and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
A youth culture comprised of such children can bring shame upon an entire nation.
My right to raise my child according to Biblical values,
is not granted to me by the State,
but is rather to be recognized as a God-given, pre-existing, intrinsic quality of parenthood.
I am commanded of God to bring up my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, for their good - so that they will lead happy, well adjusted and productive lives.
Corporal punishment is a very small, but extremely necessary part of Biblical child raising. Of course there are many other aspects to Biblical child training that I am not going into at present.
I can say from personal experience that the more Biblical the discipline, the less need there is of it. The more lax the discipline, the more demand there is for it. Self titled parenting czars may decry spanking, but the facts of existence and experience are against them. The future belongs to cultures which discipline their children. Cultures which do not discipline their children ultimately degrade and finally self-destruct.
I would go on at further length on this subject but I have already given up several hours of family time to write thus far.
Thank you for your consideration,

(Article 18)20 Things You Need to Know About the CRC{B56D7393-E583-4658-85E6-C1974B1A57F8}An In-depth Analysis of the CRC{2B53865E-A8C1-4FE6-AF67-08789FBE3C0A}Please call or write the House Rules Committee members, asking them to rejectHJM 23 and let it die in committee. Be polite and respectful.Choose a couple of points to talk about, keeping it brief. Remain credible by notoverstating your points.If you are a constituent of one of the Committee members, let them know at thebeginning of your email or call.

The following lists Oregon representatives. Please do a search for your representatives and call them.

You can see who your Representative is at House Rules Committee Membership:Arnie Roblan, Chair (D)503-986-1409rep.arnieroblan@state.or.usVicki Berger, Vice-Chair (R)rep.vickiberger@state.or.us503-986-1420Chris Edwards, Vice-Chair (D)541-607-9207rep.chrisedwards@state.or.usBill Garrard (R)503-986-1456rep.billgarrard@state.or.usSara Gelser (D)503-986-1416rep.saragelser@state.or.usBob Jenson (R)503-986-1458rep.bobjenson@state.or.usMary Nolan (D)503-986-1436rep.marynolan@state.or.usTobias Read (D)503-986-1427rep.tobiasread@state.or.usThank you for defending the rights of parents to do what is best for their children.Rodger WilliamsOCEANetwork Legislative Coordinator

Whatsoever Things Are Lovely..

"whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. " Philippians 4:8

Many years ago I home educated my children in classical education, which included English painters of the 19th century. I believe with all my heart that a classical education enhances the home and elevates the mind to the good, the lovely, the pure and the truthful.

As the children ,study great art, the inventions, earth science, the heavens (telescopes and all) , history, (with biographies of many world leaders and many common people as well) early exploration, Blackstones Law, mathematics, grammar, speech, drama....the list goes on; it is reflected in life at home.

The bookshelf changes with the addition of great works, the walls change with the addition of beautiful art, the furnishings change with the addition of learning skills in architecture, room arrangement, textile knowledge, sewing, resourcefulness, etc.

As learning continues in things like nutrition and gardening, the palate and the appearance of the plate changes! As speech and drama emerge, the children begin speaking differently at home and as logic and writing are learned, they begin to produce their own newspapers and start their own classes. I believe the home is greatly benefited by the classical education.

The Bible in particular comes alive as its meanings are grafted into the soul. The music of Handel and Hayden and others, take on a new significance, in its relationship to the poetry in Scripture. Our interest in these things gives life a great purpose. Life at home becomes sacred and important. Honoring of parents is one of the great products of a classical education, or at least, it was for us, as we saw our children happy and productive and able to live right. The final blessing was to see their high regard for the sanctity of the home and their trust in God.
On the Beach by Sydney F. Muschamp

I've posted this art piece by Sydney Muschamp, (British, 1851-1929) called "The Proposal," from Lovely Whatevers, where more of his art is displayed.

A brief biography of this painter:

Muschamp’s brush was motivated by his love of the past and he concentrated on portraying Shakespearean, Classical and Baroque lifestyles. This becomes quite evident, when reviewing titles of paintings he exhibited during his lifetime – these include: The Merchant of Venice, The Sonnet, Much Ado about Nothing, Juliet and her Nurse, The Fool and Maria: A Scene for ‘Twelfth Night’, The Winning of the Golden Fleece and Ivanhoe.

Born in Hull, the artist lived in London and exhibited his works between 1870 – 1903 at many of the major halls, including: the Royal Academy; Suffolk Street; Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham; Dudley Gallery & New Dudley Gallery; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Manchester City Gallery; Royal Society of British Artists; Royal Hibernian Academy; and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He died in 1929.

Llandudno Beach by Sydney Muschamp

Looking into the paintings gives a glimpse of the textiles and homes of the era. I always enjoy seeing the architecture and the interiors, including draperies, tassels, fireplace mantels, clocks, mirrors, chairs, rugs, window seats, floors, etc. Many other things in the beach paintings can be observed, but I will let the readers do that!

Friday, June 06, 2008

And that ye study to be quiet....

...and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." Ist Thessalonians 4:11-12

My mantel for June...the one place that no one lives in or touches or parks their wallets, eyeglasses, mail or keys! This is the new poster from Lovely Whatevers

More June Mantels and June House Tours:

The verse I posted today reminds me that working with my own hands can prevent "want" or poverty. Money seems to go out as quickly as it comes in. Living on your income may require some imagination and some inspiration and some innovation. Resourcefulness is a great blessing. It means that we can make many things that we might have thought we could only buy. I've been to see a sight about the pioneer spirit, that shows how to make everything from your own potato chips to your own catsup (ketchup, tomato sauce) condiments, and cereal. There are a lot of things we do not have to buy, if we are trying to save money. If we buy everything, and make nothing, it is hard to keep up with the grocery bill. Even with a large income, the grocery bill comes in next highest to the rent or house payment. I am not saying women should feel obligated to do this, but that in a pinch, there are alternatives.

Studying is referred to in several places in the Bible, and it is always in reference to studying that which is good, lovely, pure, and builds the inner man.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Altered Boxes

I just added this card which is made with the saran-wrap or plastic wrap method. Cut a piece of fabric from your fabric scraps and layer a piece of saran wrap beneath it and iron it on the same size card. I use a press cloth to keep the iron from getting sticky. Then, trim excess plastic wrap, and add glitter or glitter glue. This one, I sent to a friend. For a tutorial on how to make these, go to Kelli's House

These are altered round boxes that were formerly cans of almonds. Using scrap papers and paper doilies, and a few pieces of sparkly cord, this is what can be done with them. The finished pieces are then slathered with a layer of clear glaze that has glitter in it, a product from Folkart paints. The rose embellishments are stickers, outlined in a glitter glue called Dimensions. Click on for a larger view. These two boxes, one of them an empty tea box, are covered in Carol Wilson art papers. Each has holes punched in the sides and a rope strung through, and each is glazed with the glitter paint from Folkart.

This is the ice cream container. It had to be washed out with cold water and not soaked, so that it would keep its shape. Then after it was thoroughly dry, it was lined with art paper and covered on the outside as well. It is a good craft for children, using things you already have. If you have no scrap paper collection, you can use calendar pictures or magazine clippings, like we used to do before all these papers were available.

Check out this interesting piece about a descendent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, from
"Little House on the Prairee" fame.

The Pleasant Times is updated, and today there is an article about how the Shermans are not welcome in the south. I must protest and say that my husband's name was not always Sherman, but originally "Shereman", related to the "Clothier" family, associated with sheep-shearing and clothing. We are not really related to other Shermans, and not General Sherman, who burned Atlanta, Georgia, during the Civil War. I've a mind to change it back to the original spelling, which was altered by Great-great-great Grandfather, who admired General Sherman. I have historical proof that my husband's family was Shereman and not Sherman!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June Victorias

I have a tradition of getting out the old issues of Victoria. Here are ten years worth of issues beginning with the premier issue in 1988.

This is the cover of one of the first issues in 1988.

Here is a look inside of the first issue. Now you know why so many people were sentimental about the original Victoria magazines.

For online Victoria newsletter go here

There is a blogger in Germany here who does lovely hand work. It is an inspiration to look at!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Home Management Booklet

I do not have a home management binder, although I used one many years ago. I believe you really need one when you first start out in your own home, just to get your mind focused on what is important and to keep from getting behind in the management of the home. However, as years go by, you, like me, may find that after using the h.m.b. often, you memorize a lot of things and will have no need for the large book on a daily basis. I now use little notebooks from the Dollar Tree, or make my own. I wanted to show how I made my own for the month of June. My daughter and I are trying to use up all our scrap papers and stickers, and these were perfect for this little book. The covers are made from Miss Elizabeth's short stack of scrap papers, from Dollar Tree. The stickers also come from the Miss Elizabeth supply only at Dollar Tree. I punch holes for the ribbon to bind the booklet.
The inside covers have a pocket I pasted in from the scrap papers. The white pages are from computer paper.
Here are some of the divider papers in the back of the book. The front of book has about 15 pages and I will use the other sides of the pages also, so that it will last a month. If I don't want to re-do the cover, I can always take out old pages and add new ones for the next month.
This is what the tabs look like. They are just cut from the pink paper.
Here is what one of the subject pages looks like. I think you can click on for a larger view.
I saved the cellophane from the package of scrap paper, and slipped it on the cover of the booklet, because it was already a perfect fit. I believe every day is exquisitely sweet and special. There is no dull or dark day when we can do things like this to brighten it. I think the things we glance at will feed our minds depression or happiness, so I really do appreciate having a beautiful notebook to refer to aid me in home keeping. I have named this booklet the "house keeper" because it keeps all the notes I need to manage things daily.
Each woman is different, and needs to design her own book. I used various books over the years and since the organizer book authors don't know my personal life style, they never had the things I really needed in it. Notice too that I do not put the times in this. If I had to look at things like "8:00 am, 9 a.m., 10 a.m." I would be too anxious. Without the times there, I usually get things done ahead of time. There are no pre-dated pages, because there will be days that I do not use the book.
I challenge any place of work where a woman is, to produce a schedule book for her that can appeal to her sense of beauty, and touch her heart, the way these personal homemaker notebooks can. The Bible says that there is a season for everything, so a woman can adjust her life to whatever comes her way, whether it be seed time or harvest. The home organizing notebook allows her to do what needs to be done, but still remain alert to needs at hand, and adjustable to unforseen problems.