Friday, August 29, 2008

A Little Clip Art

Here is something to do with that little advertisement that comes in the mail, if it has a pretty photograph on it.
Clip out one of the pictures and use it to brighten up a plain piece of writing paper.

Mounted on a matching strip of paper.

Put the entire piece on a card. and outline in glitter glue. Short on card making supplies or card-stock? Just alter an old card with this kind of free clip art.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scenes of Home

My friend from Victorian Lady blogspot has sent me these from a company called "Pro Flowers," which cuts their florals directly from the garden and mails them. They last a long time, and I just love this multi-colored bouquet. This kind lasts a lot longer than florist bouquets. They arrived in a box at my door. Sometimes they have a two for one special, and when she orders a bouquet, she can also have the other one sent to someone else. Thanks, Lisa!!
There are some frugal ideas for the areas outside surrounding a house. Here is a morning glory that is disguising an old pipe on one wall, that grew from a seed.

A wreath for the front door from a garland of silk roses, topped with butterfly on a clip, and a wired mesh ribbon from a dollar store.

Sometimes the plastic containers from flowers at a wedding or memorial service can be used again outside by setting a pot of flowers inside.

Recycle an old birdcage by putting a potted plant in it.

Use a chipped teapot with a missing lid to display flowers. It will need drainage so if the teapot is cracked, that is actually better. If not, put rocks in the bottom.

The apple harvest is on, from a Japanese apple tree. I just love the innovation of the Japanese, because this tree is just my height and so I don't have to get on a ladder. When our daughter was young, she asked for a fruit tree on a birthday. I thought that was a good idea, and could imagine how many fruit trees we would have. This one is paying us back even though she isn't here. Toys and things just take up space, but a fruit tree gives back something many years later.

I have a lot more "shapes" in my head, but as there are probably a million of them, I think maybe when I get time, I'll show the process of making your own template shapes. You can give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime. It will be interesting to see what kind of templates other people come up with for cards, clip art, or tags.

When we were growing up in a frugal household, our parents only used money for things they could not make, themselves (like fuel, a motor for the boat, and a few essential household items), and they tried to find a way to make everything else, instead of spending money. That generation was a "saver" generation, and we can learn a lot from them.

Although the savings come a little at a time, by not going to the grocery store for everything, it eventually means that you can use extra money for something.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Card Templates for Outdoor Scenes

These could be a lot brighter and more elaborate, if someone had the time and imagination to experiment. Place the sail on the folded edge, or edge of the paper, with the end of the boat on an edge, too. The boat and fish on the left are cut from a linen-look pastel card stock, and outlined with puff paints and glitter glues. If you find the glitter glues difficult to manage, try this hint: always turn your paper so that your strokes and lines will go from left right if you are right handed. The boat and fish on the right are cut from construction paper and colored with metallic crayons, which is a good project for children.

Here are the templates. Hopefully the lines will show up much better when printed out. Be sure to name your boat!

Another way to make the boat card is to just trace off the front and cut around the boat. You will have to trim off the lower edge to match.

This way, you can make the background look like the sky or ocean. Remember, these shapes can be used for ornaments, tags, or even patterns for quilt appliques. I have made the three-tierd cake pattern on a block for a wedding quilt, just by stitching it on, and adding ribbon roses to it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cake Card Templates

Here is a sample of a cake card, but the shape could be used for other things. This one is cut out on white card stock.

A version of the tiered cake, in the middle, can be viewed at Candy's Blog
These three are made with card stock or white poster board, all which can be purchased at a dollar store.

These are made with Polymark paints, the ones with added sparkle or sheen, (from the craft sections at WalMart and JoAnns) stickers, and crayons.

These are for the children, made with construction paper and crayons. A paper doily is added to the square cake on the right.

Here are the templates. If you are going to put them on card stock and cut around them, be sure to cut off your own lines, because it will make the card too big for the envelope. Cut a sliver of paper off the bottom and tops of the cakes and it should fit alright. Place your templates with the flat top of the cake on the fold. I am sure there are a lot of creative ideas out there that everyone has, which could make these look more like cakes.

Try tearing small pieces of construction paper, like petals, and glue them all over the round cake, for an icing effect. Begin by making a row at the lower edge of cake, overlapping the pieces slightly, to make it look like you used a spatula with icing. Then make a second row on top of that, overlapping the pieces onto the lower row. Continue until the top row. You could also just stick them on in any way, and see what kind of effect that would make. Add any kind of embellishments or glitter.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friendship Letter Book

There are probably many people who feel, after writing a letter to their mother, or a friend, that they have written a novel. This is a sample of a "letter book" that is made of simple construction paper from the dollar store, which fits inside of an envelope, and can be mailed.
The pages are stitched on the sewing machine. The rose is cut out of tissue wrapping paper, and glazed with a glitter glue, using a brush. The clip art is just made from things around the house.
It fits inside a large card envelope. If you do one of these, remember to cut your pages adequately smaller than the envelope, or it will not fit.

I was enjoying a new magazine that came in the mail today and I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could get a magazine that had only the things I liked, in it?" This is a way of sending someone a personal magazine, without the ads, and with only the things that are pretty and suit her. Pages 1 and 2 are like the letter from the editor in some magazines. The white rose with the sparkle on it came off a gift bag, and the clipping of flowers from a used calendar page.

Page 2 was kept blank until the entire booklet was completed, so that it could be used as a table of contents. The clipping on page 3 is from the Victoria magazine subscription card that always comes in the mail or in the magazine. The picture is too pretty to throw away and also makes a great card when pasted on cardstock.

Page four has a little pocket for a tea bag. Bigelow English Breakfast is now making pink tea wrappers in a pink box, available in local grocery stores.

Page 6 and 7 has hand drawings and more construction paper is torn to look like parchment, for a handwritten verse, which is sprayed with a scent.

Here is page 8 and 9. A small round doily is pasted down, and roses are cut from a seed catalog. Then, the doily is folded on each side, making it look like a lace holder. Just as I was finishing page 9, I spilled some water on the page, but after it dried, it looked okay. I guess I won't be drinking water while I work with paper.

Page 10 is a clipping I tore out of the same garden catalog.

Here is the back.

Below is a template for pages, if you want to try it, but please keep in mind that my drawings are not accurate. These are about an eighth of an inch smaller all around, than the envelopesDollar Tree has construction paper that contains very nice pastel colors. Construction paper is light weight, but be sure to have your letter weighed at the post office, before putting a stamp on it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Card Templates

Here is a relaxing and easy craft that is so elegant. Click on for a larger view.

The hat and cup are folded cards, with floral stickers and glitter glue. Crayons are used for solid colors.

The little lamp is a book marker. Just place the template on the fold, as it is supposed to be double. Inside, a verse can be written. The birdhouse is an ornament made with stickers and a button. A hole punch is used and a ribbon is tied through it to make a loope for hanging. To make it easier to send in the mail, make your own button, using colored papers or cardstock, and a hole-punch to make the holes. All of these cut-outs fit card size envelopes.

Print this pattern on cardstock for your templates to trace around. Put straight edges at the fold, and cut.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Victoria magazines from 1988, '89, and '90.
The pages are from the '88 and '89 issues.

This one looked like a Frederick Morgan painting from the 19th century. I really liked the blue sailor dress on the girl at the upper left.

I used this picture a lot when I wanted to paint little things on the edges of letters I was writing.

These were garments by Nancy Johnson, and I thought the hat was interesting.

Outdoor fun with the old folks at home. This was like the Ideals magazine, giving pictures to interpret and emulate.

Loved the Papa with his little granddaughter, and I always enjoyed looking at this girl going up the stairs. I think young women would really like to look like this today, and look happy in their clothes.

This was a favorite page of my children when they were younger. They used to stare at it a lot; a picnic on the ground.

The one article about the only tea plantation in the U.S. I think it was a generational, family enterprise.
And, of course there was usually a page of house plans with the floor plans sketched out, in the back of each magazine. The children always liked to look at each little room and imagine where it was in the house.
There were some ads in these first issues that weren't attractive. I think ads should go with the mood of the magazine and if its a Victorian magazine, the ads ought to be pretty and in keeping with the theme. Since I have learned from other crafters online about altering books, I've started to take little scraps of papers, metallic lace doilies, stickers and things, and alter the unattractive ads.
Hope you enjoyed this. Click on for larger pictures. Amazon might have some of these magazines.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Value of Clothing in Creating a Mood

If you are new at home living, you might find it interesting to observe the effect that your clothing has on your mood. One of the differences between staying home and going off to work with the rest of the pack every day, is the amount of time you will spend alone. You have to adjust to thinking for yourself, by yourself, about every little thing. This is something that most young women, used to going out to school every day, or to work every day, may find rather unusual. Dressing up a little better really improves the mood of the day, especially when you are alone. Those quiet days at home make you look forward so much more to the time when your husband comes home to share the evening with you.

I have heard many stories of the past, where people, left alone in places that they felt isolated, still dressed up and had regular meals and behaved like dignified human beings. I think this is so important on those "alone days." Clothing can do a lot to energize or stimulate happy thoughts.

Dressing up improves those quiet days when you don't think anyone notices you. One reason that dressing well for an ordinary day at home is so important, is that it improves the mood. Colors and styles and patterns definitely have an effect on us when we are wearing them. To experiment with this, try wearing the grungiest clothes you can find one day, and the best you can wear that are suitable for housework and homemaking, the next.
Wearing something pretty definitely improves the mood. I love cotton fabric and have made one dress for each day, which I call my "line" of clothing. They aren't fancy, but they will do for every day, and if I have to go out, I won't be embarrassed or self-conscious about whether or not I've gained a little weight (jeans and tight clothes tend to show every unwanted pound), or that I am offending anyone by having clothing too revealing, too short or too tight. Also, children whose gaze only goes two feet high, always like to look a the prints and colors of my skirts. I was always charmed by the sight of my grandchildren hanging on to their mother's skirt. For that reason, she chooses interesting prints that they would like. There are lots of nursery prints at the fabric stores that would make lovely dresses for a young mother, which the children would also delight in looking at and laying their heads down on for a nap on their mother's laps.

In my town, there are religious women who wear only one style of dress, and I often wonder what they think when they see people dressed in practically nothing, to go to the grocery store. Partly out of respect for these ladies, and for my own dignity, I wear these casual dresses to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, and all the places where I do errands.

Everyone would agree that choosing a wedding dress is important. What if the bride to be, whilst looking for a gown, was told by a friend, that it doesn't matter what she wears to the wedding, as long as she gets married. The vows are the most important, they would say. Who cares what you wear? What if her friends were to intimidate her by saying that her desire to wear a dress to her wedding, instead of wearing shorts or pants, was "legalistic." It is understandable that she would want a special dress for that special day. If she showed up in something else, her mood would certainly be affected, and so for that matter, the moods of others.

Yes, weddings are special enough to warrant a special garment, but each day after that is special, for it is a gift from God. Having special clothing to wear to celebrate the ordinary day makes your outlook on life so much more optimistic and seems to enhance your appreciation for every little thing, from the sound of a warbling bird in the morning, to the view of the sunset in the evening.

I wonder sometimes if we rob our young women of the pleasure of wearing dresses daily in the home, because they are afraid of what others might think. Others may make them feel self-conscious and leave them with a feeling that they have to constantly explain why they are "all dressed up." Also, when they grow up in jeans and tee shirts and tennis shoes, they get so used to them, that they feel awkward in anything else. They do not develop a sense of style or a feeling of gracefulness when wearing a dress. We need to show our girls pretty fabrics in the fabric stores and let them appreciate them. Some girls I know have never been to a fabric store and have never worn a dress or a skirt. When they express a desire to do so, others cut them down and ridicule them. It is sad that our society has come so far backward, and I wonder what would have happened if people said the same things to our Victorian grandmothers.

As I have grown older, I've found that dresses are more comfortable if they are made right, and if they are 100% cotton, but they also improve my
mood and effect the way I keep house. I have pictures of my great grandmothers in their typical Victorian clothing, and I notice in a lot of old books that I have collected, that women around the world wore similar clothing. I don't think at that time, during that era, they were dressing that way because they were "legalist." Linda Lichter did a good job of explaining the reason for their style of clothing, the reason they didn't bare so much skin in public, in her chapter about clothing, in "Simple Social Graces" (also under the title, "The Benevolence of Manners.") This historical account helped me to understand better the importance women placed on covering themselves and the courtesy they showed to others in that act.
This is a sample of some cotton dresses that I sew for daily wear. I call this "My line of clothing." I am not saying that these would suit everyone's coloring or figure type or that the styles are modest enough for every one, but I have found they are appropriate for me in my home, at my age.They aren't perfect, but they suit my every day life. I think most seamstresses tend to be extremely critical of their own work, but these dresses will do for the every day wear and tear of work at home, and they allow for "mood." When it is a bit overcast in the sky, I like to wear something blue or yellow, and there are some days that just seem like white and other days feel more like a celebration, so I may wear a brighter color. I don't know if other women are "mood dressers," but I certainly am. I like to choose clothing to contrast or to match the feeling of the day, whether it is cold or warm, sunny or dark.

Interesting quotes about clothing:

"Maria, these are your can do whatever you want with them...Lady Catherine will never know." Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
I think she was cut out for a Gentlewoman, but she was spoiled in the making. She wears her clothes as if they were thrown on with a pitchfork; and, for the fashion, I believe they were made in the days of Queen Bess.

“The body is the shell of the soul, and dress the husk of that shell; but the husk often tells what the kernel is”

"Choose clothing that someone else would want to wear when you are finished with them."

To be a fashionable woman is to know yourself, know what you represent, and know what works for you. To be "in fashion" could be a disaster on 90 percent of women. You are not a page out of Vogue. ~Author Unknown

Judging from the ugly and repugnant things that are sometimes in vogue, it would seem as though fashion were desirous of exhibiting its power by getting us to adopt the most atrocious things for its sake alone. ~Georg Simmel

1Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety...

Adam Clarke (1762 - 1832)
That women adorn themselves - Και τας γυναικας ες καταστολῃ κοσμιῳ. The apostle seems to refer here to different parts of the Grecian and Roman dress. The στολη, stola, seems to have been originally very simple. It was a long piece of cloth, doubled in the middle, and sewed up on both sides, leaving room only for the arms; at the top, a piece was cut out, or a slit made, through which the head passed. It hung down to the feet, both before and behind, and was girded with the zona round the body, just under the breasts. It was sometimes made with, sometimes without, sleeves; and, that it might sit the better, it was gathered on each shoulder with a band or buckle. Some of the Greek women wore them open on each side, from the bottom up above the knee, so as to discover a part of the thigh. These were termed φαινομηριδες, showers (discoverers) of the thigh; but it was, in general, only young girls or immodest women who wore them thus.

The καταστολη seems to have been the same as the pallium or mantle, which, being made nearly in the form of the stola, hung down to the waist, both in back and front, was gathered on the shoulder with a band or buckle, had a hole or slit at top for the head to pass through, and hung loosely over the stola, without being confined by the zona or girdle. Representations of these dresses may be seen in Lens’ Costume des Peuples de l’Antiquité, fig. 11, 12, 13, and 16. A more modest and becoming dress than the Grecian was never invented; it was, in a great measure, revived in England about the year 1805, and in it,
simplicity, decency, and elegance were united; but it soon gave place to another mode, in which frippery and nonsense once more prevailed. It was too rational to last long; and too much like religious simplicity to be suffered in a land of shadows, and a world of painted outsides.

My Patterns
New Look 6352 Dress without zipper, suitable for wovens

I have to add a few inches to the neckline all around the pattern, including the portion on the shoulder area by the neck. I do this by inserting a piece of paper underneath the pattern and drawing another neckline. I can show that in pictures sometime, on the blog I add sleeve variations from other patterns that I have, and also ties at the sides to tie in the back. This one has a sparkle trim on sleeves and hem.

Anyone interested in going from jeans to dresses will benefit from Renea Ellison's book, "From Everyday Pants to Everyday Dresses: tips for making the change, " here.

From Burda Patterns, available on the web.
These could be adapted for modern wear.
New Look is from Simplicity Patterns

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guarding the Home From Within.

Swan Cottage 1 by Sung Kim

Quotes by William Morris, 19th century textile designer and interior decorator:

"The true secret of happines lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."

"Have nothng in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement; a sanded floor and whitewashed walls and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside.”

If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for; I should answer; A beautiful House; and if I were further asked to name the production next in importance and the thing next to be longed for; I should answer; A beautiful Book. To enjoy good houses and good books in self-respect and decent comfort, seems to me to be the pleasurable end towards which all societies of human beings ought now to struggle.”

This post is directed to the young woman at home during her first year, but as all things, can be applied in any stage of life.

When I remember my childhood dreams, most of them were about having a house. At the time, it mattered not if it would be a little shack or even a tent. It was fun, to me, like playing house, to arrange it and make it my own. Playing house is important aspect of growing up, because it shows the thrill and delight of having a home. I remember this playing, and how we guarded these little pretend-dwellings against clutter that would make it indistinguishable from a barn. We wanted it to look like a home and feel like a home. We didn't like to have things in it that were not related to home living.

As years went by, we had to guard our homes against so much more, from within the house itself. There was the radio, the television, newspapers, magazines, the mail, and the telephone. In "the old days" these things were welcome friends from the outside world. The magazines depicted women as sweet, innocent lovers of the home, as evidenced by these vintage "Modern Pricilla" women's magazines. These magazines featured fancy work with home making.

You will have to scroll down quite aways on her site to see the covers of these magazines. I was so drawn into the feeling of love and home-nostalgia that looking at these covers, once again, gave me. Today, the magazines are often heavily laced with things of a less contended nature. So, we had to start guarding our homes against discontent. To explain this, let me give you an example of a morning television program.

The homemaker is doing a few things around the house and she is half-watching, half-listening to a broadcast about designer bags. They are shown in such a great light, and the model who is displaying them looks so sleek and sophisticated, that in comparison, the homemaker, just trying to pick things up and make her house nice for her husband, starts to feel a little put-out, peeved, disgruntled; and even resentful.

The bag looks so desirable, because it has a designer name right on the outside. Guarding our homes from within, meant that we had to continually re-focus on what our mission was, not on what the world was luring us to. The television could be a source of comparison that was not healthy for the home. The home had to be guarded against envy and against discontent.

Besides discontent, we had to guard our homes against time-wasters. Even though we didn't have the amount of media that is available to us today, there was always the danger of getting on the phone too often and too long, and in those days, it didn't have a very long chord. This was one thing inside our homes that could be a useful tool or a problem to guard against. Today we have cell phones, but they are not healthy to use. It is better, if you feel you must use one, to use the speaker phone feature on it, rather than hold it up to your ear. Media seems to be one of the biggest consumers of time that confronts the young homemaker.

We also had to guard our homes against the world's values and language. People coming home from work or school, tended to forget that the home was a sacred place, and it was not obligated to blend in with the rest of the world in order to make people feel "more comfortable." Women at home had to insist that foul language, the new slang and expressions, and scandalous talk, not be engaged in during dinner time or other times amongst the family. This kept the home a quiet, peaceful place.

There was also the constant change in decorating styles. As children in our play houses, we were content with a little broom, a mop, some calico curtains at the window, a box to sit on, and a bowl to wash dishes in. As grown-ups, we had to concern ourselves with many choices, and after the choices had been made, the glossy ads would come in the mail advertising a new style of furniture that we would have liked better.

There seemed to always be someone coming around the corner with another lure. Media had a great effect on the home, and it was the woman's job to guard the home from any type of publication, book, or literature that did not strengthen the marriage and the family. So, we had to guard our home, to a reasonable extent, against change. Change is not all bad. It is good to change your clothes for clean ones, change your furniture around, change your bad spending habits, change your erroneous thinking about certain philosophies, change the things that come into your house, and change the way you spend your time. The "change" that we have to watch out for, today, is the change that would cause instability, create more debt, or estrange your children and your husband.

"When Queens Ride By" (see Theme Articles on sidebar for link) was more than a cute little play written in the 1930's. Within its plot was woven answers to such things as pressure and discontent. Jennie, whose house is neglected because feels she has to work all the time, meets a city woman whose car has broken down by the side of the road near her farm. This woman, though she is content to be a wife at home, has a lovely appearance, and she smells good, too.

During the course of their conversation, Jennie's thoughts express her envy of this woman who doesn't have to work but still dresses nice and has a nice car and house. Jennie explains that she has to work to help her husband with his finances and his failing mortgage. After the stranger's husband fixes the flat tire, and they drive away, Jennie retrieves a delicate handkerchief dropped by this woman.

As she lifts it to her nose she captures the scent and thinks that maybe, just maybe, she could be a feminine homemaker, too. She busies herself the rest of the afternoon getting her house in shape and making her children take baths and get dressed in clean clothes. She prepares a meal for her husband. The landlord drops by during this meal and the rest of the story you will have to read yourself. No doubt there are numerous, subtle messages in this story that we have yet to discover. Not everyone is the same, and the story will mean different things to different people, but it is inspiring.
To guard the home from within, a woman has to also guard her heart, for it can still be swept away by things that appear to be more fun, and easier. The grass, on the other side, still has to be mowed, and there is always a downside to things that seem to be more exciting, so she has to guard her heart continually.

Sometimes the outside world can make life at home seem dull. One tactic to guard the home from this impression is to pay attention to the details of your life (note the quote by William Morris) and develop a new appreciation for everything. Putting your heart back into the home that God has provided you, can take away envy, discontent, time wasters and confusion.

When we were little, a lot of us in that era used to enjoy our things. We would wash our clothes by hand, hang them out to dry, iron them, and then hang them up according to color, in our tiny closets. We folded our clothes neatly into our dresser drawers. When we played house, our dishes were washed and dried and put away. We set the table in the highest fashion we could. We were happy to have a little home and our playing reflected it. I think we can take that same mood into our own, grown-up homes and make them a place of delight.

The woman at home for the first time, will have to guard it from within, so that things do not take over her mind and her time, but in return she will have a bright, peaceful spot for her husband, that will make him sigh with relief when he arrives home from the stresses of the world.


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