Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Art of Frank Benson, from Victoria Magazine July 1992

Eleanor, by Frank Benson 1862-1951
For more paintings by Frank Benson, go to Lovely Whatevers

There is an old saying that "good art imitates nature." In this case, the grand daughters and great-grand daughters of artist Frank Benson, pose to imitate his good art, dressed in similar clothing, which was widely available in the early 1990's.
Posing as Eleanor, approximately 100 years later, for the cover of Victoria Magazine, 1992

"Sunlight" from Lovely Whatevers
Frank Benson painted pictures of his daughters when the family vacationed in a country spot near a lake.

One of Frank Benson's great granddaughters posing his painting in 1992

Above, Frank Benson's painting of one of his daughters on the left; imitated below by one of his descendants.
You can see more art by Frank Benson and read about his family on a website written by one of his granddaughters here
All photos are from the July 1992 issue of Victoria Magazine.
Please feel free to continue posting anonymously if you prefer!
These paintings show women with a background of nature, dressed not to defy it but to compliment it. I do so wish the younger women would think of lakes and skies and apple blossoms, white picket fences, and beautiful homes, when they choose their clothing. I know that there is not much available "on the rack" or cheaply, but their mothers can surely pay dressmakers or trade services of some kind, and have good clothing made. In a future post, I will put patterns up that I have found easy, alongside paintings that inspired the look.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Modest Feminine Dress From the Pages of 1990 Victoria Magazine

These models from the July, 1990 edition of Victoria magazine, are draped in loose, flowing garments that work well for every day, at-home or out-and-about. The caption next to the light blue outfit and the pink outfit reads:

"Wearing a silk skirt flowing in the wind, a woman cannot help feeling utterly feminine. Her step acquires a graceful lilt...She may find herself ever mirroring the poses of women in 19th century seascapes painted by Frank Benson..."

Below: "With a simple silk blouse, belted at the waist, a silk rose pinned at her neck, and a folding artists umbrella...she might well be one of the turn-of-the-century art students...who attended "schools in the sand." The most famous of these were hosted by William Merritt Chase, whose school "blossomed every summer with feminine talent"--and an array of artistically dressed women.

Below: "A study in subdued femininity--a tailored oxford cloth shirtwaist dress with a surprise: a hand crocheted butterfly lace collar. Dress by Nancy Johnson." I believe this model's name was Mareeka and she and her children modeled regularly for Victoria, in innocent clothing that was just lovely to look at.

Many times, people would phone Victoria magazine and try to find out where the clothing could be purchased. I believe they began a wonderful and long-needed interest in good clothing during the late 80's and early 90's.

Above: "Just as a wisp of a white cloud is the only adornment befitting a July sky, so too, understated touches make for the most alluring summer fashions. Here, a pure linen shirt-dress, enhanced with embroidery at the collar and cuffs, is paired with the subtlest of accessories: a blue French silk ribbon to accent the waist...

Other pages in this issue feature domestic out door scenes. This issue was where I first saw something called a "food umbrella," above. It was popular a century ago but grew out of favor , for some reason. I did manage to find some of these at a Dollar Tree store. Netting can be substituted for a food umbrella, if you have none. Just drape it over your table to keep the food covered, and anchor it down with glassware or silverware. This only costs about a dollar a yard at fabric stores and comes in all colors.

The arrangements in this magazine inspired women every where to see beauty in every thing they had, from an old vase, to a pen and paper.

The recipes included were: raspberry fool, raspberry puree, and raspberry hazelnut meringue.

Young girls everywhere always flipped to the very back of the magazine when it came, to pour over every detail of the monthly house plans that were featured. They took a magnifying glass and studied the floor plans, got out their father's carpenter measuring tapes and sized up their own doorways, rooms and windows. Then, they would draw their own houses on graph paper and rearrange the floor plan to suit themselves. Victoria's house plans inspired women everywhere to architect their own homes.
Notice how the clothing is made of natural wovens and has sleeves, collars, and long hems, yet the women look so beautiful. Modest dressing will attract attention, but at least it will inspire people who see it.
You will find that people look at you in a positive way and men give positive compliments to women in feminine clothing, but the styles of the day (skimpy, clingy, strappy, low cut, etc) rarely get a compliment. People would be ashamed to say "I love how that big bull's-eye print with the black circle inside the green circle, just sort of lands in the strategic places on your figure." No one would say, "I am so glad to see you in that tight outfit that shows every unwanted pound on your body," and no one would ever say, "I think it is really nice that you have more bare body on you than clothing. I am 80 years old. Can you tell me where I can get a really cool outfit like that?"
This is now the time to post anonymously and say something you have always wanted to say about modest dressing and how to discourage all this nakedness that is going on around us.
You know the Bible says that women should be adorned in modest apparel. "Adorn " means "to drape;"modest means, among other things, "to hide" and apparel means "Loose and flowing." We understand what "drape " means when it comes to closing the ones on the windows to keep out the sun and protect our furniture, but for some reason, people find it difficult to understand why they should drape themselves and their daughters in enough cloth to protect their privacy on their bodies.
In an attempt to be modest, some women fall back on tee shirts and jeans, but these are not pretty and they also are not very modest, as they show every outline of your private areas. Remember that drapes in a house protect the inner belongings of the family from prying eyes or harsh weather. Tee shirts only look good if you are very very thin, but even then, they are still not beautiful and not very inspiring as an influence to younger women. Older women have to clean up their own act first, in the area of modest dress before they can attempt to influence the younger women to dress modestly. If you have gotten used to being in sports clothes, you will find it hard to develop a sense of style and beauty that will inspire the young. Young people are not going to follow some older woman who dresses like something the cat dragged in.
This is the post where you can only comment anonymously and tell your gut feelings about this terrible problem we are having with the fashion designers and their shortage of cloth, so remember to click "anonymous" after you write.
Here is the picture of the dress Barbara Billingsly wore to the grocery store in the 1950's. Many of us dressed up to shop, in those days!*:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7DKUS%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1
Some women might find dresses here
and also check catalogs like Chadwicks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

18th and 19th Century Country Women

The Milk Maid by Julien Dupre
French (1851-1910)
A Pet Rose Bush by Jean Baptist-Camil-Corot
French (1796-1875)

A Bavarian Peasant Girl by Franze Von Defregger
Austrian (1835-1921)

Alsatian Peasant Wedding by Benjamin Vautier
Swiss (1829-1898)

Peasant Women Chatting in Normandy by Wencelas de Broczik
Czechoslovakia (19th Century)

Young Peasant Women Talking in Florence, Italy by Cristiano Banti
Italian (1824-1904)
As our family is currently working in our huge vegetable garden, I am reminded of the women of long ago, who did the same.
This is part of my virtual collection of the 18th and 19th century artists rendition of country women and farm women. Though they were hard workers, their clothing was very feminine and modest. The classic style is still a favorite today: peasant skirt, blouse, and vest, sometimes with a scarf tucked in at the neckline. Other details of their clothing can be observed from the paintings.
There is no reason for women to be stuck with the horrid clothing that is available from designers today. Without the benefit of manufactured clothing, even these farm women of the past had adequate clothing that could withstand the wear and tear of hard work.
Photographs at online museams are available in black and white, showing farm women in their typical clothing. I am sure these women did not have to explain why they were wearing long skirts, nor would they have been accused of being "fundamentalists" religious people. The long skirts did not evoke accusations of "legalism," or "you think you are better than me-ism." There was a time when women wearing mens clothing or mens styles was considered quite inappropriate. It is so sad to see how bad women look in their jeans and tee shirts and tennis shoes today. When women sew, they have more power over their fashion style and less dependence upon the fashion of the day, (fad), which can never make up its mind.
Please be sure to click on the paintings for larger views, and click on the highlighted artist names, to see more breath-taking paintings, particularly down on the page to see all the paintings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Victoria Magazine June 1990, 1994

The first few years of the original "Victoria" magazine showed household objects in an artistic light. The detailed photographs made you look at ordinary things a little differently. Things of the past were showcased in color families, making nostalgic pictures of things everyone probably already had stashed away in a box. It made you want to get it all out and look at it; appreciate it.
The birdcage, on the right, was a preferred emblem of the Victorian people, who viewed it as a sign of domestic contentment. Practically every home had one, even if there was no bird in it.
I liked the buttons in the upper left hand corner of the above picture. I have a collection of unusual buttons, and I take buttons off worn garments and store them in a canning jar with a lid. ( I have many favorite kinds of buttons.....including the delete button.....)

These photos from the 1990 June issue can be clicked on for a full view. In the back of each magazine was a detailed list of where every item in the picture came from or could be purchased.

Here, a herbal bouquet was a suggestion for a bridal bouquet, with the names of the herbs in the sketch below.

This is lovely, isn't it? It gives you ideas for what to do with a few things to make a pretty setting outside, even if you only have a small space.

This is one of my favorite pictures from June 1990; a wedding at home. Here, the living area is created for guests, and the dining table is set with an exquisite tea set and cake. I like the idea of a wedding and reception at home. It is not so expensive, and money can be used for important things that are more lasting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tribute to Helen

"Fascination" by Francesco Didioni (1859-1895)

Yesterday the world lost a crusader for the home as it has been known (man, woman, children) for hundreds of years. When militant feminism, a false doctrine with its roots in envy, promoted by false philosophies of this world, including Marxism, reared its ugly head in the 1960's, Helen rose to the challenge with her teachings on the home and family. Her books earned international attention, and she was seen on interviews all over this nation. She bravely endured the malicious verbal attacks and threats from those who did not agree with her. She kept a refined demeanor in the fury of those bent on discrediting her.

Helen warned that if women insisted on the "right" to work, they would change the economy so much that one day, even those who did not want outside employment, would be forced to work, and she was right. Many people learned about the harm in the false teachings of feminism, and the joy of the true female purpose, through her books. She wisely created interest in the cause of marriage through classes. She recruited teachers of all faiths to host classes in their meeting houses, in their church buildings, and in their homes. She provided teachers manuals and inspiring work books to make women's duties and responsibilities in marriage and the home, as glorious as they were meant to be. Thousands of women around the world benefited from these classes.

The first class I attended was as a teenager. Some older women in a little church of Christ in Edmonton, Alberta , bought me her book for single women and invited me to the class they taught. It was like sitting at the feet of the Biblical women like Sarah, Naomi, and Dorcas. Many teen girls that year were lifted up from the oppression of feminism, to the higher calling of wives, mothers and home guides.

The success of her teachings were based upon some little booklets that were published in the early part of the 20th century, called "The Secrets of Fascinating Women." Some of these booklets may have dated back to earlier publications of the 1800's, giving advice to women about their value in society through the guiding of the home and the raising up of good children. Quite a few of these old booklets can still be found in antique stores, or online bookstores. They were written by several different authors, on subjects that concerned women, telling them how to handle strife or problems that naturally occur in marriage relationships, without causing a "stir." Helen updated these booklets and revised them slightly, putting them into one large book.

They were teachings that were so needed at a time of political and social unrest in the world; teachings that would make marriages stable in an unstable world. This was not a set of rules of her own making, but of time-tested truths acknowledging the important differences between men and women throughout the ages. The classes gave the books much more meanings, as they taught women how to apply the lessons. Anyone that ever attended a class will remember what it was like to see the illustrations and the special preparations that made the sessions so important. They made you see your way to changing things for the better.

Because her books and classes were so popular, other authors parroted them with their own versions of the basic teachings, but Helen's books outlasted all the others. Lacking the carnal nature of a few of the imitators, her books contained a classical element and their value rose and withstood the test of time.

I had personal contact with Helen over the years, and when I began to home school my children, I wrote a letter to her to share my joy with her. I had been greatly influenced by the things she said in her book on child rearing, called "All About Raising Children," in which she showed how inadequate the public schools were in teaching children. Though she had not heard of homeschooling, she forwarded my letter on to all of her children. She wrote to me that, based on my letter, her children had decided to home school their children. She described what a wonderful change it had made in the lives of these families.

Although she had over 60 grandchildren and over 100 great-grandchildren, Helen took an interest in my own children. The last letter that she wrote to me, a few months ago, asked, "How is your daughter and her husband and family? I have a great interest in them." I spoke several times, over the years, to Helen, over the telephone, before the days of computers. Helen's voice sounded a lot like mine, I thought. We discussed the trend of women getting more base and crude in the way they spoke and dressed, and she said to me, "They are in the dark."

Helen was a candle in the dark, broken home lives created by the false teachings of feminism. The world has lost one more older woman that younger women could actually look up to.

It is grievous to see among the praise, the appalling, heartless and cruel words left on websites, written by young people who never knew her. You are welcome to post any story you have regarding this subject, here. Thank you, and God Bless you all for your kind words.

Ebay and Amazon may yield copies of her book, "Fascinating Womanhood," and it can be purchased new at the bookstore on the Fascinating Womanhood site. Pay no attention to the rude reviews of this book. Helen was always very gracious about overlooking faults in other people, and she viewed the angry antics of feminists with the attitude that they were just women "in the dark." Some of the hostile women who read her book, eventually came to think differently about the importance of having a lasting marriage. Her web page is As in all things, use your discernment and take what is useful to you, gleaning what you can. To read some of "The Secrets of Fasscinating Women" online, go here

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Work of Her Hands

It is so important for women to have a worthwhile work to do with their hands. The work of the hands engage the mind and give a kind of relief from stress. Proverbs 31 speaks of "the work of her hands." It does not say "let the amount of parties she hosts praise her in the gates," or the amount of speeches she makes praise her," or "the stylish way she dresses." There is probably a good reason that the verse emphasizes "the work of her hands," instead of all the other great things that can be done.

In past posts I have told my own reasons for the belief that I have that women should learn to do useful things with their hands. One reason is that it prevents a kind of frustration and idleness that can result in other things that are destructive, rather than constructive. When people do not have a skill and do not know how to do anything, they find it easier to smoke, drink, throw dice,** (to gamble)or constantly text message friends, until they find that half of life is gone without having made one single thing of any beauty to be remembered by or to pass to the next generation to copy. Our hand work tells something of our values, our customs, and of our beliefs about life.

The older women can do a lot to help the younger ones learn to keep a pretty house and make things for others. Just one student makes a class, and once a week a lesson can inspire some younger woman. If you can't get anyone to come to your home, you can teach something online, whether it is cleaning, sewing, cooking, knitting, or gardening. I do hope to move on to some of those other important skills, but today I have an easy card that fits into a regular sized card envelope, that some child might like to try.
This is a picnic basket card that can be used for an invitation or a letter or a card. It is made with white card stock, a gel pen, a small rubber stamp, crayons, and a trim for the handle. You can make your own handle with paper or any kind of ribbon you have. Notice the clasp made with a strip of card stock glued on the right and left sides, through with another strip is placed. You can see it there in the middle.

This is the pattern for your template for the picnic basket card. Right click and highlight it and then paste it on another document or on your own email to send to yourself. Then print. You might be able to get someone to help you do this. I hope it comes out alright for you.
Notice where the strip of card stock is placed at the top, inside the card.

Just use your rubber stamps (sometimes available at the dollar store) and color the image with crayons. Write your invitation with a matching gel pen and outline your card with the same color.

For a variation on this card, copy the pattern below and make pockets, dishes and a picnic blanket to put inside.

This is what the inside looks like with the special pockets and picnic accessories. You have to use printer paper for these things, or any lightweight, thinner paper.

You can click on this to view the details.
The plates are rubber stamped with the same image as the outside of the card, and outlined in green crayon. Please click on for a larger view. This is a free hand drawing made by me, and so it might not be completely accurate. You may have to do some trimming after you fold your card, to make it fit evenly. I make my shapes by folding paper in half and drawing half of the object, then cutting and opening it up to full size.

After you get it all put together and folded and closed with the clasp, you can make a stand for it by cutting a rectangle of card stock and folding it in half. Then glue one half to the back of the card, putting the cut edges even with the bottom of the card, and stand it up.

Even though I do a lot of sewing and gardening, I put paper crafts on the blog because they are quick and easy and you can do them with people who have beginners skills. You can click on the photo at the top, and see more details of this card craft. The enlargement will show you what the clasp looks like.

To make it look like a woven wooden basket or a wicker basket, draw broken lines with a gel pen or any other pen, across, and then alter lines going vertically, as shown. Then, use your gel pen to color in, but not solidly.
**"The best way to throw dice, is to throw them out." - advice written by an author who lived between 1835 and 1910


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