Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Country Homes Art

Garden Pond

Garden Pond
Mirkovich, Nenad


Wildflowers by Bill Saunders

Summer in Charlevoix

Summer in Charlevoix by Dedoyard, Georges

White Fence in Cape Cod

White Fence in Cape Cod

Zazenski, Steve

The Need for Older Women at Home


Monday, August 23, 2010

Natural Cake Wins First Prize

The judges thought my fake cake was worth first prize, and I also got a hefty cash gift at the fair for it. I showed how to make this on the Woodsy Fake Cake post, earlier, so you can try your hand at it. Suggested materials: pinecones, cedar, wheat, and any other natural thing in the country. You might even try a sea shell and seaweed cake, which is what I plan to do. If you don't fancy a cake, you can use other shapes such as a frame covered in pine cones, a bucket or planter, a vase, or any number of things. There was a large re-cycling category that caught my eye because I did not see any altered boxes or boxes made into little books, so I might give that a try next year. I am going to use this fake cake on my porch until it deteriorates. It is scented with a berry flavored oil.  I will be using some of my prize money to pay for materials for future entries.   Please have a look at this interesting birch cake stand, with directions for making one yourself. There are also instructions elsewhere for making birch-bark covered candles and other outdoor themed items for the home or garden.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blackberry-Apple Pie With Tapioca

Picking Apples

Picking Apples by Frederick Morgan

These are photos I took today, of my process of making this pie.

Even though the ground looks very dry, those bushes on the edge of the farm road are full of fruit.

Eaten right off the bush, they taste just right. There really is no need to make a pie. Just eat them plain, or add cream.

The apples, however, are very sour, so,  mixed with the berries, they make a perfect pie.

Apple-Blackberry Pie With Tapioca

(Tapioca is a natural product made from a fruit called tapioca, from South America, and it serves well to thicken pies which tend to have a lot of juice in them. It can be purchased by the box at the grocery store.)

3 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

3 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. butter

1 c. sliced apples

1 1/4 c. sugar

Combine blackberries and apples and place in a 9-inch pie pan lined with pastry shell. Combine sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon; stir well. Sprinkle sugar mixture over blackberries and apples. Dot with butter.

Cover with top crust. Cut several slits near center and seal edges. Bake at 350 degrees about one hour.

Sugar Substitutes: Use your preference regarding sweeteners: honey, frozen concentrate apple or white grape juice, beet sugar, date sugar, etc. Any fruit or berries that have been heated, will become less sweet and will need to be sweetened.

NOTE: Place foil or cookie sheet under pie while cooking should juices cook out.

This is how I prepare the filling: I first peel and slice the apples thinly and put them in a saucepan with a little water. Then I add sweetener such as honey or date sugar or whatever I have. I cook the apples until they are tender, and then I mix the berries and tapioca (which helps thicken the pie filling) right into that apple mixture and pour the whole thing into the prepared pie crust. I do not cook the berries, but only add them when the apples are tender.  You can get all kinds of pie crust recipes online and pick the one that works best for you.

 I quadrupled the recipe, as you can see, using a huge casserole dish.

Blackberries make a nice tea, too. Just put a few in the tea pot and add boiling water. Mash the berries with a spoon,

and pour through a strainer. Add honey to sweeten.

The apples from the tree taste good with the black berries. Around here, blackberry bushes are a nuisance, as they creep up around the foundations of the house, or come up everywhere that you don't want them. They are so common, and people are always trying to get rid of them, and yet, a small container of fresh blackberries in a store is very, very expensive!

Children Picking Blackberries

Children Picking Blackberries by Miles Foster

Picking Blackberries

Picking Blackberries by William McGeorge

Berry Pickers

Berry Pickers

Friday, August 13, 2010


Woman Calls a Harvester Home to Lunch

I haven't forgotten everyone, and hope to be back writing soon, as well as future hand sewing activities, including a kitchen holder for plastic bags, that curtain and matching table cloth I have been planning on showing, and some other items.

The county fairs are on now, and I would like to remind all country folk that if you are living on country land or own land in the country, you are qualified to enter items in the fair. There are hundreds of categories and you can often make up your own. If you are able, you can work on items all during the year and then submit them into all the categories you want: sewing, knitting, art, crafts, re-cycling, etc. Hand made necklaces are popular this year, as well as scrap book pages, and I saw some crafts made from natural ingredients such as wheat and corn.  There are always quilts and clothing and baking, too. If you are a rural family, there are many possibilities at the fair for earning money through cash prizes and even sales of your work. You could plan all year to make one entry a month, and then enter it all at fair time. Best of all, you do not have to sit in a booth or at a table and guard anything. It is all taken care of at the fair.  I entered my woodsy fake cake that I showed here a few months ago, which was made from curly birch bark and pine cones. I dont think it will take a prize but I wanted to enter something.

Harvest is on here, and I have some interesting things to show you soon, about our country sky-scrapers.

Some pictures from Victoria Magazine, August 1988:

This is a layout they did of a historic place in Savannah, Georgia, in Dixie.

I like the backgrounds and settings of the drawings, where the artist puts the home in a setting full of trees, and a lot of sky.

A place in England, possibly where the writer, Beatrix Potter lived.

This is an easy way to make popsickles for children, using berry juices with apple juice, or whatever kind you have. Stick spoons in canning jars and put them on a plate, then set them in the freezer. When ready, take the spoon and twist it slightly and it will remove easily from the jar. As the ice softens, it can be put back in the glass and eaten with a spoon, like a sorbet.

This is Susan Rios' latest painting on ebay. Check out her site for more.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Homemaker's Response

Spring Morning

See more about this painting here.

One important aspect of full time homemaking is the support and comfort of family and friends.

 Some homemakers find themselves feeling more and more isolated, as family members undermine them and friends begin to make cutting remarks about the life of a homemaker.

 "You are wasting your life," they say, or "What are you going to do if your husband loses his job?"  Later, they say things like, "Now that all your children have grown, are you going to get a job?"

 The Internet is full of lures to get homemakers into college and careers. One advertisement for student loans said: "Obama wants homemakers to go back to school." Thinking this is the desirable thing to do, some  women have gone into debt for college courses that will lead them to careers, where part of their salary will be taken to repay the loans.

 One question to ask back, is "What does the Bible teach women to do?" Titus 2 and First Timothy 5:15--as well as other texts, have not changed. People have attempted to alter the meanings of these teachings to suit the changes in the current culture.

"What does God Want Me to Do?" should be the ultimate question. The answers are found in His Word.    For one thing,  being "keepers at home"  (Titus 2:5) would free the Christian women from the dictates and restraints of the prevailing culture.

   A worker at home can get the rest she needs, in order to think clearly and prevent ill-health. A woman at home gets to obey her own husband, rather than everyone else in the work place. Even if a woman works as a manager over other people, she is still accountable to customers and others in her employ, and suffers many stresses because of it.  Working at home frees her from the pressures of the outside world. Many women have written on this blog to make a testimony to that fact.

 Working at home makes it possible for her to be the master of her own destiny. She can work hard and have success in her home management. She can be ill for a period and let it slide, but it is hers, and she can control how it will be looked after.

 Being a keeper at home means that she can delegate jobs to her own family members. It is the way God set it all up. It gets her out of the eye of the public, so that she can have privacy and develop her skills at her own pace and style of learning. At home she is free to educate her own children in the manner she wishes. At home, she can stop spending the money on the clothes and transportation and rent that it takes to have a job somewhere else. 

In the early 1900's, 80 percent of American women were rural, either on farms or living in country settings. Today, there are less, but there is still a large number of us who live far way from the cities where employment would be. It would not make sense for us to travel back and forth to places of employment, as the travel alone would just about eat up all the money earned.  Add to that the cost of daycare or other conveniences that enable working women.

Eve was not told to work by the sweat of her brow to earn bread for her family, as Adam was. Rather than restricting women, God's commands for them to be keepers at home are a protection from them. They are protected from other people prying into their business. They are protected from other men. They are protected from the world's taint, with its social pressures and gossip.  They are given a private place that is not open to the public.

 A lot of younger women, having grown up in institution where they are constantly around other people, may not fully understand the need for privacy. When they decide to take on the role of homemakers, they find it lonely. Others are not doing it, and they have very little fellowship. Adding to this, the cutting remarks against homemakers can be a real blow.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Importance of Guarding Your Home

 There are many women living today who have never seen a society where the women where most women planned all their lives to marry and have their own homes and families. We are living in an age where that life has been presented as undesireable, while a life of going back and forth to a work for years and years, is promoted as freedom.

 Because of these attitudes being broadcast, it is doubly important that women at home defend their territory and guard their home.  This may seem like a drastic statement, but there are many things that are attempting to defeat the role of the homemaker.

One of the things that makes it necessary to step up your guard of the home, is the attack that comes in the form of discouragement.  There are many women who love their

Guard it from naysayers

Guard it through hard times

Guard it from corruption

Guard it from errosion

Guard it from enemies

Guard it from unbelief

Guard it from unproductive things

Guard it from comparisons

Guide the home into obedience

Guide the home to safety

Guide the home to beauty

Guide the home to creativity

Guide the home to work

Guide the home re-creation

Guide it into the next generation

Guide it in good times

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Beginner Hand Sewing: Simple-to-Make Pin Cushion

I am now making a few things for sewing equipment, such as pincushions, needle cases, scissor case and thread container.  This pin cushion is much easier than the one in the previous post.
The check fabric is commonly called gingham, and some types are the same on the back as on the front, so you will not need to worry about the right or wrong side of the fabric. However, if you get the cotton check,  the wrong side will be more faded and you will need to remember to sew it with the right sides facing each other, before turning it inside out.
Using two pieces of fabric, arrange it as straightly as you can together.  Place a piece of cardboard,  cut from a cereal box or anything you have,(approximately 4 x 4 inches) on the fabric, matching the edges to the lines of the check print, and draw away from the edge of the cardboard about a half an inch or an inch, following the lines on the check. Click on for a closer view.
Cut out on that line you drew that is a half inch larger than your piece of cardboard. You can make a square or a rectangle, any size you want, from your cardboard.
Once you have cut that out, trace around the actual cardboard piece with your pencil as you see, above.
It should look something like this. Remember you have two layers of fabric.
Beginning at one end of the piece, sew one fourth inch away from the drawn line. It does not have to be exactly that much, but you cannot sew on the line, because it will make it too small to insert the cardboard. 
Sew three sides, leaving one end open for stuffing.
 Turn the piece inside out and carefully push out the corners with your scissors.
Now insert your cardboard. This is necessary to keep the pins and needles from going clear through the pin cushion and hurting your hands or damaging a table or surface where it put.
Stuff it firmly, with as much stuffing as will fit and still be able to close the opening.
Push the stuffing into the corners with your scissors.
Fold over the ends to the inside, one fourth inch, and pin. 
If you find that there is not enough fabric on that open end to fold over, you might have to pull out the cardboard and trim it a little.  Put it back inside the cushion, fold over the hem, and pen it. Stitch with a regular running stitch, or an over-cast stitch.
When it is finished, manipulate it with your hands to even out the filling.
You can also use a pin cushion to secure your buttons while you are sewing.
If you have any scraps of trim, you can use it on something like this. Just stitch in and out of the spaces on fancy trim like this, and secure the ends by making several stitches in the same place.  You might need some clear tape to prevent unravelling on some trims, but the needle will go right through it easily.
Sew a little satin rose on it for decoration, and put on some pins and buttons that match the cloth.  You can make your own satin ribbon roses, but that might have to be  a later post.