Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Calendar of Victorian Roses

Pink Roses in a Basket
by Frans Mortelmans  1865-1936  Belgium

To print your own Victorian Roses Calendar created by Lady Lydia click here.  It is free, but if you do not want to use your own ink, it is possible to send the file to Wal-Mart photo place or your nearest office copy place and have them print it and bind it with a spiral.   After you get to the link, just click on "file" in the upper left corner, and a window will drop that gives you the option of printing or putting on a disc.

Here is what the calendar looks like when it is printed on cardstock and   tied together with wired ribbon. When you are finished with the month, untie the ribbon and stash the page in your clip art file, to use for a post card or something else, and then re-tie the ribbon. You can get the cardstock at Wal-Mart and the wired ribbon for a dollar at Dollar Tree, or use whatever you have on hand.
To make holes, fold a piece of paper the same size as your cardstock, in half, and punch through both layers with a hole punch, and then use the holes as a pattern for the cardstock calendar pages.

The other side of each page is blank, which enables you to use the pictures for postcards or clip-art or recycle it for greeting cards, art cards or whatever you like.

After punching holes in each cardstock page, thread some wired ribbon through the holes and tie a bow in the front.

Use the ribbon in the back for hanging on a hook or nail.

Knowing the disappointment some people have when their birthday month comes up on a calendar (and it is not the prettiest picture), I tried to make each month as pretty as another.

Happy, happy New Year.  I hope to make more calendars with other themes. I like to have them in more than one room of the house, because it is such fun to change the pages of each one when the new month comes. Please leave your comments and let me know how your calendar looked!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Refuge

Lantern Surprise
by Richard Telford

 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Psalm 62:8

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fly Away

 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Palsm 55:6

How Precious

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."

Psalm 139:17-18

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leisure Arts - Paper Tags, Ornaments, Cards and Gifts

click on painting to watch it snow

A Winter's Eve

Susan Rios graciously allowed me to promote this snowfall painting, which can be purchased here.

Just to relax a little, I have made a few things that are quick, easy, yet beautiful, and can be used for children's activities or, with luxury papers, can make beautiful adornments for packages.  These little tags can also become ornaments or cards or garlands. These can be used year-round, in any season, for any occasion, with small changes.

They are only one-dimensional, which makes it a very non-stressful project, yet is quite luxurious and pretty.The paper bow instructions are in a previous post.
Print out the template on card stock, trace around it and use glitter glue to outline the pieces. These are great for tags or ornaments and can be stored in a zip-lock bag. Try making them in white, outlined in crayons. If you want to have a more sophisticated craft, outline white tags/ornaments in shiny white polymer paint. I've used children's construction paper to make the above gift tags.Some of these might make nice book markers, especially the candle.

This is a white poinsettia, but could be made light pink, as well. It can be used as a tag or added to several others on a ribbon to make a garland to drape across a mantel or window. It is cut from card stock, painted with a sponge brush and white Elmer's all purpose glue, and then drenched in clear crystal glitter. Puff paints, glitter, card stock and ribbon for these projects can be found in the Wal-Mart craft department.  Make a stack of paper and cut out several of the white poinsettia's at the same time. Glitter them or put a sparkly glue on the edges, tape a straw to the back of each one for a stem, and place a bouquet in a jar.  Add the leaves from the template pattern, by cutting them from green paper and glueing on the flower, on the other side, slightly showing from the front.  Make a huge poinsetta and use it for a paper fan.

 Right click on this template and print on card stock. Cut out the pieces and trace around them on interesting types of papers.  Add stickers or any kind of trims you like.  Use what you have in your home: cardboard from cereal boxes or other products, crayons, markers or pens.

Click for a larger view of Utopia sign

 You have probably seen words or word-phrases painted on metal or wood in shops, and here is a way you can make some of your own. If you have an old house, try making name signs for each room of your house, similar to the custom of  the bed and breakfast inns. Outline the edges and the words in glue, and then sprinkle glitter on it, or, use Polymer or Scribbles puff paint to give this project and embossed look.

Click for a larger view of Sunshine and Lollipops

Remember Leslie Gore's song, "Sunshine and Lollipops?"

Consider using the "whatever is lovely" verse from Philippians 4:8 for words and phrases on these sweet signs.

Take a shape you like, such as a little serving tray, or trace a square, circle, oval, or anything you have, on cardstock or poster board.
Try making up your own phrases, or use familiar favorites such as "Home Sweet Home," or "Enter With a Cheerful Heart."  Words like "luxury," "happy", "joy" and "enjoy" can be penned into the shape you choose, and outlined with embossing pens.  I saw one recently in a shabby chic shop that read "Be nice."  I've had a lot of fun making up my own, and you are welcome to print out what you like. Use them for tags, gifts, or sell them.  Just right-click and then "print."

Upper sign says "Pretty and Sweet," and lower sign says "See you in Wal-Mart."

Once or twice week, after I get caught up with some of my work at home, I look forward to going to WalMart to do a bit of grocery shopping, where I sometimes see other homemakers stocking up on food and fabric, so I made up this sign for a friend of mine.

I have heard young children say, "Can't we just stay home?" indicating how much they love their homes and their familiar surroundings, so I thought it was a cute saying.

Upper sign says "Let's stay home," and lower sign says, "I like it here, where it's cozy."
This one alludes to Mr. Knightly's remark about not going to Emma's party, because his dark, dreary looking manor in the background was apparently 'cozy'.  "I want to stay here, where it's cozy," he said.

Let's Play House, and Stay

Upper sign says "Welcome to My Dream World," and lower sign is "Enjoy Your Stay."  Both phrases could be made into one sign.

This one is dedicated to the homemakers who have been accused of living in a dream world. You could also pen, "My dream world is better than a nightmare," or something like that.

This sign says "Life is a garden of roses" and it reminded me of a poem that illustrates it:

This life that we're a-livin' in
Is mighty hard to beat:
You get a thorn in every rose,
But ain't the roses sweet!

Tea Time and Lovely

I included doilies in a favorite word plaque, because I have been researching the history of doilies, which were created by a 17th century draper named Robert D'Oilly. Doilies were a smaller, more affordable version of the long and heavy lace tablecloths used by royalty.  I have inherited some, and I display them in my home.

In the late 1800's several writers produced books about orphans (Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, and others) whose lives were so bleak,  they taught great lessons to grumpy, complaining, critical people. "Play the glad game," said Pollyanna.  After that book was written, critics of the time sniped  that people who had a Pollyanna attitude were simplistic and ridiculous, but in the end Pollyanna made life better for everyone around her.  In the book, Pollyanna was accused of spreading sweetness and light, a habit that is most appealing and needed today. These little signs are cheerful and easy to make.

The upper sign, "Utopia" is the easiest to make, and the lower sign, "Sunshine and Lollipops" is rather small, so it takes some careful outlining if you are using glitter glue.  These signs might look nice done in black and white and hung with black ribbons.

To make the hanger on the back, cut ribbon, or grosgrain ribbon, jute rope, string, yarn, wired ribbon, and tape it on the other side of the sign with a shiny clear tape.

Glitter from Dollar Tree seems to have more gleam to it than the expensive glitters, if you like that sort of thing.

These are thoughtful gifts to make, and work up quickly.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Needed At Home

Unexpected, by Edward Lamson Henry, 1841-1919

At seven A.M., I don't envy the mob
Who rise, shine and shower and go to the job.
In rain, sleet or storm, whether snowing or blowing,
I stay home and savor the joys of not going.

Cheers to you dears out fulfilling yourselves.
I'll bake me a cake, and I'll straighten my shelves,
I'll write some light verse and I'll practice some Bach...
If my neighbor drops in, I'll take time for a talk.

I'd rather have a family than fortune or fame;
I don't think my apron's a Red Badge of Shame.
You're welcome to banking, computers and math,
Guns, plumbing and business. I'll take a hot bath.

Art, music, letters--the good things of life
Are no less my own, since I'm mother and wife.
If I scrub, mop or dig in the garden, I'm free...
Remember, the choices were all made by me.

Helene Lewis Coffer 

These are a few of the verses in an old poem that encouraged me through the years, especially as pressures increased to get women to seek careers and pursue other interests and work away from the home and the family.

What does it take to be a successful housewife, who stays in it through every crisis and every rumour that would send weaker people running to the work place to exchange their time and their children's time, for a wage?  Well, it takes a few simple qualities that can be developed through practice:

It takes a deep belief in what the scriptures teach women to be and to do. It takes a strong respectful fear of the Lord and a strong concern your soul.  It takes women who know that believing  God exists is not enough; they must do what He commands in the scriptures.  Titus 2, First Timothy 5:13-14, First Timothy 2:9-10, and other verses are the same today, in a world crisis, or not.  When Jesus comes to reward his servants, he wants to find them working at the work that they were instructed to do. Women have been given a great mission: to guide the home. It is greater than anything else, no matter what other voices may say. Titus 2 has no loopholes and no alternatives. To be successful at home, a woman needs to know that God is her ultimate employer and that He is the great rewarder to those who do what is right, no matter what the cost.

Reminiscing painted by B. Saunders

It takes women of resolve. Outside pressures will sometimes shake a woman's resolve, and she will question herself. She may give up her time at home and her time with her children, to bring home money, but money is not what brings stability and strong spiritual values in a family. There are so-called official polls and reports in abundance claiming that more educated or high-income people will have more stable families; i.e. lasting marriages and untroubled children, but this is actually not true.  Even the most uneducated people can have a good life and a stable family  if they are faithful to the Word of God. Adhering to the statutes of the Bible bring stability and peace. Education is helpful only if it is based on the values of the scriptures, which teach how to live.
  There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.  Proverbs 13:7

Girl Picking Poppies, by Daniel Ridgeway Knight 1839-1924

It takes resolute, persistent, tenacious,  valiant, undaunted, undismayed, unshrinking, fearless and daring, unmovable determination to be a wise and purposeful homemaker.  It is common to be asked: "Don't you know that our nation is in a financial down slide? Why are you staying home? You are living in a dream world! What about retirement money? What about benefits? What about the future? Why don't you wake up and smell the coffee?"

 All around us, today we see enticing advertising aimed at the housewives, trying to get them into college, and eventually, out working for other people. It is so important to know what you stand for, and not fall for everything that comes along and promises something great. Even if it is free, it does not mean you are obligated to take it.
Mother Playing With Children in an Interior, by Helen Allingham 1848-1926

 Sometimes "free" comes with a terrible price. Teen children need their parents more emotionally than people know, and this is often the time when mothers choose to go to college or to work. Some women lose their own children, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, in order to go after a degree. There is nothing in the Bible that demands that homemakers get degrees, but it is a big attraction these days, and it is, ultimately all about making money.  Many who have received these degrees have found that the jobs are not available which their education promised they would have. Titus 2 does not mention a "degree," but our nation in general, over-rates education, even elevating it above spiritual values.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. First Corinthians 15:58

 Some friends, relatives and church members take a long time to understand that the basis of being a keeper at home is belief.   One sign of faith, or belief, is the way we live, and the way we act out those beliefs. 

  A homemaker may have some worried or "concerned" friends who are always urging her to "get a job," but she already has a job. The home is the most neglected institution on earth. Even those who stay home full time, admit there is never enough time in the day to do all the things that must be done. Many women do not even have children, or have children grown and gone from the house, and still realize they need to be home to keep it clean, orderly, and to look after their husbands.

 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  Hebrews 11:6
It takes a belief that is stronger than the circumstances. Women are needed in the home, but there are constant efforts to undermine them and unsettle them.  They will hear that the circumstances don't allow women the luxury of being at home,or that the economy, the threat of war, the political climate, the uncertainty of having a stable family, or the fear of a medical disaster, warrant women ignoring the Word of God and going to work. Some reports claim that the government doesn't allow women to stay home. My belief is that if God commanded women to be keepers at home, there will always be a way to do it.  Today, people cave in to the threat of losing material possessions, or being shunned by society, and many other things. They do not see the spiritual benefits or the material benefits of being their own boss in their own homes full time.

 Sometimes people even say that they believe what the Bible says about the importance of women in the home, but only so far as "the circumstances will allow."  In other words: if it is easy, convenient, not controversial, popular, socially acceptable, and affordable, it is viable.  Many of us lived back in a time when people were much worse off, but the women, poor or rich, proudly kept house and were the queens of their homes. Leaving the home to go to work elsewhere was universally known to be disaster to marriage, home-life and children.

 Belief and determination have to be stronger than financial pressure or circumstances. We cannot allow  circumstances to rearrange our stability. We must pursue the course, steady on, ignoring distractions and threats of disaster.  I have now lived long enough to remember decade after decade of  "the world is coming to an end" news reports designed to mobilize people into certain decisions that would take them from their home and family. We have all seen  the real disaster when children are put out to pasture, marriages dissolved, and family members without stability. It has been said that for every thing God tells us to do in His Word, he also provides a way to do it. Sometimes people make things difficult or stressful by limiting their thinking to one way.

It takes resourcefulness: This means to look for ways to do things when supplies and circumstances seem impossible. Sometimes families will just give up when difficulties come.  Difficulties give us a chance to be resourceful. While it is painful to be without money or conveniences, once someone has gone through a period of reduced circumstances, they come out stronger, knowing better ways to live, more self-reliant and being less of a burden on others. Learning how to make everything than you can, limits your spending to only those items you could not possibly make, yourself.  

 Treating all household items carefully so that they will be strong and sturdy, prevents having to replace them, which is an expense.  Keeping the house clean prevents decay and deterioration. Being resourceful means to think further than your first instinct, when it comes to spending money. It means to think, "How can I do this, have this, make-do without something, or create something, with the things I already have, or how can I do it with practically nothing?"  Not all homemakers will have to do this. Many people live in relative luxury and comfort just because they are wise shoppers and do not waste.

These characteristics can be acquired through prayer and steady attention to the job of homemaking. 

Things to Be Aware of  When You Are A Homemaker

Homemakers must not see themselves in a limited light. Others may insinuate that women at home are locked up all day in a house, but they are less limited than women who work for others, as the above poem illustrates.  I am sure everyone understands that women who work at home are not necessarily totally confined to the house. They must go shopping, go to appointments, go on trips, and attend events that interest them.  They are less constricted than the working women, who must schedule in everything around their working hours.

Homemakers need to guard against being regulated by other people in order to prove their worth. Sometimes, in an effort to make others believe that what they are doing is important, women may forget that they need to rest. Rest, leisure time, and creativity is very important to replenish the mind and body. Why stay home, if you work as though you were in a factory?  Rest and leisure are important activities that can also be advantageous to the home and the family. Women of the past greatly valued their creative skills and displayed their handiwork around their houses.

Woman Reading, by John Ferguson Weir, 1865

 Women today need to do something relaxing and creative, and do not need anyone's approval to do so. However, these things need to be re-creative and not wreck-reative. Avoid vices like gambling, drinking, partying, and smoking. These reduce your femininity and your bank account, instead of building your capabilities as a homemaker and increasing your personal wealth. True recreation will be productive, even though it is restful. Reading a book, writing to a friend, taking a walk, knitting, or listening to music are soothing things that will increase your stamina for homemaking. 

Women are needed at home. Even without children, a house or dwelling place needs care. Windows, Floors and bathrooms need to be cleaned, dishes need to be washed and put away, and things need to be put in order. Meals must be prepared and clothes must be washed. The house needs to be looked after and it needs to look like someone lives there who loves the work and wants it to look good.  Women of the past cared for their homes, and whether it was just a shack in the desert or a cabin in the mountains, wanted to sweep and clean and hang pretty curtains, for this was their own domain. 

Woman in a French Interior by Susan Watkins, 1908

God gives the woman a special place in the world, which  gives her privacy and freedom from the oppression of others who would make demands of her time.  She only has to make her husband happy, and make sure he has the things he needs in order to pursue his business. This takes time and organized effort, but it is worth it to have well-planned meals, clean clothes, ironed shirts, and a well-kept house.  This special place is also a refuge and protection from the criticism and stress of the rest of the world.

 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  Proverbs 31:11

Suggestion: Put the poem in one of your programs, make a border around it, and put it on your refrigerator, or, frame it and put on your desk.

For more responses on this post, go here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snowflake Celebration

to participate in a special paper snowflake activity. Just post a photograph of a hand made snowflake. Directions are on her blog. Read about her special Snowflake Tea, to be posted soon,

I made a post quite a few years ago about paper snowflakes, and included a link from a man's site, who had dedicated his snowflake site and patterns to his mother, because she had taught him how to cut snowflakes from folded paper. He has quite a few free patterns on his site and some have snowmen or trees all around the snowflake.  There are some interesting sites on the web that contain photographs of snowflakes taken in the Victorian period, to show that there is not one snowflake identical to another. The Victorian houses were much like that, not having any cookie-cutter type neighborhoods. It is still difficult to find any two houses of that era exactly the same. It must have been so sweet to visit people, knowing that each house was different than ones you had seen before, and each had a character of its own.  Like the snowflake, these houses had the same form and function, but were each completely unique.

This is my contribution to the Snowflake Celebration: A hand-made  pine wreath  formed with floral pics and a glittered bell, surrounded by wired ribbon and wired-in plastic snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles to a Happy Home Life

  Anxiety  two kinds: the things you do, and the things others do.

Discouraging words from others someo




be creative in your work

be selective in the things you read or listen to.

take extra care to be well-dressed

Monday, December 06, 2010

Needed At Home

Society News December 2010

This month has been already been filled with activity, including the following:

* Maryam from Alaska and her grandson came and had a High Tea with me. We were both homesteaders in the 1950's, and she bought 6 of my "Just Breathing the Air" books to give to her relatives.

*The Ladies Bible Study Class met in my home and enjoyed hot apple-cranberry-blueberry juice with cinnamon.  We read all the verses we could find on guarding against anxiety, which I will try to include in a future post.

*Sarah in Australia phoned me and we chatted for over an hour. It always amazes me how clear and close the voices sound when talking to anyone overseas.

*I got my first card of the season from Mavis Bowan in the North Island of New Zealand. She always hand makes her cards by recycling old ones and adding new bling to them with bits and pieces of shiny materials.

An e-friend has written some handy homemaking e-books for a frugal price. These are very helpful to those who want to know more about housekeeping and homemaking, and there are always things in these kinds of books that even the seasoned homemaker may not have known.

*Creating Vintage Charm came in the mail today in a clear cellophane bag, and has such pretty things in it. It has high quality paper and a lot of project instructions and some beautiful reproducible tags. Everything about this magazine is soothing and bright. Hint: if you get a catalog or magazine you just love but it has a few pictures you don't like, just put a sticker over them and alter the magazine. Sometimes you can tear out a page but the back of the page might be something you want to keep, and it is more fun to use scrap papers to cover up pages you do not want to keep. You can do the same thing to a calendar picture if you don't care for the one that comes up that month. These days you can find all kinds of graphics and paintings to print out and paste over the pictures. I like calendars but sometimes there is a month that has a very dull picture or something that is just not as inspiring as I would like.  Your computer might have a program that makes a calendar where you can pick your own pictures from your picture file. You might check here for an 1800's Victorian lady calendar that you can download.

*I have several pattern pages for templates to make easy tags or ornaments, as well as a garland, which I hope to show soon.

*I have made gingerbread cookies from cookie cutters shaped like houses. My own house is really a wreck, but at least it smells nice here.
Cottage of Delights 2, Malcolm Surrage,
from Allposters.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Plenty to Do At Home

Friday, December 03, 2010

You Can Be Happy

Woman Reading, by Robert Gordon, 1865

Some verses today on a few topics:



A Sound Mind:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Housekeeping Motivation

Someone asked me quite awhile ago to offer some ideas to inspire them to be better housekeepers or homemakers.