Monday, March 28, 2011

Tea in Art

A Convivial
by  Otto Goldmann  (1844 - 1915) Germany

Try clicking this picture to enjoy a larger view. It was called a two-dimensional painting. There are a lot of interesting details in this picture, and if you are homeschooling, you might ask your children to list everything they see here,  as well as what relation the people might be to one another.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Future Posts

Family Outing, by Henry John Yeend King

I'm listening to you, and hearing your requests!  I check my keyword searches regularly and find out what you are looking for. In order to keep a record of viewer requests and some of my own ideas for future posts, I'm listing them here. As they are completed I will post a link to them.

Podcast: You'll be able to click on a little link and hear some of the articles here, plus some of my favorite poetry cited, and some of my own, as well. This is particularly for the blind, who have to listen to the machine words, which are sometimes stilted and expressionless.

Homeschooling - It really should not be called "schooling," because it is more like real life, but I will try to include how to get your housework done while teaching your children how to speak, write, add and subtract (cipher), sing, recite, reason and think. 

Spencerian Penmanship - This is similar to the writing on the original Constitution of the US, but you can add your own personality to it.

What's So Daunting About a Sewing Machine? We are in the computer age now, and if you can understand your computer and all the programs offered online for producing a blog or website or design, such as paint, etc., you can understand how to use a sewing machine. If you know how to drive a car, you can run a sewing machine.

Craft Sewing: How to make a rectangular shaped decorator pillow, how to make a ruffle, and how to make an easy round pillow. Machine or hand-stitch as you like.

Beginner Sewing: Understanding a pattern, understanding fabric, and making a simple, long dress. How to add trim, such as piping, and how to install a zipper.

What Do You Do All Day?  If you hesitate to be a homemaker because you are unsure of how to fill the days and nights, there will be a lot of things here that will give you some ideas of how to make the home the best it can be, and how you will eventually prefer it over anywhere else!

Living at Home Without Children-  If you have never had children or your children are grown, you might want to have some idea of how to be a  keeper at home with purpose, even without children.

Making scented fake cakes from Styrofoam rounds and squares and silk flower petals - I have seen some of these in interior decorating stores and they are very expensive. This will show you how to use supplies from your Dollar Tree stores and make your own that is even more lovely. 

How to make a useful item from a round oat box - this will be great for children but also a pretty craft for your personal use, too,

How to make communion bread - A pictorial tutorial and recipe for unleavened bread, as close as possible to the original passover bread.Which  ingredients are acceptable, and which are not?

Refinement class and printable certificate--this is from an old class I conducted many years ago for young girls when I was homeschooling my own children.  You'll get all the points I covered, plus a certificate to fill out, which has some old-fashioned scrolls and pen art on the edges.

Planning a tea in your home:  I will just show you how to draw it all out on paper, the way I do, to plan the settings, and the menu and cook for a tea at home.

 Unmarried but desiring the home life:  Unmarried women can enjoy the Titus 2/Proverbs 31 role at home by including certain things in their lives from day to day--domestic habits and creative things that provide what the home is really supposed to provide for a human being.

Country Life - I live in the country so I tend to write from that experience. I'd like to share some of the things you can expect when you approach home making and home living from a country view, whether you live there or not.

If you can, please remind me of anything I've left out that has been suggested, or make some suggestions of your own.

Recipes:  Cottage Bread, Scottish Salmon, Sauteed Vegetables, favorite salads

Cleaning A Kitchen - from hurry-up cleaning so you can prepare a meal, to more detailed cleaning and organizing.

The Importance of Rest -  Shows how rest interspersed with work can be beneficial. How to relax  while housekeeping and homemaking so that you'll always feel you are on vacation,

Anxious for Nothing - anxiety and how to deal with it naturally.

You Can Be Happy - Christians are not to be complaining, unhappy people. They often carry the world on their shoulders, and feel guilty that they are even happy, but this is not proper thinking. Lessons from Philippians 4:8

The Desk- Every homemaker needs a place for writing materials that is available and stocked with everything necessary for correspondence. 

Sewing: How to make a ruffle. Ruffles are on everything these days from tablecloths to skirts. They are easy to make by hand or machine but they look very complicated.

Tea:  Thankfully, tea time is here to stay, as more and more women discover this wonderful leisure that lifts the heart, and increases the fellowship love in families and friends.

Hand made cards:  Cards are really expensive these days, but you can make them and even make your own matching envelope, with patterns provided on this post.

The Importance of Creativity in the Home--the freedom of home life makes it possible to be creative. If you do not buy everything, and if you make as many things as you can , you can keep your family income for things that you cannot make yourself.

Good Housekeeping- "What am I supposed to do all day at home?"  With just one or two principles, you can learn to see what needs to be done to provide a lovely home life for yourself and your family.

Help for the Fashion Designers  - You've probably seen the atrocities coming off the runway posing as "wearables"--what is wearable about Paris fashions?  I'll try to find some of their own painters of the 18th and 19th century and show how beautiful their clothes once were.

Homeschooling - There are plenty of publications already written about educating boys, but I'll just list a few old fashioned ideas on how to let boys be boys and develop into the men they are supposed to be. In a public school they are pegged and put in boxes and made to conform, but in home school, they have the freedom to find out how things are made, how things run, how to speak properly, how to behave like gentlemen yet retain their masculinity. There is so much to do at home that 18 years is just not enough time. It is here that they can write their own adventures, invent, and discover real life, instead of the artificial one offered them by government education.

Do You Really Need a Mentor or can you do it yourself?  I think women have the resources available to be good homemakers, cooks, housekeepers, seamstresses, and more.

Becoming a Teacher of Good Things - Things to consider when you open your home for a Titus 2 homemaking class.

The History of Doilies- These lacy rounds were not originally decorative pieces for the home. They were invented by a man with the last name of D'Oyley for another reason.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Strings of the Voice

The Three Marys at the Tomb
by William Adolphe Bouguereau
 France, 1825-1905

The voice is a beautiful instrument, as you can hear in this acapella  recording.  I will post a copy of the sheet music for "The Sands of Time" in case you want to learn to sing it yourself. When the song has ended, I would highly recommend you click on "Meet Me There." The video is beautiful.

The song was written by Ann Ross Cousin, who was born in Hull, England in 1824  and lived in Scotland.

Here is one you might enjoy, called "Dare to Be Like Joshua" sung by a group of Christians that gather each year for a singing session.    I do not know the words to this song but they sound like they might be something you would like to teach children.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cheerfulness at Home

Adopho Auguste and His Family, 1891
by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior (1850 - 1899) Brazil

It is important to be on your best behavior at home, because these are the people you should least want to alienate. These are the people whom you will want to have on your side when you have a special need. "A brother is born for adversity,"*  the Proverbs teach. Family members will be there for you when you need them, and therefore, it is good to cultivate their love and friendship first.
We need to refute the  false idea that since we are more relaxed at home, we can be more careless in the way we treat the family members: insulting them, offending them, behaving rudely, spreading an angry mood around, or poisoning the atmosphere with sharp replies and contradictions.
A New Game
by Federico Olaria (French, 1800's)
Keeping sour thoughts in captivity and not allowing them out to pollute the home, is more noble than letting them all out. Once they have escaped the mouth, they cannot be recalled, and may become part of your history. You are writing your story each day, and life is so very short. Young people are building the memories they will have to live with as older people, so it is essential that we teach them to be cheerful at home. To be cheerful even when one is not in the mood for it, is the sign of a truly noble person.
Our moods were not catered to in the old days, and I think we had happier homes because of it. The person who was out-of-sorts was admonished to spend some time in seclusion, perhaps in a room of her own, outside on the porch, or just going for a walk, to clear up her mind. It was considered quite damaging to other family members to impose your grumpiness on everyone else in the home.  It was actually a very rude, inconsiderate thing to snap at someone, contradict, or look on the dark side of everything.
 Albert Taylor "Quiet Moments" 1889
Contrariness, arguing, and pessimism can plague adults as well as children. One way to overcome these maladies is to look on the sunny side of life.  Behind every cloud is a silver lining. Look for advantages to every situation, and you will find them.  It is so important to develop the positive outlook in life so that you have some cheerfulness stored up for the hard times.  To have the habit of looking for light in darkness, possibilities in impossible places, and to be constructive in destruction, is an immeasurable quality.  Grumpiness makes burdens heavier;  contrary, contradictory comments in the family puts a layer of gloom on the family and the home.  I have seen situations in a cheerful home, where one of the bunch enters a room and decides to cast bitter emotions all around, silencing the cheerful laughter, the singing, the friendly banter between family members.

A Victorian Family Kneels to Say Their Prayers Together
To make home life the most beautiful and the most pleasant it can possibly be, members of the home should be careful not to allow any discordant note escape their tongues. Parents need to be alert to any tendency on the part of their children to mope, pout, or create a constant uproar. Children should learn to be peaceful at home. Often they understand that they cannot cause trouble in public, at church, or in the market, and yet feel free to "let down at home" and make everyone around them miserable. When this is not corrected, these children become adults with negative attitudes, always finding fault and always discontent.
In the 1940's and 50's when my generation was still young, many of us were taught the cheerful poetry of Edgar Guest, who was known as The Family Poet.  Faced with problems or disappointments, our parents would quote these poems to us, which we later fell back on when confronted with any stress. This poet came to the United States from England, and remained to become a naturalized citizen.  You can read more about Edgar Guest here.
Guest was also the author of a poem that I have posted here several times, called "Somebody Said It Couldn't Be Done," which many a young person in the 1950's memorized.  His kind of poetry is partly what built a nation of can-do-ers and independent people possessing resourcefulness and industriousness at home.
Frontier Father Reading to His Children, 1860
I would recommend that people of all ages, and in particular, home school children, memorize the following poems of Edgar Guest, and memorize them with good expression and feeling. He is my favorite poet: the poet of purpose, in my opinion. His poems reflect the values that ordinary families were taught, back in the days when no one wanted to be a burden on anyone.  Have your children practice these poems aloud, and do quote them often yourself, to help them become cheerful in the home.

Take Home A Smile

Edgar Guest

Take home a smile; forget the petty cares,
The dull, grim grind of all the day's affairs;
The day is done, come be yourself awhile:
To-night, to those who wait, take home a smile.

Take home a smile; don't scatter grief and gloom
Where laughter and light hearts should always bloom;
What though you've traveled many a dusty mile,
Footsore and weary, still take home a smile.

Take home a smile -- it is not much to do,
But much it means to them who wait for you;
You can be brave for such a little while;
The day of doubt is done -- take home a smile.

A Victorian English Family Offerring Prayer at the Dinner Table

See It Through

Edgar Guest

When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!



Edgar Guest

He wiped his shoes before his door,
But ere he entered he did more;
'Twas not enough to cleanse his feet
Of dirt they'd gathered in the street;
He stood and dusted off his mind
And left all trace of care behind.
"In here I will not take," said he,
"The stains the day has brought to me.

"Beyond this door shall never go
The burdens that are mine to know;
The day is done, and here I leave
The petty things that vex and grieve;
What clings to me of hate and sin
To them I will not carry in;
Only the good shall go with me
For their devoted eyes to see.

"I will not burden them with cares,
Nor track the home with grim affairs;
I will not at my table sit
With soul unclean, and mind unfit;
Beyond this door I will not take
The outward signs of inward ache;
I will not take a dreary mind
Into this house for them to find."

He wiped his shoes before his door,
But paused to do a little more.
He dusted off the stains of strife,
The mud that's incident to life,
The blemishes of careless thought,
The traces of the fight he'd fought,
The selfish humors and the mean,
And when he entered he was clean.

Family Reunion, by Frederic Bazille, 1867

The Finer Thought

Edgar Guest

How fine it is at night to say:
I have not wronged a soul to-day.
I have not by a word or deed,
In any breast sowed anger's seed,
Or caused a fellow being pain;
Nor is there on my crest a stain
That shame has left. In honor's way,
With head erect, I've lived this day.

When night slips down and day departs
And rest returns to weary hearts,
How fine it is to close the book
Of records for the day, and look
Once more along the traveled mile
And find that all has been worth while;
To say: In honor I have toiled;
My plume is spotless and unsoiled.

Yet cold and stern a man may be
Retaining his integrity;
And he may pass from day to day
A spirit dead, in living clay,
Observing strictly morals, laws,
Yet serving but a selfish cause;
So it is not enough to say:
I have not stooped to shame to-day!

It is a finer, nobler thought
When day is done and night has brought
The contemplative hours and sweet,
And rest to weary hearts and feet,
If man can stand in truth and say:
I have been useful here to-day.
Back there is one I chanced to see
With hope newborn because of me.

This day in honor I have toiled;
My shining crest is still unsoiled;
But on the mile I leave behind
Is one who says that I was kind;
And someone hums a cheerful song
Because I chanced to come along.
Sweet rest at night that man shall own
Who has not lived his day alone.

The Hatch Family, 1870
by Jonathon Eastman Johnson


Edgar Guest

Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn't a thing to be stored in the chest
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn't a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.

Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day,
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don't keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You'll find that in service its beauty improves.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916


I believe that the home is sacred and should not be plagued with the terror of uncertainty contained in disruptive arguing, contradicting, disgruntled resentment, accusations and disrespect of the elderly.  No matter how much society seemingly progresses, mankind is always plagued with correcting the same problems, generation after generation. We must use the Bible as our authority and guide in manners and conduct. Ladies and gentlemen will come from homes where people value peaceful behavior and respect.

*Proverbs 17:17

2nd Corinthians 10:5 - Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Portrait of a Family, 1800
by Joseph Marcellin Combette 1770-1840,


from Robin Ellis

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Creation's Colors From Painters of the 1800's

Flores by Federico Olaria, b.1848 Spain, d. 1898 France
(Click on the painting for a larger, beautiful view of it!)

Some beautiful paintings of the 1800's which were hidden from the public for the past 75+ years, are now appearing at auctions throughout the world and being made available for people to enjoy. The painting of a basket of flowers is so vivid in color and detail that it looks absolutely fresh, as though just picked. These realist artists were really amazing. Federico Olaria lived and painted in France.

Sewing is one of my interests, and when I choose fabrics, I like to think of these paintings of the past with their exquisite detail, and find prints that express this same freshness.

Click on for a larger view.

This is a very high quality decorating cotton which I used to make a garment to wear. The pattern did not fade over time, and the outfit lasted over 10 years. I once bought French Cotton in one of the Carribean Islands (Antigua-Barbuda), and this piece was very much like it in texture and wearability. After it began to wear out, I used pieces of it for quilts and crafts. The value of using wovens, like cottons, is that it can be recycled into so many other usable things.  Wal-Mart still has this print on their collection that stays the same over the years.

These two photos are of a co-ordinating print that was intended for cushions.  Sometimes I see the completed pillows in gift shops.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Picking Bluebells by Ernest Walbourne, English 1872-1927

The scene looks a little like the creek we played in as children, which ran behind our house.

Sympathy, by Riviere Briton,
British 1840-1920

 When disasters shake up every day life, it is good  to remain unshaken in faith. Among the causes of uncertainty are: things caused by our own lack of wisdom, things caused by other people, things caused by political powers, and natural disasters, which in past times were referred to as "acts of God."

The painting of the little girl on the stairs reminded me of the worst earthquake in the U.S. in 1964, measuring a point stronger than the tragic quake in Japan last week, but not lasting quite as long.  Many of us were in our homes when the quake occurred, and though we had been taught about what to do in case of an earthquake, it was impossible to comply with any of it.  This quake was so violent that we could not get down the stairs from our bedrooms.

We could hear our mother crying, "Earthquake!" but we could not get to her. It occurred on March 27, in the Prince William Sound area, measured 9.2 in magnitude, lasting 4 minutes, followed by a tidal wave. We did not make it out of the house. Aftershocks were felt for some time after that, and while feeling each tremor, we were reminded by our parents to put our trust in that which is unshaken.

By the Fireside, by Frank Holl, English 1845-1888

When you are being thrown from wall to wall or rocked back and forth, there is no time to think. You just want to put your feet on something that is not moving.

  Many of the men were still down at the harbor with their boats, and  we worried that they would not make it home, but they all arrived safely to their families.

Our town was not a largely populated one in 1964, and  we had no buildings above two storeys high, and almost every structure was wood or logs.  Our home, though swayed to and fro in a powerful way, was not damaged, and the only damage in other houses was broken glass and dishes which had come out of the shelves during the quake. 

The Letter, by Sydney Muschamp, English

When the tremors were gone, each member of the family told the others where they were at the time, what happened to them,  and what they were thinking.  All of us had remembered to pray to God for our safety, and in the case that we would not survive, that we would be in his eternal care.

When the terror ended, everyone looked around and took stock: each person in our large family of nine souls was accounted for as well as the Irish setter and the Manx.  The creek had changed in areas; the coastline and beach area was like a new land, as it had been altered so much by the quake. Paramount in all of this was the spiritual lives of the family, and others within our acquaintance.  That has, and always will be our priority, when the earth is shaken and when it is still. Although this quake occurred 40 years ago, every minute of it seems fresh in my memory.

The recent quake in Japan, which measured 9.0 on the scale, served to remind us again how helpless mankind is to save himself from violent disasters of the earth.  Anything on this earth can be shaken, destroyed, burned, buried, or swallowed up.    It is not possible to follow all the earthquake or tornado survival rules because people are thrown around too much to put emergency measures into practice. 

The Bible talks about the things of the earth which can be shaken, and compares them with the things that cannot be shaken.  People who are shaken will look to the things that are not shaken. The writer of Hebrews so aptly explained this concept when teaching of faith:

And this word,

Yet once more,

 signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken,

as of things that are made,

that those things which cannot be shaken

may remain.

Hebrews 12:27


Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund Through the church:

1. Whites Ferry Road church of Christ
     3201 N. 7th St. West Monroe, Louisiana 71291

2. Helping Hands International
    455 McNally Drive
    Nashville, Tennessee 37211

3. Park Avenue Church of Christ

ATTN: Dwight Albright

5295 Park Ave

Memphis TN 38119-3543

Phone: 901 682-1220



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Outdoor Scenes in Paintings of the 1800's

Garden of Poppies
by Edmund B. Leighton, English, 1852-1922

An Apple for the Boatman
Edmund B. Leighton

by William John Waterhouse
1849-1917,  English

Playing with the Kitten
by Ernest Walbourne, English, 1872-1927

Love at First Sight by Marcus Stone
English, 1840-1921

be sure to click on the pictures for more detailed views!

Lilacs, by Edmund Blair Leighton

Compare the visual effect of the garments above, to the description by an image consultant, of the woeful American styles:

I tell you, women everywhere in India at all economic levels wear sarees.  The societal effect is lovely to behold.  Sadly, most young people want to imitate American youth in tattered jeans and T-shirts.  Having been exposed to honestly impoverished men preserving their dignity by wearing collared shirts and women in sarees, I am even more incensed by our ugly American way of wearing pretentious poverty chic.*

*Judith Rasband, Conselle Image Consutant

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Women at Home in Paintings of the 1800's

Arranging Roses
by De Scott Evans

At the Kitchen Window
by De Scott Evans (1847-1898) American

The  Tack Room
by De Scott Evans

Picking Wildflowers
by De Scott Evans

Grandma's Visitors
by De Scott Evans

Looking at Drawings

Adolpho Belimbau 1894 (Italy) 1845-1938

Portrait by James Tissot, 1836-1902, France

In contrast to these 19th century scenes of women at home, this is an interesting description of life for women after the French Revolution (1788-1804) in which all restraint and propriety was set aside:

(With their culture destroyed, they lived a free-for-all existence:)

Never did the French nation offer its observers a stranger, more incoherent, various, and extraordinary sight than in the early period of the Directory. Everything—habits, traditions, language, throne, altar, manners and customs—had been swallowed up in the Revolution... As no tradition of that past remained, nor any possibility of extemporising a whole society, with new rules, new customs, and new dress, in the space of a single day, these were all borrowed, in a lump, from ancient history and extinct nation. Each individual was bedizened and made up according to his or her own sweet will, each talked his or her chosen jargon. It was a universal travesty, an unlimited carnival, a neverending senseless orgie. Nobody can look back, from these latter days, on the general character and petty details of the libertinage of those, without being tempted to believe the whole thing a colossal joke, a tremendous caricature, invented by some humorist of the school of Rowlandson or Hogarth...

(Immodesty was rampant)

The ladies insisted that their dresses should show every contour, and be of transparent fabrics. In vain the doctors spent their breath in assertions that the French climate, temperate as it was, did not admit of clothing as light as that of ancient Greece. The counsels of the disciples of Hippocrates fell on deaf ears, and, at the close of the year VI, Delessart found himself in a position to assert that he had seen more young girls die during the reign of nakedness veiled in gauze, than during the forty years preceding it.

(Young women did not stay home, and domestic occupation was replaced by partying)

The Revolution had forced them to live in the street; the home joys, the witty drawing-rooms of former days, the love of things noble and high-souled, it had no power, nor any desire, to bestow. They had no beliefs, no faith, no clear conception of good and evil; and so, unchecked, they slipped ipto the life of sensual pleasures, with no special perception of enjoyment, beyond the merest animal gratification.

That fierce Republican, Sebastien Mercier, who was to live until 1814, and who was in a position to bear witness to the disgraceful dissipation of the new regime, has added, as a postscript to his " Nouveau Tableau deParis," the following curious pages on the more than affable nymphs of the year VIII:

"Their three rules—and these are faithfully obeyed—are to read novels, dance, and live in idleness. Twenty years ago, no young girl would have ventured outside her parents' house without her mother: she walked under her mother's wing, and kept her eyes studiously cast down. The only man she dared to look at was him she was allowed to hope for, or choose, as her future husband. The Revolution has swept away all this submission. Young girls go about, both day and night, in perfect freedom. Their sole occupations are to walk and drive, to amuse themselves, to make merry, have their fortunes told, and quarrel over their admirers. Scissors and thimbles are all cast aside.

This piece, from the same online book expressed astonishment at the rapid change of fashion:

Fashion had a settled place of origin, a centre and fixed periods of existence. Now it springs up, I know not where; it is supported, I know not by whom ; and ends, I know not how! . . .

My notes: I believe that young women, especially the home school girls, should be familiar with these descriptions because it shows how important it is to cling to that which is good, no matter what the trends.  It helps us to understand what is behind the crazy fashions perpetrated upon the world by some designers.  No one has to follow the trends, and there have always been beautiful alternatives.

Read more here.

Friday, March 04, 2011

No Excuse For Bad Fashion

The Thinking Housewife  writes about the death of prettiness of modern women's clothing. It is no wonder that clothing designers no longer dictate to many women who are now designing and sewing their own clothes, or buying them from seamstresses.  There is a whole population of women who enjoy the luxury of having clothing made to their own specification.  Below are a number of reasons that designers are failing to influence us.

Ignorance of the paintings of the past. Hopefully, designers have acccess to the internet, where they can find hosts of paintings from the 19th century, revealing lovely clothing on women

Lack of observation of the beauty of nature;   rose gardens, botonical gardens, exotic birds, and scenery. These designers are rich enough to take cruises and trips around the world, yet seem ignorant of the beauty in nature; beauty that could be translated into complimentary clothing for women.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Snow Scenes