Monday, October 24, 2011

Around My House

This painting touches my heart because it reminds of the lake where I grew up. When my mother was only about 23 years old, my father, who as 25 or 26, built her a little row boat to take on rides across the pond to pick the water lilies and bring them home to put in a bowl on the table. She often left the house while everyone was still asleep and did her morning "rounds" in her boat, observing what was going on in the surrounding forest, calling out to the loons and ducks, and enjoying her young life. She had a big family and she taught every one of us how to observe and appreciate our surroundings. To this day I cannot go to a fabric store without "seeing" the nature around me, which excites me very much, so today I am showcasing the beautiful pumpkin field which I see outside my window, and sharing a bright craft.

pumpkin field

I was not the only one taking a photo opportunity in this field: there was a constant stream of people stopping and posing their children, sitting on top the pumpkins, and getting their own pictures taken amongst these colorful squash. Others posed beside tractors and harvest machinery, and there was an occasional lady in a matching orange dress getting her picture taken.

fabric pumpkins

The pattern and instructions for these cloth pumkins are here. These were made for a friend, who asked for them. She uses chili-pepper red in her home decor. These were made from a McCalls craft  pattern that I got last year, but I found that my old way of making a huge circle and putting a running stitch around the edge, and gathering it, was much easier and makes a pumpkin so similar, that it is really not necessary to sew 8 persnickety pieces together.  You can get the same effect with the circle, which is much easier. The tendrils are green chenille wires, and the leaves are of the same fabric ( a woven metallic, which was quite inexpensive) with an iron on interfacing, stitched on the machine in a satin stitch edging. Patterns and instructions will follow, eventually.

I used real pumpkin leaves to make patterns for my cloth pumpkins.

These velvet pumpkins are from Victorian Trading Company. A lot of crafters are using the real stems from pumpkins, for the craft pumpkins, as they are like wood, but I was not able to make this work for mine, so I used brown felt.
This site has free pumpkin leaf patterns (shown in the picture, above)  and shows how to make the tendrils from florists paper-covered wire.
These are the fleece fabric pumpkins I made last year, now on my mantel. Somewhere on this blog are the step by step instructions to make them, by tracing a large circle from your largest round bowl or pizza pan.

An autumn oil painting sitting over my fireplace mantel, painted by a local artist many years ago. It looks so much like my lake in autumn!

This is some fabric I used for a dress, inspired by that pretty pumpkin field in the background. It is a rather wild print but in the country, anything goes.

Garment has a wide obi belt that goes with it (not shown)

This little fellow, Henry, comes from a neighboring farm to crow right under my bedroom window each morning. Then he goes and crows somewhere else, til he has done the rounds. I give him the left-over communion bread when I'm cleaning up the communion after church. There are usually a few little grains left, and he waits at the bottom of the steps for me to come out. He seems to follow anyone wearing a skirt, probably because they are the ones with the scraps of food. Sometimes he waits at the front door and greets the church members with his cheerfulness as they go in the door. Both the peacock and the banty rooster have made the mistake of following people into the meeting house a couple of times.  We would prefer not to clean up after they leave their calling cards. Once in the summer when the windows were open, this little rooster crowed all during the sermon, which just happened to be about the apostle denying Christ before the rooster crowed three times.

Henry walks around in the garden here and crows at people as they enter the meeting house. It was built in the early 1900's and appears to be similar in style to some of the Amish meeting houses.

Hmm...wonder what kind of fabric would remind me of this sunset taken just last night:
It reminds me of one of the paintings by Jesse-Wilcox Smith, and another by Besse Pease Gutman,  of a mother and child looking at the moon.

Sweet and Low by Jessie Wilcox mith
This painting has similar colors to the sunset pictured above.
Moon Beams by Jessie Wilcox-Smith

I recently used a couple of coupons at the fabric store and got a very good bargain for some foam to make a seat for this old, long wicker couch. Temporarily, it is covered with a quilt, but later I hope to get time to cover it with upholstery fabric and welting (piping), possibly with something like this:

In the meantime, it is easy to make a change of looks for this couch, by wrapping a quilt around the seat, and adding matching pillow shams.

I have been looking at these giant magnets at Collections, Etc. which has a mail order catalog and one online, and finally got one on sale for about $5.00 for my dishwasher. They are available with scenery and still life paintings for washers and refrigerators too. I have my eye on the rooster/farm scene magnet for the side of the washing machine in my laundry room.

From the same catalog I ordered this little rug, which puts some brightness in my monochromatic living room:

Some brands of applesauce have apple barrel shaped jars. Here's a collection of these kinds of jars, from relish, baby food and other products, that all look like the old fashioned apple barrels. I've always wanted to make some canisters out of them, so this year, I painted the lids, and found some water-slide decals from The Decal Cottage online, and made myself some homestead style canisters. The decals show up better on a white background, but look okay on clear glass.

Here is the finished product:

Like some of the other homey bloggers I've been culling and sorting things, and when I got my magazine collection, I found this picture on the back of a quilting magazine. It is made of photo- quality shiny cardstock, so I cut it out to make a card for someone, to share the intensity of the season. We are having a warm autumn, temps in the 70's, with lots of sunshine.

One more photo before I mail these treasures. Autumn is nearly gone!

These are all projects I have been working on in small snatches of time since my last post, between housekeeping jobs. Autumn seems to have inspired a lot of bloggers to de-clutter and deep clean, gutting out entire rooms and giving them a good going-over. I read somewhere that autumn is God's reward for surviving a long, hot summer! 

" Thou crownest the year with thy goodness..."
Psalm 65:11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Confined to Home

As homemakers know, the freedom at home is unlimited. You can shop all the sales, show hospitality to all the people you want, start all the sewing or painting projects you desire, and cook anything that suits you.  With so many things to do, it is easy to let the housework slip.

One sign of needing to be more confined to the house is that you cannot locate your watch, your glasses, your grocery list , and the sewing project you started last week. Worse than that, you can lose your Bible in the things that pile up, and not be able to locate it for some days. It may be time to confine yourself  to the business of home.

Getting ready for a season of confinement requires some supplies. To prepare, imagine yourself in a home far away, perhaps up in the hills without neighbors. The road  will be closed because of a winter storm, so you will not be able to dash to and fro to a store for things you need. Now is the time to get some supplies: toilet paper, detergents, enough frozen food for several weeks worth of meals, dried products for making soups and stews and breads. You might also anticipate other needs such as sewing supplies to finish some sewing projects, and writing materials for correspondence. If you have other members of the family who can bring you groceries,  it will save you even more time.  The length of your confinement depends upon how soon you can get your house in satisfactory condition. It can be just a weekend for some, a week for others and more for those who plan major changes in their homes.

Daily give the kitchen surface cleaning, such as washing dishes and taking out the trash and sweeping the floor. This does not include deeper cleaning of drawers and shelves, the fridge, or things that need to be put in order. It is a basic daily cleaning that enables your family to use the kitchen and for you to prepare meals.  When the kitchen comes up as a "room" on your list, then it is time to pay more detailed attention to it.`

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy the Home

The current trend to descend on a city park and "occupy" has brought forth some lively conversation and ideas from other homemakers. Andrea at   Rightthinker  has written a post showing the many things that need to be done in order to occupy your home and get it in livable order.  Lillibeth at The Pleasant Times has posted something about occupying, also.   My post today is about the advantages  of being home and minding your own business.   (1st Thessalonians 4:11) In order to control the home and the housework, it is important to occupy and own it, even the messes.

Looking  at your home as a gift from God, and showing your appreciation by making it clean, neat and beautiful, can help you look at it as a unique place, worthy of care and creativity.

Regard your home as a free-will offering to the Lord and to others, and a testimony of your gratitude for having a place to live. As such, treat it with enough respect to keep it orderly.

Each day, besides daily activities such as meals, washing dishes, laundry, or picking up clutter, include the cleaning of one other room in a more thorough way. Closets and hallways and bookshelves can count as separate rooms and take separate days.    A kitchen can be divided into different rooms, making the refrigerator a room to be cleaned when it is time to clean an extra room. 

When a room has been cleaned and put in order, move on to another room, but remember to "maintain" the previous room by routinely going through it and correcting anything that is amiss. As you add more clean rooms, routinely go through the other clean rooms and tidy them up. This is what I call maintenance, because it does not require completely cleaning or de-cluttering, or any deep-cleaning.  It just means restoring the room to its best.

Since Christian women are told in the scriptures to be keepers at home, they will need to have the time and the tools to do this.  More time can be found in a day if you can possibly stay home without too many outside interruptions.

In having time to be home and keep it up to a high standard, you refute the nonsense of those who say that a home can be cleaned on a weekend, and that therefore, a woman is not needed there all week. The fact is, even when a house is clean, a woman needs to be in it, paying attention to needed seasonal changes, and making it a daily shelter for its people. If there is no actual work to be done, the homemaker can develop new skills that will help her make it a better place. Making new curtains or re-covering a couch, or learning to knit and sew and cook, are things worth staying home for.

If we do not occupy our homes by cleaning them and making them orderly, they will be occupied by other things like filth and odor and clutter. Sometimes people do not know the risk they take when they neglect things that are their own responsibility. If they knew that there might be some chance of losing their home through neglect, it might increase their motivation to take care of it. There are several parables in the Bible that show the difference between someone who invests time wisely, and the unfaithful servant who is not diligent. These lessons can give a reasonable sense of urgency in our own realm of homemaking.

A cheerful heart will make the task of keeping house pleasant. When you understand that messes are part of living at home, and that cleaning them up is the reason you are there, you can approach them as though they were a matter of fact.  When you realize this is what you are home for, you can approach it as part of your responsibility, rather than as an inconvenience.

There is more to housekeeping that cleaning up a mess. There is more to homemaking than just being in the house, and there is more to child care than feeding and caring for a child. All these duties have to be approached with a thoughtful and spiritual attitude, as an offering to the Lord, and an act of charity and sacrifice to the people within your care. Each member of your family has a soul, and that soul can be affected in a great way by your approach to homemaking.  Neatness is not enough. The home must have an atmosphere of beauty and peace, which is more easily acquired by a homemaker who is actually home, occupying her own territory.

" to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you..."

1st Thessalonians 4, verse 11

Be sure to look at Lillibeth's witty post on the subject here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reasons to Stay Home

Home at Last
by James Lee

It seems appropriate to be reminded of the reasons to be home full time. 

To take care of the family. Women at home have an important role. They not only physically care for the husband and children, but they provide good counsel and stability. If a woman is at home, she has only her own, and her family's cares to consider. She is free to concentrate and really look after the needs of her husband and children. She can help cut down on stress and worry in their lives, because just by being home, she provides stability. Free from the stresses of life outside the home, she can have peace of mind and transfer that to her own family.

by James Lee

To keep house.  We need to be aware that many people believe that housework can be done on the weekends quite efficiently, and therefore, they think it is not necessary for women to stay home every day. When people are preparing meals at home daily, using clean clothes every day ,using the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms daily, there will be daily housework.  To wait until the weekend to do the laundry or clean the kitchen or shop for groceries, is to put a greater burden on the family and the homemaker during the weekends, when the time might be used for hospitality or family outings.

 A homemaker can learn to create daily order in the home, rather than wait til the weekend. That way, she is free to enjoy some leisure with her family on weekends, and attend church on the Lord's Day.

Keeping house is more than hurriedly wiping up a mess or picking up trash. It requires putting a feeling or an atmosphere into it. If you know someone who really loves her home and respects her house, you will notice the effect it has on you. She has paid attention to where things are placed and how things look. She understands the value of comfort and knows how to use things to delight the senses: sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste. All this, combined with her spiritual values, can determine how it feels to be home.

by James Lee

To have good health. Being home aids greatly in good health, because it is a place where a woman can rest when she needs to, without anyone regulating her. She
 also has a kitchen where she can prepare fresh foods, and cook from natural ingredients, without additives.  It is a place where the bad news of the world need not dominate or disturb the mind, and where social pressures can be diminished. It is here she can go out and get fresh air when she wants to take a walk. She can manage the interior of her home in such a way as to make it a place for good health.

by James Lee

To be an example to younger women. Some people claim that women do not contribute anything to the world if they stay home, but over time, they do, just by training their children to be polite and have good manners at home. One day, those children will be husbands or wives, and the mates will be grateful that they landed such a good "catch"--someone who was raised to be respectful, and understands the importance of marriage and family.  Never think that a homemaker is not making an impact on the world, or the community where she lives, for the children she raises will one day be a part of that community in some way.  If she has no children, she makes a big impact on the lives of others by her hospitality, her benevolence, and her example.

Younger women need to know about homemaking as a way of life. A homemaker sets that example, and shows that even if the house keeping is not always perfect, she is at least there and knows what is going on at home. She is aware of the things that need to be done, and she is guiding her children's character. If she has no children, her time at home is still a good example, in the way she manages her time and conducts herself.

by James Lee

To prove the word of God, which teaches women to be busy at home, and to mind their own business, taking care of their own families.  When someone claims to follow Christ but does not obey his word, found in the Bible, they bring shame and reproach upon the church, and discredit the word of God.  Over time, a homemaker will reap good results for her labor, and God will requite her in many ways for the sacrifices that she makes.

To improve the intellect and inspire the creative side. Because they make their own time and their own choices, they can decide what to read and what to study, and what new skill they want to develop. If you will look at my blog roll, and the blog rolls of other homemakers, you will see the amazing creative talent of homemakers all over the world. Staying home enables a woman to take her time and enjoy doing things, because she is in no particular hurry and is not pressured by too many demands from other people outside of her home.

I believe it is important for women at home to be creative, because it helps to relax and renew the mind. When she has created something, whether it be knitting or art or sewing or cooking, she has results that show and can be useful to someone.

Some homemakers are quite keen on government issues and politics that affect the family and the home, and are able to take part in the legislative process by communicating their approval or disapproval of certain things going on in the country. They are able to keep their husbands informed about things they might not have time for. They are truly the guardians of the home.

by James Lee

To be freeA woman at home can create her own schedule and do things in her own timing. She is free to have company. She is free to clean her house during the day. She is free to improve life at home. She is free to read, to write, and to go shopping at a time other than the rush-hour. 

She is free to pursue a creative interest. When I lived in Australia in the 1960's, many women there knitted, using Pure New Wool made in Australia. Most of them said that their families never had to have a store bought cardigan or sweater, during the entire time they lived at home.  Those were the days when more of them stayed home. They would clean up their houses and then take some time to sit and knit. It relaxed them and was a pleasure and a hobby, but it resulted in something good for someone else.  The example of these industrious knitters inspired others to want to knit, and so their influence reached far.

This is what it means to be at home and to be free: to be able to focus completely on the atmosphere of your home, without outside interference, and to provide things for your family in a personal way. Home cooked food from natural, basic ingredients tastes and digests much better than pre-packaged or instant food.  Home made clothing feels different, and a personally kept house creates good feelings and good memories, as well as good temperaments.  When a woman is home, she can do things like this, and these are the things that make a house a real home. 

To enable her husband to work. One of the advantages of being home, is that you can provide your husband with the things he needs in order to make it easier for him to work: clean clothes, fresh towels in the bathroom, nutritious food, and a peaceful, stress-free atmosphere in the home can go a long way to making a man motivated to be a good provider. He will feel his efforts are worthwhile, when he sees his wife managing so well.

  I know several unmarried men who say that people do not understand why they have as much free time as they imagine they might have. Since they have no one to take care of the laundry, cook, wash dishes, go grocery shopping, and change the bedding, these men have to do it themselves. When a man has a wife, he works to earn the living and she takes care of the house. When he has time off, they can spend it in other things they would like to do together. A homemaker helps her husband by doing these things. He is able to meet his work obligations on time, and even work more efficiently, without confusion, because he has not had to prepare breakfast, find a clean shirt, sew on a missing button or pack a lunch. While he is at work, his help-meet checks the mail, pays the electric bill, shops for bargains, mends his clothes, and prepares dinner.  She may even keep up the family correspondence by sending letters and cards to his relatives.

To create stabilityWhen a woman stays home and makes a real home life for her family, their lives remain stable through all kinds of problems. No matter what happens, her life will be the same. She will still have to buy groceries, prepare meals, keep the house, and make a loving haven for her family. This kind of life creates stability in the home, even when there are job changes for the husband or uncertainty and other issues. Knowing that at least the homemaker still values the same things and cares for her home, gives a sense of stability to the family.

To create valuable memoriesOften when adults are asked to relate the first family memory
that comes into their minds, they do not immediately remember how rich or poor the family was, but they remember the customs and events that gave them happiness and stability.
 It used to be a custom for the family to eat dinner together at a table, and then go to the living area for a little while before bedtime and visit. This, and other habits will become important memories that will form the history of your family.
Road to Lighthouse
by T.C. Chiu (from allposters)

To be good stewards of family property and belongings.  There are some people who think that it is possible to have a nice house and garden but do not believe it takes any time to maintain it, and therefore, there is no reason for a woman to stay home.  To really be a good caretaker of a house and garden,  it is necessary for a woman to be home, to protect the family investment. She will keep it clean, and make sure that things are orderly and do not deteriorate, and that the value of the house and garden increases, due to her watchful care.

To have peace of mind. Even if things are not done perfectly and you do not think you have the best skills in cooking or housekeeping, staying home should give you peace of mind, knowing that you did what you could and that you put the care of the family first in your life.

For more reading on the subject of staying home, please go to Andrea's article, "All You Need to Know About Staying Home With Children."  In it, she answers all the common myths about homemaking. Great for young women just questioning the idea of being full time homemakers.

Note: I am figuring out how to make a link-up for this subject (later on today), so if you have posted anything on your blog about reasons for women to be home, or if you would like to write a new post on the subject, you can link up to this one when I get the process going.

To print this post, go here.