Sunday, October 28, 2012


Tranquility Defined
by Erin Dertner

Contentment drives away anxiety and worry. To be content means to adjust to any given circumstance, however, it does not mean to accept things that are not right. A woman may be content at home, yet not content with unswept floors, unwashed clothes, and an untidy kitchen.  To be content means that she accepts her responsibilities at home, and although the circumstances might be difficult, she will overcome them by prayer and hard work. Smiles and songs add to the plate of contentment, for while she is busy, she is creating pleasantness around her.

Overlooking the Pond
by Erin Dertner

There are some simple things to do, which will strengthen contentment:

Take the time to fix things that are within your ability to fix. I have known young women who started their adult lives in the most discouraging circumstances, but they figured out how to be orderly and clean and have time to develop their interests in art, poetry, interior decorating, gardening, music, and other things. The house and the income may not suit your needs, but it can bring out the best in you if you do what you can.

Work around the limitations and the discouragements. To have true contentment means to do your best to work around  inconveniences which are part of life. Some things will take care of themselves in due time, but do not wait to make life better for yourself and your family. Working around them builds personal fortitude, one of the attributes of good character.

Resourcefulness inspires creativity. This just means using what you have, or learning to do without, if you have to, yet compensating in a creative way.  There are many women in the blog world who have shared their discoveries of how to find free things, or make things at minimal cost. They also know how to help others be more content. Being resourceful means to look at things as resources that maybe you have overlooked. Discarded items may have value in other ways, and they can become resources. The dirt in your lawn or flower pots is a resource that can be used for something good. The scenes around you are resources for art inspiration. People who have learned to be resourceful have discovered contentment.

Use your home as a ministry.  Knowing that someone is going to be influenced by the way you keep house or the way you "sit in your house" (Deuteronomy 11:19) can foster  a feeling of contentment. Knowing there is a potential and a purpose in the home, in the way you live, the way you dress, the way you approach the early mornings, can be reassuring, and create contentment.
Shade Terrace 
by Vail Oxley

Use examples from the past to inspire contentment. The story is told of a woman whose husband's employment caused the family to locate in a relatively remote area of the country.  Though in the beginning the woman was daunted by the isolation and the dismal scenery, she realized that her family might have difficulty adjusting. She set about to make life as beautiful and as pleasant as possible, by engaging in the hard work of improving the place. She planted and watered and created an oasis of her home that exemplified the cheerful hopefulness she believed in. Sometimes travelers would drive by on the lonely highway and slow down toi get a better view of the house and property around it. Eventually, other people in that land took courage from this example and make the best of things where they lived. This took determination, courage, resourcefulness, hard work, and creativity. All those ingredients applied, brought about ultimate contentment, because then, people could enjoy the fruits of their labors. 

Do the things that are the most urgent, and be willing to let other things go.  When I have the Ladies Bible Class in my home each week, I realize it is not within my strength or within time limits, to get the entire house viewing-ready or tour-quality, so I just do the rooms that will be used, and close the doors on other rooms. This sort of approach has to be done with caution, especially when raising children, as they may use the technique as a short-cut and not achieve excellence in cleaning up their own rooms or helping in the general cleaning of the home. In a family, it should be everyone's job to understand the goal of the homemaker and do what they can to help her achieve it.

When life is disrupted and there is chaos, remember small things. Find contentment in a soft wind, the warm sun on your face, hanging the clothes outside on a line, the sound of birds, the beauty of a flower, fresh garden vegetables, the scent of something baking, the moments sitting alone reading, the ticking of a clock. When these things are unattainable, you can sometimes buy plants and fresh bouquets inexpensively in some places.  

Allow some things to be neglected when there are opportunities to do other things. Sometimes we need to take advantage of the season or the time when the sun shines. There will other things that need immediate attention, or there will be events that only come once or twice in a lifetime. While we need to be content at home, there will be chances to do seasonal things or travel, that will not always be there. Contentment means to be happy in whatever the circumstance.

Look back and take note of all the things that you have been discontent about, and see how they faded. If you tend to be anxious, which is the opposite of contentment, you will be able to see God's care over you in the past.

Plan Something. Make plans for an excursion or to host visitors, or to build something, to create something. These plans will involve a lot of steps that help the mind get organized. In doing so, you create contentment just by reaching for a goal.

Pray when restless discontent occurs. Examine the source of it, and, if it is possible to do something about it peacefully, make changes. If not, pray for contentment.

Philippians 4:11-13
... for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How the West Was Won

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution

While I'd rather sew, I'm interupting this blog with a special plea before the election to watch this video, called "The Grinding Down of America," which describes how communists focus on how to take down a Judeo-Christian culture from the inside.  The West was "won" with the hard work and faith of those who have gone before us. This plan to  infiltrate, dismantle  and replace it with Fabianism/Communism  has been the main focus of the left, (who now call it progressive-ism) since the early 1900's to tear down what makes life bearable and beautiful, and replace it with the misery of Marxism. You will enjoy listening to the New Zealand  and Australian spokesmen who describe the tactics of communism very well.

Disciples of the movement did not want a revolution that could be suppressed by police, so they infiltrated the education system and agitated in places where they could pit the poor against the rich, the young against the old. They know they are not strong enough to split up a unified country, so they split the west into conflicts and chaos. Once the chaos comes, it is so unpleasant, that people will vote for anyone who will promise unity, without checking to see what their agenda really is.  This film reveals the names of people living today who are controlling politics today and are dedicated to communism and leftism.

"They discovered they could do more to destroy our country by infiltrating the education system than by throwing bombs."  Children are taught that government is the solution to all problems. Independence and self-sufficiency is discouraged.

 Because of the foundation of Biblical principles that gave America good success, these things became the target of attack. Feminism was part of that attack, taking away the importance of men in society, and breaking up the home. In the film, Phyllis Schlafly explains the agenda of the feminists, to make homemakers feel they are victims, confined, with limited freedom, etc. to mobilize them out of the home.

 "We are going to destroy the West by infiltrating its culture. We are going to turn their music, their art, and their literature against them," said one of the proponents of cultural marxism. Even if you are very busy, you can at least listen to this film.  I plan to work on my sewing while I listen.  When you are finished, you will be able to make a more informed choice in the coming election. The Grinding Down of America.

Free enterprise, freedom of religion and freedom from oppressive government were the identifying marks of the west. The west was won by the application of Biblical principles of liberty, life and the application of work and reward.

 "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." 
Thomas Jefferson 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Art of Hans Dahl

Alpine Landscape
by Hans Dahl

Returning From the Fields
by Hans Dahl

The Fjord
by Hans Dahl

Hans Dahl 1849-1937

The paintings of this man are amazing. I enjoy looking at the misty mountains in the backgrounds, and the delicate wildflowers in the foreground.  From his photograph he appears to be a dignified, stately, masculine sort of man, and his paintings of women show them in just the opposite light: feminine and soft. He captured an air of innocent happiness in their faces, kissed by the cooler northern temperatures into a sweet rosy glow.

The clothings is also interesting. From the hand-embroidered vests to the bright skirts and the billowing blouses. I look at paintings like this for sewing inspiration, too.  One reason for this is that these women are depicted doing rigorous outdoor work in that clothing, and so, it must not have hindered them in their daily lives, as moderns are inclined to believe. Indeed, some of the current styles hardly allow normal household movement, compared to the garments in the old paintings. There are patterns available today for making clothes like this, from major pattern catalogs and from Neue Mode, a German pattern company.

After a century, these paintings are still vivid and looking like new, as if the girls just came in from a brisk walk in the fresh summer air. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Easy to Make: Fleece Shawls

Painting, above by Gyorgyi Giergl (Hungary 1821-1863)
shows a beautiful shawl worn with a skirt with tucks.

Tuck Shawl from The Paragon Catalog

The fleece shawl shown above, comes from a catalog, with a price of $25.00.  The shawl shown below is similar. The fleece cost about $6.00 but the project requires that you cut it down the fold in the middle, leaving half the fleece for another project. So in effect, the cost is much less.  It takes about 2 and a half yards of thin fleece ($2.25 a yard at Walmart) and requires minimal sewing. I have used a sewing machine, but it can be hand stitched.

Since fleece is usually about 54 inches wide, I cut mine piece lengthwise down the fold in the middle. It is now one long piece. The other piece will be saved for future projects. The piece which makes the shawl can be anywhere from 2 to 2 and a half yards long, but the longer the length works best.

Fold the 2 yard or 2 and a half yard piece of fleece in half and mark the middle with chalk.

For the tab: On one of the short ends of the piece, cut a 5 inch (more or less, depending on how wide  you want the tab)

Cut that piece in  half and use one of the pieces for the tab. You do not have to make the tab as long as I made mine. The one in the catalog photo looks shorter.

Fold it in half and stitch three sides, leaving one short side open for turning.

Turn the piece inside out and fold the raw edge to the inside so that it can be stitched shut. Not shown: stitch on the outside, all the way around the tab, just about a fourth inch from the edges.

Lay the fleece around a dress form, around your own shoulders, or place it on someone else, and pin the finished tab to determine where it works best. Thread the fabric from the other side, through it to determine comfort. 

Using the chalk mark for the center, wrap the shawl around a dress form or another person, and put the chalk mark in the center back.  Then, pin the tab somewhere on the shawl and insert the other side, to see where you want to place the tab. Remove pins and replace the tab in a different area, if you need to. I placed mine parallel with the front edge of the fabric, and almost in the middle of the fabric. 

Once the tab is turned inside out, you can stitch all the way around it, including the end that was open (tuck in the open edge before stitching).

This is what it looks like finished. You can also hem the edges of the shawl on the sewing machine, using a decorative stitch, but it is not necessary.
Here is a white one, hemmed with a decorative machine stitch. You could also make several rosettes from the fleece to cover the loop. 
I experimented with placing the loop on the
shoulder, too. This would look good with
the fabric roses on the loop.

My view today, outside,

and inside!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Candidates

The Declaration of Independence
by John Trumbull  1756-1843

"A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come. Should every thing proceed with harmony and consent according to our actual wishes and expectations; will be so much beyond anything we had a right to imagine......, that it will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it."  - George Washington to the Marquis De Lafayette, 1788

It is not too late to get acquainted with the Constitution Party .  There will be a third party debate with these candidates on the 23rd of October, if you care to watch or listen.   There are candidates from the Constitution Party, in many states.   The one on the ballot in Oregon is Will Christensen. Look for the Constitution candidate for your state.  Here is what they stand for:

Principle 1: Life
We believe in Divine Providence and recognize our Creator as the author of human life.  Thus, we believe in the absolute sanctity of human life.
The first duty of civil government is the protection of innocent human life from conception until natural death, no exceptions.  When government sanctions abortion, then all lives are at risk.
Principle 2: Liberty
Far from granting license to ‘do whatever we want’, true liberty comes from God and real freedom is born of self-government.  With James Madison, we assert the precious American ideal which set our country apart from other nations…
“We have staked the whole future of American Civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it.  We have staked the whole future …upon the capacity of each of us to govern ourselves, according to the ten commandments of God.”
Principle 3: Family
Our Creator set in place the family as the first divinely instituted form of government.
It is the duty of civil government to recognize and protect the authority of the family unit.
When the state usurps the family’s authority, the hearts of the children are turned to the state, rather than to the fathers. Such socialist actions deny the created order and harm our communities.
Principle 4: Property
We believe that the right of individuals to own and steward their property is God given; established in such commandments as “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.”
We encourage private generosity, but oppose the forced transfer of one’s wealth to others by the state.
We believe that loss of ‘external’ property rights leads to the loss of ‘internal’ rights of personal conscience.  It was James Madison who said,  “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”
Principle 5: The Constitution
In these United States, our Constitution established a representative federal republic – which represents the sovereignty of the people under God over the state.
Our founders purposed that the Constitution would uphold those ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence, as the law of the land, and limit the power and scope of the federal government.
Principle 6: Limited Government
Our desire is to return the federal government to its constitutional boundaries.
The 10th Amendment, in our Bill of Rights, strictly limits the federal government to those jurisdictions specifically stated within the Constitution.
As a principle, our founders sought to ensure the duties of civil government always be performed at the lowest possible level.  Local elected officials and clerks are more directly accountable to the people.
Principle 7: Sovereignty
We are firmly committed to the protection of our borders, our trade and our common defense. We believe that America is to be the friend of liberty everywhere, but the guarantor and provisioner of ours alone.
We oppose membership in the United Nations and any other treaty or affiliation that attempts to assert authority over our Constitution or bypass our sovereign citizens’ constitutionally elected representatives.
Many people are fooled into believing that they are limited to voting for only the candidates chosen by two major parties, and that their vote will be "wasted" if the vote for a third party. Consider voting for what is right, and letting God take care of the rest, and seeing if he will not pour out a blessing from the windows of heaven.  Look for the Constitutional candidate on your ballot. Go here and see the map, to click on the state of your choice and click on the website of each state, to see who the candidate is.

We are not a "two party" nation by law. Other parties have a right to be heard.

For deeper reading on this subject,  there is an interesting discussion called "Neither Romney Nor Obama."

The debate was organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, which has criticized the debates between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney for excluding third-party candidates and coming off as too programmed. 
Organizers say at-home viewers will be encouraged to submit real-time questions on the social media like Twitter, where they'll get King's attention with the "AskEmThisLarry" hashtag.

Read more:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Schooling With Love

Having quite a bit of experience as a homeschooler, I can stand back a little now and give some encouragement and some cautions about methods of teaching your children at home.

1.Do not forget to be a mother. Sometimes young mothers, in the middle of noise and hurry and pressure to perform well, will take on a strict teacher-mode and fail to develop closeness with her children. With anything that the children are learning, let love be the motive for it. If you love your children, you will find that you can teach them what is good and right and essential, without being harsh.  Eventually you will find that the children sense your love and concern for their well-being and will allow their will to be in harmony with yours.  Harsh, sharp rebukes can be necessary at times, but let them be so few, and for such important things, that your children will remember them well and be able to count them on one hand.

2. If you are teaching them in one room, or at one table, together, avoid holding up the whole works for 20 minutes while you try to sort out the what and why of the behavior of one child. It is not necessary to grill one of your students over and over until you get the right answer to "Why are you chewing on your pencil?" or "What did I tell you to do?"  This amounts to no more than the the methods of public schools. Sometimes a child will not hear, not remember, loose his concentration, or not understand instruction. To turn the class into an investigative judgement is to lose the entire spirit of homeschooling. Bring that child close to your side,  or take them to a private place.

Note: See first comment on this post--take the offending child to a private place and deal with bad behavior, rather than spending time in front of the other children trying to get them to straighten up. First of all, however, make sure the behavior is worth the effort, and make sure it is important enough to have an "event." Some things can be dealt with in other ways, more quickly, and some things warrant more attention.

3. Practice being a loving parent rather than a harsh ruler. Consult with older women who have homeschooled their children to find out if there is anything you can do to create more cooperation with your children, or be a more effective teacher.  My own belief is that a disobedient child makes a harsh parent, but a cooperative one puts the parents at ease.  If you as a parent have children that constantly argue or stall your lessons with bad behavior, you need to take some time out to instruct them on manners, obedience and behavior.  Instead of interrupting the class with reprimands, begin the class by setting the rules of order. Older women may have something to contribute to this subject and be able to help you become firm and loving in your teaching.

Children should love to learn, and this is largely determined by the attitude of their mother. If she approaches learning with an air of discovery, and responds to it with joy, her children will be eager learners. If mother approaches homeschooling as a grueling job that must be done, instead of with a hopeful attitude of discovering life together, homeschooling will not be a good experience. Once they have learned to read and write, and have developed a love of learning, their mother will not have to stand over them and monitor them and teach and explain every little thing. The goal of homeschooling should be to work yourself out of a job, as the children begin to work by themselves, motivated by their love of learning. Note: choose interesting curriculums and books, and find things that are not "homeschool material" to stimulate their interest in life: a magazine on home building or house plans, a book about boats, a book or video about exploration, books about the weather, etc.

4. Do not be a strict teacher during lessons, and a loving mommy after school.  Your children will see a loving mother when there is no school, and a commanding schoolmaster during class. This is no better than some of the harsh schools of old, and will not breed the kind and gentle spirit. 

5. Abandon teaching materials if you find yourself too often angry.  If this is happening, it might be time to examine the type of teaching materials, or curriculum that you use. Is there some reason that using it fails to bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes, which you could exude to your children?  Perhaps it is time to find teaching materials that will also put the Word of God in the hearts and minds of both mother and children.  Or, maybe you could write your own, putting the sunshine and love of life in it that you want your children to have in life.  

You have the freedom to come and go as you please, and I personally think home schoolers should not be afraid to show their faces in public and let the world know they exist. They spread their influence that way, as people get to see whole families together going to various functions and sights. Look for opportunities for free muscial concerts, gardenning shows, trips to government areas, scenic excursions, etc. or just plan your own events. You are not obligated to do "real school" inside the house every single day of the week.

6. Do not imitate some ineffective teaching methods. I realize parents, especially if they are first-generation homeschoolers, have a lot to overcome. They may be adopting teaching methods carried over from their own education, which are not effective. Sometimes the public school is the only structure they have known, and these may not always work in a home school situation. 

7. Keep your goals in mind.  It is good to learn all kinds of facts and things, but there must be a spiritual aim undergirding it all. They must, like Jesus, grow "in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52)  If you impart a tremendous amount of knowledge toward your children and they are not maturing and  growing spiritually, you need to re-think your methods and your materials.
In My Footsteps
by Melinda Byers

8. See what response your children have to different learning methods. I am sure there are plenty of examples for this, from parents whose children responded better to one thing, than to another. Some children are better audio-learners and some enjoy learning on their own. Others are very visual and some are very hands-on active children who learn by doing. However, at the root of all this is the child's respect for you and willingness to to cooperate with you.

9. Give your children the main reason, and other reasons for home education.  It is important to bring your children to maturity so that they may one day be able to teach their own children. If you will tell them this, they may have a greater purpose for learning.There are probably many  reasons to homeschool, and these reasons can be included also. It is essential to regularly go over these reasons with your children, explaining them and discussing them with them. This way , they will see a greater purpose than just learning things.

Share your family goals with your children and they will see a greater purpose for learning. Such goals will vary from home to home, but they might include good manners, compassion for others, honesty, good work ethics, loyalty, being open to learning, discernment (knowing the difference between what is valuable, or good, and what is not), appreciation of the creation, true inner beauty, and the roles in life they might have.
Mother and Child
by Francis Coates Jones

10. Enjoy the special tendencies toward talents and interests while you teach them. Exposing them to art, poetry, music, literature, speech and drama (all appropriate, of course) can bring such a sense of creativity and peace, and absorb them expressing the exuberance they feel about life. If you appreciate these things, your children probably will too.In education, the arts are honey to a child's heart.

11.Make the atmosphere of the home a priority.  It is a mistake to conduct any kind of academic teaching in the midst of a house that is too messy and disorganized to find anything. Even a child who is reading a book on his own, needs to have peace and order around him. While it is true that some people do not care about a mess around them, and can concentrate on anything, the home, a combination of the people and the dwelling place, is a sacred place that invites the presence of Christ in its midst. 

 I believe children should be surrounded by cleanliness and beauty, so that homeschooling will be imbedded in their minds as some of the happiest times of their lives.  It might be necessary to add another homeschool subject: housekeeping, which can be taught at the end of a day in preparation for the next day. Or, should the family not be able to manage that, the homeschool day can begin with housekeeping.  This gives the mother a chance to show her children how she likes everything to be, where she likes everything to go, and what the over all "picture" of the home should be like. They should stand back and look at their work (housekeeping) and say, "it is good."

12. Encourage each child to glorify God in their appearance each day by being clean, groomed and well dressed.  There is no such thing as an ordinary day: every day is special in God's eyes, and every day is a gift. There is no "blue Monday" or "Thank goodness it's Friday". Each day is beautiful, and each child can learn to make life lovely by the way they approach a day.  If school is grueling and unpleasant, your children will count the days til the weekend, when they will be "free."  By dressing up each day and approaching it with delight, a child can enjoy Monday as much as they do Friday and "days off." 

Think a little about the atmosphere of the home, before you sit down to do the studies.  Think in terms of sight, scent, sound, touch, and taste. I know one young mother who gets tea ready for her children and when they are all settled at the table drinking from their teacups and eating their treats, she reads from a book called, "Finding Favor With God and Man."  She is selective of the lessons, seeing that they are understood by the children, and frequently asks questions about the stories she reads.  Or, she reads a moral lesson from one of the McGuffey's Readers, which shows how a child learns to be wise and have good judgement.  These are scenes that will be cherished in the minds of her children. 

The home should be the first focus of homeschooling: home first, and schooling next.

Lastly, do not neglect to listen to the older people who have already taught and raised their children. If they have looked at their own failings and can warn you of something, they have something to teach you. If they see you doing something that is harming your effectiveness in teaching your children, they may have something to say that will benefit you. 

For the most part, children will be whatever you are, yourself,  so, it is good to pay attention to your moods, your attitudes and your likes and dislikes, to see if they are connected or disconnected to the love of God and His word, and that they are being used with grace..  Homeschooling children is twofold: an education and an upbringing for the children, and training in wisdom and patience for the parents.

Although there are many things you can read about homeschooling, and many aspects of it, including academic learning, I have addressed here the aspect of homeschooling with love.

October News and Notes

Tea Leaves 
by William McGregor Paxton
American 1869-1941

Heart for Homemaking has a beautiful blog, also added to my blogroll, with useful instructions for simple but elegant touches for the home, including sewing for the inexperienced, and tips for making the home comfortable. I hope she'll receive some encouraging comments, as she, like many others, shares the art of home living with the world. One of the greatest needs in the world today is for young women to find mentors in the art of homemaking and it is generous of this lady in the U.K. to share her home with the rest of the blog world.

Clothing Catalog 
Recently I received a paper catalog in the mail, full of pictures of vivid clothing , which evoke a feeling of Victorian designs, at least, to me.  I think the white suits in the Ashro online catalog have some of the quallities of the Victorian painting which is at the top of this post and quite a few of the designs make use of ruffles and drapes, similar to the painting above, and other works of art that I've shown here before. Also, I like the fact that the clothing is modeled by women who seem more joyful than the typical models today.

Ashro designs have Victorian similarities.

. Although the styles in it may not be for everyone, there might be just one special garment that is appealing.  Just compare the vivid colors, the design and shape, hats, etc. to some of the drab, industrial looking styles in clothing on the runways today.  I posted the link to give some inspiration to those who like to sew, to show the color combinations, the slimming lines, the way ruffles and drape is used, etc.  The garments are not wovens or cottons, and might not work as home clothing, but I posted this because as homemakers, we like our clothing to be cheerful and pretty, and the pictures just might the stimulus needed for sewing.
Color combination and design = great ideas for those who like fabric and enjoy sewing clothing.

These styles are an inspiration in this day and age of drab jeans, tennis shoes, and tee shirts.  I received the paper catalog in the mail and got some good ideas from it. The skirt sets show the use of pleats, gathers, tucks, ruffles, collars, peplums, fabric and color combinations, are used.  Ruffles are being used in interesting ways, both on clothing and things for the home, and I am planning to show how to make and attach ruffles, sometime n the future on this blog. 

Adapt to an everyday dress by using wash-and-wear fabric and a looser pattern, more conducive to active wear.

This catalog also has a lot of bright and beautiful caftans, which are so comfortable. The designs and colors are a good inspiration for making your own. Caftans are very easy to sew, compared to other kinds of dresses.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Claire de Lune

Spring, by John Clayton Adams 1840-1906

I visited a river, with family members, recently, where we had a picnic-tea on a quilt on the shore, and stayed until the moon appeared. It reminded me of the Claude Debussy classical piano piece called "Claire de Lune" which means "moonlight".

These are downloadable, but it is  also nice (and generous)  to have the samples to listen to online.

"Arabesque" lends itself to the sound of water, here.

I like "The Girl With the Flaxen Hair", a soft piano piece you can listen to here, and "Childhood", a lovely piece, here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pretty Pumpkins

These sage-green pumpkins are called "Sweet Meat" but someone called them "Mother Hubbard." I like the color; it matches my home decor, and I like seeing them as I approach the old knarly steps to the porch of the house. This page has instructions for making the sage-green pumpkins for decorations in the house. Scroll down on on that particular page and see other hand-sewing pumpkins.

I cannot resist showing you this cute bouncy-car. There are so many interesting and BETTER things for babies these days.   The car provides bumpers all around it to prevent the baby from bouncing into a sharp edge of a wall or doorway. 
This one is from EvenFlow
and comes in other colors. I have seen this car "in action" and can tell you that the baby loved it and the other children in the family were just as excited about it, as they sat on the floor to watch the performance of the baby in the car.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How to Boil Water

Above: Margaret Makes Tea for Mr. Thornton
in the movie, "North and South" from the book by Elizabeth Gaskell

There is a very informative post on how (and why) to boil water, here.  Knowing how to boil water is extremely important, because the results will not be successful in recipes, in making hot beverages, or in stove-top cooking, if the water is not boiling.

Tea Time magazine and Victoria magazine both have had articles about boiling water. Some people do not realize how the temperature of water affects the taste of the food or tea that it is used for.

In her post, Lillibeth mentions the tea kettle. The tea kettle is a metal vessel that can safely be used over a flame or an electric burner or on top of a wood stove, without breaking. Do not make the mistake of thinking the tea kettle and the tea pot are the same. While tea can be made in the tea kettle that is used to boil the water, the tea pot, usually made of glass or pottery, cannot be put over a burner. It is merely the serving pot in which the hot water from the kettle is poured. There are some metal tea pots but still they are not meant to be used as cooking vessels to be heated on a stove.

Cold water is used because it has more air in it and when it is boiled,  tea will taste very fresh. I have well-water, which is always good, but it tastes even better if the water in the house has been used often throughout the day. That way, the water drawn from the faucet is deep, fresh, and cold.

While it is possible to boil water for making tea in a large pan, or any cooking vessel with a lid, the tea kettle with its spout and lid are recommended because not too much steam will escape and the kettle will not boil dry, as it would in a mere pan.  The water will still be nice and aerated and the tea will taste better than if too much water is allowed to escape in steam during the boiling time.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Questions and Answers About This Blog

by Franz Guler

Questions and Answers From a Collection of Emails

Q: Why don't you use pictures on your blog that are not Victorian? Do you ever post a broader collection of pictures, such as modern art or photographs of the current era?

A. I have had many email queries about this. The clothing of the past is one of my interests, just as other blogs and websites are reflections of the writer's personal passions, interests, hobbies and beliefs.  I like the fabrics and I like the dignity of the clothing of both the men and the women. I like the contrasts between the masculine and the feminine appearances.

 I believe there is a great deal of prejudice against the clothing and customs of past centuries, when in fact, the clothing was quite functional and comfortable to wear.

 The pioneer period in many countries, including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Alaska, North and South America, various European countries; the time of settling a rough land and creating homes and cities, was all done during the time when women wore those dresses.

 Before there were modern electric and plumbing conveniences; before the roads were paved and cars were driven, when life was a lot more difficult--before washing machines and dryers and vacuum cleaners, and before modern gardening tools and lawn mowers, women wore that clothing.

They wore that clothing to go on walks, picnics and mountain climbs. They wore it when they swept the floors and made the beds and washed the dishes. They wore it to church and they wore it when they traveled by train and later wore it in the new motor car invention. They wore those clothes as they walked on the sidewalks and entered the shops. Those who worked in the stores wore it when they served the customers.  You can see it on old films, if you search.

Think about all this , and not with a fleeting thought, but  ponder that for a long time and then reach a conclusion about the clothing that is more fair.

The Watchmaker 
by Zuber

Q: What is the big deal about your rejection of feminism? Isn't it right that women be treated equally and have the same opportunities as men?

A: In general, there is nothing wrong with equal treatment, but I reject the movement that claims it gave it to women. It came from Jesus Christ, who elevated women to be equal spiritually. When they obey the gospel, they, like the men, have a place as citizens in the Lord's kingdom (the church; body) and the Bible says that in that kingdom there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek. There is in my mind only one kind of inequality, and it is the most tragic: those who are saved, and those who  reject the Lord. Those who reject the Lord are in a very unequal position regarding their souls. 

  I believe the Lord gave women a wonderful role in life, and it is far greater than many moderns can fathom: that of guiding the home. There, they have a direct influence on the beliefs of the family members. If they homeschool, they have an even greater chance of instilling an understanding of God's Word and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Then, they will one day be able to reinforce the teachings of their parents and be an encouragement in return. This is something I have personally experienced.

This being explained, there is really no way a woman can possibly be equal to a man. Men have different abilities and different focus in life. To try to equal them would be a mistake because it would require the neglect of their home and their children, and even neglect of their husbands.  

Opportunities abound for both men and women, but that does not mean we are obligated to pursue them. We must pursue the opportunities that are blessed and sanctioned by God, through His word.
Mother's Comfort
by George Sheridan Knowles

Q: Why are you against college for women?

A: There are really several  answers to that questions. Firstly, I do not think college is necessary for everyone, even the men. To most, it is only an opportunity to get into debt at a young age, and have the burden of that debt well into their old age. Instead of giving the young people a bright future and success, it sets them up in failure immediately, so that they cannot start out their careers or their married life without the baggage of debt. When a couple marries, the woman almost immediately has to go to work in order to lighten the burden of that debt. 

Next, colleges do not really have some secret, superior knowledge that cannot be obtained elsewhere. As I have explained in previous posts, the college system is archaic and out of date. While many people accuse me of "living in the past," I must say it is the belief in the college method of learning that is clinging to the past.  College was invented to impart knowledge and training under masters who had the skills to pass on to the students. Books were often shared and college was a good source of libraries. Today, there are so many sources for knowledge and training.

 College systems are out of date. The homeschoolers have it right: study can take place anywhere, and just because a number of students of the same age are sitting in a classroom with one teacher does not necessarily mean they are absorbing the information or that the teaching methods are effective. We can buy our own books and access the web, and also tap into the training that other people want to pass down. I believe the teacher-student ratio should be small; preferably one-on-one. The old apprenticeship method of learning from someone in a business is older than the college method, and will still work today, as it is so adaptable to any era.

 Colleges, on the other hand, are sought for the prestige of the degree, which sometimes does not really help women, but instead, enslaves them, making it hard or impossible for them to be homemakers and to care for their children themselves. 

Last,  I believe that women can be better educated and not have their roles stripped from them by college and career,  if they will stay home and watch their mothers, and do some reading and research, writing and creating from the resources available to them. Education at home has more freedom and less pressure. Women can create their own experiences and learn by doing. I find the homemakers online to be the most interesting and intelligent, stimulating women to talk to. Their lives are full of discovery, which they happily share on their blogs.

The Sweet River
by Luke Fideles

Q: Why bother having posts that show how to do simple things like boil water or make sandwiches? That information can be found elsewhere on the web and in books and television shows.

A: It is true that any information on this blog can be found somewhere else. Homemakers around the world who study the Bible are aware of their responsiblity to their knowledge on to younger women and to edify each other.  Any subject can be come factual, dry and cold when taught outside of the love of Christ. When you read a post about homemaking that has some warmth and heart and purpose planted in it, it gives you greater motivation and a higher and more refined reason for doing it. Otherwise, it is all just very materialistic. I always enjoy watching people who are really living the role of homemaking, do things. While there are many ways to find out how to do something, the impact of a life upon another life is a greater teacher.

by George Dunlop Leslie

Q: Why the emphasis on Tea, Afternoon Tea, Tea Time, and Tea Parties? Is this intelligent or worthwhile?

A: With all the stresses there are in the world, and all the things to worry about, do you ever just desire a place of peace where everything is pleasant and beautiful? Tea time is like going to a spa or a resort, without the expense and without any upheaval in your life. Tea cups that were barely used by the previous generation are sold for just a small amount in the thrift stores and Goodwill, so why not use them and create tea ceremonies to remember? 

There is something about sitting down for tea and scones that evokes kind conversation and relaxation, which is something that is so needed to revive the senses and the body for the responsibilities at home.  Women in past centuries had tea, and it produced many fine scenes and memories; some which were captured on canvas by the painters of the era. There is something good to be said of a people who valued beauty and sweetness, and Tea Time is one of those things that allows us to capture something lovely from the day. Taking tea helps us revive a time of innocence, and lifts our burdens.

Home, Sweet Home
by George Dunlop Leslie

Q: Why the emphasis on young women growing up at home and being homeschooled, and then staying home until they are married? Would not they benefit by the experience of being out on their own, fending for themselves?

A:  This seems to be a sensitive subject for people, and my answers are always hard for them to take. My own observation is that, in spite of the picture that is painted for young women--a picture of freedom and happiness and lack of responsibility during the "single years" what others are not telling them (those who promote it) is the drastic loneliness, poverty and temptation that awaits them: things that will alter their lives forever and sometimes, disastrously. 

 They are not saying how there is reallly no fulfillment in that single life away from their families, and they are not telling how much other people will prey on them for various things. They will be sought after to be a roommate to someone who needs half the rent shared. They will be sought after by anyone that is selling anything, from insurance to cars to trips. They will be sought after as recipients of credit cards of all kinds. They will be sought after by cults and religions and false teachers. They are away from the protection and comforts of home, and they will become vulnerable to many things.

The fault is in assuming that leaving home, and that college, is for everyone. Not all young women will benefit from such an experience. For many, it is a dark, harrowing period in their lives in which no one cares whether they survive or not.  It is a world devoid of love and acceptance, and some people cannot survive the emotional emptiness without their families, unless they succumb to the "ways of the world" to fill up the void. 

Financially, leaving home can be a disaster, as rent takes up most, if not all, of a young person's salary. The cost of transportation and other living expenses can use up all their resources, until a young person may find that the parents are actually subsidizing the young person's life.  I believe that people who think that sending a young person away from home to college or to work may be living in their own, idealistic dream world, where they believe their child will learn how to survive.Sometimes survival begins in the emotions, and taking them away from home is not always emotionally healthy for every young person in the world. 

 Our grandparents may have lived in a safer world and been able to send their sons and daughters to college or to work, or even on vacation by themselves,  but the dynamics  of the way things work in the world away from home have changed a lot. It is wrong to assume that every young woman will get along just fine away from home, grow more mature, and head off into a productive life that is meaningful.  It just does not happen that way for everyone, no matter how the single life away from home is promoted .

The Pride of Dijon
by William John Hennesset

Q: I am someone who will never follow the role of womanhood the Bible speaks of, because it does not bring any security. A married woman has no freedom, no money and no security. Her talents are stifled and she has no education.

A: This is going to take a long time to answer. So, while you wait, please read what my readers have to say, in the comments.  Ladies, please respond to this in all honesty.

A:  I grew up observing many women at home, in an era when women did not go to work, nor did they want to. They all lived off the income provided by their husbands, and the men gladly provided it because it was a great source of pride and manliness to do that and because the loved their families and because it was their duty toward their families and to God. They believed the scriptures taught men to be providers and women to be guides and guards of the home.  This system worked very well, and when there was occasionally a woman that went to work, he would "lose" her children, who became wild and unruly, lacking in structure and purpose, and got into trouble with the law.

That being said, there were not a lot of jobs available and preference was always given to the men, so that they could provide for their families. The mail service had a man driving a mail truck, and the buses were driven by men. I remember once when the man who drove the mail truck got sick, his wife took the route and delivered the mail for him. In those days that was allowed. And I remember the wife of the bus driver driving the bus when he got sick. But these women were not trying to prove a point or exemplify that they were equal or demanding any rights or power. They were doing what they had to do at the time, and they did not hang on to those jobs. Once the men got well , the wives expressed their relief: "I am sure glad he's back at work and I can get back to my own chores," they said.

I know that being home is not an indication that there is lack of income. In fact many women at home seem to prosper better. I can only say that even though the figures might not "add up" for some people (regarding the money and staying home) that God has his hand in it. Women at home are not living under a bridge, homeless, destitute or without support. Just because a woman does not work outside the home, does not mean she will have nothing. And, a lot of this has to do with the reasons for staying home, the motivation, and the spiritual aspects of it. A lot of it is based on faith, and showing that faith by staying under the authority of God and His Word,  a concept that some people have a hard time accepting. 

Below is a comment I received from an older woman who has experienced a lot of things as a homemaker. It ties in nicely with this question about the security of staying home.

Dear 'Someone',

I think everyone here on this blog completely understands how you feel about wanting to feel free, secure, and not lacking in money. It is scary to feel that you are not in control of a situation. If you've listened to the lies of feminism, you certainly believe that following the Biblical guidelines for women is outdated and outlandish!

However, consider the other side of the picture. There are many of us here who are older. We've seen much in our lives, made mistakes and learned from them. One thing we can tell you in all certainty is this...there is no security outside of God. Do you think that the thousands of people who cannot find jobs felt secure in their jobs at one time? Do you think that the thousands who have lost their homes through foreclosure felt that they would live in that dream home forever? What about all those college students who just knew that after getting their degrees that they would start off in their careers only to find themselves living at home because they can't find a position in their chosen field much less find work? Those who lost hard-earned money in the stock market? Those who married and find themselves divorced? Those who have lost a child? Nothing is secure.

Now, this is not to say that we stand still and do nothing because everything might fall apart! When we walk in obedience to what God has to say, we have a solid foundation, a Help in time of trouble, a true Friend. He has said through His servant, Paul, in the New Testament of the Bible and in the Jewish Torah, that the best place for a woman to be and to serve Him is in her home. He has also given us minds to use, and the gift of prayer as we seek His will for a husband. We have freedom to make a wise choice when picking a husband. You will look for someone who is Godly, kind, loving, strong, and a good provider. This is a great start. When you find someone like this, and God will bring you together, you will experience great joy!

I have been married for almost 37 years, and in that time I must say I have experienced greater freedom than I did when I was in the working world. I have the freedom to work or to rest, to visit or to volunteer, to study or to blog!

As for money, we are neither rich or poor, but we have taken what we had over the years, invested, saved, improved. People said it couldn't be done. It can!

As for talents being stifled, a woman has greater freedom of using her talents out of her home than she would in the workplace. At work she can only do what she's been hired to do, but at home she has her pick of anything she wants to do! There are a myriad of things she can do because she has the time and talent. Nothing goes to waste!

Lastly, you mentioned that a homemaker has no education. I beg to differ. She is free to access libraries or order books to increase her knowledge on thousands of different subjects. It is beneficial for her to be well educated. Feminists would have us believe that the homemaker is only home because that is all she knows how to do. Some of the smartest, most intelligent women I know are homemakers but they are avid readers, and some take classes online as I am doing now. We are not stupid. We are smart cookies! And yes, we can bake them too!

All of these things can be done, but the most wonderful, the most beautiful, the most satisfying is for a woman to oversee her home, being a vital presence and worker there. Her whole family is blessed, and she is in the will of God.  If you read Proverbs 31 in the Bible, you will see how talented and hardworking that the virtuous woman is!  I encourage you to seek God and do not be afraid of the future. Please don't listen to those who constantly spout fear. The enemy doesn't want women to be home because he knows how easy it is for a family to fall apart when the woman, the glue, is not there. He knows if he can get her to give her energies elsewhere that her husband will be lonely, the children will miss her presence and her guidance, and there will be turmoil and chaos. That is exactly what he wants and that is exactly what is happening all over the world.

God bless you, dear one. Please remain open to God's will in your life.  It is such a happy, free, secure life in the Lord!

A: In response to this lovely letter, I would like to say that there are a lot of women who think nothing of counting the cost of buying a car on credit. If they were to add up the total amount it would cost them in the end, possibly long after the car is worn out, they would be frightened. If they were to try to find out if their job was guaranteed to be there for them the rest of their lives, they should become quite hesitant to take the job, since it is not really "secure."  And they should not buy a house because they might lose it in hard times. There are plenty of things to be frightened of, yet these kinds of risks do not frighten them at all. They are more frightened of making a commitment to a husband and a home, thinking that it is not "secure."  What is missing here is the quality of love and loyalty, and the skill of guiding and guarding the home so that it will be secure,  which are things the older women should teach the younger women.  Even without that knowledge, the simple act of trusting God and obeying His Word, goes a long way toward security at home.

Through the Garden Door
By George Sheridan Knowles

Q:  Don't you know you are living in the past? Do you not realize that all those paintings represent women who were oppressed in their day? Their clothing was made by other people, who were poorly paid. To show these paintings is to deny the rights of women in the past. The clothing represents women who were rich, with nothing to do.  The lower classed women were hard workers and they did not wear these clothes. A painting of a woman carrying water is just going into the past and telling us we should all go primitive and carry water instead of having modern homes.  Those clothes also prevented women from really doing anything.  This is the 21st century, and you need to face reality.

A: You can discover the truth about the clothing of the past by looking at the photographs of the 1800's. When the camera was invented, women were wearing the Victorian styles, all over the world. Yes, there was a difference between the quality of the garments of the rich and the poor. The rich were more likely to have specialized cloth in their garments, more embellishments, and more tailor-made. The poor often wore hand made skirts of homespun fabric, and made their own clothes. Revise history tells a terrible tale of woe, but if you actually look at the photographs and the paintings, you will see a different story.

I wrote in detail about this on a post called "The Old  Ways or the Old Days," 

 If you have photographs and diaries of your great grandmothers, you will also gain an insight into their lives at that time period. Like every single time-period that ever has been and ever will be, there are both good and bad elements. The Victorian period was not all bad. There was great progress made during that time, when women wore those things.  Many new frontiers were discovered and pioneered. Hospitals, trains, sanitation, running water, electricity, and most of the conveniences we have to day were discovered by these people.  It was also a time of great invention: the motor car, the sewing machine, the airplane, the elevator, the washing machine, and many more things were invented in that time. 

As in any era, including our own, we must learn not to identify people by whether they are rich or poor, but by their character. No matter what their social condition, it is their spiritual condition we must be concerned about.

Q. From what I have seen and read here, I can conclude that you are living in the past, which means you are dragging a lot of women with you who could contribute something greater to the world.

A.  More than one subject is covered in this question.  1. The Past, 2. Readers of this blog, 3. Contributing something to the world, 4. The world.    

1. The Past:  The past is what makes the present and the future. If you ride a bicycle, for transportation to school or college, or just for enjoyment, then "living in the past" could just as well be said of you. The bicycle dates back to the early 1800's, with some historians claiming that facsimiles of it appeared long before that.  Look at all the things you use daily, and you will find that everything from the automobile to plumbing first existed long before this present era.  The design of clothing is nothing modern, when you consider the way it was made in the past. Skirts are still skirts, and blouses are still blouses; suits are still suits, boots are still boots. For the most part, a house that functions as a home still has the basic elements of a home in ancient times: a living area where one may visit with seating arrangements (couches and tables have ancient beginnings. Just look at the photographs of those discovered in ancient volcanic ruins), and a kitchen area, a laundry and bathing area, doors, windows, gardens, yards.  

Enjoying things from the past is a lot different than living in the past.

Q. If you do not believe in college for women, it means you are taking away a basic human freedom. We have come so far, in the west, and women now have equality with men. They should take advantage of a college education. They will never get anywhere in life without it.

A.  The question of the cost of college and the debt it incurs has become a national scandal. Young people who are told that college provides a wonderful future for them, are in debt up to a hundred thousand dollars by the time they are finished. Some of them never get the jobs they hope their education is leading them to. Others have changes in plans and family issues. Many of these college loans are a trick. I have seen students apply for scholarships. They are told that in order to be applicable for those scholarships, they have to already be enrolled in the college of their choice. That enrollment takes money that they often do not have, but they often take the risk by borrowing, holding out hope that they will get a scholarship.  I have seen students stuck in colleges because they have borrowed, and yet they find out they do not like the college or the programs.  This goes entirely against the free enterprise system. College is a system of debt. They suck the customer in, and then the customer is stuck.  If college were a pay-as-you go, per class, the student would be able to withdraw attendance if the courses did not suit his requirements, instead of forcing a student to make such a huge financial commitment.

As for college for girls: I have written about this on another page called "Get On In Life."  This post shows the urgency of young women to marry, have children, and be homemakers.  Their lives cannot be put on hold while they pursue a man-made course of  study. If they feel they must study, let them study the art of homemaking, which is varied and interesting, scientific, and mathematical. There is such a variety to home life that it takes years and years to understand and manage it. That is why Titus 2 assigns the older women to teach the younger women. A college course could never cover all the experience of an older woman experienced in true homemaking.

Q:  I think these other comments are made from women that have never had to earn a penney of their own. Some people have to work. As for stay home mom's that have made sacrifices. Hopefully they were not made on working peoples dime, such as food stamps, and government furnished medical and financial assistance. Many women in the past have lived unhappy lives with someone that may have treated them better if they had other options. Yes a nice home is peachy but independence and self respect is a good lesson for the family too. 

A. First of all there is a false assumption that homemakers over the centuries never had money. That is simply not true. Most of them actually held the purse strings. Their husband's earned the money and handed it over to their wives to manage and pay bills. Homemakers  also earned money through domestic endeavors of sewing, vegetable gardening, and many other things. In many cases they had substantial savings. Also through the care of the house and land, they create investment property that is worth a lot.  

Assuming that the women at home are on some kind of public assistance is far from the truth. They are instrumental in teaching their children to avoid going on welfare and foods stamps, and are and always have been strong advocates of independent health care. They also teach nutrition and healthy living to their families.  Besides all this, homemakers believe that people should be self-sufficient and not put burdens on the public, for their care.  

Your statement about women in the past having lived unhappy lives: there are many women today who are not homemakers who are also unhappy, despite the fact they have high paying jobs. Happiness is a character problem, not a problem due to circumstances. 

Your statement that many women would be treated better by men if they had better options is also something that is misunderstood. Hopefully women whose major job is the care of the home and family  are doing so because of the teaching in the Bible that women should guide the home, guard the home and be keepers at home. If they are following the Bible, then their husbands have no right to mistreat them. Any husband that does, is not worthy of being called a husband, loses a great deal of his masculinity,  and is not following the scriptural guidelines for men, including the command to love their wives and treat them with understanding.   Her situation at home is a noble one, and even if she is sick and cannot keep house for a period of time, she is still needed at home. 

One of the advantages of women being home is that they can care for their health. If they are working for someone else, they cannot take time off to rest or take care of themselves if they are not feeling well.  Working outside the home obligates them to a rigid schedule daily and weekly and is not as flexible as being at home.  They have more freedom at home and can pay more attention to nutrition and cleanliness and their own environment, which is conducive to good health.

You mentioned independence and self-respect. Those two things begin in the home, and are taught from the cradle.  Children who are homeschooled are taught that the government does not owe them a job or welfare. They are more likely to create their own businesses, which enables them to hire other people who in turn can help their own families.  

When women stay at home they are able to create the kind of beauty and order around them that suits their own tastes. Have a look at my blogroll and you'll see some women who are doing their best to make their homes wonderful places and yet do not require a huge income to do this. When I was growing up in the 1950's it was rare to find a woman who worked, unless she was unable to get married. Those who were not married would work until they met someone to marry, and then, they were very glad to quit work and go maintain a home for their husbands and children. Working outside the home is not the ideal thing for women.

Q: Not everyone was "good" in the historical past, nor were men and women so great back then.

A:  I agree. We have a historical record of such scroundrels as Darwin, Freud, Keynes, Sanger, Marx, many world leaders including presidents and prime ministers. There were also social "movements" called  Universalism, Utilitarianism, Socialism, and many more, which I have occasionally listed on posts and comments here. 

(This is a continuing post. Please check back for more questions and answers.)