Monday, March 31, 2014

Temporary Situations

Beach Cruiser Cottage by Paul Brent

Sometimes when I have been in a day trip to the coast, I have driven past a beautiful newly constructed house in the Queen Ann style, with pink color with white trim, like strawberries and cream. Since the house has a beach front, (which is not always the case with coastal homes) the road only goes behind the house, so I have never seen it from the front. I have not yet found the access to that beach, but I hope to the next time I go there. I found this lovely painting which shows a similar pink Victorian.


I have a few friends who are experiencing temporarily inconveniences and discomfort. Some are traveling away from home, others are families whose jobs move from place to place and they are trying to have some kind of life while living in temporary situations.


I can identify with the feeling of being a "camper" because my father sometimes moved us to where he was working, and we lived in tents or a camper or what was called a shack, used by summer people. We lived that way all year long, so after the summer people were gone, we had the village to ourselves and the beaches as well.


Domestically, it was always a challenge, and so I did not collect many personal belongings. When I got married, I had a Samsonite ladies suitcase in powder blue and it contained a set of clothes for church and two other changes of clothes, my letter writing supplies, a notebook, a Bible, personal care items like shampoo and soap, my winter coat and boots, and a few other things. My husband took me shopping but the clothing was just not suitable at the time, so I asked for a sewing machine instead.


That sewing machine served me well no matter where I lived, because it fit nicely on a table in a camper or on a picnic table outside. I used it in an apartment to sew quick curtains and furniture covers to make the place look more homey. In those days people were still using tablecloths and so I enjoyed hemming a square of fabric just to put on the table.



Another thing I found very helpful in a temporary situation was my correspondence supplies and scrapbook things. Although the beautiful papers and pens we have today were not available, (the scrapbooks were just filled with brown pulp paper and had ugly covers) I enjoyed using a fountain pen - they were not expensive - and what was called resume paper, on which to write home.

During those years of less than permanent settlement, I sent bulky letters to my mother, pouring out every detail of my situation. She in turn would tell me of her earlier days when they didn't even have running water. On the margins of my letters I doodled pictures and designs, and sometimes enclosed pictures clipped from magazines.



Today we have the internet where we do not need to feel so isolated, and I know that helps when you are in a temporary living situation. The internet certainly would have helped years ago! Going to like-minded bloggers and seeing their beautiful posts is like visiting with a good friend.


On the internet there is no difference between the park resident or the castle dweller. What comes through is your tastes, your manners, your likes and dislikes. Your personality and your spiritual values are more important. I realize many ladies post scenes of their lovely houses, while some viewers are temporarily without a real home, but it is nice they share their lovely homes. It is like being invited to a nice house to visit.


On visits away from home, I look for things to do that my hostess has probably no time for. I usually ask if she has any mending or buttons or any kind of hand sewing done. While she is busy with something else, I sew on the buttons and we talk. In a temporary living situation, I want to make life better for the hostess. At the end of my stay in a temporary place, whether it be a camping area or other place, I try to arrange to take anyone who has waited on me or served me in any way during my stay to an afternoon tea, or purchase a picnic style afternoon tea to take to them.

The main point is that in any temporary living situation, whether living with your sister's family while you are waiting for a house, or whether on a business trip with others, a Christian woman has an opportunity to be an influence to promote whatever is good and lovely. If you go into a temporary living situation, be strongly aware that people around you, even your family, can feel tense and it can cause disruption and quarreling. That can be prevented if you remember two things: do and say what is the most polite, and try to look to the comfort of others, not being a burden on anyone.



In temporary situations, you have probably given up a lot. Maybe you have stored or sold your furniture and packed away most of your clothes and valuables. There is one thing you must try to hang onto, and that is dignity. It is tempting to be more casual and forget who you are and what you represent. It is important to have a strong sense of what kind of person you are and why, and to maintain your manners and a sense of propriety. If you let down on that, you can become a victim of camp gossip and rumors, as people can sometimes build a kind of opinion of you and spread it. To prevent it, maintain good habits, dress properly and have a schedule, if possible.

I knew of a lady whose husband had to spend a few weeks away from home for a temporary job. She stayed in an inexpensive motel with him. Because the room was so bleak looking, she brought framed photographs, a pretty quilt, a plant and some other things. I remember visiting her there and noticed a tassel hanging on one of the doors, and a painted plaque in a standing frame that said "Home Is Where the Heart Is".


Temporary situations may just be having to live in a motel for awhile when waiting for a house to be ready to move in to, or maybe on a business trip where you will be in contact daily with others in the same company.

Keeping your dignity means dressing well, having regular meal times, and finding interesting things to do that

use time wisely. Others are watching you and will tell a talenof your life in these temporary situations. Take your water colors, crochet, reading material and other things with you, like you used to on summer holidays, and put your mind to something.


Hopefully, you will come way from your temporary situation with a notebook full of paintings or a scrapbook, a little quilt, or maybe some pretty blog pictures. Hopefully, others who live in close proximity will be looking at their ipads and iPhones and minding their own business, making it easy for everyone to enjoy peace and quiet.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday Serenity

Photo: Tea Time Magazine

Cold rain and darkness greet us some days, but every cloud has a silver lining. To prove it, I am stopping for tea while I make my list of 50 things that need to be done, ranging from urgent to important. If the important is not done, it eventually becomes urgent.


I have been thinking how easy it is to be discouraged when housework gets overwhelming. Sometimes after a trip, after illness, after events that come up that need attention, the housework piles up. The best thing to do is get dressed up and fixed up and presentable, and work from the front door, going clockwise, picking up, straightening up, cleaning and dusting. Listen to some music or a movie you like, to pace you.


Think about the little thoughtful touches you can add when each section is completed: a tea tray with a tea set on it, ready to fill up with food and drink for afternoon tea, a few flowers, fresh or fake, (it's the color that counts the most), a neatly folded fresh towel near the kitchen sink, a soft cushion on he couch. There is ever so much that can be done as a motivation.

Ladies want to make life good for their families, and need to keep their minds renewed with good things. Replacing gloomy thoughts with good thoughts makes a difference in your countenance and your feelings.


Any job is repetition, and I do not suppose the men liked it much in the jobs that sustained their families for years and years while the ladies maintained the home. I rarely heard that older generation complain, and yet I know some of the jobs the men did were grueling and monotinous, and the housework was not as easy as it is today.


"In due season, we shall reap." "In all labor, there is profit."

In time, work will pay off. You are being kind to yourself and others when you care about your home, so it is a great profit to you to keep it as best you can. You make it comfortable for yourself,which is a good reward. And it costs less to keep the home in good order. It is expensive to replace things that have deteriorated or broken due to neglect. So in a sense you earn money when you keep house by picking up things and washing things and putting them away.

"Ecc 11:4    He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Fierce winds whistle and rattle the windows, but pay no attention to it unless to appreciate its drama and adventure. To give up on yourself or your home, and to fail to guide your children into good behaviour, because of a storm, is to set yourself up for moodiness. Ladies cannot let what happens outside of their homes deter them from normal life, housekeeping, creativity, or worship. Once you learn to make your homemaking the focus, things like the weather, the news, and other people's distractions, cannot discourage you.

In the time we spend waiting for impending storms and disasters, we could probably do one thing on our lists.

I once lived in a place where the climate was dry and hot most of the time. Not a blade of green grass was to be seen anywhere in this remote, depressing place. I learned to ignore it, and carry on my duties at home. After awhile my habits were automatic and it seemed as of there was no weather, pleasant or unpleasant. I reached a stage where I could not remember the weather or the climate effecting my mood.

Of course we need to make allowances for illness, tiredness and urgent duties that throw off our housekeeping plans. Pleasant weather can mean having to leave the housework and take advantage of being outdoors. We have to make allowances for some things, but always pick up where we left off and keep our goals in mind, or, a picture in our minds of what we want the home to be, both spiritually and physically.

Gal 6:9    And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We are not keeping house just to have nice houses. It is a spiritual matter, as well. As we clear the surfaces of clutter, it is like clearing our minds of all the things that come between us and God. Being keepers of the home and guiding and guarding it, is cooperating with God.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Rich in Good Works



Maintaining a home is a full-time job, but if you look at it as a "good work" rather than work, it can make quite a difference!


Consider this verse: Tit 3:14    And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Colors in the Rain



A Pinterest picture of white and pale pink peonies. What a lovely vase.


The rain has been pouring down for several days. My front porch ranunculus are liking every splash, well as the primroses

and daffodils.



I stepped out to get the pictures taken and it was uncomfortably cold, so I am indoors, but there is always plenty to do.

Having these blossoms growing outside is like looking out the window to bouquets in their own vases, and they last longer than cut flowers.


I found this waterproof garden plaque at Dollar Tree, for of course, a dollar. I mention the price because sometimes things are 50 cents. There was a collection of these plaques that look like old pieces of wood, in different colors and words. This one matched the primroses the best. Each plaque has something that looks like beach glass imbedded in it.

I think this verse is interesting:

Psa 72:6    He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

Did they mow their grass back in those days, or was it considered "mown" after the cattle or sheep had grazed it?



Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Touch of Beauty at Home

Ranunculus in bloom today on the porch.

I took a few minutes today to photograph an outdoor and indoor bright spot.
This is a group of dollar store roses in a white basket. I know there are fresh flowers at a cheap price at the grocery store but they are in fact very expensive for something I will have to throw out. Also, for a busy homemaker, there is less work to put away the silk flowers and you do not have to wash a vase. I have enough real flowers outside.

A a pretty green March scene here with a fresh shamrock plant, crackers and cream cheese spread, and an orphan Royal Albert teacup.

The reason I post tea time themes so often is because in an otherwise normal day doing dishes, meals, laundry, cleaning out a closet or sweeping a floor, it is the one thing I do that can be picturesque. I cannot emphasize enough that taking a few minutes for tea, even if you are involved in a huge project at home, is essential in keeping yourself on an even keel. Frustrations and discouragement, exhaustion and confusion can sometimes be straightened out with a quality tea taken in a pretty tea cup. I know we often think we should not take time out and try to get a job completely finished first, but if whatever you are doing will take all day, a tea break is in order.
If you have ever started out a day with the crazy feeling in your head that you do not know where to start, its best to get dressed in clothing that makes you feel you are starting a new beginning, make tea and sit at a table to organize the day with a sensible list.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Hand Built Home: Simple Furniture Construction

When I flipped through this book online and saw the page listing the furniture building projects for every room, I knew it would be the perfect book for those families who are trying to encourage their boys to make furniture for their future families. With the right tools, I might be able to make the lovely armoire and add a mirror.
Instructions are included for building a coffee table, farmhouse dining table, secretary desk, kitchen island, sewing table, play kitchen, picnic table and more.
It would be god to have this book in your library even if your children are still too young to make these things.mjust looking at the pictures and instructions will develope an interest.
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The Hand Built Home: Simple Furniture Construction

When I flipped through this book online and saw the page listing the furniture building projects for every room, I knew it would be the perfect book for those families who are trying to encourage their boys to make furniture for their future families. With the right tools, I might be able to make the lovely armoire and add a mirror.
Instructions are included for building a coffee table, farmhouse dining table, secretary desk, kitchen island, sewing table, play kitchen, picnic table and more.
It would be god to have this book in your library even if your children are still too young to make these things.mjust looking at the pictures and instructions will develope an interest.
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dressing Like a Lady

this exquisite painting is by Greg Harris
Today I want to share a few things about wearing pretty clothes daily, and at home.
I always get inspired by the sight of a field of flowers, or the way the light plays on a meadow, making the grass look like it has white flowers growing in it. I might study a picture from a beautiful book, or maybe just a "well-dressed table", to design clothing to "go" with it. In the winter I always want to make a coat with snowy white fur borders and cuffs, or a dress made of festive fabric with a silver sheen to it. It is always interesting to create a matching fascinator headband, or some other accessory with left-over fabric.
This lovely painting is by Greg Harris

Another thing that gives me the over-all idea of ladylike fashion, is art. I have looked at the art of many eras and found that good artists rarely if ever, paint pictures of ladies in masculine or unflattering clothing. This is something to think about when dressing your best and feeling good about your clothing. When I look at little girls in their church dresses playing outside after church, it seems like a painting. It seems sad to me that while there are lovely little-girl-dresses at places like Costco, it is harder to find the same thing in ladies styles. The girls must think it is odd to wear such pretty things themselves, while their mothers have to dress so differently.

This idyllic serene scene is painted by Greg Harris

In past times, the ladies I knew enjoyed dressing to match the nature and the scenes around them. They seemed to know that a pink gingham check or a nature print with cherries on it "went" with a picnic, while a light blue sailor style dress with white soutache trim on the collar was the perfect outfit for a walk at the seaside. A trip to a rose garden meant choosing a dress with a rose print, because of the photo that would be taken. As soon as any hedgerow or tree or rose bush came into bloom, they found a dress that matched the color and had their picture taken in front of the foliage. When I go through old photographs of the women in my family, I find this sort of thing in a lot of the pictures.

There are just as many indoor, homey inspirations for dressing. Many people have beautiful homes with lovely new furniture and do not realize how this can be a source of ideas for the kind of dresses to make or buy. If houses are beautifully furnished , why should the homemaker not compliment it by dressing just as fine? Women who really love being home love to change the rooms and rearrange and clean them and give the area a new look. Think of this in terms of the lady of the house and her mode of dress. If you can dress up your house, you can dress up yourself. When we present our homes to others for a special occasion, we have bright focal points and vases of flowers, while we try not to call attention to the areas that are private or need some work.

Another astonishingly bright and beautiful painting by artist Greg Harris

Indoors, ladies would change from their work-apron and don their lace apron when it was time to sit down to dine. If they went to someone's home for afternoon tea they dressed as if they were going to afternoon tea! In fact, you could fairly judge what the ladies were doing or where they were going, by what they were wearing. Today it is hard to know if a woman is going to attend a wedding or a race.There were traveling clothes, church clothes, vacation clothes, and wedding clothes. They did not need a huge closet for the kind of clothes they wore, because they could use one outfit in different ways by adding a little bolero or a shawl, or a change of shoes.

A house dress was no less pretty just because it was worn at home for house keeping. Clothing was, to me at least, exciting and inspiring. It made me look forward to getting up in the morning. We enjoyed the seasonal catalogs, which provided sketches of ladies clothing that was available to order. It made each season special knowing when there was a summer dress or a winter coat arriving in the mail.Trips to town were approached with enthusiasm because it was a chance to wear dressier clothes and enjoy the shops. People showed respect to the proprietors and other customers by the way they dressed, and most ladies wanted to look nice and appear to be ladies. Clothing was the easiest way to show dignity and to express that they were doing something they considered quite special. Even the poorest person knew how to look dressed up!

art by Greg Harris

One thing that made ladies clothing so different and interesting is that it was not the same as men's wear. Today, much of the manufactured womens clothing is a female imitation of men's clothing; a slightly altered version of jeans and shirts. There were colors and prints and textures exclusive to ladies clothing that made them feel ladylike.

There seemed to be an awareness among ladies that they represented their families by the way they dressed, and they did not want to dress in a careless way and reflect poorly on their kin. This seems to be a lost value today. It might take a long conversation to explain it to someone in this culture of T-shirt dressing.

art by Greg Harris

It is possible to dress in a ladylike way every day, but there are some things you need to be aware of. The first thing that comes to my mind is the issue of modesty. Many people who understand the New Testament teaching on this subject in 1 Timothy 2:9, but they sacrifice beauty, femininity and ladylikeness by using dull fabrics and "dumpy" matronly styles that make them appear ungainly, overweight, unfeminine and unladylike.When women teach about modesty they need to show how modesty should be elegant and pretty, too, in a sense, elevating the mind. Modesty should be glorifying to God and compliment His wonderful creation, rather than looking drab and depressing. It helps if you try to remember what other people have to look at, and to be thoughtful of them when you choose your clothing.

art by Greg Harris captures the true essence of ladies in flowing clothing of the 19th century

Everyone agrees that fads, or "for-a-day" fashions which are dominate one day and unpopular the next, are not wise to follow. Have you ever considered, though, that some of the so-called modest clothing can also be a fad? Women often latch on to a modest style because some religious women promote it as modest, not considering all aspects of the total look. A long skirt can be modest but if it is not well fitted with a nice drape and flattering lines to your own figure type, it can draw attention to the wrong things. People will be looking at that ill-fitting skirt and it becomes an immodest distraction.

You can wear a modest skirt and still look very unladylike and unhappy about your life.

As for blouses, there are too many religious women saying that tops made of tee shirt material are modest, but these types of tops are not flattering or modest at all unless they are embellished with ruffles, pleats, gathers, pintucks and other decorations. Since I will not be able to spend a lot of time describing what blouses are pretty and appropriate and modest, I will let you determine it by some of the paintings I have posted on my blog over the years. It takes a trained eye to determine what is appropriate, because not all clothes are right for you just because they are modest. There are other things to consider, such as the color and print and the design.


A tip that might help in determining how to dress: Since I found that skirts and blouses present quite a messy problem in my closet, I have sewn mostly dresses to wear. That way, the blouse and skirt are already matched up and it all hangs securely on one hanger. To choose an outfit in the morning is easier when selecting a dress, instead of deciding on what separates to pair up. I learned years ago that matching up separates tends to create a pile of clothing that did not work well with other pieces, and it all has to be put back in the closet, which takes up valuable time.

The reason I suggest that some of the so-called modest clothes can be a fad, is because women will sometimes go overboard with the dull aspect of the fashion, wearing ugly head scarves, refusing to treat their complexions by covering blemishes, neglecting to dress their hair and keep it clean and healthy-looking, and totally ignoring how ungainly and unfeminine their jogging footwear looks with the skirts. Later on, they get tired of this purportedly modest way of dressing, abandon it, and go on to something else that is just another extreme way of dressing.The best thing to do is to like and admire things that are beautiful and refined, and be able to identify things that do not look good on you. You can get a very inexpensive full-length mirror for your room, and stand before it analyzing your appearance each day.

Painting by Edmund Blair Leighton

When my generation was younger, we were taught to look at the back, also, to make sure we knew what people would see from the back. If the garment was unflattering from the back view, we didn't leave the house. Stitchers and tailors are trained to create garments that look good from all sides, but not all manufactured clothing does, so it is important to use the mirror.

While looking in the mirror, use this mental checklist:

Does it adequately cover and skim your figure or is it too tight and to gaping in areas?

Is it pretty and feminine (ruffles, lace, trims, fabrics different from men's clothing)?

Does the outfit look professional and smart, or dull and dowdy?

Does the color make your complexion look bright or dull?

Is the entire outfit overall slimming in appearance or does it make you look fatter?

Is the outfit too loose and sloppy?

How does the color, style, fabric and fit affect your mood?

This frock from Chadwicks has the right idea, with long length and slimming style, but it needs sleeves. If you had a pattern you could easily add any style sleeve.

Does it make you feel optimism or pessimism?

Are there parts of the garment too low or two short?

Lovely style and I would add sleeves if I were sewing this. I like sleeves.


Is it too short, too long, too tight or too baggy for the type of style?

There might be more you could add to this checklist yourself as you discover the many aspects of dressing in a ladylike way.The most important thing is to glorify God and reflect the happiness you have as a Christian, by thoughtfully choosing clothing that is suitable. In my opinion, every day is a gift, and every day warrants dressing carefully. You will find, too late, how short life is, and will wish you had celebrated life daily by dressing well.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Keeping the Home Stress-Free

A Wayside House by Alfred de Breanski, Jr. (1877 - 1957)


In order for your mind to function healthily, stress should be kept to a minimum. There are things that create stress that can be avoided, and there are some things that help reduce the stress once it has come upon you.

Too much stress may come from:

Taking on too much responsibility outside your own home.

Giving yourself too much to do and feeling you must do it all.

Too much noise.

Worrying about the work that is piling up that you never have time for.

Family illnesses, or major events that effect the family, such as losses or re-locating or down-sizing.

Being in a state of alert all the time and never being able to relax.

Other people being critical of you or putting pressure on you to do more things or to make drastic changes thst you are not ready for.

Reducing stress can be as simple as taking a day away from it all and getting some rest.

Many years ago an elderly woman recommended to me that I build up a nest-egg to use when I needed a vacation or a rest. She suggested I take out $20.00 extra dollars cash when I did my grocery shopping by writing the cheque for extra, and putting it in a special account. Then, if I ever needed to take a day away from home to rest and go where meals and housework would be done, I could do so. The fund would pay travel expenses and a day out to a favorite place or town.

Getting away can help settle your mind and organize your thoughts, so that your plans and your strategy for your responsibilities become clearer.

If you cannot get away, try just spending half a day in luxury. There are many things to choose from. Settle down in a comfy place with a stack of books to look through or read, play with dolls, draw or paint, write a letter to a friend, or order in a special tea. You can do that, you know! You can actually order a special tea to come straight to your door. Some grocery stores deliver the food selection of your choice, or, you can order a tea-to-go package several days ahead of time online from the multitude of tea sites available these days. If this is not affordable to you, set up a tea tray for yourself using the prettiest things you have, and enjoy visiting with your children, sister, daughters, mother, or whoever will attend. Even if you are alone, it is as satisfying as going out.



Naps are good, too, and apparently there is a ritual applied to napping.Some people keep as all quilt, lap blanket, throw,mor shawl at the end of their beds to pull up when taking a nap. That way, the bed does not have to be re-made.


At home it is always wise to think on a verse like this, if you feel tension. It has helped me many times. It means to focus your thoughts on Christ and what He stands for. If you have to say it in your mind twenty times a day, it can only help you. If it is impossible to take time off, this verse, sung to your own tune, can get you through many things:

Isaiah 26:3    "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

Such a sentence ought to be made into a plaque to place on your desk to read every day.

Christ is called the Rose of Sharon, which is a rose with no thorns, and trusting His word, worshipping and praying to Him can never hurt you.

Reducing noise, clutter, and outside interference, as well as including at least half an hour of total quiet each day can lower stress and even remove it.

As a homemaker, you have to keep your mind healthy and clear and refreshed, so do not pay any attention to any remarks about you sitting still for a spell. Even a car has to be tuned up regularly. Should we treat ourselves with any less respect? I used to think that putting stress on myself by taking on extra work was good, but later I came to understand that your adrenaline is needed for emergencies, or when unplanned, unforeseen things ocurr. There is no use in bringing stress on yourself deliberately but if you look after yourself, you will be strong when you have to be strong.