Saturday, August 30, 2014

Morning Garden

I have a moment to share some new blossoms in my little flower bed: some velvet pink morning glories. 

The decorative wire fence,(painted white so that I it shows up better against the plants)  above, is available by the section from the local dollar store.

When I took some things to Goodwill, I was given a 20 percent discount coupon, so naturally I went in and browsed. I found this teapot and teacup with no sign of wear or use, and no chips or scratches.  It is always so satisfying to wash up an item like this, rinse in hot water and polish it dry with a dish towel and see it gleam.  


Both of these finds are made in England, but no particular name is indicated with the company brand.



Php 4:11    ...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Php 4:12    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.

Php 4:13    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


                             The west view from my window was bright and clear today. 

                                                       Have a blessed Lord's Day.



Friday, August 29, 2014

A Treasure

I am not a big fan of the worn-out chippy look with paint scraped off and slivers of wood hanging on a piece of furniture.  I like to paint old things with a nice layer of thick, glossy paint and make it look new and fresh.  That is what we used to do before the shabby look became so prominent.  We didn't want to look poverty stricken--we wanted our furniture to look new.

The quote on the wall above the window frame is a removeable plastic sticker you can get at the Dollar Tree. It says, "Every day is a gift." It does absolutely no damage to the paint on the walls.

I never thought I would join the trend of using an old window frame for a wall-hanging, but my daughter rescued a genuine window from the church meeting house (the old folks always called it the meeting house), and there it is.  She sanded it and painted it and I like it a lot, particularly in this photograph with the shadow of the fringed curtain and the wind chime from the window.

 She made a chalk-paint effect by mixing a little plaster of Paris in the paint.  If you are overwhelmed by the cost of commercial chalk paint (very expensive) you can get plaster of Paris at Walmart and just mix a little in your regular paint. 

 We like a glossy look and feel to our paint projects so we use only a minimal amount of plaster with the paint, and we only use it for painting things that will not get much wear and tear. 

You can read more about this at The Pleasant Times on my blogroll, or here 

I know the trend is to use the windows in their authentic rustic condition, but the paint she used on my frame makes it look so nice and new and smooth and it suits my home just fine, and I mean no offense to the lovers of the shabby look!  I will add more pictures in the morning when I have more light.  A new thing usually inspires me to rearrange a few things around here, and give the room a new look.

One of our elderly teachers in the church here asked us to count how many times the word "rejoice", "rejoiced" or rejoicing appears in the book of Philippians.  I have not counted them yet. Do you know?  If so, leave a comment with the number you found. I also wonder how many times those words appear in the New Testament.

She saved one of the frames for herself, shown above.

A picture of my womdow frame in the early light.  This would look good with the right sized art poster from allposters behind it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

High Summer Sewing

I was so busy this spring and summer getting the yard and house in order that I did not get my summer sewing done. We are now in "high summer" and I have made a mad scramble to get the summer sewing done. There is still time, as even autumn yields very high temperatures and there is need for cool cotton clothing.

These mother-daughter dresses look a lot better on the models and not near as floppy as the photos. The pictures just do not do them justice. They look very elegant, slimming and sweet on the wearers! I have found that the bolts of fabric do not have quite as much yardage on them as used to be common, so I have not been able to buy enough for the other ladies in the family, but am working on using leftover scraps of the fabric combined with coordinating solid colors.

This is a Fabric Traditions brand that is thick and high quality. Walmart also sells some Fabric Traditions but it is thinner, and Hobby Lobby sells Fabric Traditions.  

This is an old pattern I had never used, and the dress looks very good on the wearer, as in the pattern picture.   I did raise the neckline and cut out a new facing to match, which I explain on the sewing section of my sidebar here, on how to raise a neckline.

  Someone asked how to lower a neckline and it can be done the same way, cutting the fabric lower than the pattern, and a new facing has to be made.I am taking an unused pattern each week, if possible, and trying it out.  

What I like about the older patterns I have used so far, is they can be sewn exactly as-is with no tweaking or fitting.  Sometimes I cut the outside seam a little wider for comfort, but generally they fit well.

I have made three sets of mother/daughter garments and when I get them pinned up on the line, I will portray them on my blog as my summer fashion "line".

I am going to put some water on the flowers now and then stop for tea and some crunchy fresh cucumber slices from the vegetable patch.  The teapot and teacup rubber stamps, above, came from Dolllar Tree a few years ago. They look pretty in the shelf.  I am becoming more fond of the clear acrylic stamps, as they are easier to center on paper.

Please have a wonderful day no matter what the circumstances and remember that contentment is the practice of expressing thankfulness for every good thing, no matter how trivial.  Life is too short to not care about the little touches of beauty. We can go through life thinking it is an ugly world we live in, or we can replace every disappointment by thinking about and doing something delightful.  

The media is our own brand of terrorism that enters the home.  It terrifies because it can never allow us to be peaceful and happy for very long, but we who are in Christ Jesus need not live in fear. We are in a different kingdom and we follow a higher king. 

I have posted this statement on several occasions but today I would like to emphasize the importance of living as proper citizens of that kingdom. It is the kingdom of light, as explained in the New Testament, and we are commanded by our great King to rejoice and to think on things that are lovely. 

Perhaps we are afraid to be happy for fear it will seem we are not sympathetic about the terror and tragedy in the world, or unconcerned about the great causes of the world.  The Bible says we can be happy because when we have obeyed the gospel and are "in Christ" we have internal peace because of our confidence in Him and our own compliance to His Will through obedience and faith.

Here are some statements I have posted before:

Do what you can do, and what you cannot do, leave to The Lord.

Take care of your family and you are keeping them from being a burden on any other system outside the home.

Seek after that which is good and true, within a Biblical definition. The world turns that around sometimes and causes confusion.

When my children were being homeschooled in the 1980's I had a quiet time where they went somewhere by themselves and tried to be quiet for awhile. They could read or write or create, draw, listen to music, but they could not talk. At first it was difficult, but years later they found it to be among their most pleasant memories.

Some kinds of noises can affect the mind adversely and bring on negative, fearful thoughts. Sometimes having a quiet time to retreat to one's room can help. I listen to a CD called Breakfast in Bed, which features music from around the world by the classic composers.  I found that listening to it made my mind relax and could sometimes ease a headache. It also was a good accompaniment to the tedious cutting out of patterns on fabric, the most time consuming part of sewing. It is available on Amazon, or here:

Although this verse is published over and over on many blogs, it is one of the verses that our family has benefitted from the most.

Philippians 4:8    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things arejust, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Php 4:9    Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

While verse 8 is very familiar, not many people pay attention to verse 9, which has a promise.

A hymn we often sing has the most reassuring words, written by John Greenleaf Whittier (known as the children's poet) c.1872:

1 Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.

2 In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.

3 O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!

4 Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

The original poem had other verses that were not included when it was put to music in the hymn:

With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

Breathe through the hearts of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Garden


                                    My flower beds are producing a little more color.


            It makes it interesting to get up in the morning and go out there to have a look.


I painted the mailbox flag to match the window trim color on the house, and now there is a possibility the house will be painted another color, but I am enjoying using the mailbox flag anyway.  In rural areas, the flag is put up when the owner is sending mail.  The mail carrier takes the out-going mail and put the flag back down after putting the in-coming mail in the box.  When we notice the flag is down, we go and get our mail.

Speaking of gardens, the Bible mentions a couple of important gardens where events took place. The first garden was the one God created for Adam to look after, found in Genesis.  The last garden was the Garden of Gethsemene where Jesus prayed. These were not like the flower gardens or the vegetable gardens we have today, but places with pools and streams and trees and walking areas, as well as terraced places with flowers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Tea Tray


Life may be frenzied outside the home, but it can get that way in the home as well, if regular time is not set aside for sitting still.  The tea tray makes it easier to have a special moment or two by yourself
or with someone in the family. I have found the preparation of the tea tray is a great way to begin the day, or a resting time in the afternoon.

  The advantage of preparing a tray is that you can take it anywhere: the porch, your favorite lounge chair, the kitchen or your bed. You need not have a major clean-up of any area before you have your tea, since the only space you need is on a tray.


The tea tray takes the place of the dining room.  My own dining table is always in use, so a tea tray makes a perfect space for a little meal without having to clean up the table.  

You may not think you have time to stop for refreshments, but it is worth the time, for all the good it does.  I use teatime as an opportunity to gather my thoughts and organize my work and ideas on paper.  Once my tasks on on a list, they seem halfway completed.

Taking a tray with tea time supplies to a quiet corner of the house is also a good time to catch up on Bible study and other reading. I always have a stack of things I need to read before it is all outdated.  Teatime makes me stop and look through it or just rest my mind and my eyes.

If you are homeschooling, your children will delight in regular tea times, as they pause from their studies to enjoy an ancient custom using porcelin cups and special spoons, along with small bites to eat, carefully arranged on a tray.

It is good for children to know what is on the agenda during a day, so they will know what to expect. Teatime provides a few moments to make a list. You can start by asking, "What needs to be done today?" When you let them see your own list, they are more inclined to understand your goals and to be willing helpers.


While I was trying to figure out how to make an ordinary jar a little more interesting for a flower vase on a tea tray, I saw these vases in an Ikea catalog, which also had candle holders in the same style.  It looks so pretty and lacey, but there is no Ikea anywhere within normal driving distance, and the store does not have mail-order so I thought about how to get one of these pretty vases without leaving home or spending anything.


              The paper-cut vase wrapper holds some Queen Anne's Lace that grows here.

I did not think to make a step-by-step tutorial to share how I (tried) to imitate the Ikea vase, so here is a little explanation:

I first drew a pattern by rolling the glass on a piece of white paper And drawing the outline of the glass along the top and end as I rolled it. Then I cut out the shape, which is curved.  Following that, I folded the piece several times and then cut wedges and shapes on the folded edges, like you would a paper snowflake.  When the wrapper is unrolled after cutting the little pieces, it looks like the picture above.  I also cut a design on the upper edge of the paper.

The tea is made with crushed berries and hot water, poured through a strainer. Try different berries, frozen or fresh, to get other colors.  This tea is pink. The cucumbers are coming on in the garden, so soon I am going to make cucumber tea, which is very good!  I will post about it later.

                                         Above: Early morning under the grape arbor.

I was thinking to myself what I would like to be greeted with first thing in the morning, so I made a list:

- something pretty that someone has made,
- hot tea and some interesting mail,
- a clean, orderly house,
- quietness except for nature,
- a to-do list already thought out and written down,
- nutritious breakfast.
- a feeling of peace and gratitude.

All of things are practically free, and yet at times, so unattainable.  Achieving them takes time and effort and prayer. Most of the things people really want cost no money.

In the past I thought it might be kind of nice to wake up and see a pretty present, a surprise, or some nice thing, but now I know it would just be something to find a space for or eventually have to wash. The best gifts are the ones God gives us, that do not have to be stored: the morning mist and the cooing dove, the colored skies, the scent of honeysuckle by the door, or the pattern of a sunbeam coming through the window, loyalty of family and friends, salvation and happiness.

Here are some other things that cost nothing but time and effort, and reap the reward of a healthy mind and will do a lot to eliminate worry from your life:

1Th 5:17    Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Try doing only those two things in the scriptures, above, for just an hour each day. You might do a personal research study about what praying without ceasing means, and what giving thanks in everything entails.

I hope you have a wonderful day and see the beauty around you. One of the reasons people keep journals is to record the good things.  There are no rules for keeping journals. Mine includes my daily lists.

I usually put a shopping list on one side of the page, and then fold it back and tear off the list along the fold when I get ready to go shopping. 

There is not just one theme in this post because I am answering a request to share some of my daily life. I enjoy putting a little "x" beside each item as it is completed, and it gives the whole family a sense of well-being when the home is looked after.


This is a tea-tray rubber stamp I use. It was produced way back when tea time became common again--must have been a couple of decades ago!  I am now using the clear acryliic stamps more, because it is easier to see through them and know exactly how to place the image on the card or paper.  This card was made to look like a chalkboard, using the instructions here

Sunday, August 17, 2014

If All You Do...


There are such a lot of opinions about what women should be, or what they should be doing or not doing, that I wanted to drop by here and leave a brief message about it.  The  news media barrages us with the worries of the world, making it hard to really relax and be happy with the life and the duties that God has given us. We think we must occupy our minds with problems or that it is our duty to worry about the whole world.

If all you do is make a cup of tea in a pretty cup and sit by the window with the sun coming in across your chair, you are doing something important and constructive. You are resting for a few minutes and thinking about your goals and dreams for your home and family.  You are doing enough, and you will find, with all there is to so, there is barely time for that.

One of the commands of the New Testament is that Christians should rejoice and be happy. These days we are made to think we are somehow hard and unfeeling if we attempt to get away from the pressures of the world and retreat to our homes to homeschool our children, paint pictures, sew, and take tea, be happy. 

 I love these old paintings depicting contentment, also a Biblical teaching. Even though the artists lived during a time of "wars and rumors of wars" they managed to concentrate on their mission, their work. While all the stress of their times is past and forgotten, these artists left something lovely and worthwhile. As the Bible says, people's works live long after they die.
When the cares of the world make you feel defeated, there are a few simple things you can do.  Remember that Titus  2 and I Timothy 5:14 give Christian ladies permission to focus on the home and family. It does not say they must scurry around solving the social problems of the world, but in being a homemaker, a woman does solve a lot of things. For one, she is not contributing to the chaos in the world. She is putting her house in order, teaching her children and being a good wife.  There will be less complaining and fewer troubled children for society to deal with.

So, if all you do today is dress up for church, attend worship, and later have a simple meal at home, it is enough. Leave a memory of something good and lovely, and do something worthwhile in your home. Substitute a good thing for a worry.  Use stress as a trigger for getting busy making something better at home or improving yourself.

                                                             Dressed to Go Shopping 

If all you do during the week is dress in a beautiful way that inspires you, and if all you do is clean house and stand back and look at it with pleasure; if all you do is think on things that are lovely, you are pleasing to Christ and it is enough.  

Ladies sometimes worry that they are not doing enough ministry or charity, but if all they do is serve their own families and try to live lives of good example, it is a good thing and is very effectively evangelistic and charitable. 

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to make your home a lovely place to be and to serve tea to lift the moods of your loved ones (or yourself)be creative, have the teaching of kindness on your tongue.

Do not stretch your time and energies beyond your limits, because it can cause anxiety.  So if all you do today so try to enjoy prettiness, serve your own family and be thankful for the food set before you, it is enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Keeping House

Thank you all for such positive responses on the previous handshaking post.  Please continue to leave your comments.  They are very helpful.  Most of the time when something becomes a big trend, the voice of the rest of the people, maybe even the majority of well-mannered folk, is not heard. It is assumed that the new trend is normal, while the old paths, where the good walk is, (Jeremiah 6:16) are cold and unfeeling. A handshake has more warmth and meaning in it than it looks. Please check the end of the previous post for links to the art of shaking hands, and please leave more comments.

No matter how long you have kept house, or how much experience you have had, things change over the years when you move to another town, have a busy family, become a grandmother, or take on new activities.  You may find you need a different way of planning your housekeeping, from one stage of life to another.  Today I am showing you some of mine.

This is a book I like very much, which is a printed copy from the web.  I much prefer to buy a pre-printed book, as it is higher quality paper and well-bound, but this one was not available in that form. You can find it here   where there is also a house guide for boys that was quite well-done.

The qualities I enjoy best about this housekeeping book is the motivational pages and the step-by-step guide to cleaning each area.  As it is written to little girls, there is a calm sweetness that shows the love you can put into a task, making young people desire to be homemakers. It speaks to my heart when I need something more than a list!

It includes reprints of old household advertisements from the Victorian era and the early 1900's. I read sections of this book when I need to get my mind more focused on housekeeping, and when I find it difficult to start something. The instructions and ideas in this book is just one of the tools I use for homemaking, and it suits different needs.

I am including some posters you can print and frame for yourself. 

This pile, above, looks like a mess, but it is another one of my methods of getting some needed things done in a day.  I pile up the things that need to be done and either put them in a large container, or leave the stack on my bed to remind me. In this photo, the stack of things to do includes: 

-mailing out the church bulletin (I try to recycle my copy by mailing to someone who does not get one, and I always think that it is better news than the newspaper); 

-an order for Yorkshire Gold tea, which our family supplies for friends. I need to get the order ready today, so I have it on the stack and will be reminded; 

-sewing project, indicated by the folded fabric in the stack; 

-a box to sort and neaten and clean up so that I can find things in it more quickly--every day there is some kind of thing to clean out or sort;

- my Bible lesson that I have to prepare for ladies class;

-paper and rubber stamps to make a thank-you note to send in the post;

-a wooden swing seat that I want to decorate with paints, and hang up under a tree outside.

This is just one of my housekeeping methods.  I use it because I find I sometimes unknowingly bypass some item when it is written on a list.  I guess it is just not startling enough in print, so I have to put the actual item in plain sight.

Here is another notebook with a few housekeeping methods I use.

This one is the Sidetracked Home Executive card-file plan instruction, which you can print for free on the web. It comes from The Teaching Mom site here   Http://  

I like these plastic pages that already have the holes for the folder. That way, it prevents punching the paper, which sometimes cuts off words. Also, while using these pages, they do not get stained.

I began my homemaking life with that card file and if I had not abandoned it, would not have ended up be so behind in so many tasks today.  I had memorized the jobs and was doing very well, and then saw in the book that you could throw the cards away once you have started doing the jobs automatically without referring to the cards.  

A lady who joined a weight loss organization lost a lot of weight, and was advised to get rid of all her bigger clothes. The reasoning was that she would not be tempted to get overweight again. However through a few health problems when she was laid-up with illness, some of the weight came back and she had no bigger dresses to wear.

The problem of becoming disorganized again through moves or family events (company coming, trips taken, illness of family members, house rennovation, etc) is the reason I wish I had not thrown the original card-file away once I had learned to do the jobs without looking at the daily cards.  It seems to me like learning to acquire Christian conduct by reading the Bible, and then closing it and saying, "I already read the Bible. I have read it for years!" And never studying it again. By keeping some things, you have a solid foundation of information that once worked for you and you gain a better perspective of it.

I am busy now listing every task that needs to be done and then writing each task from the list on the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally and yearly cards.  Having a card file with the daily work coming up prevents a sudden need to clean the fridge at the last minute when you are involved in something else. It makes you less crowded for time.

In the same notebook, above, I got a free print-out from the Martha Stewart Site, here There are some other lists you might like, too,mon that site and I printed several of them.

Here is a list I made of things that were on my mind that I felt were important.  I used this list to get my thoughts organized one day.

Everyone has their own method, as each home has different priorities and needs.  You can find a plan that suits you or you can make up your own. Put your plans and lists in a pretty folder and enjoy it.