Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sewing Tips and Tools (video 13)

 (Thanks to Lisa Anne for making this video)


I think you will like this video, even if you are not familiar with sewing. I used to place spoons as weights on my patterns, but these little weights made of washers are so much better.  Patterns used often are either ironed on to interfacing to preserve them, or cut out of muslin. The cotton muslin fabric patterns require no pins or weights and making the cutting process so easy.

What I said in the video was: i like to choose fabric that goes with the time of year when a flowering tree is blooming. My mother and mother in law and grandmothers liked to do that, and I have pictures of them wearing dresses that matches the blooming rhododendron or azalea of the season. 

Below: not yet finished, the dress is on the dress form for a fitting.

Below: still some work to do, but I wanted to see how the shoulders fit and take tucks where needed.This  is something I will wear at home because it is cool, comfy cotton: perfect for housekeeping.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mrs. Minerva


Hello Ladies,

Several times I have mentioned the column written by England's "Mrs. Minerva" published in the English Home Magazine.  

The issue of particular interest is the one I have posted here from March 2011, which you may be able to enlarge and read.

 Those of you who are older may remember your mothers retreating to the bedroom when life got stressful.  I remember mothers making their children stay in bed when they were sick, surrounded by books and art materials. 

  She did not include taking a rest when the children are napping. Its tempting to do a lot of things while they are down, but important to rest during some of that time.                                                     

From the article:- (note:  a lot of it is a wry style of stating truth trough tongue-in-cheek wit. Mature audiences will understand.)

"While I firmly maintain that one should strive to maintain a stiff upper lip during most of life's trials and tribulations, I do think the Victorian custom of taking to one's bed has a lot to be said for it. At times life can be so trying there is little to be done but to retire to a room of one's own and draw the curtains firmly shut.

"One of the reasons Mr. M. behaves so well is that he understands there is always a risk that if he upsets me I might simply slip upstairs only to come down some  days later. This would, of course, interfere greatly with dinner and he may be forced to eat at his club.

"There are many reasons to take to one's bed: heartbreak, disappointment, irritating husbands and influenza among them. However, in the depths of winter - when the Minerva household is on the inhospitable side of chilly - the only warm rooms are the kitchen and the bedroom...."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lady Reading

The practice of ladies getting together to read aloud cannot be traced to an exact date, but is referred to sometimes in historical writings and old stories.

My friend, Lisa Anne, who is also my video lady,  gave me the idea to have "A Reading" by telling me about something she read:

Ladies  in the past would sometimes ask the youngest girl in a reading group to read to them. The hostess would decide what was to be read and who would do readings. That way the material was first looked over for suitable content.

A reading is not same as a book review.  Materials used can be letters, poems, articles from periodicals, fiction, history and even old cookbooks with all the notes of the cook. 

With a friend, I have been doing "A Reading" every day. My friend is reading from a new category of fiction called "clean romance." The book, "Immigrant Brides" has 12 stories of immigrant brides from various parts of the world in the 1800's. She reads one chapter each Reading, and stops to read dictionary definitions, locate places on the map, and make observations about certain points in the story.  

She is also reading parts of "Flowers That Never Fade" by Leroy Brownlow, a gift-book with wisdom and scripture and interesting observations about life.

In our readings we also tell about the authors and the era in which they lived.

Included in these daily readings are poems and character lessons from the Fascinating Womanhood workbook, which is a classic. Homeschoolers could glean a lot from this workbook that would help both boys and girls, and it contains scriptures pertinent to character, work, suffering, and more.

My reading yesterday was  from the recent Tea Time magazine, (May-June 2016) "Will You Share a Dish of Tea With Me?" (This reminded me of  Prudy in the 2015 movie "Poldark" saying to the under-servant "Brew me a dish of tea while I mend my broken wing." when she had sprained her wrist.)

A friend in England meets with me sometimes on Skype and reads from the Miss Reed series of books.  I read to her parts of Linda Lichter's book about the customs, character, beliefs, work and art of the Victorian era.

If you are homeschooling, I would recommend a daily reading in place of curriculum.  

If you are a homeschool graduate, have a reading once a week or daily, with your mother. Choose something that delights you to read to her, and let her read something to you.  

If you are a veteran home schooler whose children are finished school, you will be revived by having a daily reading. You can do this on Skype or some other media.  It is enormously comforting and fulfilling. 

Our reading ladies are veteran home  schoolers who miss having discussions with good values. We call these discussions "Home school Revisited" and have mutally agreed that "Readings" are superior to any homeschool curriculum.

 One lady in the gathering, so impressed with "Readings" as ennobling the spirit and refining the soul, said the cure for homeschool burn-out is to "burn the curriculm." She had discovered so much learning for children in the daily readings that she was no longer  dependent on the boxed curriculums. She promotes the gentle home teaching method of "readings" and discussions, enhanced by reference materials such as the dictionary, map books, Haley's Bible Hand Book and Young's Analytical Concordance.

Had there been more time  during yesterday's "Reading" I would have pointed out the reason the Mothers and the homes are the best curriculum and how to tap into that source, as well as how curriculums can distract you from actually raising your children.

I hope you consider having "A Reading" one day this week with someone for half an hour.

To prepare for a reading, we dress up, fix an elegant tray with a shining tea pot and fine tea cups, gather our reading materials and take turns reading. If the day is cold we wrap ourselves in comfy shawls. The sessions last 20-30 minutes out of the ladies daily home responsibilities.

I am looking forward to today's reading because my friend, a fellow-homeschool Mama, is reading with great expression and drama another section of the Immigrant Brides historical romance book. The story is "Blessed Land." My friend will bring her shining Spanish fan with her (she has a partial Spanish heritage) because the characters in the chapter are Spanish.

Things I have read aloud in "A Reading": The Wife, by Washington Irving   -- takes some careful concentration and expression, as it was written in the 1800's and you have to read it understandably with expression.  When Queens Ride By -- both available on the side bar of this blog.  Also Poems by Edgar A. Guest can be found by using the search area on the upper left of this site, by the  "e" -- type in Edgar A. Guest in the space.  Also you can start reading my story about Cowrie Point, or write your own stories to read aloud!  May I also suggest using the phone with someone for a brief reading and discussion.  I like  a coumnist named Mrs. minerva who writes for English Home magazine. Her article on how women used to take to their beds when they needed relief from tiredness, stress, a vacation, some luxury, was so good.

Please enjoy the photos here, and I hope to explain more about this in a video. You are welcome to post these on your pinterest.

(photos courtesy of Lisa Anne

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cowrie Point Dreams

This 1800's painting has similarities to the Cowrie Point area, particularly the rock formation on the left, with the ocean and beach in the background.

Cowrie Point, Tasmania was a small cove with summer  homes called "shacks" owned mostly by residents of nearby towns. These were simple dwellings designed for temporary summer living, but occasionally there were year-round occupants like my family. We spent the lonely, dark winter months indoors away from the cold wind and rain, when there were no tourists or holiday visiitors. 

In the mornings I walked the empty beach before the day got underway. With no one around the area all those months,  I felt I owned a piece of oceanfront property. 

A little bit of warm air indicated spring was near, and I saw something from a dream.

As I came to the end of the path leading out onto the ocean rocks, young woman in a long blue-gingham dress was walking on the low-tide wet sand. Her long, dark hair was covered with a wide brimmed white picture-hat tied with a light blue satin ribbon. 

At that time in history, fashion had left the sweet dresses of the 1950's; the severe designs of the 1960's were now prominent, though longer lengths were not popular yet. Long dresses like Kathleen's light blue gingham had not been worn as daywear for several decades and were only read about in historical fiction. This young lady's dress, hat and her smooth, graceful way of walking was like something out of a 19th century painting. To a young girl like myself who was attracted to "pretty," the scene was angelic.

As we we came upon each other, we stopped to talk.  I asked her where to find long dresses like the one she was wearing, and she told me she had sewn the dress herself, using a pattern. The dress was peasant-style with long sleeves and a ruffle at the wrists.  

Her name as Kathleen, and the reason she was wearing this dress and hat while walking on the beach, was due to her skin being so sensitive to the sun, but also that she thought ladies should dress modestly.  I admired her willingness to say it outright, especially during a time when modesty was being abandoned by the public. She was 20 years old and I was 16. Her skin was soft and smooth, no doubt from her careful shielding against the harsh elements, and her eyes were a picture of innocent contentment.

I saw her several times more in similar dresses of various pastels. She said, "Although I am not dressing like this for attention, girls need to realise that people appreciate them wearing long dresses more than pants and masculine clothing. They get a lot more attention in a pretty, modest dress."

The year was 1967. I wish I could remember every word she spoke to me on that subject and that I had kept a correspondence going with her so that I might know how her life went, and what became of her.  All I have is that clear and wonder-filled vision in my mind of her walking lazily on the beach in the pretty blue-gingham dress. She looked like someone from another era.

Sometimes we do not think our ways and our beliefs and example matter much or impact anyone, but it may touch someone many years later when the memory visits them. I see the picture of Kathleen so clearly, I believe I could sketch it from memory.

On the left side on this photo, below, lies the house where Kathleen stayed the summer I saw her on the beach. It is the white one with the gray roof just facing a private little cove of Cowrie Point. You can see it there to the left of the house wirh the red roof.

This is an areal view of Cowrie Point. It is hard to indentify things as so much has changed in 45 years, but I think the blue house may be the one my parents owned and where we lived in the 1960's.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cowrie Point Memories

A friend sent me these pictures of my former homeplace of Cowrie Point, Tasmania, Australia.
You can see the iron-ore mill at Port Latta, where my father worked, in the background.

In the 1960's I lived here in Cowrie Point with my family. Since then, other families have occupied this place, but I want to relate some special memories of being there.

The house faced this beach which my siblings and I frequented daily. We could hardly wait to get the morning chores overwith and be free to walk and run and sea-bathe.

This is the house, and it may have changed paint colors several times since we owned it, but it holds what seems like a lifetime of memories, even though we only were there a few years.

This 1800's painting, below, reminded me of days at Cowrie Point because we often spent time propped on the rocks with reading, writing and art materials. The background looks exactly like the sea behind the rocks at Cowrie Point. I can still feel it.
One day, a young woman and her husband were sitting on the beach,  and seeing me reading a book, the woman spoke to me:

"I wanted  to marry a prince," she told me. "So I went to Europe to stay with some relatives, hoping to find one.  Now I live here in Cowrie Point with my husband of 10 years."

"Oh, " I said, "And so you met your prince in Europe!"

The young woman smiled. "I met my prince, but not in Europe. I was disappointed, but when I came back to Cowrie Point, the family living next door to my family had come for a summer holiday. They had a home in Smithton, but this was their holiday home.  

"Their son and I had been friends when we were growing up, but we did not keep in touch after I went to Europe.  As soon as he heard I had returned home, he sent his mother over to ask my parents if I had met anyone in Europe.  After their brief visit his mother went home, and not long after that, he came to the door and asked for me.

"He told me how happy he was that I was home; how he missed our friendship, amd how Cowrie Point was such a lonely place when I was gone."

Afraid to pry too much, I carefully asked her if she had told him of her quest to meet a prince.

"He was a trusted friend and I had no qualms about telling him of my failed mission.  He held my hand as we walked on the beach, listening to my story while I expressed all my future hopes.  He asked if he could be my prince and I said yes."

Sadly, I do not remember her name, and it was over 40 years ago. If I had known about journalling back then, I would have a record of it all. 

 I do remember her telling me that young ladies should look for princely qualities when thinking of future husbands. Things like courtesy, protectiveness, faith in Christ, respect and caring for parents, willingness to do the providing, and loyalty are admirable character qualities.  Girls have to be able to recognize these inner things and not overlook the potential prince living next door.

I hope you enjoyed this true story.

Cowrie shells found in this area are the reason for the place being namd Cowrie Point.

Lady with shell, painting by William Margetson 1864-1940

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pretty Dresses

A casual dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her visit to India. 

These patterns might work for this style:

Here are some more she wore in India

I have not sewn the Amazing Fit patterns, due to them seeming so complicated and many pieces, but the styles seem be in the shape of these dresses.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

A Lady's Pasttimes (Activities)


By: Edmund Blair Leighton Item #: 12784920

Consider the pleasant things that occupied women at home which were beneficial, delightful and calming:

Leisurely Walk 
Time with the children in peaceful activities
Beautifying the Home
Church arrendance and ladies services to others

Today many young women are busy taking children to and from social and educational activities. They spend a lot of time driving, waiting in the car, running errands, and less time resting.

Some older women at tea the other day dispensed their knowlege to the younger ones who were there:

Stay home and look after your own children.
Rest when the children rest.
Be careful how you lift things
Avoid the distraction of too many activities
Do not acquire too many things to look after
Do acquire time-saving devices if they really help: a vacuum, washer and dryer, dishwasher.
Dont try to make money. Instead try to find ways to avoid spending it.
Take advantage of services such as home delivery, things brought to your door
Make vacations restful and re-creative rather than wreck-reation that wears you out.
Have calming hobbies such as journalling, reading, music, and interests that do not cause stress or expense.
If you have a husband, and a child, that is your full time work. 
Attend church on Sunday, but avoid volunteering to do extra unless showing simple hospitality. Your presence at church is a great encouragement in the effort alone.
Other advice covered time-saving tips in house-keeping, and health tips about how to avoid accidents in the home.

The labor-saving devices created in the Victorian era were for women at home, making the work easier. Do a web search for a list of inventions in the 1800's and you will see how many of them made home life easier.
The grand finale of advice to the young: if you do not treat your body well, get rest, avoid strenous lifting and jolting excerices, take on fewer problems outside your home, you will pay for it later. Illness and debilitation in later years will result, making it hard to enjoy life or be of any benefit to yourself or others. (There was also some warning about popular workout trends not being good for a woman's body, and warnings about popular posture vs. natural posture that protects women from strain and physical stress).

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Company's Coming - Video 12

Thanks to my friend Lisa Anne for making this video!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Cheerful Dressing - Video 11


Hello Ladies,

I appreciate all the inquiries as to my health and well-fare, and want to let you know I am working on a new video. 

For a mere minute of video, I am good at making it half a day of work! I like  to have the setting, because I know we all want something pleasant to see while we watch something. Today I have a little speech on costume, so please check back in awhile.  It will be posted here.

I appreciate the donations I have received! Thank you very much!


Thanks to my friend Lisa Anne for making this video!


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