Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Lovely Pictures

Hello all, 

Until I can get a few pictures of my own taken of some of the things going on around here, I will share some lovely pictures from Pinterest.  I hope to be here again soon!

The past three day vacation was called a long weekend, and it seemed  the entire population had gone somewhere else to enjoy some camping or experience something "country." Since we already live in one of those places (farm land with a view), we spent the days enjoying a quieter world without the noise of tractors and trucks. We knew we were the ones having the retreat.  It was a delight to pretend I had gone to a country inn.
I spent the first day getting the flower beds cleaned up, and prepared it for a nice fresh layer of bark mulch later when we to the garden center. My pictures will come later.

Afterwards I planned a "Low Tea."  Have you never heard of this? Maybe I invented it this weekend. I gave a little calling card to some people I knew and told them to call me if they were ever feeling low, and I would provide a tea for them. It is one thing to provide tea on a sunny day when everyone is happy and everything is lovely, but it is more beneficial to have a low tea on a low day when people need some pampering and  cheering up. (My pictures later).  Sounds like a good title for my next book :-)

Somehow, the echo of quiet made it easier to sweep floors and wash all the sheets, resulting in a very freshly scented house. 

During this vacation where I have decided I am "somewhere else" I have written a little story (I'll show it to you later), sewn a little more on a dress, and collected materials for a hat. You'll be amused to see what I'm using from Dollar Tree. We don't have a shopping area of any great size nearby and our selection of things is limited, so I will share later how I found a piece of fancy fabric I needed, and some other things.

We are still grinding away at storage boxes full of papers and old things, but are trying to sort and empty one box a day.

As my house is a bit "rustic" I have given the bathroom and kitchen an extra scrub and added some orange essential oil for scent, even sprayed some on rugs and floors and laid out a few things for bliss! There isn't much I can do to change the gnarly old walls but I can get them clean, and it is such an uplift.

Although this is a Pinterst, there are scenes like this around here, but my pictures don't turn out this well! If Mr. S. Is inclined to chauffeur me on a little drive to the next county, I'll try to get a photo from the window.

I met someone else who stayed home this weekend and she had a wonderful time in the quiet,  getting caught up with some things, organizing, beautifying the house, herself, the car, etc.  There is something about that still, unsettling quiet where hardly a sound is heard. You can either break down and cry from the lonely chill it sends or you can pretend it was YOU who got away from it all.

  Everyone thinks they went away to camp and get away from it all, but they probably camped right next to their neighbor and didn't know it til the next morning. We have heard that story many times. Meanwhile, we stayed home and had a most relaxing time. We will not have to unpack, do the laundry, put away the equipment or recover from the exhaustion.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Video: Housekeeping Inspiration

Painting by Emile Vernon (1872-1919)

Hello All,

It is quite a task to get a house in real order, and very easy to let it all slide. We know we should do the daily work, such as dishes and laundry, but how can other things be included? It seems to take all day just to do the daily work. In this video I give a few suggestions about how to do one extra thing a day, to finally get back into control of the house.  I know some of you are probably entering another stage in your life where the children are more active and require more time doing other things, and may get that overwhelming feeling regarding housework!

I would love to have your comments here, even if this doesn't exactly apply to your situation!

I hope to add a full picture of the dress (with hat) and show the different ways I can use this dress for home, for public, etc.


Below is a picture of the print on the selvedge  edge of the fabric, with the designer name. It is from Walmart.  I buy a yard of it when possible, so that when I have time, I might make something from it. I think a big puffy skirt would be nice! I don't know if you have seen some of the long floral skirts on Pinterest . They are quite lovely!
I also like the color code circles on the edge (selvedge) of the fabric, to see what colors would coordinate, but I usually take a swatch of the fabric with me to see the overall effect when trying to match up a yarn or solid fabric, shoes, floral for fascinators, hats, etc.

Long floral skirts from Pinterest

I know there are some kinds of fashion "experts" who don't like floral fabrics, but when you are at home, and have your own circle of friends, or like florals, there shouldn't be any self-consciousness about wearing them, even in public. The nice thing about home, is that you can dress as you like, or even as you have always wanted to. I quit waiting for fashion to change, and quit saying I was born after my time, and instead created my own "time" and culture here at home, where I can wear all the flowers I want!
 Would you not like to wear this to pull weeds in your flower garden, 
 ...and would not the flowers be so glad to see you in the morning, wearing this?

I don't care for the shirt and boots they matched up with this, but thought the skirt might be fun for wearing at home or the nearby grocery store. There is no sense wasting a moment of life being too cautious to wear something pretty!

Before-and-after kitchen drawer that I mentioned in my video:

Clutter like this always looks so daunting it is easy to put it off. It took five minutes to clean it.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Overwhelmed? Trouble Getting Going? This May Help

Painting: The Garden by Ethel Walker, Scotland, 1861-1951


Today I am happy to share a finished dress, with Hobby Lobby fabric. I did not look at the bolt to see the name of the print. I had seen it often in Hobby Lobby and it did not quit tugging at my senses, so I bought some.
Because I used several different patterns to pull this together, I cannot give you a pattern number, but this is possibly the last time I will use this combination, as I want to move on to something else. I dont care about the pattern as much as the print, and have been using the same pattern with many different prints.
I inserted large size rick-rack at the neckline, and I like it better than piping or lace:
It is all cotton and so comfy. I feel dressed up yet very casual for the home.
I have all the settings on the dress form pulled out to match my own measurements, but the dress looks a lot better on the mannequin, as usual.
The print is so like the oilcloth we used for tablecloth in the old days, also similar to the cotton table cloths of the 1950's which I liked so much.
I like the look of the floral with a background that looks like the sky. So natural!
I found this coral ribbon at Dollar Tree, and it goes with, quite smile-fully. That's my new word. There was not one that worked with the feeling I had.
And here I am with the one photo Mr. S. took. He was so busy, he couldn't stand there like a professional photographer and click the camera 20 times, so I had to strike one pose and accept what he took. I am standing in front of a little tool shed, acting like I am visiting a pretty cottage. The dress had huge puffy sleeves with pin-tucks sewn at the wrists and gathers at the top, as well as loose pleats down the front and back. 
I wore it to church, and if I make another one, this one will become an everyday dress.  The sleeve are very large and full, gathered at the shoulder, with tucks stitched at the wrists. 

You might remember the hat, which I made awhile back and posted:

You can buy a straw or woven hat, a floral stem and a roll of ribbon at Dollar Tree, to create a hat at the cost of $4.00.

You will notice the mantel arrangement in the background of my video today. This is the candelabra I talk about. 

This kind of candelabra is so large that many people today find them not very conducive to household space, usefulness or decor, so it tends to be kept in the original box and passed around from wedding to wedding, to housewarming, to birthday, or whatever. I finally landed one, (it was passed on to me) and I am glad to say it is just right for this place. It isn't the white elephant here that it would be somewhere else. I don't mind if it fades or gets tarnished, because it will match the vase I have next to it on the mantel.

In this video I suggest some things to do when you can't seem to focus or begin, in the home.  Like any artist, builder or entrepreneur, you have to be self-regulated and figure out a formula to keep yourself focused.  This is mine, and I'll share it with you as though you were one of my students.  My main points are:

Get your appearance taken care of, as though you were going to work or greet guests.
Prepare tea and use a tea cup that is pretty. Mine goes with my dress!
Make a list of three urgent things needed to be done to make the home functional. Mine are: dishes, laundry and trash taken out.  
Pray for God's help and blessings.

One thing I think is so important is that we can all have homes that are taken care of in such a way as to be a living testimony of how we feel about life, and how grateful to the Lord we are, and to make us useful by reflecting His creation and His teachings through our homes.

The purpose of cleaning the living room first is to have a room to go and look at when you are discouraged with the other room!

Please leave me a comment!

Below is the case I showed you on the video , for my grooming things. Each section is zippered and the entire thing rolls up.  It beats every box or case I have ever used. If I drop it, nothing spills.
The glittery candles came from Dollar Tree a few years ago, battery operated led-lites, two in a package for $1.00. I put some in gift bags for favors at tea parties, and I haven't seen any there at the Dollar Tree in awhile, but I would like to get some more.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Dressing for Organization in the Home

Today in my video I talk about reasons for dressing carefully and neatly and somewhat professionally in the home, especially when you have an organizational task that has been accumulating.You may feel less anxiety, less pressure and more optimism.

Dressed in umbrella fashion, here, in relation to my previous post on dressing for rain. 

I found this on Pinterest but it had no title or artist. I posted it here because of the umbrella.

Whether it is inclement weather or a daunting job of cleaning a long overdue laundry room, getting dressed as though it was an important mission, will ease some of the burden. 

If you were my students, you would have an assignment to dress up to put a room back together that had been neglected for awhile, or dress up to tackle your boxes of papers, toys, etc.that need sorting.

In this video I suggest doing the daily work, such as cleaning the surface of the kitchen, washing dishes, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, and taking out the trash. This helps get up your energy for the harder tasks you have been neglecting for a long time. When you need a break from cleaning the garage or a closet or shelves thst need cleaning, it will be very relieving to see the clean kitchen and bathroom, the floors swept in the living areas and things in general order. 
 Naturally I realize there are readers that never have anything in disarray and are always neat and tidy. This is for those of us who need a little help getting our minds focused enough to tackle the things at home that are disorganized.

I look forward to your comments. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Rain Drop Tea, and What Would You do Differently in the Dark Rainy Season?

Today I'm sharing pictures from Pinterest for those of you who aren't able to access that medium.

If you do use Pinterest, try typing in rainy day, (night, morning, etc) , raindrop tea, walking in the rain, umbrella fashion, and see how many pictures there are for this wild season of pouring rain and dark skies.
The one below is animated but doesn't seem to be active on a blog.

Now that everyone is looking back at a very long and dark winter in many places in the northern hemisphere, it might be useful to share some things with the readers in the Southern Hemisphere whose homes are going to be in rain and darkness for their autumn and winter.

I don't know about you, but after every winter I regret I did not have something more to show for all that time indoors: cleaner cupboards, organized cabinets and drawers, sorted out closets, finished sewing projects, artwork, writing, creating a little enterprise, regular hospitality events, and more.

For the home I would plan meals to contrast or compliment this season, that cheers and comfort and give life. 

Instead I think it's tempting to recoil from life and wait it out, feeling ill or lacking in motivation and energy. 

Garment from Cabbages and Roses...You see, I am not the only one that thought of rain fashion.

If you had the winter to do again, what would you do differently?

Old Laura Ashley catalog photo. C. 1980's

Perhaps I would exercise daily and bake more things to put in the freezer, and I would definitely had spent more time sewing, finishing things I cut out. I wish I had corresponded more and had fewer low moods, less fatigue and more happy thoughts. Certainly I would sew some rain season dresses for the home, developing a rain wardrobe. I'm already going thinking of a waterproof cape that would be much nicer than a raincoat (I find raincoats uncomfortable and hot).

Umbrella fashion. Though not a rain scene, I like the coordinating fabrics with the umbrella.

Somewhere I read a quote from a 19th century poet who said he had discovered that winter was the season of accomplishment and winter was a time of quiet, a time most beneficial to him.

What about you? What would you do differently between the time the birds fly away and the time of the first chirp?

-Pray more often when feeling down?
-Listen to Bible reading online or cd?
-Sing more?
-Dress prettier?
-Put aside somethings  for a rainy day?
-Day excursions to warmer climes, tea rooms, and what else?
-Sending little cheer packages to others enduring hard times?
-Hosting "low tea" for anyone effected by the weather?
-Make a quilt?
-Learned a new skill? Cake decorating, cooking, art, music?
-Create your own soups from fresh foods? 

Painting by Edmund B. Leighton 

Rain Yesterday, Rain Today, Rain Tomorrow (And Video)

Greetings Dear Ones,

As you see in the photo, it is dreary here, with dark skies and rain and yet there is a somewhat delightful aura to it all, so naturally I try to think what tea cup or fabric will go with it!  I have never seen fabric with a rain-drop print, have you? 

It will be raining here another day or two.

I know a story that took place in the rain. Maybe you, do, too.

Mr. S. had only met me back in 1972 and I was at a church gathering in someone's house. I had gone there by myself and he was also there. It proceeded to rain formidably during the dinner and Mr. S. got up and left abruptly before even eating. I suspected he saw me there and was trying to get away!  He came back later when every one was playing games and visiting, and he handed me my rain coat! He had driven to my home and asked for it, and brought it to me because "the rain was very strongly raining", as I put it. I had only met him a few weeks earlier. I heard he was like that with everyone.

As you see, Mr. S. didn't get away. And, it rained on our wedding day.

Most of the time in mystery stories there is thunder and rain, but there must be some nice rain stories amongst us.

Painting: The Garden of Eden by Hugh G. Rivière 1869-1956

If you were my students and I your teacher, I would give you a rainy day assignment. I would first have you go outside with a clear plastic see-through umbrella and listen to the raindrops on the ground and on the umbrella itself.  Then I would ask you to notice how the misty atmosphere changed the hue and the general look of the scenery. Does it soften the edges of houses, trees, hills and meadows? What are the colors like? 

Then we would come inside and use our little sketch books, which would include a very creative description of what we saw, heard, felt, smelled or sensed. Maybe someone would write a colorful or witty story to go with the experience. 

How many references to rain can you find in the Bible? What is the "hydraulic cycle"? You can find some of this definition in the book of Job.

Can you paint a rain drop? You would be surprised at how many colors are in a raindrop when you try to paint it on a flower, as in this Catherine Klein rose.

Have you ever collected rain water in a bucket to use for washing a piece of fabric, your hair, or glassware? Have you tasted a glass of rain water? (Check out cautions about safe rain water).

How can you read the sky and tell if there is going to be rain? How do pets and other animals behave when they know it is going to storm or rain?

How can we keep a level head and be even tempered in gloomy weather?

Have you ever taken a letter to the mailbox during the rain, only to notice the rain bled the address into oblivion because you didn't use a pen with waterproof ink? Ballpoints are the best for rain.

What do you know about the history of rain umbrellas? The first rain umbrellas were not very strong or reliable and they quickly broke. 

What does the Bible say about rain? When did it first rain on the earth? Who prayed about rain? When was a ship crew frightened about bad weather that included storms and rain?

Consider how rain confines us indoors and the advantage it can give us at home. For me, it discourages from going anywhere, because it isn't pleasant to drive, and getting in and out of the car can be cold and wet. It's great time to accomplish something at home that I've been putting off, such as a shelf that hasn't been cleaned in 10 years or a box of things that needs to be sorted. I want to develop a response to overcast skies in two ways: by tackling a shelf or drawer that needs cleaning, and by doing something artistic like painting a picture or sewing. Maybe you can choose one work item and one leisure item so that rather than feeling depressed, you can see it as an opportunity.

On rainy days with children, you have an opportune time to reenact Noah and his family on the ark. What might it have been like?

For homework I would give you a couple of assignments:

Put together a rainy day box for a child, a friend, or yourself.

Create your own rainy day tea using ingredients from your garden or the grocery store. Put it in a box, tin, jar or or bag, give it a name and list the ingredients on the package.  We will enjoy sampling each person's blend. You can include dried herbs, dried fruit, spices and flavoring.

Create a rainy day tea time menu. How will it be unique, in comparison to other afternoon tea?

Do you remember the phrase "Save it for a rainy day"? Long before it was used in a famous song, people used to save things for a rainy day. We had a rainy day box, with special items we only got to use on a rainy day? People would put away money and not spend it, saving it instead for a rainy day, when they might buy some small comfort.

What projects do you think people used to put aside for a rainy day?

If you were confined inside the house for three rainy days, what all would you like to do?

If you have children at home, let them experience the rain on their faces and hands. 

It will be a joy to them to hear you say, "It is raining. Time to get out our special rain food!" (Whatever you decide it will be).

Suppose you were a clothing designer. What would you create for rainy days to wear at home (a special apron? Some other accessory? ) that you would not wear at other times?  I would be interested to see what the students draw.  I heard a girl say, "This is my rainy day dress." Something in the print made her think it went with the rain. 

Here is my rain fashion today. My sewing is still in progress so I am wearing commercial clothing.i didn't think of sewing a wardrobe for the dark days of winter when it was raining or the weather just sitting there being blah, but I managed to pull this outfit together for rain fashion today. My shirt matched my plastic umbrella. I also have other colors of umbrellas.
All that sewing I have shown here the last two years is completely worn out because I liked it so much, I washed and wore and washed and wore. I am excited about sewing new dresses to go-with the scenery, the seasons, the social occasions.

Mr. S. is not at all fond of the new technology in cameras. He claims it is harder for him to focus and that it is all way too sensitive to movement, compared to his old cameras of the past. Nonetheless he wants to be "relevant" so he has been trying to adjust, and these are his photos. He is threatening to get me a Tri-pod with a remote and get me out of his hair so he can go to the garden and dig for more treasure.

In this video I explain more about the reasons behind dressing well in the home. There is a stop somewhere in the video but it resumes again if you just keep it on.

I think especially when it is a rainy day, careful clothing choices should be made.

When we were younger we used to enjoy ironing our casual clothes. An old shirt became extra special when it was pressed. I pressed the cotton shirt I am wearing in the photos and I felt a sense of fineness about the way I was dressed. If you are alone, don't neglect yourself. Have a spa day, dress as pretty as you can, and do something to mark the day; something for the memory, whether it is a journal entry, a letter to someone, sewing, or just preparing a hot cup of tea.

It would be nice to pick up a book entitled: "Stories For a Rainy Day."

Water paint a rainbow when you see one out a window and tell about the origin of the rainbow. Do you think the colors are the real "color wheel"?

When you are finished with my rain class, you will have a rain book full of beautiful things!

  • Well, that is what I would do if I had a class on rain at home. You would all get a cup of Fresh Rain Drop Tea before you left.

Roger Hamley and Molly Gibson in the Rain.  I would be disappointed if the BBC had to use a rain machine for this scene.

Job 36:26-3
 Behold, God is great, and we know him not; The number of his years is unsearchable.
For he draweth up the drops of water, Which distil in rain from his vapor,Which the skies pour down And drop upon man abundantly.
Yea, can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, The thunderings of his pavilion?
Behold, he spreadeth his light around him; And he covereth the bottom of the sea.
For by these he judgeth the peoples; He giveth food in abundance.
He covereth his hands with the lightning, And giveth it a charge that it strike the mark.
The noise thereof telleth concerning him, The cattle also concerning the storm that cometh up.