Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Susan Rios Email Newsletter

Below is the email newsletter from Susan Rios that came today. It was so cheerful I wanted to share it with you here. I love her art because it is so "whatever is lovely" and it goes with my theme of making the home the preferred place to be.


"America was born out of a desire for self-determination, a longing for the
human dignity that only independence can bring."  

Maurice Saatchi 
NEW  ORIGINAL PAINTING: "Red White and Blue"
12"x16"                  Click to View or Purchase                SALE: $425. 
Canvas Giclee Prints also available on website:
12"x9"      Click to View or Purchase       SALE: $295. 
Canvas giclee prints also available on website:
12"x16"                   Click to View or Purchase                 SALE $395. 
Canvas giclee prints also available on website:        
10"x8"     Click to View or Purchase      SALE $139.
8"x8"          Click to View or Purchase         SALE $89.
4"x5.5"         Click to View or Purchase           SALE $69.
ORIGINAL PAINTING: "California Coast"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Castle - A video

Recently I investigated the word "castle" and the history of this structure. Castle in other languages:

 French - Chateau
Greek - Kasto
Icelandic - Kastala
Irish - Caslean
Italian - Castello
Romanian - Castel
Spanish - Castil
English - Cottage, Castle

Some sources indicate the words camp, casa, cottage and citadel  are derived from castle.

Other words for castle are: high tower, fortress, fort, fortified village, and palace.

The apostle Paul was kept under guard by in Herod's palace. (Acts 23:35) 
It intrigues me that in all his weather-beaten journeys and a shipwreck, that he spent two years in the palace.  

With these words in mind,  I talk about the concept of a home as a castle, and how it is legitimate to call it that, treat it as a castle should be treated, and live in it with grace and dignity.  This would involve being a good caretaker of it and having  good manners within its walls. 

I am using this teacup today.

This is the outdoor pillow seen in the background in the video. 

We think of castles as homes of royalty, but a castle is also a casa, a dwelling place, a home. If we think of our homes as castles, it may change the way we treat them.

Let us think, however, of the castles the way people usually view them: as occupied by royalty.  The Bible speaks often of royalty in the Old Testament, and translates that into a spiritual royalty in the  New Testament.

If we think of our homes as castles and ourselves as royalty, we may approach the care of them and the living in them with a renewed attitude.  Castles occupied by royal persons are usually kept clean and not allowed to collect too much clutter. Of course they hire servants for such a vast homes, but we ought to be able to manage our small castles.  In the parable of the lost coin, Christ describes a woman who swept the floor looking for the coin. The lowest income  family can surely sweep a floor.  I knew someone who did not have a vacuum for her carpet, but she was undaunted: she just used her straw broom and she swept the carpet. 

Dressing up before anything, is the start of a good day at home. The work doesn't seem so demanding when your hair and face and clothes are attractive, so do your best to look your best. If you think your housework and your appearance do not matter, you might be interested to know that it does have an emotional, physical and mental effect on your family and friends.  When I say "dressing up" I don't mean in posh clothes meant for going out to special events, but clothing that is attractive and suitable for the home, yet can be worn in public if you have to go somewhere.  

Children who observe their parents putting things in order will develop an orderly way of thinking, or at least know what order is.

I mention my friend who had developed the skill of being an automatic picker-upper. Orderliness always followed her instead of chaos. I always thought it would be a good idea to pretend that a detective was trying to find out where all you had been in the house, and to avoid leaving any evidence like papers, clothing, shoes, dishes, projects, etc.  It is actually enjoyable to remove the evidence when you leave the place you are occupying.

 Some times I would observe my own habits, like Hansel and Gretel, left a trail of evidence as if I were lost and wanted someone to find me. My friend had reversed this habit so that the only evidence she had been in a certain place in the house or garden, was that it was neater, cleaner and prettier!

Above: These are called American Cottages! A "little" cottage!  This is from a house plans of the 1800's.

The scripture I used  in the video was Colossians 3:23, which says in whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord and not unto human masters, for you ultimately serve the Lord God, and from Him you will receive the inheritance,  (You will have to look it up to get the words right).

If you live in a castle, you will have to be as royalty, being careful of your life and with grace and dignity, seeing to the management of the dwelling.  There is a big difference in how you treat the house when you consider it a castle and yourself, royalty. Would a royal sit in squalor in the castle with pizza boxes all over the floor and old food on the coffee tables?

When I think of castle, I see shiny halls and orderly arrangements, with the occupants dressed in dignity for every occasion. I see these people as having very defined parts of their day, such as the morning routine, the afternoon activities and the evening relaxation.

 Every castle has fresh flowers, fresh linens on the beds, clean floors, well-set dining tables (royalty dresses up for dinner) and they are always ready for house guests.

What is it we like about vacation resorts or shopping areas? We like to get away from the disorder and the work, of course, but there are other things too: the look of it, the clean and orderly and colorful way it is arranged in order to be attractive.  There are no shelves that have been left for 10 years to collect dust,( like some of mine.) And so, the feeling you get in a grocery store (in the US and Canada) is a type of freedom, and with that freedom comes a sense of joy.  By observing the sights, sounds. scents, and the light, we can bring it to our own homes.  We like these places because they are cheerful and relaxing, yet energizing.  When we create this appealing atmosphere at home, it is easier to be happy there.

While I am on the subject of the grocery store, I have to mention that businesses are required by strict codes to keep their places clean and neat and not have any hazards to the customers. They make an effort to keep their stores attractive and clean, so maybe we could dress up a little when we go there. The staff must weary of the carelessly dressed customers all day long, especially when they are required by employers and by law to a certain dress code and to have the merchandise in order.  It must be discouraging to have a neat store and sloppy customers.

You probably can guess where this is.

We like the grocery store here in our area because it is cheerfully lighted. There are no "dark corners" or depressing areas such as we sometimes allow in our houses. They know where everything is, and if they can't see it on a shelf, they can look it up for you in their inventory. (We could have notebooks with pages listing our possessions and the location. Too many times I have bought vanilla when I already had a bottle of it in the back of the shelf!) In these shops, the floors are clean, the coffee shop and bakery are making a welcoming, homey scent, and the produce department is bright with the colors of oranges, apples, and every shade of green. In the floral department are all kinds of pretty house plants and cut bunches of flowers for the home.  We can imitate some of this in our castles. 

(Our shopping areas are so nice, I wonder that people don't dress up to go shopping, like they used to. Even royalty will wear their best casual clothes when shopping.)

The market has acquired many of the things that originated in the home, in order to get people to "feel at home" there and enjoy their atmosphere. In fact, much of the merchandise in many shops is designed to be used at home. The home is a target of the market, and so we know the home  must be a most important place.

I have seen people who have moved, still have the unpacked boxes in their living room three years later.  This would never happen in a castle, so if you can think of your home as a castle, you might be less inclined to leave something like that.

A day in the castle begins with your appearance. I suggested in a previous post that if you wear t-shirts and casual clothes that you at least wear pretty, feminine ones and give them a good pressing with the iron. I think it is possible to find pretty clothes for the home. I've shown you how to be inspired by the scenes and seasons, when choosing clothing for the home.

Each day is like a memory in the photo album of your conscience, so do your best to make it beautiful and pleasant. The easiest thing to change is clothing. In spite of changes that need to be made in the castle, at least you can dress up as though you were starting on a very important mission.

I talk about clothing a little more often than other subjects because I have seen such a change in the attitude towards clothing. I have seen better times regarding clothing.  Even the lowest income people wanted to dress up and look nice.  There was a reason for it. It gave people a way to appear dignified and and made them feel confident and noble, and caused them to  like working efficiently and living carefully.   It was motivation for good manners, too. Clothing used to make you feel good, feel renewed.

Thank you for watching, and I hope you will comment.

Here is my question: What would it take to inspire you to treat your home as castle and be happy with your existence in the home? What would motivate you?

Notes From Home

Dear Ladies,

Here you see the flag with my little cottage in the background. This year we got a flag, but as our  grown children will not allow us to get on a ladder or even a chair, so we could not get it in the flag holder at the top of the roof. You can see the point of the porch roof where the holder is and where the flag should have gone.   I figured out a way to put it in a gopher hole (Do you know about gophers? They are like moles.) in the dirt and then tape the pole with some extra strong duct-tape, to the address marker that was already in the ground. 

I appreciate your visits so much, and I want to thank those who send a few dollars now and then for donations, which is the Paypal button on the sidebar.  I'm hoping to finish up some sewing and show it here soon! There is always something to be done first, and at the end of the day my energy fails me, so each morning I get up with hope to finally finish a dress, wear it to a tea, and get pictures for you.

Today I woke up feeling like I was away on vacation, and I want to keep it that way. I have had some lovely food from the garden and have bought some pillows that make the place look like a resort! The flower garden is supposed to look like something I would see at a historical inn bed and breakfast, or a cottage guest house.

 You might be wondering what in the world this is. I didn't get a photo of the purple potato that grew here, but I peeled it and cooked it. It made this lovely blue water, and it tastes like a normal potato.
                                             Here is a salad and potatoes from the garden.
The garden food is easy on the digestive system and we don't get acid indigestion or anything like that after we eat.

 Outside, I am making an an attempt to create more pleasant scenes. I want to show you more, but the area around some of these pictures isn't show-worthy yet! I need to do some more cleaning up and de-cluttering before I share.

 This swing scene is not quite finished. I have wrapped the rope in wired burlap ribbon from the Dollar Tree, and I want to add a floral garland around them. There were some unsightly knots in the ropes and the colors didn't really go with the scene I wanted.  The swing is very sturdy though, and I think I'm allowed to use it ;-)

 This is an old bedspring. I was hoping something would grow up around it.

 A chipped tea cup here...
...and an old saucer:

 When my neighbor moved away, she gave me some things from her garden, which I gladly used here:

 We use plants that come back every year, so we don't have to spend money on new bedding plants. This is one I have divided many times to give away to other people.

 I got enthused about these indoor/outdoor waterproof cushions from Walmart for $3.88 each and for several months, every time I go to Walmart I buy one!  I now have 6 of them! I am waiting for the price to be reduced so I can get some more that I have my eye on. They would make lovely gifts.  I felt it was time for a bright, colorful change. If only I can remember to discard the worn out cushions I have had for years, and not get too deep in pillows around here. These are not delicate and there is no worry about damaging them or getting them stained. 

I like the way the print on these can be arranged to make it look like one big flower. The color is as exciting as going on a vacation.  

 These are vinyl seats that look like real wicker.

 How do you like the hydrangeas? I heard they are called that, because they need a lot of water, to "hydrate".

 A look through the screen door.

Below is an old rake that lost its handle years go. 

I move the pillows around to use in other places. I used to take pillows outside in the daytime and have to bring them in before nightfall because of the dew. These I can leave outside.  

Birdbaths tend to fall over in the fierce wind around here so I made a short one with a plant container and its drainage saucer:

This is a plastic child's wheelbarrow that has a large crack and a hole on one side, so I used it in the garden.

Here is another one of those waterproof pillows. I am planning on using them in the house when winter comes.  

I got this one to use as a gift.
 I should have taken pictures of the other ones in the store. There are birds and dragonflies, stars and stripes pillows, and many others you would like.  You might be able to see what I am talking about by going to 

I had to have one for the couch (sofa, lounge) indoors. I couldn't have sewn these myself for that price.
 I recently learned something about price: The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.   Sometimes the amount of time you spend on it makes it very costly. That is why I only sew what I want to sew, for relaxation and inspiration. If I see something like these pillows that are already made, I will get them if the price is low enough. 

This year I enjoyed those 97cent solar lights you stick in the garden. I pulled out the stick and set the lights in these lanterns on the front porch. 

You can also get these at the Dollar Tree, but if you need a huge amount of them, the 97 cent ones will be more economical if you need a lot of them in the garden area. 

I hope you will comment. I want to know what you all think about this post or anything else!

Remember to pray without ceasing, and to do all to the glory of God. Seek after truth and be always honoring.

Friday, June 22, 2018

House Artist Lynn Maust

Hello Ladies,

One of the ladies who leaves comments here has sent me a picture her latest house portrait. She lives alone and does this for a living. If you are ever interested in having your house drawn by her and are willing to pay her fee, please bookmark this blogpost. All you have to do is send her a phot not your house.  The is original art by the hand of an artist and worthy of the price.   Her contact info is lynnreedcrowder at

Monday, June 18, 2018

Early Summer at Home


A few things going on around here: 

I decided to change the color of this metal tray... berry pink. 

It was an intense color, so I am not sure I like it.

This tea set goes with it quite well.  
Using spray paint, I can change it back at a whim.

Like many of you in the country areas with nature all around, my laundry is flying carefree on the line. These cotton towels are from Walmart.

I know there are people who don't approve of my shopping there, but if you will look at YouTube videos by people who visit from Europe and the UK and other places, you will see how they react to their first visit to Walmart.  It is interesting to see it from someone else's perspective, when we are so used to having the convenience.

At my recent visit to Walmart, there were quite a few of what I would call elderly employees and they couldn't do enough for the customers. One person asked me what I was looking for and took me clear across the store to find it, then asked me what else I needed and took me to another place, and soon my list was filled, as this person scouted out everything I needed. They weren't able to cut fabric, so they called someone.  That was such an interesting benefit. I don't think that has ever happened before. The men there were especially enjoying themselves while at work, as they visited with the customers at the same time.

When you go shopping in some of the grocery stores in the evenings, you will find them 
 less crowded and the staff more relaxed, as they joke with one another and with the customers. When the managers are not there, they use the intercom to wish customers a happy evening or fire each other.

These people must have a lot of time on their hands or they are just enjoying the interaction with the customers. A lot of other people are talking about this, too. One lady told me if I needed anything else to call her and gave me her in store cell number!   Now if we can only get some of the local politicians to behave the same way.  

Now that you have seen my laundry, I will show you the flower beds. The vegetable garden is growing like it has been hit with some kind of super stuff, but all it has had is rain, rain, rain. I don't have a picture of it right now, but I have enjoyed going "out" to lunch there. This year I planted arugula, and have really enjoyed eating it. It is also good roasted in olive oil.

I got this folding table and chair set for the trunk (boot) of the car for when we go on road trips and stop for tea. It all folds up so nice and flat and is lightweight plastic. It comes in sage green and dusty rose and is in a catalog called Blair.

The house on the land next to us is for sale and I got a good picture of it. Isn't it cute?  I hope to meet the neighbors next week and am getting a gift basket ready to set on their porch.

Two ladies called this morning and asked to come to tea!  I gladly put aside my ambitious list of things to do (paint the bathroom, sew 5 dresses, clean out the kitchen shelves and drawers, get the bedroom clean enough to have a path to the bed ---that's a joke, you trolls---) and quickly made some hot scones and jam!  

They brought some goodies, too:

More scenes of the garden:

Some pink things on the mantel for the ladies tea:

I like changing this scene or 'scape" for the seasons. The next scene will be sea shells.

Tourist season is just in its beginnings and I am always amused at the things even my own guests from other countries say. They like the clean restrooms,the free water in restaurants and the free refills in the fast food places.  They almost always comment on the clean streets and sidewalks, although I am sure it is not always the same in every part of the country.  

If I were a tourist, neither the friendly service nor the scenery would be the main attraction. To my mind, it is the experience of taking a road trip with Mr. S. who sounds like a tour guide. On your left you see where my brother and I played, and ate dirt. On the right is where we saw a bear coming out of the woods (in 1950). Up ahead is a restaurant we have not yet been to. Etc.  You would think I wouldn't be surprised in the least at his wry humor, after knowing him for so long, but he always catches me off guard with some of the things he says. Being a tourist with Mr. S. has to be the highlight of any trip. He puts a special accent on everything. 

Road trips are a fascination with some of our visitors. We might be a bit bored with our scenery but they are not.  Mr. S. and I have a one-day only road trip planned, were we can be home at night, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The biggest thing our tourist guests  comment on is the flag. "You are never in doubt where you are," they say, "because everyone has the  flag in their front yard or on their house." No matter what the political affiliation or the political beliefs, everyone has the same flag.  And, by the way, Americans don't like people asking who they voted for. It is private, and they don't want to argue with anyone. For the most part, Americans, as my foreign guests tell me, aren't very critical and can't argue very well anyway, so there is no use starting any kind of a disagreement. It wouldn't be very exciting. We would just start talking about the price of potatoes or corn or something instead, or I  would say, "Did you know there is a new WalMart, a new Hobby Lobby and a new Home Goods in the town next to us?" 

Or, like Fanny, in Jane Austen's "Emma", we would simply say "Tea!" when the conversation gets too personal or too critical.

In closing, I want to share about my good looking Canadian cousins I had the privilege of having breakfast with the other day when they drove down from Canada for a visit to the coast. We love and admire them so much. They are a brother and sister, the children of my mother's sister.  They are just so good looking. Did I already say that? It needs to be said twice.  It felt good to connect with them, and they invited us to come visit them, for ...was it Thanksgiving or Christmas?  I think I will try the Canadian Thanksgiving.

The vegetable garden. Mr. S. built it up on a raised bed for me, so I could stand upright while taking care of it. If I get down on the ground, I might not be able to get back up without help, and it might be a long time before help arrives, since Mr. S. is always on the go.

The dinasaur Mr. S. dug up is still there sitting on a board.

The season is late for us here, so the climbing plants are not climbing yet, but I'm looking forward to peas and cucumbers.

Our first salad: lettuce, arugula, radish, onion.

  That is all for now.