Saturday, August 01, 2015

Everyday Things

Helło Dear Ladies,

I looked out on the porch today and discovered my neighbor had been here and left her offerings. She grows wildflowers, and they go just right with this old place.  

Also I thought you might like to see a new tea I am trying today, called Sweet Rose. The bags have a pretty little pink tag on them.

Also, I pretty much have to post more often even when I have no interesting information to share, because if I allow weeks to pass by without doing so, I get phone calls from people overseas inquiring after my health and welfare.  I am glad, though, because it reminds me how long it has been since I last posted.

So this why today I am posting some everyday, mundane things.

The reason for the unmade bed photo is to tell how I leave the windows open and let the bed air out before I make it. In warmer weather it makes a fresh clean scent on all the linens, including in the bathrooms.

Here are some more of those wired nylon roses I use everywhere.  Also I have two very nice old vases from my husbands family, which are very fancy and look better here than jelly jars.   Even though this is an old house, not everything shabby looks good.  Accents of silver and crystal look much better than mason jars and tin cans, for some reason. It seems it would be the opposite.  I find in a newer-built home that some shabby things take the edge off everything being so new and pristine, but in an older home, the more elegant accessories look so much better. My mother in law lived in a shabby old apartment which she adorned with beautiful things. She even displayed her real silver cutlery, crystal goblets and fine china on hand crocheted lace tablecloths Sundays. 

Because the appliances that I bought on sale years ago are black, my kitchen has black and white accents.  I will try to show more of that room in the future. This is the tablecloth made from fabric from Joann's and it has matching accessories of a curtain, tea cozy and other things in the kitchen.  I would suggest keeping a kitchen all white so that you can easily change your color scheme with accents like dishes and curtains. 

We had a good discussion in Ladies Bible Study this week about pursuing peace. It means to chase something with the purpose of capturing it.  It was brought to light that we will not be able to get along with everyone because some people are determined not to have any peace. They like to keep things stirred up and they practice this in their lives.  They talk in circles with the intention of perpetuating confusion. They never solve anything or bring a matter to an end.  They perpetuate trouble. And while it is good to avoid this fruitless conflict, it would also be good for the troublemakers in life to run from us instead of us always running from them!  

More black and white in my kitchen.

I like the rosebud scrap in the middle of this handmade trivia. Grandma had a lot of them given to her which she never used.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Nice Gift

  Two ladies came to tea  Monday and brought me this: tea towels with handmade yoyos, dish liquid, and old Laura Ashley patterns.

Here is one of my centerpieces using a lemon squeezer and flowers floating in water.

Also, an old tin mail box, with a floral inserted,  for the office area.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blackberry Tea

For the last few weeks I have been preparing my house  for guests who were coming to spend an afternoon with me. They were driving from quite a distance and it took them several hours to get here so I wanted to make it worth their while by getting everything in the best possible condition and showing my home in the most welcoming atmosphere.

They had heard about my berry teas and were eager to sample some, so my DH picked some fresh blackberries for making tea and for eating.  I simply place a handful of berries in a pot and crush a little them with a spoon before adding boiling water.  The fragrance simply takes your senses away -- maybe to a resort--who knows.

Below: I brought out all the old things I had of Grandma's and others to create the vintage atmosphere. My own things are starting to look vintage as well, so it all blends nicely.

Well, as you probably have experienced, I managed to wreck the entire place by simply removing one piece of furniture from a room and replacing it with another.  As you know, the thigh bone is connected to the knee bone, and everything I did had an effect on everything else. 

 I can't explain how in the world the simple act of removing a small end table caused piles of things in the dining room and the laundry room, but I will attempt it: 

  I noticed the walls behind the little table were dirty so I had to clean them, and then I saw the curtains near the walls had a rip in them so I had to mend them---but I knew better than to take them off the rod and involve myself in trying to put them back, so I mended them while they were hanging.

  Eventually I did get myself out of this mess but it took 7 days of considerable work.  I do not like to complain, but the house is not in good shape, needs a lot of painting, repair and updating.  I am reminded of it each time I start something like this.  This is part of home life.

The two ladies that came were a preachers wife and a preachers wife's friend.  I call her that because she is one of those people that is always supportive of the preachers wives and likes to keep their morale high and keep them encouraged.  (We must seem beleaguered!)

The blackberry tea was the same vivid color as my tea setting.

Here is the table being prepared the night before the Tea

Because one of the ladies owned a tea room and an antique store, I thought it would be a good opportunity to pull out all of Grandmas things and display them in honor of their interests and their visit. They were also on a buying trip for the antique store.  

In reality I live in Grandmas house, because I am using all her furniture and naturally her accessories go well with everything. 

A doll corner.

One of the crochet pieces Grandma used on the back of a living room chair.

Her bedroom furniture.

Above and below--preparing the porch and flower bed for a first impression welcome.

My family is getting ready for the 50th year anniversary of our congregation, when there will be a special get-together, and I am hoping to also have an open house, and this has all helped me in getting ready for that.  As Mary Kate said in ""The Quiet Man": "The house may belong to my brother, but what's in it belongs to me."  I am trying to show the house to a good advantage in the best way I can and I hope everyone enjoys the tour.  I will show pictures of the laundry room and kitchen in another post, as well as pictures of the Afternoon Tea for which I prepared all this.

The tea table set out buffet style for the ladies Bible class this morning.
The porch:

In the bathroom:

I took everything I had packed away that spoke of vintage and teatime, to embelish my home for this special event.  I can always gather it up and put it away again when a different occasion calls for it.

A coat rack that is usually bare for coats and bags, is decorated with some old things.

My scarves displayed on an over-the-door set of doorknob hooks.

The bathroom:

Another angle of Grandma's things in the guest room.

I did not get the sewing room tidy, and a lot of the things stuffed in the shelves are blankets and folded clothing.


It was interesting to bring out all the colors and old things:

One day maybe you will come to tea!

The Guest Room: I even have Grandma's white chenille bedspread and her pillowcases. 

Old pedestal sink (above) and old sewing  basket (below)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nylon Roses

Several people emailed me to ask about the nylon roses in one of my photos.  These were made by a friend, and you can learn how to make them by doing an Internet search for making nylon roses.

I use them on several ways in my home: in vases, baskets, bowls, boxes, or laying out plain. Visitors always comment on them. I never get tired of them as I do other kinds of artificial flowers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Sunday Apron

There always seems to be little time, after meal preparation, clean-up, and other things, for my new leisure activity: sketching my latest sewing project. 

 Today I noticed it takes a long time just to get myself up and presentable for the day.  It reminds me of my teen years when I couldn't seem to get my hair the way I wanted it or my clothes were not fitting right, and I had to make so many changes before I felt okay.  I never could throw any old thing on and start my day with confidence, which is one reason I have been sewing these simple cotton dresses. 

A dress takes less time to put on since the blouse and skirt are already coordinated and no decisions have to be made about that. It is really the perfect garment if it is made loose enough to wear without tugging at it here and there, and this is just the pattern (shown at the end).

  Anyway, here is something on my always-wanted to-do list and I must say I enjoyed making the apron more than anything so far. My mother-in-law had a white filet-crochet apron she only wore on Sunday, and she did not have to change clothes when she got home from church.

The special fancy apron was worn to protect the dress she wore to church, so she could get on with lunch and not have to hurriedly change back into her daily work clothes.  I needed such an apron and have got this pattern out and looked at it so often that the number and brand is worn off the envelope.  

I used a retro pattern I must have bought twenty years ago, Simplicity 8720, and there does not appear to be a date on it, so it might still be available at the fabric store.  

The pattern is one piece with bias trim around all the edges, and it is made for embroidery/cross-stitch.  As I wanted to finish it in a few hours, I embellished it with scrap fabric roses. There are so many tutorials for these online, so I didn't take-by-step photos. For those who want to make it without the embroidery, colorful trim could be sewn instead, or use colored thread with a fancy stitch on your sewing machine.

 These roses are made by folding and rolling a long piece of fabric.  I stitched one on the pocket and one on the shoulder area to give it some color.  

The edges of the single layer of fabric on this apron are trimmed with bias tape. You simply enclose the cut edges of the fabric between the bias binding, and you top stitch the shorter edge because it will catch the underside bias tape properly.

If you have no bias tape, you could add a little seam allowance when cutting the pattern, and fold and press a small seam, then stitch.  The bias trim, though is very nice. You can also make your own bias trim.

  Bias binding used to have instructions in the package but maybe it is such common knowledge these days it isn't necessary. You can find what you need to know about it in any sewing book or sewing site. 

I used Sew Essentials muslin and am very happy with the results. I haven't had good results with Roc Lon muslin, as it tends to be less soft and flexible.

I like the fresh way this fabric looks and feels when it has been seen and is pressed with a hot iron.  My curtains are also made of this fabric.  This has already been pre-shrunk so this is the way it will always look after washing and ironing.

The apron was made to go with this dress, as I used the same fabric for the roses. This is now what I hope to be doing: make aprons to go with the house dresses I have been sewing.

I really wanted a photo of a girl with the pose, below, but couldn't quite manage it.  This is the first time I have drawn the sketch ahead of time and tried to imitate the pose but the photos were too bad so I did not use them for the sketch.

This is the first sketch, which I began a week ago....

...and here it is with more detail.  I can't draw straight lines so it's all a little wavy

Here it is with some things erased and a bit of color added...

...and here you see it developed with more color. The picture in the background is supposed to be the scene outside the kitchen window.

I was not quite sure what to do next, so I quit....

...and put it in a frame.  I am really not too  happy with the painting but once it gets put in a frame, my family won't let me toss it out. It is as though it became part of the family archives.  Maybe when I get caught up to all the things I have to do this year, I can take that art course.

Now i will go back and pose for this painting and see if I can get a good photo.

I had plans to make a really cute teapot mat and tea cozy with the leftover bits of fabric, but that will have to wait for a tea time post.

I hope you all have a blessed Lord's Day. Thank you to everyone who leave such nice comments.

New Look pattern from Simplicity


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