Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Morning Greeting


I had to stop sewing and put the house back in order,  but I hope to get my new dress set on the line and post it today. I have one dress to finish. The "mother" dress needed more length, so I may have to go to the fabric store and find some wide flat eyelet in a color, if it is available.  I hope to get the girl's dress finished and the whole set out on the line today for a picture to post.


I got a nice list of suggested topics and I really appreciate your ideas. I hope some of you will write about these things on your blogs, too.  

The flower beds, though full and lush, are not as full of blooms as I would really like, but sometimes in the cool of the morning they show up.  I have quite a few types that only bloom in the shade after four o'clock.  That is why they are called four o'clock. Four o'clocks grow quite well by seed, and come in a variety of colors. 



The pink and white four-o'clocks, from seeds, will form tuberous roots and come back year after year, spreading further each season. I thought you would enjoy the reflection of the farmland in the new window I got in the spring.







This is an old baby bed spring I did not know what to do with, so for now, the morning glories, as sparse as they are, are using it.


Love the color of this chrysanthemum.  Remember Anne spelling it correctly and winning the spelling bee in the movie "Anne of Green Gables?"


I will try to add a "subject" or one of my "lectures" here later.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Morning Visitor





This morning I was preparing a small tea celebration when I heard  some knocking on the door.

Photo above: I like this Kimberly Shaw tea card with the drawing of a lady on a swing. I would love to have every one of these cards, as each one is a different drawing.


By the way, in this picture I have used kitchen curtain valances as a table covering. I found them at goodwill and discovered that they also work as mantel cloths for places like the fireplace top and the piano. Piano cloths are quite expensive, so I was glad to find this extra long pieces of lace.



Back to my visitor:



A Blue-Andalusia hen named Vandy.  I gave her some crumbs from the tea scones and a little strawberry tea I made with water and berries.

It softened the disappointment of the phone call I got from my expected guest who had to cancel the tea for some reason.

For morning tea I have used frozen strawberries and poured hot water over them in a strainer to make a fragrant and light pink cup of tea,  and then cut up a banana and made a little treat with whipping cream.  What are you doing today for teatime and afterwards? My plans are (Lord Wiling), after household work (meals, kitchen cleanup, making beds, neatening things) are  to sew.

I am looking at my old "Future Posts" article and thinking about writing some of them. Any more requests?

I thought about writing on how to handle rude remarks, but then, maybe it would be better to write about something pleasant!

We are still having a hot summer out here and I am so grateful because I can get that summer line of clothing finished! 



Someone emailed me today to say that after I wrote about the flower-lined pathways explained in this book (see my post on my other blog, Lovely Whatever's http://lovelywhatevers.blogspot.com if you want this book) that she simply took her push-mower and made pathways, cut closer to the ground, to the mailbox, the clothesline, the trash barrel, the garden, the outdoor seating area and other places. That way, her shoes would not always get wet.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Every Thought Captive


     
                             Girl Picking Roses by Louis Lemaire, French, 1824-1910


It has been a full day and very hot weather, which I appreciated. I pray it will last a lot longer. 

Sundays always go faster than I want them to. After church there is meal time, clean-up, and then it seems like the time is gone. I like to have one simple creative activity each day, so today I will share one of my acrylic stamps. These can sometimes be purchased for a dollar or less at craft stores.





I got this acrylic set at Hobby Lobby during the half-price sale, and a pink ink pad. I remember when fountain pens were commonly used, and I like the elegant look of them. I also remember the ink bottles, so I had a brief moment of nostalgia when trying out this stamp during my leisure time.

There is a subject I have been thinking about for awhile, and it seems difficult to address but I have  decided to tackle it.  This is a request I received last year.

 The question was: What should you do if someone has been talking about you and spreading rumors that are not true?  

The lady went on to relate that she had heard that someone was saying that she and her husband were going to leave their old neighborhood and build a big house in another location. While the gossip was not malicious, just the thought of people talking about a major life-change that did not exist was disturbing.  People would ask her questions like, "So when are you moving?" or, "Who bought your old house?"

My first thought about this question is that rumors can be much worse! The person could have found out something much more personal and embarrassing, making the current rumor seem harmless, but it is an invasion of privacy and can hurt just as much as cruel, mean gossip.  When you hear a rumor about where you are going, it is like someone is taking control of your life, and that can be unsettling.

Such a rumor can be easily started just by a casual remark in which you admire a style of house in a magazine while visiting with a friend.  There is an old saying that if you give some people an inch, they will take a mile, but in reality there is an occasional person who will take something ten miles!  For that reason, it is important that Christian women put a seal on their lips regarding even some of the most harmless remarks. 

Some people are overly fascinated with the lives of other people, and can take the most congeniel conversation, embellish it and send it on its way, where it gathers even more fantastic facts and returns to the poor lady who inadvertently started it.

 "You have taken an idea in your head and then have run wild with it," said Jane Austen in her novel, "Emma." 

While the New Testament warns about tale-bearing and wandering from house to house with silly gossip, we often forget that sometimes the non-gossiper can start her own rumor by revealing the most harmless, innocent thing about herself. It gives material to the simple-minded and invites an invasion of privacy. 

Privacy is not highly respected these days. We can bring back respect for privacy by not being so free to reveal every thing, every thought, every like and dislike, every plan, every  setback, or every belief we have.  We need to save our innermost dreams and plans for The Lord.  

A popular myth is that it is not good to "bottle things up" and that it is healthier to "share."  But we need to be cautious about what we say and to whom. We need to be discerning about the maturity of the other person, so that we are thrifty with the information we give them.

One reason it is easy to spread one's own rumors by an innocent remark to someone, is that we believe that everyone is good and that since we would not try to stretch a tidbit of information 10 miles, neither would anyone else. 

 This is something homeschoolers need to teach their children. Not everyone is just like you. Not everyone is discreet. Not everyone has had good training in how to talk or has been taught what is or is not appropriate to talk about. Therefore we need to tell the children how to be cautious about what they say to people outside of the family, and also what is and what is not to be revealed that is personal, in some cases even to other family members.

"...bringing into captivity every thought..."  (2 Cor. 10:5b)

When you take a thought captive, you lock it up and do not let it escape through your lips. In a situation where someone is not necessarily spreading a vicious rumor about you, it is important to hold captive even some of the perfectly acceptable information about yourself and your family.  Not everyone needs to know even normal things about you, especially if they tend to use it for mischief.

We do not always realize how a very innocent remark can be taken and exaggerated. So, while we know the Bible reprimands the bad habit of gossip, it is essential that Christian ladies not give those who are prone to gossip, any free fodder to spread around. That means weighing everything you say and thinking before you speak everything that is on your mind. Think about how a weaker-minded person could misconstrue some normal, little thing. 

While a lady may feel upset when there is gossip spread about her for no reason, she has to do her part not to add any fuel to gossip by revealing things, as innocent as they may be. 

As to what to do about the ridiculous rumors that are spread about you, that is the question of the day.  Some people have tried to confront the perpetrator but only increased the problem.  The talker only gets more steam from a confrontation and carries more tales about the person who reprimanded them.  In the grown-up world, some people who act like children do not feel they have to learn to behave better, so they get worse and worse.  It is best to avoid them, or else confine your remarks to the weather.

ITalebearer
(n.) One who officiously tells tales; one who impertinently or maliciously communicates intelligence, scandal, etc., and makes mischief.

I think the key to this is the definition: and makes mischief.  

Normal people who have good sense can have a conversation and not grasp on to any thing that is said and take it beyond what was said or intended, and will not use it to cause problems for someone, but not everyone is at the same level of mental maturity.

As example, someone asks you, "What are you doing today?"  You reply. "Nothing much."  A simple minded person who lacks discernment and has no understanding of discretion might tell someone that you do nothing at home all day. When that gets spread around, you will feel indignant and betrayed, but you must learn to be careful what you say to certain people.

 We have the same problem today in the way people interpret the Bible. They will sometimes read something more into a passage than is said. They will carry it to extremes.  But where the mind is trained to think properly, the meaning will be clear, without exaggeration or embellishment. This training begins in childhood but if such training is neglected, an adult can change with proper study and practice.

I am looking forward to any insights you may have on this subject, so please feel free to leave a comment.  If you prefer to be anonymous, let me know and I will change the settings.



This is a sample of how the acrylic stamps may be used to make something that looks like scrapbook paper.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dresses for the Home


       

                                 Poppies, by Louis Lemaire, French, 1824-1910

                           
Sometimes I choose fabric that is similar to the 19the century floral paintings like the one featured here.  This fabric is cotton but has no brand stamped on the selvedge so I do not know where it is from or the name of the print.

                            

Although I have mentioned Laura Ashley's famous designs for wearing at home that were so well-liked, there were other designers who also made cotton dresses, equally as treasured by ladies all around the world, such as Jessica McClintock and Lanz of Salzburg. There were lesser known designers also and I will add them to these posts when I find their names in old Victoria's.


Of all the house dresses I have made this year, this understated little calico dress had been pronounced the favorite by the owners.


I noticed the roses on the print had a bit of very light pink on the petals so I used some rose buttons I had been saving. I am also thinking of adding light pink ribbon on the hem and sleeves.


Here are some patterns from vintage pattern sites.  Above and below are Lanz patterns. They were also available in ready-made and advertised often in the original Victoria magazines.

Below are two Jessica McClintock patterns which were also available as ready-made cotton dresses.



It is nice to look forward to getting up in the morning and putting on a pretty cotton dress and apron and feeling dressed up for something important. It makes every day special.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Enhancing the Home

                                    
                                                            Above: http://susanriosdesigns.com



I like the way Susan Rios paints a simple little house, and embellishes it with elements of a garden


        

It is relatively simple to embellish a simple home by using the same things that even your grandmothers of the past used: a tray, a cloth, hand picked flowers in a jelly jar, a teapot and a teacup.

This is what some of the blogs on my blogroll are all about: putting sentimental or dramatic homey things in he house. Being in the house a lot means it is nice to have some changes and give the home a feeling or a mood for a season or an occasion.

The cloth in the tray is hand made, with ball fringe. These are manufactured and sold in nice stores for a very high price, so I decided to make my own and include a tutorial.

                                  

It can be made as large or as small as you like and can be a square, rectangle or circle. First cut the shape you want from white muslin.

                               

Then, with a hot iron and the steam turned on, press a one-fourth inch hem all the way around the raw edges.

                              
Fold that hem over so that the raw edges are hidden, and iron it flat again, using the previous hem as a guide.

                                 

Then machine or hand-stitch close to the inner edge of the hem; that is, along the edge closest to the inner part of the cloth.  You can stop at this point and use it for a handkerchief or a dish towel, a basket liner, a bread basket towel, or anything you want.

                                 
Sew on ball fringe trim all around.  To keep it lying flat, do not pull he trim too tightly across the hems when stitching.


                                  

        Finally, press he piece with a hot iron, avoiding getting the iron on the ball fringe.

Using this idea, I have made many other things, including a fireplace mantel cloth, piano runner, end-table cloth, lampshade covers, and curtains.

                                 

I have read a little more of this book, "In the Garden With Jane Austen" and will share how you can get a copy for a low price, when I post it on my Lovely Whatever's blog soon.  The book explains that the homes of the past had pathways to ordinary places commonly used by the family, and that these paths were bordered by flowers and shrubbery. Instead of just going out to hang clothes on a line or going to take the trash out, a person would experience walking on a pleasant little path, each one with a style and color and character of its own. There was a path to the chicken coop, a path to he apple tree, a path to the carriage, a path to the swing, a path to the picnic area and a path to the pool if there was one.

           

  It is so far a very calming book to read and has nice glossy pages of colorful garden photography.




I delayed putting up more posts since Sunday because I was waiting to show another set of house-dresses.  I haven't quite finished them, but hopefully will get pictures tomorrow.   


I found this little wood tray last week at Goodwill.  When you donate, you get a 20 percent off coupon. I used my coupon and got this tray for $1.50.  I had to paint it when I got it home.  I like tin or plastic trays to use when serving tea because they do not get damaged with spilt liquids or foods, but this one is pretty and can still be used to hold things in the house. 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

My Line of Clothing

         
                                                  Above:  a few things from the garden.

Good Day.  My pictures are not the best, but I thought some of my friends would rather hear from me on this blog than not see any new posts, so I am going ahead and showing what I have pinned on the line. This is my own designer "line" of clothing, and there is more to come. I could not fit everything on the line, and I have some fresh-looking "by the sea" dresses to show which I am enthusiastic about and will add on another post.


I have already shown the pink rosebud print dresses and the burgundy roses prints, both Fabric Traditions brand fabrics.  I made up the pattern by using old pieces I have collected over the years. The sleeves, bodices and skirt pieces are all combined in different ways to make these garments.

There is a film about Laura Ashley and the purpose of her clothing:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6ydGAaEAHzY

She stated in an old clip on this YouTube piece that her designs were inspired by the countryside and nature, and that they were not created for a night on the town or sophisticated events, but for wearing at home.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6ydGAaEAHzY

  That is what my "line" of clothing is for: home living.  At home, they are worn with aprons that coordinate with the colors, and when making a trip to the market, can be removed (or not: sometimes I forget and go shopping with my apron).  These dresses are "mommy" dresses for mother and daughter and can be worn at home, shopping and even to church.


I Did not use any Laura Ashley patterns or her designs. The reason I mentioned Laur Ashley is because, in the video, she said these clothes were for the home. Mine are also for the home. A lady can move without restriction, without tugging the waistband, without pulling up the shoulders to cover things, and can go about an active life and all that the home entails.



Above: girl's dress, size 8, in April Cornell fabric I bought last year. This year it does not seem to be available.  For the girls dresses, I varied the sleeves and bodices, with different shapes. I sewed front buttons on the girls dress because it helps her dress herself. Sometimes a back zip or buttons gets caught in girls hair, so that is why I like the front closures on girls dresses.


I have posted this one before.  I cannot find any willing models to prove that these dresses, which look so droopy on the line, are altogether lovely on the owners.  They cannot look any worse than some of the clothing sold in stores today.  I have heard from a lot of women who express dismay about the choice of clothing in the market.


I featured this one in the previous post. 


I did not have enough of the April Cornell fabric for a complete dress so I made a skirt with coordinating band of green on the hem area, and am making a jacket to match it with more of the sage-green.

All garments are good-quality cotton.  I am using Gutterman cotton thread in the machine.

This is the declension, or breakdown of the wearing out of these dresses:

When the garments are brand new we wear them to church and special occasions.

After washing, we do not use the dryer and do not hang on the line in hot sun to dry.  They are hung in the house on a hanger where they dry.

If some of the church dresses get a bit more worn out we start wearing them in the house with an apron.

In really hot weather the dresses that are worn out and thin make good summer nightwear, ( if the garments are made a little bigger they are good for sleepwear) as the cotton fabrics are so comfortable to sleep in, especially after washing and hanging on the line, where the sun makes them so fresh and scented. 

Eventually the dress gets more tattered so it is worn for early morning chores, the garden, yard work, outdoor work.

As the clothing gets older, if it has a lot of wear and tear we can cut off the sleeves and the back and make aprons from it.  The Pleasant Times has an article about it here:

http://thepleasanttimes.blogspot.com/search?q=Aprons+from+worn+out+dresses

Please have a pleasant day and be sure and leave a comment or write to me personally on email.

The name of the video is "From Kitchen to Catwalk" 60 years of Laura Ashley.  Some people are saying my link does not work, so try typing in the title.  The title  means that the dresses that were designed for homemaking became so well-liked that they were worn everywhere as fashion.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Morning Picnic



The colors were so crisp and clear today I decided to lay out a simple morning picnic.



This delightful book called "In the Garden With Jane Austen" will be featured soon on my other blog, Lovely Whatever's, so look for it to appear on the blogroll when I get the post finished, maybe today or early tomorrow.



I have not read it yet, as I only recently procured it from a used book site, but the pictures in it are beautiful and inspiring. One day I want to make an Victorian style walking garden here for all the church members to enjoy, so I am trying to read as much as can about it and learn how to do it.




I am also going to look at this issue of Shabby Lane, which has lovely recipes and gardenning and homemaking ideas.


Yesterday I was looking for a little potholder to set my teacup on.  I needed something more in keeping with the teacups (not a mug-rug), so I invented this rose-shaped pad, and although I neglected to photograph and record a step-by-step tutorial, I am including a scan of the pattern for anyone who wants to try this.  There is no copyright on it, so you can use it to make rose-mats to sell.  This could also be made in other flower shapes and colors.


It is simply two pieces if fabric cut in the shape of the pattern, adding a fourth-inch extra fabric around it for the seam.  Cut thin batting or insul-brite without adding extra seam allowance.  


With right sides facing, sew around the edges.  Cut an X in the back piece and turn inside out. Slip the batting inside and hand-stitch the openning shut or iron on a piece if matching fabric (using the iron-on webbing) to cover the openning. Then, turn it over and stitch with the machine using large stitch, in a free-hand way, around the potholder to imitate a rose. Lastly, stitch a fourth inch from the edge, all around.










For one day only, try this:  Be concerned only for the problems and challenges and duties of the day. You will find that the day itself presents enough worries for you. Try limiting your concerns and fears to only today, and you will also find that you have a lot more peace and can get a lot more accomplished. 

You will also discover the truth of these words of Jesus:

Matthew 6:34b  "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

I was noticing something in Titus 2, as I read today: these instructions were for ladies, not to put hardship on them, but to relieve them of the demands of the outside world and to help ladies live to please Christ. 

These verses simplify life for the Christian woman, because they increase their perception of good character: serious -minded, sound in faith, in charity (which means love in the New Testament), discrete, kind, etc) and these verses also simplify the duties of Christian women: marriage, family and the home.  

  The conclusion of the passage is this: that the word of God be not blasphemed (discredited, made unbelievable, destroyed, showing irreverance, blame, bringing reproach on God's word).

Think of the reputation you want the church to have in yhe eyes of the skeptic.  Think of the reputation you want to give the word of God.  People are always ready to point a finger and say, "Aha!  It does not work." In our quiet and steady adherence to that word and to the jobs assigned to us by it, we prove that it does work. 


In among all the worry you think you have, be sure to include one little pretty thing to make or do. Reward yourself for your housework and any of the family responsibilities you bear by giving yourself one pleasure, whether it be personal creativity or reading something you enjoy.






I was able to sew this dress today and I like the quality of the fabric.

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