Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Robin and the Sparrow







“The Robin and the Sparrow"

By Elizabeth Cheney, 1859


Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin,
“Friend I think that it must be,
That they have no Heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me.”





The robin, above, is an eastern robin from Australia, and the pink robin, below, is a southeastern robin, also Australian.  


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Scenes Through Natures Frames...and a Little Painting

I have been outside early in the morning looking through these glorious frames at the tiny country snapshots in the distance, looking so misty.

     
I do like the way the branches create natural ovals and circles around a scene.

It is seriously time to pick them.

It is impossible to describe what it is like to be under the boughs breathing the scent and hearing the sounds of the day.


While still on the branches, the apples have a misty layer on them. When the gossamer vellum is wiped off, the apples are shiny.

This branch makes a square frame, and all the views through the apple tree are reminiscent of old postcard art and greeting cards of little houses and lakes in the distance surrounded by a wreath of foliage  in the foreground.

Victorian post cards  on Pinterest with the floral branches and little homey scenes in the distance:





I have drawn these little pictures before, but never water colored them...

...and this was my first step, drawing a frame or shape from which to peer through at the background...


...and the next part...

..more detail and very light color...

I felt like quitting by the time I got here...


...but redeemed it with more color...

...and then some shadows here and there...



...maybe it will be something after all...


It is post card size so it did not take all day.


Finally the apples with some darker areas. Instructions for painting apples are abundant online but honestly I have no time to watch them yet, so this will have to do.


I used 106 lb. coated textured paper from a small tablet I found in the dollar price section at the fabric store, and children's paints by Loew Cornell, with Horizon Group brushes from Walmart.






This is the photo from the top of the post, put here to show you how I am painting these apples.


Since I do not want shiny apples an am instead trying to get that frosted look which they have while still on the tree, it was a bit of an experiment.  It has to look a little velvet-y. I have not got quite what I am wanting.  I love that deep berry color on these apples but I may have to try this again to get it right.  In the meantime I think I might go look at fabric and drool over this color!





A quick solo apple here right on the verse that says "as the apple of thine eye." The pages are coming out of this book so I might as well relegate it to art. At least I will know where the verse is.




Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Undermining of Marriage in the 1950's





This is not a pleasant subject but I think it is important for Christians to know how a happy home life is undermined by falsehoods that are deliberately spread around to reduce our faith in the Biblical design for the family. Many sources went to work to dismantle this perfect arrangement. 


I have just read a blog article called "Divorce is Dumb" that explains in detail how marriage was undermined by the malcontents  in the 1950's.  A quote from this essay is pasted below:


"In the 1950's...Christian family life was well represented, and well-respected, on television and in magazines.  In addition, advertisers, radio shows, large corporations, and manufacturers embraced the glee and reinforced the happiness that millions of young married couples were experiencing. In retrospect, the 1950s were truly America’s “Happy Days.”

The article explains how women desired marriage as the highest thing they could ever achieve in life, and married women were greatly admired.



The author goes on to say,

"But for those who’d made bad choices, or were brought up in non-Christian homes or were incapable of finding personal happiness, the domestic bliss of the 1950s was grating. The happiness of the masses served only to magnify their personal shortcomings.  And so, in the midst of all this gladness, these people quietly began to sow the seeds of discontent. Subtly, they initiated an effort to convince the happy Christian suburban families, and the country at large, that their happiness was all an illusion."

The essay continues:

"New ideas began to take shape, aided by the movie industry in particular, which insinuated themselves into the subconscious minds of the joyful masses. Those who promoted the ideas asserted that just beneath the happy surface, lay the “real” truth – that Christian men were actually wretched, calculating, unbalanced, mean people with bad thoughts. Of course the truth was just the opposite. The conclusions drawn by these paranoid proponents of the dysfunctional family were in fact a reflection of their neuroses, and unhappy family lives, rather than a reflection of the sincerely happy masses of American Christian families.

Initially, books were written, and plays were produced, promoting the unsettling idea that behind the pleasant façade of suburbia lay a disturbing psychosis. These “proponents of pain” were, under the pretext of “entertainment”, supposedly exposing women to the “truth” about the “harsh realities” of the “dysfunctional” men in their midst, when in fact, it was based on their own individually depleted lives. Their personal lives did not reflect the vast majority of Christian people’s lives.

The personal demons that “inspired” the writings of these deviant authors began with F. Scott Fitzgerald (alcoholic), John Steinbeck (alcohol abuser), Earnest Hemingway (committed suicide), and Eugene O’Neill (suffered depression and alcoholism), and continued with William Faulkner (alcoholic and adulterer), Arthur Miller (communist and abandoned his retarded child), and J. D. Salinger (recluse and religious fanatic).

The traditional advice given to new writers, “Write about what you know”, was taken down to new depths of depravity by these writers, as they did just that."

To read the entire essay, click on the the link I provided at the beginning of this post, "divorce is dumb." It shows how people desire to break up marriages.

All this craziness that surrounds us can get overwhelming but when you educate yourself on the beginnings of it, it is easier to understand and to warn your children.

All is not lost, however, as there are always writers and teachers who promote happiness and marriage through their literature.  There are always blaring reports of divorce everywhere but there is a quiet side of life that patiently continues to carry the good messages and the good examples. 





Water



Good Day, Ladies,

People who get dehydrated do not always feel thirsty, and that is why you cannot let feelings of thirst determine your water consumption.  You can get dehydrated even in winter, not just during a heat wave.

Now there are these nifty containers to hold fruit to give water a bit of flavor and keep your interest in drinking it. Besides, it is very pretty. I attended an event at a church the other day which provided a buffet lunch and there was a table for beverages which had many containers with these cylinders inside of them filled with fruit, even watermelon.
If you think you are gaining weight, drink more water.  A doctor recently told us that being bloated isn't always a problem with weight gain, but is a sign of dehydration!  So, the more water you drink, the flatter your tummy may get.  The fruit in the water can also add some nutrients. If this is not enough flavor for you simply add a few tablespoons of fruit juice in your glass of water.


For myself, I found a glass of water with ice and fruit and a straw works best. I carry it around the house and outside and in the car, but of course that means I can misplace it and have to get another one. Days later I might find one parked up on top a book shelf or sitting on a post outside by the clothesline.

Headaches can also be a sign of dehydration, although not always.  

Sometimes  I like to pour hot water over berries in a teacup, let it cool a little and then sit and rest for a tea break.

It is important to remind yourself to look after your body and mind with water and rest, because no one will regulate you at home, except yourself alone.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio



Greetings Dear Ladies,

It certainly means a great deal to me that so many of you come here during your tea break from your busy home life, and I hope what you find here is something to feed your soul and revive your mood!


I was having look at the recent Victoria magazine that my DH brought me home from Walmart (he likes that there is a 10 percent discount on magazines there), and while I was looking at the lovely country pictures in it, I started to think about a recent book I read depicting similar scenes, called "Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio" by Annalise Doughety  which has recently been made into a movie.



Although I had not thought of posting anything on my homemaking blog here when I  watched the movie,  the new Victoria magazine photos of the farming country and  some of the articles about the lodging and bed and breakfasts, etc. were like  "Love Finds You in Charm."

Since the movie was only shown first in June, it does not appear to be available to buy as a DVD or a download for devices yet.

 After reading about the author down at the end of the page here I am more  interested in writing something about my impressions of both the book and the movie,

 and so....

... amidst piles of laundry that needs to be hung on the line, beds that need making, and a sink full of pots and pans, I am attempting to post my thoughts about this story while I can still remember ;-).  If I don't put them in print quickly,they fly right out of my mind. I am sure I am the not the only one this happens to!



Above: Noah in contemplation in the country where he belongs.

Before I continue, I am posting a clip of this movie in which the producers, the author of the book, and the actors explain more about the theme of this story. Please click on the arrow to watch:



One of the overriding themes of this story is  the often sought-after but elusive quality of contentment. Each character, and the actors themselves, admit that often what restless young people are looking for is right in front of them, at home.




Noah in his blue shirt. You know I am really tuned in to cloth and color, don't you ;-) (He looks like a cousin of ours in Midwest who also is a farmer.)

Here, Noah asks Emma some serious questions about the real reason she came to Charm and what she is looking for.




When I saw this was a story about an Amish girl, my imagination took me to dull costumes, dark corners lit by poor lantern light, strict living, limited activities, and all the typical things a person thinks of when considering that lifestyle.

However the movie struck me first with the beautiful scenery which was like no other, and when shown from the train window, more adventurous. Being the seamstress and stitcher than I am, the beautiful fabric, color and styles in the clothing of the main character, Emma Miller really got my attention.  

 Throughout the movie I lost count of the changes of clothes with different necklines, sleeves,  and the colors, (some in the picture, below)...


... but listed white, light aqua, burgundy, teal, green, light yellow, lavender, mauve, brown, beige and deep purple.  Each dress color seemed to go with the mood of that scene: white was a fresh, new start, yellow an optimistic, sunny moment,


and teal, like the color of deep water, can evoke a sense of serious deep thinking, and  down-to-earth reality.

 If you have ever studied the effect of color on the mood, you may have seen that blues often represent peace and heavenly feelings (seriousness) and greens give an  impression of outdoors and health,  while reds and burgundy's cast a festive look. This movie had colors in clothing that seemed to go with the mood of each scene.


 One of the first scenes of Emma  leaving home for a seasonal visit to her aunt's farm, above, shows a beautiful white dress, and of course, I immediately paused the movie to see what pattern looked the most like it...



... and did find some patterns, but unable to save them in my pictures at this time. This one is a lot like a current New Look Pattern 6341, and some of the necklines on the other ladies dresses in the film are easy to emulate from current commercial patterns.
Above: a dress for part of  the journey to Charm, 


Below, Emma's solid color (they were all solid colors) lemon yellow dress evokes contented happiness and familiarity:



...and this is the only screen shot I could find of Emma's aqua colored dress, despite the fact it was worn in quite a few segments of the film.
This tender scene of Noah holding a shell to Emma's ear, above, may remind you (if you have read this blog over the years) of the nineteenth century painting, "The Shell," by Elizabeth Gardener Bouguereau, seen below. I have posted it here a number of times. There just isn't anything quite like the first time someone hears the ocean in a seashell held to their ear!



The first thing I noticed in this film was the scenery that made me smile, and the second thing that caught my eye was Emma's clothing colors and styles.

After that, was the musical score, which was written and directed by composer, Jamie Christopherson. In fact, I watched the film again just to hear the music and see how it mirrored what was going on.

 Like the colors of Emma's dresses setting the mood of the scene, the music for each segment defined the situation. From the scenic journey past the countryside seen through the train window, to the western round-em-up cattle western score,

 each piece of music seemed perfectly fitting for the mood of the moment.   I noticed whenever the character of Noah appeared in a scene it was piece with a deep, serious tone possibly (Noah's theme, I suppose) and the music that "went" with Emma suited her situation and personality.


This way of using music to define a character has been used in several classical films, including the ones based on Jane Austen's novels.  Emma, in "Love Finds You in Charm," is a school teacher who often stays after school is dismissed, or sneaks away to a hiding place in the barn to read Pride and Prejudice, a practice she continues even when she stays with her aunt Lydia-Ann in Charm, Ohio.

"You should read this book," she urges, "It's about two people named Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. At first, they do not like each other."  


Emma's own life story is playing itself out in similar ways to Pride and Prejudice, as she isn't particularly interested in Noah, who has already analyzed her and knows where she is headed. "I am only sharing this with you," he confides, when relating his own painful experience of looking for something somewhere else to find answers, "to spare you the pain and heartache of all those dead-ends and all that wasted wasted time looking for something that I found was right here in front of me all along."


Noah wins the wood-chopping contest, and earns money which he hopes to give to Emma by winning the auction for Emma's homemade cheese.



As I do not wish to give away the store, I won't divulge much else about the story.  I will close by saying that I have read books and seen movies about people who break free of their perceived isolation, but there are not many stories that show a young lady who is straying into danger, turn around suddenly and return to being the person she is really supposed to be.

The story kept my attention, which is unusual, because there are some movies I am just not patient enough to sit still long enough to watch.

I realize not many of you may be really interested in the Amish, but this seems to be more of a background for the two characters, and the Amish life is not stressed as much as the realization that a lot of the things in the world that entice young people away from their homes and who they really are, are deceptive and will take advantage of their innocence, and  not ever help them get anywhere in the kind of life from which to derive happiness.

I posted a place to order the book, here.

This movie is apparently not yet available on any  streaming online movie site, and doesn't appear for sale as a DVD anywhere that I could see,  but I did find a copy of it on this link.  It is not as clear a picture  as the  movie, but you can get a good sense of what it is about, see the lovely country and hear the music that goes so well with each particular part. I know there are some ladies who might want to own this video.

The movie is embedded at the end of this post and I hope it will not be removed, but if so, it might eventually be available to purchase for your computer.

I would suggest that parents view this first, please!  There may be some things you will object to, so be discerning. Like most books that have been put into movies, some things are changed. Parents know the strengths and weakness of their children and can decide what books and stories send the messages they need.  

I believe this movie is appropriate for parents and for more mature, older children, and that the parent should tell the story aloud first, explaining the different aspects in the movie to provide them with the desired lesson. They need to know the difference between the desirable behavior and characters and the undesirable behavior and characters.

 One example for this principle which I often use is the contrast between Cynthia and Molly in the video series "Wives and Daughters."  Parents need to explain that one of the girls is shallow and thoughtless of others, while the other is loyal and considerate.  The thoughtless Cynthia appears to be "fun-loving", but her foolishness gets her in more trouble and harms other people.  Molly endures disappointments and loss but her honesty gets her a good reward in the end.  I always explain this to young people to give them some guidelines.  I have actually observed some young ladies admiring Cynthia because she  was silly and irresponsible and got herself in "an embroilio"--a complicated life.  

Reading the Old Testament record of the antics of foolish people in comparison to the wise ones, will also involve such explanations. I am sure you have heard the strange conclusions some immature people come up with when they don't understand these principles of right and wrong.

This is why I recommend parents tell the story aloud first, much like an announcer would introduce a classic play or explain the plot  in a Masterpiece Theatre episode.

 Please be sure to watch the behind-the-scenes video posted at the start of this article.  While most worldly movies portray many of the same things that happen in this movie as normal, this movie shows a good contrast between right and wrong, good and bad.  So when you see Emma trying on a few wacky looking clothing items,  or getting reluctantly caught up in a false friendship, you also see that she soon decides what is the right thing to do.



If you like, go to Annalisa's site here, first, and read what she has to say about this story.

Be sure to watch the end of the film, which shows Emma's perfect happiness one year later.


Please click on the movie, below, to watch.  You can also enlarge the picture with the arrow at the lower left side of the frame.




Below: some of Emma's dresses were similar in style in the front to  a 2015 pattern New Look 6341 There was also a variation of neckline styles that I have seen in current dress patterns.

While I am hoping to use this pattern, the back will have to be drawn across and new facings cut. Any time a pattern has a low back neckline, the garment does not stay on the shoulders very well. Look for a post coming up in the next few days of the teal dress I made which was inspired by one of Emma's costumes in this movie. 

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