Saturday, March 17, 2018

In Lieu of a Tea Room

 As disappointed as I was not to get into a tea room, I prevented a big expense by shopping instead for a tea cup.

The tea cups in this shop in the Victorian tea room we're almost all $30.

We are exploring small-town America this weekend while my husband is a guest speaker for a marriage retreat and worship on Sunday.

Mr. S. Patiently escorted me around the different towns, waiting for me to selected the right teacup.

(He had a very good Mother who taught him how to take care of people).

The cost of these have settled on the price of $15 to $20 a cup and saucer set.

We finally found this one, unused and still
in it's original packaging,  at the cost of $4.00, in a Goodwill , as we explored another small town.

I had packed tea with me, and a spare cup with no saucer, and I was able to create tea room for one or two. Mr. S. likes Walkers Shortbread packaged cookies, so he stopped at a nearby Walmart to get his supply, to take with tea.

It was interesting also to see some of the service the employees at Walmart made available to us. They were alert to customers that appeared to be needing help and immediately asked if there was anything they needed. 

If the item was two or more aisles away, the employee texted another employee in that area and by the time we walked the distance, that person was pointing to the item we had been unable to find.

Below: scene from the place we stayed. Last year we were not informed to bring our own bedding and towels, so we slept under our coats. This year, we over-compensated but we were quite comfortable.

Each lady received a gift bag containing a tea cup, tea spoon and bags of tea, along with a newsletter and a cute napkin. I found the tea cups at my local Goodwill store before I left my home.

Visiting Small Town America

Hello Dear Ones,

We have strayed from our  familiar surroundings, and have visited some old towns that are thriving with business and life.

Mr. S. Was invited, for the second March in a row, to be the speaker at at church marriage retreat. A retreat is different from a seminar in that it is a getaway for rest and enjoyment, accompanied by edifying and reinforcing sermons, discussions and fellowship.  We left home a day early to have time to enjoy the sidewalk cafes and shops in small town America.

In my next post I will include the beautiful photos of the location they rented for a night and a day.

Here is an old town in Washington where shops abound, and shoppers browse at leisure on weekdays.

The proprietors in several shops came out the doors to catch us before we passed by and invited us to come in and look around. I bought some hand milled soap in one shop and discovered extra gifts in the bag: a packet of flower seeds, samples of other things.

I liked this pretty silk bouquet and intended to go back and get it but now I can't remember which town it was in. Those big cabbage roses were often seen in the old paintings I often post here.

Later, I got the big idea of going to a popular tea room, but I've concluded that  tea-room quest is sometimes futile, because every place we tried was booked months in advance. Tea Rooms are not always amenable to drop-in visitors. 

We were able to go inside to the gift shop of one lovely Victorian tea room.

In the first session of the retreat speach, Mr. S.  corrected misguided perceptions of the submission issue, which I will publish here later.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Video: Appearance for Older Women

19th century painting by Alberto Pisa: "Reading"

Today I'm giving a talk about appearance for older women. Some of the things not included in the video are:

~You may find some very useful information from  the book called "Color Me Beautiful" by Carole Jackson, which was published in the 1980's,  This book has a color chart which helps you determine what colors make look and feel your best.

~As we grow older we encounter loss and sadness, disappointment, etc.  In a way, Christ addressed this issue when he taught about fasting. He said not to go around looking gloomy, showing others that you are fasting. Instead, he said, wash your face and and let only God know you are fasting.  (Matthew 6:16-18)

Sometimes it is difficult for the young to warm to older women whose appearance is not cheerful. Yes, we are living in a material world while here on earth, and so we will will have to take care of our appearance if we are to have the influence we desire.

`Older women should not be overly concerned about being "relevant" to the young by being trendy in style,  but being able to show the "old paths, where is the good walk." Youth needs to learn about beauty and refinement, and things that are good and lovely, good decorum and demeanor, etc. 

~In a sense, this principle applies to our hardships. It is tempting to let our appearance go when there has been a tragedy or a set back in our lives. As we grow older, our losses increase and and our sorrow can be all consuming.  In such times I think we do more good for others and ourselves by paying careful attention to appearance.  Sometimes just the act of dressing up can change the way we think, and  inspires a feeling of kindness. 

In this video I did not recommend any particular style of clothing, or any way to wear your hair, or skin care. There are plenty of places to find what suits you best, and every woman is different. 

I will say here, however, that I think it is important not to be too drastic when trying to improve your appearance.  (Tattoos, piercings, and edgy hair styles are not a good idea). If you need a new look, buy a new hat. Then, if you don't like it, you can sell it on Craigslist.  ;-) Other changes may not be so easy to get rid of if you find you don't like them.

~ Clothes and hair are the easiest things to control, and it is possible to feel happier and more hopeful when you feel good about your appearance. I always put old paintings on these posts, to inspire the principle of dressing in a feminine and classic way. I had a post once called "Painting Inspired Sewing" in which I attempted to make dresses with modern lines similar to those in 19th century paintings. The idea was to get creative inspiration from these paintings for color, grace, and mood.

It is good to consider why you should take care of your appearance: because it glorifies your Maker, it does not spoil the view for others, and it gives you self dignity, without which  it is hard to function in the best way. I would never make anyone's "best dressed" list but I'm not trying to impress, just wear what inspires me. Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

As usual, please leave me a comment. I am motivated by what you say.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Video: Appearance at Home


In this video I am talking about dressing well at home and the impact it has on the mood and on the things we do.  One day I would like to say there is a perfect way of dressing at home, but since the era of the "house dress" there has been no particular uniform. In general, today, we are free to dress as we like at home, and Christian ladies would want to keep  in mind that even though they are at home, there will be times they will be seen in public, or by someone who comes to the door, and to make sure their method of dressing is dignified and glorifying to God.  If you have anything you would like to add to this, which might be edifying to readers, please leave your comment!  Thank you and God Bless you.

Php 4:5  Let your reasonableness  be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand;

Php 4:6   do not be anxious about anything,  but in everything by prayer and supplication  with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Php 4:7  And  the peace of God,   which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, February 26, 2018


Today I am showing Catherine Klein  postcard art from Pinterest.

Greeting, Ladies,

There is always the big plan around here to rearrange things and get the house where we can function in it a lot more smoothly, which always becomes more complicated, and takes longer that planned, as well you know!

I am stopping for a cup of fragrant passionfruit tea.  I remember as teenagers in Tasmania how we ate this sour fruit right of its bush, and people made delicious desserts with it.  

It makes a pretty tea, the color of strawberry tea and it looks lovely in this cup.
I found a new tea pot, amd I mean new, at the Goodwill, where using a 20% donation coupon, I was able to buy it for about $4.00. This one has no tea stains in it and I'm thinking of keeping it that way.

There is a tea room in the city in a mall that is operated by retiree gentlemen who had a marvelous idea. Due to restaurant restrictions, teaware has to be washed in the dishwashers, and teapots don't do well with that method. These men came upon a solution: fill the pots with hot water, hot enough to make tea, and put a variety of those elegant Tea Forte teabags on the table.

I'm thinking of doing this with my new teapot. Cleaning the spouts is a rather intricate operation.

One of my ladies that comes on Thursday says she will miss the hot tea made in the short my porcelain teapot, so I will continue that custom as well. 

There is a list of blog post subjects in my notebook and after my house is back in order, I hope to post or do videos on these things. I will be thinking of them while I progress around here.

I have collect d things by the front door to take to the storage shed which, although is within eyesight of my home, is still a dreaded walk in the rain. The dining room is full of things that need to go to their proper name laces and the kitchen is already a day of work to finish. If I can also clean the refrigerator and go to the grocery store today, I will think I'm stil 20 years old!

Hopefully I will be back here soon with more important things to say.  Looking at the bird in the first painting, reminded me how their homes blow down and smash apart in the wind and they have to begin again to rebut ld it, but they chirp all that time! I can learn a lesson from that.

One thing I have read on your homemaking blogs that many of you like to when facing grueling cleanup jobs in the house, is play a favorite movie in the background or music or some other preferred the g, maybe a favorite reading of the Bible from an online source, etc. when we were children we used to sing to make the time pass more pleasantly.

So let me think...shall it be Wives and Daughters, North and South (BBC), or The Quiet Man?

See you soon! 

Someone sent me this, and it made me remember how we used to muster up strength , ambition, and determination. Confronted with an overwhelming problem, we may have cried for a few minit s but then we got busy and tackled the thing and did it.

That reminds me I ought to post some more Edgar A. Guest poems.  I am thinking of making a special post to men to share how they can encourage their wives.

As in every duty or endeavor that seems insurmountable, drawing on the strength of these words will give clarity and purpose and motivation:

Heb 4:16  Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Video:Making Your House a Pleasant Place

Hello Ladies,

Today I am talking about the idea of making the house a pleasant place where you can be happy and content. In this video I suggest tackling one small thing a day, such as one shelf, one drawer, one box of papers, or one section of your sewing room. That way, you can go on as normal with daily things, such as meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry, and other duties, and not tear up the whole place at once (smile).

Although not spoken specifically in this video, it kind of goes without saying that every effort to improve must be prefaced with prayer, prayer, prayer! Also, if your plans are bigger than your abilities, you may have to be content with slower progress, but it is so important to remember that in everything you do, to glorify God and to keep a song in your heart. If you try to do it completely on your own steam, you may find yourself sinking in the overwhelming job ahead!

Having a friend or a mother or grandmother, etc. is such a wonderful help, because you can call each other up and schedule things like this:

"Mom, I'm trying to do the following things today. Can I call you when I finish (the bathroom, the kitchen) and can you check back with  me and ask me if I have got dressed and fixed my hair?" It helps to have someone to check with you and ask what your progress is, or if you have someone you can sent pictures to.  Not everyone needs to work like that, but some of us who are more people-persons really need the human communication!

I have been looking for more paintings to use with this subject but finally settled on another cup of hot tea from Pinterest. Well, you really can't do better than that, can you?!

I also want to share with you about the cosmetics and skin care products I used for this video. They are some products I have been trying out lately. (picture of these products to be included soon!)

From the kitchen!

Face cream: coconut oil with and "copaiba" essential oil
Face powder: cornstarch mixed with carob powder (cocoa powder will work well too)
Cheeks: cornstarch mixed with beet powder
Lips: coconut oil with beet powder
Eyebrows: cocoa powder,

Eyes: White cornstarch, tapioca powder mixed with cinnamon.

Other ingredients: arrowroot powder, rice flour, coconut flour 

For hair, I am using a temporary rinse with aloe, Vitamin C, coconut oil, walnut oil. (I will have to get back to you on the name of it, as it is a brand product. )

Tooth paste: (will compose the list of ingredients shortly)

Blouse: White Stag brand from Walmart, all cotton and soooo comfortable.  $3.00
Beads: these are on a stretch chord and this necklace is hand made.

I was testing these cosmetics to see if they would stay put all day and if they seemed a little grainy or faded throughout the day. Not only did they last all day and into the evening but I didn't get that oily t-zone feeling, no skin breakouts, no itching, no watery or stinging eyes.

It seemed there was  a wonderful scent blowing about when I went outside. "My," I mused, "The air smells of cinnamon," but it was only the powders I was using. All day I felt like I was in a room with chocolate lattes, as some of the powders smelled a lot like that!

Of course I can't say these are a miracle of any kind, since these cosmetics did not remove any wrinkles or firm my double chin, haha.

Thank you so much for your visits and your wonderful comments.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Dozen Real Roses That Last

Lately I have been focusing on flowers as an inexpensive bright spot for the home, because they are easily obtainable.

 In the last post I featured the humble PRIMROSE which is now displayed in colorful rows outside the grocery stores and Walmarts.  

The highest price was $1.38 per pot, at Walmart and the lowest was 4/$5.00 (about $1.10 ) at BiMart, but have a look around your area and you will see that even up to $2.00 to $3.00 each, it is a very economical plant and you can group them together in a basket for a fuller look:
This plastic container is $1.00 from Dollar Tree and holds 3 primrose pots. The baskets come in a variety of colors, and I have my eye on a purple one to fill with purple pansies. I have this lovely filigree cut-out style basket on a table in my front window and it looks great from outside.

If you already have a container at home, your cost will be minimal. 

There are usually about 12 blossoms on a plant, and some of them have rose-like petals. They can be kept indoors and then added to the flower beds outside and they reappear year after year unless the gophers get them.

 I use them when I need a bouquet for each table, and have bought them each month for the church dinner tables when we have our potlucks. Each month after the meal, we ask people to take one home, and they are happy to do so. 

I mentioned last time we talked, about the metallic floral ribbon and the pots for the Dollar Tree, as you see, above. In the last post,  I used the yellow metallic ribbon with hot glue, and the yellow primroses. Today I am using the pink metallic florist ribbon, above.  I used hot glue but tacky (a thick, sticky white liquid craft glue works as well.

You can also go through your scrapbook and card-making supplies for those little jeweled stickers.

Those of you with true florist tendencies could add some pretty florist picks amd butterflies, etc. to make the bouquet fuller and fill the empty spots.

You have probably seen the lovely bouquets or bridal bouquets with stems wrapped in silk or other material at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. On sale you can sometimes get them for $4.00 each, but if you are trying to keep the costs down, use an old silk floral stem you might already have.

This stem has six roses on it, and I'm going to wrap it with wired ribbon or wired burlap, also from Dollar Tree.  Since it only takes a small amount, the added cost is minimal, or, you could use a strip of cloth or some lace from your sewing scraps. Look in your gift-wrap supply and find tissue paper and ribbon. This kind of bouquet looks gorgeous in tissue gift wrap or colored cellophane gift wrap.

I got the rose bunch from the Dollar Tree, so my "tussle-mussie " hand-held bouquet with the small amount of wired ribbon was about $1.10.

Bend the wired stem upward ,
...and beginning at the top, wrap the stem in the ribbon, firmly wrapping the ends where they won't be seen.

This looks good on the old worn wood shelf:
You can also slip in a few sprigs of artificial baby's breath, allysum, or hydrangea:

There comes a point where you have to decide if, due to time and additional dollars spent, you would be just better off to buy the prepared bouquet (if you need it), but here is a way to do it at home if you need a quick bright spot somewhere.

That brings me to a memory: In the late 1950's and early 1960's there were flower sellers who sold cloth flowers made from felt, bits of silk and velvet, going from home to home. It was just at the end of an era, and then we saw them no more. 

Mr. S. came through the house a moment ago to see what I was doing, and remarked how romantic the flowers were. He was preparing a lesson on marriage. He said, "I'm going to remind the men to be romantic and hold hands with their wives, even as they grow older, and be an example to the younger men. Particularly in my case, we need to hold hands when we are out walking in Walmart, so I won't fall down."

Note the hair style of the 1800's painting at the top of this post. It is so nice to see this is one of the current styles, and I have no idea how people figured out the technique, since so many hairstyles were just handed from person to person and never sketched out or written down. 

Moderns do a pretty good job of reviving these feminine hair styles, and have elaborated on them beautifully , as you see on Pinterest and on the Royal ladies. I myself have never managed it but it is delightful to see hair returning to real hair "dressing" instead of chemical sculpting!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fresh Flowers For Your Home

I have been told many times how important fresh flowers are in the home, and what a lift it gives the occupants, particularly the homemaker who may spend a lot of time in the house, cleaning, organizing, beautifying, etc., and that the best tea rooms and hotels have fresh flowers. Why only recently we saw fresh flowers on the tables of a local diner, which is anything but elegant service, but yes, what a wonderful luxury it is, and how it eases the emotions.

The question I have always had, is how can you afford the cut flowers, even at the grocery store, when even five dollars is needed to complete your meal supplies or other needful things?  Admittedly the carnations are your best choice for economy and longevity indoors, and I do prefer to do that. 

But what if you had very little money to spare and you need some bouquets throughout the house and do not want to mess with throwing them out later?

Consider the potted primroses displayed outside the shops right now. They can be nurtured indoors for quite awhile and then added to the garden.  They do not die, and it isn't necessary to throw them out and clean a vase afterward.

This variety, above, has layered petals like fancy roses, and there are a dozen blossoms on it, meaning I have a dozen roses for my table.  These are a very economical cost, as I will list at the end of this post

I have inserted this pink one inside a container I bought for $1.00.  The primrose cost $1.10 from one of our stores. We have BiMart and Safeway here locally, as well as Walmart which is in the city.

This one is inserted in a Dollar Tree container, which comes on a package of three, around which I hot-glued a band of florist ribbon, also from Dollar Tree. You can even get your hot glue gun and glue sticks there. If you wonder about the quality, well, I have had my hot glue gun over 10 years.

Each month I try to put something seasonal on the dining tables and mantels, side tables, and Primrose is now my choice. There are sites you can research about taking care of primroses indoors.
The metalic florist ribbon comes on a roll of 9 feet, for a dollar at Dollar Tree.

The total cost when broken down to one plant and container is:

Plants: 4 for $5.00---  $1.22 each. They allow you to buy one, and charge only the single price of $1.22.
Containers: 3 for $1.00--- 33 cents each.
Florist decorative ribbon: 9 feet (3 yards) $1.00 ---6 inches  for about 5 cents or less per pot.

Total for supplies: 

Note: the supplies will not be wasted, as you can use them again.

Total for one bouquet: about $1.66.  

This can be less cost of you already have a container, or place the plant in a little bowl to prevent water leaking, and cover the whole thing in pretty wrapping paper or metallic paper or cloth, or use a pot you already own.  The same with the ribbon, which you might have in your sewing stash.

Total for supplies (note that you can't buy only one container if they are sold taped together at 3/$1.00 so you will have extra supplies. This works well if you are distributing the plants around the house or using them as hostess gifts.

Also, check out the florist section at Dollar Tree. Those glittery and sheer ribbons come in array of colors, as well as the plastic containers.  

Total for one display: about $1.60
That is very good, for a bouquet of 12 fresh flowers ypu will not be throwing away.

You can also gather several pots of these primroses and put them in a larger colorful container all together, which I might do.

With a cost like this, you don't have to deny yourself and your family fresh flowers at home.

A primrose is never wasted because it can be added to the flower beds and often survives the dormant stage in winter and reappears in spring, so you never lose money on cut flowers if you buy this humble primrose. While the grocery store cut flowers are very inexpensive, they are costly if you need the money for other things, and the price of the primrose means everyone can have this luxury in the home.

So today my home has become a fine hotel and guest house, wih flowers in every room.

Someone indictated they were interested in my home made dyed cotton muslin ball fringe curtains so I have added a few pictures here.

Below is one of the accessory pieces I made with the same fabric for the mantel.

...and here is the panel on the front door,

A matching table cover, below.

Putting one pot on top of another empty glass or container gives the plant height for this long vase. The flowers appear to be long-stemmed. 


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