Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thrifty Elegance

"Dickens Series" plate in Mrs. White's home

Over the summer, Mister and I came across a beautiful plate.  It was made in England.  At the time, I had been reading through "Dombey and Son" by Charles Dickens, and was drawn to the lovely blue and white artwork depicting an 1800's British scene.  The plate didn't cost very much, at just a few dollars. Mister encouraged me to buy it. I was delighted. It now sits in a decorative holder in our chambers.

Throughout the years, we have been given pretty things to decorate.  Our home has been furnished and designed in an old fashioned way:  Here a little and there a little.  At times I will wait years before I find just the right item which might go on one of the walls, or perhaps we wait to find the right curtain for a single window in one of the little rooms. (As an example - our bedroom curtains cost only $4 each and are unique in a sheer tan color, bordered with lace.) These are fun and exciting ways to create a charming place to live.  It also encourages great patience and gratefulness when we wait to find our treasures.

There is a style, or way of life, called thrifty elegance.  It costs very little, sometimes a few dollars. At other times it costs nothing (in the form of hand-me-downs from relatives and friends).  We accept just what we need so that our home is not overly crowed with "things."  It is a simple, yet pretty way of life to add touches of charm.

This sort of elegance can also come from our manners and our dignity.  When we live on a small, fixed income, we can do it with grace and confidence, knowing we use our hard work and abilities to keep a neat and tidy home.  We can serve our meals in a classy way.  How many of us set a formal dinner table with napkins, real dishes, and serving bowls?  This is part of elegance, even if we serve humble food.  In this modern day, home cooking is so rare that it is a treat!  It is also very frugal.

There is something very beautiful about being a creative homemaker.  It takes much time, thought, and effort.  We create a restful, pleasant place for our family and our guests when we take the time to create a touch of elegance in a charming home.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

To Make it Easy - The Foundation of Cleaning.

To Motivate the Children - War Slogans for a Clean House.

Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Sunday, September 13, 2015

All These Accomplishments

Pretty pink flowers in our Parlour

We have all heard of supermoms who have perfect homes and perfect families.  They are "accomplished," which means they have many skills. In the old days, this would include the ability to play the piano, paint, and sing.  Today, it is more common for an "accomplished" person to be crafty, a designer, a gourmet cook and other such modern skills.

Yet, there is something very basic and simple about just accomplishing beautiful things at home. These simple things include doing the laundry, keeping the kitchen clean, making pleasant meals, and being hospitable.

I prefer the simple accomplishments. 

These days, it is an amazing feat just to do the basics of homemaking.  It is also very difficult when one has a large family, or when one is feeling ill.  Sometimes, I do a little baking in the morning, and then I dust and vacuum.  I might get some of the laundry started before making lunch.  When my grandbabies are here, I am very busy reading to them, playing with them, and making their snacks and meals. I am delighted with these types of accomplishments!

Still, I have to take many breaks.  Accomplishing things is tiring.  The breaks are necessary.  We need to pace ourselves. Even still, there is a special secret to doing great things in the home.

 I once read about this little girl who said that when she was holding her grandfather's hand, she could run much faster than she could alone.  She was able to do so much more when her grandfather was with her.   There was an analogy that this also applies to our Heavenly father.  We can only do so much alone.  But when we walk close to the Lord, leaning on Him, working with (and for) Him, we can accomplish great and mighty things.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

When I could Not See enough to Keep House - I Cannot Do it All.

Remembering my Childhood - Mother's Dinner Bell.

Is Your House Clean Enough? - Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

The Shabby Garden

Mrs. White's front porch with wildflowers - part of our "Shabby Garden."

In England, the grounds of a property are called a "garden."  Here in the United States, we refer to it as a "yard."    However, when there is an acreage of some substance (from an acre upwards) it is charming to refer to one's property as an Estate, and to the grounds as one's garden.  This is what I like to call our home for my own amusement.

We have always taken great care in the upkeep of our land.  Mister and Great-grandfather (who lived with us for nine years here at the Estate) took excellent care by mowing, care taking, and landscaping.  There were small portions allotted to flowers, simple vegetable gardens, and our strawberry patch.

Since early this spring, things have drastically changed here.

This is the first summer without our beloved Great-grandfather (My father, who passed into heaven early this year).  I see the neglect on the grounds and desperately miss him.  I often think such things as, "Grandfather would never have allowed this screen door to be in such disrepair."  I also see his carefully built woodshed, which stored his winter fuel, and notice the land has just about overtaken its beauty with weeds and overgrowth.

My beautiful outdoor "pulley" system, which once held our wet laundry, has fallen and is in desperate need of a few minor repairs.  Paint is peeling all over the house.  So many things are in great need of care on both our house and our gardens.

Our grass has grown out of control all across our acreage.  Our sons do their best in their attempts at regular mowing but cannot possibly compare with the loving care of Great - grandfather's efforts.

I have only recently stopped crying when I see all the beautiful things Great - grandfather made on the property. They are precious reminders of him.  Instead, I say a prayer of thanks for him, and his presence, with peace and joy.  

In early spring, Mister took on the task of all the yard work and care taking, mostly alone.  He planted wildflowers for me, in remote and obvious locations throughout the property.  He did not have time to plant our vegetable gardens, this past May, because a devastating injury made him home bound and unable to work.  Thus, the state of things at our Estate.

This morning, I walked the property and noticed there is a Shabbiness to it that I have grown to love.  The wildflowers Mister planted for me are bright and blooming in delicate elegance.  They bring joy out of what would be sadness.  I smile when I see them.   There is beauty in some sort of simpleness when we are content and at peace with things we cannot change.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Wouldn't You like One of These?  - Home as a Little Christian School.

Enjoying the Baby - Afternoon Walk in the Parlour.

Remembering Great - Grandfather - Holiness from the Garage.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Apron Delivery - From Joyful Aprons

"Soft Yellow and Green Sophie Apron" from Joyful Aprons

I spent most of the morning cleaning, cooking, taking care of babies, and handling all kinds of phone calls for appointments and home repairs.   One of the children came in announcing that a package had arrived for me.  I was trying to finish up the housework and had to get ready for my husband's doctor's appointment.  I looked at the package and just smiled. It was so pretty.  It looked like a gift, or a present, and gave me joy!

Joyful Aprons package with a lovely pink apron on shipping label.

I could not open it at that moment, so I put it in a safe place until we returned from our outing.  I looked forward to it all afternoon.

The moment finally arrived.

Inside a Joyful Aprons package.

The apron was beautifully wrapped in white tissue paper and sealed with a custom designed Joyful Aprons sticker.  It was lovely!

Best of all, the apron itself is beautiful!

A Joyful Apron

I love the delicate flower design and the ruffled edges.  The material is excellent quality and the craftsmanship is impressive!

A Beautiful Joyful Apron

The apron is even more beautiful than pictured on the site.  There are adjustable straps at the top, which offers a unique design, allowing a crisscross in back.  There are two generous size pockets in front, which have charming little bows on them.  The attention to detail is amazing. 

Looking at this apron and marveling on the way it was packaged reminded me of a gift of flowers.  When someone arrives with a basket of flowers, one lights up with joy and gratefulness.  This is what it was like for me when my Joyful Apron was delivered - it was better than receiving flowers!

The next time you want to send a gift to a sister, mother, grandmother, or dear friend, consider sending them a joyful apron. They will love it!

Here is the link if you would like to order - Joyful Aprons.

* Receive a $5 discount by using this code:   save5

Mrs. White

* Disclosure - I received this item for review purposes.  It was a blessing to receive and I hope my readers are able to purchase one for themselves. *

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Secret to a Clean House

Mother and Daughter with Vacuum, Retro

I have been in many homes and noticed a contrast between lovely surroundings and overwhelming messes.  I realize it is very hard to keep a home clean. I realize we are busy and tired.  Having a house full of family would seem to make it even more difficult. Some seem to take the approach of taking several hours, one day a week, to really clean a piled up mess.  Some, with small children, get a babysitter so they can do the cleaning.  What I would like to share with you today are some "secrets" to having a clean house.

Here is the most important, little known, secret:

We don't clean a house because it is messy. We clean a house so it doesn't become messy.

Here are the tips:

1.  To cut down on the spider population, you must regularly sweep and vacuum baseboards, corners and ceilings. (Daily or weekly)

2.  To keep a clean kitchen, shortly after a meal, do the dishes. Do them right away.

In my childhood days, we would sit at the dinner table after a meal. Our parents would go into the living room for coffee and to watch the news. We children (one or two of us) would then immediately do the dishes, wash the counters and table, and sweep the floor. We did not leave the kitchen, after a meal, until the kitchen was clean.

If you wait to do the dishes, everything gets hardened and it is much more difficult to clean.  It is also overwhelming and unpleasant.

3.  Make the beds each morning.  Fix the sheets, fluff the pillows, and neatly pull the blankets up over the pillows.  Make it look neat and pretty.  This creates a nice atmosphere in the bedrooms.

4.  Do the laundry at regular times. If you have to go to a laundromat, don't leave until your clothes are completely dried, folded, and placed in a basket.  Always fold them and put them away.  Make time to do this. Schedule your day around when the dryer is going to stop. This is an efficient part of keeping a nice home.

5. If there is a spill (of food, drink, or crumbs), clean it up immediately. This is a safety issue. Even restaurants, stores, and businesses have this policy of immediate care.  If left untended, it could damage your property. Or someone could accidentally step in it and track it all over the place. This makes it even more difficult and time consuming to clean.

6.  Pass the time (with small children) by cleaning together.  Most families color, paint, and do crafts with preschoolers.  There is certainly a time for artistic endeavors. But don't ignore the fun and educational opportunities in cleaning, as a game, with little ones.

For example:  If you are spending an hour taking care of a 4 year old, get a basket of laundry and each of you get a clean facecloth. Step by step (with smiles and encouragement) teach the child to fold.  You fold it over once and say, "your turn!"  Then watch as the child copies your action. Repeat until at least a few items are folded.  Next, start picking up books and saying, "let's put these on the shelf, will you help me?" Or, (to put toys away) help sort different items into little bins (perhaps by object or color).

In daily life, involve your children in the chores by happily and willingly cleaning together each day. This is how the work gets done!

The children will love spending this time with you and go along with the cleaning.  In this way, children are learning, and having fun, while important work is being accomplished.

7. Here a little and there a little. That is the secret approach to keeping the home neat.  You pick things up as you go about your day at home.  You neaten a room when you walk into it.  You do not sit and rest when things are in chaos.  You do the work - you do the duty. Then the reward is to sit in the pretty room and take a break.

Now remember the most important secret of all, because it is a pleasant and happy way to clean. And that is to clean as you go along. Clean the house in a way that prevents messes.  Make it a joyful part of your daily routine - to clean and to bless those around you by your cheerful efforts.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Don't Let this Be True - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

A Winter Drive - Time with Mister.

In Case you Wondered - Why The High Cost of Food?

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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