Thursday, January 28, 2016

Domestic Life

Mrs. White's sewing project at the dining room table.

I have 2 yards of pretty cotton fabric. I am using it to make 2 dozen cloth napkins.  I have a pattern for the napkins, but wanted mine smaller than the instructions called for.  I folded the pattern piece over and just cut to the size I wanted.  I use my kitchen table when I do my sewing projects.  Then I take the cut pieces and my sewing basket and hand sew when I have time.  So far, I am almost finished hemming the sides of 4 of the napkins. It has taken me about a week now. This is because I do it as if it were an old fashioned work basket from days gone by.

Homemakers used to have mending, knitting, and sewing projects in a work basket. They could take this with them wherever they went, or just have it near their favorite chair near the fireplace.  They would sew during their leisure hours, or when visiting with guests and family in the parlour.  I am sewing without pressure and without rushing. 

My sewing basket was given to me when I was a teenager by an Aunt.  I have carried it with me through many homes, many moves, and many states during my lifetime.  It is an essential part of my housekeeping.

I also have an old yardstick which was found in our 1850's house.  (It was in the sewing room, which we later converted to my dressing room.)   I am guessing it is from the 1940's or 1950's.  It is very lightweight and has an advertisement on it.  It is for a Real Estate company here in Vermont. This was a brilliant tactic to keep their company in the eyes of homemakers.  Most women were sewing clothes, curtains, tea towels, and tailoring hand - me down clothing to fit their children. That yardstick was in constant use!  The ladies would see that company name several times a week.  These days, companies give calendars and refrigerator magnets.  But I love to see the ad on my yardstick!  It makes me think of all the homemakers before me who were capable with their household sewing projects.

I have been so busy around the house doing projects. I have staircases to sweep, baking to do, and, clothes to organize.  Today, I had a visit from some of my grandchildren.  They arrived at the lunch hour and caught me by surprise. I was grateful for a steady supply of wheat bread, peanut butter and jelly, and fresh apples with cinnamon. I also keep apple juice and juice boxes on hand for such visits.  I have lots of little books I read to the babies while they eat their lunch.

Late last month, I bought a few toys which were on clearance. I keep them here for the grandchildren to play with.  When my oldest grandchild arrived (he is 3) I brought out an imitation etch-a-sketch for him. It cost me 75 cents and he was greatly amused with it!

I keep two little bowls full of crayons on my sideboard table near the kitchen. There is also a stack of scrap paper.  My granddaughter (21 months) enjoyed coloring in the highchair.

Soon we went downstairs to play in "grandmother's nursery."  This is a charming playroom full of toys for the babies.  There is also a cozy love seat for me to sit and rest while the children play.  I brought out a toy tea set which delighted the babies.  There is a set of four cups, spoons, and plates along with sugar bowl and teapot.  We have two toy kitchens in the room so there is much to do and enjoy.

When the grandbabies went home, the house got very quiet and I went back to my work.  I had supper to make and napkins to hem.  I will rest in the little back parlour and read for awhile and drink some tea.

Tomorrow there are errands to do with Mister.  I will bring a blanket and sit in the passenger seat while he does the driving.  It is snowy and cold here in Vermont and it is so nice to bring a blanket for comfort and warmth. Then we will head back home to our cozy fire and enjoy our domestic life.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Peacefully at Home - Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking.

What Would Happen - If I Visit You at the Dinner Hour.

Remembering Old Time Thrift - Building our Homes with Little Money.

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. 



Tammy said...

Thanks so much for sharing your day with us!
I love these little glimpses into your life, they seem so peaceful and uplifting.

I esp love when you give us glimpses of the inside of your lovely old home (I'm a sucker for old houses), so please feel free to share more pics in future!

Down here in SE Georgia, we don't get much cold weather, so I love to read about your days by the fire. Have a joyful weekend, Mrs. White.

Rhonda said...

Hello Mrs. White, it's wonderful to read your sweet posts again.
Your home is a lot like mine, just different states :)

We started using cloth napkins many years ago when we truly could not afford to buy paper ones. I made our mix-match first napkins with scraps. They weren't even all the same size but they were useful. In years to come when we could afford paper things, my husband has such a preference for cloth napkins so that is what we still use and we only have paper napkins for big family meals, thankfully I have matching napkins now,

Tammy said...

I like the picture of your project! I am wanting to makes some napkins and also some dust cloths from an old sweatshirt (the dust cloths). It is taking me a while to get it all done, but I like what you said about doing it as you have time. As always, your post is very encouraging and I'm glad that you have time to write again!

becky said...

I love to do my cross stitch-am working on one for my 7th grandchild.I make one for each one. The 8th is coming in late summer. So fun to pull out when I am sitting by the fire.
Thanks for posting.

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

Dear Mrs. White,

It is so lovely to read your posts again. Sounds like you had a very enjoyable afternoon with your sweet grand babies.


Cheryl said...

I love to work with my hands while sitting, also. The napkin idea is wonderful, and I may have to try that! I love hand-sewing and always prefer it over using the machine, and I also love to crochet. I am currently working on our Christmas crate...buying things on sale, as I find them, and crocheting dish cloths from dear Laura's (from Harvest Lane) pattern that she shared a while back. This way, if God spares time and life to see another Christmas, most of our shopping and preparation is done. There is no stress involved, and things are so peaceful. Thank you for the lovely post, Mrs. White!

Florence said...

I am so glad you are back to blogging. I've missed your gentle friendship.

Linda said...

I am so grateful and encouraged by your posts. They give such a warm and peaceful feeling on a cold winter's day.
Thank you Mrs. White for your posts.

Keri said...

Do you use a pattern from another napkin and just shorten it? I enjoyed your post!

Debbie Slaughter said...

When I read your posts, it's like I'm back in time, which is so fantastic. Thank you for always coming back to this blog. It touches a place in some of us, that we need to keep fresh and pass on to the future.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello, I really enjoyed the idea of your mending basket, as you are so right about the darning and replacing of buttons that was required. I do have a basket and it is nice to work on something small! I send a blessing for all you do to inspire and encourage us homemakers!
Thank you, Roxy

Linda L said...

I'm so grateful you are writing again! I loved to hear how you prepare for and interact with your grandbabies. We are very involved with ours so you have given me some ideas.

Thank you for your posts!

Judith Kowles said...

This is my first time visiting you. Thanks for sharing about the napkins you are making. I have made lots of napkins but I never had a pattern. Have a wonderful week.

Elizabethd said...

My first time here also, visiting from Stephanie's link party.
How lovely to read your post. I have made all our napkins, and indeed the place mats to go with them. There is such a feeling of satisfaction from creating your own, rather than buying ready made. Perhaps it's my age!
I shall visit again.

JES said...

Lovely to have you share at the Art of Home-Making Mondays again. I am looking forward to receiving your posts once again ;)

Mrs. Sarah Coller said...

Sounds like a beautiful day. I have a goal this week to figure out how to do a hem stitch by hand. I've never learned to hand I better get busy! :)

Mrs.T said...

Lovely post. I'm visiting from Roses of Inspiration and enjoyed this post so much. I like to do handwork when there is time: hand sewing, crocheting, embroidery, counted cross stitch, etc.

Stephanie said...

My dear Mrs. White, what a joy to visit your blog again. Your posts always such a delight to read and I love how you share the joy of simplistic living.

Thank you for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!

Laura Lane said...

I need to make some napkins. What dimensions did you use to get so many napkins out of two yards? I am enjoying your blog. I'm commenting on this post out of order. I'm still in 2013. ~smile~

I looked for Lorna Doone cookies at Wal-Mart the other day, but they didn't have any. I'm sure they used to carry them. Have you tried Biscoff cookies? They have a bit of a spicy flavor to them that seems grown up and is delicious with a cup of tea.