Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sometimes it’s Difficult ~ Snippets

100+ Daniel Gerhartz, artitist ideas | painting, art painting, artist

Sometimes it’s difficult to be a light in all the darkness, to sail bravely when you feel like sinking, to stand strong for your convictions when you feel like collapsing... but I think it would be more difficult to watch the results in your home if you didn’t.

You make a huge difference dear homemaker. Keep on shining as you are raising up little candles in your home that will one day light up another corner of this earth. Imagine the beauty when we release our efforts into this world. You are needed now more than ever. 

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. “

~ Joshua 1:9

๐Ÿ•ฏ 

(Note: I'll be sharing these little "snippets" here and there from some of my more special Instagram posts that I feel some of you may enjoy that aren't on it... Painting by the talented Daniel F. Gerhartz)


Monday, April 26, 2021

The "Art" of Home-Making Mondays ~ Inspiration #10

 

“Live at home.”

I used to be frustrated with my home life as the vision I had in my heart never seemed to come into fruition. Then one day I realized (about 15 years ago), that in order to make the home you desire and yearn for, you need to actually be home to make it happen. (It doesn’t happen while you’re at Target, and it doesn’t happen while strolling around the mall.) When you begin to invest time into your home, the vision becomes a reality... by simply being there, putting in the daily effort and cultivating it every moment you have... whether it be keeping it neat and tidy, decorating it nice and cozy or being present and celebrating life’s little victories together as a family around the dinner table... Step by step, the investment of the homemaker’s time is key to creating a beautiful home life.

Hence, “live at home.”

An important message to our sweet subscribers:

Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update, that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. After July 2021, the automated emails to our subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue getting updates on our blog, please consider switching to Bloglovin (on sidebar) or some other system. In the meantime, I will see what options I can offer on my end. Thank you for understanding and subscribing! Love, JES

Thursday, April 22, 2021

One Tablecloth Repurposed into 4 Different Items


"There is great satisfaction in making something out of nothing, in restoring some old cast-off to a place of usefulness and beauty, or rescuing some discarded piece of wood, stone or metal from the dump and turning it into an object that has purpose and charm in your home." 
~ Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

I have shared awhile back how I have a goodly supply of tablecloths which don’t fit my tables (it is a long story and has something to do with very hot water ๐Ÿคฆ‍♀️ ). Since I love all of the fabrics, rather than donating them, I decided to repurpose them. Here is the story of one... a neutral, striped, cotton cutie. I believe I shared a few of the projects in my monthly newsletter but I thought it would be nice to place them all together in one post for inspiration.

The top part of this tablecloth was cut in half and used as a curtain in my stand-alone pantry. To remedy the piles of bulk flour, sugar and so forth on the floor, we had bought a cabinet to store our excess in at a second-hand store. 

We painted it up nice and pretty and attached a spring rod with this "curtain" to keep the area looking tidy. Now I feel we have a nice storeroom area that blends in with the house.


The second piece was cut into four dish towels. I had this lace from grandmother’s stash that I used for a romantic trim contrast. I call them prairie dish towels. I love how they came out and may give my second set as a hostess gift. I love this type of repurposing because you can't find something like this in the stores and it appeals to my old fashioned taste.


I refashioned another part of the tablecloth into these homespun potholders... I liked the idea of making potholders as the fabric coordinates with my dishes and would look nice on the dinner table. They certainly didn’t come out as planned with my humble sewing skills. So, when all else fails you label it “homespun” and declare it a success. To make them, I cut the fabric to my desired size and placed a piece of a cast-off bath towel in the middle for more thickness. Then I stitched around the whole thing with a machine and hand stitched around the edge with contrasting embroidery thread. No money was spent.


The last piece was repurposed into this oversized, reversible dish drying mat. I had only enough of the striped tablecloth fabric left to make one side of the mat. I used a piece of a thrift store flannel sheet to cover the other side making it reversible! I was really excited about this project because I always use a dish drying mat and the store bought ones are too modern looking for my taste. It was nice to create something to my liking while costing little.

To prepare it is similar to the potholder: I cut the fabrics to my desired size and placed my other half of that cast-off bath towel in the middle for more thickness. Then I stitched around the whole thing with a machine, turned it right side up and stitched around the entire edge once again. Have you ever made a dish drying mat? How did you go about it?


Up and down goes the needle, followed by the thread, the ritual of sewing has been the same for centuries. There is solace in a simple task, that has the same basic rules, which permits you to fashion what you please in the comfort of your own cozy home...

What about you? Do you like to repurpose old linens? What do you like to make with them? From one unused item to many makes me very pleased! Do you have anything gathering dust that could be given a new purpose and meaning in your home?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The "Art" of Home-Making Mondays ~ Inspiration #9

 

"O dear mothers, you have a very sacred trust reposed in you by God! He hath in effect said to you, “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages.” You are called to equip the future man of God, that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If God spares you, you may live to hear that pretty boy speak to thousands, and you will have the sweet reflection in your heart that the quiet teachings of the nursery led the man to love his God and serve Him. Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord. Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty."
~ Charles Spurgeon


A message to the sweet subscribers:

Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update, that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. After July 2021, the automated emails to our subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue getting updates on our blog, please consider switching to Bloglovin (on sidebar) or some other system. In the meantime, I will see what options I can offer on my end. Thank you for understanding and subscribing! Love, JES

Saturday, April 10, 2021

February/March 2021 Newsletter

“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?"
~ Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?

I am a bit amazed as I went to do a record of March for the monthly newsletter and realized I never had done February (and so I apologize for this longer post)! Time is too precious and flies away if we do not anchor it. Once again we find ourselves with another set of monthly newsletters in which we chat about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which really don't fit into its own post! It is simply some old-fashioned, womanly chit-chat. Do brew a pot of coffee or tea and relax for a few minutes...


I had been saving up a gallon-sized bag of apple cores and peels in the freezer until I had enough to produce these seven jars. They are a welcome arrival to the dwindling winter pantry. This recipe for using apple scraps for jelly is shared in our ebook “100+ DIY Projects to Make with Fruit Scraps”.


Here is a picture of the last days of my winter pantry. I have been enjoying displaying each season on a small scale on this little shelf in our kitchen/dining area. It gives me incentive to press forward each month and be a gleaner!


These last few chillier months have also been filled with lots of sewing projects and some baking and a bit of growing... When you are finished with your green onions, place the remainder (with root) in a recycled jar (now it must be recycled or it won’t work ๐Ÿ˜‰). Fill the said jar with water and place near your window on the kitchen sink. Every three days or so, change out the water. In return for this kind service, the green onion will continue to grow. You can continue to snip into all your favorite recipes and $ave at the same time. I’m not sure how long this congenial relationship will last but I do think it’s worth the small investment of time. Enjoy your little snippets of greenery and flavor in your indoor winter kitchen garden. I had three vases going at one time and it was also quite decorative!


Once again I am reminded of the variety of gifts given to us in each month and love being a seasonal homemaker.

The seasonal homemaker looks to her surroundings for domestic inspiration...

She cooks with what the Creator provides in the appropriate season as she is able (or she preserves what she can to extend it delights), she decorates with the bounty of nature’s offerings in each seasonal landscape and she takes her cue from creation in the winter as she bunkers down into a cozy little cave called home.  There is never a dull moment for her as she is constantly challenging herself to creatively utilize what she has available... it’s a bit of a hobby to some and a lifestyle for others. Either way, the seasons make a homemaker’s life lovely and full of variation.

I have taken advantage of the last of the citrus season... I baked an orange glazed coffee cake (pictured above). This yeasted cake used two whole juicy oranges (rind included) from a neighboring tree.

๐Ÿงก ๐ŸŠ 

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1


I also made up a batch of these lemon tea cookies. I'm not talented in decoration skills but have enjoyed using nature to embellish my bakes! These are all ready for the picking! In addition, I have made and shared an "orange crazy bundt cake" and "lemon crazy cup-cakes" with my citrus produce if you are interested in the recipes. Both are quite frugal and (might I say?) fabulous? 


I've also dried a batch of lemon and orange slices. I will use them to flavor my teas, in simmering potpourri, as decorative garlands (shown above in the winter pantry post) and I'll be making scented wax sachets with them soon! I'm very much looking forward to that little project.


Shown here is a small batch of Meyer Lemon Honey Jam I preserved. These will be nice swirled into teas as well! Little by little the pantry begins to grow... The recipe was found at Food in Jars.


I've made up some homespun style "Scripture Sachets" filled with lavender buds. I am hoping this little project has cheered up a special young lady. These last few months I've also shared some DIY Dinner Napkins and Embellished Some Ordinary Kitchen Linens with Lace. What joy these little items have added to my kitchen dwelling!


A few months ago, a big batch of my daughter’s old dresses which I had lent out over the years were returned to me. I have spent a good part of the winter restoring them. 

I carefully washed all the dresses in cold water and put aside the ones with stubborn stains. Then I went through the inventory of dresses to see which had missing buttons, tiny tears and little holes. 

Slowly I have been working on each dress to bring it back to its “former glory”. In taking care of these little things, we are showing our family that their history is important. That new isn’t always necessary if we maintain the old. That being a steward of the blessings in our home is vital to the preservation of the home. That if we take care of what we have, the next generation is ensured a special earthly legacy. 

(All this -- and perhaps more -- is communicated in the humble mending basket.)

There is “a time to tear apart and a time to sew together...” 
~ Ecclesiastes 3:7


March brought in a bit of sunshine into my world!

I do feel bad declaring I’ve begun foraging while others are knee deep in snow. But when I saw the baby crop of dandelions appear on our lawn last month, I just had to gather. With a small basket in hand, I picked and delighted in the cool, crisp winter sun. I laid the flowers out carefully on a clean linen cloth on a dainty little tray to dry.  They have finished up nicely. Though they yielded but a few cups, I am still pleased as I add another jar to my home apothecary.


There is something deeply satisfying about a slow curated collection of herbs... based on what you harvest yourself... it is a gentle, seasonal blessing to your home.

๐Ÿ’›


The humble dandelion boasts many benefits and would be a lovely herb to start children on. With a nice dried jar of it, you can make nourishing salves, lotion bars and/or tonics (dandelion detoxes, is a diuretic, digestive bitter, skin healer and muscle soother to name a few attributes). The apothecary labels are from our Etsy shop.

Here is my happy batch of dandelion lotion bars I've prepared with them. ๐ŸŒผ The recipe was found at Calico and Twine.


I continue to do routine maintenances in the kitchen as the seasons change... I spray down the countertops with a Castile soap and water solution. I scrub the sink with baking soda infused with lemon essential oil. I clean the toaster oven and removed crumbs from the tray. I wipe down and refill the canister jars with more flour, sugar and coffee. I assess the foods displayed on the counter to see what requires attention as it manages the gleanings of each season. Is it time to place the eggs in a smaller vessel? Do the basket of lemons need using up more quickly?

It is not a picture perfect kitchen as there is always a project brewing on the sill, infusing in a jar or fermenting on the sink. It sautรฉs, bakes, roasts, fries, boils and preserves. It gets messy and becomes clean. It gets reduced and is restocked.

It is a working kitchen and it is the heartbeat of the home.

(Note: the canister labels are also sold in our Etsy shop.)


I preserved another batch of chicken/vegetable stock as I needed to be making more room in our freezer for the upcoming garden produce. We had some older layers which my husband “processed” in the winter. I made a batch of this broth with them and added a few smaller containers of cooked boneless chicken back into the freezer from them. Though I love the convenience of the canned room-temperature broths, I think my favorite part is lining the finished jars up on the pantry shelf. I’m simple like that...


And now here is the March Pantry...

This is my little shelf of what I was able to preserve and harvest this last month (based on seasonal resources). Though a humble offering, it managed to increase our provisions just the same...

— fresh white roses, clipped from our blooming bushes

— 6 small jars of Meyer lemon honey jam (using gifted fruit from a friend’s tree)

— 7 quarts of chicken/vegetable stock 

— 2 cups of dried dandelion flower herb, foraged

— dandelion garland, to be added to the jar of herbs once dried 

We will see what April brings our way...


As far as watching movies and such goes, I have found much interest in The Great British Baking Show! Have any of you watched it? I know I am behind in these kinds of things but it is so inspiring to see how others bake, to get tips and just the creativity in general! 

(Pictured above are some Einkorn flour ginger cookies I baked.)


Though I have been reading snippets of books and such here and there, I haven't honestly finished anything quite yet. It has been a busy few months with family and the Holy Days that just passed and I tried to give my whole heart to that! There was lots of planning and preparing and baking in general for those gatherings but I like to keep those sacred memories private...


With that being said, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated and hearing about your homemaking projects always inspires me! In the meantime, I have some spring cleaning to start!

Happily homemaking,
♡ JES


"Homemaking -- not in the sense of housekeeping, but in the broader sense of cultivating the life of a home -- has to be done on purpose.

The essence of home, you see, in not necessarily a structure. What makes a home is the life shared theme, wherever that may be. And cultivating the life of home requires intentionality, planning and design. There must be someone (or several someones) to craft the life, the beauty, the love, and the inspiration that overflows from that place."

~ The Life Giving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson 

๐ŸŒน

“There is profit in all labor...”
~Proverbs 14:23a

“Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
~ John 15:13

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness."
~ Proverbs 31:10, 27

(the books linked on this post are affiliate links)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Timeless Homemaking ~ Snippets

Timeless homemaking... 

It is not found in an expensive piece of crystal, a brand new set of silverware or a cold display of department store china.

It is found in the simple pantry ingredients which artfully transform into delicious dainties, in the little humble cottage garden decked with a plethora of petals and in the brittle brown box of grandmother’s old dishes.

It is found in being content with what you have and using every lovely resource to its greatest advantage.

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”
- 1 Timothy 6:6-8

๐Ÿค

(Note: I'll be sharing these little "snippets" here and there from some of my more special Instagram posts that I feel some of you may enjoy that aren't on it... Painting: Lilacs by the talented Daniel F. Gerhartz)

Friday, March 19, 2021

"Pink Windex" aka Rose Petal Windows and Glass Spray ~ Romantic Homemaking Series

“What a lovely thing a rose is!”

~  Arthur Conan Doyle


If you have a love of roses as I do, then I think you will enjoy this sweet little project which brings them into the housecleaning routine. Our bushes are blooming and making this all natural window cleaner with a few of the buds brought me so much pleasure. You can even make a complete collection of rose cleaning products with them if you desire (more on that below).


Simply soak one cup of fresh (pink or red) rose petals in 1 1/2 cups of vinegar in a pint jar (line the inside of the lid with plastic if it is metal to keep it from corroding). Shake the jar gently when you think of it. Let the contents infuse for 1 to 2 weeks and strain.


To prepare the window and glass cleaner, place one cup of the rose-infused vinegar with one cup of water in a large spray bottle (this is an affiliate link). Add 1 tsp. of cornstarch and give the bottle a nice shake until everything is evenly distributed. You will need to shake the bottle each time before using. 


Your windows and glass cleaner is ready for service! For best results, use an old newspaper to wipe down the surfaces. We also use cotton rags (you can see my pretty version with lace above -- visit here to make your own).

This lovely recipe is inspired by Jan Berry from her beautiful book of homemade products (and is a part of my Beloved Homemaking Book List which I highly recommend).

 (I've stored my set of labels inside my "Inspired Home Junk Journal" until I have need for them.
I simply made a paper pocket and tucked them in.)

Now for the fun part! Here is a rose-inspired printable label to use on your bottle if you like. I have also included a whole set of romantic rose-inspired cleaning labels should you like to elevate your spring cleaning routine this year! You can make it all pink and pretty! Simply replace the lavender in all the recipes shared here with rose petals. 

Happy romantic homemaking dear friends!


This post was a part of our... Romantic Homemaking Series:



Monday, March 15, 2021

The "Art" of Home-Making Mondays ~ Inspiration #8


"It is my belief that the housewife makes the home, and the home makes the nation. As Mrs. Julia Wright has written, children are born into a home, and they shall be in it all their lives. What this home makes them, they shall train up their future children to be -- as here they learned. They shall carry their energies and example into the world, for better or worse, as here was taught them. In this home children receive also their instruction; their worldly occupations are chosen, and fortunes laid up for them; their moral character is determined. You see thus all the energies, the business, the industries, the inventions of the world, have really their center, their inception in the home: It is the world's animate heart. Erase all homes, all home life, ties, needs, joys, and how long would the wheels of labor and commerce move on? How important, then, is every home! What a tremendous responsibility surrounds its founding! How needful to count the cost!"


Friday, March 12, 2021

No-Sew "Snip and Rip" DIY Dinner Napkins - Romantic Homemaking Series


“Love is a great beautifier.” 
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Greetings dear ladies! I am excited to share this simple, simple concept with you all which will give you a dozen lovely new napkins with just a short amount of time. These "snip and rip" napkins don't require a sewing machine and are rather fun and addictive to make!


First, you will need a basic cotton flat sheet (or large piece of good absorbable fabric or even a huge tablecloth) and a pair of scissors. I used a twin flat sheet I found at the thrift store and it produced me with 12 napkins! A larger sheet would provide more and so forth. 


Now, I won't be going into too much details as it will lose the fun. The basic concept of this tutorial is common sense. First, you will want to snip and rip off all 4 corners (edges) of the sheet (or fabric) in order to make it straight. To do this, you simply get near to the end of the sheet and do a one-inch snip. Then using your hands, you tear the sheet or fabric all the way down to the edge. Believe it or not, if the fabric is hearty, then this will give you a good straight end.


Snip and rip off all four corners of the sheet (the goal is to remove the hems on all sides). This will give you a perfect rectangle-sized fabric with frayed edges. I am keeping my edges for another project and will share that soon. You may want to do the same ♡


Next, I folded the sheet to see how many napkins I could get out of one "row". When I folded the longer part into three's, that seemed to give me an 18" napkin size that I liked. You can choose your own measurements. With that being said, I made 2 more snips of equal distance and turned the long side of the sheet into three equally sized long strips.

Next, I measured across the long strips and was able to measure out four complete square napkins from each strip. So, I measured 18 inches, did a snip and then a rip. This gave me one square napkin. I continued this with the rest of the sheet strips until I had a dozen. There was a bit of fabric left at the end of each strip that I have other plans for.

I'm hoping this makes sense! ๐Ÿ˜…


Basically, you are snipping and ripping the sheet into equally sized squares! I now have a pile of 12 squared 18x18" pieces of frayed fabric. 


Next is the fun part! I did this at night while sitting with hubby on the couch. You simply pull away and unravel the threads around the napkin to get a nice evenly frayed edge. Once this is done on all the napkins, wash them and dry them a few more times (to release any excess threads) and repeat the thread-fraying process. Once you've done that they should "hold" and keep the nice edging without constantly needing to de-fray, etc.


And now you are left with a pretty pile of dinner napkins! Obviously you make these to taste. A calico fabric or sheet would make a homespun napkin. A geometric sheet or fabric would make a modern napkin. A large floral print would make a romantic napkin. I call mine "prairie napkins". There is something for everyone!


I purchased my second-hand twin sheet for $2 and was able to get 12 ample sized napkins from it. I would say that is a great deal! You may have sheets lying around in your cupboard and can do this for free. I would only suggest you use sturdy fabric with more natural fibers that absorb (polyester sheets/fabric would NOT be a good choice for that reason). 


For those of you wanting to start a cloth napkin collection and reduce your paper towel purchases then this is a great project to get started on. I have a feeling I will end up with lots of new napkins for each season! I really adore how these turned out! They have such a prairie, cottage, shabby look to them that I love... Do you think these are something you would like to make?

Happily homemaking,
♡ JES





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