Monday, October 25, 2021

September 2021 Homemaking Newsletter (Autumn Nesting)

“I was brought up to believe in the modern myth that housekeeping is only drudgery, and the housewife is a downtrodden martyr. I thought that any seemingly contented housewives were only ‘making the best of it.’ When I first began housekeeping in my own home, I felt that I had entered the ranks of the mistreated.

After a time I began to realize, to my amazement, that I didn’t feel at all downtrodden, and that I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I began to look at other domestic ‘martyrs’ from a new angle, and I have learned many things.

I have found that there is romance in housework: and charm in it; and whimsy and humor without end. I have found that the housewife works hard, of course–but likes it. Most people who amount to anything do work hard, at whatever their job happens to be. The housewife’s job is home-making, and she is, in fact, ‘making the best of it’; making the best of it by bringing patience and loving care to her work; sympathy and understanding to her family; making the best of it by seeing all the fun in the day’s incidents and human relationships.

The housewife realizes that home-making is an investment in happiness. It pays everyone enormous dividends. There are huge compensations for the actual labor involved…

There are unhappy housewives, of course. But there are unhappy stenographers and editresses and concert singers. The housewife whose songs I sing as I go about my work, is the one who likes her job.”

~ Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Greetings gentle reader! I've been homemaking with all my heart because He said to. Do you join me in the Titus 2 forces? If so, perhaps you would care to read along in another monthly update in which we chat about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post. It is simply an old-fashioned homemaking newsletter. 

As we enter fall, we did our final preserving of "meat in the summer”...

I’ve processed 14 pints of freshly-caught-by-husband, bluefin-tuna. I pressure canned it with homegrown jalapeños, Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground pepper and topped the jars with olive oil. I can’t wait to open that first lid… HERE is the instructions for pressure canning the tuna that I used.

"There be four things which are little upon the earth
but they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
yet they prepare their meat in the summer…"
~ Proverbs 30:24-25

Sometimes a quiet morning spent measuring, pouring and packaging is tender therapy for all the loud things of this world. When you infuse this time with prayer, it can be powerful therapy. 

I’ve made these botanical perfumes as gifts for some lovely women in our church. I call them "relaxing rose perfumes". 

To prepare this all-natural essential oil blend, place 3 tiny dried rose buds inside a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Add 2 tsp. almond oil (or carrier oil of choice), 3 drops of geranium essential oil, 2 drops of Peru balsam essential oil, 1 drop of lavender (or frankincense) essential oil and 1 drop of sandalwood (or patchouli) essential oil. Top off the bottle with more carrier oil if necessary. Put on roller cap/lid and shake well. Your “relaxing rose” perfume is ready to use!

And now, you have also successfully bottled up some lovely aroma-therapy!

I've also begun infusing some of my favorite flowers in olive oil to make a lovely, floral, feminine salve. Here is the tutorial. These too, make lovely gifts!

As you can see, as the garden dwindled down, I became involved in many herbal homemaking projects. These prairie candles were so enjoyable to make and I shared the tutorial HERE in case you are interested. 

I've also been enjoying some autumn nesting… There are many methods to embracing the change of seasons in the home. It is probably one of the most enjoyable of the homemaking arts! My preference is in embellishing with everyday “replacements”. I’ve been a little squirrel packing away fall treasures in anticipation of my favorite season. Here is how I’m infusing autumn into our home:

- I’ll be replacing my every day dishes with this thrift-store “curated” collection of plates in browns, yellows & oranges. There are four different designs but I think they “match” beautifully.

- The cottage printed plate will replace a summery rose plate I have hanging on the wall. This will bring “warmth“ into the kitchen (shown in action on second-to-last picture on this post).

- I’ve collected a few secondhand baking dishes at thrift stores in browns. I will be using these to serve our meals. One is a vintage Pyrex & the other is a brown glass dish which came in a sweet custom-sized wicker serving basket!

- I have brought out my beeswax tapers & brass candlestick holders to enjoy once again.

- I’ve saved our butternut squash harvest to make our favorite soup come October. In the meantime, they are a lovely seasonal centerpiece.

- I will now be using the autumn inspired no-sew “prairie napkins” I made (shared below). It’s always fun to introduce new linens into the fold.

- I’ll be removing the white summer linen sheets and bedding and replacing them with a darker print sheet set and heavier down duvet.

- And lastly, I placed all my autumn inspired (thrifted) fabrics in a basket in order to prepare some projects for the home (this is written for accountability 😉). I had recently done a deep cleaning with some reorganizing. When I went through my closet, I saw all the secondhand sheets & flannels I found for great prices. But it isn’t great when it becomes clutter! Therefore, this will be my seasonal sewing basket (now you are my witnesses). I must produce!

What are your cozy home plans?

I repurposed another thrifted vintage fitted sheet into a set of “autumn prairie” napkins (without sewing)... I’m in love with this “snip-and-rip” process! I had made a set for spring and have used them constantly. I can’t wait to bring in the “new” fall collection. It’s so enjoyable to prepare handcrafted items for your home each season (especially when it costs next to nothing).

When I had purchased the secondhand sheet set, I really only wanted the flat sheet (I’ll share that project once finished) but since the fitted sheet came with it, I was obligated to put it to use (it’s in my frugal OCD nature 😉).

This set of napkins took me five minutes to measure and rip-to-size along with a slow evening spent pulling off excess threads. 

A step-by-step tutorial is shared HERE if you are interested.

These simple napkins give me such pleasure! To turn something obsolete into something useful plain gives me the happy homemaking chills ✨ have you felt that thrill I’m speaking of? when you repurpose little items to embellish your home life?

When purchasing something brand new and mass-produced, there is truly no comparison to the joy one gets from creating something from a castaway nothing.

“…it was not what one had that was important,
but what one made.” 
~ Elizabeth Goudge

I have also been baking up a storm. It seems like the moment the seasons change is the moment that oven becomes alive again after the heat of summer. I always double the recipe for my cookies and freeze the extra for impromptu company. It comes in so handy! 

“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us.” 
~ Edith Schaeffer

Perhaps this explains my love for pretty plates, lace curtains and dainty linens. It is a practical form of homemaking art that we can adorn our homes with. Why limit beauty to just paintings and portraits on the walls? Some of us like to sprinkle it into all our little tasks and rituals as a daily act of love. With the existence of thrift stores, it is possible to be a domestic artist in even the leanest of household budgets.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much…”
~ Luke 16:10

Pictured: freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (another work of homemaking art ☺️).

As far as books and movies go, my daughter and I have been on a fall frenzy and cozied up with popcorn and rented a Hallmark film called "Autumn Dreams". It was sweet and everything you expect in a Hallmark movie. We've also been reading lots of old home decoration books that we have found thrifting. It truly is a time for nesting. 

P.S. I added some new labels in our Etsy shop this month! These dainty calico printed labels are 2.5 inches (and are waterproof and removable) and could be used in so many ways: pantry labels, canning labels, homemade product labels, crafting labels, etc. Just wanted to share!

Pictured below: "Autumn nesting"... the replacement of that one “cottage” plate on the wall turns summer into cozy fall… 

Dearest homemaker, 

Now more than ever, the home needs to be a place of peace. Perhaps even a place of Aw and wonder as we face such ugliness in the world. The home should feel safe, comforting and most importantly, sacred. That each person who enters knows they have entered a refuge from the current reality. It is the way to show our children that THIS is what is “normal” and good. That there is so much difference in these walls from the world’s that their souls will instinctively know that God resides here and they will have a strong desire to be here also.

"My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..."
~ Isaiah 32:18

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 as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me! Also, I have been having trouble with my links. If you decide to click on any of them, would you mind letting me know if they are proper (in other words, do you find you end up where you expect to)? I am trying to troubleshoot this... but in the meantime I'm...

Happily homemaking,

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which help support this blog. Thank you!)


  1. I love mixed china and even flatware. Those must be some really tiny rosebuds to go in those roller bottles. What a nice gift!

    I grew up in the the age of 'you must go to college and have a career or you won't be fulfilled' so everyone told me I would not be happy and divorced soon after getting married at barely 18. Forty-three years after and I am still loving being at home and now being a grandmother of seven.

    I am glad for the reminder to get my fall plates out of the cupboard and my fall napkins out of the drawer and use them! It is time to pack up the summer dishes that we use in the porch and settle into fall. I am ready to get some yummy baking done and into the freezer for when our family gathers for Thanksgiving. Just yesterday I saw some color on our leaves here so the change in seasons is here at last.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your life! A career does not define happiness, but loving one another as God taught us and being the Titus 2 women that God has instructed us to be... ♡♡♡ What a beautiful testimony is your life to this ♡

  2. I enjoy these newsletters. It is like a little pick me up when I get to the computer to see a new one. Thank you. I have put out my fall decorations. I made a new banner with last year's I am thankful for pie slices the family made on Thanksgiving. I hope everyone will be pleased to see them this Thanksgiving when we all get together.

    1. Oh, that sounds wonderful ♡♡♡ thank you so much for sharing!

  3. What a good idea to use thrifted sheets for napkins! I have been wanting to make some new napkins since ours are very stained. There always so many pretty sheets at Goodwill. Your home sounds very cozy and ready for Autumn.

    1. Yes, Goodwill has an amazing variety of affordable sheets. It is so much fun to do some nesting ♡♡♡ thank you for stopping by!

  4. Thanks for the great newsletter! Love all the great projects and ideas.
    My project this week is making red felt poppies for Veteran's Day. I'm going to put pin backs on them and pretty much just give them to anyone who wants one. I'll have 15-20. All from stuff I have, no spending necessary!

    I'm reading a book series that started out around WW1, but has moved into late 20s London. Lady detective Maisie Dobbs. It's very enjoyable.

    I switch dishes, too! I have a wedding set that's ivy covered and use that in spring and summer. And, I inherited our family's china which is Heritage Hall by Johnson Brothers. It's brown transferware a d perfect for fall and winter. It's also much smaller in stature! Compared to today's dishes, it looks so small!

    I've also done some baking. I made whole wheat pumpkin muffins and then used the leftover pumpkin to make 2 pumpkin cheesecakes. I froze one. I love to bake when it's cool. I take a book in the kitchen, pull my chair up to the oven, and pretend I'm Ma Ingalls! It's such a cozy feeling!

    I cleaned out and inventoried the entire pantry and now know exactly what I need and what needs to be used up. Doing this twice a year ensures that nothing gets forgotten.

    I look forward to your next post!

    1. Oooh, I ♡ your list!!! All wonderful things! Your inherited China sounds lovely too! And I can also smell the pumpkin cheesecakes from here ♡♡♡

      Thanks for sharing Debby ♡

  5. I am always amazed at your thrift store finds as I never seem to be able to find anything at the few thrift stores in my area. But, there is one opening up soon in a neighboring town and I am looking forward to visiting it and seeing what I can discover there! You have given me so many ideas of things I want to try!

    I have been spending my evenings reading the Anne of Green Gables series and am enjoying it very much but am almost through the last book. I'm not sure what I will start on next. I do love reading a good series.

    I am collecting all the things needed to try my hand at making your prairie candles. A few more recycled glass jars and I will be ready to start! I'm hoping to make enough for myself and also to have plenty on hand for gift giving too. I've also been harvesting flower seeds from the garden as the season dwindles down and today I've boiled eggs to start some jalapeno pickeled eggs and I've got some pie pumpkins to turn into pumpkin for the freezer. The chickens will enjoy the seeds and shell and we will enjoy the rest!

    1. Hi there ♡ as far as thrifting goes, I do dig through everything and sometimes only come out with one good item. It does take some time to accumulate but I am at a stage in my life where it is more doable as I finished homeschooling. The thrill is in the hunt ♡

      Anne of Green Gables is a lovely series! Have you ever read the "Love Comes Softly" series by Janette Oke? These are a gentle (and encouraging) prairie series and I loved them.

      Your other homemaking projects sound perfect for fall! Let me know how your candles turn out!!!

      love, JES

  6. Sadly, I've had to be "running hither, thither, and yon" lately with extra activities for my daughter, but this week is slowing down and I'm enjoying my home more. I've been able to make old-fashioned chili sauce from garden tomatoes (the last of the harvest), make a new batch of kombucha, bring in some plants to grown inside, and start up my indoor salad gardening again. I've enjoyed making an autumnal wall-hanging quilt top and look forward to hand-quilting it. I'm enjoying reading a book about the Inklings after having finished The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, an extraordinary empty-nester.
    I love the look of those calico labels and am off to find them. :)

    1. There are always busy weeks and nesting weeks in the home! I completely understand that! The indoor salad garden sounds amazing! And that book seems quite interesting about an extraordinary empty nester? I will have to take a peek at it... Thanks for sharing and for your interest in our labels ♡♡♡

  7. I've been doing my seasonal deep cleaning. I changed out the lights above my kitchen cabinets & the new, bright, white light makes my sparkling vintage glass look so lovely.

    I've enjoyed this post, as I do all of your posts though I rarely comment. I have been wanting to ask you if you have a homemaker's book list? I struggle to find good homemaking books to enjoy & wonder if you could recommend any?

    1. Ooh, I love a good seasonal deep cleaning! I just finished mine at the beginning of autumn! And yes I do have a list... I shared it here:

      ♡♡♡ I hope you enjoy it ♡♡♡

  8. Oh, it's all so lovely. You will certainly enjoy that tuna! I've hardly done a thing to decorate but have been trying to keep up and finish up harvest. Am nearing the end of the first "Little House" book :-) An online source you might like is called Victorian Creative (link: I am not associated with her but have enjoyed her site for years. I enjoy looking even if I don't do the projects.

    1. What a blessing that you still have goodies to harvest! And the Little House book is perfect for this season ♡♡♡ I have NEVER heard of that website but will definitely go look today!!! Thank you for the recommendation ♡♡♡

  9. Thank you for another lovely post. I've recently begun following you on instagram also>

    1. You are most welcome! And THANK YOU for following along ♡

  10. I love the quote you started with (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings) but the thing is, aside from being a Pulitzer prize winning author who never had children, she also (always/often/sometimes..not sure) had a maid. She had so much outside validation from her writing and circle of friends, that even though she might have enjoyed her homemaking moments, I see her as more of a dabbler than a full time homemaker.

    1. Hi there ♥️ I'm sure she wasn't a full-time homemaker but I think we can agree that her sentiments on the subject are said beautifully! That is where her gift of writing comes in... she was able to say what many of us feel... Thank you for taking the time to share here! I really appreciate your input ♥️

  11. I am coming to this post a bit late. I love your blog so much, JES, and I'm so glad you returned to the blogging world. Posts like this are so full of beauty and gentleness. You might think me ridiculous, but I actually cried a bit while reading this one. Everything is just so sweet and pretty...I'm going through a hard time right now and my health is poor enough that I can't do much in the homemaking sphere except just the basics, and sometimes not even that. But viewing your beautiful things, is like a balm for my weary soul. Yes, I know that's dramatic, but I mean it. You never know JES, how much the bits of bright beauty you create and share with us, might mean to someone whose life is dark and dreary.

    1. Bless you Laura Jeanne for your kindness ♥️ may better stronger, days be ahead for you ♥️

  12. As of your writing, I was recovering from surgery and knitting. I finished a pair of socks for my husband's birthday in October, and this month I've knitted a pair of socks for my 6'4 son. Yes, they're big! I just need to weave in the ends. Next up, finish a hat that is on the needles. I may go ahead and cast on another pair of socks for my husband or a hat for my son. So much knitting to do along with so many other things over the next month.
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

    1. May you have a speedy recovery! And may your little hands continue to bless your household :) Your knitting projects sound wonderful!