Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Pleasant Times Idea House of the Year

Today, the Editor and her family had the distinct pleasure of visiting a beautiful house that I am declaring the "Idea House of the Year" for my area of the world. I would like to take my readers on a little tour, though I must beg forgiveness for some of the photos being rather blurry. Either the photographer has an unsteady hand, is holding a baby while taking the pictures, or it was because the camera was flashing "no batteries" at the time. Rule #1 (to add to all other rule #1's on our lists): always charge the camera before going someplace amazing.


The House belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and Mr. Johnson designed and built it. It overlooks a lake.


Mrs. Johnson is a self-taught decorator, and I must say that her talented decorating style compliments her husband's building talents. Mr. Johnson built both fireplace mantels, and designed many delightful nooks and crannies into the house, which Mrs. Johnson fills with treasures that bring joy to the beholder.




Mrs. Johnson is from England, and there is a gentle English influence in both the design and decor of the house. Below we see the foyer on the left, entering into the family room, which has a view of the lake.






Here is an unfortunately blurry photo of some of the beautiful pictures adorning the foyer. Mrs. Johnson finds many treasures at estate sales, garage sales, auctions and markets, and I must say has quite an eye for finding these things! Many of the paintings in her home are the ones that we bloggers enjoy putting on our blogs to make them beautiful, and she has managed to find them at these various sales.



From the foyer, you notice that opposite of the family room is a step up to a small hall. This I found a charming part of the house. Below you see that as we step up and into this hall, the back doors come in sight, and they happen to be antique bank doors found at an auction! The times of business hours are still etched on the doors.



Here by the back doors we see a beautiful floral arrangement, which is one of Mrs. Johnson's many talents.





A picture opposite of the entry table shows a charming Cottage in England.





Below is a basement or closet door opposite the back doors. Now this is my kind of door! It looks like a real door ought to, and it is one I don't mind looking at, for I think it has elegant style. Why shouldn't our interior and utilitarian doors deserve as much attention to beauty and detail as we put into our front doors?



Below we have several interior shots of the living or sitting room, a charming room with an "angels watch over me" theme, Mrs. Johnson says.







Next we have some photos of the powder room- a desk has become a sink, and beaded lampshades cover wall sconces on either side of the mirror. Another floral arrangement adds beauty above the mirror. Beaded trim has been added to the guest towels, and even the back of the door gets a special treatment: a little coat, purse, and bouquet hang from hooks as a little surprise.



In the master bedroom are some interesting pieces, such as this pretty painting...


...a little bench that I can only describe as a doll's church pew!



And this one: A lady gave Mrs. Johnson this very interesting chair when a grandchild was born. It is a rocker with a cradle attached- what a brilliant idea! I would have loved to have one like this when my babies were at their fussy parts of infancy! How handy to be able to rock a babe to sleep and then easily put them to bed without having to struggle in and out of the rocker with them.



Mr. Johnson took care to place the Master bedroom towards the view.


Here we have the kitchen next, done in the theme, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." Thus grapes play a big role in this room! They can be found adorning the canisters, the dishes, the candles, and a lot of other things!



These interesting doors were ordered for the house-- one says "Pantry" and the other "Laundry."



The laundry room will soon have a "sheep" theme, as in "He cares for His sheep" and Mrs. Johnson has already collected some beautiful sheep to display! We shall have to go back for another tour when it is ready. Meanwhile, here are some funny little characters: these are egg warmers that Mrs. Johnson bought in England. We have here below, l-r, daddy, brother, sister, mother and baby with a pacifier! Mrs. Johnson enjoys serving her eggs up with this family when her granddaughters come to visit.



And now to the dining room, set for a spot of tea for the guests.
Mr. Johnson included plenty of built-in storage for Mrs. Johnson in the dining room. Our gracious hostess:
I am sorry I was not able to take more pictures! But I do hope that you enjoyed a few of the ideas of this Home Tour today!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Enjoying Autumn

Victorian Autumn



Victorian Autumn
Limited Edition

Kinkade, Thomas
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Autumn is my favorite time of year!


Have you ever watched the leaves fall?
Of course, you know that they fall,
but have you ever stood so still that you could see one little leaf fall all the way from the top of the tree?
Have you ever heard the sound one leaf makes coming down,
hitting all the branches,
and finally the ground?
One a windy day, have you ever watched the travels of one leaf until it was out of sight?
Have you ever sat on the step outside early in the morning
and listened to the fog say nothing?
Have you ever heard the wind laugh at you?
Have you ever had the wind kiss your cheeks and nose?
Have you ever thrilled over cutting a pumpkin off the vine that you grew in your garden?
Do you ever listen to the rain?
If not, you are really missing life.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nature XXVII, Autumn
by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Happy Autumn!

Autumn Trail




Autumn Trail

Art Print


Chun, Tan


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Happy Autumn

Lovely Peace with Plenty Crowned, 1907




Lovely Peace with Plenty Crowned, 1907

Giclee Print


Waite, Edward...


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Friday, September 21, 2007

Whatever happened to girlhood?

(Editor's Note: There are a lot of paintings in this article to enjoy, please do scroll down and make sure you see all of them!)

I was pondering modern girls today, and what they say and do. I wonder if any of them are having a girlhood. When I was growing up, my understanding was that between childhood and being a "young lady" was a time called Girlhood, and I had one of these rich girlhoods, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Walking in the Hills


Walking in the Hills
Giclee Print

Potthast, Edward...
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It was not a time to try and be someone I was not- dress like I was sixteen when I was only twelve or behave like I was twenty-one when I was at least a foot shorter than a twenty-one-year-old-- though certainly I knew that what I learned in my girlhood were skills to help me grow up to be a proper young woman. It was not a time to continue to be a baby either. It was the golden time of youth, a time to play learn and practice new skills and a time to grow, but still be innocent and shielded from a lot of things as children should be.

Calm Morning



Calm Morning
Art Print

Benson, Frank...
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A lot of my ideas about girlhood and what I should do in girlhood came from my mother's and grandmother's stories about their girlhood, and it was natural to want to repeat those adventures. I wish I had begged them for more stories now! The movies and books my mother provided certainly had a big influence on shaping my girlhood. I think that may be the difference in what I experienced and what I see most girls doing today. You see, I fed on an old-fashioned
girlhood, one influenced by such passages as this one from Louisa M. Alcott's "An Old Fashioned Girl."friend Fanny's grandmother, who delighted in the old-fashioned songs that Polly was singing:

"You musn't mind my staring, dear," said Madam, softly pinching her rosy cheek. "I haven't seen a little girl for so long, it does my old eyes good to look at you."
Polly thought that a very odd speech, and couldn't help saying, "Aren't Fan and Maud little girls too?"
"Oh dear, no! Not what I would call little girls. Fan has been a young lady these two years, and Maud is a spoiled baby. Your mother's a very sensible woman, my child... You don't understand what I mean do you?"
"No'm, not quite."
"Well, dear, I 'll tell you. In my day, children of fourteen and fifteen didn't dress in the height of the fashion; go to parties, as nearly like those of grown people as it's possible to make them; lead idle, giddy, unhealthy lives, and get blasé at twenty. We were little folks till eighteen or so; worked and studied, dressed and played, like children; honored our parents; and our days were much longer in the land than now, it seems to, me."
The old lady appeared to forget Polly at the end of her speech; for she sat patting the plump little hand that lay in her own, and looking up at a faded picture of an old gentleman with a ruffled shirt and a queue.
"Was he your father, Madam?
"Yes, dear; my honored father. I did up his frills to the day of his death; and the first money I ever earned was five dollars which he offered as a prize to whichever of his six girls would lay the handsomest darn in his silk stockings."
"How proud you must have been!" cried Polly, leaning on the old lady's knee with an interested face.
"Yes, and we all learned to make bread, and cook, and wore little chintz gowns, and were as happy and hearty as kittens. All lived to be grandmothers and fathers; and I'm the last,–seventy, next birthday, my dear, and not worn out yet; though daughter Shaw is an invalid at forty."
"That's the way I was brought up, and that's why Fan calls me old-fashioned, I suppose. Tell more about your papa, please; I like it," said Polly.


This description of an old fashioned childhood (and what it was not) really stuck in my mind. Innocent little me got the idea from this that it was not good to party, "lead idle, giddy, unhealthy lives, and get blasé at twenty," and lead a life that would horrify my grandmothers.
Sunshine and Shadow



Sunshine and Shadow
Art Print

Benson, Frank...
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Many girls today complain about being restricted or having privileges taken away because they violated some rule (It always mystifies me why they cannot seem to understand that the more wrong things they do, the more rigid the rules will get!). My parents never had to set down a list of rules for me about what kind of parties I could and could not go to, never had to tell me not to smoke or drink or do drugs, never had to screen phone calls or censor my music or distrust letters from my friends. I never had the "you aren't leaving the house wearing that, young lady!" speech from my father, and never had a curfew. Why? I had no desire to do things like that! My parents knew me and I am glad I never did anything to cause them to distrust me.




Summer



Summer
Art Print

Benson, Frank...
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I had no need to have friendships that required secrets and sneaky emails or private phone calls. All my friends thought as I did and were enjoying having an old-fashioned girlhood themselves. I was happy with whatever party my mother thought was nice for me to have, and had no desire to try the other kinds of late-night parties that preteens were doing. Though some teens might get a thrill from trying alcohol, I was just as excited to find a recipe for Anne's Raspberry Cordial (Not the current wine sort!) because it was like the book, and to wear something that looked like Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice instead of imitating madonna. I probably embarrassed my dad the other way around, being two hundred years behind the latest styles!
Women Taking Tea



Women Taking Tea
Giclee Print

Lynch, Albert
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And, well, there were some things that were easier for me than for some. For instance, because my parents did not smoke or drink or do drugs, there was no reason for me to want to do that. And I didn't have a curfew, but since there were a bunch of night owls in my family, I stayed up late at home with them. I was scared of a lot of things, and hanging around a city street lamp at midnight with a bunch of unrestrained teenagers didn't tickle my fancy.

Afternoon Picnic



Afternoon Picnic
Art Print

King, Henry John...
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Well then, what did I do with my girlhood?

I played dolls. I put away my dollhouse when I was 18 (I was married at nineteen, just to give you a timeline), and still enjoyed playing house with my baby dolls when I was fourteen. I sewed doll clothes, crocheted little blankets and made doll quilts, had tea parties, took my babies on pretend trips around the world, collected little items to play store with, and found that I enjoyed teaching visiting little girls the lost art playing. Day on the River



Day on the River
Art Print

Morgan, Frederick
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I played outdoors. I climbed trees with my brothers, I had a swing and spent hours on it singing and thinking. I got to ride in a friend's dory like Anne of Green Gables did. I took long walks with my brothers in the countryside. I rode my bicycle around and around our driveway and pretended it was a town in the old west. I picked wildflowers and stuck them in old jars and set up a stand to sell them (no one bought them, but it made for a lovely afternoon). I flew kites. I had picnics like my mother told me of. I played with little kittens and blew bubbles and painted rocks and drew the scenery. I watched the clouds and I made up stories. I raked leaves into piles or outlines of rooms to play house in ( I am still waiting for my playhouse, Dad).Knitting Girl, 1869



Knitting Girl, 1869
Art Print

Bouguereau,...
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I read a lot of good books. I loved history. Because I started on the Little House books, I think I tended to like learning about 'the old days' and did not really have an interest in the modern fiction books for girls. Books and movies and people's stories all have an influence on children, and I can remember wanting to do those things, look like those heroines and have those adventures, too. All children tend to do this, and so it is a wise parent that will make sure that they do not hand their child any book or film to feed on. I looked at paintings and illustrations in my various books and read things that made me think of what I ought to do. My mother taught me a lot, to be sure, but I added these other things to form an idea of what a girlhood looked like.
The Seamstress


The Seamstress
Giclee Print

Baugniet, Charles
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In McGuffey's readers I saw a girl with a kitten sitting in a meadow of flowers. Well, I wanted to go and experience that! I saw a girl taking a basket to someone. I saw paintings in my mother's books of girls playing with younger children, making daisy chains, sewing, playing dress-up, I read about girls taking long walks, mending, reading aloud with their siblings, play acting, etc. An Elder Sister Tells Her Younger Sister the Well-Known Story of the Little Piggy



An Elder Sister Tells Her Younger Sister the Well-Known Story of the Little Piggy
Giclee Print


Lawson, Lizzie
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I learned to use my hands. I was sewing since I was seven or eight years old, I was making my own clothes by the time I was twelve or thirteen. I learned to do a variety of needlework, to crochet, knit, embroider, paint, sketch, model in clay, clean house, bake, cook, make jelly, grow a garden, dry and press flowers, and do a variety of crafts. I do not do all of it well, but I at least tried it.
Two Girls at the Frame



Two Girls at the Frame
Giclee Print

Koester,...

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It was not as though I lolled about all the time in my girlhood days, I had my share of correction and lessons to learn, and life, as we all know, is not "perfect." I am glad that I did not choose the path of fighting with my authorities, and spending those years in strife-- I would have missed out on so much delight, and the many lessons I needed to prepare me for my adult years, if I had.

Reading by the Window Hastings



Reading by the Window Hastings
Art Print

Lewis, Charles...
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Apple Gatherers


Apple Gatherers
Art Print

Morgan, Frederick
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Kite
Kite
Art Print

Morgan
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I learned to play the piano and listen and appreciate a variety of music, I learned to sing in harmony at church, and learned to discern what was good music and what was "unlovely." Because my mother always has an artist's eye, I learned to look at the world around me and find the view.
Young Girls at a Piano, 1906
Young Girls at a Piano, 1906
Giclee Print

Deluc, Gabriel
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Though I did all this and more when I was a girl, aged eight to about eighteen, I was being raised to become a mature young lady, who had a sense of modesty, of propriety, of being a Christian influence in the world, of cultivating a "meek and quiet spirit" and getting ready for the things that life would have in store for me. Girl with Basket
Girl with Basket
Art Print

Knight, Daniel...
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Young Girl Reading, 1776
Young Girl Reading, 1776
Art Print

Fragonard,...
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As I grew, the more mature things I needed to learn and do gradually took up more time, and the play time decreased, but it was a natural transition. I was not pressured or influenced by friends to go and do more "grown up" things at the age of twelve. No one made fun of me for my dollhouse (to my face) and made me feel that I was too old for it at fourteen. I sat on my father's lap until I was sixteen, and preferred to stay and home and do something worthwhile for myself or my family or my friends, than to hang around in the mall for hours listening to frivilous talk with girls who dressed like they were in college and who were not having a real girlhood.
Two Girls in the Meadow
Two Girls in the Meadow
Art Print

Renoir,...
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Two Girls at the Piano
Two Girls at the Piano
Art Print

Renoir,...
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When I was twelve or thirteen, a girl who was a year or two older than I told me that she climbed out of her window at night to go off with her friends, even though her parents did not want her out at night. She told me so matter-of-factly, and I often wondered why she told me at all! Was she confessing? Making conversation? Infuencing? Fortunately, the influence for good that my family held was strong, and though I was rather dumbfounded at what this girl told me, I had no desire to take her path- it sounded like a dangerous one. And it was. She lost her girlhood a short time later, having entered into motherhood when she was not prepared for it (having given up dolls too soon!), has been a disappointment to her family and is this day sitting in jail. This seems like a harsh example, but it is a very real path that many girls have taken.

I have also seen girls who are rebellious against their parents, and choose to always take the hard path of discontent and longing for the broad way so they won't seem to be "different" or "strange." They are giving away their happy girlhood days for something else that I do not think should be called girlhood.

Girls, enjoy their girlhood to the fullest- take pleasure in the innocent and wholesome,do not desire what the world offers for girls. Worldiness and rebellion cheat you out of a girlhood. You have ten or more years for your girlhood, to create some of the best memories, to provide a standard for happiness the rest of your lives. Do not let your joy be shortened by the wrong influences- most girls now days have a childhood, and a girlhood of a year or two before they plunge into irresponsible worldliness they pretend is "grown up," and they can not go back and claim those precious lost years.

Some Recommended Materials for Girlhood:



Beautiful Girlhood

By Karen Andreola




Christian Charm Course - Student's Manual

By Emily Hunter




The American Girls Handy Book Centennial Edition

By Lina Beard



Little House Crafts


Abigail Adams, Sower Series



Books by Emily Barnes

Profile of a Young Girl




Profile of a Young Girl

Giclee Print


Stone, Marcus


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