Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lots of Boxes

Here are a few box template sites, that my readers may enjoy. For a bit of inspiration, here is a picture of a tea cup favor box that someone invented. Mirkwood Designs has an entire page of templates for boxes, and HP has some pre-colored printable boxes to be cut out and put together.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Pleasant Read

A new magazine appeared in my mother's mailbox, and one I enjoyed looking through. Seasons at Home magazine had a wonderful mix of topics, informative articles and things to try. It was printed on good quality paper, too, which makes it worth keeping. I liked the article about using an old-fashioned pen for homeschooling, and the many ideas for special menus and home school activities for boys as well as girls. The magazine can be found at this website, http://www.joyoushome.com/.
Reading, 1863
Reading, 1863
Giclee Print

Kramskoy, Ivan...
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Captain Smith's Cold-Water Cure

By our Historical Information Officer

When Captain John Smith was in America, helping to build Jamestown, some of the men didn't like to work. When they cut wood, they would swear. Captain Smith said "this must be stopped." So he, at the end of the day, called all of the men who had sworn and counted their oaths. For each oath, a cup of cold water was poured down their sleeve. Soon this cold-water cure stopped the men from swearing.
Captain John Smith (1580-1631) 1st Governor of Virginia, 1616
Captain John Smith (1580-1631) 1st Governor of Virginia, 1616
Giclee Print

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Autumn Austen Tea- day three

Daydreams
Daydreams
Art Print

Stone, Marcus
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Well, an interesting development has saved me from myself.

I was wondering what I was doing having a tea when I had not really truly prepared enough for it.

Today's schedule was getting so busy, with Bible study tonight and the children's schoolwork project, and then the sewing I wanted to do (and I don't' even know which box it is in!) before hand. And I wanted to experiment with the menu before I served it! A pre-flight on those new scones was in order. The teething baby does not speed things along either!

And I want to bake my dad's birthday cake tomorrow.

Mrs. John Dashwood was giving me advice... I think she knew that I was headed for a rushed three days.

"I'm sure they had no idea of you giving them a full tea party with food!"
"They'll have tea and milk among themselves as it is, what on earth could four women want for more than that?"

Well, Miss Anne Elliot called this morning and said they were indisposed with a cold. Though they were not coughing for their own amusement, they were coughing enough to cancel all engagements. So we have re-scheduled for a later date.

All things work together for good. Now things can be done even better than they would have been. I can even try out some of the recipes that are make ahead and freeze, which will save me that last minute frenzied rush. Maybe I will get my sewing project finished after all! Maybe Baby's tooth will be in. OH, and, most importantly, Miss Elliot has found some friends that she procured an invitation for. To meet someone else in my area who knows who Jane Austen is will be delightful!

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Autumn Austen Tea- day two

A Favour, 1898
A Favour, 1898
Giclee Print

Leighton, Edmund...
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The preparations for the tea were few today. My mother and I wondered about re-arranging the furniture, she has been wanting to move the piano! Hmm.

Today I went grocery shopping for the household. I picked up some of the tea items that will keep, I'll have to do some of the shopping the day before for the fresh items.


When I got home in the late afternoon, I cleaned out my dad's car for his birthday present. It had not been cleaned out in ten years, he estimated. Oh, it was bad.


It was so bad that I washed all of his loose change. It was so bad that the bugs died. It was so bad that the crumbs were caked on in places. It was so bad that I had to wash my hair when I was finished. The ooze and goo from ten years of spilt coffee had attracted wayward pennies and loose bits of fuzz. dozens of after-dinner mints had found their way out of their wrappers and melted on pens. There were toothpicks and swizzle sticks (from all those coffee stops) all over the place. I thought that perhaps he had bought a box of toothpicks and dumped it all over, but after cleaning out all the nooks and crannies, and finding several lighters (and knowing my dad does not smoke) I figured that it was a survival tactic. You see, if he is ever caught in a snowstorm, he can gather all those toothpicks into a little campfire and burn them to keep warm. I opened up the trunk and took a look, and shut it again. Happy birthday, dad, but you get to clean out your own trunk.


It was dark when I finished, and Dad was happy with the results. Now I am tired!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

An Autumn Austen Tea- day one

Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea
Giclee Print

Kilburne, George...
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Plans are underway for a tea party this Friday, an Austen-themed tea party with my book-loving friends. The idea is to come "in character" as our favorite Jane Austen lady, and bring our needlework and our best musical skills.

It was necessary to send out some pre-invitation invitations to find a date suitable for all. One of these was sent via email, one will be via telephone and the other was sent by post. It was from Elizabeth Bennet, requesting opinions on whether a tea party such as this would be welcome and what date would suit my friends. A charming reply came in a rose-petal-paper envelope, written in fine calligraphy with a heart imprinted in the wax seal:

"Dearest Elizabeth, We are delighted by your invitation! Certainly TEA is always welcomed, but the joy of seeing you and your charming family far outshines the consumption of that most wonderful of beverages. Would October the 26th be convenient for you? Our party shall be happy to furnish small cakes or sandwiches. Do reply by the most convenient method, if this plan is satisfactory to all concerned. Dearest Lizzie, what a happy plan!

Cordially, Anne Elliot."

Now for the preparations.

The plan is to have it at my mother's residence, which, since it is built of cinder blocks, could be something close to the idea of a great castle or old manor house. But perhaps it is not quite Pemberly-ish enough. So the story is, that Pemberly is under renovation, and the Darcy's have removed to a small cottage on the property until it is completed. Mr. Darcy (Fitzaiden?) will be out that afternoon working with the architects on the main house.


I should send out the "real" invitations, when I have heard from other prospective guests, and have fixed the time of day.

I am not going to be strict about costumes, but I do have on my dress form a regency gown that needed to be altered, and perhaps I can sew that new petticoat I cut out in May! I'm sure that the little boys will want to dress up as men of the Navy, with their captain's hats.


I have ideas about the food that I want, and will have to make a grocery list. There are a few items yet to be thought of. Sandwiches, savory bites, and the new Fig Scone recipe in the latest issue of Tea Time magazine make up the menu so far. And of course my mother will always serve Yorkshire Gold tea.


I will have to watch Pride and Prejudice again to get some idea of witty things to say while pouring tea. I have stated that accents are optional, and I doubt we can stay in character long but the idea is just to have fun! I should brush up on some piano pieces (I'm certainly glad that Elizabeth Bennet was not a perfectionist at the piano). I read the book again earlier this year, but the movie can talk to me while I fold laundry or wash dishes, so I will have to use it to brush up on my chosen character!


Tomorrow I shall write an update on my progress.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Favorite Tea Cup

Here is a picture of my favorite tea cup... my current favorite, that is! It is my mother's tea cup but one I always go to the china hutch and claim when it is tea time. It is a "Royal Grafton" tea cup, found in an antique store.
I wonder what your favorite tea cup looks like?

Mrs. Lauren Christine shares her wedding tea cup.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Artwork for the Day

I hope our dear readers will enjoy this slideshow of paintings by Eva Hollyer. The mother and babies paintings are especially sweet.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hints for a Healthier Household

I have been reflecting recently on the uses of Vinegar. Just type in "vinegar" on the web and you will be amazed at all the things people have found to use it for! Today I would just like to remind my gentle readers about its uses as a cleaner for your food and house. My mother in law has sent me this link about vinegar as a produce wash, which I think will be of interest to my readers.
Girl Working in a Rural Kitchen Garden Collecting Cabbages
Girl Working in a Rural Kitchen Garden Collecting Cabbages
Giclee Print

Caldecott,...
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Another recent letter from a cousin gives some more hints:
"We have a small plastic tub beside our sink that we fill with water and pour in a cup or so of vinegar and soak all of our lettuce and carrots and broccoli etc. in. We also wash all of our fruits, even ones we don't eat with skins, such as lemons, as the knife will be going through the skin and into the lemon.
Cozy Kitchen Scene
Cozy Kitchen Scene
Art Print

Sauvage, Piat...
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"Here's something else I will share with you. We wash our counters by having 2 separate spray bottles - one with pure white vinegar, and one with pure hydrogen peroxide (don't mix them in the same bottle). It was proven by a university study to be as effective as bleach in killing germs, but is totally non-toxic and inexpensive! You just spray equal amounts of both vinegar and hyd. per. on the counter, perhaps let it sit a minute and wipe off. Also use it to clean your sink, and anything else - appliances, etc. " [Editor's note: I find spray bottles at the dollar store, with different colored spray-tops, to use for these two sprays. One article I read a while back said to use one spray after the other, I'm not sure why, but it did not matter which one you used first.]
Peeling Vegetables
Peeling Vegetables
Art Print

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"Also, we don't use sponges - they allow the bacteria to build up. We use a clean little towel every day and put it in the wash. We have also read in many places not to ever use bar soap. Even though it is soap, it still can grow bacteria by sitting in leftover dampness. Better to use a liquid soap in a dispenser."

Vinegar can be had by the gallon for a few dollars, and hydrogen peroxide is not very expensive. It is wonderful to know of cleaners that you can use without having to evacuate the house!
http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arch/9_28_96/food.htm

Lady in the Kitchen
Lady in the Kitchen
Giclee Print

Johansen, Viggo
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Benjamin Franklin and his Electric Tricks

By our Historical Information Officer

There was a Dutchman, in the time of Benjamin Franklin, who was living in the city of Leyden, Holland. He found a way of bottling up electricity in jars which were called Leyden Jars. Franklin had one of these jars, and he never got tired of seeing what he could do with it. One time, he made a picture of the King of England, with a removable crown on his head, with a cord connected to the jar. When he wanted to have some fun, he would ask a man to come and remove the crown. The man would say, "that is easy to do." But when he touched it, he got an electric shock, and he would jump back, not knowing what had hurt him.
Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin
Poster

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General Gage's Nose



By our Historical Information Officer



When the American Revolutionary War started, people from all parts of the country came to help, and some of them were sharpshooters. Sharpshooters are men who can fire and hit something very small from far away.


One time, when the sharpshooters came down from different parts of the country, an army officer set up a board which had a small picture of a man's nose drawn in chalk on it. A hundred men fired at it, from far away, and sixty of them hit it.


Newspapers praised them and said, "Now General Gage, look out for your nose!" (General Gage was a British general during that revolutionary war.)


Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Link For You

In browsing around blogs, I enjoyed this article about the homemaker being the guard of the home, and I thought my gentle readers would like it, too.

Girl Reading by a Waterfall, circa 1882
Girl Reading by a Waterfall, circa 1882
Bashkirtseva,...
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Friday, October 5, 2007

Poor Fashions

By The Pleasant Times Etiquette Lady

Years ago, I wrote about the odd fashions that young people (commonly known as teen-agers) wear. I find that the styles I commented then on have persisted to this day, and I think that they have made my suppositions all the more valid! Read on and see what you think:

The way most teen-agers dress bothers a lot of people. "What," you are wondering, "does clothing have to do with etiquette?" Etiquette is not just about which fork to use! If the way you dress bothers people in Polite Society, then you are being rude. Here are some suggestions about wearing clothing politely.

When you get dressed in the morning, make sure that you put all of your outfit on, and put it on neatly. You do not want to look like this girl, described by Jonathon Swift (1667-1745): "She wears her clothes as if they were thrown on with a pitchfork."

When you go shopping, girls, make sure to buy a whole dress, not a half of one. Make sure it is ALL THERE before you take it home.

It is a good idea for the boys to try on their clothes before they buy them. I have seen a lot of ill-fitting outfits on boys, not to mention outfits that make me ill.

Dress up when you need to show respect. Please do not wear blue jeans and T-shirts to a wedding. This is the Bride and Groom's special day. Wearing T-shirts and jeans shows that basically, you don't care! I can imagine an exception to this would be that Blue Jeans would be permissible at a western-themed wedding, for the men.
The Wedding Dress
The Wedding Dress
Giclee Print

Kilburne, George...
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There are "dress up" occasions when the girls should wear dresses and the boys should wear ties. These are: Formal dinners (even if it is just your family in attendance, such as at Thanksgiving ), elegant restaurants, tea parties, church services, funerals, concerts, plays, your family's special occasions (recitals, birthdays, anniversaries), a job interview, a nice party, or in social situations where others will be made more comfortable if you dress decently. The Recital
The Recital
Giclee Print

Barbudo, Salvador...
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There are occasions when you should "dress down," in clothing that has been worn, frayed, and stained , or in heavy durable jeans and lumberjack-type clothing: When you are mowing the lawn, digging in the garden, deep cleaning the house, cleaning the attic or garage, working on a motor, painting the house, re-roofing a structure, fishing, hunting, cleaning out the barn, chopping wood, hiking through berry vines, etc.
Lunch Time



Lunch Time
Art Print

Hinton, W. H.
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Dress decently and in clean clothing when when you are doing every-day things that do not fall into the above categories. View yourself in the mirror before you go anywhere, and think about what others will have to look at!

Okay, maybe I am being a little hard about how teen-agers should dress. Perhaps they do not dress decently because they are poor. That's it, they're just poor.

The girls have to wear hand-me-ups from their little sisters. These clothes are painfully small; they show belly buttons and everything.

The poor boys cannot afford clothing, either. Sometimes they do not wear a decent shirt because they do not have one (or else they were in too much of a hurry to put one on). They also have to wear pants that are second-hand from their larger fathers, so the pants are rather baggy, and belts are too expensive!

The boys don't have the money for a hair-cut, so they do it at home, using a mixing bowl as a guide.

It is obvious that some boys and girls cannot afford a comb.

Some of the girls either do not own a jewelry box, or are afraid of thieves, so they wear all their earrings at once.

Since they admire their parents so much, they do not mind getting the clothing from their parent's generation down from the attic. I thought that everyone was glad that the 60's and 70's were gone! But I guess that if the teen-agers are poor, they do not mind wearing polyester fashion disasters.
Magenta Platform

My, all this is so alarming! Maybe someone should start a fund for fashion or something.

Just remember this: "As you treat your body, so your house, your domestics, your enemies, your friends. Dress is the table of your contents." (John Lavater, 1741-1801)
Children on the Seashore
Children on the Seashore
Art Print

Renoir,...
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First published in 1997.

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