Thursday, June 4, 2009


Pink Roses
Pink Roses Giclee Print
Debrus, Alexandre
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Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Php 2:5-11 KJV)

The Nursery Corner

The Rose Arbor
The Rose Arbor Art Print
Polen, Eleanor
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All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.
The Young Gardener

The Young Gardener
Art Print

Hayllar, James
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My Kingdom
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Down by a shining water well
I found a very little dell,
No higher than my head.
The heather and the gorse about
In summer bloom were coming out,
Some yellow and some red.

I called the little pool a sea;
The little hills were big to me;
For I am very small.
I made a boat, I made a town,
I searched the caverns up and down,
And named them one and all.

And all about was mine, I said,
The little sparrows overhead,
The little minnows too.
This was the world and I was king;
For me the bees came by to sing,
For me the swallows flew.

I played there were no deeper seas,
Nor any wider plains than these,
Nor other kings than me.
At last I heard my mother call
Out from the house at evenfall,
To call me home to tea.

And I must rise and leave my dell,
And leave my dimpled water well,
And leave my heather blooms.
Alas! and as my home I neared,
How very big my nurse appeared.
How great and cool the rooms!
Three Kittens Watching Goldfish
Three Kittens Watching Goldfish
Giclee Print

Couldery, Horatio...
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by Phoebe Carey

Suppose, my little lady,
Your doll should break her head,
Could you make it whole by crying
Till your eyes and nose are red?
And wouldn’t it be pleasanter
To treat it as a joke;
And say you’re glad “’Twas Dolly’s
And not your head that broke?”

Suppose you’re dressed for walking,
And the rain comes pouring down,
Will it clear off any sooner
Because you scold and frown?
And wouldn’t it be nicer
For you to smile than pout,
And so make sunshine in the house
When there is none without?

Suppose your task, my little man,
Is very hard to get,
Will it make it any easier
For you to sit and fret?
And wouldn’t it be wiser
Than waiting like a dunce,
To go to work in earnest
And learn the thing at once?

Suppose that some boys have a horse,
And some a coach and pair,
Will it tire you less while walking
To say, “It isn’t fair?”
And wouldn’t it be nobler
To keep your temper sweet,
And in your heart be thankful
You can walk upon your feet?

And suppose the world don’t please you,
Nor the way some people do,
Do you think the whole creation
Will be altered just for you?
And isn’t it, my boy or girl,
The wisest, bravest plan,
Whatever comes, or doesn’t come,
To do the best you can?

Letter for an Upcoming Marriage

I recently found a letter written to my grandmother just before she was married to my grandfather, who was a minister. Apparently she wanted brother J.C. Bunn of Washington to be the minister who officiated her wedding. As it happened, my grandmother ended up going on a train to meet my grandfather in Kansas, where the wedding was performed by brother V. Love (you know my grandfather must have planned that out special, don't you!). I thought that many of my readers would find this marriage advice interesting, and so I am letting you have a privileged glance into my family history archives:

"July 4th, '40

Dear Sister Lucile,

Your letter of the 29th of June was received in due time, also one from Joe under date of June 24th. in that he told me of the change in your plans. It will be much more economical and practical for you to meet him in Kans. and the expense that you will save will be used very conveniently in the years that are to follow.

I know Bro. Love very well and am sure he will be able to tie a good knot for you and one that will NEVER come untied. And that is the kind you want, isn't it? Remember me to him when that eventful day shall come. I have known him for over 30 years.

I appreciate very much that you thought of me as your first choice. But now that I shall not be present with you, I wish to convey to you my sincere well wishes. And I am enclosing a little poem I wrote many years ago and always give a copy to the young folks that unite in the holy bonds of wedlock. Just live up to all expressed in this little folder and your lives will always be happy.

Yes, I have known Joe for several years. I believe you are getting a very good husband, Lucile and I am sure your lives can be happy together. just strive to be every things God desires of you as a wife and I believe Joe will try to be all God expects of him as a husband and then you will be happily married. Just remember that angels do not live in human flesh and do not expect perfection in the other, use plenty of patience in bearing with loving kindness the frailties of the other and all will be well.

Your greatest problem will be in being so far removed from your kin folks. Joe asked me if I knew any church that would like to have a preacher located with them. I do not know of such a place now. But will be on the look out for you. But he is better known back in the central states and most of his work will lay in that direction. Try to adjust your self to those conditions, be content with the climate and do not get so home sick for your people that your life will be made miserable and his too. That would greatly hinder his work. You will not like the climate of Kans. as well as you do the coast country, but just remember you are marrying Joe to be his help meet, companion and inspiration in his preaching. That much of his success lies in your happiness and contentment. There will be quite an adjustment and re-arrangement in your life now. And the long distance from your mother and other kindred will make it impossible to come to them every time you desire. But all this you should and no doubt have already considered when you decided to leave the old home and go to Joe to become his bride. He now becomes the center of your life and all your grace, charm, talent, ability must be rendered to make his life's work a success. You will find many true friends among his and mine in Kans. and other places where he has labored. You will soon find them to be just as dear as the brethren in Wash.

And now may God bless your united lives, make them fruitful in good works and until you are called in death to part, be happy and contented.

Your true friend, J.C. Bunn .


Tell Joe I will try and write him later if I know where to address him. Let me know where you make your home. You will meet many of my true friends in Kans. Tell them I love them still."

click to enlarge

Summer Skills

On those summer afternoons when it is too hot to do anything, why not take the opportunity to learn some new skills? Here is a website that offers free drawing lessons:

Here are some lesson sheets for learning beautiful penmanship:

And some beautiful examples of penmanship to inspire you:

(Even just practicing your printing to make it crisp, clear, and even would be a good use of an afternoon. Good writing, whether it is swirly penmanship, or neat and tidy print, is a good skill to have. A girl who practices her handwriting will be able to use it to teach someday, whether in church or at home with her own children. How many times have you seen someones writing on a chalkboard that, though in large letters, is perhaps scribble and difficult to read? Boy. too, will not regret the extra time taken to practice their writing.)

When you have practiced learning some basic drawing, and have your writing skills in good shape, you can start a notebook in which to use both. When I was a girl, I had a notebook in which I wrote a scripture from the Psalms every day, and a small sketch underneath the verse, or faintly behind the verse. This small little notebook is now one of my favorite treasures of my girlhood.

Victorian "Don'ts"

The Bunch of Lilacs
The Bunch of Lilacs Art Print
Tissot, James
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A list of dressing "don'ts" from women's magazines of the 1880's.

"Don't adopt the latest mode.
Don't trail your dress upon the road.
Don't ever lace your waist too tightly.
Don't wear a glove or boot unsightly.
Don't wear a thing that needs repair.
Don't, please, forget to brush your hair.
Don't ever wear too large a check.
Don't show too much of snowy neck."

"Don't above all things, forget you are a woman; she is far more attractive when seen in the flowing draperies that centuries of use have made their own, than when masquerading as a man."

Girl and Roses
Girl and Roses Art Print
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Here are a few more "don'ts," some of which are highly amusing, and some of which still make sense today:

Don't forget that dress was made for woman,
and not woman for dress.

Don't, unless you have a very long purse, buy
startling and conspicuous garments, of which you
will become heartily tired before they are worn out.

Don't invest largely in "desperate bargains" and
"immense reductions," which are so temptingly
displayed at sale times. In many cases they are a
delusion and a snare.

Don't slavishly copy the costumes of your dearest
friends. You have something individual in your
appearance which must be emphasised into person-
ality, that will cover, if necessary, a multitude of

Don't buy anything without due reference to
your other garments. Things bought in a hurry
are seldom satisfactory, and generally turn out
veritable white elephants.

Don't wear an old bonnet and mantle with a new
dress ; neither, on the other hand, let an old dress
be seen in company with your best outdoor apparel.

Don't always appear in the bosom of your
family in your shabbiest clothes because " they
are so much more comfortable."

Don't have many dresses at a time. Let
" quality, not quantity," be the motto of your

Don't neglect to put a certain amount of thought
and care into the smallest details of your toilet.

Don't jump into your clothes and expect to look

Don't, dear sisters, don't imagine that a blouse or
skirt, coat and sailor hat, are suitable for every age
and figure on every occasion.

Don't wear a sailor hat after your fortieth year.

Don't clothe yourself in man's apparel and expect
the courtesy due to a lady.

Don't wear feathers in your hat and patches on
your boots.

Don't gaily cover your head and forget your
hands and feet.

Don't forget that though veils are becoming to
most faces, feet veiled in lace stockings do not look
well in the street.

Don't pinch your waist : fat, like murder, will
out somewhere.

Don't put all your allowance outside. A ragged
petticoat kills the smartest gown.

Don't wear a white petticoat unless it is white.

Don't put cost before cut. Corded silk won't
cover a clumsy fit.

Don't be dashing ; be dainty.

Don't dress to startle people's eyes, but to satisfy

Don't imagine beauty will atone for untidiness.

Don't, if you are September, dress as May.

Don't sacrifice neatness to artistic effect.

Don't dress more fashionably than becomingly.

Don't wear a fur or feather boa with a cotton
dress or skirt.

Don't wear striped materials if you are tall.


Excerpt from "Etiquette for Children"

Roses Giclee Print
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While browsing through an antique store several years ago, I came upon a book, entitled "The New Century Perfect Speaker." It looked full of useful and good things to read, so I bought it. Upon further perusal at home, I discovered it to be from 1901, and that it seemed that several page numbers were skipped, and yet that was not the case. What I had bought was a salesman's sample book, and to get the "rest of the story" one would have bought a subscription to whatever books he was selling. It was rather disappointing, as right in the middle of a profound statement, or an interesting story, the next page would launch into the middle of "how to dress for tea." However, it gave me a glimpse into the ways and thoughts of another time.

Here is an excerpt from a section called
"Etiquette for Children."

"Home is the school for all things, especially good manners. And yet there is a higher thought in connection with instilling good manners- the wonderful power which the parents have, especially the mother, in molding the lives of their children so that their future may be rich in promise of a better life even beyond the grave. Immortal life- what mother does not pray that it may be a glorious one for her darlings.

"And to that end she must interweave the lessons of politeness and kindness with the beauty of virtue, of self-denial, of unselfish aims, which alone can be obtained by constant and earnest effort. So many thoughts crowd in at this stage that we scarce can number them; but first, let every mother teach her daughter that only a good man is worthy of her- that wealth and position can never take the place of a lack of respect for the husband she chooses; that she should be modest, faithful to all her duties, and demand like qualities in others.

"And to her sons a true mother will instruct that a sweet-tempered, intelligent, refined girl, even though she be not wealthy, will make a far better wife than a vain, selfish, exacting nature, whose only aim is to get all that she can out of life, irrespective of anyone else's wishes or rights."
I'm sorry I cannot give you the rest of the chapter! Perhaps someone has one of these books in their attics?

Bouquet of Flowers
Bouquet of Flowers Giclee Print
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"Let us all resolve..."

"Let us all resolve, -- First, to attain the grace of SILENCE; Second, to deem all FAULT-FINDING that does no good a SIN, and to resolve, when we are happy ourselves, not to poison the atmosphere for our neighbors by calling on them to remark every painful and disagreeable feature of their daily life; Third, to practise the grace and virtue of PRAISE."-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Still Life of Yellow Roses with Lilac
Still Life of Yellow Roses with Lilac Giclee Print
Maucherat de...
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Starting School

(Above: learning how to give a doll tea party in Starting School.)

The following is a description of Starting School, which my little one attends. Instead of my toddler getting into everything while I am teaching the older children, she cheerfully goes with her grandmother to Starting School.

"You have heard of "finishing school" no doubt. Well, this is similar, only it is the start. I had a use-what-you-have curriculum.

We began with the primer of McGuffey's first reader and read about doing what was right in the sight of God, and that God made the wind and the trees, etc. I took her outside to feel the wind.

The lithograph etching on the story was similar to some of our French toile prints that we have collected--just little squares of them with scenes. One had a boy and girl fishing in a pond, in a red color, so I got that out and showed it to her and showed how similar it was to the etching.

Then we opened up a poetry book I had called "Friendship and Roses" which I bought in the 80's. It had a painting of a girl carrying a bouquet of flowers and a letter.

I asked her to point to the flowers. I asked her to point to the letter. Afterwards she was so fascinated with the shoes. I guess the shoes have a strong light on them, that a child would be drawn to them. She really talked about the shoes. I asked her if she would like to do what the little girl in the picture is doing. She said yes. We went outside and picked something that resembled flowers, and we came in and tied them in a ribbon. Then we got a card and rubber stamped it with a kitten, tied it in ribbon, and presented it to mother.
Love Letters
Love Letters Art Print
Garland, Charles...
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We also had a newsletter written for the family, and so I read one part to her and looked at the painting in it of a girl in a swing by Frederick Morgan(1856-1927)

I have the first Victoria magazine ever printed, and it featured children at the beach, so we had a wonderful time looking at the pictures and talking about the beach.

I showed her how to make tea cups from egg cartons and chenille wire, and we had a tea party for dolls and bears.

I got idea for a reflective kind of teaching, from the old Art-Literature readers that I had when my children were little. In the back of them, it suggested you illustrate the lessons by imitating them. You could pose your children for photographs or paintings, just like the masterpieces in the book. You could create a bowl of fruit to match a painting of still life fruit, etc."

Lots of beautiful Toile fabrics can be found here:

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson Giclee Print
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Other days brought such activities as learning about shadows, and going out on the lawn to see their shadows. Pictures of Lilacs in a Victoria magazine prompted a field trip to the lilac trees, to gather the blossoms, and learn how to put them stem-side-down into a vase of water. Paper crafts, cooking, and learning to tidy the house up are some of the other things to be learned in Starting School.

Lilac Mist I

Lilac Mist I

Art Print

Chuikov, Valeri

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I have found many inspiring things to give me a "boost" in home school this year, and remind me of my goals in home education.

First of all, a sermon on training up a child on Mother's day gave examples of things that every parent should do with their children, or teach their children, at certain ages:

At ages 1-4 a child can:
Learn the books of the Bible
Listen to Bible stories
Draw Bible pictures or color while listening to the stories
Memorize Bible verses

At ages 5-8 a child can:
Memorize lists such as the twelve sons of Jacob or the 12 apostles
Memorize Psalms 1 & 23
Memorize the Sermon on the Mount
Understand the division between the Old Testament and the New Testament
Read/listen to more Bible stories from their Bible texts
Make a Bible Timeline (when did these stories happen?)
Make a game of finding Bible passages quickly
Take simple sermon notes

At ages 9-12 a child can:
Memorize more Bible passages, such as Philippians 2:1-11
Study Proverbs (one chapter read each morning for a month is a good life-long habit to start)
Learn to outline a sermon and take better notes
Illustrate sermons
Boys can learn to preach 5-minute sermons
Read Psalms
Read the Bible by themselves daily and ask questions
Parents should provide study aids (Bible Dictionary, Maps, Concordance) and teach children how to use them.

At ages 13+ a child can:
Go through a Bible correspondence course
Read Bible through
Read good articles and books
Find passages in the Bible to answer problems or questions
Learn Bible doctrines
Learn Bible passages that relate to everyday life
Work more with the Bible aids (Maps, concordance, dictionaries)
Read biographies of Christian preachers, and church history
Subscribe to and read materials such as "THINK" magazine and Gospel Advocate

As parents we can teach our children through our experiences, be good listeners, and pray for and with our children.

(Sermon given on Mother's Day, 2009)

The other inspiration I found were the articles at Trivium Pursuit. Several of these articles are in catagories according to "levels" which your child might be in. This sort of went hand in hand with the above sermon in my mind. I read many of these articles aloud to my husband, and it helped us to think about what our long-term goals were with home schooling. I liked the reminder to take the Classical Hebrew goals in education (Spiritual training, occupational training, and marriage training) and interweaving them with the academics.

Faith Family Friends
Faith Family Friends Art Print
Repp, Tammy
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Strawberries & Cream

Dish of Delicious Dessert of Strawberry Shortcake with Cream and Fresh Fruit

Dish of Delicious Dessert of Strawberry Shortcake with Cream and Fresh Fruit

Photographic Print

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This season of Strawberries has been a delicious one. I have had more flavorful strawberries this late spring than I did the whole of last year.

Strawberries have made an appearance at all of our tea parties this spring. Sliced up, or whole, with whipped cream, they top the scones to make a delicious individual short-cake.

Try this whipping cream variation, if you like chocolate with strawberries: Whip cold cream with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, and a little vanilla. You can pour some melted chocolate into the cream as you whip it, but it will harden immediately into little chocolate bits. It is still very tasty, though your resulting whipped cream will be less smooth to the tongue.

Spring Tea Dress

I managed to do some sewing last month, and made this tea dress. I really liked this fabric print, but could not decide what kind of dress style to make it in. I settled on something similar to a "vintage" Laura Ashley dress. This is from a Simplicity costume pattern (The numbers have changed from the pattern I have, but it is the one with the colonial, pilgrim and pioneer gown.) and was easy to make.
I like the look of an invisible zipper better than the regular kind, but it takes me a few times to get them in:) Just in case you were wondering, the dress is not really floor length, it is the short dress form that makes it look that way.
I used piping for the first time on one of my dresses. I had a color-coordinated fabric I wanted to use, but could not find the cord in my stash that one puts in piping. So I took white piping I had in a package, and covered it. I used a method of applying piping that I saw on Sewing with Martha, which is to baste the piping on the seam first, so it does not go crooked or disappear into the seam as you sew.

Housecleaning in the Olden Times

by Francis Hopkinson.

When a young couple are about to enter on the matrimonial state, a never failing article in the the marriage treaty is, that the lady shall have and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the rights of White-washing, with all its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances. You will wonder what this privilege of white-washing is. I will endeavour to give you an idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it performed.

There is no season of the year in which the lady may not, if she pleases, claim her privilege; but the latter end of May is generally fixed upon for the purpose. The attentive husband may judge, by certain prognostics, when the storm is nigh at hand. If the lady grows uncommonly fretful, finds fault with the servants, is discontented with the children, and complains much of the nastiness of every thing about her: these are symptoms which ought not to be neglected, . yet they sometimes go off without any further effect. But if, when the husband rises in the morning, he should observe in the yard, a wheelbarrow, with a quantity of lime in it, or should see certain buckets filled with a solution of lime in water, there is no time for hesitation. He immediately locks up the apartment or closet where his papers, and private property are kept, and putting the key in his pocket, betakes himself to flight. A husband, however beloved, becomes a perfect nuisance during this season of female rage. His authority is superseded, his commission suspended, and the very scullion who cleans the brasses in the kitchen becomes of more importance than him. He has nothing for it but to abdicate, for a time, and run from an evil which he can neither prevent nor mollify.

The husband gone, the ceremony begins. The walls are stripped of their furniture—paintings, prints, and looking-glasses lie huddled in heaps about the floors; the curtains are torn from their testers, the beds crammed into windows, chairs, and tables, bedsteads and cradles crowd the yard; and the garden-fence bends beneath the weight of carpets, blankets, cloth cloaks, old coats, petticoats, and ragged breeches. Here may be seen the lumber of the kitchen, forming a dark and confused mass for the foreground of the picture; gridirons and frying-pans, rusty shovels and broken tongs, joint stools, and the fractured remains of rush-bottomed chairs. There a closet has disgorged its bowels—riveted plates and dishes, halves of china bowls, cracked tumblers, broken wine-glasses, phials of forgotten physic, papers of unknown powders, seeds and dried herbs, tops of tea-pots, and stoppers of departed decanters—from the rag-hole in the garret, to the rat-hole in the cellar, no place escapes unrummaged.

It would seem as if the day of general doom was come, and the utensils of the house were dragged forth to judgment. In this tempest, the words of King Lear unavoidably present themselves, and might with little alteration be made strictly applicable.

-Let the great gods
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads
Find out their enemies now.
Tremble thou wretch
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipt of justice-
-Close pent up guilt,
Rive your concealing continents, and ask
These dreadful summoners grace."

This ceremony completed, and the house thoroughly evacuated, the next operation is to smear the walls and ceilings with brushes, dipped into a solution of lime called White-wash; to pour buckets of water over every floor, and scratch all the partitions and wainscots with hard brushes, charged with soft soap and stone-cutter's sand.

The windows by no means escape the general deluge. A servant scrambles out upon the pent-house, at the risk of her neck, and with a mug in her hand, and a bucket within reach, dashes innumerable gallons of water against the glass panes, to the great annoyance of passengers in the street.

I have been told that an action at law was once brought against one of these water-nymphs, by a person who had a new suit of clothes spoiled by this operation ; but after long argument it was determined that no damages could be awarded; inasmuch as the defendant was in the exercise of a legal right, and not answerable for the consequences. And so the poor gentleman was doubly nonsuited; for he lost both his suit of clothes and his suit at law.

These smearings and scratchings, these washings and dashings, being duly performed, the next ceremonial is to cleanse and replace the distracted furniture. You may have seen a house-raising, or a ship-launch—recollect, if you can, the hurry, bustle, confusion, and noise of such a scene, and you will have some idea of this cleansing match. The misfortune is, that the sole object is to make things clean. It matters not how many useful, ornamental, or valuable articles suffer mutilation or death under the operation. A mahogany chair and a carved frame undergo the same discipline; they are to be made clean at all events; but their preservation is not worthy of attention.

For instance: a fine large engraving is laid flat upon the floor; a number of smaller prints are piled upon it, until the super-incumbent weight cracks the lower glass—but this is of no importance. A valuable picture is placed leaning against the sharp corner of a table; others are made to lean against that, till the pressure of the whole forces the corner of the table through the canvas of the first. The frame and glass of a fine print are to be cleaned; the spirit and oil used on this occasion are suffered to leak through and deface the engraving—no matter! If the glass is clean and the frame shines, it is sufficient—the rest is not worthy of consideration. An able arithmetician hath made a calculation, founded on long experience, and proved that the losses and destruction incident to two white-washings are equal to one removal, and three removals equal to one fire.

This cleansing frolic over, matters begin to resume their pristine appearance; the storm abates, and all would be well again: but it is impossible that so great a convulsion in so small a community should pass over without producing some consequences. For two or three weeks after the operation, the family are usually afflicted with sore eyes, sore throats, or severe colds, occasioned by exhalations from wet floors and damp walls.

I know a gentleman here who is fond of accounting for every thing in a philosophical way. He considers this, that I call a custom, as a real periodical disease, peculiar to the climate. His train of reasoning is whimsical and ingenious, but I am not at leisure to give you the detail. The result
was, that he found the distemper to be incurable; but after much study, he thought he had discovered a method to divert the evil he could not subdue. For this purpose, he caused a small building, about twelve feet square, to be erected in his garden, and furnished with some ordinary chairs and tables, and a few prints of the cheapest sort.

His hope was, that when the white-washing frenzy seized the females of his family, they might repair to this apartment, and scrub, and scour, and smear to their hearts' content; and so spend the violence of the disease in this out-post, whilst he enjoyed himself in quiet at head-quarters. But the experiment did not answer his expectation. It was impossible it should, since a principal part of the gratification consists in the lady's having an uncontrolled right to torment her husband, at least once in every year; to turn him out of doors, and take the reins of government into her own hands.

There is a much better contrivance than this of the philosopher's: which is, to cover the walls of the house with paper. This is generally done. And though it does not abolish, it at least shortens the period of female dominion. This paper is decorated with various fancies, and made so ornamental that the women have admitted the fashion without perceiving the design.

There is also another alleviation of the husband's distress. He generally has the sole use of a small room or closet for his books and papers, the key of which he is allowed to keep. This is considered as a privileged place, even in the white-washing season, and stands like the land of Goshen amidst the plagues of Egypt. But then he must be extremely cautious, and ever upon his guard; for should he inadvertently go abroad, and leave the key in his door, the house-maid, who is always on the watch for such an opportunity, immediately enters in triumph with buckets, brooms, and brushes—takes possession of the premises, and forthwith puts all his books and papers to rights, to his utter confusion, and sometimes serious detriment.

The Beauty of Restraint

By The Pleasant Times Etiquette Lady, Miss Rose

Summer will soon be upon us, and it is time for my annual rant on the cut of women's clothes: I think that fashion designers and clothing manufacturers cut too much material off of women's clothes in the summertime.

Now before anyone gets all hot and bothered saying "this is a free country," "we can do what we like" "You are being too judgmental" etc. let me first say that I am very glad this is a free country. I am glad we can dress the way we please. I have no objection to this being a free country. I would not want it any other way. I wanted to clear that up so that no one would have a heat stroke getting all worked up over that issue.

The freedom to exercise personal restraint is ours. We do not have to have anybody checking our closets, telling us what to wear. We have the freedom of choice, and the freedom to choose to restrain and refrain ourselves from dressing or behaving immodestly.

You may have an addiction to showing off parts of your body that you ought to be covering up. I wish that more girls would understand that there is more beauty and worth in a woman who chooses modesty and propriety.

Don't let "all hang out" -show a little restraint. If someone laughs at you tell them you are so special, that not just anybody can look at the rest of you. Yes, you will be made to feel bad by those who want to pull you down to their comfort level (so they won't feel so bare in their scanty clothes). Be brave. Somebody will thank you for it.

Put some value on yourself. Do not sell yourself cheaply by dressing in your underwear all summer. Use some restraint. Think of all the benefits of shading your skin from the sun.

I have entitled this article "The Beauty of Restraint" because I think that if we all showed restraint in our conduct, including what we wear and the way we wear it, and tried to be modest, it would make our summer a very beautiful one, not just for us, but for others around us. Many of us have heard of troubles in schools, churches, workplaces, etc. caused by girls who do not restrain themselves in their dress and behaviour. I believe a lot of girls dress immodestly to gain attention to themselves.

What you wear might flatter your complexion, your figure, etc. but what is really beautiful is who is wearing it. I don't know how many times I have been to a grocery store where the girl at the cash register has to wear a uniform, with a grocers' apron over it, but she is very attractive and popular with the customers, because of her sunny disposition, her winning smile, her happy eyes, and her cheerful comments to the customers. I know people who will wait longer just to be in a certain clerk's lane for those reasons. All you can really see of these ladies is their face and hair, and their hands taking your money. I suppose they are trained to be so friendly that the customers will be distracted from the high prices, and give up their money in a happy mood. Even so, it proves to me that if girls would just restrain themselves from dressing immodestly, and work on their smiles, their hair, getting a cheerful attitude and pure heart so as to add sparkle to their eyes, work on their voice and the content of their speech (no swear words, please), they would be far more attractive to people, and bring cheer instead of shame to the country.

Allow me to go down memory lane for a moment. I recall that certain old songwriters and poets used to write about a girl's voice ("low and sweet"), her face ("the fairest"), her eyes ("the truth in her eyes ever dawning"), her smile ("bright"). In the olden days, that was about as much of the girl as you were allowed to see. I think girls (and boys) prized clear, sparkling eyes, a sweet voice, and a happy smile back then, far more than a tan or a belly button.

Lest you think I am very unmerciful, let me just add that I am not without pity for a modern girl's plight. I am not advocating that everyone don sweatshirts and saggy baggy overalls this summer. After a recent clothing shopping trip, I realize that it is easier to say "dress modestly" than to do it, for I do not know where people go to find anything decent to wear. Finding a modest and beautiful garment is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I am sorry for the girls who do not sew (or do not have time to sew) their own clothes, because then they are at the mercy of whoever designs all that junk in the stores. I used to wonder why in the world girls dress like they do, but now I am feeling more sorry for them. They probably cannot find anything to wear but indecent, immodest clothing that is too short, too tight, too low-cut and too unflattering. (Yes, even if a girl has a beautiful figure, the latest styles are very unflattering to it. I have heard men and women say that the low-cut hip-hugger pants make a girl look "fat," "like she has a spare tire around her waist," and her "rear end looks wide." Sounds awful, doesn't it?)

My proposed solution to this dilemma is this: boycott the designers. Refuse to buy something that is ugly or immodest. Search out the beautiful, modest garment, and buy it. Count up how many times you get a compliment for wearing something nicer than what is out there. Send a strong message to the stores and designers that customers are tired of the trash.

And if you are someone who enjoys over-exposing yourself, I challenge you to use restraint this summer in your clothing choices.