Friday, April 29, 2011

Help for Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice-- What to Wear Next Time

For the viewing of the Royal Wedding today, our staff here at The Pleasant Times enjoyed a Royal Wedding Breakfast which was catered in to the viewers, some of whom are half or quarter British, and the others who claim relatives in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We were quite pleased with the ceremony, and that so many people all over the world could hear about what God wants marriage to be.

A universally acknowledged distraction to the solemn, beautiful and touching wedding ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today, was the Duke's cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie, specifically their hats. I have not been paying attention to these two ladies since they were little girls in cute smocked dresses. Alas, from what I saw today, I think they need help in developing a sense of what dignified fashion is for dignified events. For this they need look no further than their grandmother the Queen.

Though this is a bit late for them to wear today, it is something to keep in mind for the next Royal or National event:
 I know we are not supposed to judge books by their covers, but for my purposes in this fashion show, I am going to make some assumptions based upon the dresses that the two Princesses wore to the wedding. First, because she wore the more outrageous outfit of the two, I will show what I think would become Princess Beatrice:
 It seems to me, that this young woman likes to stand out in a crowd. She likes to get attention by dressing "differently" and shows no embarrassment in sporting her new ensembles. Therefore, in order to satisfy that urge and to maintain a royal bearing, I suggest the above outfit: the "cavalieress" look. Done in her national colors, it is sure to bring attention but also approval. The blue coat is conservative enough to satisfy what we all expect of Royalty, but the large collar, elbow-length coat sleeves with white puffed cuffs showing from underneath, and big gold buttons add a touch of the unexpected. The skirt or dress beneath is of a similar shade of blue, only in a lighter material. The "outrageous" comes from the hat, pinned up at one end, which can have as many giant white, soft ostrich feathers as the Princess should require. A wide, bright red ribbon provides attention-grabbing contrast. The shoes complete the look with big gold buckles.

Her sister, Eugenie, struck me as trying to bring a sweet, feminine element to her look, with the bows trimming her suit top, and a full skirt. However, the suite style, with so many horizontal lines, was a bit "choppy" looking.  I believe that a wrap-dress effect might look good on Princess Eugenie, and above I offer a suggestion for a soft, feminine dress that can be customized as to number of flowers and size of hat.  A shawl-looking front on the dress adds a puff sleeve look to the shoulders, but not obvious or stiff. The roses can be made of the same material or silk, and can cascade diagonally down the skirt or not; a bunch may be left at the waistline for a contrast. The skirt is almost straight, but with a slight flare, and trim on the sleeves and skirt is soft and not too puffed or bunchy gathers. This dress is made in a lovely pastel color, a softened royal purple, perhaps, or maybe it could be done up in pink. Whatever color compliments what the queen is wearing at the time should be considered.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Luke 24:1-7

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, 
Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen: 
remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Image from Karen's Whimsy

Romans 6:8-10

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Image from Karen's Whimsy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Romans 6:3-6

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Image from Karen's Whimsy

1 Corinthians 15:55-58

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Image from

1 Corinthians 15:50-54

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Image from

I Corinthians 15:19-22
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:3-4
 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An "Abrasive" Post

 Before the Baking Soda

Some garage sale finds: 25 cents each! I don't go very often to garage/yard sales, I suppose because I always end up buying something. And if I do not buy something, because I think I will have no place to put it, I later regret not buying it.
I still kick myself for passing up the portable manual typewriter, with zippered case, and typewriter ribbons still in the unopened plastic package, as well as complete instructions, and it looked BRAND NEW. All for $2.00. What was I thinking? I was thinking "I already have a manual typewriter. Where would I store this one? I don't need one of these!" I valiantly resisted temptation and left it. And then of course, too late, I realized that one of the interns at The Pleasant Times could really use it! I will probably never cease to regret this until I find another one in mint condition for a similar price. Sigh. Where was I... oh yes, the china.

 I have a hard time resisting bone china, even if it has imperfections. I bought orphaned saucers, tea cups that weren't exactly my colors, and pieces that are missing some of the gold from the edge. I can't help myself-- maybe that is why I should not go to yard sales!
 These bowls were in need of a washing. Since I knew the lady who was holding the sale, I was so bold as to ask if I could be rude and try to wash some of these things before I bought them. I wanted to see if some of the stains could be rubbed off, and they could. I brought the lot home for a bubble bath and some gentle rubbing with Baking Soda.

 Good ol' Arm & Hammer-- I hope you can see in these two photos that half of the dish has had a baking soda paste treatment, and the other half is "as found."

 The baking soda paste shines them right up. These two say "Japan" on the bottom.
 This is my new sparkly china collection. The tea cup on the upper left and the sugar/creamer set are "Royal Dover," the other tea cup is a "Royal Vale" and though it is not my usual color choice, I think I am getting fond of it; the saucer on the lower left is a "Royal Kent" and will go well with any orphaned tea cup. The one on the lower right I bought just because I liked it, it is Gladstone "Laurel Time." I am not sure if it will match anything, but it is pink and that is good enough. The one in the middle is a Mikasa "Hunter" bone china saucer. It is rather plain, but I thought it would be useful to match up with other tea cups from the china hutch:

 Tea cups with a lot of gold will go well, I think.
 Or, as it is a large saucer, I can use it to layer with other plates.
Or I can pair it with my old stand-by: the clear glass punch cup.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

Afternoon Tea by Sir John Everett Millais, 1889 Public Domain found on Wikimedia Commons

Molasses Oatmeal Cookies
Modeled off of "Ginger Creams" in my 1956 Betty Crocker Cookbook, my version is cake like, and sweetened without refined white sugar. I added oats and raisins, you can also add nuts. Make little cookies and they will be perfect for a child's tea party!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate (or you could try orange juice, but it might not be as sweet)
1/2 cup raisins

1-3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1    tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients, then mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and add to the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Chill dough.
Heat oven to 400F (if you know your oven well, you can adjust this temperature. My 375F is quite hot and 400F tends to burn, so I bake mine at the lower temperature for the same amount of time).
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls a little ways apart on a greased baking sheet (these cookies do not spread very much). Bake until set, about 7 minutes. Cool, if you can-- my family eats them before they get off of the baking sheet!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easy Ten Minute Quilt Blocks

I tried this technique the other day-- it was so much fun to do! I am looking forward to making a quilt again!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

French Toast for a Big Family

Here is an easy way to make a big batch of French Toast without having to stand over the frying pan for an hour. Make sure you prepare enough to fill everyone up, and give seconds to those who always ask for them!

Preheat your oven to 475 F. Grease two large baking sheets well with oil. Prepare your French Toast the way you are used to doing (the kind of bread you like, and eggs and seasoning), but instead of frying them in a frying pan, place them on the oiled sheets.  Into the oven they go, for a few minutes, then when they are browned to your liking on one side, flip them over and bake more until the other side is done.

Turn off the oven, and after you have served everyone, place any remaining pieces back in the oven to stay warm until wanted.

We like to serve ours with home-canned apples.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Doing Good

Try to do good to All with whom you associate.

Have you older brothers and sisters, who are anxious for your welfare? Do every thing in your power to repay their tenderness. Have you younger ones? Take pains to help them to be good. Explain their little books to them. Teach them simple pieces of poetry. If they are out of humor try to sooth them. Learn them to be careful of their toys, and to put every thing in its place when they have done with it,—and to return whatever they have borrowed to its owner. Show them by your own conduct, how to be good-tempered and happy. 

If they are mere babes you can do something towards this. It will be an assistance to your parents, to help in the great work of making their children good. You will also grow better and happier yourselves. Whatever your parents are employed about, be ready to assist them, if they will permit it. If your mother is weary with household cares, or the charge of little children, come cheerfully to her aid. You can never know how much you are indebted to her, until the burdens of life are upon you, and you watch at the cradle of your own babe, as she has watched over you. But though you cannot understand, or fully repay the debt,—you may do much to cheer her by your helping hand, and affectionate deportment. 

Make it a rule to try to do some good to all in whose company you are. Do not always talk about trifles with your companions. It is not improper to love play,—but it would be wrong to wish to spend all your time, and thoughts about it. If you have read an improving book, tell your little friends what you can remember of it. Ask them to do the same. Speak of the lessons that you have learned together. In this way you will share your stock of knowledge, and be quickened to gain more. You will convey good thoughts to the mind of others. To love useful knowledge is one way of being happy. To divide it among your friends is one way of doing good. So that doing good, and being happy, seem to be the same thing.— 

There was once a boy, who adopted it as a rule, never to go any where, or converse with any person, without trying to do them some good. It was a noble rule. He began with the domestics of the family, and with his young associates. The habit of doing good grew up with him,—and was strengthened from above. He was distinguished by his conversations, his writings, and his sermons,—and the blessing of the poor, and the sick, and the sorrowful, were his reward. He became the celebrated Dr. Cotton Mather, of Boston,—author of "Essays to do Good,"—the "Magnalia,"—and other books of piety.

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Friday, April 1, 2011


Today I would like to share with you this beautiful painting, done by Federico Andreotti  of Italy**
I just love the elegant gown on the lady!***
It looks like a fancy gown for walking in the garden and reading letters! She looks as fine as if she were going out to some event, or to the opera.****
I love the color of the gown, that sky blue,*****
and the satin reflects the light so well.******
She looks very cheerful, with roses in her hair.*******
And isnt' the background lovely?******** 
I hope that you enjoyed this pretty painting as much as I do!*********

(Painting: The Love Letter by Frederico Andreotti, from wikimedia commons)

*Written for the benefit of many blogging friends. Make sure you cover all the bases. 

**Today I am favoring an Italian artist, but not that I have anything against artists from anywhere else, like, for instance, France, though some in this country refused to eat French Fries for a while (and I suppose that French chefs would scorn to eat our French Fries themselves) I have nothing against the French personally, or their painters, or their food, and do not participate in any animosity towards the said country, I just chose this painting today. Though I have no Italian in my blood, I do like Italian things, especially pasta and pizza. Not that American pizza is like the original-- though I am not saying anything bad about American Pizza vs. Italian Pizza (not that I have ever had the real thing-- that is to say not that Americans do not have the real thing either--) because I am sure, well, "to each his own." And of course we always like to try something new here. 

***not that I think that everyone ought to wear elegant evening gowns, on the contrary, I think that everyone should just wear what is appropriate to themselves. 

****I am not condoning wasting time going places in elegant gowns, nor am I condemning going to the opera. I realize that the operas have terribly wicked story lines, but I am sure that some people just enjoy the music. If you go to the opera on a regular basis, please understand that I am not against you, but if you are against the opera, please understand that I am not condoning the plot lines of operas, or the lives of the operatic singers. Not that I am against operatic singers in general, nor those who have a vibrato to their singing voice. And if you enjoy going places in elegant gowns, that is your right to do that with your time.

*****I am not making a statement against any other colors, or trying to put forth this particular blue above all other hues of blues. Nor am I bashing anyone's favorite color choice. 

******not that satin is the best material to reflect light. I also want to make a statement here that I am all for durable fabrics, of which satin is not one, and would not recommend satin for regular use. Not that I go around doing that, or know by experience, but I am afraid that someone out there will think I am promoting satin instead of sturdy cotton. Not that I am for cotton and against linen or wool, you understand.

*******I realize it is impractical to wear roses in your hair all the time, I am sure this lady did this just for the painting, and did not go around trying to wear flowers. Also, in the old days the roses were not sprayed with pesticides, and I would caution anyone today putting roses in their hair that have been sprayed with pesticides. And I apologize for the lady in the painting if she did not cut the roses herself, but had her gardener do it, so as to be wearing roses off the backs of the poor. My hopes are she harvested them herself. Not that I am against people who prefer to hire themselves out as gardeners. Also I do not condone the death of ostriches to harvest the feathers, or poachers who do so. On the other hand, I am not promoting ostrich feather farms, but if you happen to be an ostrich farmer that is your choice and I am not condemning you. 

********not that I am all for people living in the country as opposed to the city-- I think that certain people could be equally happy in either place. If this is a rich lady on her estate, I apologise, because I do not believe in slavery. However, I am not assured that this is a rich lady, though it is highly likely. And I am not sure she has slaves. Not that I have anything against rich people, I'd sure like to be rich myself, but not that I have anything against being poor and I am poor myself (currently) not that I want to complain or anything. 

********* My readers must understand that they do not HAVE to enjoy this painting, I just HOPE they do, I realize that everyone has different tastes, and I respect the right of all my readers to have different tastes in artwork, however I think something is beautiful I do not insist that everyone find it beautiful. In acknowledging that I keep the right to find  things on your blogs beautiful or not, according to my tastes, not that I am against your blogs at all or you blogging about paintings that you think are beautiful. I respect your right to blog beautiful pictures, and I just want you to know that.