Creative Homemaking Tips
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Isn't this a cozy scene? Who among us would rather be somewhere else when there is such an inviting place? This is the goal of homemaking: to make your home a place that people never want to leave. When you begin hearing compliments like, "I just want to sit down in your house and stay, stay, stay," you know you are achieving this comfort. Or when family members say, "Let's not go anywhere this weekend. Let's stay home," your house has become a place that feels like home. Family treasures that have meaning and comfortable places to sit and rest are part of making a real home. The first step in making a real home is to be at home. In order for a woman to be a keeper at home, she must be at home, keeping up the standards she has established for herself; standards in order and cleanliness and standards in beauty. For a woman to guide the house or guard the house, as the scriptures teach, she must be at home. Naturally she will have to be out of her home in order to get the things she needs and help others, but her main concern should be the home. A home does not feel homey unless the woman can be at home. A lot of women would like to be home, managing it and guarding it, but do not feel they can afford it. For this reason, it is advisable never to begin being dependent on a second salary (the woman's). Once you start doing that, it is hard to quit work and come home. You may have bought a house or a car or other large purchases based on a dual income. It is better to do without these things and be at home. If we do God's will, He will enable us. Think of that! Test Him, and see if it is not true! All of the women who quit their job to be keepers at home have said the same thing: that they leaped out on faith, not knowing where the income would come from for their needs. They found that income in the various ways of not spending like they used to when they worked. If women begin to add up how it will work or not work, they will never quit their jobs and come home, for it is an act of obedience, faith in God and trust.
Have you ever wondered how some women manage to make their homes feel so wonderful? One way is to have company often. When you do this, you increase your own appreciation of your home. Another way is to combine the old with the new in furnishings and decorations. Another way is to live in your home. Signs of life in the home include lit candles, soft music, something on the stove or in the oven with a wonderful aroma, crafts, art and needlework projects ready to be picked up and worked on at any time, and flowers growing by the front door. A house feels more like a home when there is someone there. Even if it is just you, the homemaker, all by yourself, you can tell the difference. With your puttering and improving and cleaning and even "playing house," it has a feeling of love in it. If you want to be at home, it will take determination and faith. You will discover one principle that most of us who are at home, living on one major income, have learned: anything you need can either be gotten for free, traded for, hand-made or improvised in some way. Homemakers have a wealth of ideas for just about anything you need to prevent you having to spend money on it. Figure out how long your husband or father has to work for ten or twenty dollars. The next time you purchase any one item of that cost, stop for a minute and think how long he had to work for that thing you want. Many years ago, women were advised to go get a cool drink, sit down, and think about the purchase if it were twenty dollars or more. Sometimes that 15-minute refreshment break prevented them from spending as much. They thought about getting the item somewhere at a great discount, or having it made for them, or substituting it with something they already had. If, after thinking about it, you still think you need it, then you can go ahead. This method usually works in helping homemakers to be wise in their spending.
Time for Tea
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Tips for Making Home Lovely--a Place You Want to Be!
Below you see the beautiful artwork of Amanda Kastner, home school graduate. You see here the seating area is close to the warm fire and situated for intimate conversation. On the walls are photographs, silhouettes or paintings of family members. There was a fad in interior decorating that caused women to take family likenesses away from the living area and put them in halls or basement family rooms, leaving the living rooms looking like institutional waiting rooms! Since the living areas are usually the only thing guests will see of our homes, family photos certainly belong there. If you will notice the paintings of the past, portraits were sometimes done with an oval painting of an ancestor in the background. When photography became popular, it was not uncommon to see a family photograph with another photograph of a beloved relative who lived many years earlier on the wall above the faces of the other family members.
Living Room by Amanda Kastner
As you can see in this illustration, the conversation area is very close--about the width of the rug in the center. This is just right for undisturbed visiting. It is not a traffic area, and if others need something, they can walk around the area. It is very rude to walk in the middle of people who are talking. The rug is on a bare wood floor. It is less expensive to replace area rugs than wall-to-wall carpeting, and you can clean up spills and stains from a tiled, linoleum, or wood floor much easier than you can a carpet. One day I hope to have this look in my home. Carpeting will wear and stain in the traffic areas, and that is why women seem to be going more toward the bare floors with area rugs. Amanda must be an interior designer at heart, for she has cleverly contrasted two colors and their families: blue and rose. She has matched up the rose lamps with the cushions and mats of the pictures. The flowers and books also have touches of coordinating colors. The room is neither too masculine nor too feminine, so that everyone may be at home. The furniture is sturdy enough for men, yet appealing to women. The sewing basket next to the chair brings memories of our grandmothers mending in the evenings. There is a good balance in this room because heavy things are balanced equally with heavy things on the other side of the room. If you have a piano at one end of you room, put a heavy piece of furniture such as a bookshelf at the other end. The idea is to pretend you are on a ship. If you put too much weight on one end, you must balance it on the other end. Delicate things have their place, but they should be balanced and blended with other things in order to make the room orderly and homey.
Houses should be built so that the dining area has a window to a picturesque back yard or view. Remember this if you ever get an opportunity to design and direct the building of a house. There is nothing as pleasurable as dining in such an atmosphere. Summer lunches can be simple efforts, featuring fresh produce and fresh squeezed juice from your grapevines. A small lunch consisting of cheese, fruit and bread can be most satisfying on a hot day.
Summer Lunch By an Open Window
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More Homemaking Tips
- Complaining: The most detrimental factor in homemaking is complaining. It is particularly disconcerting to fathers, brothers and husbands to hear women complain about the housework and their duties. Sensing that women are unhappy at home, men will put pressure on them to leave the home and join the workforce for the major part of the day, or engage in earning money at home efforts which take up enormous amounts of time. Men expect women to naturally love homemaking, and women "fall from their pedestal" and the high estimation of men when they complain about their duties at home. There are many privileges connected to being at home that would not be afforded women in the workforce. You can put your feet up and rest a spell, do some needlework or some pleasurable hobby, try new recipes, sew, have friends over for tea, rearrange and decorate and many other things that you would not be allowed to do in the working world.
- The Art of Puttering: Puttering around the house is one of the most relaxing things you can do. It is not the same as cleaning, working or keeping house. It is a quiet, unhurried method of doing things at random just to make home a nicer place. Puttering consists of watering plants, moving decorative items on a coffee table, rearranging books, adding doilies in creative ways, replacing the color of your candles or putting out a fresh bouquet of flowers. Updating your photographs and placing them in a different grouping is also puttering. Puttering is a non-pressured way of beautifying your home. You can discover your own creativity while puttering. Puttering is putting things here and there, taking things away, standing back and looking, then determining what is the most pleasing. When you begin to feel tension, take a few minutes just to putter.This is not to be confused with being idle and useless, however, as putterers will tell you.
- Making Good Use of Time: While something is in the oven with the timer on, you can be folding the last load from your dryer. When you heat up the iron for something, you can use those few minutes to put away some dishes. While your pot of stew is heating up to a boil, you can be setting the table. If things are not quite ready from the stove, you can create a centerpiece from freshly cut flowers. The remarkable thing about women that God created within them is that they can do two things at the same time. But don't go overboard with this, as you may end up having "one of those days."
- Family Photos: Collect pretty frames or make them from patterns, and fill them with non-professional photographs of family members. Catch them picking berries, having tea, playing, sitting in a swing or looking at the sea. While some experts claim that the photo frames should all match, it is more homey to use a variety of frames. Your local dollar store often has some very pretty frames. If you have a color your prefer for your home, it may be possible to get different frames in the same color. Group them in threes and fives of different heights, or put a dozen of them all together on a shelf. Photographs of your family show a cohesiveness in your home. Dressing in coordinating clothing of similar colors or fabrics for family photos is also a statement of belonging.
Here is a sample of a family photo taken with a disposable camera. Professional photos often do not have the same homey feeling! This is Lillibeth with her boys, taking some time to play her favorite pieces. (She is wearing an Elizabeth Lee design made by Rebecca Newton of Baker Lane, with sleeve of several pieces that overlap like the petals of a tulip.)
- Preserving Your Strength: A lot can be learned from pictures of the past. We see Victorian women sitting on those wonderful wrap-around porches peeling apples, shelling peas or mixing batter. Alternate standing and sitting chores so that you do not develop problems with your legs and feet. Wear adequate covering on your feet so that boiling water, sharp knives or cans of food will not injure you if perhaps they fly out of your hands onto your feet. Begin your day with a high-protein feast, and eat energy-giving vegetables throughout the day. Starches and simple carbohydrates tend to slow you down, make you sleepy and cause extra weight gain. You can't go wrong with stir fry, salads, meats and fish. Tiny slices of dessert are fine. One of the reasons Afternoon Teas are so popular is because the delicate pastries and desserts are only bite-sized, allowing you to have a taste of everything without over-indulging. You will have a lot more energy if you minimize the amount of bread products you eat during the day.
- That Anxious Feeling: Sometimes there will be a feeling of anxiety. Maybe you have been very busy going places or taking care of home duties. When feelings like this come upon you, it may be time to go to a private place and pray. Sometimes people think there is something wrong with them and will try all sorts of remedies. After all this, when they cannot feel at peace, they finally pray. Perhaps you are worried about the meals and the purchase and care of clothing, or all the things you have given yourself to sew. Try praying at first, instead of at last. The scriptures teach , "Your heavenly father knows you need all these things..." Matthew 6:28. He knows what your needs are and is concerned with the details of your life, and the things that concern you in your daily life.
Homemaking is a sacred calling. It is not just something that can be accomplished with a quick sweep and a wipe. A homemaker has a purpose for the things she does: to show care and concern for the people she is responsible for. We are all servants, no matter what work we do, and it is a much lighter task if we are serving the ones we love and who love us back, and who will be with us to honor our special days, and care about us in return when we have times of illness or need extra help.