Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Review: The Gentle Arts of Domesticity

 "The Gentle Arts of Domesticity" has been one of our favorite books for several years now. The author, Jane Brocket, is an extremely intelligent, educated lady who advocates domesticity. And not the perfect magazine kind of domesticity, but the get messy in the kitchen, decorate because it makes you happy kind of domesticity. The British have such a deep appreciation for the everyday comforts and things of life and Jane Brocket is a master at it.
"There is a world of difference between domesticity and domestication. This book is about domesticity and the pleasures and joys of the gentle domestic arts of knitting, crochet, baking, stitching, quilting, gardening and homemaking. It is emphatically not about the repetitive, endless rounds of cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping and house maintenance that come with domestication. Domesticity rises above the business of cleaning products and media exhortations to keep our houses pristine and hygienic, and focuses instead on the creativity within the domestic space."

"The gentle arts are all about comfort. They are the soothing, relaxing, consoling, and caring. They benefit both the maker and the those around her with the creation of a comfortable, creative, tactile environment in which individuals can feel secure, at ease, happy- even if it is only a temporary respite from more pressing cares."

"For domestic comfort lies in the knowledge that things do not have to be perfect. .........Many women in the past had no option but to be good enough because they couldn't afford perfection and had to make do with what they themselves could create."

Jane Brocket has several other books on quilting, baking, embroidery and children's activities. She also blogs at Yarnstorm Press.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


The hydrangeas are doing really well this year. I love all the shades of pink the flowers go through!

Vibrant, rich pink when they first bloom.....
A muted dusty rose pink when they are finished.......
And a lovely soft pink in between.

  I am just now figuring out how/when to prune and what hydrangeas needs for upkeep. This bush  in the front of the house which is very shady for most of the day, but it doesn't seem to mind. The variety is "Invincible Spirit", which I chose for the color!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Dog and Wood Floors

 Before I had a dog, I always wondered how wood floors would fare. Would there be more scratches from four paws with large nails? Would there be a large scratch when the dog ran full tilt and came to a sudden stop? What about soggy paws, slobber or wet noses?
(You don't mind seeing a bunch of cute dog pictures do you? Kerri was so cute with a new hair cut!)
 Well I am happy to report that both the wood floors in the previous house and the floor in this house are doing just fine! A dog is only a very small portion of daily abuse we dish out for the floors to handle. Grass from the freshly cut lawn is ground in, wet shoes tracked across it, dirt and grime from the latest project scattered about. 
It has been about a year since a put a couple extra coats of shellac on the floors. They survived the winter much better this time.

My floors certainly aren't perfect, they weren't perfect to begin with! But they have held up rather well for being almost 100 years old and refinished by an inexperienced person who didn't quite know what they were doing.

  Of course there is that little dent where the iron fell off the ironing board and under the table there is a patch of tiny scratches were Kerri likes to lay (I got a bit aggressive on the nail cutting, now I file her nails after trimming and the problem is solved.) and next to the rug in the front hall is a bit of a water spot from some winter boot. 

So perfect floors? No. Perfect for dogs and life? Yes!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Garden

 Even though the backyard is not large, it is a cozy and sheltered place to enjoy summer!
I don't think I have posted about the back this year. There have been a few changes, but we love the simplicity.

 The biggest change was to adding another raised garden bed. We had always planned on adding a second bed, but wanted to give them a try before we invested in two.
 We love them! Everything is tidy and within easy reach. The back bed, which we had veggies in last year is now the strawberry patch.
 Cucumber vine with plenty of flowers. Can't wait for pickles!
As Mandy and I were poking around in the garden, weeding and gathering, we noticed we had a visitor! Who was trying to hard to be invisible. She was a little thing, about as big as my hand. We were a little worried she might have been stuck in the raised bed, but when we later went back to check, she was gone.
 The raised beds are 4' x 4', but we have managed to fit quite the garden in it! Cucumbers, radishes, carrots, beans, lettuce, celery with parley and basil at the corners.
Basil and carrots.
 Another of this year's projects was putting a screen on the back door. It is a good old fashioned wooden one that thwacks when you close it!

It is so nice to be able to leave the door open and know that the bugs and critters are going to stay out. I painted the screen door the same blue as the back steps and furnished it with a vintage handle.

Asters, which are getting close to blooming.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Petunias, Zinnias and Dalias

It has been busy busy the last couple of weeks, life racing along! So instead of making my tired little brain work even harder I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.
And hopefully, next week I will be back with a better post!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Milk Bottle

 Stairs and milk bottles seem to go together. 
Reminiscent of the morning delivery left on the back steps.....

(I was playing around with my camera, trying out different settings and decided my new milk bottle would make a good subject.)

The back side says " Refresh with Milk! You never outgrow your need for milk. Drink 3 glasses every day!' (Love it!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Apron Finds!

Lately, it has been a bonanza of  apron finds! In the last two weeks I have ended up with almost a dozen! Today, I am going to share eight with you as I have already gifted a few. Since it is summer, and all the aprons smelled of moth balls, a photo shoot on the clothesline seemed very fitting!
 The majority of the aprons came from an estate sale. The lady was a seamstress and amazing embroiderer.
 This one needs a little help. I didn't notice if I bought it with a rip or if it happened in the wash. (Have you ever tried to remove the smell of moth balls from fabric? It likes to linger...) Surely, I can think of something creative to hide/fix it.
I love all the sweet details.

This striped one isn't my favorite. I think I need to pass it on to someone that can appreciated it more!

But the construction is marvelous! I think I might even have a similar pattern. And as always, the attention to detail is perfect. Ric-Rac around the edge, french seams and a notched waistband.

 This is a cheery little gem! I think Mandy might adopt it, as she loves red.

More details; a horizontal piece of fabric for the hem creating a lovely stripe. Stripes also on the pocket and waistband.

 A sweet little dotted swiss apron. This one looks commercially made for a costume as it has embroidered straps.

I love textured fabric! And the bitty lace edging is the perfect accent.

 This one I picked up at an antique store, I fell in love with the fabric!

How could I resist fruit clocks?

 How much more classic can you get then blue gingham? This apron was meticulously hand sewn.

 I had to add an extra picture of the embroidery, it is so exquisite.

 Here is another cute frilly apron with white eyelet.
Love this fabric! I wonder if it was scraps from a project, as it is pieced in several places. Perhaps leftovers from a shirt dress?

 A printed fabric apron with large pockets. Don't they look practical? I love the size.