Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Roses from my garden

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain:
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.


Refrain

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You don't need to be a missionary and relocate to another country to make a differences. You don't need to do charity work to make a differences. In fact you can "brighten a corner" from your computer via a Christian blog, through your Facebook page (keeping it positive and uplighting), when you go shopping, at work, reaching out and helping your neighbour, via a letter to a friend. As this wonderful hymn says . . . do not wait to shed your light afar, brighten the corner where you are.  So often people think they need to do something (called to do something), however, often its right there under their noses and they can't see it. For mothers with children, brighten the corner where your children and your husband are, this bright light that you shine is by far the most important one that you can do, all others are simply extras when you have the time. 

But it doesn't just mean only preaching the Word . . . it also means reaching out and helping, perhaps when you see a person struggling at the supermarket or someone looking sad who needs a smiling face. Just a simple gesture might remove the black cloud above them. 

Lets all brighten in our own small corners this coming week and make a differences. 


And whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 
(Colossians 3:17)
*****

Friday, October 24, 2014

Art Friday: Deborah DeWit



Artist: Deborah DeWit
Born Portland, Oregon, USA

Paintings of those quite moments we all enjoy and treasure. Enjoy.














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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hand made gifts


Its my friends birthday next week and I wanted to make her something special so I made these lavender bags for her clothing. I am really pleased with the end result and I do like the purple and green fabric.  I love handmade gifts, it shows that the giver has gone to a lot of effort to make something unique, just for you. 

Once upon-a-time it was completely normal to make gifts for friends and family.  Only the rich could afford to buy and give gifts, no one else had money to waste. Women would spent their evenings sewing, knitting, embroidering, crocheting to make all sorts of wonderful things to give to others. Each piece was made with love and care. Often the items were practical such as clothing, but they also make pretty doilies, tablecloths and quilts that were then passed down the family.  Men made items out of wood - toys for the children and pretty jewellery boxes for their wives.  Even after a busy day, they still found the time to handcraft gifts for  others.

Those familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder will remember Ma making gifts for the children and how excited they were to receive them. Children in those days were not spoilt with gifts on a regular basis, so they loved it when given gifts that their mother or father had made as it really was a very special treat. 


If  you gave a modern child a handmade item, most would be very disappointed. They want the latest electronic gadget that cost a small fortune and parents are more than willing to cater for their requests. They simply wouldn't appreciate something handcrafted.   These days it is a rarity to receive a handmade gift - women no longer have the time or the skills to make gifts for others. And even more sad, their lack of skill means they are unable to teach their daughters how to make homemade items for others.

One doesn't need to be a great sewer (I am certainly not), just find something that is simple and easy and matches your skill level. If sewing or knitting isn't your forte, perhaps make a batch of biscuits,  brownies, some lemon butter, a loaf of artisan bread, pasta sauce, jam, cupcakes, even one of those cookie mixes in a jar, candles, bath scrubs . . . the list is endless and it is so much cheaper than buying all the time.  Pinterest is over flowing with gift ideas that are cheap and easy to make.

Its worth, when you are next in the dollar store to look out for possible gift ideas, ribbon, jars, boxes, stickers . . . that way you will have a stash of bits and pieces that will make gift making so much easier.

Lets get back to making things with our hands, using our talents to craft something special for someone else.  Lets encourage our children to make gifts and discourage them from wanting the latest toy in the store. We spend a small fortune on toys that don't last and often require batteries - lets get back to basics!!

A few ideas I found on Pinterest
She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands. 
Proverbs 31:13

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A homemaker is an artist . . .

Flowers on my buffet

Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness.
 Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace. 
(Vermon Baker)


A homemaker is an artist who paints into existence her family's set-apart place or haven, which becomes like heaven in the sense of ultimate rest.  The house or apartment, as well as the area surrounding it - whether concrete or garden - together become a canvas upon which the homemaker can create the perfect shelter for those whom she loves most in the world. She is seeking to combine comfort with a style that fits her family. Much of creating this prepared place lies in the art and accessories to be used. These times usually are not newly purchased on mass but rather are gathered over a lifetime, expressing who you are and what you like, a distinctive place in your own world and one in which every family member can see himself. 

~ from The Christian homemakers handbook, page 57

*****

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
(Proverbs 14: 1)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Procrastination


Procrastination the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last minute" before the deadline.

Who procrastinates?

Be truthful?

Procrastination is deliberately (wilfully) delaying what we ought to be doing for what ever reason, often due to laziness.  It is putting off work that should be done today, until tomorrow, or the next or the next. 


Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

I was one of those students at school who did my homework at the last minute, except for the title page and drawings, as that was fun and often (at primary school) involved coloured pencils and being creative. I put off what was hard for as long as possible. This, of course, made life much more stressful as I had to rush the most difficult part at the last minute.  I continued down this path well into adulthood - but in the end, we cannot put off the inevitable so one needs to learn strategies to avoiding procrastination. 

Why do we procrastinate? The reasons are many and varied:
  • To avoid an unpleasant task (e.g. cleaning the bathroom)
  • Avoiding an overwhelming or complex project
  • Afraid or fearful (avoiding a unpleasant phone call)
  • Fear of failure
  • or just plain laziness - finishing off a book is far more enjoyable/exciting than cleaning one's house (and the Bible has plenty to say about being lazy, slothful, slack).

Instead of getting on with the task or project, many women will do everything else to avoid starting - and that might include, reading another chapter of a favourite book, chatting with the neighbour, spending far longer than necessary on the computer or phone, watching TV, or doing a favourite hobby . . . they are very good at coming up with excuses why they can't start. 

We all need to keep our homes clean and tidy, we all need to buy food and cook meals for the family, we need to wash and iron the clothes, do the finances, care for our children and our husbands and some of us work outside the home etc... We can not avoid doing these tasks no matter how much we delay them. In fact, the longer we delay, the bigger the buildup up of chores and that doesn't create a pretty sight - leading to  stress and the feeling of being out of control. None of us have maids to do these jobs we need to stop wasting precious time and get one with them!  We need:

SELF-DISCIPLINE and SELF CONTROL
the RIGHT attitude
JOYFUL heart
and ultimately remember who we are serving . . . the LORD (and He doesn't like laziness).

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. (Colossinas 3:23)

So what should we do if procrastination is a problem:

  • Grab a cup of tea, a note pad and sit somewhere comfort.
  • Start by praying, asking God for guidances and wisdom. 
  • Then look at all the tasks you have and prioritise them. . . what is important and what is not as important, what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or ad hoc. 
  • Tick those jobs you enjoy doing.
  • Divide the tasks into manageable parts so they no longer look overwhelming - for example, you don't need to dust the entire house at once - perhaps do the living room on one day and the remaining house on another.  Or get your children involved.
  • Draw up a schedule for each day of the week (perhaps on a large sheet of paper, magnet board or cork board) and start allocating tasks to days of the week: e.g. washing on Monday mornings and ironing in the afternoon, clean the bathroom on Tuesdays, shopping on Fridays. When creating your schedule, don't forget to mix the not so nice jobs along with the fun jobs as it will give you variation and help with procrastination. Some women turn these into elaborate binders (like this one) - do what suits you, I'm not a binder sort of gal!
  • If your find your schedule is too full - look at what you can stop - weight up the pros and cons of dropping an activity and make a wise decide. And don't toss out all the nasty jobs and keep the enjoyable ones. 
  • Don't forget to add bible study into your schedule. 
  • Don't fill your schedule completely - remember, life is full of the unexpected, every schedule needs to be flexible to cater for the unexpected, so don't panic if the ironing isn't finished because you had an emergency. It isn't about how much you do, its about how you spend your time.
  • Always built in time for pleasure - reading, a quiet afternoon, visit friends/family, sewing, going for a walk, just sitting in the sun. Your day should not be filled with  only work, it is important to also do enjoyable activities. Taking care yourself is just as important as taking care of the family and home.
  • A good nights sleep is important, whilst it doesn't need to be scheduled (!), make sure your work doesn't go too late into the evening. In fact, try and keep your evenings free - time for your family. 

If this is really difficult, I would suggest you find someone to help, such as a Titus 2 woman to help as it isn't easy for everyone and not everyone is born with strong organisational skills.  Two heads are far better than one.  There are also a number of great Christian books on the market that are very helpful, including Elizabeth George's "Life Management for Busy Women" and "The Christian Homemakers Handbook". Others I am sure can recommend useful books. 

If you do have to undertake an unpleasant task, get it done first thing in the morning . . . the longer you wait, the more stressful you become and you are more likely to find ways of putting it off. If it was a very difficult or arduous, reward yourself once completed e.g.  30 mins in the sunshine with a book or perhaps morning tea. Having something to look forward to, does make an unpleasant task much easier to do. 

Finally, it you have children, it is very important to teach them from an early age to not procrastinate, it is skill that they will be very thankful for later in life. 

Use your time wisely, don't waste it. We need to live as if each minute counts, as they do.

Putting an end to procrastination is important and biblical.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Paintings by Deborah De Witt

*****

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sewing patterns

Since I started sewing almost 2 years ago, I have been building my pattern collection so I have a range of different outfits I can try my hand at. With McCalls/Butterick's having a pattern sale this week, I thought I would spoil myself and buy 4 new patterns. Whilst it can be difficult to find feminine clothing in the store, there are plenty of modern patterns that are lovely and feminine and you can alter the hem length, neckline or add sleeves if you so wish. 

I am still a novice at dressmaking but I am willing to trying things that perhaps are out of my comfort zone. A few months ago I lined a dress and was so pleased with the end result I will certainly do it again - in fact I surprised myself with how well it worked. Youtube is an excellent source for sewing tips and tutorials.

My next sewing project will be one of the dressers below - they all look great for summer and very suitable for work.

To help with my sewing and hopefully do away with the need to buy some patterns, I have purchased two courses from Craftsy "Pattern-making basic: The bodice sloper" and "Pattern-making basic: The skirt sloper". If you haven't used Craftsy courses before, I would highly recommended them - some are free and others have a cost and I just wait for them to have sales and both these courses I purchased for 50% discount. I have been using one of their free quilting courses to help with a quilt I'm making and have found it very useful.  I have also purchased a bread making course (sour dough) and can't wait to do it.  In fact these would make excellent courses for homeschooling and once purchased, you keep them for life. 
Butterick B4386

Aren't these just lovely and what a great length and neckline. My favourite would have to be the black and white square neck that the model is wearing. 

McCalls M3129
I find jackets expensive so I thought I would try one myself - how hard can it be!!! I will let you know!

McCalls 6996
McCalls 7022

I've never sewn a pleat before - first time for everything!!!
Butterick 4933 - an old pattern I use to own and glad I found it (uncut) on Ebay.  This one covers the tummy so ideal for me!!
Blouses are so expensive so I would love to make my own - got these two patterns to practice my skills - these would be great in summer.  I have just ordered some cotton fabric from Hawthorne Threads to try and make the Butterick pattern above
And finally, I just love this WW2 style skirt - I plan to make the grey skirt with its pointed front and two pleats. I think it will look very elegant. Just need to find the right fabric!!



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