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The business of being a housewife can be looked at in two ways.  It can be viewed as a serires of chores… [or] it can be thought of as a vocation of the highest significance- the vocation of homemaker.  Lived in these terms, it becomes a calling devoted to the very fabric of the life itself.  Health and happiness, faith and the molding of character, love, religion, parenthood, birth, marriage, bereavement, consolation- for these essentials of life the family is home base, and in all these, the homemaker has a key role to play.   -S. Gershon Levi in Guide for the Jewish Homemaker.

I picked up a couple of used books yesterday.  One is the above quoted Guide for the Jewish Homemaker by Shonie B. Levi and Sylvia R. Kaplan, and the other is The Jewish Family Book by Sharon Strassfeld and Kathy Green.  I haven’t read more than a couple pages of each book, but they both look promising. 

I added a new link to my sidebar, under the heading Bits of Loveliness.  It’s a post by Rhonda from Down—to—Earth about the modern-day housewife.  Read it and love it.  I did.

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The view outside my window is gray and wet, but I have a little roll of Smarties in front of me to add some color to my day. 

The sun pokes in and back out every few days, but I need color right now. I’m in the mood to share with you the rest of my skirt making tutorial because of the colorful fabric I used.  It’s a double-layered skirt with an elastic waist.  The next skirt I make like this will have a zipper in the back, since I’m not a big fan of elastic.

The first thing to note with this pattern is that because it’s an elastic waist, your pattern will not be fitted.  This means that instead of using the waistline measurement and the hip measurement when drawing your pattern, your hip measurement will be the waistline. Also, you’ll need to add an additional 2″ to the waist seam allowance on account of encasing the elastic.

Okay, so first thing you do is fold your two lengths of fabric lengthwise, inside out.  Iron it well, too.  Lay your pattern on it, with the edge of the pattern on the fold of the fabric.

Trace your pattern onto the fabric (making sure the fabric is *in fact* inside-out).  I used a sharpee for this, but you’re gonna want to use chalk, or something sensible like that.  Sharpees are not recommended.  I’m just special.

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Last week I went to the library to check out some books which I’d found on the Ladies Against Feminism website and some of a new author I’d discovered whose books I just love.

I have devoured most of these books and I only have A Return to Modesty and Home Comforts left to read. Today I brought A Return to Modesty with me to work and I have a feeling it’ll be a quick read, too.

I finished reading Stepping Heavenward yesterday and I just love that book so much that I’m going to buy several copies and give them away (I’ll probably keep two, myself). It’s the story of a young lady coming of age in the 19th century and the trials and joys she goes through that help her grow in her faith and her walk with the Lord. It made me cry and laugh and snort at the most inappropriate times at work (I have a lot of downtime so I read it then) and I would gladly read it over and over again; in fact, I fully intend to. It’s SUCH an inspiring book!

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I believe that lady-like behavior lies mostly in the little things. When I look at myself through the eyes of the people around me I don’t appear to be very much of a lady. I don’t always sit up straight, I don’t always look people in the eye, I forget to send thank-yous, I don’t always remember to put my napkin on my lap and I think only of myself much too often to be anything near a lady. This is why I’m taking some time this summer to brush up on those little things which make people feel appreciated and respected. So now I’m catching up on everything I should have learned. I’m reading through the Emily Post website and have checked out a few books on etiquette.

Why is it that these little things are often overlooked in today’s education? I wish I had learned all these little things before I became aware of my lack of them! Shouldn’t I have learned this in my home-ec class? Surely the little boys would not have been left out. There are few men left who stand when a lady approaches, or will run to open a door before the lady. All too often it’s every man (and woman) to himself, or maybe they’ll think to hold the door open for you after they’ve gone in themselves.

But I guess it’s a matter of values. If we were taught to respect each other, these little things would be the perfect way of demonstrating that respect. As it is, today’s children hardly respect their parents let alone strangers or even each other.

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I’m reading a book right now called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, and I’d like to share a snippet of it with you, dear reader, that I found idyllic but inspiring.

“Aunty has six children of her own, and has adopted two. She says she always meant to imitate the old woman who lived in a shoe. She reminds me of mother, and yet she is very different; full of fun and energy; flying about the house as on wings, with a kind, bright word for everybody. All her household affairs go on like clock-work; the children are always nicely dressed; nobody ever seems out of humor; nobody is ever sick. Aunty is the central object around which everybody revolves; you can’t forget her a moment, for she is always doing something for you, and then her unflagging good humor and cheerfulness keep you good-humored and cheerful. I don’t wonder that Uncle Alfred loves her so.

I hope I shall have just such a home… I would like to be just such a bright, loving wife as Aunty is; to have my husband lean on me as Uncle leans on her; to have just as many children, and to train them as wisely and kindly as she does hers. I have delightful talks with Aunty, who sets me right at this point and at that; and it is beautiful to watch her home-life and see with what sweet unconsciousness she carries her religion into every detail of life.”

What could be more feminine than pink?

For my contribution to Feminine Friday over at Kelly’s blog, The Barefoot Mama, I’ll be sharing about some of my pink items. This week I’m showing off my pink tea set, which I recently got at my Soroptimist club’s Spring Tea auction.

I like this set a lot, not just because it has pink little roses on it, but I think the set itself is very feminine even in it’s shape and curves. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m sure it’ll get much more use once the weather gets a little cooler. :)

I only wish my cups came with saucers.

It seems so strange getting up early and going to work again after the long weekend.

Sometimes I get mad about having to work full-time because I see it as a huge waste of time (aside from the money). I mean, there are so many fulfilling things to do at home, so much I could be doing in the garden, with the pets, etc, that spending 9+ hours away from home each day seems like a waste of time. It’s not the life I want to live. I’m such a homebody though; I could spend days at home and not get cabin fever (how could I with so much to do?!).

My place is in the home, making it a haven for my family and inviting to others. That is what I enjoy doing, even when I’ve been on my feet all day cooking and cleaning. It’s what brings me satisfaction. I long for the days when I will have little ones underfoot, teaching them to be godly and training them on being upstanding citizens of this world.

But it’s so easy to get caught up in daydreams, isn’t it? Now that’s a waste of time! What I really should be doing is living what I’ve been given today and enjoying it as part of the life that the Lord is pleased to have me lead in this stage in my life. I should look forward to the time when I’m at home, but not ignore the time I have now. I’m here for a reason and I should try to learn the lessons that this lifestyle brings. Afterall, not enjoying the present is a hard habit to break and one I don’t want to take part in.

One of the things about having one’s own vegetable garden is that when the harvest is in, you want to make sure and use all of it. Not having had a garden this big before, I’m having a difficult time coming up with enough recipes to use everything I have. My cilantro went to seed before I could harvest all of it. I did use a good amount of it though, and I made some Seco . It’s a Peruvian dish with a cilantro base, potatoes and peas. It’s delicious, btw. Had I waited a little longer to make this dish I would have used the peas from our garden instead of the frozen ones I buy at the grocery store. Well I guess now I can make homemade frozen peas. There’s always a positive side to everything, right?

I’ll tell ya, taking homemaking and simple living seriously sure makes a girl more organized. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s an excellent post on the importance of being modest when appropriate, and of being immodest, too.

After reading this I did some soul searching to find out if I had been too much of a stone mason or too good at beautifying my garden. I’m convinced I can do better in both, but now I more fully understand the value of actually being both.

It isn’t a contradiction, it’s a matter of where it takes place. We can still be sexy if we are sexy to and for the right person, while to everyone else making sure that we remain “a garden enclosed”.

I am really loving the Jane Austen specials on PBS. On Saturday, a couple of friends and I had a “girls'” night (her hubby was there so it wasn’t a true girls’ night). We had a potluck dinner and then we all gathered around their TV in the livingroom to watch Emma. I have never even seen the newer version of Emma (you know, the one with Gwenyth Paltrow) so I was pleasantly surprised to see they were playing the original version! That means I can watch both, since the newer version is more readily available. What I love about being able to watch the older versions is that they are almost idential to the books so you know you’re not getting someone else’s fabricated version or interpretation of the original.

It doesn’t air on Saturday nights, but because they have a DVR we were able to watch the one we’d missed the Sunday prior. What was also nice about that is that we could pause it to discuss something we’d missed from the accent or how fast they dialogue, or just to use the restroom! It’s great. :) We decided we’re going to do that more often because we just had so much fun that night that when we finally looked at the clock it was almost 1 a.m. and we hadn’t even noticed!

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