Saturday, May 9, 2020

Graduation - Associate Degree from Eastern Arizona College

Miss Abigail was born into a homeschooling family. Not all homeschoolers plan to go to college, but that was always the possible plan.  When you are a homeschool mom, you hope your children can get into college and manage to keep up. You hope that you could do at least an adequate job and I just crossed my fingers that it would be enough. My last little chick proved she could do it. That makes four out of four! Hooray! Abby had to work pretty hard to make up for my deficiencies and I am just as proud as I can be of her accomplishments. Now on to nursing school.

We observed her "virtual" commencement ceremony last night - her name was flashed on a screen! But here is a beautiful picture and I love that wide smile!


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Peek Inside - Beautiful Crocheted Tablecloth

This lovely hand-crocheted tablecloth is a gift for Miss Abigail from Jackie Mitchell, another older friend to Abby from our ladies club. Jackie was a close neighbor for many years before she moved to Oklahoma and this extraordinary gift came in the mail soon after she moved. Jackie wanted Abigail to have something from her in the hope chest. What a wonderful friend.

The tablecloth is large - about 60-inches, so it will work on a regular round dining table or as an accent topper on a smaller table. I love the ornamental pineapple motif - symbolic of hospitality!



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Table Runner with Crocheted Trim

I finished this neutral colored table runner to use for simple everyday meals and it would look great under an easy buffet meal on the kitchen counter. I used my own pattern for the crocheted lace - here is the photo tutorial for the Scalloped Net Edging.


This runner also matches the Granny Round Soup Mats for a fun winter soup party.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Blue Denim Napkins

I love these napkins! DII French Stripe Chambray - set of six. I ordered them online and I'm very pleased that they match the blue and white tablecloth so well. Blue colors can be so variable and I was taking a chance on a match. They will also coordinate with a neutral tan table runner that I am still working on. I'm crocheting a lace trim on both ends, so that may take me another day or two to finish. I ordered these napkins from Zola.com and I am pretty happy with the quality. The weighty fabric has a generous hem and a mitered corner that will hold up well to fancy folds! I washed the napkins and there was very little dye run, so these are now ready for Miss Abigail to use everyday.



Saturday, April 25, 2020

Blue Paisley Napkins

This morning I finished these six very simple blue and white paisley cloth napkins. The fabric matches the blue and white tablecloth and the set will look pretty with Miss Abigail's classic white Corel dishes. I just cut the fabric to size (18-inches square) and made a turned hem. The finished size is 15-inches square.



Wednesday, April 22, 2020

When Money is Scarce


When money is plenty this is a man's world. When money is scarce it is a woman's world. When all else seems to have failed, the woman's instinct comes in. She gets the job. That is the reason why, in spite of all that happens, we continue to have a world. - Ladies Home Journal, Oct 1932

I wonder if you agree with this quote. Of course things have changed enormously since 1932 and I am watching my children as they share responsibilities within their marriages. Each is a partner to the other and their individual contributions are enormous. I do think though that some women have an instinct when it comes to creating a home on a strict budget. It might have been learned however. I wonder if this instinct still survives.

Economists in the news are predicting a new, frugal future for many Americans. In 2008, during the last major recession, many Americans were fearful that economic conditions would linger and a wave of thriftiness made discount chain stores, thrift stores and dollar stores way more popular than they had been previously. This frugality has continued and, in recent years, there is a resurgence in learning homemaking skills including mending, of all things. Craft channels and cooking channels on YouTube flourish. Young women, particularly, have learned how to sew and embroider, cook and make their own cleaning products and entertain more at home.

Teaching Miss Abigail homemaking skills has been a big part of what I have called the "hidden hope chest." When I look at the list of skills I created many years ago (which you can see if you scroll down the sidebar) I'm pleased at how accomplished she has become in all of these topics. She is honestly an amazing young woman. Yes, I admit to being completely biased. We worked at this for so long and some skills have necessarily been put aside when she left home to focus on other priorities. But I can see that she continues to learn new things that will bless her family in the years to come. For instance, this semester she enrolled in both a musical conducting course and an emergency first aid course and was chatting to me recently about what she was learning. Sadly, she won't receive credit for the first aid course as the hands-on aspect could not continue when the classes shut down, but much of the knowledge is in her hands now. I'm grateful for that.

The current pandemic has already revealed both the weaknesses in our personal preparation for at home stability and the strength of our ability to be creative and frugal. Let's hope we all have the traditional instinct to create a comforting home in spite of loss and struggle.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Using Cloth Napkins - my thoughts


Cloth napkins are one of life's little luxuries, like a pretty placemat or a tablecloth on a bare table. I want Miss Abigail to have at least a few cloth napkins in her hope chest. Many people don't take the trouble to dress the table for everyday. Holidays, birthdays and recognizing special milestones are usually an occasion for setting a special table, but everyday meals are overlooked most of the time. But I would like to argue that even the most humble of dinners can be made a little more special by using a pretty cloth napkin.

Cloth napkins were used regularly until the middle of the last century when paper napkins, which require no washing or ironing, became more popular. It was and is an affordable convenience and, like so many other things, it saved time. Most people now don't own cloth napkins, though some are using cloth napkins as a more ecological choice. But many people don't use any napkins at all. Many eat on the go or at the kitchen counter, and it's just too easy to reach for the paper towels if a napkin is necessary.

It's actually pretty easy to collect and use cloth napkins, especially if you liberate yourself from the traditional fussiness of using them. The notion that they belong at a fancy dinner party or that your grandmother would be shocked at the stains or wrinkles honestly need not apply in our day and time. Bright patterns or dark colors can hide the stains and ironing just reinforces the fussiness belief. Choose an soft, aged fabric and leave them rumpled. This has a casual appeal that is just right for an everyday meal. Have enough that you can just add them to your regular laundry. You can sew them yourself or buy them secondhand at antique stores or thrift stores.

I would like to assert that when we come together for a meal, a cloth napkin can elevate that time and make it more special. It doesn't have to seem fancy or be uncomfortable. It's just a little thing that can create a bigger moment and make life a little more beautiful.


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