Monday, August 31, 2009

Finding beauty in Everyday...

The greenhouse was moved a few months ago, and now it sits at the edge of the woods.
It's about 2-3 ft below ground-level, so that's why it looks smaller. This site is where the original root cellar was located. We just made the pit larger to place the greenhouse inside.
My adventurous "follower"

In front of the greenhouse


We decided to try to bike to the corner store (in the middle of nowhere!) about 6 miles away. My brother wore his backpack {for "purchases"} and I brought along my camera!

The sights along the way...

When we arrived at the store, we purchased drinks, snacks, and...carpenter nails. lol They're sold at an excellent price, so of course Dad bought a few lbs. It was a great ride back, and as usual, we enjoyed the landscape.


A lovely weekend

While the "men" hosted a campout on the property, my mother, sister and I stayed at a friends home for a fun weekend for ladies only!

I brought old-fashioned clothing so that we could all dress up!

Many of the dresses that are too small for me fit this young lady perfectly. We all talked, watched movies, played dominoes and generally just stayed up late laughing!

After breakfast, we took out our curlers, got all dressed up and went 'on the town'!

We went through old neighborhoods, stopped a thrift shop and a few antique stores!

Hats 'n aprons

A cottage converted into an antique shop...

The "highlight" of the day:

We went to a beautiful tea-room for lunch! When we arrived, the owner asked us why we were all dressed up and where we were from...I told him, "This is how we dress everyday" He loved it! Later I whispered to Mom, "Dressed up? I'm not even wearing a hat!"

The atmosphere was extraordinary. Aprons on the wall, wicker furniture, and simple touches...It really made it special! The food was delicious, and the owner came by again and took a few photos of us which was nice. After stopping at one last antique shop, we headed back to the house.

It was so hard to leave! We all had a lovely time, and when we arrived home it was wonderful to exchange stories--My Dad and brother told us all the adventures all the guys were up to while we were gone!
Cottage Garden

While I was up waayy too late on the computer, Dad walked in and said I was to help him put in the transplants he saved from the urban garden at our old house. Although I reminded him that it was the middle of the night and I was *just* about to go to bed...we proceeded anyway! lol


Ever heard of a midnight planting? Neither have I, but I'm really glad I helped. It was nice to spend time together, and it all payed off! The collards are doing well, and so hopefully they'll make it!

Here's another photo of our new addition, as requested!
And laundry continues... :)

A walk into the woods...

Tried my hand at drawing..don't laugh! A portrait of a woman preparing supper. It's not "quite" a self portrait, but the frizzy hair is a fact! lol

My regency Sister...

"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn."
-- Michelle L. Thieme

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reviving the Hope Chest...

Old-Fashioned? Yes. Traditional? Somewhat. Popular?, No.

Those were my thoughts as I searched the Internet in vain, looking for some source of...anything about hopechests! Here are some facts I learned which answered a few questions:

  • Other names, 'Dowry chest' 'Cedar chest' 'Glory box' is a chest used to collect items of clothing or household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.
  • The collection of a trousseau was a common coming-of-age rite until approximately the 1950s
  • Such chests may have been inherited from their mother or female relatives. They are still a popular gift from woodworking fathers.
Hope Chests is a relatively new concept for me, I didn't know anything about it except from stories of Dowry's traditionally given young women in various cultures. After seeing the biblical value of this tradition, my Dad built my sister and I hope chests of our own almost 3 years ago. On the inside he engraved a scripture. (Mine is Colossians 3:23)

The task: What to fill it with?

It was rather daunting to feel like I had to "fill it up" so it wouldn't look so empty! I was tempted to just follow "what the books say" Anything from dishes and silverware, pictures and kitchen tools to clothing and linens..the list goes on! But at the end of the day, it's yours!
A few trinkets I add- Vintage books on courtship and marriage, articles, letters from my parents, handmade items etc. :)

The past few days my room has been "under construction" as I sift through what I need to get rid of or put into storage. ((I guess I could describe my room as a "Dress-up" room, with a thrifty "closet" devoted to hats, dresses and petticoats and scarves, so that when young girls come to visit, they can dress "prairie" or old fashioned.)) So today, I took the time to go completely through my hope chest. Just to sit on the floor in the midst of chaos, and page through "A guide for young marrieds" c. 1956 or "The care of a house" c.1903 was really nice.

Another thing that intrigues me is the "heirloom" aspect. Dear reader, if you have anything passed down from your mother/grandmother's generation in the family, that is a blessing indeed! Traditions as simple as handwritten recipe cards even seem to have lost popularity. I actually have an older relative who simply refuses to share her award-winning cooking secrets! When did the mentality of taking your "secrets" to the grave become okay? By sharing knowledge, you genuinely bless the younger generation! Hmm, it seems I've gotten off topic...

Hope chests aren't merely a sign of "anticipating to get married someday" but also, in a way, a part of preparing for life as your beloved's helpmeet. Gathering things here and there that will be helpful in the future. The sacred covenant of Marriage shouldn't "turn your world upside down" but be a natural transition. As you can see, my hopechest is practically filled. Because I'm 18, I'll be recieving a larger 'Glory box' this year to use as I continue to prepare to be a future homemaker someday.

"The gift that starts the home."

{ Lane Hope Chest advertisment}

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Lessons

Last week, my Mother had us (my sister and I) go through my brothers lessons and pick out what subjects we wanted to teach. We went to the library and chose a few books we wanted to use. I decided on Nature/Bird studies.


He decided to start with "Birds of prey". Using the book we covered Comprehension, Copy work and reading. I took out the measuring tape so he could visualize and measure wingspan etc. which worked great! This is the only subject I'm teaching (along with photography), my sister is covering music & bible memory, and my Mom teaches Math using McGuffy reader along with writing.

Speaking of Schoolwork...

We recently had a Living History event focusing on a 19th century schoolroom. The scenario: A private tutor was hired to teach the family's children, along with the house servant's children as well.
On the front porch
Enjoying homemade biscuits and cold bacon at Lunchtime...

My brother using walnut hull ink to write the alphabet

Mrs. Cogswell, the schoolmasters wife

My sister, already finished with her assignment...

Our Schoolmaster, Mr. Cogswell
He handmade this abacus in the above photo
We had a great time! When one of the boys was caught "teaching" my brother how to gamble with dice during lunchtime, he had to endure the punishment of writing Psalm 23 one hundred times! The bible used was authentic and from the 1800s.

A Reminder...
The Old-Fashioned picnic my family is hosting is coming up soon!
It's September 19th @ 11-3pm
I really hope you can attend!
Dressing in old-fashioned attire is appreciated! (optional)
If you can come, *please* email me with the following info:
How many attending:_________
What city/state you're from:__________
melodytoharmony (at)
This information we need so that we know exactly how many to prepare for :)
If you have any questions, let me know!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The blessings of August, peace, and a thought on Modesty

A few days ago, I met up with a local blogger who passed on to me a large collection of old fashioned clothes, hats and accessories (various eras), and so today I wore one of the dresses :) What a blessing!

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever" Isaiah 32:17
I had almost forgotten, but thought I'd share this fact about myself:

When I was about eleven, I was FASCINATED with frogs! I read many a library book on the little creature, and admired famous photography of the Tree frogs of the Amazon forest. When I went to camp, I was proud to be the only girl who was "brave" enough to constantly catch and release those that found their way into showers and the swimming pool! lol

It's happened. My brother received a "yeller" dog for his birthday! Ever since he first saw "Old Yeller" he's wanted a big, ol"yeller" dog :) So the past two days have been filled with fun, new responsibilities, and random quotes from the movie!

Stevia (Herb)

We pruned it weeks ago, and it looks like it's coming back :) We transplanted the plant from our old home, so it's been wonderful to have it here! I've dried stevia, and I think I prefer the fresh leaves to powdered version because of the after-taste.

There's something uplifting about flowers...

I must say, what I do miss about the big city was the roller skating rink..well, the one we went to was family friendly, which I'm sure is a rarity now :(
On Modesty:
It's terribly unfortunate what the standards are today. Since the fall of man we've always had sin, but now, it has progressed into a perilous issue especially for my generation. It sincerely worries me how comfortable so many are with this! It seems the general public is now exposed( in PUBLIC places) to obvious sin that just wouldn't do a century ago.

I'm sure you, dear reader, understand what I mean.

To tell you the truth, I never really talk about this...I guess I'd rather let what we do (as a family) speak louder than fallible words. I can name less than 4 people who have brought up the subject of modesty to me (in real everyday life) so it's hard when you simply don't have support in certain issues. It's a conviction, not something I've been brought up with or is convenient. That's why I truly appreciate you all, because you're asking questions and there is true fellowship in mutual beliefs :)

Here's another aspect that most don't talk about: Women aren't the only ones who need to be modest! Now, this is my personal, fallible opinion, but I do think that there is a difference between modest and immodest young men...the crude speech, apparel, attention seeking etc. I don't think I need to elaborate, but you understand me :)
A young lady recently emailed me and asked what my standards are for modest dress...Here it is:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

As a rule, if I can "fit in" to the worlds standards, I'm off track. It's different for everyone, but I try to wear attire that is honourable and feminine. I don't want to conform to this world (although in my flesh I'm a people-pleaser) I'm old-fashioned though, so it's wonderful that most old-fashioned attire is modest :)
I know it has taken me a-while to update, but I'm still here! Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send a email with any thoughts, and I'll be posting again soon :)

In Christ,