Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Housework: Now and then

Sometimes I don't have a clue what to write about and today was one of them!!! 

I rack my brain for ideas and sometimes nothing comes  . . . then I stumble across an interesting fact and think that perhaps I could write about XY or Z!! 

My interesting fact for today was the that women of the past use to spend up to 4 hours per day caring for their stoves — that is a lot of time and energy and thought how blessed I was to be a woman of this modern age where I have electricity, gas, plumbing and lots of mod-cons that make my life so much easier.  I really don't have a lot of complain about. 

So as a result of my little fact, I though I would re-visit the home of a woman 150 years ago, perhaps a pioneer woman a long way from civilisation and her family — they knew what hard work was all about. We really don't have a clue, but that doesn't stop us from complaining about our tough life! 

These days, we no longer need to spend all day everyday doing housework and we are no longer tired to the home all day stoking the fire and we can enjoy more hours of relaxation.

Housework in the past was harsh physical labour and I doubt women found much joy in the daily drudgery and grind — but with no other choice, they got on with what they needed to do and many suffered in silences. Of course, if you were born into an upper class family you had very little work to do at all, servants did the hard labour for very little money in return and you could swan about in fancy frocks and entertain all day (and night). Middle class women spent some of their day managing the home, but still had plenty of time for entertaining, undertaking their many handicrafts and for some, helping the poor. It was the lower classes and pioneer women that bore the brunt of hard physical labour and many died completely worn out and overworked.  

The next time you turn on your oven or boil the kettle, think about the woman who spent all day maintaining her fire/stove, because without it she wasn’t able to heat water (for washing dishes, bathing or washing the clothing), for cooking, baking the daily bread, tea/coffee and keeping the home warm. The fire was fundamental to the household and result in hours of sifting ashes, empting the ash box twice daily, collecting wood, adjusting dampers, lighting fires, carrying coal or wood, and rubbing the stove with thick black wax to keep it from rusting. And since  there were no thermostats to regulate the stove's temperature, a woman had to keep an eye on the contraption all day long. Any time the fire slackened, she had to adjust a flue or add more fuel. Her daily life wove around the fire and the fear of it going out. Women spent something like 4 hours a day looking after their fire.

Cooking without processed foods was both time and energy consuming. Bread had to be made daily, a chicken for dinner had to be killed, fish scaled, sugar pounded, flour ground, vegetables picked (which the lady of the house probably planted herself) etc.. nothing was quick and easy to prepare. Preserving foods did help, but the work involved was still time-consuming. No quick Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals in past times! No options of popping out for a take-away or stocking up the pantry when ever you want especially if you lived many miles of the store or money was in short supply. You made do with what you had and that may mean the same meal day after day. We are so spoilt for choice these days and we take for granted having a supermarket within easy reach and having a well stocked pantry that allows us to cook a wide variety of meals. And thanks to electricity and refrigeration we can store food allowing us to buy in bulk.  

Before indoor plumbing became common (which I certainly take for granted), water had to be carried and boiled daily. The mere job of bringing water into the house was exhausting. Homes without running water also lacked the simplest way to dispose garbage: sinks with drains. This meant that women had to remove dirty dishwater, kitchen slops, and, worst of all, the contents of chamber pots from their house by hand. None of these jobs sound very pleasant at all!!

And then there was the laundry, a job that was not enjoyed by most women of the past.  It took all day and require even more physical effort. According to American History online:

On Sunday evenings, a housewife soaked clothing in tubs of warm water. When she woke up the next morning, she had to scrub the laundry on a rough washboard and rub it with soap made from lye, which severely irritated her hands. Next, she placed the laundry in big vats of boiling water and stirred the clothes about with a long pole to prevent the clothes from developing yellow spots. Then she lifted the clothes out of the vats with a washstick, rinsed the clothes twice, once in plain water and once with bluing, wrung the clothes out and hung them out to dry. At this point, clothes would be pressed with heavy flatirons and collars would be stiffened with starch. (link)

And can you imagine trying to dry washing in the middle of winter in a small cottage! I have enough trouble without a drier, but with central heating my house is warm most of the time. 

Of course the children did help both inside and outside the home — however, once old enough many were sent out to work to raise money for the family.  Boys helped on the farm in rural areas and girls were sent off to be servants in middle to upper class homes and those too young for work, looked after the younger children or went to school during the day. Childhood was almost none-existent for children of the past — even my dad (who is now 82) was expected to do serious farm work after school and had to leave schooling behind when he as around 12 to help his dad. It wasn't a time he enjoyed at all. 

If money was tight and the family lived in the city (such as London) poor women also went out to work in unpleasant conditions that affected their health. In rural areas women work along side their husbands plus looked after the home. There was nothing glamour about being a keeper of the home in the past. 

I think it is important to remember these women when housework is getting us down, because we really don't have much to complain about!!!  


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mug rug project

I am a fan of mug rugs: they are quick to make, fun, use up scraps of fabric, inexpensive and you can be as creative as you like. There are so many wonderful mug-rugs about, it can be hard deciding what to make!! If you are not familiar with mug-rugs, just pop onto Pinterest and have a look — there are lots and lots to look at. I find that they make great gifts as you can customise them for the person you are making it for and its easy to post long distances. 

The one below is for a young lady who has just turned 11. I made one for her mother, which she uses as a place mat. This one for Miss H has been enlarged (the original pattern was quite small) to make it more suitable as a place mat.

I have been wanting to learn how to do "free-motion" quilting and thought it might be good to start on something small, such as this mug-rug !! I am not great at it—but with practice I think I will improve — slowly !!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Does God come to work with you?

Many Christian women go off to work each day — and you are all doing great jobs even if others like to tell you that you shouldn't be there. 

Most of these women are not working so they can have a fancy career or to make lots of money — they are just doing their bit to help out the family financially.  We need to go cheerful and with a joyful heart. We need to be thankful for what the Lord has provided us with and go along with His plan and not ours, even if we disagree. 

For those ladies who do go off to work — do you:

Talk with God at work? 

Do you realise He is with you all day?

He isn't exclusively for the with women who stay at home.

. . . He is with you (yes you) ALL DAY LONG and you are just as special to Him as any stay-at-home wife or mother.   

He sits beside you as you work, you just need to look up and see. He comes into those meetings that  aren't very pleasant, He is with you whilst you on the phone talking with a difficult client, He reaches out when someone is mean to you or when you need to tell your boss that you need to go home because your child is sick. He protects you when you are afraid, He helps you resist when temptation is placed in front of you, He comforts you when you are hurting, He encourages you when you are discouraged and is your companion when sad or lonely.

God sees us, walks with us, and cares for us no matter where we are. Knowing God is beside you and me at work making the working day so much easier to deal with.

You are NEVER alone at work. 

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Don't ever think that God leaves you when you go off to work, He doesn't. 

God is not limited by time or space — or even our level of faith. He is always with us. He lives within every person who puts their trust in God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

When things get tough, have you every stopped working and prayed, perhaps walked to a quiet place to read your bible?

Have you ever said thankyou when something goes well?

Why not use some of your lunch hour for reading your bible, doing your devotional and praying — these are not exclusively home based activities.  Find a nice place to sit (I am spoilt with lovely garden count-yards that are private and peaceful) and take time out of your busy day to read God's word and meditate. 

I have my bible on my smart phone and tablet, so reading in any location is easy to do. If you haven't already, add a Bible app to your devises so the Bible can travel wherever you are. Have a look for other apps that contain sermons of interest or look out for Podcasts that are bible based. There are many things you can do to stay in touch with God during your working day. Take a book to read or if you feel as if you might be ridiculed at work for your reading chooses, pop the book on a kindle. 

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:6)

And when you do, your day goes so much more smoothly, in fact it can be quite remarkable the impact of God in your working day. 

To all working women, God never leaves your side, He is with you as much as He is with women at home, please don't forget this. Keep reminding yourself "He is always with me". 

COUNT ON GOD—Our ever-present God is everywhere you have been and everywhere you will go. He is in the classroom, the courtroom, the office, the home, and the hospital room. He is with you in life and in death. He is the only one who can be with you no matter what. Are you in the midst of a struggle or situation where you need His guidance? Turn to Him now and place your trust in the One who is always with you. Study His Word and let it guide you. (from

Friday, July 24, 2015

Art Friday: Mi Chunmao

Art Friday: Mi Chunmao
Born China, 1933

And why, are you wondering, did I choose this Chinese artist - because his cat illustrations are just ADORABLE and anyone who can draw a cat looking CUTE, is going to be on my LIKE list!!!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bucketful of sunshine!!

And if you have lots of sunshine yourself, why not try and spread it around to your friends, family and perhaps strangers too!!

Have a wonderful day 

lots of love and hugs


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The importances of smiling

I love to smile and believe it is very important to do often . . . so I thought would do a little research into smiling and find out more about it. 

This is what I found out:

Why we should smile:
Smiling is good for our health
Smiling is contagious
Smiling makes others happy and brightens their day
Smiling exudes positivity
Smiling brings us closes to our friends and family
Smiling reduces stress and calms a person
Smiling helps us cope with situations
Smiling can lift a bad mood
Smiling makes a person beautiful
Smiling completes our outfit
Smiling brings about happiness
Smiling feels good
Smiling can help land you a job
Smiling is natural
Smiling can lead to laughter and that too is very good for you.
Smiling is free
Smiling is a universal language understood by all

So start smiling as it is very good for you, body and mind . . . 

Did you know that there are many different sorts of smiles (source):
  • Brittle smile — does not show real humour or happiness (forced smile)
  • Broad smile — is very wide, showing that a person is very happy
  • Cheesy smile — is very obvious but looks false
  • Gummy smile — shows lots of gum
  • Lazy smile — is slow and relaxed
  • Mirthless smile — expresses feelings such as anger or sadness
  • Set smile — which never changes and often hides a person’s real feelings
  • Thin smile — gives a thin smile, their lips move but the feeling is not sincere
  • Tremulous smile — it is not steady, for example because you are afraid or excited
  • Cheshire cat smile — silly smile
There are nice friendly smiles and there are unpleasant nasty smiles, do choose the right one!!

Words that describe a smile
. . . winning, shy, wide, sunshiny, sincere, seductive, sarcastic, sneering, sinister, sweet, welcoming, winsome, tight, tremulous, gap-toothed, un-self-conscious, smarmy, conceited, cautious, carefree, gracious, disarming, blasé,  happy-go-lucky, dazzling,  sparkling, lovely, loving, friendly, devilish, roguish,  disarming, malicious, malevolent, mischievous, impish, rascally, timid, meek, reluctant, courageous, brave, beautiful, beaming, glowing, incandescent . . .

I am sure you can think of more.

Not everyone likes to smiling:
Not everyone likes to smile or feels comfortable smiling. Those who are very shy can struggle with smiling as they don’t want to be noticed or attract attention by smiling. Some people are now less likely to smile at strangers due to mistrust in the community, this is really sad and with increased fears, this will only get worse. People suffering from depression can find smiling difficult when they are feeling down and isolated and often their smiles hide their true feelings.  We need to be more understand of these people and not force them to smile when life is getting them down. 

Then there are people who think they have ugly smiles so avoid smiling because they think it makes them look unattractive. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t smile at a person who is feeling sad,  lonely, shy or uncomfortable about smiling — just remember to make sure your smile is one of caring and kindness rather than a brittle or cheesy —  and make in genuine and from the heart. No one likes a fake smile.

Smiling is very important for our health and wellbeing and we should never put off a smile, in fact we should be smiling regularly throughout the day — even if there isn’t anyone else around. 

So the next time you're feeling down or out of sorts, try smiling. If you can't find a reason to smile, pop in a funny DVD, read a funny book, watch a cat YouTube clip (that works for me!) or call a friend or come see me as I will do my best to help you find a reason to smile!!

How many times have you smiled today?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tis not far to Jesus

I love those who love me, 

And those who seek me diligently will find me. 
(Proverbs 8:17-18)

He is everywhere and always within our reach — we are never alone in our sorrow or suffering as Jesus is EVERYWHERE. To all the women struggling this week, remember as you stand in your kitchen feeling as if life is getting the better of you (or at your desk at work) — Jesus is there with you and what a comfort that is. Instead of panicking or stressing, sit down, grab your bible, read a little and pray.  Once finished you will feel revitalised and ready to tackle the day. Your problems may still be there, but you aren't battling on alone. 

Tis not far to Jesus,
He is everywhere,
Watching o’er His children
With a tender care.

Early if we seek Him,
Early we shall find Him;
’Tis not far to Jesus,
He is everywhere.

’Tis not far to Jesus,
No, ’tis very near;
He is all around us,
He is with us here.


If we want to love Him
Let us go and pray;
Then our hearts can find Him,
Now, this very day.


~ By Fanny Crosby ~


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