Homely Advice and Things Worth Knowing

As I come to the end of an exhausting and yet refreshing month of spring cleaning, I find myself ready to be done and yet still unconsciously smiling as I see the changes that I have made to my little home. Though on one occasion I threw a mini tantrum at the thought of cleaning out one more closet….just ask my husband…he was there…not one of my finest moments. Still, as Madonna once sang, “I made it through the wilderness…”

I am currently knee-deep in plans for next month and am enjoying every minute of it. Especially since I have completed the reorganization of my sewing studio and am ready to get in and start creating. But it isn’t May yet, so I will save all this for a later date. 🙂

To end this month’s theme and wrap up a very successful April, I thought I would share with you some “Homely Advice” and some “Things Worth Knowing” from the August 1885, Good Housekeeping.

Let’s start with the advice:

“Let your home be a hospitable one; always take your friends into your own home life…As a child I remember the family motto; ‘Welcome the coming, and speed the parting guest is true hospitality’ – and in my home was always carried out. My own experience has taught me that a real welcome puts one much more at ease than any amount of fine cooking.”

– Mrs. Ellen Bliss Hooker

Amen to the last line….sometimes my dinner doesn’t always turn out! 🙂

And now for some “Things Worth Knowing”

– That one today is worth two tomorrows.
-That there is no blessing equal to the possession of a stout heart.
-That the future destiny of the child is always the work of the parent.
-That anticipating trouble often harbors terror and anguish to no purpose.
-That he is rich who is satisfied with what he hath – whether it be little or much.
-That the best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new ones.

I will try to work on the last one…what a beautiful piece of advice.

Enjoy the last few days of April my friends, and I will see you all in May!
– Aimee


HSM: War and Peace

With a theme like War and Peace it wasn’t hard to decide exactly what I wanted to make for this month’s Historical Sew Monthly Challenge…especially since it tied in perfectly with this month’s theme.  Enter my 1940’s House Dress.  Very simple, very sweet, and very satisfying.   After last month’s ordeal, I was very happy to find something less stressful.  For the past four weeks, I can’t stop my obsession with house dresses.  Any kind, from any era, I am head over heels in love.  While it did take me a while to settle myself on a style and look, I wasted no time in picking out the most cheery calico I could find!  Add this dress with my 1940’s Hair Turban and the look is complete!

I drafted this pattern out of two pieces then cut out the neckline facing and the lined sleeves.  The belt was made from the left over scraps.  I also added a little rick rack to the neckline and the edge of the pockets…that’s right, it has pockets!  While the first few stages remind me of a hospital gown, the outcome is just as simple and clean as I was hoping!

Challenge: War and Peace

Fabric: 3 yards of calico

Pattern: Self-drafted based off of other house dress of the time….although I did create a slimmer skirt.

Year: Mid 1940’s

Notions: 1 1/2 yard rickrack

How Historically Accurate is it?: Although the skirt could be made fuller, the overall look is very accurate.

Hours to Complete: 3 hours

Total Cost: $15

And now for the pictures….




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Tidying Up Your Sewing Space

I am in the last push of spring cleaning.  It hasn’t been easy but it has been quite successful. The only remaining space that I have left to tackle is my sewing studio.  I spent the weekend putting up new lights around my light box as well as some new lights above my cutting table.  While I am still in the process of putting the organized chaos back together I thought I would share several pictures that I have used as either guidelines or inspiration to further organize and personalize my creative space.

1.  Create a pegboard to hold all rulers, tools, and scissors.  I want to put one next to my cutting table .


2. Create a caddy from tin cans to hold notions on sewing table.



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Poetry: Celebrating Earth Day

Early yesterday morning, it was so warm that I cracked open the window to enjoy the soft breeze, while still trying to catch a few more hours of sleep.  As the smell of clean air began to reach me, so did the constant chirping of the birds outside.  At first, they were all I could hear.  But eventually their calls began to blend and fade into another layer of a lovely spring chorus.  While the intermittent sound of a car going by seemed out of place, it was wonderful to hear the joyous sounds of nature.

Even as I enjoy the convenience of living in a urbanized area with all it’s modern charms, I can’t help but envy those who choose homes further out of town.  The appeal of a different sound, nature’s sound, often keeps the idea of moving to someplace more remote, constant in my mind…we will just have to wait and see.

Since poetry is one of my favorite things, and it is my birthday, I decided to combine all three into today’s post: a poem, on my birthday, about nature.  One of my favorite nature poems is by Eugene Fields, the author of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.  

april poem

So on this Earth Day, take time to open the windows and let as much wonderful noise in as nature can give you!


Painting:   Constable Country #2, England    http://www.teokl.net/index.html

Inspiration Board: Pink Gowns

No other color in my mind evokes spring better than pink.  I love pink during any time of the year, however, I find myself drawn to the soft hue more when tulips and hyacinths are in full bloom.  Between Easter dresses and nail polish color, pink just fits best!

With that in mind, this month’s color board  must of course, be pink!  And let me tell you, there are many examples in this tone.   Whether the wearer wished for a deep red and the dye didn’t take, or whether the color has lightened over time to a soft rose, the femininity of these historical gowns can’t be denied.

As fabric weaving and fabric dyeing grew in sophistication, so did the various types of pinks available to the home seamstress.  From double pinks to cinnamon pinks, rose pinks to hot pinks, one’s personal choice could easily find it’s perfect pink match.

Here are a few of my favorite historical pink gowns!

april pink gowns

To see more styles and pinks, feel free to visit my Pinterest page.

Enjoy the fresh spring air and the soft pastels of nature around you!


In the Craft Room: Scrapbook Notepads

I live my life by lists….and I love it!  Lists help me stay focused, reach goals and accomplishments, and help people think that I can do it all (whether that is true or not.)  What I also like are pretty things.  And pretty things that I can make lists on are the best of both worlds!

This very quick and very satisfying DIY will make your pattern planning, list making, gown designing sessions just that much more productive.

Supplies needed:

  • legal pads in any size
  • Scrapbook paper in coordinating shades
  • glue stick
  • pencil
  • scissors.


Now draw out the shape of the legal on the back of the scrapbook paper.  The goal is to have the paper cover the top part of the pad and go down almost half way the back.



Make as many shapes and you have notepads and cut out.


Apply glue to the top part of the notepad on the front and stick the edge of the paper.  Press firmly then turn over and crease over the top.  Add as much glue as will cover the area in which the paper will touch the note pad.  Press firmly.


And voila….custom made notepads!


I also thought I would share my custom-made, drafting pattern, graph paper!  Simply print out as many copies as needed and draft away.

graph paper

Happy planning!


Keeping Yourself Tidy

In keeping with this month’s theme, it would be wrong to avoid the ever going routine of keeping oneself neat and clean.  Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and think “do I really have enough time to make this look good?”….anyone else?  😉

But nothing boosts more confidence than a clean and put together house…and person.  While keeping clean relies on a lot of water and soap, the additional concoctions to aid in the overall beauty can be just as important.  But on the road to a clean body, it is important to start with the basics!


“Baths have many functions aside from their avowed intention of keeping the body clean.   There is the early morning bath of warm water or tepid water followed by a cooler spray and a brisk rub that brings a healthy glow to the skin and sets you up for the day.

There is the relaxing bath to be taken just before going to bed.  A tepid bath is most relaxing if you’re tense and tired, for water that is too hot is likely to be more stimulating than soothing.

Then there is the warm, luxurious bath that draws all the ache out of tired muscles, that gently soothes and restores ragged nerves and frayed dispositions.  The ideal time for this is in the afternoon or evening, especially if one is going out afterwards and wishes to feel particularly fit and relaxed.” (1.)

Now that you are feeling clean and refreshed, why not try any one of these toilet recipes taken from the late 1800’s

Toilet Recipes

Lavender Water

Oil of lavender, two ounces; orris root, half an ounce; spirits of wine, one pint.  Mix and keep two or three weeks.  It may then be strained through two thicknesses of blotting paper and is ready for use.

Cold Cream

Melt one ounce oil of almonds, half-ounce spermaceti*, one drachm** white wax, and then add two ounces of rose-water, and stir it constantly until cold.


Melt one ounce white wax, one ounce sweet oil, one drachm** spermaceti*, and throw in a piece of askant root to color it, and, when cooling, perfume it with oil rose, and tun pour it into small white jars or boxes.

Toilet or Face Powder

Take a quarter of a a pound of wheat starch pounded fine; sift it through a fine sieve, or a piece of lace; add to it eight drops of oil of rose, oil of lemon thirty drops, oil of bergamot fifteen drops.  Rub thoroughly together.  The French throw this powder into alcohol, shaking it, letting it settle, then pouring off the alcohol and drying the powder.  In that case, the perfume is added lastly. (2)


Soak and be beautiful!


april bathing 1

Painting: At the Dressing Table by Berthe Morisot

1. Fashion Service, 1928

2. The Original White House Cook Book, 1887

*a white waxy substance obtained from oil from the head of the sperm whale: used in cosmetics, candles, ointments, etc.

**one eighth of a fluid ounce

In The Craft Room: One Hour Sewing Machine Cover

Looking to create a brighter spot to sew in?  Want ways to keep dust out of your sewing machine?  Only can spare one hour?

Try this easy…I’m talking easy….sewing machine cover!

Supplies Needed:

  • 1/2 yard each of two coordinating fabrics
  • 2 yards ribbon
  • Thread

Here are the fabrics I chose…


The first step is to measure the width and height of your machine along with the desired length of the cover.


Once you have the measurements, cut out two rectangles from your fabric.  Stitch right sides together but only on the long sides.  You want to create a long tube with the ends open.


Turn right side out and adjust tube to create a 2/3  to 1/3 fabric ratio.  Press.


Fold in the outside edges of the top and bottom of the tube and pin.


Stitch.  I did a scallop stitch in white.


Now cut out eight, even pieces of ribbon.  Pin to the inside of the cover.  Stitch in place.



Now tie onto your sewing machine!  The best part of this cover is that you can just pull it off and slip back on as needed.  No need to retie the ribbons!.




Have fun sewing!!