Saturday, August 19, 2017
 

Nest Building

Old West Kitchens

I wanted to tell you some ideas if you like the old Wild West look in your kitchen.

Take old tin cans that you like the label on? (Usually the tomato cans are kinda original.) Fill the cans with dirt and plant some flowers or herb seeds in them for spring. Just hammer a few holes in the bottom of the can for water drainage and put a saucer under the can to catch the water. Then, ya know, seeds around here are cheap … you can get some for 10

Nest Building

Yesterday, I had such a nice day. I washed the windows here in the dining room and put some cute things in my window sills. As I look up from my keyboard, I can see my two old fashioned double windows.

Ya know, our Mary loves to be wildly creative with her windows. Mary and I will put about anything up for curtains. I mean, some folks think you have to have matching curtains. Our Christian Joy gets very creative with her home.

In my living room, I have two large windows, and I had this one tablecloth that I had gotten at the Dollar Store. It is sort of lace with a gold on one side and a burgandy color on the other side. I used it as a curtain. I didn’t sew it — I just hung it over the rod. It is so beautiful when the southern sun comes through the window in the afternoon. As the sun goes down, the curtain takes on a rose color. It’s very pretty. David commented on it when he was here last week.

Then, on my front living room window, I have a white lace tablecloth. I just folded it over the curtain rod. It was slippery, and the cat would have pulled it down, so I put a lovely cameo blue pin in the middle of it, at the top, to fasten the two layers together and hold them in place. I can’t remember what I paid for those two lace tablecloths, but it wasn’t very much. They may have been around 7 or 8 bucks apiece?

As for my dining room, it is more get down hillbilly. Yesterday, I fixed these windows up. I have some old colored bottles I had gotten last summer from a garage sale. I filled some with water and put plant starts in them. I had some basil that was dying off, and I just cut it up and put starts of the plant in the bottles. They will root and I will plant them in the summer. (Basil loves the hot summer … not spring.) My bottles in my window are dark purple, dark green, and amber. It’s fun to collect these bottles and they bring a colorful sunlight into the rooms.

Then, in the middle of the bottles on the window sill, I have sitting an old small picture of Mary with her baby Jesus. And around her are angels playing instruments. One with a violin and one with a mandolin. It’s a very old picture that someone made. They took a circle of wood from a big tree branch, and they pasted the picture onto it and shellacked the face of it. It’s really old and creased. The bark is still on the outside rim.

As I have written, I wanted it closer to me, so I took it out of the window and put it in my basket I have hanging by the window, closer to my keyboard. The basket has dried Seven Sister Roses in it from last summer, and it has a few dried branches of berries.

And to my right, I have an old basket sitting on my microwave. It looks just like a big bird’s nest, and I have it filled with dried garlic. Mary has a fit when she sees it. “Oh, Mom, that is awful! Garlic stinks, and why do you need that much?” Well, some of the bulbs have sprouts of green coming out of them and, in the spring, I will just plant the garlic in my herb garden. Also, for the dried up ones, I will cut them up and put them in the corner of my door sill, here in the dining room. This keeps the ants from coming in my house in the spring and summer. Also, you can keep garlic in your kitchen cupboards to keep any bugs away. I keep some in my little hoosier cupboard.

Also, in my hoosier, I pasted quilt squares on the top shelf for a covering, like shelf paper. My aunt had given me so many cotton calico squares, and I just wanted to use them right away. And my lil cupboard is so old fashioned and I just wanted to paste those squares in there. It’s not practical. Mercy! The FlyLady would squirt me with fly spray. My mother used to spank me with a fly swatter. But, ya know, it’s a sin to be too organized. It shackles the Spirit and rots the bones.

Our Mary’s home is very creative. She will just take a piece of material she likes and hang it in her window. I don’t mean a sewn up one — I mean just a piece of material with raw edges, with the threads still hanging. Mary likes it like that and I do, too. That little child bride, at 19, has a way with a window. She loves to hand sew, but she likes some of her cutains to be left unsewn.

Her little home looks like a sweet fairy land. And, ya know, she enjoys cutting out pictures and putting them in frames. She will cut a picture out of a magazine or wherever and frame it. I think these dumb Home Decorating Parties stunt your creative growth. They are like tying and roping up your inner man. The spirit of creativity can’t be bought — it comes from your inner man. And especially, a Christian Mother has a lot to say in her home, and woe unto anyone who hurts her creative flow. Mothers, don’t allow anyone to condemn your homemaking.

Like Dixie use to tell me when she would stop by and I would fret as the house was a mess … she would say, “Connie, of course your house is a mess. You have 6 children. If everything was in place, it would mean that no one was doing anything except watching tv.”

At one time, I had two huge pianos in my living room and a chord organ sitting in the middle. My Dad would come over and tell me, “Connie, you have all the weight of the house where those two pianos are. It will tip the house over.” They were two big heavy pianos. The one piano took six men to haul it in. I loved it. One day, my friend was sitting in my living room and she said, “Connie, what you need is another piano.” Well, actually, had I had my way about it, I would have had another piano. My dream was to put a baby grand in my living room and take out everything else. Of course, no one would ever let me.

I wanted to surround my children with good music. I did teach my youngest three to play the piano. I taught them some note reading … the basics … but I play by ear and tried to pass this on to them. The chords with one hand and the melody with the other hand. But I had put out as many musical instruments as I could get in the house. The children each had their own harmonica and they learned to play them. Daddy loves to sing and they learned to sing from him.

And if I don’t get a fiddle one of these days and learn to play it, I will faint. Every time I hear a fiddle in the background of some music, I tell ya, my spirit just aches deep down. Papa and me were listening to some bluegrass music one day and all the intruments were playing. But when the fiddle came in, oh! I could hear it come with my spirit. And I said, “Jim, when that woman came up and began to play that fiddle, did your soul just turn over?” And he said “No.” I guess it is just me.

But when I hear the deep cry of a fiddle, it’s like when Mary spoke to Elisabeth and her baby moved within her. And when I hear a fiddle play, it’s like my spirit, like a baby in my womb, just turns over easy like. It’s like a deep wailing of intercession and prayer takes over. My spirit calls out for a fiddle and the Lord will give me one. Not that I know how to play one, but I could work at it.

I was reading Barbara’s husband’s book, and he was writing about some Wild West women, and a lot of these women were sure rougher than some of us. But, ya know, they give me courage. I mean, they did what they had to do. They didn’t let the world own them. They were where the rubber hit the road. They were made out of something different than what most women are made of.

Ya know, Mothers, don’t let the world own ya.

RELATED LINKS:

Native Ground Music – Old time, historic American bluegrass music and American folklore.

Coverlets

Back in the old days, many Mothers left some things on the table for the next meal. Maybe it was cold potatoes or bread. The family snacked on things like this before the next meal, if they were hungry. And some Mothers would make pretty coverings to put over their plate of bread (or maybe a dish of raw fruit or the butter) on the table to keep the flies away. Sometimes the Mothers would crochet a special covering for the bread, for instance. And I have, at times, found a pretty piece of material and hemmed it up to use, just special, to cover my bread as it is rising.

At a sale lately, I found my best buy. I found this group of six cloth napkins, and they have the most wonderful old fashoned pictures on them — a woman making bread and other old time ads. The cloth is brown and has red in it. They are hand-made, simply. I could tell an old time housewife just loved the material and made napkins out of them. I put one on my plastic table cloth in the middle? And, on this cloth, I have my kerosene lamp and an old brown mug with spoons in it. I collect sugar bowls and creamers and have a nice collection, too.

But, Ladies, if you find a material that you like? Just make some coverings to spruce up your kitchen. You don’t have to make a fancy-sewn toaster cover. Just make the material square and hem it up … hand sew it and put it over your toaster.

I put different cloths on my toaster every day. My friend JillC made a precious quilt covering for me. It is about 2 ft square? And I use this daily for just this and that..I have it on my toaster now. One day, I used it to cover some of my homemade sliced bread on the table. I had put plastic wrap on it first, but I love the look of the old time coverings on my table.

Actually, before plastic wrap and wax paper, the mothers wrapped food in paper or cloth. They would wrap their pies and cakes in a white tea towel. The tea towels were very precious to these mothers. They weren’t just towels and, often, the Mothers would embroider on them or crochet around the outside of the hem. They would tat around the outside and then crochet. I have an old dish rag that my grandmother crocheted around the outside. It was a cheap dish rag to start with. But the old time Mothers did stuff like that.

And their tables had to be set just so. My mother says that my grandmother got every dish in her cupboard out to make a meal. The old time housewives always put homemade canned pickles on the table for every meal except breakfast. Also jams and jellies and syrups. Then, always, a plate of homemade bread or biscuits to acompany the rest of a delicious meal. To my grandmother, boiled potatoes on the table was a staple like bread. Every meal that Gram ever cooked started out with boiled potatoes. Then she put on the meat, etc. But my own Mom says that if the children were hungry before a meal, they ate cold potatoes.

I know one day, as my mom was here visiting, I wiped something up with a nice white embroidered tea towel. My Mom about croaked. She said, “Connie, why did you use your nice dish towel to clean up that mess?” Well, I didn’t understand how precious these dish towels were to the old time mothers. They were works of art and were passed down to each daughter. The Mothers’ coverings were precious to them. They didn’t allow them to become stained.

Most mothers had a good store of old rags that they used for cleaning., and it is nice to have a drawer full of rags that you don’t care if they get stained. Often, when the children and I were cutting up old clothes and making things, I would have a pile just for rags. Old cotton T-Shirts are great to dust and clean with. I would cut them so they would lay flat, and I cut the arms off. Otherwise, they get back in the wash and the kids wear them when company comes. Good housewives need a good store of old rags to clean with.

Creating a Home

If the Dollar Store doesn’t thrill you as a homemaker, what would? There is so much stuff there to make a home with. I love it! And, ya know, you can buy canning jars there for pretty cheap, and the lids and rings to match.

Oh, how many cute things you can do with canning jars! It’s fun to put all of your dried foods in the canning jars and label them. And, ya know, putting country material on the top and then screwing on those rings to make a cute country lid is a nice way to organize your cupboards. You may have quart jars for rice and for the different kinds of dried beans. Then a jar for macaroni or hard candy to keep in the cabinet.

I usually keep a quart jar full of flour by the stove to use to make gravy or puddings, rather than getting out the whole sack of flour for just a couple tablespoons. You may have an empty salt shaker that you may want to mix pepper and salt and garlic in just to keep by the stove to cook with. Maybe you will want to take a small odd jar and put sugar and cinnamon in it to use for cinnamon toast or for spice cookies. You could take a hammer and a nail and pound some holes in the lid so you can sprinkle your mixture out.

I am a nut for jars, as my family will tell you. I save cute jars and put odds and ends in them. We buy a lot of our herbs and spices in bulk. I don’t like to keep them in the plastic bags. I would rather put them in nice little glass jars. But it would be a fun way to inspire you to organize your cupboards. The old time mothers often put everything in jars, as to keep the bugs and mice out of their supplies.

Also, each year, I take a big glass jar and make a country craft with the white Christmas lights in it. You can put anything in the jar and then put a cute lid on it, and then plug it in and use it for a little night light for the kitchen. I like to put pine cones in mine, and cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and other whole spices. Then, when the lights are turned on, the spices are fragrant.

Another project I want to do is when I sew up some table mats to put hot things on to serve at the table? I want to sew spices in the middle layer so that, when the hot food is placed on the mat, the mat will be hot enough for the spices to smell. That will be a fun project.

But, ya know, canning jars are out there about now at garage sales, if you can’t afford the ones at the Dollar Store. I like to pick a country bunch of flowers and herbs, and stick them in the quart jar for the table. I have some sunflowers near my front door that I plan to pick, pretty soon here. I have an early fat orange pumpkin from my garden sitting out here on my buffet. I think I will put it on the table and put my jar of sunflowers next to it.

Another idea, too, ladies, is this. Ya know, if you like hot tea for the winter? You could make a tea cozy pretty simple with cute quilted material. It doesn’t have to fit the teapot — just make it flat, if ya wanna, and cover your teapot with it. Maybe you could make some simple cloth napkins to match it.

I have a ceramic white tea pot that Jim got me years ago. I get it out in the fall and winter. I have a set of four fall cups and saucers that I had found at a sale years ago, and will be getting those out, maybe today. But my little white pot follows me through fall, and the autum colors through Christmas, with the greens and reds. Then on to Valentines Day with the reds and pinks. I use whatever colorful cups the holidays bring with my sweet little white teapot.

Mercy, I have just found so many little sets of cups and saucers at garage sales! Often, I will take a ribbon and tie it around the tea pot handle in the color of the holiday. I love to get my tea dishes out when the ladies come by. But the children always loved tea, too, when they were all home, with lots of milk and sugar added.

 
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