Nostalgic Home

A Vintage View of Homekeeping

Give a little bit of your love to me…. February 11, 2009

Filed under: Gifting,Holidays — LotusMama @ 9:08 am
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Originally uploaded by * ire *

Gorgeous, aren’t these? Normally, Valentine’s Day decorations can look like cupid threw up all over the place but there is something about this collage that I found on Flickr that I really like.

For those of you who may have forgotten, V Day is Saturday, February 14 (yep, right after Friday the 13th this year, bwhahahaha…).

I love Valentine’s Day and I hate it. I love it when family and friends express how much they care for each other, genuinely sharing that love with homemade valentines, simple tokens and plain old hugs & kisses.

I hate it for sateen boxer shorts with would-be witty sayings silkscreened across the rear, plastic flocked roses, corpulent cherubs piercing anything that moves, and “naughty” nightgowns. That’s not my idea of sharing love. Bleh.

This year, NR made our Valentine’s tokens and our little cards. Nothing fancy, nothing showy and nothing involving sateen or cherubs. I think our family will like them.

We’re also going to be showing our love by making a donation with MissionFish (via eBay) to a non-profit of NR’s choosing. We’re going to sit down, go through the list of charities and choose a group that means something to him. Our donation won’t be a large one (I wish we could do more) but it’s a small token of care and a way for him to see that love doesn’t have to be just for those close to us.

I’ll close this post with my favorite band, The Goo Goo Dolls. I can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day song than this. Happy V Day, everybody!


Christmas in May and other insane ideas May 16, 2008

Filed under: Gifting,In Season,Random Thoughts — LotusMama @ 10:46 pm

Actually, there is nothing insane about planning ahead. It just sounds insane, when the heat of May just starts unfolding, flowers starting to make a show in the yard and fans coming out of the closet, to be thinking about December. And yet, it isn’t going to be that long before weather starts turning colder, leaves and temperatures falling, and the gift giving season will be upon us. Is that depressing? Where’s my old “live in the moment, savor the season” stylings, you might ask. Actually, they are still here. I’m thrilled with Spring right now and looking happily toward Summer. But I’m still thinking ahead to Christmas and starting already to plan my gifts. Why? Well, becaue money is tight (tighter than usual) and I can’t do my usual last minute shopping spree to make it work. Last year, I started making gifts in October and I found that by December I was a wreck, finishing up the last of the gifts on time.

This year is going to be different. This year is going to be methodical and smooth. No, really, stop laughing. For that to happen, it needs to begin in May, slowly, cautiously, with thought and planning. I’m not going to make some jumbo list and weigh myself down. No Ma’am, I am going to write down things that I accomplish, rather than some enormous “to do” list. (Many thanks to Olde Prairie Register for sharing thoughts on this subject.)

This year I am not only looking forward, toward Christmas, Halloween, heck even the Fourth of July, but I’m also looking toward the seasons. Pots now for herbs that I can dry, local sources for fruits and veggies to turn into jam and salsa, yard sales and thrifty buys for things I can transform into birthday gifts and anniversary presents.

The spark for this came when I spent the whole day yesterday thinking it was Friday. I was ready for the weekend, told my son there was no school (always something he loves to hear) and thought about my plans for Saturday. It wasn’t until Thursday PM that my sister broke the news to me. I couldn’t believe that I spent an entire day, reading news, answering mail, watching television, and didn’t know what day it was. Talk about being in a fog. Well, if the fog can shroud one day from the next, it can cover up the months as they speed by, leaving me unpleasantly surprised when special days creep around the corner.

So, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice or Kwanza, whatever holidays that come for you in the colder months, perhaps a little time spent in the sunshine of May, planning and preparing will make for a merry time in the dark of December. Forget the “to do” and focus on the “done”. Forget multitasking and think about monotasking. Live in the moment, with an eye on the future – and keep a calendar nearby!


Toys of Yesterday…. December 7, 2007

Filed under: Gifting,Holidays,Nostalgic Homemaking,Random Thoughts — LotusMama @ 4:47 pm

Visit Memomuseum

Do you ever wax nostalgic for your toys? I do. I think about the stuff I had growing up, the toys that made Christmas really fun and something I looked forward to all year. I had the Wizard of Oz’s Witch’s Castle, the Princess Leia doll with the “real” hair in those donuts, the Atari game system with Pong, Frogger and PacMac. There were lots and lots of Barbies, her dream house, her car, and her boyfriend, Ken. Did Sis and I have too much? Oh probably, but we appreciated it nonetheless. I wasn’t blase about my stuff the way NR is about his toys. I don’t know why it all seemed to mean more to me or maybe that is just revisionist history talking. I’ll have to ask my mom if my memory is accurate.

I wish I had those toys still. My Shaun Cassidy locket, my ballerina jewelry box, my collection of weird, anime-style dolls in antebellum style satin dresses and severely-parted bun hairstyles. I still have the old Cabbage Patch doll and my sister has her Care Bear somewhere. I picked up a few Strawberry Shortcake dolls for Sis a few years ago on eBay but they just didn’t smell as good as I remembered. No, you can’t go back, no matter what all the toy collectors think, but it is nice to hold a bit of plastic in your hands and remember how it felt to open the package and see it for the first time. Even as wonderful as seeing Christmas through NR’s eyes is for me, nothing will ever be like waking up at 4 o’clock on Christmas, waiting anxiously until 6:30 until I could wake up my folks (reading Charlotte’s Web to pass the time), staying in my bedroom until Mom had the Christmas tree lights turned on, and then walking into the living room, all lit up with wonder. Our Christmas mornings were magical. Not because of the pile of gifts, well that didn’t hurt, but because everything was transformed for those moments while we opened our gifts. Those are the memories that my toys bring back to me.


The stuff that dreams are made of… October 23, 2007

Filed under: Cleaning,Crafting,Gifting,Nostalgic Homemaking — LotusMama @ 4:56 pm

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, in theory anyway. Most of us are sleep-deprived from late hours, uncomfortable beds and snoring partners, among other things. Yet obtaining good sleep is one of the most restorative things you can do for your body. So how can we get better sleep? No, this isn’t an ad for temperpedic mattresses. Here are some thoughts from an eminent home economist, Martha Van Rensselaer, of the 1920s:

“The ideal sleeping-room is the outdoor porch with only curtains for protection. An indoor sleeping-room should have simple furnishings. Unnecessary draperies collect dust and exclude air and sunshine. The floor should be bare save for a few small, easily cleaned rugs. The wall paper should be of a soft restful color,either plain or with small inconspicuous figures.
An iron bed is better than a wooden one because it can be more easily cleaned. A mattress is more healthful than a feather bed, because the body is not so enveloped as to hinder the escape of waste matter from the skin. The bed covering should be warm but light. Several light-weight blankets or comforts are better than fewer heavy ones.” A Manual of Home-making, Martha Van Rensselaer et al

Except for the sleeping outside and the disgusting reference to “waste matter from the skin” I agree with Martha. My bedroom carpet always has issues with pet hair, dryer lint, baby powder, etc. We’re switching it out to laminate flooring later this year. I also agree that bedrooms tend to collect dust and that the air gets stale. I don’t tend to dust in the bedroom as often as the living room, which I should. My plan is to have a few hours with the windows open to “air it out” on the days that I change the sheets.

And speaking of sheets, here’s a recipe for linen water that you can spritz on your sheets for some aromatherapy goodness. Make some extra and you have holiday gifts a plenty. Pleasant dreams.

“Linen Water
by Natasha Palewandrem

Glass or plastic bottles with caps (or spray bottle)

Essential oil (try lavender or rose for traditional scents, jasmine or
plumeria blossom for exotic scents)
90 ml non-flavoured, high proof vodka (approx. 3oz)
750 ml distilled water (approx. 25 oz)


If you are using a glass bottle, sterilize it with boiling water. If
you are using a plastic bottle, pour a little very hot water into your
container to rinse it. Let it dry before mixing your linen water.

In the cooled bottle, mix the vodka and 1 teaspoon (5ml) of essential
oil together. Close the bottle and shake it well to mix the oil with
the alcohol. (The alcohol emulsifies the oil so you will have an
evenly mixed solution.)

Add the 750 ml of distilled water to the bottle. Close the container
and shake again to mix the scent and the water.

Use your linen water when making the bed, pressing your linens or
simply by misting the air to freshen a room. You can also try misting
linen water while you are ironing or try adding a little into your
dryer while your table linens are drying. You can store your linen
water for 6 to 8 months. Cap your bottles tightly and store them in a
cool corner to make them last.”


Repurposed, reimagined (Crafty Tuesday) October 9, 2007

Filed under: Crafting,Gifting — LotusMama @ 9:49 pm

It is too easy when you have discretionary income to run out and buy whatever you need to complete a craft or decorating project. But what do you do when you are strapped for cash? Take a hard look at the…stuff that is collecting dust. Reimagine it and it becomes something wonderful (at least to you, anyway). The collage pictured here came from remnants in my far-too-cluttered office space. I wanted to make my sister a wall hanging with Halloween flavor. I had some ideas, all requiring purchases at the craft stores, but my wallet said no. So, I dug deep into my cupboards and cardboard boxes and found the parts to make this piece. I think it is pretty darn nifty and I hope she will too. The how-to information is listed below.

The text and photos were all generated using Adobe and Microsoft Publisher (Quotes from MacBeth, Practical Magic and a guide to teareading). I crumpled, burned, tore and tea-stained the paper to give it character. I added silk leaves and sprigs of thyme from my garden for some depth. One of my vintage Halloween cards adds some nostalgia and I finished it off with little glue puddles covered in tea leaves and Kosher salt. Some leftover gift ribbon makes a nice hanger and the frame was rescued from a box destined for Goodwill.This gift cost me nada and was fun to put together on the cheap. Give repurposing a try, you might find it a good way to clean out your closets.