Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Modern Living in a 1950s Cottage

It is no secret on this blog that I sometimes get frustrated with this little cottage bursting at the seams.  Recently, I have been thinking about how families in the 1950s would have managed in such a small house.  There are neighborhoods not too far from me filled with post-war houses not much bigger than my own house.  In these houses families were raised, families much like my own, in two bedroom, 1 bathroom houses.  Some of these houses don't even have a dining room, just a small eat-in kitchen.  Thank GOD for my dining room!

So, I started considering what in my house wouldn't have been there in the 1950s, or would have been different.  Would the lack of these modern items improve our living spaces and our lives?  Or would it be a detriment?

For example, my fridge is a monster.  Next time I need a fridge, I am getting a smaller one.

All those DVDs!  So many DVDs!  The Mister is a movie buff, and the kids have plenty.  I have placed most of them in CD cases to make room, but hubby prefers his more favorite ones to be in their original cases and easily accessible.

We have a LOT of books.  Working Class families in the 1950s likely wouldn't have had so many books because books were largely bought retail.  Most of the books I have are hand-me-downs and yard sale finds.

The microwave and coffee maker.  I could manage without either, but again, I am not the only one living here.  I also have two toasters, my vintage toaster and a modern toaster oven.  I keep the modern toaster oven because the vintage toaster doesn't fit bagels.

I'm omitting the CDs and CD player because they sort of represent LPs and a record player.

Clothes and toys....we have a fair amount of both.  The kids have been abundantly blessed with ample hand me downs.  I have whittled them down but I am sure they still own more than the average 1950s child.

Hobbies.  Now, I am quite sure that people of the 1950s had their hobbies and some more than others, but living history was pretty much unheard of.  They didn't have trunks upon trunks of 18th century reproductions stashed away.  Granted, we haven't re-enacted in 6 years, but The Mister holds out hope that we may return to the hobby when the children are older.  I omit The Mister's models and my sewing because both are common 1950s activities.  But, chain mail?

(Keep in mind, I am not picking on The Mister for his hobbies.  I think they are wonderful.  I am just contemplating how things may have been different in the 1950s compared to now and how it impacts how we manage in our 1950s cottage.)

Computers, tablets, cell phones.  We have multiples of each.  We have a charging station, we need desk space, not to mention we have a vintage typewriter, too, so that needs a home.

Homeschool supplies.  My children would have been attending the schoolhouse across the street in the early 1950s.  They would not have been homeschooled and I would not have needed to find a home for all these supplies.

It is a challenge living in the modern world in a vintage little house.  A part of me would love to just go back to the relative simplicity of that era, but I have a husband and children to consider, and modern life to consider.  However, I do think I can glean something from this thought process and perhaps find some change and minimize to a more mid-century level of possession.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me!

My birthday present, vintage style earrings!
The studs are from Jewelsalem.
The drops are from Frala Vintage.

And because I am getting older, Barefut has Revitalize Skin Restoration on sale for only $8.79!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beatnik Stripes

My latest fashion craze (and Goodwill finds) has been Beatnik Stripes!
Minus the short haircut

And I don't have a beret (yet), or bongos

But flats, skinny jeans (cigarette pants), and a striped shirt is a fun outfit!

Monday, December 07, 2015

A Little More House Proud

My grandmother is an excellent housekeeper.  So are my aunties, my mother, and my sister.
There was a time when many women were quite house proud and houses across America were tidy, clean, and neatly decorated.

Today, we have pinterest pages and memes declaring a neat home to be a sign of a boring life.  Or spending time housekeeping means you are neglecting your children.

Once again, in an attempt to remedy something perceived as wrong, the pendulum swings too far the other way.

My standards have waxed and waned over the years and seasons of my life.  I was a poor housekeeper in the beginning.   The desire was there, but the ability and focus were not.

Then, I went through a time where I could keep up on the chores and keep the house neat.  I had a regularly scheduled program of cleaning.

After that era, I went through a time of struggle again.  Just trying to keep up on the basics.  I was alone (hubby was sent away for work), pregnant or caring for babies, struggling with PPD, and trying to start my life as a homeschooling mom.

The last two years, my focus has been on building our little farm and trying to fit this growing family into our little home.

I had little time for serious housekeeping.

But now the seasons have changed again.

My children are older and more able to help.
I've accepted that we're likely to remain in our cottage rather than move, so I am much more likely to part with items I've saved for "that future home."
I'm learning how to make this cottage work with so many feet walking through it, and thus I am learning how I can keep it clean regularly.
Hubby is home more regularly, and is doing well health-wise and he, too, is more able to help around the house.

So, now my focus shifts from survival to thrival (that's a made up word!).
And now I can be just a little bit more house proud.
And, no, my life isn't boring (to me) and my children aren't neglected.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A Little More Christmas

The master bed is dressed for the Christmas season!
I love a freshly dressed bed.
It is always a debate whether to just leave it be and enjoy how nice it looks, or to crawl into it for a luxurious nap.

This time the nap won.  It was divine!

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Ace War Correspondent

The living room writing desk has a new purpose.
Instead of pen and paper, cards and thank you notes, it is the desk of an Ace War Correspondent!

My oldest son enjoys a game on the tablet called Boom Beach.  Mr. Scott came up with the idea that as the game progresses our oldest could type up reports and inventory.

He also types up journal entries, letters, and is an amateur playwrite, creating scripts for the annual children's Christmas show the kiddos put on for me.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A Little Christmas Creeping In

Little by little the Christmas cheer starts popping up throughout the house.
First it was the Advent Calendar.
Now, it is the piano book.

I plunk through and my fingers go all knotty on me, but it is still a joy to hammer out We Wish You a Merry Christmas or Joy to the World.

I am like Beth in Little Women, playing on her clunky, old, out of tune piano.
The major difference is she could play very well!
I, alas, cannot.
But I can play some, and that's enough.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Stay At Home Friends

Every stay at home mom needs at least one.

A fellow stay at home mom friend.

A partner in crime.

A bosom companion.

A woman who will cheer her on while she's ambitiously vacuuming cobwebs.

A woman who will text her a challenge to stay off of Facebook for the week with her.

A woman who will encourage her to donate another 25 items to Goodwill.

A woman who extends grace when she's having a bad day.

A woman who understands her desperate need for a good chocolate or coffee NOW!

I have three such friends:  my sister, my mother, and my mentor.

I sincerely hope you can find at least one other lady who's either been there or is in the trenches of stay at home motherhood right now to be your confidant.

This also works for career moms, too.
, Find a peer, another career mom, and be each other's cheerleaders!

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Makeshift Advent

This year the kiddos didn't want the usual 99 cent cardboard Advent calendar with the gross chocolates inside.  Neither did I, so I had to come up with something with more variety since I have a non-chocolate eater, and inexpensive.

So, off to the Dollar Store I went and this is what I came home with, a felt and glitter tree and a variety of candy "ornaments."

There is one ornament for each day of Advent and the children take turns who gets to choose an ornament off the tree as their treat.

It isn't as religiously instructive as I'd like, though before they get to choose an ornament I ask them a question about the Christmas story.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Today I Am Thankful for My Basement

Sorry.  I don't have a pic of  my real basement, but it isn't pretty and finished.
I am thankful for it, however.  It holds a man cave, a play area, laundry, utilities, a pantry, and a corner where I can sew.
It helps make this little house all that much more usable for our larger than average family.
And for that I am thankful!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today I Am Thankful for My Dining Room

As small as this house is, I am forever thankful that it has a dining room.
It truly is the heart of our home.
It is used for everything from meals to homeschool to projects to parties.
The room is small, 9x15, and it also serves as our library, so it can get tight, but without it this house would absolutely not work for us.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Today, I Am Thankful for My Little Stove

Living in a small house with a large family poses some challenges, and sometimes I get frustrated that we don't have more square footage.  But, there are aspects of this house that I do appreciate, even in their imperfect ways...or perhaps because of them.

Today, I am thankful for my little stove.  It came with the house and is an inexpensive basic apartment model electric range.  There are absolutely no bells or whistles so it has challenged my cooking skills.  As you can see there is no oven window.  I have learned to rely on my sense of smell and perhaps a bit of instinct to let me know when something is done.

There is no preheat setting, timer, clock, temperature gauge.

And it is small.

I chuckle to myself when I see small families who eat out most of the time drooling over big 6-burner ranges with double ovens.  I make most of our food from scratch and I can all on this little range.

It reminds me of the little cookers used in the 1930's-1970's in Britain.  The smallness gives off quite the vintage vibe.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

I Bought Myself Roses

A frivolous purchase for one on a very tight budget, but they were marked down to only $1.99 for the bunch at Aldi!  I couldn't pass them up for pocket change!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Learning To Crochet

It's is high time I learned!

I'm not doing so well right now.  Still working on tension  That little crochet ball is supposed to be a flat circle!  I'm not making anything yet.  Just working on stitches.  I think I need hands-on help.  The book is just a big, confusing pictorial stress-fest.

My mother was an avid crocheter in her 30's.  She could crochet at lightening speed and often made these adorable crochet Christmas trees for people.  I never got beyond learning how to make a chain.

My sister can crochet and has made stuffed animals and a retro cherry pot holder to decorate my kitchen.

I am probably going to have to call upon their assistance.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sewing Saturday Afternoon

I renewed an old friendship over the weekend.  My sewing machine and I got back together after a long separation.  Spring, summer, and harvest take away so much time.  It was nice to tackle a small pile of fleece and turn it into useful items.

First, I made 3 pairs of "Cozy Pants" as we call them.  I made this moose pair, a brown pair for my youngest, and my oldest boy got a pair in fisherman print.  (The picture won't upload for some reason).
We have long winters here and days at home where sometimes only Cozy Pants will do.

Not one to waste a scrap of fabric, I whipped together a pattern, pulled out an old cloth diaper from the box of them I saved for just this purpose, and made myself 3 rudimentary cloth pads.

Here are two of them.  Nothing as fancy finished as the ones sold online, but they'll do.  I just bought snaps to sew onto the wings and they'll be ready for next  month's visit.

The last bit of the moose fabric was turned into "Skating Booties" utilizing a simple pucker-toed moccasin method.

I also made a pillow case out of the brown fleece since my 2nd little Mr. has two pillows on his bed, but one set of bedding only has 1 pillow case.

This evening, I cut out the shirt to go with my oldest's cozy pants.