It’s warming up, and that means it’s time to get outside! When you’re not mowing the lawn, grilling up some burgers, and sipping a cold one by the fire pit, you might look around and think that your yard could use an upgrade.
But what if the cookie cutter yard decor you find at a home improvement store just doesn’t cut it for you? What if you want to make something truly unique, by hand?
That’s where silicone molds can come in! I sell quite a few silicone mold that can be useful outside, so let’s take a quick look at all of the possibilities.
DIY Address Numbers
Everyone needs to display their address in a way that the mailman can’t mistake your house for a neighbors. So why not use these address number molds to make your address out of cement?
Mix up some cement and you’ll have blocking numbers that you can place on a porch, embed into your lawn, or place in your garden!
DIY Geometric Planter
Take these simple shapes and turn them into beautiful, decorative planters that can form a million different patterns!
Coming in different shapes and sizes, making your own flower pots from cement or resin is fun and fulfilling, and even better it gives you unique garden decor that no one can ever match!
These are the perfect sizes for growing annual flowers that don’t mind being in small spaces.
DIY Yin Yang Garden Containers
Are you looking for peace and balance in your garden? Do you like the Eastern aesthetic? This silicone mold is perfect for you. It will allow you to make a yin yang flower pot with cement and will look beautiful out in your garden.
DIY Succulent Planters
Don’t you just love succulents? They’re super popular now, and they’re so cute! Even if you live in an environment where you can’t grow them in the ground and keep them outside year round, they can benefit from being outside during the summer.
So pick up some of these succulent planter molds and you’ll have beautiful containers for your little pieces of the desert! They’re perfect for setting out on a deck’s railing or on a patio table.
DIY Outdoors Decor
Hopefully, you’ve found something in this post that will make your yard as lovely and welcoming as inside your home! You can use these molds to make so many different things, and there are ways to use them that I didn’t even mention.
As a modern housewife, we can often get lost in the drudgery of cooking and cleaning so much. Nothing ever seems to really get done, because one mess inevitably follows another.
That’s why it’s important to offer encouragement for homemakers as often as possible. I often turn to homemaking blogs and inspirational mom blogs when I’m feeling down, but quotes about homemaking can be a great source of encouragement too!
I put these quotes on homemaking with 1950s homemaking images. Don’t you love those old fashioned homemaker photos of beautiful women dressed up like they’re going to a party, but they’re just cleaning away? It’s totally unrealistic but I adore that retro housewife aesthetic! They really made vintage homemaking look not only easy, but glamorous. In their world, balancing family life and homemaking wasn’t hard, it was easy!
Being a housewife isn’t easy, that much is for sure. But it’s not about being the perfect housewife! It’s about learning and practicing those simple homemaking skills. You don’t learn how to be a homemaker in one day, you learn your whole life.
So please enjoy these housewife quotes. I hope they inspire you to work a little bit harder with an even bigger smile!
9 Quotes on Homemaking: Encouragement for Homemakers
Embroidery is a fun and fulfilling craft, great for quiet times of reflection or to keep your hands busy while watching TV. Holding those tiny needles, though, can be a pain.
My hands have been painful since I was a teen, so sometimes I just can’t do traditional embroidery. To keep busy even when my hands hurt, I like to do punch pen embroidery!
Punch pen embroidery creates a different kind of look (the finished product looks a bit like a plush rug or carpet), but that makes them even more unique and interesting. This is a very old craft, too, and it’s seeing a revival in recent years.
About embroidery punch pens
So what is punch pen embroidery? It’s a form of embroidery that involves punching thread, yarn or ribbon through a fabric and creating a loop pattern. That looping pattern makes the pattern look like a plush rug that you’d just like to snuggle up on.
There are some claims about where punch pen embroidery originates from: Some thing ancient Egyptians started it with hollow bird bones, while others think it originated in Russia, Germany or England.
This craft can be used to create and decorate wall art, ornaments, pillows, and other decor and crafts. It’s often referred to as “painting with thread”.
Embroidery Punch Needle Supplies
What do you need to get started with punch needle embroidery? Only a few affordable supplies!
An embroidery hoop. Make sure you get one that has a tightening mechanism on it. You want your fabric to stay put while you’re doing punch embroidery.
A punch pen. I sell one on my Etsy shop, but these can be found on Amazon and in stores like Michael’s.
Thread. I like to use embroidery floss, but I use regular sewing thread sometimes too!
A pattern. You can make your own pattern and draw it directly onto the fabric, or you can buy and print a pattern. You can trace the pattern onto fabric with a light box or a sunny window.
Fabric. You’re supposed to use weaver’s cloth, but all you really need is a fabric with a tight and slightly stretchy weave. You’ll have to experiment to see if the loop will stay put in whatever fabric you use.
Small scissors to cut the thread.
How to use embroidery punch pens
Before I get into the written instructions, here are 2 videos that will help you a lot!
Pick a design
You can really go wild here. While it’s best to start with a small design for your first few attempts, you can get pretty elaborate.
You can either purchase and print a design, or make your own drawn directly onto the fabric. Either way, you’ll want to get your fabric ready. Cut the fabric so that there’s 4 inches of border around the pattern. This is the fabric that the hoop will hold onto.
Then you can use a fabric pen to draw your pattern into the center of the fabric.
Choose your embroidery hoop
A hoop that has a locking mechanism is a must. You want that fabric in there super tight.
Center the fabric over the inner embroidery hoop (that’s the smaller one). You want the locking mechanism facing up.
Then you press the larger hoop over the top. Make sure the pattern is on very tight. You want it to feel and sound like a drum.
Thread your punch needle
Most punch needles come with a handy dandy threader with a huge eye. You can put your thread through that to easily thread the pen’s needle. There will be a tiny loop at the bottom of the threader, which is what holds the thread without it slipping.
A punch needle has a hollow shaft where the thread is, and a depth gauge.
Slide the thread through the eye of the needle and down into the hollow shaft. Pushing it through the other side, you have completed threading your needle!
Holding the needle as if it were a pen or pencil, you want the bevel side of the needle facing the direction you are punching.
It’s easiest if the thread rests over your finger, but make sure it can move freely or you’ll just unravel your art as you work.
You also want to work on the side that will be the back of your art.
Finish punching your pattern
Punch directly through the fabric, then pull the needle towards you. As you pull it out, the needle should always be touching the fabric.
Each time you push through, you want to push to the same depth so each loop is the same size. Move the needle over a few stitches to make the next punch.
The needle separates the threads in your fabric, and when you pull it back that hole closes to keep the loop firmly in the fabric. The thread isn’t locked, though, so be kind of delicate with it.
It’s easiest to complete the outline if your pattern before filling in the rest. Then you can finish by stitching the background elements, if you have any.
Finish your craft
Complete your craft by pulling the needle out of the fabric, leabing 1/2 inch of thread. Remove the embroidery hoop, and voila! You have a beautiful punch pen embroidery that will make a great gift.
Questions about punch needle embroidery
Do you need a specific kind of fabric for needle punching?
Nope! While it is recommended to use weaver’s cloth for beginners, if you’re willing to experiment you can use any fabric. Just make sure you’re using a hoop and have the correct tension.
What thread do I use for punch needle embroidery?
Embroidery floss is a great way to start, since there are so many different colors and you can choose how many threads you want to use.
How many strands of thread you use depends on your design. Starting with three is a good way to experiment with the thickness you prefer. Some people use all 6 strands.
What should I do if my loops keep unraveling?
You might be pulling your needle too far out of the fabric! Remember, your thread isn’t being locked into place like it is with traditional embroidery.
Can I machine wash my needle punch project?
Probably not. Again, nothing is locking your thread into place, so your project is going to be delicate. Hand washing is best if you must wash it.
If you need to machine wash, definitely use a delicate cycle.
Which is the good side?
Some people like the back of their projects more, so this is really up for your interpretation. Traditionally, though, the back side is the side without loops.
Do I knot the thread? If not, how do I keep it from unraveling?
You don’t have to use knots. Technically, the stitches should be close enough to prevent your art from unraveling too easily.
Why should I take up needle punch embroidery?
Lots of reasons!
It doesn’t take up a lot of space
The learning curve is small
The finished pieces are unique and interesting gifts
It’s easy to do punch pen embroidery while spending time with family or watching TV
It’s a unique craft that you don’t see very often
What have you made with your embroidery punch pen?
Using a punch pen is a lot of fun and can make so many cute crafts. Everyone that receives one will be blown away by the unique rug-like look and they’ll be interested in how you did it!
So if you want an affordable craft, this is the perfect one to pick up.
I hope I answered some of your questions about punch pen embroidery and encouraged you to pick it up! If you do want to start with this craft project, I sell an embroidery punch pen on Etsy.
Even the best recipe requires the right ingredients! If you want to make slime, no matter what recipe you use, you need to have supplies ready.
You wouldn’t make a chicken pot pie without chicken or pie crusts, would you? No way! So don’t think you can get away with making slime without glue, borax, or other necessary ingredients.
You’ll want to keep your pantry stocked with the supplies I’ve listed below. That way, you’ll be ready for a rainy day when your kids are bored and you want to get them into an educational activity!
Of course, I suggest wearing a smock or apron while making slime, because it can get messy. And to save your floors, line your experiment area with newspaper or plastic.
But wait… What are the benefits of making slime?!
Is it not enough that it’s super fun and satisfying? Alright, alright. Here are the awesome benefits of making slime with your kids:
Making and playing with slime is a sensory play activity. That means that you’re engaging and learning about all 5 of your senses. You can smell any scents that you add. You see the pretty colors. You hear the gross farting noise that slime makes when you squish it. You touch the slime and feel its texture, whether it’s creamy like cloud slime or bumpy like crunchy slime. And if you make edible slime, you can taste it, too!
Making slime helps to build creativity and allows you to learn through exploration. When you add glitter, dye, and charms, you’re essentially making a unique work of art. And everything you add changes how the slime feels or how it acts when you touch it.
Playing with slime encourages the development of fine motor skills and coordination, and making slime does that while you’re mixing and adding ingredients, too!
Slime is messy play with easy clean up. Getting messy is great for children, and it really helps them to unleash their creativity.
Slime introduces kids to the fun side of science and chemistry. That’s right: all those things you add together to make slime creates a chemical reaction that makes slime so fun to play with!
Making slime together is a great way to bond with your kids. You can both laugh and play with the satisfying toy, and mix interesting new themed slimes together.
Squishing and playing with slime might help picky eaters! Some picky eaters have a hard time processing different textures. Exposure therapy can help, and slime has a funny texture that might gross out your kids at first. But as they warm up to playing with slime, you might find they open up to eating different foods again.
Slime helps to teach descriptive language. You can help your kids describe what they see, hear, feel, and smell as they play with their slime. Is it cold? Is the slime shiny? Is it bumpy slime?
So what supplies do you need to make slime?
At its essence, slime only requires a few supplies.
The simplest slime recipe looks like this:
1/2 cup of school glue
1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid starch
1/2 cup of water
But the simplest slime isn’t always the most fun. If you want to be able to make awesome slime with different themes, here are the slime supplies you need to stock up on:
A slime recipe
The best slime recipes are the ones that have cool themes! Here are some great slime recipe ideas:
Any school glue will do, and you can get glue in huge gallon jugs online! You can usually save a lot of money (and plastic waste!) when you buy in bulk like that, plus you’ll always know you have some ready for making slime.
Slime activators are a substance that chemically reacts with the glue to turn it into slime!
Here are the different kinds of slime activators:
Borax. Borax is banned in some countries, but if you have it you can add it to water and mix in a little at a time to create your slime.
Liquid laundry detergent. Slowly add it in.
Contact lens solution and baking soda. These are both easy to find ingredients to use as an activator!
Slime add ins
This is the fun part! What you mix in with your slime will give it personality! Here are some super fun ideas:
Spoons and bowls will be helpful when you’re mixing your slime!
Available from your tap, water is part of most slime recipes, so be ready to grab some when needed.
Do you have the necessary slime supplies in stock?
With just a few simple supplies, you can turn a boring afternoon indoors into a slime party! Remember, making slime has a ton of benefits from educational to sensory to emotional, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. Start making slime now to reap the benefits!
Make DIY baby shower or birthday party decorations
Ribbon and twine
Ribbon and twine is useful for holding things together for multiple occasions. Ribbon looks great when used in a wreath, as well. And jute burlap ribbon is very popular for cottage chic weddings!
Pens, pencils and markers
I’m a pen collector, but then I think most people are. I don’t mean that I seek out and find fine selections of pens that I curate and care for. I mean that I collect random pens bought, found, and gifted in case I need it later.
And we always need a pen later.
You should keep these writing tools around for your crafts:
Acrylic paint – I like to have at least the primary colors to work with plus black and white
Pliers are useful for a million different things. Especially if you make jewelry, you need some to close those findings!
Every now and then, you need precise measurements, especially if you are sewing. I recommend having at least a sturdy stainless steel ruler and a measuring tape.
Supplies for your specific craft
You have things you need that I don’t. If you make jewelry, you need findings, chains, beads, etc. If you sculpt, you need clay. It’s best if you make a list of everything you use regularly and keep them on hand!
So, what do you keep around for your crafts? And what do you find you don’t need as much?
In an ideal world, we would all keep our houses clean 24/7. In an ideal world, we would all have a live-in maid, too. This isn’t an ideal world, folks!
Sometimes, we get a phone call and learn that a friend is 15 minutes away and heading to your house, and let’s be honest: we all panic. The house is a mess! Surely if your friend sees how you really live, they’ll call child protective services and then call the loony bin to come pick you up!
It’s time to prioritize and clean only the things that your guests will notice. Here’s your plan of attack:
Get this one done ASAP! No one wants to see crusty hair behind the toilet seat and smell what your husband left behind when he missed the bowl at 4am.
Put on your gloves, grab some wipes or paper towels, and clean your toilet from cleanest to grossest. The tank gets cleaned first, then the flush handle. Follow up with the toilet seat cover, and then the rest can basically go in any order.
Finish up with some bleach or vinegar in the bowl and a swish with the toilet brush. Ah, that’s better! Take a sigh of relief.
The Kitchen Sink
Get the dishes done! No one wants to wash their hands over the food you ate for breakfast and lunch.
Once the dishes are done, clean out the drain trap and then clean the sink itself. The sink can harbor more bacteria than your toilet, so you need to disinfect this baby. Including the faucet!
The Trash Can
This is the one that gets me every time. I always forget to take out the trash before my guests arrive, and it always seems to be overflowing no matter how much I try to be zero waste!
So take out the trash. It’ll get rid of some of the stink that your nose has gotten used to, and will make a huge difference in how your house looks.
Now is the time to remove anything that stinks and maybe light up a candle or start some essential oils on a warmer. Don’t assume that just because you don’t smell anything, no one else does. Nose blindness is a thing, and the smells you live in are invisible to you!
Last but not least, use the last few minutes before your guests arrive to declutter what you can. Just hide it for now, you can really clean it up after your guests leave.
I like to have a big wicker basket to hold clutter until I’m ready to put it where it belongs. It’s easier to deal with things in a portable basket than to run back and forth between rooms.
Do you still have a few seconds before your guests arrive? Change your hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom. You don’t want to accidentally get your guests sick by neglecting this!
Put away the shoes. At our house, shoes accumulate by the front door no matter what kind of solution I use to hide them, so do a sweep to make sure all shoes are put away and hopefully not stinking up the place as your guests arrive.
Prioritize what you clean. What that means will be different for everyone. I would be really embarrassed if my guests saw my kitchen with dishes overflowing and the island covered with random crap, so that’s the first thing I tackle.
Close doors to rooms that won’t be used. Your guests don’t need to see your bedroom or office, so shut those doors and worry about cleaning those rooms another day!
We live in a world where we are too busy and too tired to clean the whole house every day. That’s why it’s important to prioritize what you’ll be cleaning and how much it will get cleaned before guests arrive!
The benediction that falls upon the homes of a country is like the gentle rain that descends among the hills. A thousand springs are fuller afterward, green is greener and the flowers pour out richer fragrance.
Homes are the springs among the hills, whose many streamlets, uniting, form, like great rivers, society, the community, the nation, the Church. If the springs run low the rivers waste; if they pour are full. If the springs are pure the rivers are clear like crystal; if they are foul the rivers are defiled. A curse upon homes sends a poisoning blight everywhere; a blessing sends healing and new life into every channel. Homes are the divinely ordained fountains of life. It is not by accident that men live in families rather than solitarily. The human race began in a family, and Eden was a home. The divine blessing has ever rested upon nations and communities just in the measure in which they have adhered to these original institutions and have kept marriage and the home pure and holy; and blight and curse have come just in the measure in which they have departed from these divine models, dishonoring marriage and tearing down the sacred walls of home. Back of the home lies marriage. The wedding day throws its shadow far down the future; it may be, ought to be, a shadow of healing and benediction. In a tale of mediaeval English life a maiden goes before the bridal party on their way to the church, strewing flowers in their path. This was meant to signify that their wedded life should be one of joy and prosperity. Almost universally wedding ceremonies and festivities have some feature of similar significance, implying that the occasion is one of gladness. In some countries flowers are worn as bridal wreaths. In some they are woven into garlands for the waist, the tying of the ends being a part of the ritual. In others they are carried in the hand or worn in the hair or on the bosom.
Music comes in also, always joyous music, implying that the ceremony is one of peculiar gladness. In some places, too, wedding bells are rung, their peals being merry and gladsome. All these and similar bridal customs indicate that the world regards the wedding as the crowning day of life, and marriage as an event of the highest felicity, an occasion for the most enthusiastic congratulations. Yet not always are these happy prophecies fulfilled. Sometimes the flowers wither and the music grows discordant and the wedding peals die away into a memory only of gladness. It ought not to be so. It is not so when the marriage has been true, and when the wedded life is ruled by love. Then the bridal wreath remains fresh and fragrant till it‘is laid upon the coffin by the loving hands of the one who survives to close the eyes of the other; and the wedding music and the peals of the bells continue to echo in tones of gladness and peace until hushed in the sobbings of sorrow when the singers sing in dirges and the bells toll out the number of the finished years. Marriage is intended to bring joy. The married life is meant to be the happiest, fullest, purest, richest life. It is God’s own ideal of completeness. It was when he saw that it was not good for man to be alone that woman was made and brought to him to supply what was lacking. The divine intention, therefore, is that marriage shall yield happiness, and that it shall add to the fullness of the life of both husband and wife; that neither shall lose, but that both shall gain. If in any case it fails to be a blessing and to yield joy, and a richer, fuller life, the fault cannot be with the institution itself, but with those who under its shadow fail to fulfill its conditions. The causes of failure may lie back of the marriage altar, for many are united in matrimony who never should have entered upon such a union; or they may lie in the life after marriage, for many who might attain to the very highest happiness in wedded life, fail to do so because they have not learned the secret of living happily together. To guard against the former mistake the sacred character and the solemn responsibilities of marriage should be well understood and thoughtfully considered by all who would enter upon it. Marriage is a divine ordinance. It was part of God’s original intention when he made man. It is not a mere human arrangement, something that sprang up in the race as a convenience along the history of the ages. It was not devised by any earthly lawgiver. It is not a habit into which men fell in the early days. The stamp of divine intention and ordination is upon it. As a relationship it is the closest and most sacred on earth. The relation of parent and child is very close. Children are taught in all the Scriptures to honor their parents, to revere them, to cleave to them, to brighten and bless their lives in every possible way. Yet the marriage relation is put above the filial, for a man is to leave his father and his mother, give up his old home with all its sacred ties and memories, and cleave to his wife. After marriage a husband’s first and highest duties are to his wife, and a wife’s to her husband. The two are to live for each other. Life is to be lost for life. Every other interest is thenceforward secondary to the home interest.
Then the marriage relation is indissoluble. The two become in the fullest, truest sense one. Each is incomplete before; marriage is the uniting of two halves in one complete whole. It is the knitting together of two lives in a union so close and real that they are no more twain, but one; so close that nothing save death or the one crime of infidelity to the marriage bond itself can disunite them. Marriage, therefore, is not a contract which can be annulled at the will of one or both of the parties. It may be discovered after the marriage has been formed that the parties are ill mated ; one may find in the other traits or habits unsuspected before which seem to render happiness in union impossible; the husband may be cruel and abusive or the wife ill-tempered, thriftless or a burden; yet the Scriptures are very explicit in their teachings, that the tie once formed is indissoluble. There is one crime, said the pure and holy Jesus, which, committed by either, leaves the guilty one as dead, the other free. But besides this the teaching of Christ recognizes no other lawful sundering of the marriage tie. When two persons stand at the marriage altar and with clasped hands promise before God and in the presence of human witnesses to take each other as wife and as husband, to keep and to cherish each the other, only death can unclasp their hands.
Each takes into Sacred keeping the happiness and the highest good of the other to the end of life. In view of the sacredness and indissolubleness of this relation, and the many tender and far-reaching interests that inhere in it, it is but the simplest commonplace to say that the greatest care should be taken before marriage to make sure that the union will be a true one, that the two lives will sweetly blend together, and that each will be able to make the other at least measurably happy. Yet obvious as is the fact, none the less is it profoundly important that it should be heeded. If there were more wise and honest forethought with regard to marriage, there would be less after thought of regret and repenting. A word may fitly be spoken here concerning the marriage formalities. The wedding day is one that should ever be remembered and held sacred among life’s anniversaries. It is the day whose benediction should fall on all other days to the end of life. It should stand out in the calendar bright with all the brightness of love and gratitude. The memory of the wedding-hour in a happy married life should shine like a star, even in old age. It is surely worth while, therefore, to make the occasion itself just as delightful as possible, to gather about it and into it whatever will help to make it memorable, so that it shall stand out bright and sacred among all life’s days and hours. This is not done when the marriage is secret ; there are no associations about the event in that case to make its memory a source of pleasure in after years. Nor is it done when, on the other hand, the occasion is made one of great levity or of revelry ; the joy of marriage is not hilarious, but deep and quiet. On the wedding-day the happy pair should have about them their true friends, those whom they desire to hold in close relations in their after life. It is no time for insincerity; it is no place for empty professions of friendship. Everything about the circumstances, the festivities, the formalities, the marriage ceremony itself, the congratulations, should be so ordered as to cause no jar, no confusion, nothing to mar the perfect pleasure of the occasion, and so as to leave only the pleasautest memory behind. These may seem too insignificant matters for mention here, yet it is surely worth while to make the occasion of one’s wedding such that it shall always be remembered with a thrill of delight, with only happy associations and without one smallest incident or feature to mar the perfectness of its memory. But it is when the wedding ceremony is over, and the two are one, that the life begins which has so many possibilities of happiness, of growth, of nobleness of character, of heroism in living, of tender romance in loving. Angels hover about the marriage altar and hush their songs while hands are clasped and holy vows are plighted, and then spread their sheltering wings over the happy pair as they start out together on the voyage of life. The greatest blesscdness, the highest development of character, the noblest manhood and womanhood, the most perfect attainments in Christian life, are to be reached in the marriage relation, if it is made what God meant it to be. It will be the fault of those who wed, of one or of both, if marriage proves aught but a blessing, and if the happiness of either is wrecked in the voyage together. Yet it must not be concluded that the bridal gate opens essentially into a garden of Eden. Marriage is not the panacea for all life’s ills. It does not of itself lead invariably and necessarily to all that is noble and beautiful in life. While its possibilities of happiness and blessing are so great, its possibilities of failure must not be ignored. Only a true and wise, only the truest and wisest, wedded life will realize the blessings of the ideal marriage relation. The first lesson to be learned and practiced is loving patience. It requires some time to bring any two lives into perfect unison, so that they shall blend in every chord and tone. No matter how intimate the relations may have been before, neither knows much of the real life of the other until they meet with every separating wall and every thinnest veil removed. In China the bridegroom does not see his bride until she is brought to him on his wedding-day closely veiled and locked up in a sedan chair. The key is handed to him when the chair reaches his house, and he unlocks the door, lifts the veil and takes his first look at his treasure. Brides and bridegrooms with us are not usually such strangers to each other as among the “Celestials.” they see each other’s face often enough, but it is doubtful whether as a rule they really know much more of each other’s inner life. Even without any intention to hide their true selves or to appear veiled, it is only after marriage that their acquaintanceship becomes complete. There are graces of character and disposition that are then discovered for the first time; and there are also faults, peculiarities of habit, of taste, of temper, never suspected before, which then disclose themselves.
It is just at this point that one (f the greatest perils of wedded life is met. Some are disappointed and discouraged by the discovery of these points of uncongeniality, these possibilities of discord, concluding at once that their marriage was a mistake and must necessarily be a failure. Their beautiful dream is shattered and they make no effort to build it again. But really all that is needed is wise and loving patience. There is no reason for discouragement, much less for despair. It is entirely possible, notwithstanding the discovery of these points of friction and uncongeniality, to realize the highest ideal of wedded life. It is like the meeting of two rivers. At first there is confusion, excitement, commotion, and apparent conflict and strife as the two flow together, and it seems as if they never would blend and commingle; but in a little time they unite in one broad peaceful stream, rolling in majesty and strength, without a trace of strife. So when two independent lives, with diverse habits, tastes and peculiarities first meet to be united in one, there is embarrassment, there is perplexity, there is seeming conflict, there is the dashing of life against life at many points. Sometimes it may seem as if they never could blend in one and as if the conflict must go on hopelessly forever; but with loving patience the two will in due time coalesce and unite in one life, nobler, stronger, fuller, deeper, richer, and move on in calmness and peace. Perfect harmony cannot be forced in a day, can not indeed be forced at all, but must come through gentleness and perhaps only after many days.
There must be mutual adaptation, and time must be allowed for this. The present duty is unselfish love. Each must forget self in devotion to the other. Each must blame self and not the other when anything goes wrong. There must be the largest and gentlest forbearance. Impatience may wreck all. A sharp word may retard for months the process of soul-blending. There must be the determination on the part of both to make the marriage happy and to conquer everything that lies in the way. Then the very differences between the two lives will become their closest points of union. When they have passed through the process of blending, though it may for the time be painful and perilous, the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection. Another secret of happiness in married life is courtesy. By what law of nature or of life is it that after the peals of the wedding hells have died away, and they have established themselves in their own home, so many husbands and wives drop the charming little amenities and refinements of manner toward each other that so invariably and delightfully characterized their intercourse before marriage? Is there no necessity for these civilities any longer? Are they so sure now of each other’s love that they do not need to give expression to it, either in affectionate word or act? Is wedded love such a strong, vigorous and self-suflicing plant that it never needs sunshine, rain or dew? Is politeness merely a manner that is necessary in intercourse with the outside world, and not required when we are alone with those we love the best? Are home hearts so peculiarly constituted that they are not pained or offended by things that would never be pardoned in us if done in ordinary society? Are we under no obligations to be respectful and to pay homage to our dearest friends, while even to the rudest clown or the veriest stranger we meet outside our own doors we feel ourselves bound to show the most perfect civility? On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved. The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart. It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries that are wanted; these are only mockeries if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions. Jewelry and silks and richly-bound volumes will never atone for the want of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained, without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness. Coleridge says: “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.” These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been for ever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.
“For love will starve if it is not fed, And true hearts pray for their daily bread.”
Another important element in married life is unity of interest. There is danger that wedded lives drift apart because their employments are nearly always different. The husband is absorbed in business, in his profession, in severe daily toil ; the wife has her home duties, her social life, her friends and friendships, her children ; and the two touch at no point. Unless care is taken this separation of duties and engagements will lead to actual separation in heart and life. To prevent this each should keep up a constant, loving interest in whatever the other does. The husband may listen every evening to the story of the home-life of the day, its incidents, its pleasures, its perplexities, its trials, the children’s sayings and doings, what the neighbors said who dropped in, the bits of news that have been heard, and may enter with zest and sympathy into everything that is told him. Nothing that concerns the wife of his heart should be too small for even the gigantic intellect of the greatest of husbands. In personal biography few things are more charming and fascinating than the glimpses into the homes of some of the greatest men of earth, when we see them, having laid aside the cares and honors of the world, enter their own doors to romp with the children, to listen to their prattle, and to talk over with loving interest all the events and incidents of the day’s home-history. In like manner, every wise and true-hearted wife will desire to keep up an interest in all her husband’s affairs. She will want to know of every burden, every struggle, every plan, every new ambition. She will wish to learn what undertaking has succeeded and what has failed, and to keep herself thoroughly familiar and in full sympathy with all his daily, personal life. No marriage is complete which does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. This can be secured only by making every interest common to both. Let both hearts throb with the same joy and share each pang of sorrow. Let the same burdens rest on the shoulders of both. Let the whole life be made common. In another sense still should their lives blend. They should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward a higher mental culture. They should worship together, praying side by side, communing on the holiest themes of life and hope, and together carrying to God’s feet the burdens of their hearts for their children and for every precious object. Why should they not talk together of their personal trials, their peculiar temptations, their infirmities, and help each other by sympathy, by brave word and by intercession, to be victorious in living? Thus they should live one life as it were, not two. Every plan and hope of each should embrace the other. The moment a man begins to leave his wife out of any part of his life, or that she has plans, hopes, pleasures, friendships or experiences from which she excludes him, there is peril in the home. They should have no secrets which they keep from each other. They should have no companions or friends save those which they have in common. Thus their two lives should blend in one life, with no thought, no desire, no feeling, no joy or sorrow, no pleasure or pain, unshared. Into the inner sanctuary of this wedded life no third party should ever be admitted. In its derivation the word home contains the idea of seclusion. it shuts its inmates away from all the other life of the world about them. I have read of a young wife who prepared one little room in her house into which none but herself and her husband were ever to enter. The incident is suggestive. Even in the sanctuary of the home-life there should be an inner holy of holies, open only to husband and wife, into which no other eye ever shall peer, in which no other voice ever shall be heard to speak. No stranger should ever intermeddle with this holy life, no confidential friend should ever hear confidences from this inner sanctuary. No window or door should ever be opened into it, and no report should ever be carried out of what goes on within. The blended life they twain are living should be between themselves and God‘ only. Another rule for wedded life is to watch against every smallest beginning of misunderstanding or alienation. In the wreck of many a home there lingers still the memory of months or years of very tender wedded life. The fatal estrangement that rent the home asunder and made scandal for the world began in a little difference which a wise, patient word might have composed. But the word was not spoken—-an unwise, impatient word was spoken instead——and the trivial breach remained unclosed, and grew wider till two hearts that had been knit together as one were torn for ever apart. Rarely are estrangements the work of one day, or caused by one offence; they are growths.
“It is the little rift within the lute That by and by will make the music mute, And, ever widening, slowly silence all The little rift within the lover’s lute: Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit, That, rotting inward, slowly moulders all.”
It is against the beginnings of alienations, therefore, that sacred watch must be kept. Has a hasty word been spoken? Instantly recall it and ask for forgiveness. Is there a misunderstanding? No matter whose the fault may be, do not allow it to remain one hour. Is the home-life losing a little of its warmth? Ask not for the cause nor where the blame lies, but hasten to get back the old fervor at any cost. Never allow a second word to be spoken in a quarrel. Let not the sun go down upon an angry thought or feeling between two hearts that have been united as one. Pride must have no place in wedded life. The must never be any standing upon dignity, nor any nice calculation as to whose place it is to make the apology or to yield first to the other. True love knows no such casuistry ; it seeks not its own ; it delights in being foremost in forgiving and yielding. There is no lesson that husbands and wives need more to learn than instantly and always to seek forgiveness of each other whenever they are conscious of having in any way caused pain or committed a wrong. The pride that will never say, “ I did wrong; forgive me,” is not ready for wedded life.
“Oh, we do all offend— There’s not a day of wedded life, if we Count at its close the little, bitter sum Of thoughts, and words, and looks unkind and froward—— Silence that chides, and woundings of the eye But, prostrate at each other’s feet, we should Each night forgiveness ask.”
A writer closes a book on home-life with this earnest word: “The great care should be so to live in the home that when it shall any way be lost there may be no accompanying sting of memory, harder to bear than any will of God. A little constant thought, self-denial, fidelity, a true life each with each and each with God, will not only save all unavailing regret and ensure the purest peace under all experience, but make the thought of reunion and life again in the Home of God chief among incentives to his service.” The only way to ensure a memory without a pang when the separating hand has done its work is to make each hour of wedded life, as it comes, tender and true as two loving hearts can make it. To crown all, the presence of Christ should be sought at the marriage festivity and his blessing on every day of wedded life. A lady was printing on a blackboard a text for her little girl. The text was: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Just as she had finished it the child entered the room and began to spell out the words. Presently she exclaimed, “Oh, mamma, you have left out Jesus!” True enough, she had left out the sacred name in transcribing the verse. It is a sad omission when, in setting up their home, any husband and wife leave out Jesus. No other omission they could possibly make would cause so great a want in the household. Without his presence to bless the marriage, the congratulations and good wishes of friends will be only empty words. Without his benediction on the wedded life day by day, even the fullest, richest tenderness of true affection will fail to give all that is needed to satisfy hungry hearts. Without the divine blessing, all the beauty, the gladness, the treasure, which earth can give to a home will not bring peace that may not any moment be broken Surely too much is involved, too great responsibility, too many and too precious interests, to venture upon wedded life without Christ. The lessons are too hard to learn to be attempted without a divine Teacher. The burdens are too heavy to be borne without a mighty Helper. The perils of the way are too many to be passed through without an unerring Guide. The duties are too delicate, and the consequences of failure in them too far-reaching and too terrible, to be taken up without wisdom and help from above. The prayer of the Breton mariner as he puts out on the waves is a fit prayer for every wedded life as its bark is launched: “Keep me, O God, for my boat is so small and the ocean is so wide.”
“Oh, we do all offend— There’s not a day of wedded life, if we Count at its close the little, bitter sum Of thoughts, and words, and looks unkind and froward—— Silence that chides, and woundings of the eye But, prostrate at each other’s feet, we should Each night forgiveness ask.”
This passage is originally from Home-Making by James Russell Miller, published in 1882 and in the public domain. It has been through minor edits.
Photograph by Kamran Iftikhar, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
I am going to admit something right now: I am a hoarder. I don’t hoard cats, or trash, or ceramic tchotchkies. I hoard sewing supplies. Because of this addiction, I have an excess of Velcro around my house. It’s just so useful for so many projects! But now I have more Velcro than I have uses for it, and that got me wondering about other uses for this magic fastener. How else can I use Velcro than in sewing projects? What else is Velcro useful for?
Here is a list of great ways to use your leftover Velcro:
Use your hook and loop fasteners to wrap computer cords. Keep your cords under control and lessen the chance of fire!
Use as plant ties to keep tomatoes and tree branches growing the way you want.
Use Velcro to secure wrapping paper and keep it from unrolling. Christmas and birthdays just got a little easier!
Use Velcro to hang temporary window covers. I used Velcro to put up black out curtains in my toddler’s room.
Bundle fishing poles and golf clubs or any other unwieldy hobby items.
Oragnize tools in your garage.
Use Velcro to keep gate doors open or closed.
Hook and loop fasteners are great for fastening a flashlight anywhere that would be useful. They don’t have to stay in your drawers!
Put battery operated lights on walls in hallways.
Having a picnic? Attach your tablecloth to the table with Velcro! Even the stiffest breeze won’t be able to make it budge.
Use to put the TV remote in the TV or a table securely.
Use Velcro to attach your iPad anywhere that will be useful, like on the back of a seat headrest in the car. For long journeys, you can easily out in a movie for the kids.
Attach a waterproof speaker or radio to the shower so you can jam out while you get clean.
Hang pictures with Velcro if you’re not allowed to use nails in a rented apartment with sticky back fasteners.
Secure cushions to chairs and outdoor furniture with sticky back Velcro.
Use in between buttons on shirts that tend to gap when worn.
Attach organizers to the inside of cabinet doors.
Organize toys in an artistic way! Use Velcro on walls or bookshelves to hold stuffed animals and encourage your kids to clean up in their own.
Glue some Velcro to a magnet in a loop to create a pen holder for your fridge!
De-pill your sweaters! Gently dab some Velcro across your sweater to pick up those pills.
Hang your phone or tablet on a kitchen cabinet for easy recipe reference.
Use sticky back Velcro to attach your pets food bowl to a mat to stop the bowl from moving around.
Secure your mailbox to your house with sticky back Velcro.
Secure bird houses or feeders to trees or your house with sticky back fasteners.
Velcro some chapstick to your nightstand so it’s always handy when you most need it.
Hide external hard drives. Attach some Velcro to the bottom of your desk and to your hard drive, and it will not only be out of the way but it will also be out of sight for any possible thieves.
Attach a towel to your oven door handle. I love having towels there to wipe my hands,but they said off so easy. A bit of Velcro will stop that from happening!
Hang umbrellas by the door with some Velcro.
Keep rugs down on a carpet.
Hang kids cups on the fridge so they’re always handy.
Baby proof your home with some velcro. Use fasteners to keep your favorite decorations on your tables.