Friday, September 30, 2011

Junkin' .......................

I have discovered that there is someone in this world that loves to junk as much as I do.

Yep .... it is dangerous to be with Zan.

Wednesday, we trucked over to one of my very very very favorite dealers and her shop.  Now Zan wanted to antique here and antique there.  And I kept saying ......... We have to get to Barb's.

Yep .... Barb is having her Harvest Sale at the Rabbit Hole .... Cross Creek Antiques in Fairfax.


I love Barb's style .... chippy, shabby, grungy, tattered ....... well-loved linens, cracked china, painted finishes, a little lace, a little thread ........ Everything that I love!  Pieces that show the love ... not perfect.  Just like us.  Hopefully, we show love to all that touch our lives.

Old garden .... Old farm ......

Perfect antiques for an imperfect life.  Wait till my new-to-me level gets on the wall.  You will LOVE. IT.

You need to stop by .... tell Barb hello.  You will know her ..... she glows with kindness and love..... just like the antiques in her shop.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I dunno..............

Life has been an absolute whirlwind.

The ever fabulous Zan Asha has been staying with us.  We have been cooking, cleaning (I love this girl!), running, meeting, laughing and she has been teaching classes everywhere.

I met the wonderful, hilarious Donna O'Shaughnessy and I wished she lived closer. Like across the road.

I visited Amanda and Jason and their adorable daughters and was inspired by Amanda, her farm and their life.

So you would think I could come up with some scintillating blog post. You would think that. All that is going on ... and the words won't come.  Not one bit.

For today ............ I got nothin'!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pick Me! Pick Me!


I swear I hear the flowers talking as I walk through the gardens!


Pick me!!! Pick me!!


They soooo want to be someplace where they can have warm feet!


Like your warm and toasty house!!!


Places where they can be loved and enjoyed! Cuz they aren't going to be here for much longer!!

Dried bouquets to last all winter.

Its time to stop ................. and pick the flowers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The tapestry of fall..............


The calendar says it is still summer.  But my mind and my heart says .... it is fall.  

The blooms I gather are in shades of reds ... and oranges..... and golds instead of my usual pinks and blues.

My heart wants to be cozy so I find myself decorating, re-arranging, purging and re-doing.

A wicker sofa started the adventure for me this time.

I found this sofa in late July for ... $55.  Great lines .... but it was battleship grey.  Awful.  Beyond awful.  And as you can see .... it still needs another coat (or two) of paint!

And then ..... this fabric.  

A beautiful linen that will become the cushion and throw pillows.

Then ......... I  found myself looking at this chest of drawers. 

Seriously, I had looked at this for 2 months at my favorite thrift store (And no.. I will not tell you the name and location of my favorite thrift store! You have more money than I do and I would never get another piece like this. Or the two months it took me to come to my senses!)  I just knew I didn't need it.  Where would I put it??  I had no place for it!  It was such a steal at $200. Dove-tailed drawers... original finish and hardware.  I was in love!

Beautiful beveled mirror  

Suddenly, the idea of using it to store my yarn hit me.  (Yea ... that was a big DUH!!!! moment!  It really took me 2 months to think of that???)  A little careful measuring.  Yep! It fits!

I added Prairieland Herbs dryer sachets to the drawers .... OH MY!!!! The yarn smells fantastic!!!

A bowl for darning eggs

Searching through a little antique shop, I found some Wedgewood china that pulled the colors together.

A platter to accent a wall.
There are more changes in the works... two pieces of furniture recovered, some new mats for pictures.  
But my favorite item is now on the wall.  
Done by the fabulous Jen at Onion Grove Mercantile!

Yep .... that makes me happy!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rantings of the Odd Duck..........

OK -- Just a little background before I go off on my diatribe!

According to our family, I am weird.  Honey and I eat weird stuff. You know, goat cheese, olives, hummus......... stuff that doesn't come from a box or a can.  I have never opened a jar of Ragu and called it spaghetti sauce.  My pizzas don't come from freezer case.  And my bread ... can not be used to remove scuff marks from your wall.

If I want a basket ... I have never called Longerberger.  If I want soap .... I don't call Dove.  If I want yarn .... I don't pick up a crunchy acrylic from the dime store.  And if I want flowers... I don't go to the grocery store and pick up teal blue daisies with the lime green centers and sparkles .. just because it matches my decor.  (Like that ever would match my decor!)

My furniture is from antique sales, garage sales and dumpster dives that I have re-painted, re-covered and re-stored.  My style is not the latest ... it is not like anyone else .... it is my style.

Yes .... I am the Odd Duck.

This was really Walter ... but you get my drift!

So fitting in a very conservative, traditional farm family is difficult for me.  Bottom line ... I don't. 

Which normally, I am just fine with.  But the last few days ............ not so much!

Ya see........ I don't think of myself as old.  Yes .... I do have my very own AARP card.  Yes ... I enjoy the senior discount at Hancock Fabrics.  And if I ever went to Macki-Dees, I am certain I would like their ten cent coffee.

My hair is not treated with color.  Nor will it ever be.  I am secure in the fact, that if I dyed my hair .. it would look totally unnatural.  I am perfectly content with my salt and pepper hair......ok, there is more salt than pepper!

In fact, I am certain that "Gray is the new Blonde".  Yep ... that's my motto and I am sticking with it!!!!

But I am not old.

At this very moment of my life, I have so many wonderful things going on .... I have no intention of slowing down.  And I really resent people inferring that I should because are getting older.

The last week has been all about old times, people that I have never met, and aches and pains. And I am tired of it.  I don't want to be put on that tour bus to Branson!!!!! (Please don't write me ... I am certain Branson is a lovely town.  But my bucket list consists of hitting every winery, brewpub and cheese shop in WI.  And grabbing stuff from every single one of them while filling up the truck with antiques, fiber and new memories!)

Just because that calendar on the wall ... points to a specific number .... does the magic of your life disappear???  And if you keep saying "I'm old.  You are old.  You can't do this.  I can't do that."......... don't you make that your new reality?

There are things I don't do.  I don't run marathons.  But I don't run marathons now just  because I am old.  I never ran a marathon!

My life has no age restrictions!!!  And I resent people making them for me now!!!!  If you want to act old, be old, live old ... fine.  Just don't make me be around it!!!

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.
Richard Bach

So I am sorry that you won't see me at a reunion just because its a reunion.  You may find me there seeing friends that make me laugh, make me cry and because I love them.

But I will be the one ... kicking up my heels, drinking one drink too many, laughing too loud and without any pictures of Branson!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The marathon continues......

There are soooo many exciting things happening at Miss Eff's, I can barely contain myself!!

For those of you that think I should be on the downhill slide of my life.... think again!  My life is getting to be more fun, more adventuresome, more active every day!

I am going in order ........

First of all, my sista in farming, the fabulous Zan Asha is coming back to Iowa.  Actually, I think she might have arrived by now.  She is in central Iowa until Monday and then, she is making the trek to little ol' Donahue to stay with Miss Eff and Honey.

The girl is going to be busy!!!  On Thursday, 9/22 she will be teaching an Indian class to Slow Foods Quad Cities.  

On Saturday 9/24, Zan will head to Geneseo to the Wilson farm to teach two classes on beekeeping.  There is still space for you ... so if you are concerned about over-wintering your bees or want to be prepared to get bees established next spring (like we hope to do!) .... these are the classes for you. 

And if you think I am energetic .... my sista Zan is over-the-top fun!!!  Go to this site and sign up, there is still time.  And ya know you want to hang with the hip kids.

Then, Zan is taking over my kitchen for a Middle Eastern Cooking class.  I'd tell you more about it but it is full....full... full!!!

(I'll tell you more about it later when I am full!!!!  Cruel, aren't I?)

OK -- that's Zan's adventure into Iowa. 

And in the midst of all of that .... Miss Eff's is hosting the Farmers table dinner.  I'm excited and thrilled and tad bit worried about the weather!!!  Cuz ya know ... we are hosting this in the corn-zebo!!  However, just looking at the weather report, we are to be back up into the 80's!  Perfect!!! There will be awesome food..... vintage table clothes, chippy china, unmatched silver.... it will be wonderful!!!! There will be a fire in the fire pit to warm us ... it will be perfect!  Oh -- the food.  The food is UNBELIEVABLY. GOOD.

And finally .... what I am most excited about.  (Seriously........ I am bouncing off the walls with this one!!) I have been asked to teach a few cooking classes to benefit the building of a new Clarence library. 

Now I love Clarence.  Clarence is a charming little Iowa town with really great people.  Clarence is what all small towns should be so I love supporting events that keep small towns lively and educated.

I also love teaching classes in warm intimate settings and this will be the absolute best!!!!

Yes ... I am teaching classes at Jen's house.  In this beautiful, wonderful, dreamlike kitchen! 

As a former kitchen designer ... I am in love.  IN. LOVE.  (I have a kitchen that is "Do what I say.  Not what I do!")

The first class is the Artisan Bread class ..... yea, if you have 5 minutes you can create awesome breads daily.

Now I realize you can go out, buy the book and do this on your own.  And I hope you will buy their books because they are worth every dime.

But so is this is fun, educational and really really tasty!  We will have the basic boule, rolls, sandwich loaf, cinnamon or caramel sticky rolls, pita breads and more.  All out of the same dough. 

So sign up .... help build a new library ... and snack on really great bread.  Really great.  You will love it.

More exciting things are coming in the weeks ahead.  I will let you know.  In the meantime, I keep on running!
(Don't take that literally.... the physical aspect of running... ain't happening here!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coming to a Toys R Us near you!

I think I have found it!

The perfect gift for the little farmgirl princess in your life.

Yes ... if you feel you need to entitle your urban homesteading daughter anymore with the perfect farmgirl accessory .... I have it for you!

I am certain your daughter already has the Snow White Bib Overall ensemble complete with the poison apple cider press.  And I know she has the Sleeping Beauty crown emblazoned with the John Deere logo!  And she has cried and cried over the Cinderella glass muck boots ...... perfect for the wet fall weather in the hog lots!

But does she have this??????

Yes ... it is the Barbie Porta-Pottie for your princess.

Unfortunately, this picture was taken before we bought the rest of the accessories!!  Yes ... the pink floral wreath was not on the door.  Nor was the straw hat hanging on the chair.  It was missing its mandatory wrapped pink Starlight mints and its floral paper hand towels.  An unnecessary accessory (but charming) was the antique pink and yellow quilt hanging over the fence.

When it comes to a Barbie Porta-Pottie, it is all about the accessories!!!

Only at Miss Eff's for the North Scott Farm Crawl.

And maybe the county jail ... cuz once Mattel gets ahold of this blog post .... I am sooooooooo screwed!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Four .... Three....... Two........

OK -- I feel like an astronaut on a space ship.

Every day .. I go through the list.  I cross a few things off.  I answer a billion phone calls.  I try to figure out what to cook for supper.  I fall a little farther behind with the laundry and the house cleaning.  And I question my doctor's decision to eliminate Prozac and Valium from my diet!!!

Thank God for massive amounts of caffeine from coffee!

Yes ... the countdown has begun for the North Scott Farm Crawl.

This sounded like such a brilliant, simple idea in January! 

But we are getting ready!  We have mowed and weeded and decorated. So I think I am ready for the super awesome vendors that are coming!

Yes. Yes. Yes.  There would be no party at Miss Eff's without the fabulous, funny, talented Sheepie Neighbor!  Or her nut rolls.  Or her shortbread cookies.  Or her yarn.

And you should vote for her truck's name.  Harrison.  Harrison is the best name ever for a Ford truck.  Cuz Harrison Ford was voted sexiest man alive.... and we all want to ride ........

TMI! TMI! I can not share my fantasies!!!!  But I digress..................................

I can drool over the wonderfully cuddly yarn from Cassie Moon!  She is as funny as Sheepie Neighbor.  They keep the witty banter going at the Freight House Farmers Market on Saturday.  But she doesn't have a truck with a human name.  Now that I said that .... I'm not sure.  Cassie could have a truck named Oscar or Philippe or Nels.

Then there is the oh-so crazy Tamara!  Tamara and I grew up in the same little town.  We drank from the same water.  Oh yea ....... there will be two of us!!!! Listen for the laughter.... if it is loud and cackling... it could be either on of us!!!!  And don't give us a hard time cuz we don't take no crap messy chicken coops.  If you catch my drift!  Tamara will be bringing lots of cute little goats .... and maybe some fudge!

We have 5 baby ducks ... two with very big head because they were on WQAD this morning. You can see them by searching for the video for North Scott Farm Crawl.  Our chicks should arrive tomorrow.  That's alot of balls of fluff to hold and cuddle. (Do you get the idea that I like balls of fluffy stuff?)

The Summer Kitchen will be stocked with all sorts of goodies.  Our good friend Amanda from Self-Reliant 101 is stocking up the Summer Kitchen with her laundry soap, dryer balls and the oh-so luxurious lotion that is 82% goat milk.  If you have not tried My Mommy's Creation laundry soap ... Do. It.  Now.  Save yourself a lot of money!!!! Nine cents a load versus twenty cents a load from that major laundry soap manufacturer that ebbs and flows with the tide.  (I won't get in trouble for that, will I????)

And finally, our friends at Slow Food Quad Cities are selling artisan lemonades. Stop at their table and pick up a  glass of farm fresh flavor.

I will be doing tours.... Honey will be handling the valet service.  Dear friend and talented artist, Julie will be working in the Summer Kitchen for your shopping pleasure!

I'll pop in again this week with more news.  But stop by Sunday 9/11/2011 and enjoy a beautiful day in the country.  Four farms .... four farmers.... Free admission for a great day! 

The North Scott Farm Crawl's map can be found at the top of this page.  We will be open from 11-4.

Hope to see you.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The ever chatty Summer Kitchen....................

As my dear sweet Honey will tell you ......... the Summer Kitchen is such a chatty little building.  It keeps talking to him ............. and talking to him ............and talking to him.

Kind of like his wife!! ;)

Well ..... I am sure you remember this conversation.

The gable end decoration in the picture wasn't going to fit.  That swoooopy roof was much too steep to get that to work.

Suddenly, Honey decided .... I can build a gable end decoration.

So he went through the 15 billion books on Victorian architecture that I own.  We looked at houses as we drove around the area.  And he studied .... gable end decoration and Gothic Revival and Stick era Victorian homes.

It was for the Summer Kitchen.  It is a simple little building.  But it needs to feel special. (Besides, I may end up living there if the whole Summer Kitchen thing isn't a good idea!!)

Honey out-did himself.

And the cost .............. $10!  Seriously .

I love a man that talks to buildings!!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some people...............

I got my first introduction to Tasha Tudor when my daughter was an infant.  Maybe before she was even born.

You see ........ I am a book person.  I am one of those people that first buys books ... then groceries.  And even now ... that I realize that is exactly what libraries are for ........ I still love the smell, the feel, the sound of turning a page in a new (or new to me!) book.

So one of the first books I bought was Tasha Tudor's ... A is for Annabelle.

My collection of Tasha Tudor books grew.  I was hooked on the charming drawings of bunnies, birds and dreams of tea parties under a willow tree.  The simplicity and innocence drew me in to a world a century old.

And I was hooked on Tasha Tudor.  A woman that wrapped herself in a hand-knit shawl and walked barefoot through her garden.  A woman that gathered eggs from her chooks and milked her goats for cheese and cream.  Her long gray hair was wrapped around her head and tied back in a scarf.  She (like me) felt she was born in the wrong century.  This was not a woman of pretense and show and glamour ... she was earthy and real and maybe a tad gritty.

She was who I aspire to be.  She lived an independent life of simplicity and knew her worth in the world. 

So today ....... I have smiled all day.  I am still smiling.

Today, a customer told me that Miss Effie's was Tasha Tudor meets the Midwest.

Some people say the nicest things.

Thank you.  :)