Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Finding my style ...........

I have known what my style is for a long time.

Occasionally, I have trouble sticking to it.

I sometimes have a chair ..... a sofa ..... a table that ........... doesn't sing to me.  Maybe it was a gift .... maybe I bought it in another lifetime.  But it doesn't ... fit.

As Oprah says .... your house should rise up to greet you.  

I have had a dilemma for a while.

My 1972 Early American maple cedar chest didn't make me happy.

I disliked the brass bat wing handles.  A corner was chipped from too many moves.

And the finish on the top had chipped away from sun exposure.

It didn't fit my house .... it didn't fit my personality and it sure didn't rise up to greet me!

Now ... the dilemma comes in.

It was a gift from my parents.

And here comes the psychosis!!! Why ... after owning this for 43 years ..... does the thought of painting it cause such feelings of guilt????  After all ......... it. is. wood.

I put on my big girl panties and decided to take the paint brush to it!

I used Miss Mustard Seed milk paint and although it is not done ............


I have another coat of Antique Wax to put on it.  And I ordered glass knobs and handles for it.

It is chippy..... yet looks much less chippy in person than it does in the photo.

The color is Luckett's Green ..... soft, pretty and so me.

More photos and details to follow. 

I loved using the milk paint with the hemp oil and the wax finish.  Clean up was simple.  The color is rich with a lot of depth.  One hint, though ..... you can not stir milk paint enough!!!

I will be doing more very soon so stay tuned to see what else changes color.

Oh! Oh! Oh! And it works outside on metal!!

Just warning ..... a painting monster may have been born!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pin it!!!

Hey!!!  I'm not talking about Pinterest ..... even though that is a total addiction for me.

I laughed the other day when a young guy asked me if I knew about Pinterest.

Uhhhhh ....... yea.  It the Honey-do list with pictures.

No --- this is about one of my passions ... my happy places..... a job I love.

This is about my clothesline.

I love my clothesline.  I use it every time I can.

I love the exercise of hanging clothes out.

I love the fresh smell that last far longer than artificially scented fabric softener.

I love seeing my clothes flutter in the breeze.

AND I love the lower utility bills!  More money for another passion.


And this is where the two intertwine.

Clothespin bags!!  Or as they would say in the UK .... peg bags!!!  A term I love!!!

The green fabric is from one of my favorite designers ... Lori Holt.  Her prints makes me smile.

This one is a 1930's reproduction fabric .............  it is sweet.


A paisley print always catches my eye.  And I loved pairing it with the check.  Coral and aqua!  

Oh ..... I sooo heart that!!

I have to confess.  I love this fabric also.  But I have to tell you ---- I rarely buy a piece of fabric unless it sings to me!!!    It is hard to sew with something that I don't love!

The bags are lined ... so they are very study.  The corners are reinforced and they hang on wood hangers with a swivel hook.

There are nine in the Summer Kitchen at the moment.  There will be more very soon.

But there won't be this one!!!

This one is MINE!!!  

Another Lori Holt fabric from the Vintage Happy collection.  Isn't it adorable???


My longtime friends will definitely remember the Warners bra and girdle ad that hung in my bathroom at the Spalding.

I HAD to make this one for myself!!! 

Had. To.  

No doubt!

So if you are tired of keeping your pegs in a cut down bleach bottle ... (there is that age thing again ... creeping in every conversation!!!)  

Yea ... don't tell me you don't remember green bleach bottles with crocheted tops to put your clothespins in!

You don't?????

Well .... if you want to dress up your clothesline and make it pretty this spring .... pop out to the Summer Kitchen.

Ya might have to hurry before they shuffle me off to the home.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This ain't chicken feed....

No.  It's the cloth sacks that feed was sold in .... between the 1930's and the 1960's.

Many years ago .... before my starter marriage .... I was given a stack of feed sacks to make tea towels for myself.  Every young bride needed good quality tea towels .... and the terrycloth towels that were so popular then ... were not good quality.

A good tea towel ... is soft, 100% cotton and leaves no lint when drying crystal or silver.

I LOVED those tea towels.

I would push every other tea towel aside to use those wonderful, soft, colorful tea towels.

They were awesome!

But they wore out ..... I continued to use every scrap to dust, to scrub, to clean.

On Saturday ... I came across a stash of brightly printed feed sacks.  And I quickly snatched some up to make tea towels for the Summer Kitchen.

I've ripped the seams open .... pulled threads .... straightened the edges .... and trimmed with rickrack and buttonhole stitch.  Some may get some cotton lace trim.  They all have hanging loops so they will dry.

There are age stains ... and small holes.

But I have age stains and small holes .... and I am about the same age as these sacks.  And no one is tossing me out yet!!!

They are part of the joy of these fabulous fabrics.

I hope you love them as much as I do.  Cuz you will be seeing a lot of them!  EVERY scrap of fabric will eventually find its way to the Summer Kitchen.  It may trim out an apron .... or be made into a tissue cozy ... or be turned into a pin cushion.

Yea ..... it ain't chicken feed.  But who would have thought that this practical feed sack would become so very prized,  50 years after it was made.

I only hope to be that lucky!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Prototyping ...........

Do you remember the last scene of the series 4 finale of Downton Abbey?

Yep ..... that's how Honey and I do new projects.  Carefully, cautiously ..... trying new things out.
And usually using things we already have.

Honey is a designer of big things now ...... giant dust collectors that sit on bridges, collecting all the dust and debris that comes from "sand" blasting.   He just finished a giant vacuum that sits on a trailer that is longer than my house!

But every time they design something ..... they prototype the item to work out the bugs.  See what they can improve.  Tweak it a bit later to fix a problem.

This weekend ..... we were prototyping.

Our first low tunnel.

Constructed from our Contention Creek Plant Supports (also built by Honey!) ..... we covered them with plastic leftover from our winter weatherization projects.

Also known as ......... We-can't-give-our-entire-paycheck-to-the-propane-people  project!

We started by cleaning the area.

Supervision and extra help was invaluable!

We planted spinach, lettuce, onions and radishes in small 2 foot by 2 foot areas.

We are not interested in supplying all of our salad needs at this moment ....... we are just trying to get a bit of a head start on a few things. 

Because the plastic we had was narrower than we wanted ..... it closes together across the top.  We quickly replaced the clothespins with clamps after a trip to Farm and Fleet! 

It does make it easy to open when the temperature gets too warm .... we also hung a thermometer to check the heat level in the tunnel.  We later ran a section of soaker hose along the inside edge to water gently when necessary.

It's not high tech.

It wasn't expensive.

I know lots of people will have different and better ideas. 

But I think this will work for us. 

And if it doesn't .......... we will prototype another!

Cautiously and carefully!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Guess what season it is?????

Some of you may say ... spring!

And although that brings the flower farmer in me a lot of joy ..... that's not it.

It is the DIY season ... exterior edition.

Now DIY season .... can be very very short.

Like last year, when this catastrophe happened.

Not a huge thing ... but by the time the trees were cut down, stumps removed and new trees planted in their place ..... $2300 had disappeared out of my DIY budget.  And that doesn't count the time spent ... cleaning up, splitting wood, planting and watering new trees, and moving mulch.  Etc.  Etc.

And our list last year ...... pretty much zip got accomplished!

Now that we have far fewer large trees casting shade on the farm, maybe the chances of those type of events will be less.  We can only hope!

So ..... do you want to see my list for this season??

Really???  Well, it is my blog and you have to see it anyway! ;)

 The barn/garage needs a new roof and gutters.  This is the number 1 priority.  In fact, so much so, I have been getting bids and would like to have it done before mid-May.  Can't have roofers crushing my flowers that are around the base of the barn!

 This is one of the projects that got put off last year .... finish the siding and scrape the 2nd story window frames on the east side of the house.  The windows probably need new sills .....although we might be able to save them with epoxy products.  The good news .... we have everything we need to complete this project.

This is the base of the bay window.  At one time, we had hoped we could repair the panels.  But it really looks like they need to be totally replaced.  So that is on the list.

 A top priority for Honey .... this is the new kitchen window.  The south side of the house is letting a lot of cold air seep through.  The current window is the newest window in the house ... and the worst!

So it will be replaced with this solid wood window we had made.  It is smaller than our current window but is a double hung window like the rest of the house.  Being smaller ... it will give me a little more space for wall cabinets in the future.

We will also be replacing the door into the kitchen ... but that is not ready for its photo shoot!!

I have a few other things that I want to accomplish ..... I want all new wood storms and screens on the east side of the house.  That's seven new storms.  We will see if I can get that done.

And then, there is the dream of a new tin ceiling.  Sigh.

It won't get done until I get some flowers planted ............

Yep, that's up next.  Talking flowers!

And I. Can't. Wait!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


All the Baby Boomers are over 50 now.

I am certain we had the most diverse life experiences of any generation.  Why .... we went from party lines and asking Phoebe at the switchboard to connect us to talking to a watch that will make a phone call for us.

Kind of like our Dick Tracy decoder watch that came in Trix cereal.

Our lives were shaped by Civil Defense warnings, 3 major assassinations, fast cars and fantastic music.

And in the midst of a war that we were protesting, civil rights we were defending and ceiling we women were trying to break ............ a little tiny magazine was published.

Mother Earth News.

It appealed to the "back to the land" movement.  It appealed to hippies.

It appealed to the internal hippie in me that couldn't break out of my Diane Von Furstenberg dress and Connie high heels!

But it taught me about solar energy ..... making yogurt ..... grinding my own baby food  .... and of course,  water conservation!

When its yellow, let it mellow.  When its brown, flush it down.

Yep --- Mother Earth News inspired us to fight for a life without the Cuyahoga River, Love Canal, and Three Mile Island.

The world might have been a whole different place without Mother Earth News and the other magazines it inspired.

So we were honored, delighted and thrilled when we got a letter from Mother Earth News and Home Depot about a website article.

Yep .... there is it!
Number 14!

Honey's fire pit!!!

Reuse.  Reduce.  Recycle.

And now .... I'm going to turn on my Woodstock CD and listen to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Country Joe and the Fish.

I told you we had fantastic music!!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Allergic ....

I decided that I wanted to make a gift for a dear friend.

Honey and I went to the fabric shop to search for just the perfect fabric.

Honey was the first to spot it ...... but when I touched the fabric, I got a shock.

As I pressed the fabric ...... I started to itch.

While I was stitching the seams ..... I felt feverish.

I broke out in hives when I applied the piping.

And finally .... as I pressed it into a neat package ...... I felt my orange and blue blood pressure rising.

Have mercy on my Illini soul.

I am certain penance is ten "Hail to the Orange".

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How Cold Was It?????

It was soooooooooooooo cold ...........


even the flag pole was shivering!

To tell you truth .... we are not sure what was happening.  Very light breeze.  The flagpole has been in this place for 15 years and nothing has changed.  But it has been doing this all day and night!! 

I guess it is tired of winter, too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fashion Week in Donahue ...

I was standing at the kitchen sink last week, talking to my friend Dawn.

We were discussing world events, the birds outside the window and just general chit-chat.

Suddenly, she starts complaining.

"I have nothing to wear", she says. " I am tired of this label."

Yea ..... and what do you want me to do about it????

Well ...... Last week when I was at the grocery store, I was talking to my friend Joy.  She had been talking to Ivory .... you know, that old gal.

Yes .... Ivory has been around for a while.  She is 99.6% pure, right??

You won't think that if you heard the stories that I have heard!

So that's what you want to dish about?  Ivory's reputation???

NO!  Ivory told Joy that she used to wear dresses when she was in the kitchen. 

They did.  It was typical.  Toasters, mixers, dishsoap even extra toilet paper  .. everything was covered up!   No uncovered appliances.  No uncovered household items.  Even skirts for brooms! It just wasn't proper!

I used to wear dresses, too.

But I got over it and so can you.

I want dresses!  And you can't stop me!!  

Don't be silly.  Dresses are not needed for your job here on the farm.

If you don't get me a dress,  I will let that burnt on greasy film stick to your fancy-dancy casserole dish.

You wouldn't!!!  Not my Le Crueset!!!

I can and I will!  I want a new dress!

So ... what was I to do??  I had to take Dawn dress shopping.

Fortunately .... it was Fashion Week in Donahue.

The venue was quaint and a bit chilly.  But all of Donahue's fashion elite were there.

Maybe the room was more crowded than I thought .... cuz she is sure straining her neck to see the latest styles!!!

We looked at several .........

I thought this one with the apron was nice.

Dawn said .... That looks like something you would wear!!

This little number was cute ....

And they also had it in green!

I also liked the red and white one.

But as Dawn said .... I would.  ;)

In the end ... it came down to two.

This yellow sun dress with the scalloped hem.

Or this blue one with the white sash.

Which came home with Dawn.

Cuz after all ...........it did match her eyes!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Since last we talked ...........

I have become totally winter weary.

I am soooo over it.

And I soooo want to see spring.

Nineteen days.  They say I only have to wait nineteen days.  It seems like an eternity.

There used to be a garden behind this gate.  It will be a while before I can get through it to see if it still exists.

In the meantime ... I have stayed busy with classes, projects and an interview.  (More on that later)  And it has been much too cold in my office to blog!

It has been the ultimate Crafting Attention Deficient Disorder around here.  I have been bouncing from project to project.  Waaay too many ideas are coming from Pinterest and Ravelry.  The "apron idea" pins alone would complete a small novel .... if Tolstoy was writing it.  ;)

The good news .... I have completed a lot of stuff.

So now ... you get to see it all. Sit tight .... it might take a while.

And one of these days ... you will get to buy it all..... when you don't need hip boots to get through the piles of snow surrounding the Summer Kitchen!

I needed some different projects for the Summer Kitchen ..... new and fresh for spring.

These are tiny little soap sacks that will hold a large bar of soap.  I love doing popcorn stitch ... so these were fun.

This a fun, flirty hoodie-style hat.  It is knitted out of hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn that I picked up in Mineral Point.  100% wool ..... it should be super warm .... and what a neat, youthful style!

Our Christmas bazaar wiped out my supply of boot cuffs and fingerless mitts .... so I knitted these beautiful plum mitts and the brightly colored boot cuffs.  I love the ruffled picot edge of boot cuffs and the mitts have both hems edged with picot trim.  Yea .... I am hooked on that .......... for the moment!

I was low on super long, wide pastel scrappy scarves that several of my customers love.

So I made this one .....

I swear ... if spring won't come, I will just knit it!!!  I love the colors!!!

I am totally looking toward spring ... including spring cleaning.  (Anything ... I want anything that reminds me of spring!)

And ya know what a vintage/retro girl I am!

These are dishcloth dresses to hang on a bottle of dishsoap ... by your sink!

Don't ya just love the apron on this one????

And I needed more dishcloths ..... including the cow, tulips and watering can dishcloths.

This tea towel screams spring.....

And finally .......... I made the two center aprons.

I LOVE the blue, red and yellow apron with its red rick-rack trim.  I would say it is my absolute favorite EVER  but I can't get over the red and aqua.

And speaking of aprons .... that's where the interview came in.  This has been in the works since September and finally happened last Monday.

So if you missed it .... you can catch it online.  I both cooked  and sewed on air ... without spilling anything on myself OR needing to use a seam ripper. 

Miracle.  Truly a miracle!

In the meantime ..... I will be counting the days.

Nineteen .... they say nineteen more days.