Thursday, April 29, 2010

I decided a while back that my pantry walls had better match my kitchen walls. One can view the pantry interior from the kitchen, and it just didn't "flow"; what with the kitchen walls being butter yellow, and the pantry walls being 50 year old lead based white paint on 80 year old beaded board walls with colonial blue (bleck) shelves.

Today, I decided to stop beating around the bush and DO IT!

The room is puny - maybe 7 feet by 10 feet. It's walk-in closet size.

But never underestimate the ability of an organizer like me to cram as much stuff as possible into as small a space as possible, and have it look like not that much stuff is actually in there.

It's a Jedi Mind trick. And the Force is strong with me.

So I started hauling stuff out of the pantry and stashing it in the dining room.

Blender. Three crock pots. Meat grinder. Food dehydrator. Waffle iron. Pasta machine. Popcorn popper. The first load covered the table.

"Look at this.... this stuff!" I griped to Kevin who happened by. "So..... get rid of it," he says. "But I actually use this stuff! I can't get rid of it....."

Pressure canner. Pressure cooker. Fry Daddy. Doubble boiler. Food mills. 5 sizes of spring form pans. Boiling water bath canners. Three of them.

The "stuff" overflowed in the dining room. Released from the organized confines of the pantry, it just went crazy in there.

9,473,575,276 canning jars. 2,763 milk glass bud vases. "B" stamped napkins from our wedding. 5,273,2837 paper bags, plastic bags, and zip lock bags. (I never throw out a bag.) A can of black olives I don't even remember buying.

Finally, I got out half the stuff, removed the plastic shelves and started to slap paint on the walls. You don't roll beaded board..... you brush it. One boring stroke at a time.

I started about 1 pm. I got to a stopping place about a half hour ago, and I had one long wall, one short wall, and the window trim done.

And, the pantry is still home to about 6,387 jars of food I canned last year.

I think after I am done with painting everything in this old house that needs paint, I will have painted for approximately half of my lifetime. And then, it will be time to do it all over again.....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Favorite Garden Accessories

Yes, my friends, this blog is overdue for cat photos. :D

My cats, all four, are indoor/outdoor cats. They have a litter box inside, their food is inside; and they go outside whenever they want to, as well. We leave a window open for them during the summer so they can go in and out as they please.

We even have a kitty "pavilion" for them.

They all love hanging out in the flower beds and gardens. If I am outside working in the gardens, they're right there with me, playing. If Kevin is outside working on trucks/tractors/equipment, they're under his feet and climbing on everything. If we go walking down the lane to the pond, usually two or three of them trot along beside us.

Brutus enjoys just sitting or lounging about and observing what I'm doing.


Philippe loves to sit next to me, and if I toss pebbles, weeds, sticks, and other small objects, he chases after them all.


Splat likes to sit and watch also. Usually in tall grass.


Splat loves to try and catch butterflies and other insects. That is why I try to attract them.... for the cats to have something fun to amuse them. They never actually get a butterfly.... it's just the fun in the chase.

Splat decides Philippe needs to learn a lesson.

Philippe seems unimpressed with Splat's threat.

She gives him a last warning glare before storming off to her pavilion.

Take a picture of my "sexy" pose, mom.......



*My fourth cat, Cosette, is not pictured, because she doesn't get along with the others. She keeps to herself and avoids these cat family frolics in the gardens. She prefers my one-on-one, undivided attention.*

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well, Hello There

I have really been neglecting this blog.... and my other two blogs, as well.... of late.

Bad, bad blogger.


But as usual for me, I have a very good excuse for it...... I have been really busy.

For the past several weeks we have been doing a TON of outdoor work on the farm. And yet, somehow, at the end of the day, even for all my back breaking hours and hours of work that keeps me from blogging, it still looks to me like we've done nothing.

Keep in mind that my husband and I are carving out a cute farm, farm cottage and cottage gardens from the shambles we got about two years ago. A absolute mess of a place, it was. And still is, to some extent.

I often wonder if the day will come when I can sit on my patio and drink a glass of lemonade with one of my kitties on my lap while enjoying the fruits of my slave labor.

That is my goal. To get it all done - house and gardens - and have nothing more to do but sit around and enjoy it while drinking lemonade on the patio.

Anyway, here are a few views of what I've (We've) been working on.

I painted this old bench white, and stuffed it among the throng of day lillys by my back door. The vintage watering can is one of my favorites.

I planted lettuce in the raised herb garden. I think it is pretty, growing in there with the herbs....

Here is a view of the patio we just got done constructing. We're going to grow grass and moss between the bricks and rocks. I wanted it to look old; like it had been there forever. The patio was made entirely from recycled old bricks and rocks from the chimney of an old house that was torn down on the property. Geez.... I really need to paint my vintage metal lawn chairs..... Turquoise. :D

This rosemary plant was a gift from my sister. The vintage cast iron bird bath was my Grandmother's.

This little cutie is a canning jar chick waterer. Instead, I filled the jar with dirt, and planted little sedum plants in the watering holes so that is cascades out the holes. Weird, maybe.... but I think it is cute.

These iris bulbs came from Kevin's mother, from his childhood home in Michigan. I wasn't sure what color they'd be, but I LOVE this peachy hue! Now that I know what color they are, I can plant corresponding colors in this bed for a eye catching display.

Here is another view of this bed. It is a little wild and crazy; with lilac and sweet pea and peonies and azaleas and then the iris I am trying to establish. See the bed frame? That is where the sweet pea is coming in, and I am training them to grow all over the bed frame..... I think it is going to be perfect. You can also see my veggie garden beyond.

Here is another thing I have done this year..... and I almost didn't. There are several old wash tubs in junk piles on the farm that I pulled out. The bottoms were mostly rusted out of them, leaving just a ring of galvanized metal. I set them up and filled them with good rich dirt, and planted spinach in them. I was afraid they'd look "junky" but I think it has turned out rather cute.... and free. And recycled.

In this one, I planted a heirloom yellow tomato and a marigold. This one sits next to a gate post leading into my veggie garden. On the other side is a black walnut tree. the path goes between.

Anyway, that is a few of the views of my "cottage gardens in progress". I am going of a quaint, country, southern, old fashioned look to the gardens. Kind of wild, helter-skelter, and freely meandering and growing in all directions. I do not like the manicured, sculptured look for my place. Except in the veggies. I have structure there, for sure. But I want my flowers to be wild and free. I think they're happier that way.

Maybe next post I'll showcase UN finished projects around the yard...... uh, on second thought, don't count on it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pardon Me While I Toot My Own Horn Real Quick.

I logged on to my Facebook profile this evening to find that Etsy had sent me a notification that my Ostrich Handbag had been featured on the front page of the Etsy Website.


I clicked on the link they had posted to my profile only to be disappointed not to be able to see my handbag on the front page..... it had sold. In, like, 10 minutes. So while I was giddy and happy and thrilled and screaming and dancing and Kevin thought I was insane (or being attacked by a swarm of bees)and I was calling my mom on the phone.... I was sad to have actually missed the whole actual front page thing.

Thank you, Ostrich Handbag from the 70's. You have given me a few short minutes of fame on Etsy.

Now you will go to your new home in Australia.

And I will miss you.

I was going to keep you, but you got too famous too suddenly.

I will always remember you, Ostrich Handbag.

Thank you.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Shop Update

First of all - (I am so excited) - I have a new shiny custom made shop banner! I love, love, love my banner and avatar now! I was getting by with a standard banner provided by Etsy, and a drab avatar. Now I have the perfect thing for my shop and I am so thrilled. I was going to try to make one myself, and decided I just couldn't do it right now, so I purchased one from a custom banner selling Etsyan. Click on my Etsy link in the sidebar to check it out. :D

Here are some very cool antique - not just vintage; antique - purses I listed this week:


This first one is a genuine 1920 "Flapper" handbag. It is super adorable. I would keep it, if it were mine; but it is a consignment for a friend - so alas, it cannot live in my personal handbag stash.


This second one is a 1890 coin purse. The oldest thing in my shop right now!

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This handbag was features in this Etsy treasury. It's my first time being in some one's treasury, I am so thrilled!

There will be two new sections shortly: "Sweet Dreams" for lovely, never worn sleepwear, gowns, robes, etc.

I am also collecting items for a "I Do" (weddings) section. For that, I will be listing mostly accessories like hats, gloves, bridal jewelry, and some super romantic, frilly, perfect handbags of my own creation. And maybe.... maybe... a vintage wedding dress I have in my things?....... :)

Also - I am soon to procure a large stash of costume (and other) jewelry from a friend of mine, who wore it during her college years in the early 1950's. I am SO stoked about this. I haven't seen it yet; she says she is getting it all together "in a box"..... I will be listing the whole stash in the shop!

So anyway, that's some news for April.........

Monday, April 12, 2010

Show Time!

My 10 year old niece Abigail was in a local production of "Godspell" this past weekend. Four shows. $10 per ticket. People paid to see her perform.

That's her, right there, on the left.


Look carefully:

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I guess they paid to see the other youth perform as well, but to me, they all paid to see one little girl. Abi. :D

Seriously, they all did so great. For one week of rehearsals in a Spring Break acting camp, they did great.










Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning, The Sequel

If you live in or around trees, then you probably know that this year the pollen has been ............ unbelievable.

A few posts back I posted about Spring Cleaning and the fact that I am just not real good at it. I am an outdoorsy person - I'd rather be outside digging in the dirt than keeping house during the gorgeous spring weather - witch is exactly what I have been doing. Planting. And I am not even the greatest gardener, either!

Last week we had HOT - and I mean HOT - weather. One day it was 91 degrees. That's not supposed to happen till May or June. And this was the first week of April.
Needless to say the trees have burst forth in leaves sooner than usual.

And our farm cottage is situated beneath several large, gigantic, humongous, old oak trees. So our home was buried in a cloud of pollen for over a week. My cats came in from outdoors with yellow dust on their coats. My poor little Splat, who we think may have asthma, was coughing and gagging more than usual. It's to the point where I am going to have to take her to the vet because of the breathing issue she has. Kevin has been coughing and hacking, and I have a nasty dry cough also.

We keep our windows open. We do not have any kind of central air system with which to filter out said pollen. So everything - everything!- in the house was covered in a layer of yellow dust. It was so gross. I cleaned it one day, and it was back the next.

So finally I gave up and just stuck to my planting, patio construction, gardening, yard work, painting outdoors, etc. and tried to forget about the pollen dust all over everything in the house.

Also, we are brooding 24 chicks in the dining room. They got too big for their brooder so we moved them into a huge wire cage on saw horses. They kick litter and feed and water and dirt all over the place. And, their adult feathers are growing in, so guess where all their little baby fuzz went to? Uh-huh, you got that right. All over everything in the dining room, along with the pollen.

So two days ago we got some nice rain, which settled the pollen a bit. And I have finally begun cleaning - again. I already did "Spring Cleaning" once; and now I am on round two of deep cleaning in four weeks. Gah!

I have been cleaning for 4 hours straight, and so far have cleaned our living room and front entry hall.

That's it.

Iced tea, mint thin cookies, and four hours later - two rooms cleaned.

I had to clean every.single.item.individually. Every book; every DVD; every single remote; every die cast collectible tractor model of Kevin's; every oil lamp and collectible.... thing.... of mine in the room. Then I washed every surface. I vacuumed the sofa and chairs. And the floor.

Then I mopped.

And then I mopped again.

And the mop water was still gross, so...

I mopped once more.

There are not enough mint thin cookies in my stash to continue at this rate. I will require more cookies, and more tea. And probably some ice cream.

I have a feeling this is going to take all week. 4 more rooms to go...... Bleh.

I think I'll take a brake and had to the barn and play with my ponies for a little while.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scene Chickens?

I inherited some chickens from my friend this morning. These are "fancy" chickens, with Fancy feather "hair dos". Anyway, it struck me that their "hair" looks a lot like some of the "scene hair" seen on young people in the "scene" today. It is really rather funny:






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So I call these my rock star chickens. Tee Hee!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two Things

Number 1: I am not a breakfast person. I do not like breakfast foods in general. When I was still living at home, and instructing (horseback riding) full time, I'd eat a broccoli and chicken hot pocket before hauling to a show on the weekend to ward off the horrible headaches I would get while showing horses in the hot sun. My Dad would look at me, eating a hot pocket at 6 AM while heading to the barn to load horses, and he'd ask me:

"What are you going to feed your husband and kids for breakfast? Hot Pockets?" (He was suggesting that I needed to learn to cook breakfast food.)

I'd shrug and say:

"Sure! Besides, Dad: who wants to marry a man who cannot fix his own breakfast, anyway?"

To which my practical Dad would reply:

"What about the kids? Are they going to fix their own, too?"

"Well, no..... their Dad can fix it for them!" I'd say.

So now, a few years later, am married to a man who thinks breakfast is a pot of black coffee. And who then goes out and works hard on the farm in the heat and is usually sick by lunch time.

So what did I do yesterday? Breakfast challenged little ol' me made him "eggs in the hole" from my new Pioneer Woman cookbook. Actually, I didn't need the recipe from the book, I just saw the photos and thought "Huh" and did it without the book. I mean, come on; you cut a hole in pieces of bread and crack the eggs in there. Done. Simple. Kevin woofed two down and said he could have eaten two or three more.

So now I guess I'm going to be cooking breakfasts.

Number 2: I am not a natural gardener. I usually kill plants. I can hardly keep a sourdough starter alive. I am good with pets and livestock, but not plants and things like that.
But, I have been educating myself via the Internet about gardening. I am actually enjoying it. Google is amazing. I get all my questions answered:
When and how to transplant daffodils and jonquils.
When and how to transplant rose bushes.
When and how to transplant lilac bushes.
When and how to transplant sweet pea vines. (That does not work out so well.) Cilantro is also coriander, but not Italian flat leaf parsley, like the pot I bought at the Home Depot claimed. Grrrr
How to properly plant hydrangeas.
How to compost kitchen waste in a plastic garbage can.
When and how to plant asparagus, grapes, fig trees, and a hundred other things....

I am actually really getting in to this gardening thing. I figured I needed to get an education if I was going to keep up with Kevin, who can grow anything, and was riding tractors and growing things on his Grandfather's 2,000 acre crop farm before he could sit up. (Well, maybe that is a stretch, but not by much. I think he was raking hay and plowing ground by himself at 10 years old; as soon as he could reach the petals on the tractor, and have the strength to stomp that clutch.)

So the past few weeks I have planted: lettuce, spinach, fruit trees, grape vines, asparagus, and some herbs yesterday. Today the potatoes go in, as well as the first tomato plants.

Let's hope and pray that I can keep it all alive and I'll be canning by July. Yay!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Groovy Colors, Man!

I was whining to my friend Elisa a few months ago about the lack of color in my Etsy shop. I whine to her about a lot of things; photography stuff, computer stuff, life stuff..... anyway as I was getting my Spring and Summer Etsy offerings together, it seemed like it was nothing but white stuff.... and some blue. I was determined, after this "no color" analysis, to get some more colorful, bright things and list them; hoping to beat the boring back.

So last night I went shopping for inventory, and I bought this.... this thing.

And I brought it home, and immediately stashed it upstairs before Kevin saw it, because I was beginning to question whether or not I should admit that I paid good money for it.

It is a 1970's sweater... dress? Tunic? Shirt? All of the above? But hey! It's bright, yes? I show it being worn over jeans, because my lily white pre-tan legs are just too much for even me to handle looking at. I took it way back to the "back 40" to photograph it, because I didn't want to be seen in it by anyone who might happen upon me wearing it. :D I mean, it's not too bad, it's just - different, and very very colorful and not really "my style". When I list it, it will make my Etsy seem a lot less bland in the color department.

Then I rummaged around and dug out this:

Also 1970's, home made, and rather colorful and fruity. Notice I even pulled off a good 1970's hippie hair do for these photos. That is how long I have allowed m y hair to get before the annual spring chop, soon to come.

Oh yeah. I remember why I quit wearing these low slung flare jeans, now. they are really not that flattering of my *ahem* curves. Note to self: donate the Old Navy Flares to the Goodwill.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

I Love Cake

Here is my birthday cake.


I made it myself, from a recipe in this book:


I love this cake, and I love this book. ("At Home With Magnolia", by Allysa Torey of Magnolia Bakery fame.)This is Blackberry Jam Cake with Cream Cheese and White Chocolate Frosting.

If you'd like the recipe, check out my Vintage Kitchen Blog