noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Pie (and a Recipe)...

Boiling the sugar and water to make caramel.
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this's my favorite holiday of all and I just want you all to enjoy it as much as I do. Yes, it's been a while since I've been here, but the blog fairies dictated that I had to take a break. The pain was just too unbearable to stand and really impinged upon my crafting time (and everything else). Not sure how much I'll be able to get accomplished in these coming days either, but at least I can try a few things again! Right now, after dealing with this for a year, physical therapy is my main goal and I've been trying very hard to accomplish what they're asking of me. "They're" is actually a pseudonym for the person behind my exasperatingly, cringingly (come on now, you DO remember how I like to make up words, right?), painful physical therapy. If I were a nicer person, "They're" would actually remain nameless. But I'm not nice and "They're" has inflicted a gluttony of misery on my being and has ENJOYED every minute of it. For that, he shall be named. MIKE. There, did ya all see it? MIKE or, as I like to call him, Torturer of my Soul. His awesome employees help to inflict the misery but, since we all need jobs these days, I understand their need to do what he says so that they can pick up a paycheck. Much as I'd love to throw Andrew, Beth and Greta under the bus, I can't do it. They're only doing as they're told.

Cooling after getting to the caramel stage.
So...just because I can FINALLY make something (thanks to the joyfully masochistic MIKE), I am here sharing my pie with you.  Well, ok, I won't technically share my REAL pie with you, but I'll share the pictures and recipe.  And since we're on the subject of sharing, I cannot make this post without giving my good friend Leslie her share of the credit.  You see, I can make pie.  I can make a mean inside of a pie. Delicious, flavorful, smooth, luscious, to die for - you name it.  BUT, I cannot tell a lie; I cannot make the outside of a pie worth a darn!  Believe me, it has been tried in my repertoire a million times (and I mean a million - I really can count that high!  It comes after six, right?).  In the history of my cooking and baking years, I have been able to accomplish almost everything I've wanted to do.  Sometimes it might have taken a second or third try, but I was able to be successfully fed.  Pie crust?  IT HATES ME AND I DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE IT!!!!!  And that, my friends, is why Leslie gets a huge share of the credit!

Gross looking, but delicious tasting pumpkin mixture.
Let's start with that fateful afternoon as a sophomore in high school.  Alas, it makes me so sad to remember it all, but my mind won't let go of it. Here I was, in Miss Gore's Home Economics class, with my two partners, Dan and Carl. They were seniors.  This particular week was all about baking. Cakes, cookies, decorating desserts and...pie. Of course, being the new girl and having to have two popular senior guys as my kitchen partners was a little intimidating in itself (I was super shy then, believe it or not.)  But they were actually really nice guys and we kind of helped each other out of our weak spots.  Dan couldn't make cookie dough to save his soul; Carl couldn't get a cake not to fall for anything; and I could not make a frosting rose no matter what.  We were all happy - it was working out well.  And then came the pie.  This particular day, we were instructed on how to make pie - the crust and a filling.  We could choose any filling we wanted and we all chose banana.  Don't ask me why.  I have absolutely no idea...I'm sure that it was because we thought it would be a cinch.  And it was...the filling.  We thought we were awesome!  And then, the crust. The no-good for nothing, tough as a board, falling apart everywhere and dried out crust.  What the heckles????

I used this cute pie dish to cook my pie in.  
Ok, not everyone is cut out to make a pie crust under pressure (class was only 50 minutes after all, and we'd already worked on the filling) and I have now come to understand that. However, that day, we all decided that we would go to my house after school and practice so that we could take a pie to Miss Gore and show her we were not completely pastry inept. Thankful that those two were seniors and could drive, I didn't have to walk home and think about it all the way.  They gave me a ride.  So, here we are in my kitchen, the three of us, when my mother walked in. Now, first of all, you all have to know that my mother was a woman of great patience (notice the "was" in there?) and could cook or bake anything you ever wanted and it would come out perfect every time.  And, of course, she didn't need a recipe.  I did not inherit this genius from her.  But, I we are in my kitchen...

Into the oven we go, my little dearies!
And we had the most disgusting, tornado-like, messy counter top and sink full of dishes that has ever been recorded in the history books. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times we had to rewash something because we had already dirtied it. How were we supposed to know we'd need it later and not then?  Come on, have a little sympathy here!  We had mounds and mounds of dough (and no flour at all left out of the 25 pound bag) and NONE of it was the way we thought it should be. NONE.  OF.  IT. At all.  Here we are, all intent and frustrated and disappointed, and here comes my mother, whom we of course did not even notice at all - UNTIL - the 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY KITCHEN? and WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU TRYING TO DO HERE?" came screeching out of her mouth.  Now recall, she was a woman of great patience.  Was. No more after that day.  You see, the thing I forgot to mention was that in addition to the dirty dishes, the lack of any more flour, the hurricane of a mess and everything else, the three of us got so frustrated that those little mounds of dough were attached to the wall.  No, we didn't try to roll them on the wall...we got sick of them not turning out and threw them at the wall in frustration.  I never told who's idea it was to do that, but let me just say here that it was not Dan and it was not Carl. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure that we shouldn't have done that, but I will take the punishment we got again and again over having to make a stupid pie crust EVER AGAIN IN MY LIIIIIIIFE!!!!

Fresh out of the oven!
So...all these years, when I make the insides of a mean pie, I buy (gasp, I know, it's wrong) the refrigerated pie crust.  This year, enter my good friend, Leslie, who makes the bestest, most flakiest and tender pie crust I've ever eaten in all my 49 years.  I *HEART* her soooo much!  And the best thing? She took pity on me! She knows I've been in a lot of pain and been limited for a while (hey, not mentally, knock it off!) and that I have a pie crust making hatred and fear; and she offered to make my pies for me!!!  Well, I may be slow but I'm not stupid!  Of course I said yes!!!  Leslie made an out of this world apple pie for my hubby (I don't care for apple, so I wasn't going to make one because I'm too selfish) and the crusts for me to do my pumpkin pie.  Is there anything better than having a friend who knows when to show pity?  I think not! The evening before Thanksgiving (which is when she made the pie and crusts because she wanted them to be as fresh as possible for me) found Leslie and I having a clandestine meeting behind Chattaroy Hills Restaurant exchanging pie. Ok, SHE exchanged pie for my gratefulness.  I had nothing to offer at that point.  I admit it,  I'm a horrible friend.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!  Yummmmm!
I still make a killer inside of a pie...but Leslie makes the killer outside!  And the only reason I could make the killer inside of the pie this year?  Yep, you guessed it.  MIKE. Even though I tease him about being cruel, inhuman and inordinately unfeeling (he says he feels just fine and doesn't hurt a bit when he's working with me), I couldn't even have done the pie innards without his persistence and teachings.  Just for that, he gets a plug here so he can have his four seconds of fame (what do you want...this is a small-time blog for heck's sake!  We don't get 15 minutes here!).  

I like my pies thick and this is perfect!
Here's the gist before you read the pie recipe...if you need a pie crust maker, call Leslie.  She's the greatest.  If you need rehabilitational physical therapy, call Mike at Elite Physical & Sports Therapy.  I promise you, you'll be pleased with the outcome (and he'll be much nicer to you than he is to me. Honest!)

Thank you Leslie!  I love you beyond the moon and back!  And thank you Mike, Andrew, Beth and Greta!  You guys made my Thanksgiving so much better than it would have been by working (with) me!

Serves 8-10

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (heated until warm)
Note: warming the cream helps it blend with the caramelized sugar mixture
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pie crust (preferably Leslie's)  :D

Preheat oven to 350F.

To prepare the filling, combine sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Gently stir until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup becomes a deep golden color, 12-14 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in warm cream. Let cool slightly.

Combine remaining ingredients (pumpkin through salt) in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in tepid caramel mixture until smooth. Pour into piecrust. Bake on a baking sheet 55 to 60 minutes, until the filling is just set. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 1 hour. Chill 3 hours before serving.

Pie recipe courtesy of

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Unfinished Business...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! It appears the busy season is in full swing for most of us and, as usual, we can never get everything finished that we want to. For me, never getting anything finished is an all year process. Seriously, I think I need to look up the definition and see what it actually means. I'm sure if I looked under "unfinished," I'd see my picture. I hope it doesn't look like my driver's license picture. That scares me.

Wandering through the house today, trying to get up my energy to actually do something to it (like dishes, laundry, picking up), I was wondering what to put on my blog today.  I thought about showing the part of the kitchen that is finished, but I'm having some issues with that.  Doc says I can't really do much of anything so it's just been sitting like it is for a few weeks now.  I could have been done. Pooh sticks!  And besides, I really want to show the entire thing at one time.  It's more fun that way.  Hmmm, what else could I show?  How about the laundry room makeover from a couple of years ago?  That would be soooo cool because it looks sooooo much different.  Uh, no...can't find the stupid pictures.  I'm starting to get crabby now.  Ooh, how about the small bathroom that we ripped the carpet up from and put beautiful flooring down after we repainted?  No...can't find those pictures either.  What in the name of evil is going on here?  I NEVER lose pictures...EVER. They've got to be here somewhere.  Apparently they will be waiting until another time to be shown.  Now I've officially reached the crabby zone.  And I don't have any Pepsi to make me feel any better.  Watch out everyone, this WILL NOT be a pretty day!

Ok, more wandering (and obviously no dishes, laundry, picking up being done) looking for something.  Maybe I'm just restless.  This not being able to do anything is for the birds.  I don't like it one bit.  So I try anyway and can't accomplish anything.  The pain is too great and I'm not able to keep much of a grip on anything.  If I could actually flail my arms about like a small child, I would throw a total pitching temper tantrum.  But I can't.  Really?!  Who can't even have a temper tantrum?  Is that even a possibility?  Although I can just see my kids laughing right now at the thought of their mother having a fit because she can't throw a temper tantrum, I'm not finding it humorous.  Oh, I know they are, but obviously I've raised a bunch of heathens.  Maybe I should have grounded them more when they were young.  Can't do it now; they're 30, 25 and 21.  Too old to punish - not to mention they live three hours away.  Yes, all three of them.  Seriously, I can't even give them "the look."  It pains me that they enjoy this so much.

So, how about sewing today?  Wellllll, had we not cleaned out the junk room to put in some bunk beds and actually make it back into a bedroom (i.e., cramming all the junk back into my sewing room), that might be a wonderfully fun idea.  But I can't move when I get in my sewing room.  All that crud is in there.  The elliptical, my old computer (you know, the one with the HUMONGOUS monitor), the ancient school desk...great.  I'm just gonna lay down and die now because I'm not having my way today.  I must admit, though, that I don't really feel like sewing anyway so it doesn't really matter whether or not I can do anything in there.  

But wait!  What do I have here?  My basket that has three unfinished quilt tops in it.  Now, one might think that these were recent, semi-recent, or even of this last decade recent projects, but they're not.  I'm feeling nauseous as I tell you that they are all from YEARS ago. As in EONS.  LIGHT YEARS.  Before Buzz Lightyear.  Scary, sad and true.  They have been waiting for me to finish them.  Why haven't I done that yet? It's not like it would be hard; I've already done the piecing and putting the tops together.  There is no good reason that they're not finished pieces of art.  The truth is I'm lazy.  Just plain out and out lazy.  I like the way they look sitting in my basket in my sewing room.  I'm not sure why.  I just do.

Each quilt is made from leftover fabric, from nothing specific.  Just leftovers from various clothing and craft projects throughout the years.  Isn't that the best way to make quilts though?  Using what you have on hand and trying to make it work?  Maybe I haven't finished these because they're just so nice to look at the way they are.  Or perhaps I won't have anything to fill the basket with if I finish them up (cuz we KNOW I don't have anything in this house to do that with).  Could be I just haven't found the right backing.  Hard to say.  I just know I like them the way they are.  I like to pull them out and unfold them and just look at them.  And feel them.  Crazy, I know, but it's just kind of a calming feeling.  

Like the kind of calming feeling I need in my life lately.  I'm ready to do something, anything, but can't until the doc says so.  And the next battery of testing doesn't come until mid-September so I'm stuck.  Crankiness abounds and my hubby won't even take pity and get me a hot fudge sundae, even though my daughter tries and tries to get him to.  It's hard for her; three hours away and trying to force him through a text doesn't really work very well.  Thank you anyway, Sarah. I know you're laughing at me but the fact that you're trying to get me a hot fudge sundae out of the deal almost sort of makes up for it.

Anyhoo, I am now a tad more relaxed after looking at these tops.  They just make me happy.  Knowing that I did these, even though I haven't finished them, just makes me feel like at one point in time I was able to accomplish something.  Perhaps this winter I will actually work on getting them completed so that they can actually be used.  Maybe. Maybe not.  I don't know if I can bear anyone to actually use them after all this time.  I'm selfish like that.

At any rate, these are only part of my unfinished business around this house.  I have tons of quilt blocks finished that haven't even made their way to being an entire top yet.  I'll get there someday.  If I want to.  Do you have any unfinished business at your house?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Burlap Covered Barstool...

Plain birch wood bar stools.  
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  Here's to all of us that have survived the week and are almost rejuvenated enough to start the new one.  Um, that pretty much actually leaves me out, but I can pretend, right?  Right.

Looks like someone's initials
scratched in the top.
Most of you know I'm trying to paint my kitchen and my cabinets. It's been slow going, but it is getting there.  :) I'm going to be so happy when it's finally finished! I took a break this week from painting (not my choice; Dr. says so) but I found something else to work on.  hee hee hee Seriously, did he REALLY think I wouldn't do ANYTHING? Sorry, doc, but a girl has to have something to look forward to.  And since I couldn't paint or do anything with my shoulder, hubby also had to clean the old oven out so that we could pass it on to its new owners in nice condition.  How rude would it be if we just handed it over and it wasn't cleaned? Thanks hubby!  You're the best.

Upside down to start the
Since I'm limited right now with what I can and cannot do, I had to look around the house and see what I could manage to tear apart, mangle, redo, upcycle, etc. There were a couple of things that I could repurpose, but I hooked onto the two bar stools that we have.  The ones that are just plain blah.  They're sturdy, alright, but they have nothing going on as far as any interest. I'm telling you, these guys are B.O.R.I.N.G.  And since I'll soon (hopefully) be getting back to the painting, these guys will look much better with the new paint job than they do now.  Trust me on this.  

I think these are your standard birch wood stools that you see in millions of homes all across the country.  While they're functional (sometimes we even bring them into the living room to use as tv trays because we're lazy), they just need a little personality of their own.  While everything else in the kitchen and dining room is going to be redone, I wouldn't want these little guys to feel left out. And I know they would.  They told me so.

Completely painted and dried.
Since they are so nice and sturdy, there wasn't any trying to tighten, fix or put back together anything on them. That's a total plus.  I don't know how long hubby has had them since they came way before I did.  At first I figured I would just put a nice coat of paint on them and call it good. But then I thought they wouldn't really have a finished look to them. And they might just be a little too much next to the painted cabinet where they are normally used.  They wouldn't completely blend in since the paint colors are different, but I didn't think there would be enough contrast for my liking.  And I wanted them to look a little more farmy.  That's my newest word.

Part of a burlap bag that I cut up.
I bought some spray paint and went to town (after I cleaned them up of course).  These were really not the easiest things to paint since they were so open, but that's ok.  I developed a rhythm and went from there. I started with them upside down first and then turned them over to paint the top when they were dry.  The painting on the top of the stool was actually an afterthought since I was planning on covering the top of them. But then I thought that maybe if part of the color was going to show through, it would look better if that color matched the rest of the stool.  Ooh, now I was using the old noggin!

Just needs to be stapled on
the underneath so it looks
neatly finished.
Once the stools were dry, I cut up an old burlap sack that I had (I have several just because I think they're so cool looking) and made it large enough to entirely fold over the seat.  I haven't yet stapled it directly on; I need to measure a little closer to have a better finished fit. For now, I've just masking taped the ends to the underneath of the stool for pictures' sake.  Once hubby gets the staple gun from the shop I'll be able to staple the burlap on nice and tight.  Can't wait for that!  I think it will look great!

Other than the painting and the cutting of the burlap sack, there isn't really a lot to these so I'm sure doc will be happy that I haven't gone against his wishes.  I hope you enjoy the burlap covered bar stools.  I cannot wait to show them with the finished kitchen/dining room paint job, where they will really hold their own and be noticed!

Spray paint (Caribbean Sand multi-colored, textured) by Rustoleum; Burlap sack from unknown source.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Poorly Painted Pitcher (A Fail Story)...

Sitting in that big ol' box in
the living room.
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! How has your week been?  Warm?  Fun?  Anything? We finally got almost an entire week of nice weather; some would same it was too warm, but I say no sir.  It was perfect!  Hubby thought we needed to have the air conditioner on and we just passed these looks back and forth all week. Mine said, "it's freezing in here, can you turn that off?" His said, "are you nuts? It's hot!" hahaha And so it goes all year long, no matter what the weather. I'm hot or cold; he's entirely the opposite. Seriously, how do we even live together? LOL! Ah well, such is life.

Noticeably bad paint job.
A while back, I got the brilliant idea to take one of my glass pitchers and paint it.  Why?  Because I'm trying to do a little sumpin' sumpin' to my kitchen and I'm poor.  That's why.  Painting a pitcher would be cool. Actually, I have three glass pitchers; two are perfectly clear of any design and one was a pitcher I've had for about 25 years now and the design on it was faded and blah.  I loved it when I first got it; it matched my entire dishes and canister set.  I even at one point had cabinet knobs to match.  Alas, the dishes got broken one by one until the point where I didn't even have a complete set anymore.  I couldn't bear to get rid of the pitcher though.  It's the perfect size and a nice shape. I've always loved it.  

This side isn't so bad.
When I started doing little things to my kitchen (aka anything with a little personality cuz we had nothing but boring going on in there), I thought maybe I could use those three glass pitchers to hold my kitchen utensils.  Have I ever mentioned how many kitchen utensils I have?  If not, I won't mention it now.  It might fry the cells in your brain to try to count that high...I'm pretty sure a bazillgillion is a lot higher than I can even count.  I've never tried, but I'm not about to give myself that kind of a headache.  My thought was that I'd have the cooking spoons in one, the spatulas in one and my other baking things in one.  Then I got the really cool thought to chalkboard paint them so that I could label them.  You know, in case I forgot what those things were when I was looking at them and trying to figure out which one to use for what.  That thought went by the wayside when I saw the stone-textured paint (see how I used it differently here).  

So disappointed.  :(
I thought the stone-textured paint would be really cool to cover up the faded design on my favorite pitcher.  It broke my heart, but it just wasn't fitting in anymore and really needed to be up with the times. So...I taped off the top part and went at it.  I have to admit that I think it's a big pain in the rear to use.  No matter how hard I shook the can, the paint would spit out nothing but air and then all of a sudden a big glop. No smooth spraying with this stuff, at least not from me.  It ran in several places and didn't cover in others. I don't know if it's the texture or the way I was trying to do it, but it was very hard for me to use.  I let it sit for several weeks; I actually did this pitcher way before I did the signs in my other post.  But I didn't like it and it just stayed in this giant box that I had it sitting in (aka the new stove box that sat in the living room for four weeks until I threatened hubby's life that it needed to be gone).  

This side isn't so bad either.
My tater utensils make it
look way better though!
When I finally took it out, I just looked at it.  Still didn't like it.  Time did not change my mind on this one.  The color?  LOVE IT!  The end result?  HATED IT!  Now, what was I going to do with it?  Scrape it all off, paint over it, what?  Well, I didn't really want to scrape it all off because with my luck I'd break it.  I'm really good at that; in fact, it's one of my specialties. I just broke a glass today taking it out of the dishwasher.  How does that happen?  Anyhoo, I decided to just leave it alone and put it in the very back of a cupboard somewhere so I'd never have to look at it again.  Problem...I don't have any cupboards that have a very back.  They're all actually pretty shallow.  Ah well, it was a good thought.

When I got the one side of the kitchen painted (it's still the only side painted) and moved the refrigerator over, I thought maybe I could put it on top of the fridge. At least that way it wouldn't be so noticeable that I epically failed at the painting. Would it? Well, yeah, it would, but what the heck. I decided to do it anyway. After a couple of days, I decided it needed to hold something because it was getting on my nerves just sitting there like that by itself. What to put...what to put...I wasn't going to put utensils in to use; at this point I don't like it enough for it to be out on the counter and looked at up close. So, I asked myself, "self, what would you do if you were me? I know you are me, but I'm asking anyway." Myself said, "how about those old potato mashers/ricers that you have?" Myself is a genius! The potato mashers/ricers are kind of bulky and would draw the eye to them and away from the horrid paint job. AHA!

I have to admit that I actually do like them in there!  If only the paint job were decent, I'd be totally happy.  But hey, I can't have everything.  I'll leave the paint as is until I figure something else out...perhaps wrap with burlap or muslin and tie with twine or something?  We'll see.  For now, I hope you all enjoy looking at my epic texture paint failed pitcher with the tater utensils.

Spray paint (Multicolored Textured Brown) by Rustoleum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm So Blue...

Look at these goodies!
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope everyone has had a wonderful week!  Did you do anything fun or exciting? Or maybe just plain old relaxing?  I sure hope so! Here, we have had severe thunder and lightening storms, with torrents and torrents of rain.  Wow, these have gone on for a while now! Looks like they're just about over, though, so that's good.  Although, here we are, mid-July, and haven't even had to turn on a sprinkler yet!  I guess there's a good/bad quality about this, huh?  LOL!

The cutest blue cup!  With
Kona blend coffee.  Mmmm.
In between the beginnings of the storms a couple of weeks ago, I was looking at rolling pins on Ebay. "Why on Ebay," you ask?  "Because I have a collection," I answer. And sometimes Ebay has some really interesting old ones.  I did happen to come across one that was pretty cool; it was an Ironstone rolling pin, which I've never seen.  Bidding was uppermost in my mind, but I didn't really know about the pricing since I'd not seen one before.  It was awesome, though!  So, since I was extremely interested in this rolling pin, I started searching for some information about it. Although I couldn't really find what it was I was looking for, I DID find THIS:  The Ironstone Nest.  

Is this the greatest jar ever?!
When I first clicked on it, I didn't realize that I would be looking at a blog (cuz I didn't really read the description before I clicked, thank you very much). But as I got into it and started reading it, let me tell you, this is an AWESOME blog! I loved it!  (I actually forgot about the rolling pin as I started going through the blog and reading the different posts)  This lady loves to collect ironstone and the things she has done decorating-wise are so welcoming and appealing to the eye.  I seriously did fall in love with her blog.  I'm telling you, you NEED to check it out.  No, it's not all about ironstone; there are lots of different things in it.  But, trust me on this - you WILL love it.  I guarantee it.

See how old it is?  Love it!
Well, as I was reading through her blog, I saw a post where she was doing an all blue giveaway. Now, I don't normally enter these things, not only because I never win, but because a lot of times what's being given away isn't something that I have to have.  Not that they're not nice giveaways; I didn't say that at all!  Every one I've seen has been a fabulous giveaway; just not what I'm wanting at that moment.  But THIS one - well, it had this awesome old blue mason jar.  And I NEEDED that!  Desperately.  It was was was authentic...did I mention that I needed it desperately?  That's what I noticed first.  But that wasn't all!

Pretty box that the soap
came in.
There was a cute blue cup, with a packet of lovely coffee to go with it; a pack of colorful thank you cards; a huge bar of verbena soap  and a candle.  Now, this is not just another candle.  This one is a sea salt and ginger scented candle.  Ooh, now I'm completely interested.  But, seriously, I never win.  I passed up the giveaway.  Later that day, I was still thinking about that mason jar.  Hmmm, it will fit perfectly in my kitchen with my decor.  I really and truly needed it!  I still passed up the giveaway.  And went back to researching the rolling pin.

This is what the soap looks
like.  I don't know if I can use
it, it's so pretty!
Then I went back to Laura's blog (that's her name, you know) and read some more.  There was just something homey and comforting about her blog.  And then I did it.  I read it again (as well as some more posts that I hadn't read the first time) and I ENTERED THE GIVEAWAY.  And promptly forgot all about it. Seriously, all the people that had entered and I had a chance?  Wasn't going to happen. But, I got home from work a couple of days later and guess what?  I HAD WON!!!  Really and truly, I had won!  I read the email a couple of times and then clicked on her link to see where she had announced it, thinking that maybe she had sent the wrong person that email.  I won! And, of course, I was happy about that!  Woo hoo! Thank you Laura!!!

The cutest ever thank you cards.
I know some of you are asking, "why an all blue giveaway?"  Well, because Laura has just had a brand spanking new baby boy!  What could be more appropriate?  Blue! Congratulations, Laura and hubby!  I know he's a beautiful little guy!  

Sea Salt & Ginger candle.
Love the paisley design.
My winnings were mailed out right away and I got them just a couple of days later.  It was all I could do to not rip that box wide open, but I took my time and opened it like a lady.  Well, not EXACTLY a lady, but you get the drift.  My goodies were wrapped very nicely in tissue paper and padding, with a twill ribbon holding it.  What a pretty presentation.  Me?  I throw stuff into a box.  And yes, I kept the twill.  You know I'll use it for something, right?  I did have a slight anxiety attack when hubby went to light the candle (I wasn't ready!) but luckily he backed off right away when I did a little sucking in of the breath, squeaking kind of sound.  These are the best goodies ever!

Love my goodies!!!!
After you get done taking a look at my loot, how about you stop over to Laura's blog and give it a check out?  The Ironstone Nest  I promise you that it's worth your time.  And, if she ever does another giveaway, DON'T ENTER IT!  I want to win that one too!

Thank you so much, Laura, for making me so blue!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Window to my World...

Where the paint is darker there is no
glass in the window
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  The rained in, muddy, soaking wet farm!  Yep, today, in the middle of what should be summer, we have had heavy rain all day.  The kind so loud I couldn't hear Mr. Scrappin talking to me over it.  I hope it wasn't important!  Wow! We made the mistake of leaving the windows open and everything is soaked.  The carpet, the bed, the headboard...holy partying cows, this is not good.  Good thing I have a LOT of towels!

I am NOT using this ugly gray side!
You can see the broken glass better in
this pic though.
While all this was happening, hubby was being his ever-so-helpful self and telling me he needs cookies.  FOURTEEN DOZEN cookies, to be exact.  Riiiiiighhht!  Of course I said no.  And then he said that maybe he didn't need to help me with my project.  Hmmm, what's a girl to do?  Ok, ok, I gave in.  But NOT to 14 dozen cookies! Just a regular batch.  I don't think the kitchen is big enough for the massive amount of sugar imbibing that he wants to do.  And of course they have to be chocolate chip. Seriously?  Like he doesn't know that's my fave?  How can I not eat some of those?  Hmmmph.  But, I needed his help on my project, so chocolate chip it is.

Hubby made shanks to put the knobs
on and put them in the window for me.
Now, you may know that I like to try and make things out of, junk...I already have, so this one is a doozy.  Mr. Scrappin thinks I've finally gone mental. WRONG!  I think it's a great idea!  Who doesn't want an extra window in their kitchen?  And who doesn't need something to hang things on? And who doesn't, well, you can fill in the rest of it. Once I explained what it was I needed done, I got that "why can't you just do it yourself" look.  And I gave that "cuz" answer that I'm so fond of.  After all, I'm not allowed to play with sharp objects, fire or power tools (see my profile if you don't believe me) so how was I going to manage this on my own?  I only needed ONE little teensy thing from him.  Really!

Knobs are on.  Doesn't that break look
strangely like a ball went through it?
So, we've got this old window with broken glass in it that hubby found in the barn when he was cleaning it out.  Good man that he is, he asked if I wanted it for anything. hee hee hee Got him trained pretty well, huh?  There were also a couple that had no glass in them and of course we kept those as well.  It was one of the windows with no glass that I was going to use for this project, but Mr. Scrappin decided that he liked the one with the broken window in it. Interesting.  I wasn't so sure about that.  But, since he rarely asks for anything and usually has pretty darn good ideas, I went with it. See?  I can compromise!  Onward I went (after about three months of this thing sitting in my kitchen).

Glass cabinet knobs in between the
larger door knobs.
I had gotten some old door knobs a few months ago, just for this project.  They've been sitting on one of the living room end tables waiting for me to do something with them. You'd think I could at least put them somewhere in the meantime, right?  Uh.  No. They just sat there.  For what seemed like forever.  They probably thought I forgot all about them.  But I didn't.  Truth?  That window was so stinkin' dirty that I just plain didn't want to clean it up.  Thank your lucky stars that I forgot to take a before picture.  You'd have fainted, trust me.  We're talking about a window that was in the barn for over 40 years.  D.I.R.T.Y.!  I actually stuck it in the shower and turned the water on it to get the top grime off before I took it out and scrubbed it clean.  

Framing my mixer and blender until the
wire for hanging gets put on.   
But it's a cool window!  I let it dry for a couple of days before doing anything to make sure it was dry clear through.  It got pretty soaked in the shower and then with the scrubbing.  One side is this ugly gray, and the other side is what I presume used to be white.  I really wanted the broken side to be to the right, but that gray was just too ugly for me to handle.  So, white it is.  Plus, I think the knobs stand out better and that to me gives it more personality.

Sitting on the floor for a cleaner view.
Hubby made some shanks for me to fit inside the door knob shafts.  He cut them and put them on the window bottom for me so I could stick the knobs right over them. Awesome!  I'm quite sure the knobs wouldn't have stayed on by themselves for long if he hadn't done that. After that, I hot glued around the bottom of the shanks and stuck the knobs on, holding them down for a minute so they would adhere to the window.  Then I hot glued three more old glass cabinet knobs between the big knobs.  Love it!  Seriously, it could not have been any simpler.  When it quits raining, hubby will go to the shop and get some wire to put on the back so we can hang it. Until then, it will sit on the kitchen counter with my mixer and  blender behind it.  

A few of my aprons.
What are all those knobs for anyway?  To hang my aprons on.  I have a few and I'm always on the lookout for more.  Any unused knobs can be used to hang old utensils or something.  Possibly a pie plate or framed recipe will go in the spot where the window is broken, but I haven't decided yet.  Do I have to know everything right this minute? All I know is that this little window is a tiny bit of insight to my world of loving old things and trying to use them for something fun and productive.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Signs of the Times...

Sad, lonely, grimy shelves.  :(
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I'm hoping everyone has had a wonderful week!  The weather is changing to warm up and start acting like summer and it's about time!  I know some of you are in areas that have had massive heat indexes, though and I pray that you can find relief.  I may like hot, but I don't like dangerously hot and I don't want any of you being in danger of heat stroke or any other issues that could result from such high temperatures.  Please take care!

Cleaned off and with a purpose!
Now that warmer temps are here and we can actually do something...anything...I am happy to report that I have done (waiiiitttt for it) NOTHING.  My week has been pretty filled up between work and getting some tests done and I have just been a little tired.  So, nothing has been accomplished.  Until yesterday, when I decided I needed to get off my heiny and clean house., I did not.  Well, I did get off my heiny, but I did not clean house.  Unless you count doing the dishes.  Which, in our house, COULD constitute cleaning house because we use so many.  I don't understand how that happens with just the two of us.  Am I really that lazy? Uh...apparently so.  I am so, so sad at that revelation (not that I haven't had it many times before, but it still makes me sad).

With a sloppy coat of textured spray
paint.  Perfect for what I'm wanting
to do.
Well, instead of cleaning house, which just seemed a little too busy for me (hey, I needed a quiet day, ok?), I decided to make something for my kitchen.  Because my kitchen is boring. And only partially painted.  And in need of some fresh blood. Mainly mine, but I was able to keep the blood spatter to nil this time around.  Oh, I'm so proud of myself!  No maiming or bloodshed, no bruises or thumb hits.  All was well.  For probably the first time in history! Which means I must think of a way to celebrate!

A quick coat of creamy white paint.
So, I've had these shelves sitting around for a long time now.  When I first met Mr. Scrappin, he had this funky shelf system that had these weird plastic pole segments holding this shelving together.  Not very sturdy at all. I just found it interesting. Well, when I ended up moving up here and bringing all my junk, er, um...things, some of his had to go. That interesting, not very sturdy shelf being one of them. We got rid of the plastic pole thingies but kept the actual shelf parts.  Which then went up onto the top of cabinets to fit into the recess so they could hold my teapot collection.  Once up there, they were never heard from again.  See those clean spots inside all that dust? Yep, that's how it went.  They never came back down.  Until recently, when I started painting the kitchen.  

Slightly distressed - just
enough to let the brown come
Since I didn't put my teapots back up there, the shelves didn't go back up either.  So they've been sitting at the end of my counter on the floor looking pathetic.  And I do mean pathetic.  Dirty, grungy, sickly alone pathetic.  They needed something to do. I'm pretty sure they were feeling unloved and abandoned (which, admittedly, was true) and were wanting some way to feel useful again.  Hmmm...what to do?  I thought about using them as shelves; after all, isn't that what they were originally? But I didn't really like that idea.  Nah, they needed some renewal. Revival.  Love. Someone to look at them and admire them for all of their devotion and hard work. Yeah. Cut to the chase and they just needed to be off of my kitchen floor.  They were driving me nuts!

Outdated picture frames.
Since I needed some kind of decor for my kitchen that was more in tune with my tastes now, I thought maybe these guys could help me.  But what could I do with them?  Our walls aren't really set up for a lot of weight, as where I'm putting them are above windows and those windows pretty much make up the walls.  But those spaces had been empty and I wanted something up there, even if it was only temporarily to take away the dullness.  I remembered seeing some great prints online so I searched until I found them.  The prints are very quiet, vintage and just cute. Perfect for my little space above the windows.  My project was born.  And changed a couple of times along the way.

Spray painted black for continuity.
First, I had to clean those grimy shelves. Thank goodness there are only two down right now. The rest of them are still on top of the other recesses of cabinets that haven't been painted yet.  These suckers were G.R.I.M.Y.  After cleaning them off, I took them outside and spray painted them with some textured paint that looks kind of like stone.  Once they were dry, I painted over them with the paint that I have been using on my kitchen cabinets.  I thought it might be a nice enough contrast, but still look ok when I distressed it. Hopefully the colors would be what I was looking for.  After everything dried, I took a sanding sponge (don't ask me, my hubby found it in his garage and it has different sanding textures on every side) and swept it over the tops the shelves to bring some of the brown texture through to the top.  Not exactly how I had pictured it, but not too bad.

Hot glue frames to shelf.
Love these vintage printables!
While those were drying and waiting to be distressed, I found some metal frames that I have had sitting in a drawer wasting space because I can't stand to get rid of something once I've paid for it.  They served their purpose for a long time, but I didn't have anywhere to put them now so they were relegated to a some-day drawer.  You know, some day I'll do something with them but I don't know what at the moment?  That kind of drawer.  Don't judge; I know you all have one! I took those outside and spray painted them with black chalkboard paint.  It's the only black paint I have so that's what I used.  But I was happy with it because it's not a shiny paint.  I'm not really one for shiny if that tells you anything.  Anyhoo, they turned out just like I wanted them to!  Yay!

And these ones too!
Then I downloaded the prints that I found here and here; printed to the sizes I wanted and put them in the painted frames.  Those painted frames then got arranged and hot glued to the distressed shelves.  I did rip the stands off of the back of the frames so they would lay flat.  Pull carefully so as not to rip the entire cardboard back into pieces.  Not hard at all.  A little time spent waiting for paints to dry, but not all that long.  All in all, this was a super simple project that makes my kitchen wake up just a little more and be seen.  The best part is that if I change my mind, I can always put new graphics or prints or labels or whatever in the frames.  So easy to switch out if I want to!  

Both of them finished!  I love them!
The best part is, I already had everything, so this project literally cost me nothing to do.  I love that!  With all of us trying to be frugal and still make our homes match our personalities, it's just signs of the times that we want to use what we already have.

Spray paint (Multicolored Textured Brown; Chalkboard Paint Black) by Rustoleum; Creamy White paint by Behr; Printables (Spoonful of Sugar, Roll With It, Be Grateful) courtesy of Over The Big Moon; Printables (Mixing Bowls, Scale, Cake Stand) courtesy of The Handmade Home.