Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slip Covers

Ever have the perfect piece of furniture, but the color or style is not quite right?

I think slip covers are the answer to most any problem. They are durable, you can make them fancy....or not, and best of all you can slip them off and wash dirt away. 

I love that they are so easy to make and design. Even a beginner sewer could whip one up in no time!

I have a little chair in my kitchen that I bought for $2 at a yard sale. I decided she needed a loose fitting dress up...







I found the sturdy cotton duck cloth at another yard sale for 50 cents.


Our piano bench was a little jealous, so I made her a frilly skirt out of a linen blend I found at the very same sale. She is much happier now:).





And on to my next project...

these $2.50 Adirondack chairs that need a little love.



Originally, they were $10 for the set at a local yard sale. The next day they were half price!! Don't you just love bargains?

They are chippy and wonderful, but I am in the process of giving them a good sanding and a coat of white glossy paint. 


They will be a nice addition when our guests are here next week.
Perfect for relaxing on a hot summer day:).

I'll post pictures as soon as they are finished.

Have a great week!

~Julia


Check out these great places for more inspiring ideas.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mary Frances


Don't you just love good books?
We have a sweet friend who gifted Lily the most beautiful book.
I am totally in love with the Mary Frances collection.




They were written in 1918 by Jane Eayre Fryer, who was a pastor's wife. Her style of writing is captivating as she teaches basic skills such as gardening, first aid, sewing, crocheting, cooking, and other dear subjects.
Lily and I are going to slowly acquire the whole collection and read them as we go.

Here...I'll let you take a peek inside...



Your daughter can learn to crochet a little dolly sweater.


A teddy bear suit.



Or, a doll's crocheted book bag. 
Aren't those some of the sweetest projects ever?

There is a whole collection of books.

00343hi.jpg



You can even purchase the Mary Frances doll. 
There are little printed patterns in the back for clothes that you can sew for her. 

I am so glad we were introduced to the series and hope that these are a treasure to Lily as she grows!

If you are interested in finding out more, click HERE

~Julia

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dreaming Out Loud

Do you have a lot of Summer projects that you are trying to finish? 
I do! 
We have family coming to stay for a week and I am scrambling to finish up a few of my lovely ideas.  

I found two adirondack chairs for $5 at a yard sale this past weekend. They will be wonderful to have when people visit. My son is out pressure washing them now in preparation to sand and paint them a glossy white. 
Isn't he the sweetest?!

I am also staining our large outdoor farm table. I keep looking for mismatched wood chairs, but have not been able to find any. I might just settle for benches. 
I would love it to look like this... 

Country Living

Here are some other wonderful spaces.

 Country Living

Country Living

The picture above was my inspiration to build our big outdoor table:). 


tinywhitedaisies:


niceroom:

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » cabbages & roses: at home with country
SuzieBeezie


I am somewhat of a daydreamer. 
But isn't it fun?

Contentedness does not mean we have to stop collecting ideas on our wish list. 
You can be perfectly happy with what you have and still dream a little. 
The trick is to not let your dreaming make you think that what you have is not right, or practical, or worthy. 


For instance...this is my dream house...


Gast Architects

Or even this one... I'm not picky:).


Houzz

Inside is my dream bath...


Nicole Hollis 

Five wonderful bedrooms, PLUS an extra....for all of our treasured guests.


Rie from Home and Harmony.


On warm Summer nights, our kids would sleep on the porch.


apartmenttherapy.com 

I'd cook them pancakes and eggs in the morning in my big beautiful kitchen, complete with  wainscot on the ceiling.

Country Living

Open beams are nice, too:).

Houzz

I just adore white.


Nicole Hollis

It's fun to imagine what it would be like.
But do you want to know a secret?
It's not so much that if I had these things everything would be rosy and peachy keen. 
The images above evoke a feeling
And I know that by implementing some of the ideas into my own home, I can create the same presence.  
That's why I love to dream.
The Lord blessed us all with talent to create warm and inviting spaces...and that doesn't mean we have to spend a million dollars:). Being happy with our current homes, inviting those who need rest, using our spaces to bless those who enter through our doors...this is what the Lord wants from us. 
For me, it is one of the ways I feel God uses our family.

So, we are getting ready for our guests.

We will be doing a lot of outdoor dining and some of us will be sleeping in tents for fun!
We will spend hours talking and laughing...catching up together. 
Even though having a bigger house would be wonderful, I know that giving our guests a lasting memory depends upon our caring and loving them for who they are while they are in our cozy home.

Good luck with all of your projects this Summer!

I will leave you with a really yummy recipe from the Penzeys catalog.
It is great for a Farmer Hubby who needs high calorie meals right now:).

Jen's Pesto Chicken

1 lb. new red potatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
16 oz. Penne pasta
1 lb. cooked chicken breasts/ 4c. shredded
8 oz. pesto sauce *
1/2 c-1c. pine nuts
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut potatoes into cubes and season with olive oil and garlic powder. Mix well and bake on a roasting pan for 35 minutes, turning at 25 minutes. Cook pasta. Add shredded chicken, pesto, potatoes, pine nuts, and olive oil to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and enjoy!

Easy Pesto

Blend together...

2/3 c. olive oil
1 c. fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
3 minced garlic cloves
{Makes 8 oz.}

* I am going to make this recipe, freeze in ice cube trays and seal in bags for the Winter.

Yum!






Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuesday Fishing Derbies


Summer days are slipping by so quickly.

 I can't believe we are half way through July.
 One of my goals this Summer was to take a day each week and just spend time with my children. Nothing fancy or far-fetched, just simple and fun. 
We chose to go fishing each Tuesday morning. 



Cousins walking to the lake.





We are blessed to live in an area where lakes and ponds are aplenty!
 All four kids look forward to packing up their gear and spending a morning trying to catch the biggest fish. My dear friend and sister have also been joining us, and let me tell you...these kids are serious anglers! This week there were 11 of them having their own mini derby. 




The lake.

The boys try all kinds of different combinations of Power Bait, worms, scenting solutions, fake bait, marshmallows...you name it, they have tried it. There is always a competition to see who catches the biggest fish. Usually, by default, it's the bait combination that wins the trophy catch.


Serious fisherman.


Most of all, I just enjoy peacefully watching them and enjoy creating memories I hope they will hold fondly in their hearts.


We feel a bit more connected to each other. 
Relationships bloom. 
I find I am able to relax, really look them in the eye and talk. 
Watch them smile and have a good time.
It is pure bliss, in my opinion.


Little one choosing his bait.




Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord.
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3


~Julia

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

I am so flattered that Kimberlee from The Spunky Diva  nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award. 



Blogging has been such a wonderful experience for me and I am truly grateful to have met so many amazing people! Kimberlee is definitely a sweeter than maple syrup kind of girl....and her blog is one worth visiting:).

The rules for this award are:



1. Thank the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 10 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!

4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

So....ten things about me. I am actually at a loss of words, which is highly unusual:)! Instead of trying to dive deep into the dusty archives and analyze who I really am, I thought I would give you a glimpse of what a farmgirl's life looks like in any one day. I think it is a good portrayal of who I am:).

1. It is past 11pm, and I am in my blue flannel pajamas, canning strawberry jam and blogging in between boiling jars. I forgot to put on my apron and there are jam streaks all down the front. I figure I will smell positively delightful all night. The aroma of cooked strawberries should be bottled into a perfume anyway. I would totally buy it.

2. We spent a good portion of our day staking down the wheel lines. The wind was howling and we had 50 mile an hour gusts. With the irrigation turned off those lines will roll away! I was on my way to town, and decided we should check once more before leaving. I loaded the kids and, yes, drove our minivan down the hay field to take a peek. Sure enough, I parked and one of the lines started to jump the T-post wedged against its massive wheel. Hubby showed up just in time to bring railroad ties to hold her down:).

3. "Sickie Chickie," our incredibly unlucky/accident prone chick, was found walking.  It's a miracle. We thought she broke her leg, but somehow she has made a comeback....yet again. The first month we had her, she had trouble with bowel movements. The second month she almost was pecked to death....and now the broken leg. Needless to say, she has been a great project in specialized animal care for the kids! 

4. I am somewhat of a perfectionist and truly believe less is more. Everything has to have a place, otherwise I can't find it! I have always admired people who can have a little clutter and know where something is. Me...it just ends up gone forever if there is not a spot to put it :).

5. I come from a big family. We are a tight group and truly love getting together. This past weekend, all 8 cousins were lucky enough to spend time with each other. We laugh that they act more like brothers and sisters than cousins.

6. We homeschool our four wonderfully witty kids. They never cease to amaze me. This year, I will be teaching grades 6 to preschool. I love that the kids are so close and that we can tailor their education. They are involved in many community and church activities, so I feel like they have the best of both worlds.

7. I am diabetic. Have been for 12 years now. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with our first child, and kept it. There is no family history...except possibly a Great-Great Grandpa. I found a picture of him and his legs had been amputated. My Grandpa remembered that he couldn't eat sugar.  I know it might sound counter active, but I am grateful I in many ways for diabetes. Really, it is not that difficult to manage and sure gives you a GOOD excuse to foster healthy habits. I am definitely not perfect, but I can proudly say that I have had four healthy children and have absolutely no complications from the disease. 

8. I am hoping to start pressure canning this year and am on the hunt for a great canner. I am also on the look out for a camera. All of the pictures on my blog so far have been made possible by my sister, who graciously lets me use her new Nikon d5000 on a whim:). Her name is Charity, but we prefer to call her Cheech:). 

9. I love simplicity.
 In life.
 In relationships.
 My life would be nothing without God. 

10. I am extremely interested in my husband, 
kids, 
decorating,
 making something out of nothing, 
ironstone,
chippy paint,
white,
preserving food,
gardening, 
exercise, 
cooking, 
sewing,
reading,
teaching,
learning,
family,
old things,
old people,
and
writing:).

OK, I think I am over my limit of listing only ten things:)!!

I would like to pass the Beautiful Blogger Award on to:

She has amazingly simple tips each day and some wonderful projects:).
She is also sweeter than pie.



~Julia




Sunday, July 11, 2010

I LOVE Summer Dresses!

I just love sewing Summer dresses!
I hope that I am not boring you with yet another project, but I was so pleased with how this pattern turned out. 


I used Simplicity #2711. Just look at all of the darling outfits included:).




I made dress A.
I love it when someone can tell me how easy or difficult a pattern is to use.
So, here is my review:). 
The dress was easy and fairly quick to make. I thought the pleats were going to be a problem, but the instructions were well written. You actually sew it as a completely separate piece with the ruffles, and then attach it to the front.
That was probably the most time consuming part of the pattern. The rest was a breeze.

It is just a charming design and looks so sweet on sister:).


If you love to sew, like I do, this is a great dress to try:).

~Julia


Lining to these lovely places.

Farming Bliss


I absolutely adore this time of year. 
The warm, glowing summer days invite an insatiable amount of growth.
The kids are growing, the garden is blossoming, and the hay is being put up.

I also absolutely adore this man:). 






We farm Timothy hay for the domestic market { we don't ship it overseas }.
When the weather is right and the hay is ripe, we cut it into big fluffy wind rows.
The hay has to dry for about 3-4 days, and then we bale it.





The hay bales symmetrically dot the field in a checkerboard pattern. 
Months of hard work were required, yet somehow I savor the day that I get to see this out my window.













I've been weeding. 
A lot.
Our tin scarecrow, Maud, appreciates her view much better, thank-you.



We have been implementing the best idea ever in the garden.
Mulch! I can't live without it!!
Why I didn't try this in past years, I don't know... but I am hooked on it!

Grass clippings have been the best because they tend to lay down a little heavier and they don't blow away in the wind.




Here they are around the green beans. 
So very few weeds poke though, and if they do, they are very easy to pull up. 
Mulch also helps to keep moisture in for the plant. We technically live in a desert, so I need all the help I can get!

The wheat row acts as a wind barrier to the green beans.





The clippings have made a great cover for my potatoes. I just keep mounding as we mow, and there are already little potatoes growing in the mulch. It is so wonderful! I can just lift the grass and voila!, I don't have to dig for clean, easy to reach potatoes. 





This week you will most likely find us shelling and freezing peas. 
My little one thinks this is the free snack aisle:).





I also tried companion planting in my raised beds. The concept seems to be working well. You plant corn in the center and then lettuce under it. The corn provides shade to the lettuce which despises a hot day.



And I will leave you with this...my first sunflower of the summer.
She was a little self-planted surprise!





Happy gardening:)!


~Julia
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