This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful granddaughter and the cutest grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.
Some painting, re-arranging and cleaning and it’s almost done! The built-in shelves in the corner of the room are now a new bookcase for my favorite authors and my audiobooks. The top five have been there all along but never painted.
It looked bare until I filled it up with my books but the bottom needed something and with all my books it was just wrong not to add more shelves which my wonderful hubby did for me.
Our home was built-in the early 1800’s and is part of the 200-year-old family farm we live on.
I have a very small bathroom and it’s the only bathroom in the house. We don’t have a bathtub and our shower is an antique surround of metal which is in bad need of repair. I would like to buy a new shower but the old one sets up on a concrete foundation and is embedded with concrete. Until we become rich (NOT) we’ll make do with what we have.
You have to remember that our house has been in the family for at least four generations and the bathroom facility was put in when hubby was a wee one, 65+ years ago, we think!! YES I DO LOVE OLD THINGS! Anyway, here’s what it looked like before I made some minor repairs/touch-ups a couple of months ago:
It took two weeks and the changes are not major but it’s much nicer taking a shower in what is new to me.
This was a pretty good start to my retirement and now on to bigger challenges.
We have a beautiful old house on the property that was the families original home in the 1800’s. Right now it’s used mainly for storage, has no heat and no electricity within the house. It’s been in the family for at five, maybe six generations.
I’m in the process of turning the kitchen into a crafting/DIY room for all of my projects that can’t be done in my quilting/sewing room. Electricity could be used for small hand tools and some lighting but first I need to clean it out and get it organized. I may have to call a friend in the fair state of Maryland for this undertaking. Everytime we get together we find “treasures” in the mansion.
From this picture you can tell I’ve started the clean out and still have some more junk and treasures to move.
Through the door in the last picture is an enclosed porch where I start my plants and “greenhouse”!! In the back of the room is a place for a woodstove but that would take up too much room. This would be used mainly in the three warmer seasons of the year, when I’m not doing ANYTHING else! RIGHT!!!
Looks like I got some great things to work on this summer when I can’t get out in the sun!! Updates on my progress will be coming soon!!
I’ve made a few changes in our main living room. A lot of our male friends that come to visit never go past the living room so I decided to make it more “male pleasing” with conversation pieces and moved all the frilly to our family room. I wanted to keep it comfortable enough that anyone would enjoy sitting and talking without feeling like they were in a taxidermy shop. Here’s what it looked like before:
It’s a small room but seats four comfortably and of course it has my crafty/country adornments. I wanted to give the new look a more man-ly, outdoors look and to show off hubby’s trophy and pictures. I started by taking out the “non-hunting” wall decor.
The picture on the right is gone now too! It’s hanging in the family room.
I took all of the primitive dolls and floral piks away.
Not much left on the mantle with the floral, fluff and “my thing” gone.
I’ve decided now to wait until late spring to do any decorating in here so that I can paint the room a delicate ice blue to keep the room bright. We also had a disaster with the woodstove and stove mat the night we finished the maple syrup. Hubby’s last run to the sugar house produced about 6-8 more quarts of syrup so he emptied into a pot and filled the sugar pans with just clear water so the pans wouldn’t scorch. He decided we would just let it cook off on the wood stove while we slept. At 4:00 a.m. I was awakened by the smell of burning sugar!! Guess what?? It cooked into a rolling boil and out the pot it came, down on the top of the stove, down the sides of the stove and onto the stove mat when I found it. Hubby was sound asleep from being up since 3:00 a.m. the previous morning so I let him sleep while I quickly carried the pot to the kitchen. It took two rolls of paper towels to get it up and I ruined two metal spatulas scraping the burning syrup off of the stove. The stove mat was ruined but I got all of the syrup off of the stove and think it will be polishable when I spring clean and paint. I definitely have to get a new stove mat.
A new post will come as the “man-cave” makeover begins and ends.
I love all things country, romantic and simple. Though they take a lot of ingenuity, time and patience to make, doilies are just the ticket for decorating country. I look for them in every antique store, craft store and auction I go to. They’re delicate, simple-looking, romantic and easy to work with. Here’s a few ways I use them in my decor:
I’m working on some ideas to incorporate them in some wall art and in my framed items. Aren’t they delicate, fancy and still country???
It took most of the day but my dressing room/craft storage room/library went from this:
Six hours later and this woman is very happy and gratified by the new look and clean up!! I didn’t even mess up another room doing it! Take a look and see if you can see a difference:
I am just so thankful that it was a cool day or I would have fizzled into a rag mop! I can hear my daughter now, “How long will it stay that way!!” She knows me so well and knows that if I get in a hurry, something or all will be in disarray all too soon. My job now is to slow down and take notice.
I only have one major cleanup left on the second floor but will need some help moving some excess furniture out of the house into one of the storage buildings and do a major clean out of all the linens in my home. We are storing the linens from three households since our move several years ago and it’s time to pass it on to Goodwill so someone will get some use out of it without costing them an arm & two legs!!
This is my dressing room/craft storage room/how-to library and it’s a disaster. I wanted to show pictures before I start the makeover this weekend. It’s calling for rain again all weekend so I’ve decided to accomplish something awesome. Hope to have makeover pictures on Monday!!!
My prayer is that I don’t get so frustrated that I open the windows and start tossing or worse, move it to another room and then have another mess! We’ll see what happens!
I started the morning with some relaxing crafting which was SUPPOSED to be a room clean-up! Needless to say I got distracted!
I have wanted a new wreath near the front door for a while so I decided to make a wreath that can move to my guest room during the fall when I put out a fall wreath.
Here’s my creation:
I took a simple straw wreath (on sale for $1.17) and and wrapped with with burlap (on sale for $2.00) . I had purchased one large bunch of silk flowers ($5.00). I used my wire cutters to cut the flowers off the big stem leaving a three to four inch stem to work with. I used floral picks (had too long to remember the price) to attach the flowers to the wreath. I took a six inch piece of 1/2″ satin ribbon and tied good knots on each end, criss-crossed them and attached to the back of the wreath and “wallah” I have a new pretty to dress up the entry way. The flowers were chosen to match the red and purple flowers I have growing this year.
I’m pretty darned tickled with all of them!! Have a wonderful day!!
I love to recycle and this spring decided I needed some new cushions for the porch swing and the backyard swing. I wanted something durable yet easy to clean. I had huge tote full of old jeans that I had recycled and would use for sewing projects.
First I measured the seat and back of the swings and one is much larger than the other. I started cutting out 4 1/2″ squares from t he denim. I then layed out a pattern of sorts on my quilting wall.
Then I started pinning, piecing and pressing.
I stitched two of these together on three sides, inserted batting, and sewed up by the hand the fourth long side. The final project has six layers of batting in it and makes for a very comfortable pad in the swing on the front porch.
Of course, this is only one seat made. I still have to do a matching cushion for the back of the swing and a complete set for the back yard swing. There is always something to do!!!
I was checking Pinterest tonight and found this site http://pinterest.com/gustavodalmasso/ who had a board of water wheels, water mills and grist mills and it was beautiful. It inspired me to show you what I made from a grist mill wheel that I salvaged from a fallen down meal on the last homesite we lived on before we moved to the farm. The mill was built soon after the house was built which if I remember correctly was 1805. Anyway, it hadn’t been used for years not had the barn on the property and every thing was built of logs. The mill roof and floor timbers were decayed really bad and it hung over Snodgrass Branch which probablyaccelerated the decay. When we were tearing apart the damaged building we found all types of milling tools, horseshoes, handmade nails and other relics of that sort which made us think there was probably a blacksmith shop on the farm also. My major find was the gorgeous, intact mill wheel. It was dirty, bruised but intact and I knew it was going to be my next project and it had to go into my house. Somewhere in all of the thousands and thousands of photos I have not scanned yet are the pictures that would completely tell the story of the reincarnation of the mill wheel. I, so far, have only been able to find one. I will try to tell in as much detail the steps I took to bring the mill wheel back to life but reincarnated as a household item. First you have to have an idea of what a mill wheel looks like to know what I’m talking about. Mine didn’t look exactly like this one but it will give you an idea. Mine was also inside the building running the grinders, it wasn’t a water wheel like this one.
This wheel was made of beautiful maple which I found once I gave it the first bath. It was twelve inches deep, four feet across and had wooden spokes in the middle of the wheel. It also had a cast iron plate in the very middle with huge cast iron bolts and nuts on it. It was not easy to handle but I did have a breezeway on the back of the house which was perfect for the challenge I was about to undertake. It took several soft baths to clean off the years of grease and dirt and of course, drying good between baths. THEN I decided to make it into a coffee table with a glass top. Next step was to decide on a base for the very heavy top. We had a huge maple tree blown over from a storm on the family farm and the stump was the perfect size. Hubby took me with him to cut off the stump and see if it was solid and what kind of shape it was in. The bark fell right off of it and it was solid as a rock, I’m in luck!! We took it home and I cleaned it up, and did a little sanding. It matched the wheel perfectly and I set it up to dry really good. Next morning, I put the first coat of polyurethane on the wheel and let it dry. Checked out the stump and all of the plastic that I had sit it on was covered with little tiny bugs. What the heck????? Hubby checked it out and said the bugs were probably inside the tree and the washing and sanding brought them out. I put the stump in a plastic garbage bag and sit a bug bomb in the bag too. I sit off the bomb and closed up the bad and left it for two days and thought sure it would kill them but better wash again and let sit on the plastic and wait. Next day, more bugs!! Then I decided to freeze it a couple days in my deep freezer. It took a few days to thaw and the bugs came out again. I was ready to cry not knowing what to do. Hubby suggested I bake it and I looked at him like he was crazy!! He took it to his hunting lodge where they had a huge wood cook stove and the stump just bearly fit in the oven. He started a small fire and let it cook but watched it carefully and he baked the stump for me three or four times slowly and on a very warm heat but not hot enough to catch it on fire. It never smoked and the bugs were no more!!! By this time I had put several thin coats of clear polyurethane on the mill wheel, sanded the cast iron plate and bolts and painted them glossy black. The iron plate and bolts is what I would use to attached the wheel to the base/stump. This is what I had at this point:
Now that the bugs are out of the base I started the polyurethane coats and applied the same amount to base as the wheel. Hubby helped me put it together and drill the holes for the bolts. Wait a minute, what’s the top going to be. We racked our brains, looked at magazines, window shopped furniture stores and nothing popped out at me. Then Uncle Bill came to visit and was totally awed at what I had done and decided nothing could cover the looke of the spokes, cast iron plate and base and the only top that could be put on it was glass. DUH!!! Why didn’t I think of that!! Uncle Bill wanted to be a part of the project and he bought me a piece of beveled glass 3/8″ thick and pretty little brass L-shaped brackets to hold the glass up off the spokes and plate. We put felt rounds on the brackets so they wouldn’t scratch the glass as they set on top. The entire project was beautiful and the table was perfect for my huge 18 x 32 living room space which also had maple flooring. I was so proud!!
When we moved to the farm we live on now I didn’t have room for it and my Mill Wheel coffee table went to live with Uncle Bill and he was as proud as if he’d built the whole thing from scratch. Three years ago Uncle Bill passed away and the table came back to live with me and I MADE room for it until just recently. It is now retired into a storage building on the farm until I decide to re-decorate the living room again. Here are a couple pictures of it in our existing house and will give you an idea of how big it is but still beautiful:
It’s so easy to decorate for the different seasons and holidays. It can also be a catch all for everything imaginable. I love this kind of project!!
I love finding new things to add to my flower gardens. This year I found the cutest new addition on Pinterest and decided to make one for myself and my buddies, Jackie and Margaret! I also saw these in a friends flowerbed but hers were smaller and a entire family of them crossing the flowerbed. Hope you like these!
First, you need an ordinary bowling ball. Jackie found four of them for me at the local Goodwill stores for a couple bucks. I took them home and hubby cut them in half for me. He said this was no easy chore because he wasn’t sure he was cutting them exactly in half.
Next, clean the bowling balls making sure that all dust and residue are gone before the first coat of paint is put on. I used a spray enamel for the interior and exterior. Let the first coat of paint dry completely. I let it dry overnight. A mistake I made with the first venture was not painting the bottom. I sprayed the bottom of each half with black enamel (two coats, dry completely between coats) and then spray the red, orange, yellow, whatever color you want.
After the third coat of red had dried, I turned the crafting over to my granddaughter to paint their faces and bodies. She’s pretty good and has a flair for the dramatic. I was afraid she would get a little carried away and decided she needed a template to go by. After all her hard work we decided they would look better with a whimsical flair.
This is the point where we decided they needed a touch of whimsy! After all her hard work, Nana decided to paint over their faces and add some legs. The legs were designed by hubby and his workshop. They consisted of some dowel rods about three inches long and tiny little boots made from scrap lumber. Once put together, I painted their sneakers white or black with contrasting laces. What do you think of the end result??
Crafting is so much fun and I promise more projects in the very near future!! Thanks Victoria for helping Nana!!
Well, my spring cleaning has turned into summer cleaning. I’ve procrastinated long enough and this weekend should be a test of my back and legs!! I’ll be cleaning the room that everything landed in on the second floor when I cleaned the other three rooms. I have a very large storage/linen room upstairs that is full of winter clothing, junk, excess furniture, lumber, flooring, paint and so many other things that don’t need to be there. Then, there’s the cleaning up and out of the things that should be in the room. Wish me luck and I’m too embarrassed to show the before pictures but I promise Good Will and the Thrift shop are going to love me on Monday.
Here’s the results of the guest room that’s waiting on my friend’s visit in August and I’m pretty pleased with how it all looks. I hope she will be very comfortable in it.
Vacation is over and I want to personally thank “Jillee” for making my life so much easier and thrifty!!!THANK YOU JILLEE!!
A few months back I started my blog and about the same time I started my own boards on Pinterest. I love this site and I’ll explain why in another post later. I found Jillee’s site on Pinterest and this lady is the Homemaker Queen in my book. She has posted some wonderful recipes for homemade laundry soap ( liquid and dry), bodywash, glass cleaner, Miracle cleaner, dishwasher detergent and much more.
I hate going to the grocery store because I usually come home mad due to the prices of cleaning products, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. which leaves little room for buying actual food. Granted, we raise most of our food but there are some things that have become a habit or joy to bring home. Well, Jillee saved me so much money this past ten days that I feel like my checking account may not run dry anytime soon.
I made the bodywash first because my bottle of Dove had risen to $6.00+! It was very simple to make, with a coupon for the bar soap the total cost of the body wash was around 20 cents and it made three quarts. It cleans wonderfully and the only difference was it wasn’t as thick but I can remedy that by using less water next time.
Next I made the Miracle Cleaner for the shower and I was totally amazed and I did not have to fight the fumes and listen to hubby fuss about the smell. Then I made the liquid laundry detergent. The 125 oz Tide that I usually buy costs around $11.00. The cost of the ingredients for the homemade was calculated to cost about $1.19 for the same amount. I can scent it with essential oil drops for a few cents more and it smells like I want it to and BEST of all, my clothes are clean and fresh. My first batch made three gallons and my grocery list has shrunk considerably!!
GO JILLEE-I’m your life long friend from this day forward.
I mentioned in a previous post that I am a big fan of Pinterest and here’s my link if you want to visit: http://pinterest.com/ritascrafting/ . I love finding new gardening secrets/ideas, crafts, DIY ideas, sewing, good books and music from the other Pinterest boards. Most of all I love the fact that I can find gift ideas for my family and find the list easily. I can pin the recipes for cleaning and cooking in one spot and find it easily. I can look at what my friends are using/doing and try it myself. I can find some gorgeous decorating ideas, gardening ideas, and so much more.
To view the sites you have to join Pinterest but it’s really easy and you can add your own boards or just browse boards of others. It’s free!!!! By boards I mean groupings of favorites. I have seventeen boards which include DIY, Helpful Hints, Gardening, Wishlist, Family/Friends Wishlist, Music I Love, Books I’ve Read/Want to Read, Crocheting, Quilting, Favorite Blogs, Spring Cleaning & Decorating, Hunting & Outdoors, New Recipes, Beauty & More and a couple more. I’ll probably add some throughout the year and I add new pins to the boards a couple times a week. I would like to do it everyday but this time of year I spend a lot of time outdoors when I’m not at work and by the time I come in the house in the evenings I don’t care much for getting on the computer. I would rather shower and go to bed :)! Anyway, I just want to tell everyone about this site and hope you’ll check it out and maybe start your own Pinterest boards. I want to follow what you are doing!!
Imagine if you will a country kitchen in an old ancestral farm house. You’ve worked for five years after moving into it making it look and feel like your kitchen. Everything is decorated in red and white and you have cleaned and waxed the old handmade cupboards and pie safes handed down from one generation to another. You’ve left everything the same but for new appliances, paint and laminate floors. It’s perfect!! You have your wonderful hubby put up some shelves close to the ceiling for your antique kitchen “what-nots”, cookbooks, decorative farm animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, apples, etc. and EVERYTHING is perfect. If you had your way you would spend a whole lot more time in it cooking and baking.
Then it happens!! Your husband goes on that fourth or fifth elk hunt and bags “the big one”. He kills a 6×6 bull elk that weighs over 1200 pounds and you have 300+ pounds of fresh meat in the freezer. We are happy, right?? In the beginning he has no intentions of mounting it BUT he’s so proud and no one he knows has one like it. He has it mounted and he can’t wait for it to come home and see how it looks on the wall. One year later the elk mount is complete! It would look great in the living room (8′ ceilings) with the rest of his trophies. We drive to pick it up and this thing is as big as the kitchen refrigerator! Imagine it, please!!! We drive home with it and the ONLY room in the house that it will fit is in my beautiful country kitchen (10′ ceiling).
Now, I can’t complain!! He is so proud and he’s helped you work so hard to prepare this country home that looked horrible when we moved in it!! The rooms (every room) in the house is painted the green of watergate salad. The floors are not level, the ceiling plaster is cracked and falling down, it hasn’t had a truly real cleaning for years because we inherited the farm from hubby’s aunt and uncle that spent most of their time outdoors. His aunt kept the house presentable but cared not about frilly “stuff” that I cherish and hated being cooped up in the house. Anyway, the elk (that I called Moose for the last five years) is mounted onto the wall as you enter the kitchen. Everything changes!! You duck your head to go around it, mop under it, and every other thing that requires going near that wall. Hubby is so proud and can’t wait for all his friends to come visit and he can show off his prize hunt!
Prayers are answered!!! I know GOD loves me!! I went home on Friday afternoon from work and walked into my kitchen and Moose is gone!!! I really didn’t care where or why but finally he tells me it shouldn’t be in the kitchen and no one came to see it anyway. I’m pretty sure he can see the excitement in my eyes but I try to hold back my enthusiasm!
Saturday morning finds up early and can’t wait to clean and get my beautiful country kitchen back to normal. I spend all day and even refinish a handmade dish cupboard to spread out some of my dishes. It took all day but Rita is a very happy country girl!! Now all I need to do is make some new kitchen rugs and potholders and get back to loving my country home!!
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.