Posts tagged ‘home decorating’

April 24, 2012

my kale has started going to seed.  we usually eat it up rather quickly.  but this spring i just haven’t been harvesting it as often.

who knew that red russian kale produced such pretty little blossoms?

who knew that this kale,

this cole crop, whose cooked “aroma”  hangs in the kitchen for days afterward,

when combined with blue batchelor’s buttons that have self seeded,

could be

so

pretty?

 

March 20, 2012

10 ways to welcome spring…

in my part of the world it has gone from winter cold to very warm, very fast.  we almost seem to have bypassed spring and gone straight into early summer.  nevertheless these are some things i’m looking forward to doing this spring when we aren’t busy planning the building of and move to our farm:

  1. opening all the windows and airing out the house
  2. while the windows are open, giving the house a good clean from top to bottom
  3. washing, starching, and ironing the curtains so they look pretty when they catch the breeze from the open windows
  4. (so as not to focus completely on housekeeping) getting a pedicure and having my toes painted pink
  5. making deviled eggs
  6. going for long walks and taking in the blooming daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, and redbud trees
  7. planting a vegetable garden
  8. making a pretty spring wreath for the front door
  9. mowing the lawn, then sitting out on the back porch and enjoying the smell of the cut grass
  10. flying a kite

happy first day of spring!  what are your plans from now until summer?

February 16, 2012

farmette? or homestead?

last friday we became first time land owners.  we now own ten acres in a very small farming community with a population of less than 1,800.  we’ve spent the past several months dreaming, scheming, scratching out figures, drawing up floor plans, researching,  land shopping, then land shopping again (we had one false start), and finally closing out on a place we absolutely love.

the desire we’ve had for some time was to have a place where we could have a large garden, a few fruit trees, and some small livestock; a place that would basically become self-sustaining.  i use the word “self-sustaining” loosely because to some self-sustaining means that one crafts one’s bricks from the dirt in one’s yard – then uses said bricks to build one’s house.  that isn’t at all what i mean.  i mean self-sustaining in the sense that one simply grows and produces the majority of one’s own food but still unashamedly uses the grocery store from time to time  for staples.

last year when asked about our plans for an acreage i described it as “ a sort of homestead” .  i said “sort of” because our scenario doesn’t really fit that of the typical homestead: about 2-5 acres with a garden and some small livestock.  at the same time i couldn’t really say we were planning a  farm because your average farm consists of several hundred acres and a series of out buildings.  i later picked up the term “farmette”.  not only did it describe our situation to a “t” , but  i loved the sound of the word.  wiki describes a farmette as “a small residential farm run by an owner who earns income from a source other than the farm. “  farmettes typically are no more than fifty acres,  and contain a garden and some small livestock.

our farmette will feature ten acres and a pond, a small simple “starter home”, a single outbuilding to serve as a shop and garage, a honkin’ big garden,  and some small livestock.  for the sake of not getting too overwhelmed, we’ve divided our plan into three phases.  phase one: the actual purchase of the land already being completed.

the second part of our plan is to now build  our home. we’re starting out small and temporary (most likely).   i see this as the modern day equivalent to the sod houses and log cabins of our pioneer ancestors.   i’ve found that in starting out on the land  it is common to use a travel trailer, a mobile home, or in some cases even a yurt as a temporary residence while the permanent home is being built.  but my husband and i are not good at roughing it.  we hate camping.  we must have heat.  we must have running water.  so we’ve decided instead to build a small barn,  influenced by the traditional red barns seen in a children’s story book; and fit it out as a cottage.  it will be very, very simple but i still plan to give it some style.  my decor has evolved over the years, starting out very colefax and fowler, to  williamsburg colonial, now to modernish vintage country chic (is there such a thing?).  my hope is that when we open the front door to our  new home for the first time our reaction will be “this is gorgeous! let’s just stay here!” instead of “omg.  what on earth have we done!?”  once we have the home built we’ll put our current little house on the market, and move.  we’ll do a lot of landscaping (i’m thinking native perennials) and put in a kitchen garden similar in size to what we have now.  then we’ll purchase three chickens.

phase three will be to establish a very large garden, large enough to provide the majority of our produce with enough left over to freeze and can.  we have also toyed with the idea of growing enough to someday enter the farmer’s market arena as a small business.  the garden phase  will also include some apple trees and blackberry bushes.  then, we’ll  purchase a few more chickens.

if i’ve learned anything since we’ve started acting on our  plan, it is that things never go according to the plan.  so i’m trying to keep it all loose and just go with the flow.  should however, things actually go as planned, they may look a little something like this:

~ increase the chicken flock to provide adequate eggs and meat

~ add some ducks and turkeys to the mix; maybe geese if they will be nice

~look into the possibility of taking on small ruminants (dairy goats and sheep)

~ train the sheep to graze picturesquely on the front lawn.  ::sigh:: ok maybe not.

~mmmmmaaybe…raise a pig or two so we can have bacon with the eggs

~plant millions of daffodils on the slope below the pond

~toy with the idea of a dairy cow

~contemplate bee keeping

~dig out the pond a little deeper and see what it would take to stock it

and finally:

~build a new-to-look-old-white clapboard farmhouse depending on how much we like our barn cottage and whether or not we decide we need or even want anything more than that.

i know we’ll be crazy busy.  i know it will be a lot of work.  i know it will be a tremendous challenge, but it is a challenge we welcome and we can’t wait to get started.

as for timing?  i really don’t know.  we plan to start as soon as we can but i’m sure we’ll encounter some snags and delays along the way.   again, i plan to just try and go with the flow and in the words of tim gunn “make it work” regardless of what happens.

February 13, 2012

new experiences

this morning i am preparing to call someone about hay.

this is a new experience for me.  i have never discussed hay with anyone in all my life.

until we closed on our property last friday, i didn’t even know it grew hay. it does however, and while we were passing the paperwork back and forth to sign, the seller’s broker presented a small slip of paper containing only a first name, and phone number, and told me  that this fella lived about five miles south of us  (or was it north?).

he is the hay man, apparently, and has been cutting the  hay on our acreage for some time now. the seller and her broker assumed i knew all about hay, how it was mowed, when it was mowed,  how cutters of hay deal in their services and product.  i just nodded dumbly.  “yes, of course, the hay.  we were wondering about that…”

so this morning i am going to give him a call.  i was informed that this call needed to be made soon because at some point something will need to be done with the hay, some sort of spraying schedule or something like that, which has this organic gardener somewhat alarmed; but for the present, i’m letting it go.  i’ve more important things to worry about, such as the orientation of the window above my kitchen sink.

marco and i went out yesterday to evaluate the lay of the land and try to decide how things should be situated.  i spent a good deal of time standing where i hope the sink will go, looking at the view, and deciding if this is exactly where i want to gaze while scrubbing pans.

while surveying the barbed wire fence, i grabbed a switch of something wondering if perhaps this was the hay.   i decided to use it while shopping for paint chips and thought how it would be lovely to tell folks, “yes i had the dining room paint tinted to match the color of our hay”,  as if i was born and bred on hay making.

for all i know it may just be some sort of weed.  i hope the hay man is kind and patient enough to give me the education i am going to need.

February 10, 2012

the start of a new chapter

marco’s and my new year’s gift to each other; a bit belated due to one false start but arriving just in time for valentine’s day:

as of 11:00 am this morning, she’s ours.

all ours.

all ten acres and the pond.

>cue theme from little house on the prairie<

we’re gonna homestead folks (although i prefer to say we’re going to build a “farmette”).

come this summer or thereabouts, should all go well and  go as planned, a small farm town in ok. will increase its population from 1,788 to 1,790.

surprised?  so are we.

thought we were settled into our little house never, ever to move again? so did we.

struggling to see us as bona fide country folk? ummm….think a little harder..we do have a garden and i’ve been yakking on and on about chickens and such for the past several years.

there is a story behind it all and one that will eventually be told;  a method to my madness as well as a vision for this beautiful spot we plan to call home,  but for now let me just say…

we’re absolutely ecstatic.

February 3, 2012

why i need a greenhouse

i love the scene in the remains of the day where emma thompson  is sitting (if i recall correctly)in a green house of sorts mending a needlepoint cushion.  or something.  the important thing is that she is sitting in this beautiful  glass conservatory and sewing.  that is one reason why i need a greenhouse.  so i can sit peacefully amongst the plants and sew.

another reason why i need one is this:

this is a plumeria.

it was given to my be a fellow gardening friend.

i knew nothing of plumeria plants when she gave it to me.  in fact, i naively thought that after it had been given to me in january, it would grow and bloom by the following april, so that i could surprise my birthday-twin-friend who grew up in hawaii, with a plumeria plant of her own; started from mine.

i will pause here and allow the other experienced plumeria growers reading this post (if there are any) to clean up the coffee they just spewed across their keyboard and recover from their uproarious laughter.

ahem. anyway.

i need a greenhouse because when the cooler weather arrives, i need to bring this plant inside.

and i don’t know where to put it. i started out by putting it in the bathroom until i could figure out a better place.

but it doesn’t like the bathroom, so it drops leaves in the sink like this:

which i ignored for a time.  but then i noticed this:

and upon further observation i saw this:

and this:

and i had to spend the entire afternoon with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol getting rid of the little buggars.

now, i know that a green house would not have eliminated aphids and that other winged creature i cannot identify (pest identification has never been my strong point); but it would have prevented the mess in the bathroom,which believe it or not took great effort, and it would give me some other place to store this plant, other than where it is now.

i moved it to the den.

where it sits.

aphid free.

but shedding leaves all the same.

January 20, 2012

four and twenty blackbirds

this little vignette keeps me company while i do the dishes:

the little scene as a whole, is comprised of three components that were collected over time.

it all started with the pie bird, who, having been through at least four moves, is a little worse for wear.

rather than get him repaired, i’ve decided to just leave him be.  each chip tells a story and adds to his overall character.

i don’t recall which came next, the little book, or the birds baked in a pie; nor do i recall where either of them came from.

there are not quite twenty-four black birds in this little pie, but when the pie is opened….

it’s the little things that make the nitty gritty stuff (like washing the dishes) worthwhile.

October 13, 2011

fall wreath

when marco and i bought our first home a few months prior to our wedding, one of the first things i did, even in the middle of all the wedding prep, was to make a wreath and hang it on the front door.  to me a wreath on the door says home.  since i love to change things with the season, eventually i had  a wreath for spring, summer, fall, and winter.

when we moved to our current older home with limited storage space my wreath collection presented a problem.  in addition to a closet crowded with floral wreathes, we had  a “double door” situation: a glass door in front of our entry door and the majority of my wreathes were too poofy for the narrow space.

it took me a few years but i finally came up with a solution: a simple, single, grapevine wreath with interchangeable floral picks befitting the season.  the smaller size wreath fits easily between the two doors, and the picks are much easier to store and require much less space than an entire wreath.

so here’s my grapevine wreath purchased at joann’s.

and here is my floral pick (alright it is a bit bigger than a pick…) purchased at hobby lobby for 50% off.

and after attaching a floral wire hanger to the back, i wove the pick through the grapevine so that it can easily be removed after thanksgiving for a christmas arrangement.

now, i’m aware that bows are no longer in vogue and are very ’90s but i am a bow person.  or rather i should say i am a ribbon person.  i love streamers but not necessarily the “bow”.  so, i took this tone on tone stripe and tied it in a square knot at the base of the floral…

and cut the ends at uneven lengths.

and since i love all things feathered, nearly all of my wreathes have had a bird of some sort.  i found these crows a few years ago at pottery barn.  after halloween i’d love to replace them with a sparrow for thanksgiving.

finished product!  i love my red door and the mail slot.

September 26, 2011

stuff i want to do this fall….

~make chili; a different recipe once every month

~bake some yummy concoction with pumpkin, i’ve half a dozen recipes earmarked

~make halloween cards

~plant collard greens

~set out a fall wreath

~begin planning Christmas: ornaments to make, menus, cookie recipes, etc.

what is on  your fall agenda?

 

September 22, 2011

furniture lust

once upon a time we bought a used sofa.

it was a small settee with a wing back frame covered in a peach and sage plaid that, had we been living with it twenty  years ago, would have been very relevant and very pretty.  we scrimped and saved and bought several yards of  a nice waverly print on a crimson background and i set to work making a slipcover.  when it was finished, i swore off making slipcovers forever, but it was very pretty; and when we moved into our new old house, it looked very charming in our new old living room.

i was so very proud of myself for being so content with used furniture.

then one day,  my husband read about stickley furniture in old home journal and told me to trot on over to their website for a look-see.

i discovered, amongst some fabulous arts and crafts style pieces,  a line of colonial williamsburg furniture.

i lusted.

i coveted.

i was never able to look at my used slipcovered sofa with the same affection ever again.

the end.

 

 

easy chair