Monday, May 31, 2010

Rescuing Vintage Linens

About a month ago, I went to a neighborhood sale with a friend. It was a very cold, very rainy and gray day and when I say cold, I don't mean a little chilly, it was layered-clothing-plus-winter-coat-and-mitten weather!

It was buy-coffee-at-the-first-sale-you-stopped-at-weather.

It was numb-nose-and-toes-and-freezing-your-fanny-off weather.

It was find-out-if-you're-a-hard-core-garage-saler weather.

One of the first few sales was a loaded garage.

It took quite a while to look through all the tables.
After I'd made a couple selections, and before I paid,
I spied some boxes sitting on the floor.

I decided to take a peek.

You do find some of the BEST stuff in boxes, under or beside tables....

Do you EVER.

I sat down right on that cold-freeze-your-fanny cement floor and made myself at home...looking through that box.
My friend helped me.
The box was full.
(She's a good friend.)
And she didn't want any of them.
Can you believe it?
Not one.

And wow...what a treasure trove of vintage embroidered linens.

All unmarked.

I asked how much and the lady of the house said "A dollar apiece!".

Well, let me tell you, I looked through every single piece, and these shown here were just the pick of the litter--I left plenty for the other shoppers that day.

I took some photos to show you one late spring afternoon just before sunset so you could see the beauties I nabbed.

I am particularly in love with the pieces that are just loaded with french knots.

As well as the tiny, crocheted edging.

And this southern belle, is she not gorgeous?

And the cut work, get OUT!!!!!

(I've got something special planned for this beauty! Read on!)

And I already have someone in mind as the recipient for a special birthday gift which will include this sweet little embroidered dishtowel.

(I just can't wait to give it!)

And this little one...yes, I have someone in mind for this sweet linen number, too.

I could not have done all this finely done and perfect embroidery in an ENTIRE summer....and for ten minutes and a few dollars....I did alright.


I am on a mission:
to rescue vintage embroidery,

one piece at a time....


I'm having a GIVEAWAY for the

I rescued her just for someone who reads my blog and enters my drawing.

ANYONE can enter.

There's only ONE rule:
Tell me from where you read my blog.
Just your state or country.

be sure that if you do not have a blog that you leave me your email address within the body of your comment.

If you have a blog, please make sure you have your email enabled on your blog so I can email you if you become the winner!

The drawing will take place June 15th!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

USA: So Much To Love...

My baby, as a toddler with our awesome dalmation dog, "Free Press", may he rest in peace.

Last night I was reading the first couple chapters of Fannie Flagg's novel: Standing in the Rainbow. So far, it's good. Nice summer reading, if you need something! Nostalgic, too. In a good way. Chapters are just right, and the cover? It's rather cute. I'm shallow like that. I like a good cover.


It's a story based on the years just following WWII and it's from a young Missouri boy's standpoint. A couple of paragraphs from this stood out at me because of what we are celebrating this weekend. Here they are in part:

"To itself was exciting.

He lived smack dab in the middle of the greatest country there ever was or ever would be. Our girls are the prettiest, our soldiers the bravest, our flag the most beautiful. People all over the world have a fit to come here, and who could blame them? Bobby felt sorry for anyone unlucky enough not to be born here.

We had John Wayne, Betty Grable, Mickey Mouse, Roy Rogers, Superman, Dagwood and Blondie, The Andrews Sisters, and Captain Marvel. Buck Rogers and Red Ryder, BB Guns and the Hardy Boys, Miss America, cotton candy. Plus Charlie McCarthy, and Edgar Bergen, Amos 'n Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, and ANYBODY could grow up to be the president of the United States.

We were bigger, better, richer, and stronger than anybody, but we still played by the rules and were always good sports. We even reached out and helped pick up and dust off Japan and Germany after we had beaten them...

Here, life was just about perfect.

After all, we had invented everything in the world that really mattered. Hot dogs, hamburgers, roller coasters, ice cream cones, electricity, milkshakes, the jitterbug, baseball, football, basketball, barbeque, cap pistols, hot fudge sundaes, and banana splits. We had Coca-Cola, chocolate covered peanuts, jukeboxes, Oxydol, Ivory Snow, oleo margarine, and the atomic bomb!"

Well, even though I wasn't born until a couple decades later, Bobby's America is the America I love and remember.

I thought it'd be fun to share the passage with you; I thought it was some good writing. I know it might seem corny, but I wanted to ask what it is you appreciate about America, why you feel lucky to have been born here.

It doesn't matter what our problems are, and the socialist state we are being dragged (kicking and screaming) toward.

In my heart, I know we are still the America that Bobby knew and loved.


Before you click off this blog entry, would you leave a comment that says what it is YOU love about your COUNTRY?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

All Gave Some...

And Some Gave All....

Let us not treat this gift as a cheap one.
Let us honor the liberty bought for us by men in uniform.

Friday, May 28, 2010

She's Havin' A Baby!!

My girl really cracks me up sometimes...

She can't let a picture session get too serious at all...ever.

It's kind of hard to hold the camera still when you're laughing....
But eventually she settled down and we got some good ones, out behind her house, taken quickly because we have a feeling it will be any day now....

It's almost surreal seeing your daughter at the point of delivery...
I'm happy for her and her husband...
thrilled at the thought of meeting our precious little grandson.

Seeing a new family formed is a blessing, I'm so glad I can be here to witness it...

So proud of the trouper she whining or complaining, she's brave and hard-working, getting everything ready for her little guy, yet I know deep down she's a little scared, too.

It's always that way for first time mothers.

She and her husband will soon experience that awe,
the amazing miracle that birth is...

And they'll fall in love with this little person,
Just like daddy and I did with her!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple Blue Farm Flowers

Around the farmhouse last week...
I saw blue all around me.

I saw some faithful friends again, so happy to see them.

And I thought about how they just quietly show up and put on quite a show.

Shy little Columbines bow their pretty little heads.

Irises on the fence row..
forgotten behind a pile of old rocks,
yet I find them
dutifully blooming every spring...
all with no care or attention,
just drinking up the rain,
and reaching to the sun,
they're willing to show us their colors.

Phlox growing wild...
sprinkled from a can almost twenty years ago,
the Phlox were the prolific ones who made it through,
to accent the old fence every May and early June
with a profusion of their tall blue blooms, waving hello in the wind.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Cow Stanchions & Old Rocks... glorious.

It's time to go to the new barn and dig out goodies we've salvaged from the old barns on this old place...

And this year I'm showing an old barn door of some sort with a rusty old cow stanchion leaning against it. Those heavy iron and wood stanchions were lined with what I think is oak, because these things weigh a ton. I can imagine the farmer's arms being very muscle-bound with blue veins popping after fastening up the dairy herd in these every morning and evening.

(I would love more information on these old stanchions if anyone knows about them. I wonder if they're still made basically the same way or not. I love ours and saved every one of them. I think they go perfectly with the sign Dee made with the rooster hanging from a hook at the top of the old door.)

This whole display sits in our little front garden, behind a GIGANTIC old rock that came from our yard that has been here forever and ever. It had to be moved when the house was remodeled but I couldn't stand to get rid of it; it now sits by one of the front doors for everyone to see.

Our cats have always loved to stretch out on it in the sun while warming themselves, or perching on top, very alert and watching the garden for a mouse. It's a trough for them (and an occasional bird, too) as they will lick water from the puddles that form in its big crevices after a refreshing spring or summer rain.

I love this old rock too. Something about it speaks of OLD and SOLID. I'm glad we decided to let it be dug on up moved here to hold a place of prominence.

Before it was moved, most of the rock was under the ground and one could only see about the top third of it. And now the WHOLE big beautiful thing is on display, it's the size of a small kitchen table.

I never get tired of the surprises and stories that old farm places offer. I try to hold onto the stories and learn as much about our place as I can.

Sadly, we only have one outbuilding left-- but we thought it was important to have saved as much of the interesting relics from the barns, coops and sheds as possible. They all take turns to be on display this way.

The barns were in the worst they were much older than our house, as the barns were put up first while the founding family that built this house lived in a log cabin just a small distance away.

The house was the last and least important thing in the order of priorities for a full-time farmer in the late 1800's.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In the Strawberry Patch...

See what I found the other day? It's something I've been wanting for a long, long, time! And not just because it's cute....but because we really needed one and would USE it every June for several weeks...

I found an old "flat" for strawberry pickin'! I was thrilled. We needed one because we have our own little strawberry patch out back in the garden.

The vintage strawberry baskets I found last summer....they are much better to use for harvesting our strawberries than a plastic pail, these give the strawberries room to breathe with the vented sides. I love the stains and the years of use that you can see on them.

So finding this "flat" made me really happy because there's nothing more convenient when picking strawberries in our little patch....

...and the comfortable and now smooth oaken handle shows years of use; making it a sentimental piece, remembering hot early summer mornings picking, staining up our hands and our knees...

It was all worth it: getting hot and sweaty and bending over all that time was okay, because while picking we could anticipate the taste of the jam we'd be making just in a few hours...

or of fresh strawberries with shortcake,

or strawberries with plain vanilla ice cream ...

Or just a bowl of washed strawberries sprinkled with a little bit of sugar
on top...
(that's my youngest son's favorite way to eat them!)

It's almost time!!!

Do you pick?
What's your favorite way of eatin' farm fresh srawberries?


Taken by Jamie out west last summer....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Feed Sack Chair Makeover

A couple months back, I bought a round oak kitchen table for the spot in our kitchen where our too-large table once sat. I loved the table, but our chairs were a little too big, too bulky, made that end of the room seem too heavy. I was willing to live with it, but...

One afternoon a couple weekends ago, I drove by a house in town on the way to pick up pizza, and sitting by a curb was a set of four matched oak chairs, exactly what I wanted...

And as the hand-lettered sign on the chair said, 4/$30, I couldn't believe it! I stopped and headed to the door, hoping no one else had already spoken for them. I was lucky, they were mine! I paid the money. Because I was driving the Suburban, I loaded them up and came home (after I picked up the pizza!).
It took me a few weeks, but one day our weather was rainy, dreary for the fourth day in a row, and I was stuck in the house again.

I went out and brought those babies in from the garage and started tearing the seats down.

Digging through my fabric stash, nothing seemed to pop out at me, I had gingham in blue and red, but gingham was already very prominent in the the kitchen, and you can over do a pattern like that in a small space.

I kept hunting, and none of the prints looked right. I didn't want to have to buy anything, I wanted to use what I already had! Lo and behold, in one stack of fabric I found some feed sacks; they're not actually old, but they looked great; they said "farmhouse"! to me.

They're from an elevator in a nearby town, and I'd picked them up at our neighbor's garage sale for a quarter apiece a couple years back.

(I have a few left, I wonder what they will become?)

I started by taking off the upholstery, and underneath I found an old, cracked mess of fake leather? To cover that and add some needed cushion, I went to my stash of useful items from garage sales and took out a twin mattress pad. It helped cover the brown so the darkness wouldn't show through and give the covering an even base...

(These are well worth the dollar they normally sell for at garage sales. I just wash them and stash them to have a couple on hand for projects like this. Much more useful and much cheaper than plain quilt batting for some projects, I use them for things like this all the time.)

I cut a piece to fit each chair seat and stapled it into place with the heavy duty staple gun.

I centered the feed sacks, cut them and stapled them to the chair cover and screwed all of the covers back into place! I treated them with a couple coats of Scotch Guard the next day when I could get outside.

The whole job took a couple of hours, start to finish! I just love how useful vintage items like these old chairs, are made to be reused and recovered for years and years.

These chairs are the perfect match for the table, and...

the chair covers are the perfect match for a farmhouse kitchen!

Chairs $30
Feedsacks $1
Twin mattress cover $1
$32 total cost!

You "CAN" Do It!


Is there anything prettier?

Is there anything more satisfying to make than some freezer jam?

In my neck of the woods...the strawberry plants are blooming. They're all snuggled up in their straw and the rain does them all kinds of good.

Soon, it will be time to pick!
It's always a highlight of summer for me and our family.

When it's strawberry season...

One simple hour in the kitchen and...
You'll capture summer in a jar to use all year long, especially in the winter!
You can make someone smile just by handing them one of your beautiful jars;
it's a priceless gift, really.
Homemade jam is a precious commodity!
Excellent for your family to use; healthier than the stuff in the stores...
(You'll never go back to store-bought!)

YOU can DO it!!

Jam and Biscuits.
Jam and toast.
Jam and pancakes.
Jam and Cream-of-Wheat!

What do YOU like to eat with jam?

It's a simple, old-fashioned-- just plain good breakfast or snack any time of day!

It's that time of year again, and I want to


It's easier than you think!

You CAN Do It!

Buy your berries or pick your own that have been grown and ripened in the field for best flavor...

You will be SO GLAD you did!

What's your favorite jam?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

JuneBug...Peekin' in to say "HI!"

Hello, my fans!
Remember me?
It's been a long time since we visited!

Well, you know, I 'm a busy gal.
I have my instincts to tend to, after all.
Hunt. Eat. Play. Sleep!


I am now a year old!

I am a full-time outdoor kitty now. I love it!
The hunting here at this old farmhouse is dandy!

I had a mysterious visit to the vet's office at around six months;
and, strangely, I remember very little of that!

I just had an annoying tugging feeling in my middle for a time,
but I didn't let that stop me!
I'm a wild girl who loves to leap, run, jump, play and I just kept on going!

I am doing patrol at night; hunting as long as I please, and then sleeping away half the day!

It's a blast.
I leave presents for my family to find on the doormat in the garage so they're sure to find it when they come out to get in the car.

Mom only seems mad when it's bird feathers I leave.
We have a few large trees that seem to be "bird condo" heaven,
and the population is plentiful, this time of year, the huntin's good, fast and easy!

(Well, admit it, you like fast food sometimes, too don't you?)

Those new puppies they brought home at Christmastime?
What pests!
I don't mind Dan so much, but my goodness, Ann just won't let me be!
She stalks me.
(Can you believe it?!)

Well, I win.

My win is insured because I know where the Invisible Fence boundaries are! WHOOHOO!
What fun I have, taunting Ann from just OUTSIDE her boundary,
where she'll get zapped but good for coming over!

So I run and leap and zig and zag right on that line,
and just let her think she's going to catch me,
and then ZOOM!
I'm over her line and she gets so mad at me!


Old Dan, now he's just as easygoing as can be,
he plays that game with me a time or two,
but then he quickly tires of trying to get me (smart guy!)
and he just sits and entertains himself
by watching his sister demonstrate her insanity
by trying the same thing over and over again,
and always with the same result!

Well, I'm glad I could visit with you for a minute.
But it's sunset,
and I must sharpen my claws on the big tree out front
and get my prey stalked...
I'm kind of hungry,
that birdy breakfast was 12 hours ago!

This is JuneBug, signing off....


Monday, May 17, 2010

Oooey Goooey Chocolate-Caramel Cake

It's getting to be summertime, when hot weather changes our eating habits up a little bit;

We look for lighter, cooler, refreshing dinners and desserts...
And because we want to spend more time outside, doing other things, we don't like to have to spend too much time in the kitchen.

So...may I suggest an oooey goooey chocolate caramel cake?
A frozen oooey goooey chocolate caramel cake?
It's cold, refreshing, not exactly light...but just right.
And simple...very, very simple.

See the dark areas on this piece?
That's all the caramel that has oozed into the cake...!

You will need:
A chocolate cake mix & the eggs, water, and oil to go in it
A jar of caramel ice cream topping
A carton of COOL WHIP (extra creamy if possible)
A straw

All you do is:

Mix a chocolate cake according to package directions
Bake it in a 9 x 13 pan
When it comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a straw
While it's still pipin' hot, pour the jar of caramel ice-cream topping all over it
So that the caramel seeps into the little holes you've made.

When the cake is completely cool, "frost" it with a thawed container of Cool Whip's EXTRA CREAMY as deep as you can stand it or until the Cool Whip runs out...cover with Cling Wrap and chill.


(If you are serving it for company from the freezer, it will need a minute or two to soften just a little so they can get their fork into it, but that's the perfect time to put the coffee on and let it brew while you visit.)

And speaking of company...

If you are having company and you want to dress up this cake, all you do is drizzle the top with some Hershey's chocolate syrup and crush some pecans or even some peanuts and sprinkle them on top for a delightful addition to something that's already very good and make it decadent!

Or, you could dress the top of the cake with sprinkles...but it's good plain, too!


Biting into the cake and tasting that caramel is mmmmm GOOD!
SIMPLE, too!

(It reminds me of ice cream cake when it's frozen.)

Shall I put the coffee on, or would you rather have tea?