Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Outhouse


When you think about it, outhouses are kind of an odd thing to decorate with. I mean really, the good folks who had to get up, throw on a coat, and trudge through snow on a cold, windy, dark night probably wouldn't see their charm in quite the same way we do.

It was a necessity then....and I for one think we should thank our lucky stars that indoor plumbing is now the norm!



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Country Life = Our Fresh Ham Misadventure

Last summer, we bought a pig at the fair to have butchered. Since this was a first for us, we didn't really know HOW we wanted it butchered. As in, what cuts we wanted. Of course we got several packages of pork chops, and roasts, and bacon, and sausage. All delicious.

The butcher asked if we wanted the hams smoked or fresh. Well, hmmm.

We told him to smoke one and leave one fresh.

We had no idea what we were talking about.


See that meat in the crockpots? Does that look like ham to you?

It turns out there are 3 kinds of ham:

City: this is what most folks are familiar with. It's what you buy pre-cooked in the grocery store, then you just throw it in the oven and bake it again. Heavenly - we love it.

Country: this is fresh ham that has been smoked.

Fresh: this is ham that hasn't been turned into ham. I know, that makes no sense, but trust me. Fresh ham is nothing at all like ham. It's like a giant pork roast.


And I'm not kidding about the giant part. This sucker weighed 20 pounds. And to make it worse, it had been frozen. I thawed it out, but not long enough. It was still frozen in the middle when I put it in the oven.

At noon. Planning on a 5:30 dinner. About 12:30, I started googling. That's when I learned about the 3 kinds of ham. And that this fresh ham would need at least 8 hours to cook.

Houston, we have a problem.


At 6, I took it out of the oven to check it's progress. We tore a tiny bit off the outside that we were sure was done, so we could eat. The rest went back in the oven.

At 8, we decided enough was enough. Back out of the oven it came. Stuck a fork in it. The red juices ran like a river. It was time to break out the crock pots.

It took 2 big ones to hold all the chunks I cut off that massive beast. They were filled to the lids.

I turned them on low, and let them cook all night.


By morning, they were done, but still not fork-tender. Geezy-weezy. I got out a knife and started cutting. No ham, or at least what we think of as ham. But we're going to eat BBQ pulled pork until the cows come home.


It took forever to cut it all up. The house smelled great though. It was flavored with pineapple juice, mustard, brown sugar, onion and BBQ sauce.


It's a good thing we REALLY like BBQ pulled pork. I stuffed it in sandwich bags - 12 of them, which are going in the freezer. That's on top of what we're eating fresh.

There are several lessons learned.

Next time, we will get the hams smoked.

And, it will NOT be another 20 pounder.

For one thing, we don't need that much meat at once.

For another thing, we don't have a roasting pan big enough to hold one.


As evidenced by my oven after I tried to bake the "ham" in an pan that wasn't big enough.

Oh yeah, that's going to be lots of fun to clean up.

The things we get ourselves into...........

Friday, February 24, 2012

Scrabble tiles

As a teen, I loved playing Scrabble with my mom. She always seemed to win, but I didn't really mind. I haven't played it for a long time. George thinks it's the worst game in the whole entire world, except for Upwards, which is a variation of Scrabble. If I mention Scrabble, he starts muttering under his breath, "Upwards - what a stupid game. Hate to spell. Hate to come up with words".

Let's just say English was not his favorite subject in school.

I picked up an old Scrabble game somewhere several months ago. A couple days ago, I got it out and started playing with it in a whole new way.

With glue.


As you can see, whoever owned this game before me used it a lot. It's very primitive looking, lots of spots and dirty places. I tried cleaning it, but there wasn't much I could do without damaging the board. Oh well, it will fit right in to someone's primitive home. Find Joy in Simple Things is glued to the board.



All the leftover tiles begged to be played with, so start playing I did. I got the idea for the Love You frame on this blog that I spotted on Pinterest.

Next came the words on the racks. Kevin said, "why the word 'Questions'?" I said, "I needed something that used a Q".

Later, I started playing around with the remaining tiles, and came up with 3 words that I thought went together well: Dare, Dream, and Imagine. A frame, a piece of scrapbook paper and some fabric daisies made it complete.

A word of advice if you ever make these yourself: if you are using hot glue, and are gluing the tiles directly onto the glass like I did, make sure you have the tile where you want it when you lay it down. It sticks immediately!

This was a fun project. I think I'll be on the lookout for more old Scrabble games.

George was hoping I'd craft with the game my mom and I used to play on, so it wouldn't be around anymore.

Not a chance. I'm keeping that one.

He likes to beat me at chess. One of these days, I'll talk him into playing Scrabble again, and I will beat him!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Projects

Always so much to do....


Pick a color.
Any color.


Pick a trash to treasure project.
Any project.


Or some barnwood.
Any barnwood.


Maybe a piece of slate.
Any slate.


Or a window.
Any window.


Perhaps sewing is preferred.
Pick some fabric.
Any fabric.


How about crafting with old linens?
Pick a linen.
Any linen.


Or a vintage doilie.
Any doilie.


Most importantly...
Pick a hen.
Any hen.

You see, they think they are the top dogs.
If we step outside,
they think that means we'll come see them.
With a treat.

What projects do you have planned today?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Door arch - take 3

Before.....


After......



This is the last door arch I have. Third and final. I had painted the inside linen white, and the outside black, but had no idea what to put in the middle.

I was skipping around on Pinterest, and ran across a "be" list. Aha, that's what I would put in the middle. The original list I painted on it was: be grateful, true, smart, humble, clean and prayerful. Just those words.

I varnished it, and added the rusty stars. All done. I brought it upstairs to take a picture, and realized I had painted them very off-center. I rarely measure things, I do much better if I just "eye up" a project. But my eye must have been leaning to the left on this one.

So... back downstairs I went. I started adding more words, more varnish, and more rusty stars.

Much better now!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Country Life = My mama's scrapbooks

We girls today think we're so hip and modern. We're all about scrapbooking, and spend small fortunes on all the latest papers and embellishments.

I have discovered I'm much better at buying the supplies than actually using them. But boy oh boy, when I really get down to it, I'll be ready!


How cool and retro are these?
They were lovingly made by my mom when she was young.



In the corner of one is the date it was given to her by a friend - 1937.
Mom would have been 12 years old.



Another was given to her by her sister.
The year is missing - that corner fell off at some point.



But I know it was birthday gift,
because it was dated April 3.



She filled them with things she loved.
Flowers. Dogs. Cats.



Jesus. Nature. Inspirational quotes.
Funny cartoons and jokes.


The pages are fragile, but the images are still bright.



I'd guess she mostly worked on these as a teenage girl...
and also as a young woman who was missing her fellow
while he was away serving his country.

As you can see, she had collected many more tidbits to scrapbook,
but never got them done.

They may have had something to do with the fact that in 1955, a baby came along.
Just glancing through the loose papers, I noticed magazine dates from 1951 & 1954.
But caring for my sister would have taken precedence over scrapping.



This scrapbook I remember well.
She bought it for me when I was little.



And the tradition continued.

Or at least she encouraged it to continue. But this book never got finished, and I must have lost interest. I do remember getting it out from time to time though, and chuckling over the cartoons we had picked out together that we thought were worthy of saving.

My creative streak came from her, and I'm thankful for that.

It occurs to me now that I should have got her scrapbooks out when she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. During that time when she was forgetting the current events, these scraps from her past may have reached her. Even if she didn't remember them, she would have enjoyed them again, because even as the disease was taking over, all those things she had loved before still made her happy.

What a special woman she was! My sister and I were so blessed to have her for our mom!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Country Life = Country Couples

I've been sorting through old photos, and ran across this one....


That's me and George when we were dating in 1982. I always loved this picture, but had forgotten about it. That tends to happen 28 years of marriage and 2 kids later.

The picture is a bit grainy in real life, and the computer scan of it is even more so. That's ok. I suppose we're a little grainy now too. Ha!

After all, you can't keep that freshness of youth forever. But that's ok too. We realize how blessed we've been. We love each other just as much now as we did then....even more if that's possible.

We wish the same for Jessica and her newlywed husband Brian. Ok, technically, they aren't newlyweds anymore since they celebrated their 2nd anniversary last July. But compared to our 28, that's new!


Jessica was absolutely glowing that day. And Brian - who thinks girls take waaaayyy too many pictures - cooperated very well.

We also wish a lifetime of love for Kevin and his fiance Katie, who are in the midst of planning their upcoming July wedding.


See how excited Kevin is with all the wedding planning? Ha! Don't worry Katie, he will cooperate when the big day comes.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours! To your sweethearts, to your family, to your friends. It's a wonderful day to remember ALL those who we have been blessed to love, and who bless us by returning that love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Celebrities

I try to post every 2 or 3 days, but.............

I have a good excuse...really I do.

You probably don't want to hear the details...fever...stuffy head....runny nose.

Enough said? Thought so.

So, I pretty much lost most of the last 3 days. Let's see, after several attempts at paying bills, I did get that done. I made some homemade chicken noodle soup. I dusted. And that was pretty much it.

Dusted? I must have been delirious.

Anyway.

I was saddened by the news of Whitney Houston's death. What a voice.

I have never been much of a "fan". Sure, I have my favorites, but I'm not much for going all gaga over celebrities. I remember when I was riding the bus in high school - there were two junior high girls who sat behind me every day. They were IN LOVE with John Travolta. Every day, they brought their scrapbooks, and compared them. They drooled over him. They giggled over him. They vowed they would love him forever. Literally, he was ALL they talked about.

We had assigned seats, so I had to listen to them every day. I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard. Did I have a problem with it because I didn't like John Travolta? Of course not, who DIDN'T like John Travolta? This was right after Welcome Back Kotter. The height of Grease. Come on, what wasn't to love about John Travolta? But to droll over him on the bus every single day? Nah, not my style.

But still, I admit being very touched and saddened at times by celebrities. When John Travolta's son died, and also Bill Cosby's son. Princess Diana - I'm still in shock over her untimely death. Michael Landon - what a talent, and I so appreciated his television shows that you could actually watch with your family. Jim Henson - yay for The Muppets! John Denver - thank you for Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

And Whitney Houston. Every time I heard I Will Always Love You, I got chills. I just watched this you-tube video of her singing it, and thought you might like to see it as well....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkBzLbsRJ54

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Country Life = It is what it is


I had been planning to use this sign in a blog post. My friend Debbie makes the most wonderful stitcheries for the store, and this saying is very popular right now. We have laughed about it, wondering who really says that, then came to realize everyone seems to be saying it, ourselves included. I catch myself saying it rather often, and I wonder - did I always say it, or have I just started saying it since our conversation about it.

But before I could write my blog post this morning, our electricity went off. My head was swimming with craft ideas I was anxious to get started on as soon as I wrote the blog post. But when the power went off at 8:00, that was the end of that. It is what it is.

I heard a thump just a second after the power went out. A couple minutes later, as I was calling the electric company to report the outage, I heard a siren. And it was snowing. Hmmm. Perhaps someone hit an electric pole.

Kevin left for work half an hour later. He called a few minutes later to make sure I wasn't going to town today. "It's slicker than snot", he said. He has a way with words.

So, I decided to tackle the one room I could see well in without electricity. Jessica's former bedroom.


I started sorting. And sorting. And sorting. Some of this is my stuff. Some is from my parents. After they both passed on, I just boxed their photos, mementos, etc. up in boxes. Today seemed a good time to start sorting.

When you sort out your parents old photos, you know what you find? All those embarrassing old school photos of yourself. I won't be posting any of those.

I might post some of my sister's embarrassing old school photos though. BAHAHAHA.

Don't worry Jo.....I wouldn't really do that.

Anyway.............


I actually bought the pretty stack of boxes a couple weeks ago for this very purpose. They are much prettier than the cardboard boxes on the left that was holding much of what's now on the floor.

You know how one project like this leads to another?


This is next. That mess is 25+ years of photos. See that box on the floor? It fell out when I opened the door. Yeah, it's time to do something. Past time.

Remind me to sort pictures when I'm watching TV, will you?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Door crown

Before..............


After...........
 


I picked this door arch, or door crown, or whatever you call it up awhile back. It's pretty good size - 29" high x 56" across. It's been floating around my basement work studio...getting dusty...and being constantly in the way. I wanted to paint it, but how?

Yesterday it finally hit me. It looks sort of like a sunburst, and mustard and black are popular primitive colors. That's it! All that time, I had been trying to come up with something fancy, and all I needed were 2 colors, and a simple star at the bottom center.

By days end, it was finished. Yay!

I'll be taking it to the store sometime this week. One more inventory item for the store, one more thing out of my work studio. A win-win.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vintage....and unusual

The shop may be closed for the winter,
but that doesn't mean we're not still
gathering old treasures...



We're in the heart of coal mining country here in WV.
The large picture above honors the
hard work our miners do each and every day.
And they do it well.



This old scrapbook may be falling apart at the seams,
but the graphic on the front is still beautiful.



Someone already did the tedious work
of joining old fabric scraps together into an 8 point star.
There are 7 of these ready to be finished into a fine quilt.



These lamp shades have long ago lost their coverings.
All that is left are the skeletons.



An assortment of.....well....I'm not sure.



These I know....a milker and a milk strainer.
My cousin and I used to walk through the dairy barn
sometimes when the cows were being milked.
I was so little, and the cows were so big.......
.............I haven't quite got over that yet.



A bee smoker.
Not sure how or why, but that's what it is.



A heavy...and wide iron wheel.
We have a few other odd sized wheels as well.



Looking for something to plant flowers in that won't blow away?
This cast iron tub isn't going anywhere!
Drainage hole included.



Last but not least...a....an....um....



Does the side view help any?

My customers are always telling me we find the most unique things.

So unique that we don't know what it is either!

How to Peel Farm Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs

I just posted a tip for peeling our farm fresh eggs when you hardboil them on our  Facebook page , and thought I'd share it here as well...