Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beach Inspired Curtain

I was trying to think of an easy way to create a beach themed curtain for my tiny bathroom without going with the usual rod and curtain design. I had two nice peg boards that I had already painted white. I also had some rope trim from another project. With the purchase of 1 yard of Lobster print fabric and a little creative sewing, I created a great little curtain. I folded the fabric in half which created the perfect size. Then I measured the width across and decided how big my loops would need to be and how far apart. I attached the loops to the curtain with a needle and thread, leaving the rope long on each side so that it hangs down. After adding a few beachy accessories to the peg board, I have the finished window!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mailbox with Memories, Ideas and Storage

If you want something special in your yard, try this. My mom placed a mailbox near the old woodshed. Inside is a notepad and pencil in a plastic bag. She would leave notes for her grandchildren,  write down her thoughts or leave a surprise for someone, etc. When I inherited the home place, I kept that tradition going. When I'm working outside, I take time to occasionally open the mailbox and write a note with the date on it. It is fun to look back and read some of our thoughts. The children are old enough to write notes also, and occasionally they surprise me. This is also the perfect place to keep a garden journal, or garden tools, etc. A large recycled mailbox is perfect for keeping the tools you need on hand for small projects, packets of seeds and more. Use your imagination!!! What would you store?? 

Friday, August 19, 2011


I didn't really MAKE these, but I did GROW them, so technically that is kinda handcrafted!!!  I was so proud of them, I just had to take a pic. This weighs 7lbs, enough to make about 5 pints of Pasta Sauce, so you know what I'll be doing soon!! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Repurposed Rocks!

This planter is really special. It has been around for as long as I can remember. The interior portion of the planter is some big concrete thing that my dad rescued from a job site. It looks like a condor birdbath, instead of a regular birdbath. So in an effort to make it pretty, my mom surrounded it with flat rocks from old chimneys attached to forgotten homes. No grout, no glue, just nicely stacked rocks. This is the perfect hiding spot for Chipmunks. We occasionally leave a treat on top and just wait for the chipmunks to come out!! By summer's end, my torch begonias will be overflowing in this planter with bright red blooms. The petunias were volunteer and came up on their own from a past planting. It was a nice surprise!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hidden Cabinet door

I love mysteries.... you know the kind with a bookcase that is a door, or a house with a hidden staircase, a picture of a person whose eyes follow you.. OK, maybe not the picture with eyes that follow you. That does freak me out. But I love things that aren't really what they seem. 

Living in an old Farmhouse, things were built to fit in, not necessarily for beauty.  Look at the picture below, there are two beautiful paintings, one by my brother, one by my sister. I wanted to display them near each other. SOOOOOOOOO, I removed a tiny cabinet door and replaced it with my sister's painting of old ball jars. Scroll down to see the pic with the door closed and then open....... now if I can find a place to put a bookcase over an existing door, I'll have another perfect hideaway. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blue Mason Jars

My collection is growing!!. Old Blue Mason jars line the top of my upright freezer. See you can make a Freezer look interesting. My father in law gave me the 1/2 gallon with the zinc lid. I am very proud of that one. I keep searching for the 1/2 pint blue jar with a zinc lid... so far it has been elusive. The only one I saw on Ebay was around $100.... too much for me. Guess I'll have to do without, but if anyone is getting rid of a 1/2 pint jar with a zinc lid, I will gladly get it out of your way!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cake - you have to try this recipe!

If you have tons of Zucchini like we have tons of Zucchini, and if you like chocolate cake, then you are going to love this recipe. It is awesome, it bakes beautifully, and you can use all that zucchini while impressing your friends and family with great cooking skills!!! So give it a try. Sorry there isn't a pic, but I ate the cake before taking a picture. Trust me, it looked wonderful!!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup sour milk (add a few drops lemon juice or vinegar to mild and let sit 10 minutes)
2 cups zucchini, shredded

12 oz chocolate chips
chocolate frosting (optional) Who in their right mind would not include frosting???

1- Cream margarine, oil and sugar
2 - Stir in eggs and vanilla
3 - In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients
4 - Mix dry ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Fold in the Zucchini.
5 - Pour into a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking pan. 
6 - Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until cake tests dry. Cool
7 - Topping - While cake is hot, open a can of frosting and spread it over the hot cake. Did you know that canned frosting will slightly harden as it cools if spread on a hot cake, kinda like a candy coating.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Serves 18...(mine served about 10 generous helpings) hee hee

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harvest and canning

Handcrafted items fall into many categories. At one time canning goods was considered just a chore and a part of the process to harvest and keep crops. Over time it became easier to purchase canned goods from the grocery store. But, with the push to go green, to buy local, to grow your own food, canning has regained its lost popularity. These canned goods are proudly displayed in my cabinets and I've added a lot to the freezer this year. Pasta Sauce, Salsa, and Freezer jams are easy to process and store in the freezer, but nothing is a pretty as a cabinet full of colorful jars, filled with the summer crops! Makes you wish winter was here already!!! Not really, but you know what I mean!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Abby's Sunflowers!

If you have never attempted to grow sunflowers, please treat yourself to at least one summer of Sunflowers. This first pic is one very tall stalk with multiple blooms, enough to fill a vase on the table, or take some to work, or give to a friend. Me, personally, I just took pics of them because they were so beautiful. What you can't see, is the area behind these particular plants. There is a patch of Sunflowers and they are beautiful!! Buy a packet of seeds and follow the directions, wait and enjoy!!! It is worth it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rocks, Flowers and Baskets!

This is one of the best and worst flower beds EVER. I love the rock wall (the best), although some invasive vine (the worst) keeps growing there, I'm finally getting it under control. There was lots of cast off hanging baskets in the barn, so I started rescuing them and just stuffing them with anything that would grow and placed them around the bed to bring some height and hopefully attract hummingbirds and butterflies. So far so good.
Thanks to some bright pink and yellow Lantana, I have blooms almost all summer. If I can just keep the crazy vine out, this will be a nice flower garden eventually!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beauty and Function - Metal Watering Cans

One of my favorite tools to use in the summer is an old metal watering can. Not only are they functional, but their old fashioned beauty brings to mind a simpler time. These sit patiently on the back porch. Timeless... Functional... Beautiful... I really enjoy the task of watering flowers when I can use something that my mom and grandmother possibly used also!!  Someday these old cans will find a safe place in the house to be displayed, but for now, they continue to serve a purpose and help bring beauty to my summer garden.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adding a touch of old - Metal bowls

 This old gray weathered wooden well house is right beside my door on the back porch. At first, I thought of it as an eyesore, but it really grows on you. I added a bright pink geranium and some pink/green plants in metal baskets, hung some old metal bowls on the wall and suddenly this became one of my favorite spots in the yard. My flowers love it here. I can easily water everything and in the evenings, this spot is so cool and quite. Now I feel the urge to go through the barns and find more metal objects to hang on the wall. So maybe the next time you see this pic, it will have lots of fun additions! Keep watching!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sea Roses and Seashells

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bench. I found it tucked away in the barn and I just dragged it out with the help of my nephew, Ben. After moving it all over the yard, I found the perfect spot for it in front of the old Smokehouse... No, you do not Smoke in there. It was used to "cure" hams. It still smells like salt inside, but that is another story for another day.  I found this great cracked flowerpot and filled it with sea roses. The seashells added a "beachy" feel. I really like the way this looks. Yes, the building needs a lot of work, but hopefully someday this will be the perfect studio or either a great tool shed. Either way, I think it is beautiful. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Art in the Garden

Whew!!! Summertime!!! We have been busy, busy, busy. So much to do in the yard and garden that we barely find time to do any crafty projects. I reminded myself that I've neglected the blog, and I was trying to focus on something artsy while working in the garden and then it dawned on me... I can use the garden. My DIY projects not only flow throughout the house, they flow into the yard, garden, driveway and sometimes down the road. So this week I'm going to share some of the projects we have worked on outside. 

The project above is a great recycled project. The lattice work is from a building that had been updated. Since this photo was taken, I've added additional lattice on each side of the corner cucumber vine to give it a place to climb. A saw blade, a horseshoe and a metal sunshine were pulled out of hiding to dress up the garden. The garden itself is pretty much a first. Flowers were planted here that really weren't doing very well, but the vegies like this spot. Hopefully the zucchini and cucumber won't overrun the area. Stayed tuned for more garden updates!!