Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fit To Be Tied


Hi Everyone!
We woke up yesterday morning to frost. . .VERY rare for us this time of year. . . But I think some of our friends to the North had snow! . . .It IS the middle of April, isn't it? . . .and Easter is right around the corner?

I wanted to brighten up the summer kitchen chairs with slipcovers for Spring. . .I let time get away from me to do any sewing before Easter. . .Then I remembered an idea I saw in one of the popular country magazines this year (was it Country Living?). . . I thought it was a clever idea and so simple. . .Made me say to myself, "Now why in the world didn't you think of that?"

APRONS. . . Straight from the collection. . .Washed--starched--and ironed. . .It's a fast dress up for  farmhouse chairs--like one-step slipcovers! . . .


It's as simple as tying the apron onto the chair. . . The magazine suggested that you leave the strings a little loose so they won't pull when you sit down. . . .A good idea. . . I went one step further and placed double-side sticky tape right on the chair to keep the aprons from shifting. . . Problem solved. . . .


For Easter, I love the pastel colors of these half aprons. . . Luckily (grin),  I have quite a collection of the smocked ones to choose from. . . I had plans to one day draw patterns from the different designs. . . Back when Mom and I were English smocking everything in sight, I thought the gingham smocking would be a nice diversion. . . That was how many years ago? . . .I don't want to count. . . I no longer have any illusions that I'll ever copy the patterns. . . But, I'd never part with the aprons. . . Probably because the very first apron I made in Home Ec was a smocked one! . . .I know you're not surprised. . . I do still have it. . . A gold gingham large check number. . . not at all as delicate and beautifully made as these. . .


While I was primping the farmhouse chairs, I wanted to try a bibbed apron look. . . I started with an adult apron. . . .For me, it was way too long, too wide, and I saw nothing of the chair. . .I remembered a couple of children's aprons I'd picked up on a recent junkin' trip. . . Maybe they would work? . . .I love them! . . .Perfect size, too. . . The problem (if you want to call it a 'problem') is---I only have two. . . .Oh, Shoot! . . .Now, I have to go junkin' again. . . (grin). . .

What do you think? . . .Which are your favorites? . . .Aprons and Farmhouse go together. . .There's no doubt about it. . . like two peas in a pod. . .The inspiration came from a magazine. . .but I made it all my own. . .without getting out the sewing machine!

PLAIN AND SIMPLE. . .Farmhouse Style.


To all of you dear, dear blogging friends. . .Thank you so much for your kind and concerned comments about my close call with a staph infection. . . I haven't been able to visit much with you these last few weeks. . . My time on the net has been limited. . .only a few minutes here and there. . . The swelling and infection affected my eyes, making it uncomfortable. . .besides the fatigue. . .To tell you the truth, it zapped me!. . .And that's it in a nutshell! . . .I am doing MUCH better. . . Now to get caught up. . . and get back--GRADUALLY--into the world again. . . I hope this will be the first of several posts to come this month. . . and I plan to be visiting with you again soon. . . Let's keep our fingers crossed. . .

Hugs and Blessing to You All
 
 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crocks-Wood-Hearts




I was recently asked how I pulled the country farmhouse look together in the kitchen. . . .
What were the things I returned to over and over again?
I had to  think about it.
Some things are such a constant at the farmhouse that it's a surprise when others ask. . . .
I forget not everyone lives this way. . . .(grin). . . .

I sat down at the kitchen table and looked around. . . .
what WERE the elements I cherished the most in farmhouse d├ęcor?
 
I decided that flour, milk, sugar weren't the only staples in my kitchen.
WOOD and CROCKERY are used over and over again,
in one form or the other.
Everything else is accessories. . . .
one of my favorites being prim hearts. . .
reminding me of the love and care that goes into homemaking. . . .
love and care I grew up with and strive to achieve in our own home.
 
 
I also began to see a pattern developing in the choices of Crocks--Wood--Hearts:
NATURAL--FUNCTIONAL--LOVELY PATINAS--PLEASING TO THE EYE
 
 
 
 
 
 
Crocks are rarely used for their original purpose, though. . . .as many of you know. . .
This one is filled with napkins. . . .
 
 
These are filled with packages of quinoa, noodles, and other cooking needs. . . .
 
I suppose you noticed I don't always use bread boards for cutting either?
Especially the vintage ones. . . .They are too special. . . .
I lucked out with this beauty to serve as a crock lid.
 
 
 
 
Yep. . . .I'd have to say, CROCKS--WOOD--HEARTS
are my main Go-To Three. . . .
They are the  Plain and Simple Farmhouse Style kitchen staples.
 
Every true farmhouse has them. . . .and I think
Every true farmgirl loves them.. . . .Don't you?
 
Maybe you don't have as many as I have. . . .
Afterall, I've been collecting and using crocks, wood, and hearts for 30+ years. . . .
but, I bet you have plenty stashed away somewhere.
No?
 Then visit those thrift stores and flea markets!
Crocks can be pricey, but every now and then I come across a good buy. . . .
Wood items are always plentiful. . . .
I bought all the bread boards you see in this post at thrift stores for pennies.
Add a few to your kitchen and you have. . . .
Instant 'Farmhouse.'


I have more decorating staples coming you way, but first. . . .

I would like to give you a quick update on a couple of things I feel I should share with you. . . .
 
I found the 'gifters'. . . .and did they get a chuckle out of it! . . .They only confessed last week. . . .Turns out it's a family piece--from my oldest cousin and his wife. . . .which makes it all the more precious to me. . . .They live two hours or so away but were in our area that day and decided to leave the ironstone at the door since we weren't home. . . . Then they sat back and enjoyed seeing me try to find the donor. . . .It IS funny. . . .yet, I'm sure glad I now know the answer to the mystery!
 
I've been posting few and far between lately, I know. . . .It's been a long and busy winter. . . .We're re-thinking and re-vamping our farm for special programs and tours. . . .taxes. . . .bookwork. . . .making contacts. . . .I've been plagued with health problems besides the 'normal' fibromyalgia aches and pains. . . .First vertigo again, then the flu and a cough that has lasted two months. . . .Then last week John had to rush me to my doctor 45 miles away. . . .Evidently during my recent vacation in the hills, I came in contact with staph that began spreading quickly. . . .A long story. . . .The short report is that I was able to stay out of the hospital but was on 24 hour watch by John (and Boo). . . .John--bless his heart--had to be sure I took the super strength antibiotics every six hours (I was pretty out of it). . . .He had to place hot compresses on the affected areas, change dressings and kept in touch with the doctor. . . .What a wonderful nurse he turned out to be! . . .The initial outbreak was on my face. . . .I'm still 'whop-sided'  with swelling and a couple of 'bad' places but am doing better and I think on the mend. . . .still tender. . . .weak. . . .The medication takes a toll on me. . . .but I can handle it. . . .I just feel so thankful that it didn't get any worse than it did. . . .thanks to John who got me to the doctor on time.
 
I'm not one to share my aches and pains normally but I've missed so many of your posts and emails that I thought I should let you know what was going on with me. . . .I treasure each and every one of you and that you're always there for me with comments and support. . . .I am truly blessed with blogging friends.
 
Don't worry! I'll be fine now. . . .taking it easy and mending. . . .The crisis is over. . . .Just wanted to let you know what was going on here. . . .As usual, there's nothing normal about our life at the farm. . . .or maybe it is the norm now that I think about it?
 
. . .from my farmhouse to yours. . .
 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

As American As Apple Pie


Can't you almost smell these apple pies cooling in the window?
Apple Pie. . . .Grandmothers. . . .Love
True Americana at it's best.


I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. . . .Thinking about my Grandmother. . . .

Back when baking was done with windows wide open, I could smell Grandmother's pies and cakes a block away. . . .When I'd get a whiff of her Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Pie,  I made it a point to visit. . . . hoping for an opportunity for just a bite of pie before lunch. . . .Why was it so easy to talk a Grandmother into such a no-no? . . . .Remember how Mom's would say no sweets, 'It will ruin your lunch'. . . . . . . I can truly say, it never ruined mine!

Deep Dish Candy Apple Crisp
Red Hot Apple Pie in a Mug
Cinnamon Red Hot Apple Pie


We Americans love pie. . . .There’s something magical about a buttery, flaky crust baked around a sweet filling. . . .Who doesn't love a slice of fruity goodness? . . .Are you drooling, yet?

I have apples on my baking list for today. . . .I've been playing hooky for a couple of weeks. . . .Ran off to the Ozarks for a much needed break, leaving Boo and John alone to fend for themselves. . . .Feeling a little guilty. . . .Not much. . . .Only a little. . . .(grin). . . .While roaming the hills I ran into apples on sale. . . .Came home with several bags and a plan to pamper John just a tad. . . .Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Pie or Deep Dish Candy Apple Crisp (both his favorites). . . .maybe Apple Jelly. . . .or an Apple Cake or two (I make several and freeze them). . . .

So it was only natural that my thoughts were on Grandmother and her 'red hot' pie recipes. . .She added red hots not only to apple pies but also to peach pies and cobblers and her delicious fried pies. . . .Contrary to belief, adding red hots is not a new concept. . . .Cooks of the past knew first hand how well the red sugary treats melted during baking, adding a cinnamon-y flavor that couldn't be duplicated with regular pie spices.

I laugh when I say ' Grandmother's recipe'. . . .because there is no recipe. . . .I learned by watching her. . . .and a few experiments of my own. . . .For you who aren't as adventurous, I've done a little online research for you and found many wonderful recipes at Just A Pinch Recipes . (links below photos) . . . .There's even one for Red Hot Pie in a Mug!

If you like the more traditional apple pies--without red hots--here's a few recipes that sounded delicious, too. . . .

 
 And, here's my version of Grandmother's pie recipe:

Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Pie
In a large bowl, combine
6  cups apples, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
 3/4 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 cup red hots
2 tablespoons flour
 
Mix and let stand a few minutes, while you prepare your favorite two crust pastry. . . .or do as I do and buy 'Pillsbury" Ready Made. . . .(grin). . . .Roll one to fit into 9-inch pie pan. . . .Add apple mixture. . . .Dot with 2-3 tablespoons butter (yum). . . .Place second pastry on top, cutting slits for the steam to escape. . . .or weave strips of pastry to form a lattice top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until apples are tender.
 
 

I can't end without sharing
Grandmother's Deep Dish Candy Apple Crisp.
It is probably the easiest and our favorite.
I've posted her recipe before, but just in case you missed it. . . .


Deep Dish Candy Apple Crisp

 Now do I have you drooling?  
 Ready to bake a little love for your family?
It's as simple. . . .and as American. . . .
as baking an Apple Pie!
What else can I say?
 
Oh, yeah. . . .There is one more thing. . . .
 Don't forget to leave the window open!
 
 
. . .from my farmhouse to yours. . .
 
 

 

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