Monday, June 2, 2014

hay rounds

Yesterday we came home after church to the hay bailed and rolled into glorious rounds. I feel so incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of Ohio and get to look at this on the back of our property! We dream big dreams of farms and hay fields and livestock and thought we'd never see them start to grow. God is good! There are yet bigger dreams. I can't wait to see where God takes us!

Friday, May 30, 2014

make hay

Today our amazing neighbor cut the hay in our fields, cause you see that big tractor pulling the cutter thing, we don't have those. (Nor do us city girls know the names of those machines.) He'll come back to rake it and bale it into big beautiful round bales of hay! Sustenance for the future.

We dream of that future, too. This some day of ours. Plan. Work. And figure. How many cows could that field support? A bull? How many feet of fencing? How big a barn? And a tractor? Count the pennies. Draw up plans. Baby step. Make hay.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

bad paint job and hope for the future

I was disappointed to wake up this morning (eager to move on to painting the trim on the back porch) only to find the paint dried blotchy. The walls are grooved panels and after the first coat I went back and brushed the paint into the groves. Sure, it looked blotchy then but after a typical second coat I was hoping the problem would be resolved. It is not. It's better, but still... uh, let's say, it is not good. Tonight I'll try a third coat. 

Given this is the primary entrance to the house I want to get it right. I want it to reflect our personality and that of the house. I want it to be functional for a family of 6 (occasionally 7) and the paraphernalia that occupies them. And I want it to be pleasing to look at. I've spent some time thinking this over and planning. 

A blotchy, bad paint job fits not into the vision. But... a rustic potting table and herringbone brick, wellies all lined up, maybe the perfect screen door, and the back door painted black... these ARE part of the vision, to be sure!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

cat and mouse

Today I played cat and mouse with the storm clouds and the laundry on the line--keeping one eye on the rain on the other side of the valley guessing it's arrival time, and the other eye on the red-crested woodpecker in the black walnut tree.

I would have been faster hanging the laundry if I'd just kept focus on what I was doing. But what fun is there in that? 

In between running the laundry in and out, doing school work with the kids, managing the 8 and 11-year-olds as they cleaned up after dinner, and chasing around an 18-month-old, I put the second coat of paint on the back porch. Thanks to my big girls for helping with the baby!

Almost everyone that comes to the house comes to the back door and this porch is the first thing everyone sees. I tore out the green indoor/outdoor carpet, hubby added some quarter round at the baseboard, and we're on our way to setting the tone and making a good impression with this first peek into our home. Is that a weird thing to concern oneself with? I don't want the first impression to be a dirty closet overflowing with shoes, Big Bird yellow paint, and a dumping ground for whatever we've carried in from the barn. This really is a beautiful house and the porch has been neglected for too long!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

thoughts on an old farmhouse

Thinking about our old farmhouse and the projects I'm itching to start is all I've done this winter. Thinking. With the breaking of winter and the promise of summer, thoughts turn to action! 

When I committed to taking a year to live in the house without any major projects or changes, I thought there'd at least be some major painting going on. Instead we've put our money into things unseen... septic systems, well pumps, hot water tanks, water softeners. 

It's good to have the major systems on the house in order. All other things will come in due time. 

Although we're not so sure the air conditioner will come on this summer.

Friday, January 17, 2014

how to line a drawer with paper

One of my favorite things to do is line the drawers of my pieces with paper. I like leaving that little surprise and knowing that the inside is pretty, too. After all, storage should be beautiful as well as functional, right? 

With a few dollars and some simple steps it's cheap and easy to add this detail. These are the steps I follow with lining a drawer with paper...
The supplies: craft glue, water, brush, and a jar with a lid for making/storing your glue mixture...
...a drawer...
...and the paper of your choice. I used the pages from a 1930's Farmer's Wife Magazine which I got at a garage sale for $1. I like the mellow tan of the paper. It coordinated nicely with the paint I was planning to use for the dresser. I also liked the combination of the print, the type/font, the graphics, and the black and white photos. And I loved the content of the magazine how it focused on farm life and women on the farm. To be a farm wife in the 1930's you needed grit and determination.
Step 1: Mixing the glue mixture. I find straight craft glue too thick for spreading and sealing with a brush so I thin it with water. Glob a whole bunch into your mixing container and add water by small amounts until it's thin enough to spread with a brush. Vague, I know. It's better to start a little thicker and add water if you find it's just not spreading smoothly. I used the handle of an old brush to stir. You could use a pre-made decoupage medium like Mod Podge, but I find that thinned-out craft glue works just as well for paper and it's cheaper. I save the Mod Podge to use when I'm working with fabric (more on that later).
Step 2: Dry fit the paper. I take the time to make a dry fit of the paper inside the drawer itself. You could just start gluing, but I want to be sure I have enough paper to finish the job so I like to plan it out a bit.
With each piece of paper I place it in the location I think it will fit, then crease it along the edges that I need to trim and tear it. No scissors here, baby. Just tear and go. I use small pieces and large. They end up vertical and horizontal and I don't mind tearing in the middle of a column or graphic.
This is what the entire drawer looks like dry fit. Notice there is a little spot that isn't covered. That's ok. I'll get that as I'm gluing. 
Step 3: Move the paper out and to the side to expose the base of the drawer. This doesn't need to be an exact representation of the dry fit, but enough to give you an idea of where things go.
Step 4: Coat the base of your drawer with the glue mixture. This is where you'll discover if the mixture is too thick or thin. Add additional glue or water to suit your taste. I do small sections at a time--maybe a quarter of the drawer.
Step 5: begin laying the paper. I like to start in a corner. You'll notice I got glue up on the sides of the drawer. This won't matter because I planned to cover the sides too. If you'll only be covering the base, you might be mindful of this. The glue could darken the sides after it dries and look messy.
Step 6: Smooth the paper. I use the brush to smooth my paper and make sure it is flat and has full contact with the entire base. When you do this you ensure that the overlapping edges of the next piece will be glued down. You are also adding a top coat.
Step 7: Choose your next piece of paper, place it and smooth it down with the brush. Repeat until the entire drawer is covered. For any little spots that may have been left uncovered, just tear a bit of paper and glue it in its spot. I don't generally have problems with bubbles or wrinkles when working with smaller pieces like I do. Large sheets can be trickier. If you get a bubble or wrinkle you can gently lift the piece and re-position it.
Final Step: brush a final coat of glue over everything. Be sure nothing was missed. If you desire, you can let it all dry and add a final coat. The final product, when completely dry, should be smooth and not tacky. You'll be able to give it a light wiping down with a damp cloth, if needed.
I don't always cover the sides of the drawer. It just depends on the drawer and if I like the look of it when I open it. This one needed the insides and outsides and back. 
Follow these instructions when lining with paper. I use a slightly different method when using fabric which I'll share another time.
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