Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quiet Homekeeping....Daily Grace

Dearest Readers,


The past few days have been filled with the rhythm of everyday living...I call it quiet homekeeping. There is such grace in the small things, the seemingly not-so-important-to-the-outside-world things that make a house a home.  It brings me such joy to have my home in order, a good nutritious meal in the oven, a craft project in my work basket and my family all around me.  What more could anyone want in life?  I am so sad, truly sad, for all those in this world that run from store to store, place to place trying to find happiness.  It is never sold, for any price, in any store.  It is found right in your own backyard, if I may borrow a line from dear Dorothy. 


I hope that each of you reading this will find grace in your everyday life....I believe it is a glimpse of Heaven upon this earth, that quiet feeling of deep-down happiness.  It is found in the simple and quiet of each day.  The sun shining through wavy glass and lace curtains, the aroma of a loaf of fresh bread, an apron tied around your waist that makes you feel just like your Great-Grandmother........simple, oh so simple.


Yours in quiet spirit,


Shan

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lavender, Bunnies and Chicks......

Dearest Readers,


It is time to decorate for Easter here at Honey Hill Farm.  One of the sweet little nooks in our dear old house is located right inside the front door......


For the spring into summer season I hang 3 wire baskets filled with spanish moss, lavender and greenery. It is easy to add new flowers or flags (think 4th of July) to add to the sense of the season.


Dearest added a "spotlight" to the buffet and I scavenged a piece of velvet from my fabric stash.  A delicious "chocolate" bunny stands tall among the lavender and is joined by a very sweet chick.  A few old boxes and tins surrounded by old millinery, add a sweet old fashioned feel ......



We can't forget to put out a carrot for any stray bunnies that stop here at Honey Hill Farm.....


Just a little glimpse of this quiet, gentle day.......


Until tomorrow dear friends,


Shan


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Outdoor Easter Decorations........

 


Dearest Readers,


I am happy to report that I have finally finished the outdoor Easter decorations I started nearly 3 weeks ago!  First, I created a pattern for all of the shapes - I used the outdoor flag I had purchased as my inspiration. I have several Victorian flags but I did not have one for Easter.  I looked and looked but could not find a Victorian one, so I just bought the flag (see photo below) that spoke to my heart.


I had Dearest cut out shapes for me out of some scrap lumber.  Next, I used a water based sealer and sealed all the shapes on all sides.  You can buy the sealer on the same aisle as the acrylic paints. Then, I base coated all of the shapes, traced on the patterns and finished with all of the detail painting.  I finished with 3 coats of exterior varnish (on the aisle with the paints). 


We had a couple of days of warm temps and Dearest was able to drive the stakes into the ground for me.  I then gave my light-up Momma Goose and her Goslings a touch of Easter!  I also tied my "carrots" in several of our trees to finish with my decorating.  (In case you are wondering, I bought the carrots years ago.  They are supposed to be for treat bags, but I think they are fun hanging in the trees!) 




 


 Now I must get busy and finish decorating the inside of our dear old home! 


I would be so grateful, dear readers, if you would leave me a comment and give me some ideas of things that you would like me to post on my blog.  Would you care to see more pictures of my home?  Would you like craft ideas?  How about recipes?  The history of our dear old homestead?  As I am new to blogging, I would be interested in your opinion. 


Kindrely yours,


Shan

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Busy as Bees.......


Dearest Readers,


What a busy day we have planned here at Honey Hill Farm.  First, we hope to be able to "plant" the Easter Decorations I finally finished.  Dearest is not sure that the ground will be thawed enough to allow him to drive the stakes that support them.  If not, I will have to tie them to the porch rails somehow.


Next, a trip to the library is in order followed by a stop at the post office.  I also hope to stop at the local college Alumni office and see if they have old graduation photos of a few of our relatives for a scrapbook page I am planning.


Once we are back home, I will put out the indoor Easter decorations and wash a few loads of laundry.  Tonight for supper we will have Honey Baked Turkey, steamed vegetables and rice.  I don't have a recipe for the turkey, I just cook until done and then remove the lid and baste with honey and sprinkle Mrs. Dash.  Then I put it under the broiler so that the outside gets good and crisp.  So yummy!


Warm wishes for a delightful day,


Shan


The photo above gives a hint of the ceiling here in our parlour - very easy and inexpensive to do!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keeping close to Home.....


Dearest Readers,


We have had snow off and on all day here at Honey Hill Farm.  It has been the kind of day to stay curled-up by the fire, good book in hand and a hot steaming cup of tea in the front parlour.  Close to home is always the best place to be. 


I had a leisurely day of a little laundry, a little crafting and making sure to put the pork roast in the oven for dinner.  These slow moving days are my favorite, no rushing to and fro, frazzled and bedraggled. I find I am reinvigorated to tackle the upcoming week with joy and gratitude if I have a calm weekend.


This week I hope to finish the varnishing of my outdoor Easter decorations, so they are ready to put outside this week.  My, but this project has taken so much longer than I anticipated! 


I also want to start painting the upstairs bedroom.  I would like to have the house in good shape for the Graduation party that we will have in May for two of the Darlings.  We have one graduating from college and one from high school!  I try not to make the house the focus of a celebration, rather the hospitality that I offer to our guests.  However, I do like to use the "pressure" of an event to prompt myself to finish projects! I wonder how many readers would share that same sentiment - LOL.


Have a blessed evening and wonderful Monday morning!


Yours kindredly,


Shan


The picture above is a corner of the front parlour where I can enjoy a quiet afternoon.



Saturday, February 16, 2008

What I am Wearing Today...


Dearest Readers,


Today, Dearest, all the Darlings and I will be heading to the Home and Garden Show.  We just love attending this event!  There are so many ideas for gentle living, from solar power to xeriscaping.  This show has delights for all of the senses....beautiful flowers, different types of music and of course, the cooking demonstrations - with samples! 


Today I am Wearing.....my long navy skirt, navy granny boots (I have had them for years), a red turtleneck and my dark navy denim jacket decorated with embroidered and beaded cherries.  I have a sparkly cherry necklace and earings.  This outfit is most comfortable for walking and looking and eating!  What are you Wearing Today dearest readers?


Well, off to the show for a delightful day with my wonderful family!


 


Yours truly,


Shan 


Friday, February 15, 2008

A Closer Look......


Dearest Readers,


I have had a few requests to show a close-up picture ofthe opposite side of my pantry.  I did include a more distant view in the post below. 


The Hoosier belonged to Dearest's Great Aunt who lived in our home until her passing at age 96.  She always kept the Hoosier tucked into this snug little pantry.  It is amazingly useful and holds all of my baking needs, from flour to spices.


The "stained-glass" window is actually just cling film, made especially for windows, from the hardware store.  Please forgive the plastic window dovering that you can see, but old houses are drafty and this helps us keep the cold at bay. I can't wait to remove it this spring.


I also had a few questions about my pantry:


Where have I acquired all of my jars? I have bought them at the hardware store, Target and was lucky enough to have a kind older lady give me all of her canning jars a few years ago - she was just going to throw them away....oh dear!


How do you label your jars?  I have some very cute and very victorian post-it labels that I found at Michael's in the $1.00 bin.  They are so handy and I can take them off when I wash the jars or if I change the contents.


Where do you store all of your canned goods?  I keep all packaged foods that cannot be stored in jars in either the lower part of the Hoosier or in my stock pantry in the fruit cellar. 


I enjoy sharing with you my Dear Friends, so please leave me questions anytime and I will try and answer them.  I am no expert, but I will do my best!


I so hope that you have a pleasant and gentle day,


Shan


Thursday, February 14, 2008

A little more peeking.....


Dearest Readers,


As promised, I will give you the continuing tour of my home......here is a picture of the "business end" of my dear little kitchen.  My sink is such a cutie; even though it doesn't show in the picture, the sink is speckled blue - like granite ware.  Dearest was shopping at the hardware store a long time ago and found this sink on the clearance isle.  What a sweet surprise!


The back-splash is actually the same type of embossed wallpaper as the ceiling (only smaller in scale).  This is a terrific paper to use - it hides imperfections in old walls and holds up wonderfully once it is painted with semi-gloss paint.  I bought the roll on sale for $1.50 and I used it as a back-splash and behind my stove - so much cheaper than tile!



Of course, a very important part of any kitchen is a stove and my dear old 1949 O'Keefe and Merritt fits the bill!  When our conventional stove gave out a few years ago, I decided that my next stove would have character and an old-fashioned feel.  We scoured catalogs and found some very delightful, but very expensive "old" cookstoves.  The only problem was that I wanted 2 ovens and 6 burners - either I couldn't find a model that had those options, or the model that had those options was out of my price range.  Finally, I saw an ad in our local paper about a gentleman that restored and sold old stoves.  Even though this model is not turn-of-the-century, I couldn't resist its charms or the price!  It was a match made in heaven.


The "icebox" is just our old (22 years) refrigerator that my Dearest covered with beadboard and hardware.  One cannot have a modern looking appliance spoiling everything, now can they? The little black "box" on the top of the icebox is a pie warmer.  I have a small light in it so that it looks like it is glowing but it didn't show up too well in the photo.



And finally, you can see all the way back around to my china cabinet.  I have this along one wall to hold all of my everyday dishes.  We don't have many cabinets so this works very well. 


If you will recall, I posted a picture of my pantry earlier, well, here is the opposite side of that cozy little room.  I house my baking center right there in my Hoosier.  I can pull out the metal top, sift flour right from the flour bin and mix my baking ingredients right there. It is fun to use antiques for everyday living.  My mixer is hidden by a lovely old dish towel in case you were concerned about that lump in the photo - LOL.


And so dear friends, that is a peek into the kitchen here at Honey Hill Farm.  Not too big, not too small, just right - at least for me.  I am so blessed to have this home in which to serve my family and others.


Have a blessed day,


Shan

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A peek into my kitchen....


Dearest Readers,


I would like to share a few photographs of my kitchen here at Honey Hill Farm. The photo above is of a little shelf that sits over my stove.  I have been collecting old tins of canned foods for a long time.........these are a few of my favorites.



Now you can see my ceiling and the lovely light fixture that my Dad made for me many years ago.  You might notice the "tin" on the ceiling!  Ah, dear reader, that is just embossed wallpaper that I purchased on sale for $6.00.  I cut it into squares to make it easier to hang, then I painted it a plain grey and went back over it with a silver glaze.  This project cost less than $20.00!


The light fixture did not originally have all of those prisms, it was very simple.  When I decided to make my house Victorian, I was on a very limited budget, sooooo off to Home Depot to the lighting department!!  I hung the prisms off of a very stiff "ribbon" that I picked up at Wal-Mart for 97cents a roll. 


The little curtain that you can see next to my cabinets hides the microwave.  It is on a swing rod and you can just swing it open and then you have access to the microwave. 


Of course, no Victorian kitchen would be complete without a few well placed accessories and what better place than the top of the cabinets!  Here you will find tins, granite ware, and little candles making themselves at home.



This little table is so handy to have here in my dear kitchen.  My Dearest added extra "feet" to the bottom of the legs to make it an ideal height for rolling out dough and chopping vegetables.  The top was covered with fabric and then a clear tablecloth.  The grinder came from the local hardware store  - my turn-of-the-century food processor!


I am pleased with this small, but functional kitchen.  It has the same footprint as it did 100 years ago, and it is just pleasant place to be each and every day.


Tomorrow I will share a few more pictures, but for now I will say goodbye dearest friends.  I hope you have a gentle and quiet evening.



Blessings,


Shan

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What are You Wearing Today?


Dearest Readers,


Today will be a busy day here at Honey Hill Farm.  Dearest and I will be heading into town to shop at Costco.  I need to replenish my stock cupboard and freezer.  I find it so much more delightful when I can "shop" in my own home instead of running to the store every other day.  It is much easier on my pocketbook too.


Later in the day I will continue to work on my outdoor Easter decorations.  Dearest cut the shapes for me and I have been busy with the painting, I hope to have them varnished and in place by this weekend.


I also will need to stop by our hardware store and pick-up 2 gallons of paint for one of the upstairs bedrooms.  I will share a before and after of the room with you.  This is the last room in our home that hasn't been "victorianized"!  (I don't think that is really a word - but I like it!) It will be two shades of a turquoise blue with burgundy accents and a gold stencil.  I am not afraid of color, as you can see.


Lastly, I thought it would be fun to share "What I am Wearing Today"... I saw this on another blog and it sounded fun.


What I am Wearing Today....Nice brown slacks, brown sweater with ivory lace cuffs and sewn-in ivory lace collar, a pretty paisley shawl in browns and tans for warmth, brown Mary Janes, my hair is rolled and then tucked up under a pretty brown ribbon barrette. A lovely cameo and ear rings add a splash of color. 


What are you wearing today?


Have a glorious day Dearests,


Shan


Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Lovely Day....

Dearest Friends,


It was a lovely day here at Honey Hill Farm.  Dearest played hockey on our pond with family and friends very early this morning!  The much-enjoyed ice will not last long with the temperature hovering around 50 as it was today.  This "tease" by Mother Nature reminds us that spring is just around the corner!


We heat our home primarily with two wood-burning stoves.  We have one in both the front and back parlours.  We do have a furnace, but we rarely use it.  So today, Dearest and one of the Darlings made a trip to the wood lot and hauled our last load of wood for the season.  It won't be long before we are opening windows and doors and letting the cool breezes of spring refresh the dear old house. 


I stayed home and worked on my outdoor Easter decorations.  I am taking photographs as I proceed and I will share the directions with you when I am finished.  I hope to have them ready for display by next weekend. 


Tonight, we are meeting our Darling Girl and having a family night out at a favorite restaurant.  We always look forward to spending time as a family and breaking bread together.


I hope you have a blessed evening,


Shan

Friday, February 8, 2008

Homekeeper's Yearbook



Dearest Readers,


I have to share with you a recent discovery from a lovely website, Marmee Dear.  This Yearbook for the Homekeeper is a delightful way to stay organized for the entire year.  I was so excited when I received this in the mail.


I chose the 3-ring option as I wanted to be able to add homekeeping articles and ideas to the yearbook.  I just decorated a plain binder with some clip-art and added monthly dividers. 


This organizer has so much to keep a busy homekeeper on the right track: menu planner, grocery lists, shopping lists, home repair list, things to order list, telephone and address, bible reading list, etc... It also has charming artwork on each page as well as a bible verse!


In order to lead a gentle life, I feel one needs to be organized.  It offers peace of mind to know that I have not forgotten an appointment or task.  Dearest friends, I must admit that when I try to keep myself organized by memory alone, I flounder.  I find myself criss-cross at the end of an unorganized day! 


How do you organize your days dearest friends?  It would be so delightful to share our ideas.......


Have a blessed and orderly day,


Shan


 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A cup of tea please.......

Dearest Readers,


A hot cup of tea and a warm fire have been so necessary these last few days.  I have had a slight sore throat and have not ventured far from the easy chair.  I did some reading, earmarking articles to study further, in my library copies of Mother Earth News.  There was an article on a portable chicken coop that was worth a deeper look, as well as, some organic gardening spray made with Fels Naptha I would like to try this year.  I will be sure and post this "recipe" after I have had a chance to try it myself.


Speaking of gardens, I am anxiously waiting for my R. H. Schumway's catalog to arrive. Their Victorian era inspired catalog is not only beautiful to look at, it has an amazing variety of heirloom seeds.  I enjoy planting my garden with edibles that would have been available at the turn-of-the-century, so this catalog is a dream come true! We usually cannot plant anything here until after Mother's Day, as we can have snow clear into May, so I have a while to dream about my garden.


I did make some curtains to put down in the fruit cellar.  They cover a shelving unit that I store all of my canning supplies, food mill, etc.  It is such a nice "old" looking print.  It has a beige background with navy flowers and looks tea-dyed.  I had to laugh when I first saw the material - I have tea-dyed so many things over the years that my family never knows if a pot of brewed tea is to drink or to decorate with! 


Well, it is time to close as I must get to the business of running my household.  I have to do some laundry, pay a few bills and think of something wonderful to bake, as my Darlings have had to stare at an empty cookie jar for far too long.  Those poor things!


Yours kindredly,


Shan


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Camera Down, I repeat, Camera Down!


Dearest Readers,


It was quite a day yesterday as I rushed to and fro trying to buy the proper battery charger for my camera.  Unfortunately, I was sold the wrong charger when I purchased my camera and it was not until my battery completely died that I became aware of this!  So, here I sit with a camera in a coma!  I have ordered one, but will have to wait a few days before it arrives. Arrrgghhhh!


Today we spent a nice day together as a family.  All the Darlings were home and there is nothing better for this Mamma than to have her nest full!  A large pot of chili helped us keep the chilly weather at bay as the "boys" settled in to watch the Super Bowl.  The game is still on as I type, and I keep hearing jeers and cheers from the family room.


I hope you will have a pleasant and cozy evening!


Yours Kindredly,


Shan


The photo is courtesy of The Library of Congress



Friday, February 1, 2008

A Day with Dearest and Congratulations to Monica

Dearest Readers,


What a lovely day I had with my Dear Husband.  We had a scrumptious breakfast in town and then headed out for a few errands.  When we returned to Honey Hill Farm, Dearest began working on a project for my outdoor Easter decorations!  All I had to do was give him a pattern and he blazed away with his jigsaw - so handy that man of mine!  I will be sure to share some photos when I have the project finished.


Congratulations to Monica at Homespun Heart, she had a darling baby boy!  Please stop by her blog and send her your best wishes.  If you haven't visited her before, take time to look around - she is such a wonderful gal!


Well, the last of the Darlings are home, so it is time to start supper. Tonight is "turn around supper" - we are having bacon, eggs and pancakes.  Yummm.....


Have a gentle evening dear friends,


Shan