Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My latest finds and a chicken tractor

Here's a quick peek a couple of things we're working on around the house...

I've been keeping an eye out for a vintage fan to mount on the wall in our bedroom rather than have a ceiling fan.  I love having a fan on while I sleep in the summer, especially with a window open too. 

 There are a lot of these old fans floating around.  A lot of them still work just fine and most of them have a little rust, a few dings and chipped paint.  I love rust, dings and chipped paint but when I found this one, I knew it was the one.  It was still in its original box with the tag on it and all its papers and looked brand new.  It had been stowed away for the past 50 years in someones attic in Michigan and now it's back in Missouri, where it started out...where it belongs.

It's like a sweet homecoming.

The door on the barn track is another project we've got going on in the bedroom.  I found the old door at a flea market and Jeff hung it from the track for me.  I've got to decide how I want to finish the wood and put some opaque plexiglass in the window.  I'll have another door on the same track on the other side of the fan for the closet...one of these days, hopefully. 

Jeff's a busy man.

Recently he's been helping me get a garden ready and building a chicken tractor.

I, of coarse, "supervised" (skimmed through books) from right here...

for all of about five semi-relaxing minutes.  Then it was back to refereeing kids and animals, playing name that bug and 20 500 questions times four chatty children and fetching tools, drinks, sandwiches and bandaids, nursing baby, changing diapers, etc, etc.

Back to the tractor.  While preparing this post, I realized I didn't have any good pictures of the completed chicken tractor, so I grabbed my camera and headed out to snap one or two shots.

As soon as the girls (hens) heard the clickety click of my camera, they started heading over to the tractor to pose for me.  We let them roam free all day and they typically only come to the tractor to get a drink or lay an egg, unless there's a camera involved, then they're all over it.  Even Petunia, our barn cat, got into the act.

Silly cat, she thinks she's a chicken.
She was snacking on chicken feed when some of the hens spotted her and decided they couldn't let her hog the camera.

"Move over cat!  This isn't about you!"

Before Petunia knew it, she was being ganged up on by the girls and she was run out of town!

The kids named the hen on the far left Eye Pecker, and for good reason.  I'm guessing even Petunia knows about her reputation.  Chickens just can't resist pretty little sparkles, especially that chicken.  "Oh, what's that pretty sparkling thing in your face?" she clucks.  "Here, let me..."  peck, peck.  "OUCH!!  That's my EYE!"  Yep, they're not very bright.

Anyway, for anyone that's curious, Jeff made the tractor out of an old chain link dog pen.  He made an A frame from two of the panels and closed up the ends with chicken wire.  Then made a small coop at one end with a ramp that we pull closed at night.  The roof of the coop is made of left over metal roofing and is only screwed down at the top so we can lift it open to gather the eggs like so...

Every now and then, we find a kid in there, but it's usually just hens and eggs.

He can pull it around the yard with the riding mower when he needs to, hence the name chicken tractor.

Welp, that's all.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cupcakes for my cupcake

I've been refamiliarizing myself with cooking, since I went so long with just a couple of little hot plates, and one of the first things I baked in my dreamy blue oven were cupcakes.  I bought a carrot cake mix for Jeff's birthday a few weeks ago, in hopes that the oven would be up and running by then.  It wasn't.  But that's okay because if it had been, then these cutesy little cupcakes would have never been born.  They'd have been a plain old sheet cake because what man's man would wants cupcakes for his birthday, even if he is a sweetie?


I've been taking on things like oven roasted chicken as well as popping some of our home grown Dakota Black popcorn on the stove.

It's not burned, the kernels are actually black.

Cooking on the blue stove almost makes me enjoy cooking!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another pillow tutorial (and curtains)

It's time for another pillow tutorial.  This one is so easy, it's ridiculous.

This is the one that Jeff asked me if I knew the "pleats," as he called them, weren't even.  He's a perfectionist in regards to his own projects and I'm possibly the complete opposite so I'm good for him, right?  Right.

Step one.
Cut out your the squares (or whatever shape you choose) for your pillow.

Step two.
Cut a strip of fabric you want to use for the ruffle, or whatever that thing in the middle is.  You'll want it to be 1.5 to 2 times as long as the width of the pillow for making gathers.
The width of the strip is up to you. 

Step three.

The ends of the fabric won't matter, but you'll want to "hem" the long edges of the strip unless you want the edges to have a frayed look when your done making the ruffle.  I folded them under almost an inch and machine stitched it at the standard 5/8" mark.  I also plan to use this line of stitches as my sewing guide when I make it into a ruffle.

Step four.


Just eyeballing it, I pinch up the fabric and shove it under the foot all willy nilly with no rhyme or reason as I sew another line to hold these ruffles in place.  That's what gives it the nice (or as in Jeff's case, perplexing) uneven ruffled look.  The key to making this work is to sew slowly.

When your finished, it will look something like this:

Step four and a half.

Do it again going down the other side of the strip.
Oh!  This is important!  Make sure you're sewing in the same direction on both sides of the fabric to insure that your ruffles will want to fold in the same direction.  Whew!  I almost forgot that part!

Step five.

Iron the ruffles down into submission.  My goal, aside from not getting burned, was to get the folds in the fabric to all face the same direction all the while encouraging their unevenness.  You could skip this step if you want to go for a fluffier ruffle.

Step six.

Pin it to the front square of your pillow fabric and sew it on. 

Step seven through ten.
Finish the pillow in the usual way then enjoy.

A tutorial for the white pillow can be found here.  It's easy too.

I used the same ruffling technique for my curtains minus the ironing step.

After making a pocket for the rod, I pinched and gathered and sewed five lines across the width of the fabric then I stitched over those same lines a second time to reinforce them because I don't want the threads to break when I tug the curtains closed, and they will if you don't.  Trust me.

I made them from muslin which, I think, is typically meant as a backer for quilts.  Maybe.  I don't know.
You could use a sheet or whatever kind of fabric you wanted to make these.  Anyway, I use the extra wide stuff so that when the curtains are closed, there is enough fabric to completely cover the window, even with all those gathers.  My curtains are fully functional so that was necessary, but if yours are only for decoration it doesn't matter how wide the fabric is and you might as well save yourself the money and buy the standard 45" wide fabric.

Remember a while back, I said I wanted white billowy curtains that blow around in the breeze because that would make things seem light and airy and relaxing?  Well, it works.


The bed keeps them from billowing to their full potential, but that's okay,

it still has a very relaxing effect.


I'm having fun linking up at:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Join us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up party!

The Girl Creative


Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

Get your craft on Thurs.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Have you read this magazine yet?

Not too long ago, Lisa from The Pennington Point, was having a magazine giveaway for her readers and I won.  Yippee!! 

Want to guess which magazine it was?

Here's a hint.

It's a brand new magazine and if you're a regular blog reader in the home decor circle, you've probably seen it around, A LOT.

I've been wanting to get my little mitts on it for quite a while now to see what all the hubbub was about, but I couldn't find it in any of the stores I go to (Wal-Mart.)

I'm sure you've probably guessed it by now,
 so take a look at it one more time.

The day Lisa mailed it to me, she sent me an email and mentioned she was sending along something extra in the package and that she had been praying for me.  (I'm truly thankful for all the prayers I can get!)
I had no idea what else she would be sending, so anything would have surprised me, but my jaw hit the floor when I opened it up and found out what it was.

She sent me a hand towel with "Cottage Dreamers" embroidered on it in the prettiest shade of teal!!!
It's perfect and it's beautiful and it was such a sweet surprise!  Seeing my blog name on that towel really makes it feel official.  It's established now.  Permanently etched for all of eternity onto a hand towel.

I put it in the bathroom for all of about two seconds before the thought of grubby little kid paws possibly touching it entered my mind, so I snatched it back up and ran to my bedroom thinking, "No.Way."  Sorry kids and sorry guests, this towel is mine.

So, until I can get it framed to hang over the fireplace or on the front door or some other fantastic place, I'm keeping it in a safer place than the bathroom...my bedroom.  It matches perfectly too.

Right there it sits so that I can admire it's pristine beauty, unmarred by sweet but filthy little children, unlike every other towel in my entire house.  Would it be weird if, after we turn the lights off at night, I were to grab the towel, give it a little peck on the embroidery then snuggle it up to my face to sleep every night?  I was just curious.

Okay, Celeste.  Snap out of it!

Besides the lovely towel and magazine, Lisa did one more thing.  It was something that was so creative, fun and thoughtful that I've got to tell you about it too.

She put little post it notes here and there, throughout the magazine with her own sweet and funny thoughts about different things in the magazine as if we were reading it together without annoyingly reading over each others shoulders, and breathing each others air.


Some were big notes.

Some were little notes.

I like to read my magazines word for word from cover to cover without flipping through the pages first, that way I can savour every bit of them.  I also do it that way because I like the suspense of not knowing what's coming next, but knowing that it's gonna be good, whatever it is.  Well, with all those little notes, it was even better! It really was like flipping through a magazine with a friend and I have never enjoyed reading a magazine so much.  Seriously.  (The magazine itself was really, really, really good too, by the way!) Wouldn't that be a good way to cheer someone up who's in the hospital or homebound?  I think so, because it cheered me up and I wasn't even down or sick.  I'm going to keep the little notes in there too, so that I get that feeling every time I read it.  Jeff, please forgive me for knocking a few seeds loose in your gourd when I caught you trying to peel one off.  It was a knee-jerk reaction.

A little about Lisa.  She's a wife and homeschooling mom to one husband and nine children, respectively, all living under one roof in Texas.  That's right, I said 9...NINE...nueve.  I guess everything really is bigger in Texas!  And they are all theirs without any mixing or blending.  Wow, right?  I know.  That makes my seven member family seem microscopic.
Anyway, her blog is wonderful!  There are several categories to read from including everything from decorating to offering wise counsel on personal and family matters.  Remember, she has nine (happy) kids and a happy marriage so she's pretty much an expert.  If you're from, in or have a family, or know someone who is or has, I highly and sincerely recommend visiting her blog

Thank you Lisa!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Take Flight

It really feels like spring is finally here.  The warmer weather has motivated me to get crackin' on a few things that involved paint and sawdust.  Those things are better off outside, in my opinion, although we've done plenty of sawing in the house this past winter too.  You just do what you can, right?

Anyway, I've been working on my bedroom again and want to show you what I've finished so far, but first, I've want to tell you about someone I met...online.  (I had to word it like that, because I'm old enough and I've been married long enough that we didn't have that kind of thing back in my day, so I'd otherwise never get to say, "I met someone online.")

Please meet Julie.

Wait, that's not Julie.
Actually, I don't have a picture of Julie.  I don't even know what she looks like, but I do know this,
she is a very sweet and talented lady and this is picture is proof of that.

We met, like I've met some of you, through blogging.  After leaving eachother comments and a few e-mails, she sent me this amazing picture she took called Take Flight.  I fell in love with it the first time I saw it in her etsy shop, jules J gallery.  In fact, every time I look at it now, it still makes me smile.  Something about it really captures my imagination.  The vintage look makes me wonder, where are they?  What year is it?  And the one, lone bird flying away makes me wonder, where is he going?  The whole thing is captivating.  Thank you Julie.  You're too kind.

Her shop is full of her wonderful, original creations including vintage style photography, beautiful reproductions of her wonderful paintings, a variety of lovely and professional looking note cards as well as some of the prettiest jewellery.  Her art covers many styles and I'm sure she has something  for everyone.  Any of it would make great, unique gifts.  You really ought to go take a look.   

Back to my bedroom.

I've been working as fast and furious as Sophia will let me (which is an extremely slow pace) to spruce up the place, but I'm pleased with what I've managed to finish so far.

Originally, I planned to have a slightly different layout of our furniture in our somewhat small 10'x13' bedroom, then my mother-in-law surprised us with a beautiful armoire that required a change of plans.  It started out a little cramped, especially on Jeff's side of the bed where he had barely a foot of space between the bed and the wall, but I came up with a solution that I'm loving.

Here's part of the problem we had.  Evelyn still sleeps in our room in a toddler bed because that's how we do thing around here.  I had planned to turn it the other direction to accommodate night tables a little better, but the larger and awesomer armoire forced me to turn the little bed this way instead.

Up until yesterday, Jeff and I each had night stands by the bed that were about 12"x12" each that forced us to cram each piece of furniture on that main wall very tightly together making it hard to even make the bed.
My solution was to take out my night stand, scoot the bed over and hang shelves we made on either side of the bed instead.

Now Jeff has closer to 18" between the bed and the wall, which is still probably tight for some people but it's just right for him.  He likes to sleep with the curtains open anyway so he can see the stars at night.  He wouldn't be able to do that if he were much farther away from the window.  I left his night table, which is actually a small narrow bookshelf we built, so that he has a place for his bible and loads of crap with cords.  He has a lot of that and he'll be happy to know that I unplugged everything for him then wadded it up in a ball and stuffed it all under the bed so I could take some pretty pictures.

I put Julie's picture on his side to make up for it.

It's beautiful without being necessarily feminine or masculine.  Just perfect.
Her picture got me to thinking that I really like the vintage look in my little cottage so I also bought Jeff a 1927 green, wind-up alarm clock on Ebay.

I couldn't have been more pleased yesterday, as I was getting things wrapped up in the bedroom, when Jeff brought in a box from the mail with the clock in it.  It was just meant to be.  Doesn't it look perfect with Take Flight?

I didn't completely leave myself out though.

My sister took this picture of a robin's nest full of eggs in her back yard a couple of years ago.  It reminds me of my five sweet babies.  It also reminds me that someday they'll be leaving the nest making me an empty nester so I don't like to think about it too much. *sniff*

I love the little touch of blue it adds.
See that box in front of the clock?  That's where I keep my bedside paraphernalia.  Mints, lavender hand lotion and Sophie's snot sucker.  Disgusting, but necessary.

Speaking of stashes, here's one of the reason's I love the armoire my
 mil gave me.

Since I now have to share one bathroom with everyone in the house, it turns out that this single piece of furniture couldn't suite us better.  The drawers hold the little girls clothes and the shelves hold all of my beauty products.  The door has a full length mirror in it and I keep a stool under my bed and pull it out when I do my hair and make-up.  When I'm done, I just shut the doors and no one but you is wise about my little mess, so let's keep this between us.

I finally finished the curtains and hopefully they no longer look like bedsheets.

It was really simple and I may get around to doing a tutorial one of these days.
I also made a bed skirt and a couple more pillows.

Jeff asked me if they were supposed to look like that.  Humph.  Silly boy.

I'm happy with the way they turned out even if he thinks they look a little off.  I'll add them to my list of tutorials.  Maybe.

I still have lots more I want and need to do in here, but is it something that can ever be truly finished?  I don't think so, but look how far I've come since we moved in!



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