Here is where I will attempt to keep up with the changes I'm making in my decor, craft ideas, general living and family activities. I also plan to offer some of my graphics, along with finished Primitive craft items for sale. I'll try to give you great decorating ideas, cool crafting ideas, and some tried and true recipes that have served me over the years. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee, check in often, and enjoy your time here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I've Been Gone Too Long!

I can't believe it's already October, but I really can't believe it's been so long since I've updated my blog!  We have most of the remodeling finished...and yes, I WILL post and have pictures.  Fall weather has been here for a couple of days now.  The last few weeks have been busier than I could have imagined.  We decided to re-open our former business!  I started a separate blog for it here:  Come visit us when you get a chance.

You'll see that I still have work to do over there...but progress is being made.  We have a few people already interested in selling for us, so things look promising.  Hopefully, things will come together soon, so we can make the most of the Holiday season. 

I'm headed off to my parents soon to celebrate my Dad's birthday, so I'll try to touch base soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yard work continues....and it is SO WORTH IT!!!!

Wow, I know time flies, but this is ridiculous!  LOL  I've let myself get so busy with "purtying up" the yard and house, that I haven't taken time to post much here.  I'll post some progress pictures for now, and try to give you a grand tour sometime next week.  It seems that everytime we think we are finished, we find just a little more to do!  After finishing the last flower bed, Papa decided we had come this far, so we might as well do the back of the house and be finished all the way around.  I jumped at the chance.  I've learned over the years that I better take advantage of things when he is in the mood to get them done!  LOL  We bought the landscape timbers a couple of days ago, so we should be able to finish it up on my 4 day off stretch next week.  I'll be painting our wagon wheels, and strawberry plow then, too, weather permitting.  Hopefully I'll build the birdhouses that I plan to put on posts then, too....and the yard will officially be FINISHED!  Here are some pictures of how things are beginning to look around our place right now.

We added an Arbor that sits behind and between the two water gardens.  I've planted Carolina Jessamine on each side.  It is supposed to be a fast grower and covered in small, fragrant, bright yellow flowers in the spring.  Hopefully in a year or two this will be covered with the vines.  We set the posts deep enough that we hope it will withstand the winds we sometimes get up on our hill.  I designed it, Papa built it and help me set it.  It is plenty tall enough to walk under, and still hand a birdhouse or hummingbird feeder from.  I'll have to see what I can find to give it some additional adornment!

I found this great milk can at a local flea market.  I needed to add a filter to the big water garden so I thought would serve that purpose and look nice too.  I'm still trying to get the algae under control and the water clear enough to enjoy seeing my Koi and Goldfish even when they are not feeding.  I placed my filter material inside, Papa drilled a hole in the bottom to allow the water to enter from the pump, and I added some rock in the front edge to help conceal the filter material.  The water is starting to clear, and the fish are doing great!  The come up to eat every evening now.  I love sitting outside on my little bench and watching them feed in the evening after it has cooled down.  I need to get to the lake and find a large piece of driftwood, or go to the woods and find a log to place behind it to finish it off and help conceal the tube that runs into the back.
Here is another view of the waterfall.  Here you can see the arbor in the background and the posts by the birdbath that will hopefully, very soon, each be topped with a prim birdhouse!
It has been a great year for my water plants!  Almost too good!  LOL  I plan to separate them and give away lots of starts next week.  I just can't bear to throw away plants, but some of these have got to go!  We used to be able to sit on the deck and enjoy the site of the waterfall, not just the sound.  Right now, however, you can't see a thing from the deck except the massive growth of plants.  Anyone in my area that wants starts, let me know, and we'll get together and get you some.  I have pickerel rush, yellow water iris, a floating plant that I can't recall the name of, and a variegated leafed plant that the name also escapes me right now.  Just let me know....I'll be happy to share!
Here's another shot of the posts that will soon be home to birdhouses.  I found and planted American Bittersweet at the base of each post.  When Papa was cleaning out one of our buildings last week, he found 4 wagon wheels that are the perfect size to fit between the posts!  I was so excited.  I can just picture the bittersweet as it eventually vines around the wheels and has a beautiful display of orange berries in the fall!  At Papa's suggestion, I'm going to paint the wheels black.  I used two here, and put the other two in front of the deck, where I planted three new clematis.  I can't wait to show you what I decided to do as trellis's for those...but I haven't take a picture yet.
I found this great "ladder" at the same local flea market where I found my milk can.  Papa and I made a trip to the woods and cut some grapevine.  I stripped the leaves from it, wound it in a long strip and wove it between the rungs.  I stuck a flag in it, but I think I'll take the flag out and coffee stain it.  I'm planning on putting a sign with it, but haven't decided what to put on it yet.  I've tossed around "Welcome to Nana & Papa's", "Welcome", "God Bless Our Home", "Old Glory" to mention a few ideas.  One of these days I'll come up something that's just right and get it done.  I wonder if it needs something a watering can...or if simpler is better.  Guess I'll keep thinking, looking at examples and see what strikes my fancy.  For now it does a pretty good job of hiding the cord that runs the pumps in my water gardens.  We've really enjoyed the evenings sitting outside lately.  The days are getting pretty hot and humid around here, with highs in the 90's already.  I'll be glad to get the last bed finished up before the really hot days hit!  LOL

We did take time away from work and work at home over Memorial Weekend.  I had planned on taking two weeks vacation, and decided to cut back to a week because we are so short handed at work, but we packed up and made a trip to Cloud 9.  This is a member only camping/fishing/riding ranch near Caulfield, Missouri.  We love to visit there, to get away and to enjoy the great outdoors.  We had friends that went that same weekend, and we had a great time.  We took our oldest grandchild with us when we went and her Mom, brother, and Mom's boyfriend joined us later in the week.  She had a great time, and we enjoyed having some special time with her.  I fondly call her "Silly Sally" and the pictures below might help you see why!  :-)
She is definately Nana's girl. 

And, she has really started hamming it up for the camera!

When her brother (and Mama and Bud) joined us, you would have thought the kids hadn't seen each other for years!  They were so cute the way their eyes lit up and they ran to hug each other.  They actually get a long pretty well, but they aren't always this sweet to each other!  I think her Mama missed her more than anyone, and in all honesty I think that's why Mama chose to come down and join us.  Whatever the reason, we were glad they did!

A daily ritual was ice cream.  I don't think any kid ever enjoyed ice cream any more than these two did, and yes, they actually got some in their bellies, too!

Papa's boy was always ready to go riding.  I'm thinking we will have our hands full when he is big enough to drive himself. 
He was never bashful about asking for a ride either!  "Papa, Go!" was heard many times while we were there.
I think this is my favorite picture of our little man!  He's wearing Papa's hat.  I can't find a thing not to love...dirty face and all! 
Our grandchildren weren't the only kids that went with us.  Our friends had their grandson as well.  He is another sweetie, and so photogenic!  You've seen pictures of him before, and here are a couple more.

Of course there were tons of people there for the holiday weekend.  Here is a sampling of the number of 4-wheelers that could be seen at any one time on the busier trails.
Papa usually spends a lot of time on the trails, however this weekend he was content to play chauffeur to the little ones.
We don't just enjoy riding the trails.  The tranquility and scenery are both wonderful.  Here are a couple of shots of the beautiful scenes that surround you while you are there.

Of course, when you play as hard as we did, there were the quiet, down times.  When you get tired at Cloud 9, it is a special kind of tired.  This is an example of what we laughingly call "Cloud 9 Tired".   
I've rambled enough for one post.  I'll try post some more Cloud 9 pictures soon.  And, as promised, I hope my next post will be next week when I can give you a grand tour of our FINISHED yard!  I hope this time finds you all comfortably busy, happy in life, and surrounded by family friends.

Monday, May 17, 2010

You know you are working too hard when.....

You know you are working too hard when you feel the need to go to work to get some rest! Sounds backwards, I know, but we have really worked hard at home lately. Of course, this backfired and the ambulance service I work for was really I'm looking forward to a short vacation next week when we will go to our campground membership and enjoy fun and fellowship with friends in the great outdoors.

In addition to the yard work I've already shown you, we have started some major work inside as well. We have laid new flooring in the family room, which a much needed re-do. We chose laminate because we like the look of hardwood flooring. We have hardwood throughout most of the house, but this room was renovated from the original garage many years ago and had some linoleum that had been there a long time. It was old, brittle, and dry. It had begun to curl around the edges and was pulling up at the seam. We would have loved to put in actual hardwood, but it just was not in the budget. When we began considering new flooring, we had to consider the fireplace, which we still use every winter, and didn't want to have burn marks on the new floor. Those pesky coals have a way of escaping, no matter how careful one tries to be. After talking over many options, we decided to tile in front of the fireplace. Of course, this lead to many more discussions...what shape to lay the tiles out in, what type of tile, what amazed me how many things we had to consider, and agree upon. And that was just the tile decision! LOL

Everything is coming together, however....and I'm loving the changes we are making. Papa is a Craig's List shopper....and he has found some real bargains....we saved hundreds of dollars on our flooring....and he bought a bay window! We had discussed putting in a new window on the west wall when we did our renovations, because the window was in really bad shape. You know you are losing heat and cool, when you feel the air coming in around the window....and you can see $$$ leaving the house when the curtains blow with the windows closed! Anyway, he only spent $100 on the actual window....and it is perfect! What amazes me still is the way you think you have the expensive parts purchased...but then you start picking up the "essentials" at a "Home Store" and after several trips of $100+, you finally have everything you need to complete the project! Of course, there are those days you are actually working fervently, and you have to make multiple trips to said "Home Store"...but that is the way a big project always goes, at least for us.

I didn't take time to take before pictures, and I'm still regretting that, but after searching through more photos than I can count, I did find a Christmas photo that shows the fireplace area before:

And here is the same area today:

We are still trying to decide whether to change up the brick wall or not. The color of the tile and floor tie in really well with the brick, but I'm still not sure about keeping it as is. Any opinions out there? We are still planning on doing some shelving/storage on each side of the mantle, so that will help to lessen the amount of brick showing as well.

I never could find a before picture of the window. But here is what we have now:

I am LOVING this window! Papa says it looks like it was always meant to be there, and I agree. It will take a few months for the window trim to "age" to the darkness of the rest of the trim, but it won't be long until you won't be able to tell that this was not the original window. I have purchased the cafe rods to use for the curtains. I was hoping to do tension rods, but I couldn't find them short enough for each window. One of the most exciting things for me is that I will now have a west window that I can set plants in! The window is only 9" deep, but it is a nice little ledge for some living plants and prim gathering. I can't wait to get down to the actual decorating! I hope to search for just the right curtains, and then make my own. I have the green checked homespun waiting and ready.

I did take a break and spend some time with one of my best friends, Tina, and her grandson last week.  We had to run some errands for the guys, took the opportunity to eat some lunch together and then snuck away for a bit of photography at a local Conservation Area to try to capture the Indian Paintbrush in full bloom.  Of course, we picked a day that cool, rainy and W-I-N-D-Y!!!  LOL  Trying to get "still" shots of wild flowers in the wind is a challenge to say the least.  I did get a few decent shots, however:

Here you get an idea of the vast field of Indian Paintbrush in bloom.  It would have been breathtaking to come upon one of these stands in the pioneer days when crossing the area in covered wagon.  I can only imagine what it might have been like to crest a hill and have a sea of orange stretched out before your eyes.  I can just see the pioneer children running through the sea of flowers, arms outstretched, laughter ringing in the air.  From what I understand, there are very few areas in the midwest where the native prairie flowers have survived the farmers' plow and modern development.  Up close the flowers are brilliant, and sight worth taking the time to see.

Tina's grandson, Wade is such a cutie! I have to admit that except for my own grandchildren he is the cutest kid I know.  He had his own camera, provided by his "Mimi" so that he could take pictures, too. 

He quickly tired of taking pictures of the flowers and turned to taking pictures of me, taking pictures of him!  LOL



I caught this shot of him as he was teasing me, trying to scare me.  It couldn't have come out better if we had posed him for it.  I love it when I actually get a good photograph.

After a while, Wade became tired of the whole affair, but he was still very photogenic.
As busy as life gets, it is always good to take a little time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  For me photography is a stress relief, and good way to capture the simplest joys in life.  Reminders that even when life is hectic, and there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything, are very special.  I challenge everyone to take a couple hours in the coming week to just sit back and enjoy life.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hooray for Spring!

I've spent the last couple of days, while at work on the ambulance....and not running emergency calls....trying to teach myself a little more about blogging.  I must say, I can easily confuse myself!  *LOL*  I have managed to add a few things, added the blogs I am following, added the links to my other internet sites, posted a picture and a link to the to new "A Primitive Place" Magazine that will be published in August, and few other small things.  I was finally able to customize the appearance of my blog to be cute and "Primmed"....Thanks to a template from Tammy at Twin Creek Primitives.  I didn't have to have refresh my HTML skills...I was able to follow Tammy's simple instructions and viola!....I love the new look....and found the perfect picture for now.  The picture is one I snapped a few years back at a friend's barn.  He thought I was nuts taking pictures of his rusty junk, but I love the pics.  I just wish I could talk him out of the actual wheels themselves!  ;)  If you have been looking for an easy way to update the appearance of your blog be sure to check out Tammy's graphics.

My goal for this week was to finish the revamping of my flower beds, but  finishing that goal will have to be postponed.  We've had several rain storms with some pretty severe weather, but nothing damaging in our area, thank God.  I'm not complaining, as we really needed the rain for the garden and the I'll just rearrange the schedule of my goal list.  Here are some pictures of the shape my flower beds had gotten into, after a lot of neglect last summer, along with some after pictures to show what we've done so far.  We aren't finished yet, but should be if we have just a couple of days of pretty weather, without other "life distractions".
Front Yard Before

Front Yard After (Sorry for the glare)

Large Watergarden Before

Large Watergarden After (ignore the pool ladder in the background...didn't realize that the wind had blown it back there until I was proofing!)

Fireplace Bed Before

Fireplace Bed After (we still need to complete the area in front of the steps....we won't leave it like this!)

Small Watergarden Before

Small Watergarden After

We still have more work to do....not quite finished with these areas, and then we are going to do narrow beds with landscape timbers the full length of the east and west sides of the house...but that will be a "piece of cake" after reworking all this.  I'll post more pics as we get more finished next week, hopefully!
I'll share a few more shots of some of the front yard below: 
A shot of the small watergarden with the fall running.

My water Iris are such delicate flowers.  Beautiful, and the humming birds love them!

I need to do more in this area to add some color and some height.

A couple of shots of the Wave Petunias in old tubs, I am looking forward to the time when they grow and "wave" over the edges with their cascades of bright blooms.  I was going to use the flat stones to make a path through the flower garden, but I think I like the look around the tubs better....and a LOT less work!  :)

Here's a little encouragement for those blooms to grow! :)

A couple more shots of the large waterfall.  I am going to be spending some time trying to get the water cleared of the algae that has built up so that I can actually enjoy watching my fish.  I have some Koi and some LARGE gold fish, but I haven't been able to get clear water the last couple of years.  I've tried the "natural" rememdies, so I guess I will resort to the "fish/plant safe" algaecide in the very near future.  If anyone knows of a good product let me know.

While we've been slaving away in our yard, a friend of mine has been working hard in her's too.  She shares my love of flowers and the primitive style.  She sent me some pics, and graciously gave me permission to share them with all you here on my blog.  Don't you just LOVE what she's done? 

She's also promised to send me more pictures this summer when she has everything planted and the flowers have filled in.  It will be stunning to say the least.  I plan to "steal" her idea with the birdhouses to give some height to a couple of areas in my yard.  I think I will also try something with the standing landscape timbers to create an archway of sorts to plant my Carolina Jessamine on.  I'll be sure and post pictures when I get it finished and let you know how I did it, and whether it was easy enough to recommend.

This has definately become more lengthy than I'd planned, but I just had to share.  I'm so proud of how it is looking, and I wanted to let you all know why I haven't yet posted more about my Primitive crafting adventures.  Those things have been put on hold to work outside.  Keep checking in, though.  We are getting ready to make some major changes in the family room and kitchen that will involve a lot of Primitive changes!  In fact....look for a post in the very near future asking for some ideas/suggestions about a couple things that I'm still undecided on.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend...full of sunshine...and avoiding storms!