Twiggy Wreath and a Soapbox Rant

WARNING: The thought for this post had very little with how it ended up. Somehow each year about this time I get on my soapbox and rant for a bit. I wasn’t going to publish it but, what the heck. Read it at your own risk.

It wasn’t Halloween, hell school hadn’t even started yet and some places where putting out Christmas décor. Now that Black Friday is upon us (which I will be boycotting for the 12th year in a row) it’s almost time to start thinking about Christmas. Personally I wait until the first day of Advent to put up decorations. It drives me absolutely CRAZY that Christmas for most is nothing more than blinking lights, glitter and gifts, God forbid you don’t get a mountain of presents that were purchased in an overcrowded store full of crabby people. (Most of who are crabby because of the crowds, noise and the fact they are so wrapped up in spending money they don’t have to fill what is sometimes an obligation) The service can sometimes be awful because the poor person working has been harassed by many “Scrooges and Scroogets” because the shelves don’t match the ad and so on and so forth. Not to mention those out spoken few who don’t celebrate the holidays and want everyone to know “but get the hell out of the way it’s the last one and they aren’t taking rain checks.”

Just the thought exhausts me. I have no interest.

What happened to Jesus and family? Isn’t that why all this ridiculousness began in the first place? Weren’t families gathering to celebrate the birth of Christ not the ugly sweater Aunt Bertha trampled Sally to get from the sale rack first?

I know some are reading this thinking “yep that’s right” and others are ready to bombard me with anti-religion crap and so much more. Ok, for a brief moment lets go there. (I’m giving you the “I dare you glare” right now if you can’t feel it.)

A super quick over view, way back when, Constantine declared the catholic religion the religion of the empire causing all the pagan priests to become catholic priests bringing with them their pagan traditions. Which is one reason there are a few Catholic traditions that coincide with pagan traditions. There’s a ton of history, changes, reforms ect. That you can google on your own. I’m not here to preach about this at all!

By the way this is not up for comment, debate or rebuttal. It will be a waste of time as I will delete them without reading them. This is so far from the post I had planned.

Now back on track. Jesus is the reason for the season. Yes, I like glitter and lights just as much as the next gal. You can bet I will be putting a little of both out for the season. Growing up our lights outside were blue. A big star on the side of the house with a couple strings leading your eyes down to a manger scene in our back yard. It could be seen both out our window but through the bare trees from the road. Everyone that traveled that road often, knew when the lights were on Advent had started. In the house we had a tree and another small manger scene. The small manger scene was always a privilege to set up. Where to put, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the camels and all the other pieces. That was a constant reminder of what was to be celebrated.

Gifts from my house are done with care. They are mostly homemade with love and thought. The ones that must be bought are done so with care as well. This year my family is doing things a little different then years prior, we drew names for gifts. We are all getting older, we don’t need much and with growing families the cost of gifts can get overwhelming. My sister is working two jobs, going to school full time and just moved into her first apartment. Although gifts are not expect or required to celebrate Christmas there is an underlying obligation to give, even when giving is from the heart and something you want to do there is still the feeling of “I should get something for him and then her and I know I haven’t talked to them lately but I would like to do something to let them know I still think about them ect.” Before you know it your buying a gift for everyone on the Christmas card mailing list! So, in short drawing names relieves the some of the gift stress.

Don’t get me wrong I like to give gifts, I like to see the surprise and happiness that even the smallest gift can bring. Doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas for a rainy day. My problem is I don’t have the funds to give as I would like, even the homemade gifts take supplies. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling either. So more guilt, because I can’t give as I feel people deserve.

For my children I would like to stick to  this for our gifts to them:

Something to Wear, Something to Share

A Need and A Want.

And they choose something they don’t play with anymore to donate.

I don’t want them to go to school and feel like the other kids got way more (which they might anyway) but I don’t want them to get lost in the meaning of Christmas either. Not to mention our house is small and less is usually more.

I will admit I have more Christmas decorations than all other holidays combined and with this being our first Christmas in the new house a bunch of decorations will be donated this year too. Each year I try to get my family to focus a little more on true Christmas and family and less on the commercial side of things. I think more of that is needed by all, but that’s just me.

Well, that was quite the “soap box” I started this post with the idea of telling you about some very plain and simple seasonal decorations not just for Christmas, I had put together with the branched and twigs from the tree in the kitchen. Christmas decorations don’t need to be glittery and overdone.

So here’s the first, nothing fancy  and can be used year round if you please.

Start with one flexible twig. Tie the ends together, this will be the frame twig. Using the jute to secure the twigs in place, wrap the jute around a new twig and the frame twig. Every couple wraps add a new twig. Continue like this all the way around. And there you have it!

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You suffered through my Christmas soap box for a twiggy idea. I promise to keep my preaching to a minimum.

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Don’t Mind the Tree in the

Don’t mind the tree in the kitchen, the curtains will be done soon and then I will wash the floor. Well, let me back up a bit. In the kitchen I have three large windows, one of which is the door to the deck, all lined up for a great view of the deck, trees and lake. The problem with them is its winter and winter here means cold. Very, very cold. These windows let a little of the cold in.  Hence the curtains.

I knew I wanted a medium weight fabric of neutral color that would add a bit of texture to the room as well. ( Before we got rid of cable TV, we watched a little HGTV some evenings). I also knew I’m broke and these needed to last a long time and be relatively cheap at the same time. My genius ideas struck again…Painting drop cloth! (and most of my genius ideas are accidents gone good 🙂 ) It was everything I was looking for; neutral, texture, medium weight, durable and best of all cheap! For about $30 I had enough fabric to do all three large windows and make a matching valance for the window above the sink.

After some thought I decided to make a shade style window cover rather than draw back curtains which allowed me to use a little less fabric and still fully cover the window when needed.

I’m not going to go into great detail of how to make these shade right now. That can be explained in a future post.

The shades were cut and ready to hang to be finished, however I was lacking a curtain rod to hang them. Needing a rod approximately 10 feet long and having nothing around here of that length, I grabbed my axe and headed down the driveway. There is the perfect patch of young trees about half way between the house and the road and in that patch a tree I deemed straight (enough) to use. So I chopped it down and drug it to the house.

There is not much besides chopping and hauling firewood  that I find has to be done when its below 0. So as anyone in my shoes would do, I pulled the tree onto the back deck and into the kitchen. I’m not about to limb this tree in the yard!

So limbs off and I’m ready to cut to length. My wood saw is not anywhere to be found. So here I sit,  shades ready to be hung and finished, tree and limbs in the kitchen and no saw.

I did find a few things to do with the little branches before the remains will go to the stove.  Those pictures will come soon.

The rest of the shades will be “To Be Continued” after Thanksgiving, when I can borrow a saw from dad.

For now I will scrub the floor around the tree because in my stroke of genius I forgot those great little buds are sticky when the fall off the branch and get stepped on.  🙁IMG_0884

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Lace on the Walls

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On piece of charm that came in our little farmhouse is a built-in china hutch in the dining room. I love built-in cabinets for some reason. This one is no different; old dark stained exterior and lighter painted interior.

I had planned to paint the inside before loading it with heirloom pieces but by the time we painted two bedrooms, the dining room, the living room and a few of the old panel doors I had had enough paint for a while.  I still wanted to “dress up” the inside of the cabinet though. Lace was the perfect way to go! (and it will match the dining room light, which is a piece of work all it’s own).

I’ve put fabric on the walls like wallpaper using spray starch before. It didn’t work real great for me, kinda. It was more work than it was worth really. So I knew I didn’t want to go that route but I still needed a way to keep the lace on the wall with the option to remove it someday without too much hassle.

Elmer’s Glue! You know the kind you were taught not to eat in kindergarten. Yep! That’s the stuff. It doesn’t stain, it’s non-toxic (as glue can get anyway) and it will wash off the wall when I need to remove it!

Here’s what I did:

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First I washed the whole cabinet out, walls, shelves everything.

I then measured the height and width of each wall I wanted lace on.  I cut the lace to fit with about an extra inch or so on all sides.

I used thumb tacks starting in the middle of the wall and tacked the lace on the top. I worked my way to the outside. When you do this be sure not to pull it tight. When the glue dries it will shrink the lace a bit.

I mixed my glue with water; roughly 50/50 ratio.

Using a sponge I applied the glue to the lace on the wall. Giving a good, thick coat. Too thick and it will run, too thin and the lace sometimes pulls away from the wall.

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After letting everything dry over night, I took out the tacks and with a sharp angled scissors I trimmed the excess lace. I had planned to use a sharp razor blade to do the trimming but I didn’t have one sharp enough. Even my best fillet knife didn’t do the trick.

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There you have it! Lace wallpaper! Looks nice and easily removed with warm water and soap when the time comes!

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The High Chair Restoration (part 2)

If you missed part 1 it can be found here.

Ok, Let’s talk Gorilla Glue. It’s great stuff, it holds things together better than any glue I’ve used before. I don’t want a wobbly chair, so between the glue and screws nothing should move. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem with Gorilla Glue is it can be a stringy, foamy, sloppy mess! Which is what I ended up with. Not to mention the pieces of the chair were not going together very smoothly.

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I had absolutely had it for the day when Dad and the Mister came to the rescue. I don’t know how they did it, ( I went to the house ) but they got it together. Dad got out his clamps and it’s looking good again.

I used an oil based stain, which I put on before we started to assemble. I was sure to not get the stain on the ends of the spindles or in the corresponding holes. This worked very much to my advantage. Once my sloppy Gorilla Glue dried and foamed it was very easy to lightly scrape off the stained wood.

Then a few coats of varnish and done! Well almost, the little mister will need to be buckled in or he will most likely slip out. So next step is to get the leather out and make some straps with snaps.

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Here comes…

There’s a lot going on at the farm right now be sure to watch for the up coming posts!

The sheep have been sheered and it’s time to turn the fleece to a sweater. (Ok not our sheep, that will come later. But I do have a few fleece to tend to)

The pigs have been butchered. I should talk about the butchering, bacon making, ham curing, chop cutting pig processing,  but then what would I talk about next fall. Fat is being rendered and soap being made this time.

We are also going to talk about hide tanning too! But for now I have some steer hide ready to be tooled.

Cheese is in the works to start aging.

There’s some lace being put into a “built in” in the dining room. (I know it doesn’t sound to interesting but it’s actually kinda neat.)

The barn needs some help and repair.

The summer kitchen plans are getting close and will hopefully be in use by next year.

There’s more to come in the kitchen, the craft room, the garden and the barn yard.  Some things we are starting in the middle of the process, but don’t worry we will circle back to the beginning too!

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