Saturday, December 5, 2009

Carol of the Bells....

The picture of the "door bells" you see there has been in my family since the early 1970's. The bows you see on them aren't original-they were originally done up with fake berries,gaudy paper gold leaves and a couple of pine cones. As much as I loved it,it had really gotten to look shoddy even tho my mom had redone it at some point-the pinecone in the center was her addition. It came off a tree that was in the front yard of a house we rented in the late 70's. I believe the bells were purchased at Stats in the beach area-a very "in" crafts store during that time-sort of like Michaels is now. At any rate-after Yule last year I had purchased the ribbon at Michaels after the holiday with the intention of refurbishing the bells with new bric a brac early this year-I even kept the bells down in my sewing area. Well,this week I finally got to it & added the home made bows with vintage button accents. Glue guns are wonderful! The bells are now hanging on the inside of the front door-hearing them when the door opens & closes brings back a lot of good holiday memories. While I have tossed or donated a lot of the older ornaments to simplify things,I couldn't part with these.
The annual Holiday letter is done-I just need to figure how many copies to print & in the cards they go! I really enjoy doing it and wish more people did-it's a great way of catching everyone up on what's been going on in the past year.
The hunt is still on for the outdoor holiday lights. The attic really needs to be organized! If all else fails,Big Lots isn't far from here and I'm wanting to convert to LEDs to be more green.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Talkin Turkey....

A little late,I know-I've been caught up in uncluttering,organizing & discarding what I feel is no longer "me". But-I had to share this fellow with you-my best garage sale find in Thanksgiving day decor! I found him this past June in the neighborhood yard sale fest I go to. He sat on my mantle till just after Thanksgiving. I found a similar one on eBay & the seller felt it was fro the early 1950's.
No chips or cracks,tho it does look like he's missing some red on his waddle. I have no idea what he is supposed to be used for-a tiny planter,perhaps? I've also been getting some very reasonably priced Yule goodies for the kitchen-a spoon rest for the sugar spoon and I'll be bidding on a Christmas sugar bowl (that will be holding Splenda) I won one last year but it was just too tall & awkward-I discovered I like short & stocky sugar bowls. I love decorating the kitchen to go with the seasons & holidays. Next years goal will be making valances for the kitchen window for Yule,Fall,Winter,and spring. I could do an old looking patriotic print for summer.
I got the shelf above my computer desk dusted & re organized-I moved the printer & phone up there too as it's more practical & no more stooping over to grab a page while it's printing. Totally redecorated & am goin farmgirl in my tastes. Using a little feng shui in my re organizing....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Discovering Ukulele as a Cowboy/Farm Girl Tradition

No one was more surprised than me by getting into ukulele. My grandmother got this one I believe in the early 1920's- a banjo ukulele made by a guy who sold them at a roadside stand in San Jose,CA. Unfortunately,this one was made before they standardized the measurements & so forth and it doesn't sound good from the 7th fret on. But it's what I started noodling with & playing Christmas carols a little over a month ago. My mom had the banjo skin replaced nearly 30 years ago & I have no idea why-she never played it.

I finally broke down & got a good inexpensive model made of nato (eastern mahogany) wood as it gives a good tone. Not the fanciest uke in the world,but it's a perfect instrument to take to my part time job,plays excellent & sounds wonderful. I'm not a Hawaii/Island type person,and found that you can play blues on it (I have the book!) and was even more surprised to find there is a cowboy tradition (that started back in the 1920's?) of making music on the thing. It made perfect sense-it's small,inexpensive,easy to learn,perfect for one who's life is on the go and living in the great outdoors. I can't believe the positive reaction I've had at the part time job I have at the college when I'm playing. Mind you so far I can pluck "Good King Wenseslas" and do some melodic scale stuff plus a few chords. I'm far from what I'd considered to be "good" yet my boss has asked me to quit playing outdoors on break & play in the break room as she likes what I'm doing. I've started making gig bags for these out of colorful & fun fabrics as the one that came with my uke can only be described as "cheesy"! I'm hoping this will become an instrument of the farm girl-perfect for having along when you take a break from yard work,waiting for the baking to get done in the oven,or just need a musical time out. So I'm off to learn more tunes!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lifes' been on a whirlwind lately.....

And while I've been trying to make the best of it,it's been challenging,to say the least. My part time job has become more than part due to a billing letter going out to students for past semesters,and this invited nothing but chaos & negativity along with a constant tugging on the sleeve by my supervisor to come in nearly every day. The light at the end of the tunnel will be a nice Dec paycheck. None the less I'm hoping this ends soon!
Dads infected tooth was pulled yesterday,and I found out I have a cavity,so I get to have a small filling put in. But while all this unexpected stuff has been swirling around me,there have been delights,too! My strawberry plant is bearing fruit,I see a ripe lemon on the tree,I've discovered ukulele playin,along with the fact my grandmothers banjolele was made in the early 1920's. A no name model that she had purchased at a roadside stand in San Jose when she was a young girl-the stand owner made these instruments.
So having a lil extra $$,not wanting to take a family heirloom out of the house,I ordered a ukulele for myself along with a gig bag that I can take with me places. I'd worry too much about taking the mandolin,esp now that it's set up proper, I wouldn't want anything happening to it. It should arrive around the 5th.
Thankgiving dinner plans are cluckin in my head. I'm thinking of breaking tradition & going with roast,potatoes & carrots along with dressing this time. The libbys pumpkin bread kits are wonderful,and that will be dessert.
I'm reading about crazy quilting & how to do it. I'd like to start making instrument cases for ukes & mandos. We'll see. And now,for another busy day........

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yard Sale Delights!

It was that time again,and lookie what I got! This wonderful looking Farmgirl knitting basket with 2 seperate compartments,one on either side. This will be perfect for my smaller knitting projects,& I can sit on the porch if I want while I'm knitting. I also got some knitting needles,knitting notions,beautiful multi-shade brown yarn,and for Yule decor in the kitchen,I picked up this plate to hang on my wall....
I'll be picking up a plate hanger next time I'm at Michaels. My fellow farmgirls have really inspired me in the area of interior decorating & trying new things. Thank you all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Halloween Decor For the Porch!

I've had this idea for a couple of years in my head-and I finally did it! I picked up the plastic cauldron candy bowl at a yard sale,got some gorgeous marigolds at a nursery,drilled holes in the cauldron,and viola! A Halloween planter! Marigolds are used extensively in celebrating "The Day of the Dead" and the colors on these are just awesome.
Ever notice how there's a lack of Halloween songs? For Yule,music a plenty-but for my favorite holiday,there isn't much aside from Bachs Toccata & fugue in D minor. But I will be watching Vincent Price DVDs! I picked up the Better Homes & Gardens Halloween annual (a tradition of mine) and love leafing thru it.
I've still got a ways to go on the front porch-hopefully today-seems we have a nice wave of cool cloudy weather and I really want the porch to be nice,neat,and a place that I can sit & pluck mandolin in a comfy chair.
Good grief,it's Oct 1 tomorrow and I need to get out the Halloween decor-I celebrate all month long and I'm in disbelief that it's that time already. I always remember my ancestors & friends that have passed over during this time,and I have a few "new" additions to remember this year-a longtime neighbor,a co worker,and one that I used to babysit as a boy and was "extended family" as an adult. This is the only area of life that I don't appreciate getting more of.
Michaels crafts stores are selling the most wonderful pumpkin spice candles in a tin for 99 cents! I'll be picking more up next time I stop in. They also have Sugar Cookie & other assorted seasonal scents. I like the metal container as I don't have to worry about accidents & the tins are always handy for something like knitting stitch markers & the like. Long lasting too! I can feel the chill in the air-that wonderful Fall feelin!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Richmond St Fair in El Segundo

Was yesterday and while I didn't plan to go,I did anyway. Very festive and family oriented fair-there was some live talent,one woman sang beautifully and played guitar. Lots of crafts,jewelry,clothing,and a couple of country decor stands. While there were lots of lookie loos,very little actual shopping was taking place-seems the economy has yet to pick up for the everyday citizen,including yours truly-tho I did buy a dusty purple beret that had caught my eye when I first started looking about. However,it would be fun to do next year-perhaps being a participant for either Mandolin Babes or if I could find other musicians to play with,we could do folkie sets. While guitars were abundant,no mandolins,fiddles,banjos or dulcimers were to be seen. It was beautifully cool overcast weather-towards the end of my visit I found myself drooling over this Mustang!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Finished Skirt!

Well I did it-thanks to my sister Farmgirls-I made a skirt from a pair of jeans! Went over huge at my place of work-(where the pic was taken) I'm starting to rip a 2nd pair to make another skirt. Not to mention I started knitting a washcloth using "Sugar & Cream" cotton yarn.
Got my teeth cleaned today-good grief my mouth was sore afterward-that chick really seemed to be scraping for all she was worth. Was somewhat drained for the rest of the day.
The weather is back to being HOT and I'll be sooo glad for Fall's coolness & slight chill. The yard needs work but it's just too broiling to even think about pulling weeds. So I sit in front of my fan & knit while drinking a cold glass of milk.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Catching Up!

I received the back issues of MJF and I'm having a ball reading them! (the Simply Bee issue & the Holiday issue '08) I'm amazed at how I've seemed to find where I belong at long last. I very much enjoyed the article "Compassion" in the "Learn to Live" issue. How timely that article was...I had just completed my 1st day of the week at a community college that I work part time at,and It's been made more challenging lately due to a co worker "Ida" (not her real name) who has become a constant complainer and is very into criticizing others name it. It was particularly draining to work around her on Monday as it was busy. Part of the critique was involving yours truly as I'd taken extra time to help a student & Ida was outraged I was doing this because the more time I took with the kid,the more work Ida was having to do! (and she announced it!) Heaven forbid. What made it worse is her voice carries and she was working the window right next to mine,and he heard every grumblin word. While I can normally shrug it off,the negativity Ida was spewing really wore me down-it had an amazing level of toxic-ness to it. What a delight to find the magazines had arrived in the mail when I got home so I could start reading them & shift gears as it were. The Compassion article jumped out at me not so much because of anything I'd done that day,but because it pointed out the negative talk I'd experienced that morning,how widespread it's become in society,and I agree that it's impacting everyone who is in earshot of it. Somehow the Stink bug invasion must be stopped. Peoples jars are overflowing with them. I think some people have two jars of em. I want my jars to be filled with lightning bugs,ladybugs,butterflies,all things delightful & lovely to look upon. The article really helped me and couldn't have come at a better time!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ahhhhh the colors of fall-the apricot tree in the backyard has leaves that are starting to turn,and there's a slight coolness in the air. I'm also thinking more about knitting & other projects I'd like to do for All Hallows & Yule. Currently I'm working on a shrug for myself-called a "nightingale" the pattern is from the '60s. I love those older patterns for their simplicity!
I'm getting a keen interest in churning my own butter and found a wonderful supplier for the supplies. Perhaps next paycheck or after the holidays (resolution for 2010-make my own butter instead of buying!) My mom had me make some using a small jar & shaking it till the cream turned into a lump of butter-the taste was wonderful-made store bought butter seem awful.
In the yard,(which has been neglected except for watering-it's been scorching out here) I'll be needing another 6 pak of marigolds for my cauldron pot (I got one of those med sized plastic cauldrons,drilled holes in the bottom,and it's now my Halloween planter-marigolds look fantastic in it-very festive and the proper colors. I'll post a pic here after the new flowers get planted in it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Slipper Project from Hay Makin Issue of MJF!

I've always had probs finding slipper my size (size 2 kids) without some cartoon personality on them,so when I got my 1st issue of Mary Janes Farm at my grocery store I got my knitting needles out & wheeee! made the fancier pattern (which is a cinch) A great way to use up yarn that's just sitting around,and believe me,I have a huge stash. (The bad part of going to yard/estate sales) So here's the pic of me modeling one of the slippers. (Good thing I shaved my legs that mornin! ;-) ) Left off the strap. They fit great and I'll be making more pairs & digging out vintage patterns for winter wear. Happy Labor Day,all!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Farm Girl Posting!

From Southern California,of all the unlikely places! The other Mary Jane Farmgirls' blogs have inspired me to finally start a blog of my own-I have other blogs aimed at music,but none that's focused on what vintage treasure I aquired lately,knitting projects that are finished,or what the cats are doing. I love vintage goodies,and my great grandmother lived the farmgirl lifestyle here in Manhattan Beach,CA raising her own chickens & rabbits,and I imagine growing vegatables, & canning. She was an avid crocheter,& I have many of her beautiful doilies. (It's a wonder she wasn't blind after!)
The pic you see here was taken by my Dad-the butterfly was resting on our apricot tree & he got the shot. I have no idea as to what kind of butterfly it is,but it's beautiful. So I will be posting here with more pics,and with Fall arriving I'll be re doing the front porch to celebrate the season. (Yes,I'll post pics!)