Sunday, January 29, 2012

House Tour: The Guest Room

Good evening, everyone!

I just finished watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey on PBS tonight...ah, SO GOOD. (Season One is available on Netflix and Season Two episodes are viewable on PBS's Web site.) I've been completely sucked in by this beautiful-looking and drama-filled series. I cannot recommend it enough!

Anyway, hope you've all been better than I was this past week. Monday night the flu descended on me and I spent the next 4 days in bed with chills, aches, and fever.


Needless to say, I haven't been up to much! I'd had high hopes of making a pair of flannel pajama bottoms but perhaps I can give them a go this week.

Anyway, when wondering what to blog about after a week of doing nearly nothing, I realized I never posted photos of our guest room for the house tour I kicked off in the fall.

So, let me get back into the blogging groove with a few shots of the guest room, which is furnished in a simple farmhouse style. 

So, have you been lucky enough to escape the flu, or other sick bugs so far this winter?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Access to Picnik's Premium Features

Hello everyone,

Hope your weekend's off to a good start! It's raining here, so we're holed up in the house today, listening to music and poring through seed catalogs as we plan for our garden this year.

I took a moment to check my email earlier and received a note from my father-in-law that Picnik, the free (and paid, for certain features) photo editing Web site, will be closing on April 19th.

Since I don't have Photoshop, I've relied on Google's Picasa and Picnik to edit photos for Carolina Country Living from the beginning. So the news that Picnik will no longer exist in three months is a bit of a bummer to hear.

However, from now and until then, Picnik is offering all its premium photo-editing features for free!

I'll be taking advantage of this offer and I thought some of you might want to do the same!  Visit Picnik here.

And now before I resume laying on the couch by the woodstove, I wanted to share these camellias I clipped yesterday at my parents' house.  (Photos edited using Picnik!)

We're having a freakishly warm winter so far, and these camellias are in full bloom.  I placed a few in a thrifted silverplated sugar bowl in my bathroom and they are a welcome touch of color in the middle of winter.  


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Dollhouse for Abby

This past weekend was spent with Linnet and Nora, two of my oldest girlfriends (oldest as in we've known each other forever...not that we're old...yet!), in Tennessee.  Nora and I are both in NC, but Linnet lives with her husband and daughter in Nashville so we're lucky to see her a couple times a year.

We had a wonderful three days of lazing about, talking, going out to eat, getting pedicures, watching the entire first season of the very addictive Downton Abbey, and playing with Linnet's adorable daughter, Abby.

Abby turned two in November and I've been planning for awhile to make her a simple dollhouse. 

This CD holder from Michael's served as the perfect little house.

With an assortment of craft paint, fabric, and various miniature wood pieces, I made Abby a cottage with a vintage feel.

The exterior is Vintage White and the roof and trim are Barnwood - all colors by FolkArt

Upstairs is the bedroom with walls in Buttercream - Downstairs is the eat-in kitchen with walls in Seamist

The completed house with furniture and Abby Doll

The bedroom features curtains made of scraps of a Simply Shabby Chic sheet thrifted from a local Goodwill.  The same fabric faces the white bedside table, made of a 1" wood cube found in the woodworking section of Michael's. 

The bed was made by my dear friend Sara who crafts wooden playsets.  The bed was wrapped in a sweet floral fabric, topped with a scrap of vintage chenille for the bedspread, and completed with a pillow made from a bit of dotty Tanya Whelan fabric.  The rug is cut from Cath Kidston's Provence Rose fabric.

The pictures on the bedroom wall are one of my favorite details and are Cath Kidston's Provence Rose pattern.  I cut the paper from a CK notebook of stickers that I have and the circles were Mod Podged to painted wooden disks, then hot glued to the wall. 

Downstairs, the kitchen accessories were simple and equally fun to make.  The table is a wood disk glued to a wood spool and painted red. 

The fridge, stove and sink are all 1-1/2" wood blocks, hot glued together and painted accordingly.  The bit of fabric on the sink front is supposed to be a skirt. :)   The black details were drawn in with a permanent marker.

And here is the full kitchen.  The fabric found on the sink--a vintage rosebud pattern picked up at the Liberty Antiques Festival last year--was also used to create cafe curtains in the kitchen.  The gingham fabric, from JoAnn, serves as a rug.  The artwork is another bit of Cath Kidston paper Mod Podged to a wooden disk. 

The Abby Doll is a girl peg painted to resemble her namesake.  The dress is a floral fabric from Marie-Madeline Studio (a wonderful source for floral and vintage-inspired fabrics!) which was simply Mod Podged onto the peg doll and then coated with another layer of Mod Podge to seal it on.

All painted items were topcoated in Triple Thick, a glossy, acrylic paint-on sealer for extra durability.

Abby seemed quite taken with her dollhouse and I hope she has many, many happy hours playing with it! 


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Momma Hens Coop

shabby creek cottage

freckled laundry

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Morning Music: The Decemberists

Another installment of Monday Morning Music to kick off the week and this time I'd like to introduce The Decemberists, a folk indie rock group from Portland, Oregon.

Now, they've been around for a decade and have quite a following, so they're hardly a new or obscure group. However, they're relatively new to me as my mom gave me their 2011 album, "The King Is Dead," for my birthday over the summer.

I immediately loved the album as the instrumentation in the songs is just lovely with its old-fashioned sound. And lead singer Colin Meloy's voice, with its hints of plaintiveness, is unique, and pairs perfectly with the stories told in The Decemberists's songs.

So, without further ado, here are The Decemberists:

January Hymn

This Is Why We Fight - Live

Don't Carry It All

And this song is just pure sunshine and makes look forward to summer.

June Hymn - Live


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Harmony Farm Candles Sale

Just a quick note that the remaining Wintergreen and Mulled Cider candles in the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy shop have been reduced by 15%.  Click on the SPECIALS shop section to be taken directly to the listings.

Even though the holidays are over, these candles are still wonderful to burn during the winter months!

{Harmony Farm Candles}


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Planning for 2012

As a big list-maker, I've been working this week on three lists of projects and goals I'd like to accomplish in 2012.   The lists are centered around: crafting, the house, and homesteading. 

Resolutions, what?  I think I'll just stick to projects this year! 

Crafting Projects
After painting a bunch of furniture last year, I'd like to switch gears this year and focus on sewing projects, both with the machine and by hand.   I'm sure I'll still paint here and there, but I'd love to venture beyond making pillow covers and curtains, and try sewing clothes for a change of pace.

Perhaps a pair of pajama bottoms for the winter?  This dress would be adorable to make for the summer!  And based on the tutorial, a novice sewer (like moi) can make it...


And something I can't wait to get started on is embroidery.  After discovering Cornflower Creations on Etsy this fall, I've become a wee bit obsessed with vintage-style embroidery.  Jacklyn, of Cornflower Creations, has so many adorable embroidered tea towels that I would love to buy all of them, but I just about died when I saw her redwork chicken towel.  And so it had to go in the Etsy shopping cart and come home to live in my kitchen.

{Cornflower Creations}

There's something about sitting with a needle, thread, and hoop of fabric, stitching away serenely. And you can easily turn embroidery into art by placing it in a hoop and hanging it up!

The other area of sewing I'd like to try in 2012 is quilting.  Now, there's no way I can possibly sew an entire quilt--or even a baby quilt.  But a potholder seems very attainable. :)  And I do need some more, so why not?

Some quilted potholder inspiration...




Other crafty projects I'd like to try in 2012:
-big bunting for my front and side porches this spring
-fabric-wrapped wreaths for the seasons
-clay tags

And of course, there will be many beautiful, creative projects online that I'll have to try, but this list at least gets me started and helps keep me focused.  Or as focused as I can be...

Around-the-House Projects
Priority numero uno: landscape the exterior of the house!

It's been more than four years since we finished building and moved in.  We have a nice yard, but between all the other house and homesteading projects, we've had no money, no energy, or a combination thereof, to tackle this.

I'd love to plant a variety of English rose bushes, lilac, hydrangea, wisteria, and jasmine.  Anything that flowers and smells beautiful is what I'm going for. And also low-growing plants to go around the perimeter of the wrap-around porch. I should mention here that I have no experience with any of this, so I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time on the Internet doing research. :)   Here are few photos I pinned for inspiration:



And the other big project:  finish the office/craft room!  Or as I currently call it, the crap room.  This is the space where I pile (I can't honestly say 'store' because there is about zero organization happening) my crafting supplies, as well as keep the candles for the Etsy shop.  I'd share a photo but it's difficult to walk into the room at the's that bad.

Anyway, I have a glorious vision in my head of making this a Cath Kidston/Tanya Whelan-themed, cheerful space.  The room has great potential with lots of natural light, white beadboard walls, and cute furniture by way of this desk and this armoire.  I just need to pull it all together by building a work table (I'm thinking planked farmhouse style) for the sewing machine and figuring out how the heck to organize all the crap.  If I can just get a system in place, this room will be awesome, and I'll have a happy, inspiring place to craft.  Wish me luck!

In between these two big projects, there are also the very unsexy tasks of:
-fixing the clothesline so I can actually hang laundry to dry this spring and summer
-re-doing the compost pile, which has been terribly neglected
-painting the porch floor of our new storage building
-coming up with a DIY recycling station for our laundry room
Homesteading Projects
After raising and slaughtering pigs this year--and yes, I realize I never wrote about this even though I'd planned on it (story of this blog...)--my husband and I have decided to forgo another porcine project for 2012 since we have enough pork in the freezer to last us well into 2013!

Instead, we're looking at adding a few more hens to the flock as some of the gals are getting older and not laying as frequently.  And since we'll no doubt grow weary of eating pork at some point, we're hoping to raise meat chickens with friends who are also homesteading on a small scale.

I don't know if we'll have time to do this, but I'd love to establish a honeybee hive in 2012 on our property. One of the fellows who helped us slaughter the pigs in late December is a hobby apiarist and after talking to him, my interest in keeping a couple of hives was piqued.  Because honey is delicious.

This final project is a definite because I've promised Jacob we'll do it, but we're going to plant a pumpkin patch this summer!   This kid loves pumpkins and Halloween.

And out of the blue one night he said he wanted to sell pumpkins this fall.  I thought that was such a cool idea--and the country version of having a lemonade stand?   So we'll look for a variety of heirloom pumpkin seeds and get them in the ground in June and see what happens!

Whew! So, there are my lofty aspirations for 2012. What are yours?