Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Almost Time. . .

 
 The PACKAGES are wrapped. . .and under the tree. . .The BAKING is done. . .and tempting my SWEET TOOTH daily. . .The TURKEY is smoked and ready to be sliced. . .CHRISTMAS CARDS are in the mail. . .OUR OLD COUNTRY STORE shipped it's last loom for Christmas Monday. . .it's 'doors' closed until December 28th. . .and the HOUSE. . .well. . .it's fairly clean. . .(grin). . .Only a few items to pick up at the market. . .John and I will do the last minute prep on Christmas Eve. . .and watch WHITE CHRISTMAS while sipping sparkling cider and munching on goodies later that night. . .CHRISTMAS DAY will bring our guests. . .It will be a day to relax and to enjoy each other. . .I've come to TREASURE our PLAIN AND SIMPLE CHRISTMASES. . .
That's CHRISTMAS PRESENT. . .
 
 
Yet. . .I can't have CHRISTMAS PRESENT without remembering CHRISTMAS PAST. . .after all. . .we do live in an HISTORIC DISTRICT. . .
"Dear Mother. . .I am writing to you this CHRISTMAS EVE with a HAPPY HEART. . .I don't know what comes over me each year at HOLIDAY time. . .There is something MAGICAL that settles over our farms. . .Even the animals seem to sense it. . .You know how much I LOVE Christmas. . .CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
 

 
 Whether it's CHRISTMAS PRESENT, CHRISTMAS PAST,
or anticipating CHRISTMAS FUTURE. . .I suppose I'm ready. . .How about you?
 
To coin a phrase from John. . .
HAVE A GOOD ONE !!!!
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Secret Recipe for Quick and Easy Choco-P'Nut Butter Fudge

CHRISTMAS was never Christmas without Mom's HOMEMADE FUDGE. . .She made it the old way. . .on top of the stove. . .boiling SUGAR and CHOCOLATE and BUTTER until it formed a soft ball (never could get that technique down). . .Then taking it off the heat and 'beating' the fudge by hand until it began to harden. . .Next. . .the PECANS went in. . .and all was turned out into a greased pan to cool. . .It WAS delicious. . .I'm sorry to say, I never learned the technique. . .It was one of those things where Mom always did it and I felt no need to try it for myself. . .I'm sure there are plenty of RECIPES in the older COOKBOOKS but honestly I'm not tempted to try. . .not since I perfected a recipe that pleases myself and John and is always a hit at the church BAKE SALE. . .I've never divulged my SECRET. . .until now. . .
IT'S MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO YOU!
 
Takes 5-10 minutes of your time. . .and it literally melts in your mouth! DELICIOUS & EASY. . .
There are so many variations and possibilities using this basic recipe. . .For example, add miniature MARSHMALLOWS and drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper for a fudge-y candy.
I've also added COCONUT. . . M & M's. . .CHOCOLATE or VANILLA CHIPS. . .OATS (makes it healthier. . .GRIN). . .Let your imagination be your guide.
One more tip. . .If you like the BLONDE P'NUT BUTTER FUDGE, replace the chocolate icing with Vanilla. . .so RICH AND CREAMY. . .
Is your mouth watering? . .It only takes a few minutes to make this QUICK AND EASY FUDGE. . .So go on. . .TREAT yourself. . .It's CHRISTMAS. . .forget the diet. . . (wink)
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


 

I have 'TONS'  of family CHRISTMAS MEMORIES. . .in the form of decorations. . .Christmas d├ęcor was the one and only thing that my MOTHER did not throw out. . .She was never a collector 'pack rat'  like my DAD and I were. . .She had TREE ORNAMENTS that dated back to my childhood. . .each year adding to them. . .I was always the crafty one who made ornaments every year. . .decorated packages to the point that the outside was as much a GIFT as the inside. . .Mom saved as many as possible. . .along with everything else 'CHRISTMAS'. . .
 
That time of the year at the Duncan home was so FESTIVE. . .A CHRISTMAS TREE in almost every room. . .PARTIES. . .BAKING. . .HOMEMADE GIFTS. . .Lots of WHISPERING going on. . .CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS at the church and school. . .ANTICIPATION for the BIG DAY. . .
 
The PRE-CHRISTMAS time was as FESTIVE as the actual day. . .
 
When CHRISTMAS DAY did arrive, our entire FAMILY--and extended family--came together. . .always at 'GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE'. . .which later became our home, too. . .and where the gathering continued for years so come. . .
 
I remember the WOMEN in the kitchen. . .putting the last touches on the Christmas feast. . .the COUSINS (all boys) sneaking off and getting into mischief. . .the MEN getting caught up on the recent harvest and politics. . .DADDY moving from room to room with his camera. . .taking photos and documenting the day. . .photos that would mean so much to all of us years later. . .
 
The house was ablaze with LIGHTS and CANDLES and JOY and CHEER and all those things we sing about every Christmas even now. . .
 
 
 
 
THIS CHRISTMAS 2015, I began pulling out all the boxes of MEMORIES. . .not only collected by MOM. . .but also the ones I inherited from my AUNTS. . .and my GRANDMOTHERS. . .Boxes and boxes of them. . .many of which will end up being donated to the museum. . .a Christmas past LEGACY for future generations. . .But there are a few outdoor ones I selected to display one more time. . .in CELEBRATION of my Mother's life.
You see. . .We lost MOM this day. . .eleven years ago. . .and DADDY the next year. . .No Christmas has ever been the same. . .Not the same. . .very different. . .and then--finally--it became a celebration once again. . .a CELEBRATION that cannot be enjoyed without Wonderful Memories of Christmas Past. . .but also in APPRECIATION and joy for Christmas Present
Although MEMORIES flood my mind. . .I am once again full of HOPE and JOY and CELEBRATION of the season. . .of family and present friends. . .Of continuing to make Christmas memories. . .And in it all,  recognizing this really is. . .
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DECEMBER SPECIAL: More Mini Loom Gift Sets Available


 
Thought I'd drop in and quickly give a HEAD'S UP. . .I just posted six more MINI RAG RUG LOOM GIFT SETS. . .Hope to have a few 2N1 LOOM GIFT SETS later this week, too. . .Last week all were gone in 30 minutes!
 
 
The ELVES (me and Boo) were busy over the cold and rainy weekend. . .making more MINI LOOM GIFT SETS. . .and a few 2N1 GIFT SETS, too. . .The larger sets are not quite finished. . .and not all of the minis either. . .but I couldn't wait to put A FEW online for you. . .They are so much fun to make. . .but can be time-consuming. . .getting each little detail right. . .
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Wishes. . .and Rag Rug Loom Gift Bags

 
I promised to give you a 'head's up' when the MINI LOOM GIFT SETS were available!!!!
Well. . .They're HERE!!!!
You'll have to sneak over to OUR OLD COUNTRY STORE to see them.
 
The bags are a little larger than the last ones I posted. . .
Giving you more room for additional supplies. . .
And. . .the bundles of weaving strips are larger, too!
Check them out!
 
 
I couldn't let this week go by without wishing you all a SAFE and HAPPY THANKSGIVING. . .
John is helping smoke turkeys and hams today. . .I think they have about fifty. . .Now I can mark one thing off my list. . .because you can bet we're getting one! They are THE BEST. . . 
Wishes that your Thanksgiving is just as DELICIOUS. . .

 
 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Simple Seven

 
 
HEART WEATH--ANGEL--WINDOW--
CANDLE--TWO GOURDS--HONEYSUCKLE VINE
=THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE SEVEN  
I've learned something about myself. . .I've become a PRETTY SIMPLE GAL. . .in my HOME. . .in my FASHION interests. . .in my entire LIFESTYLE. . .As I have taken on more responsibilities around the farm, I've had much less time to do anything not SIMPLISTIC. . .To my surprise, it has turned out to be a positive thing. . .I don't know why it's such a surprise because I began this journey with THE COUNTRY FARM HOME to find my decorating style. . .I coined the phrase 'PLAIN AND SIMPLE FARMHOUSE STYLE' and knew the direction I was taking. . .Little did I know, though, that I would get SIMPLER and SIMPLER and SIMPLER. . .If you've been reading the blog for a few years, you've seen the evolution. . .
I think this is the simplest and quickest grouping I've ever done. . .Yes, you've probably seen the SIMPLE SEVEN before. . .but placing them together up high changed everything. . .
 
 
Most of the SIMPLE SEVEN were headed to storage when I thought to myself. . .What could I display above the kitchen storage cabinets for this time between Halloween and Christmas?. . .I started grabbing from the pile. . .cleared off the area above the cabinets. . .and up went the HEART WREATH. . .the GOURDS. . .the WINDOW. . .the ANGEL. . .the CANDLE. . .I stepped back and looked. . .It needed something more. . .something to tie everything together. . .Then I glanced out the kitchen window and saw a pile of cuttings that had been left to carry to the compost pile. . . THE HONEYSUCKLE VINE !!!. . ."PERFECT'. . .I ran out and  grabbed it. . .came back in and literally threw the tangled mess on top. . .Fifteen minutes and I'm done. . .LOVE IT !!!!!
It was at that moment it dawned on me. . .
I must have become a PRETTY SIMPLE GAL. . .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Morning Light at the Baker's Cabinet

 
It was 7:00 this morning. . .The Winter sun was coming up and shining through the windows. . .Casting light on the newest additions to the kitchen. . .Making everything feel warm and cozy. . .
 
 
 
 
For years I've struggled with finding just the right thing to place above the BAKER'S CABINET. . .I needed something FUNCTIONAL and EYE-PLEASING. . .One of our friends who owned an antique mall in Tennessee had exactly what I wanted years ago--a vintage SHAKER shelf. . .but he didn't want to sell it. . .He liked it, too. . .I thought I'd eventually wear him down if I waited long enough. . .Didn't happen. . .So I continued my search. . .Everything I found was too big. . .too small. . .too expensive. . .and nothing pleased me anyway. . .
How many times have I done this only to realize I actually had what I needed? . . .Many, Many, Many times. . .A person would think I'd LEARN THAT LESSON. . .I had the perfect addition all along. . .
You may have seen the CROW SHELF in some of the very early Country Farm Home posts. . .I had grown tired of it several years ago and had stored the crows for the LOG HOUSE once it was finish. . .Forgot all about it. . .In the meantime, we painted the kitchen floor in BLACK AND WHITE CHECK. . .built WHITE CABINETRY. . .painted our WINDSOR CHAIRS black. . .Well, let's just say everything changed. . .
While cleaning out a storage building, I came across the FORGOTTON SHELF. . .hmmmmm. . .BLACK AND WHITE. . .FARMHOUSE PRIMITIVE. . .the EXACT WIDTH as baker's cabinet below. . .Was this a no-brainer or what?
 
 
The CROW SHELF is constructed from an old wooden door cut in half. . .
Isn't that CLEVER? . .Notice the door knob hole. . .so PRIM. . .
 
 
Then, as blessings appear out of nowhere. . .last week on a junkn' spree in Missouri, I ran across the GRAY ENAMELWARE. . .probably my favorite of all enamelware. . .and hard to find. . .a box full for $10. . .10 pieces in all. . .I knew exactly where they were going. . .LOVE the way it worked out. . .
 
 
I'm finally happy with that little area of the kitchen. . .have done more than one HAPPY DANCE as I walked past it. . .and I look forward to preparing those Christmas cakes and cookies there soon. . .

 
 
 
 
 
Oh!!!. . .And speaking of fun. . .the LITTLE GRAY MOUSE . . .loves it, too. . .
 

(A BIG GRIN. . .)
 

 
 
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Looms Benefit Women in Nigera. . .and Lower Shipping Rates for the Holidays

 This story will tug at your HEART STRINGS. . .whether you are a RAG RUGGER or not. . .
 
 
 
 
We were contacted recently by an American lady named Marta, who has been working as an Architect at the American University of Nigeria. . .She wrote:
"A year ago I purchased one of your sets of three looms to bring to a very small town in Nigeria where I am working as an Architect with the American University of Nigeria. With the support of the university I began a program called “CREATING WITH THREADS” to empower the women of the community of Yola.  Little I knew the program took off and the ladies began creating beautiful rugs.
There are 42 ladies involved in the program who have created and sold about 200 rugs, 20 sets of placemats and a few hand bags.  We are presently  working on an order of 480 rugs!!!! The materials used for weaving is  recycle strips of fabric from local tailors.
This is the first time these ladies have done something for themselves and their earnings is allowing them to send their children to school, attend to medical difficulties but most of all is giving them confidence and empowerment. . .
This is the story of Halima.
Halima, a  6 year old girl,  learned the art of weaving watching her mother. She lives in one room, shared with her five siblings and her parents. With the money she earned for selling a set of 6 placemats she bought her school books. Amazing to see her weaving. ! Let’s encourage Halima !" 

 
Their story HUMBLED US. . .that our little loom business was. . .and is. . .a part of it.. . .As Marta and I emailed back and forth, we learned more of the story. . .
"After being in Nigeria for few months and seeing the beautiful and colorful fabrics  they have, I thought I needed to do something to help the women here. I “googled” options and came across the weaving of rag rugs. Ordered the looms and self-taught by watching videos in you tube… and here we are with a large group of empowered women.  
 
 
Working with the needy in a way where you build personal relationship with them is SO REWARDING !!!.  It is really what keeps me going."
Because shipping rates are so high to other countries, Marta had us ship John's looms to New Orleans where she made arrangements for them to be transported to Yola. . .We ended up sending 33 looms. . .with our BLESSINGS and BEST WISHES. . .Don't you love this story? . . Another example that we never know how we impact other's lives even in little things.
 
 
 
And. . .just in time for the HOLIDAYS. . .we have cut back on the recent increases in our loom shipping. . .USPS continues to increase shipping rates at their whim. . .We had to increase our rates recently. . .but we're cutting them back to 2014 RATES on most and only a few dollars increase on others for now. . . You can read more about it. . .and order, too (grin) at:
 
 
 I have some LOOM GIFT BAGS I'll be listing at Our Old Country Store soon. . .a Mini Loom, bundles of fabric strips, instructions, and a bag to hold it all. . .Everything needed to complete a MINI RUG. . .Some people use this size for MUG RUGS or HOT MATS or a small HAND BAG. . .Coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Denim Britches Quilts. . .Vintage and Rare

 
'Tenant farmers in the South wore a muted palette of browns, grays, and blues. . .Old denim pants and overalls, field-worn and sun blocked, create a rich spectrum of dusty blues. . .wear-tears, stain, patches, mendings and faded seams provide further nuances. These characteristics are an integral part of the work-clothes aesthetic. . ." Architecture of the Quilt
Britches or britchy quilts are sometimes called work-clothes quilts. . .They are probably my favorite. . .but the hardest to find thus far. . .Although I don't know the specific stories behind them, I'm certain that the old shirts and denim  have seen their share of picking cotton and farm work. . .They have been aged through many washings and much wear and tear. . .READ MORE. . . .
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chicken in a Pot...and Moonshine Raids

 
 
Just a little Farmhouse HUMOR to start the weekend. . .
 
Acually. . .I wanted to share these FLEA MARKET FINDS (below). . . 
Don't they add a sense of timelessness to the kitchen?
 
 
 
 
We rarely see this type of JUG in the Delta. . .When I was living in Virginia, they were everywhere. . .and quite 'price-y'. . .I got these two for a fraction of the cost I'd pay in other states. . .I was doing a HAPPY DANCE. . .grinning from ear to ear. . .Nothing can beat the excitement of finding a TREASUE for a song. . .True Junkin' exhilaration. . . 
 
There's also a family story about jugs such as these and why I chuckle every time I look at them.
 About my Grandfather and a still.
Back during the prohibition era, many raids were made in the swamp lands for illegally distilling MOONSHINE. . .My Grandfather was a teetotaler, so he very often took part in those raids 'to get the evil drink off the black markets.'
 
Well, one Saturday night the local men made a raid and confiscated A STILL and all it's fixin's. . .for court on the following Monday. . .My Grandfather was chosen to bring it home and keep it safe. . .He put the still in their OPEN garage. . .You can imagine how well that went with Grandmother. . .She was so afraid someone would see it on their way to church that she spent most of the morning trying to cover the still with QUILTS so that it didn't look like a still underneath. . .But everyone knew what it was. . .It was the TALK OF THE TOWN. . .and the topic of interest at CHURCH that day. . .to Grandmother's embarrassment.
 
Needless-to-say. . .Granddaddy never brought another one home. . .and for years no words were spoken about it. . .It was my Aunt who finally broke the story to me. . .I couldn't do anything but LAUGH. . .knowing just how my always PRIM-AND-PROPER Grandmother must have reacted. . .We probably don't know the entire story of what she said to this day. . .
 
 
CHICKEN IN A POT. . .and MOONSHINE HUMOR. . .
I'm being a little mischievous today. . .aren't I?
Wanted to start your weekend off with a smile. . .
 
Do have a GOOD ONE!!!!!
 
 
 
 

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