When I picture the windows open in a room, I imagine warm sunshine streaming through as the wind gently blows the curtains. Fresh air hits me and I am compelled to take a deep breath. The refreshing energy fills my soul. Of course there are only certain seasons when it's practical to open the windows, but my goal is to fill my heart, home, and family with a beautiful serenity that always makes me think the windows are open!

Thursday, December 23

Merry Christmas!!!

Well I had certainly intended to share so much more with you this December.  Holiday traditions, decorations, and gift ideas, for example.  But, alas, this blog is an outlet just for me. My family come first.  So I spent the season very busy with the kids, family, and a little crafting.

I also found some time to do a little shopping at an antique store.  That’s where I found this beauty!  Merry Christmas to me from my mom and daddy.  :)
bakers rack    

I decorated her for Christmas as soon as she got in the door.   I used ornament balls from the dollar store and the thrift store under the cake dome.  The doily underneath was made by my late Aunt Martha.   The tiny crochet stitches are so intricate and beautiful.ornaments in cloche

The Christmas dishes I inherited from my sister when she no longer wanted them.  Yes, there is a salad plate missing.
christmas plates

And some tatted and crocheted snowflake ornaments.  My mother is an avid tatter and made me a bunch of these.  I did the round crocheted ones.
tatted snowflake
crocheted snowflake

I love having another area to decorate for the holidays, but my favorite part of the bakers rack is the chicken wire mesh doors.  Perfect place to store my home canned goods.

wire mesh doors

I wish all of you a very blessed Christmas.  I pray the peace of the Christ child will fill you and your families in the coming year.


Monday, December 6

Christmas Stockings and Family Traditions

Every year on December 6th my family celebrates a tradition passed down through our German heritage.  We hang our stockings on the fireplace and St. Nick comes to fill them with fruits, nuts, candy, and small trinkets.  The original tradition has children place a boot or shoe outside their door, but in America we seem to have combined it with the Christmas tradition of a stocking on the mantel.

stockings hung by the chimney

~ These are all stockings I’ve made over the years. ~

The first one I made for my husband before we were married.  He loves hiking and the outdoors so of course he got a hiking boot stocking.
hiking boot christmas stocking

For mine I took my love of quilting and made a crazy quilt stocking.  I also added bells to mine to make sure no one would snitch my chocolate!!  heh heh..
crazy quilt christmas stocking

When my son was born I wanted to make him a cowboy boot stocking.  I didn’t have a pattern and was a bit discouraged about making my own until my Nov/Dec 2006 edition of Country Woman magazine came and, Voila!  There on page 16 was the perfect pattern.  And just in time.  Here’s my version.
cowboy boot christmas stocking

I took my love of all things Victorian and turned some of my favorite fabrics into a Victorian boot for sister #1.  I love this one so much I almost made another for myself.
victorian boot christmas stocking

And just in time for Saint Nick to come today, I finished the stocking for my 9 month old.  It’s her first Christmas so I had to come up with another “boot” idea and find/make a pattern.  She got a pretty ice skate stocking with hand embroidery and  snowflakes.
ice skate christmas stocking

This year, I also told my kids that this is when St. Nick comes to make sure they are being good and to pick up their Christmas wish list letters.  You wouldn’t believe how good my 4 year old is being on account of Santa watching.  :o)

Why December 6th you ask?  It’s the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the true Santa Claus.
I can’t wait to see what he brings us!

Celebrating at the following parties:
Tools are for Women Too!
Thrifty Decor Chick's Before and After Party
DIY Showoff Project Parade
Making the World Cuter Mondays
The Girl Creative
Between Naps on the Porch Met Monday

Visit thecsiproject.com

The DIY Show Off

Wednesday, November 24

Harvesting the Pumpkins

Garden Pumpkins

In October we picked the biggest pumpkin from our garden for a Halloween jack-o-lantern and left the rest in the garden to keep growing.  This week we picked several more to make pies and side dishes for Thanksgiving.  They weigh about 25 lbs!

rouge vif d'Etampes pumpkin
cinderella pumpkin
  rouge vif d'Etampes

I love having such fresh produce.  This year one of the things I am most thankful for is all the progress we’ve made in turning our bare property into our dream hobby farm. 
pumpkin harvest
Thank you God for the many blessings!!

Persimmon Cookies

I submitted this recipe for a contest today and since I had already taken pictures, I decided to share it with you too.  It’s a great fall dessert and will be accompanying the pumpkin pie after our Thanksgiving feast.

Persimmon Cookies

My parents have had a persimmon tree for as long as I can remember and my mom still shares the fruit with us when they ripen in autumn.  This recipe came from my aunt and has been a tradition in our family for a long time.  They are moist, chewy dollops of heaven!!

Persimmon Cookies 2

Persimmon Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped dates
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar; add egg, persimmon, and vanilla.  Beat for 1 minute.  Add pecans and dates.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir into creamed mixture.  Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375° F for 12 minutes. (yield: 4 dozen)

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10

Garden Spigot

These cooler temperatures have been great for some outdoor projects.

My garden is about 40 feet from the house and until now I’ve had to run a garden hose down to it from the house.  Of course this means picking the garden hose up every time we mow which, face it, becomes a hassle.  Anyway, I’ve been wanting a more permanent solution and a chance to show my muscle… ha ha... j/k!!

As a kid I remember helping my dad run a waterline out to our barn so I felt confident I could do it.  To tell you the truth it was relatively easy.  Digging the trench was probably the hardest part, but I did it in sections and even enlisted hubby’s help for part of  it.

Made a trip to Home Depot for some PVC pipe, various connectors, and of course a hose bib.

01  03 
Measured and made my cuts with a zip saw.
05 04

Then used PVC primer and cement to attach the plastic pieces together.  And used PTFE seal tape on the metal joints or where metal connected to plastic.

Purple primer on both pieces first.09

Then clear cement on both pieces and hold together for a few seconds. 10 
Wrap the seal tape around the threads on the metal pieces about four times to prevent water leaks. 13

Here’s a view from the spigot on the side of the house that I tapped into and down the hill to the one I added at the edge of the garden. (Yes, this end of the garden is bare in this picture.)

I added an on/off switch at the house so I could empty the pipe during freezing weather to prevent it from bursting somewhere in the ground.IMG_1486

At the garden’s edge I popped the PVC pipe up out of the ground and added the spigot.  I also added an old bucket (turned upside down with a hole in it) to keep grass from growing right around the pole.  I’ll back fill a little more dirt around this and it should make mowing around it a lot easier.  (LOL, although not from the looks of the tall grass in this picture!)

I’m just glad for no more hoses dragged across the yard.  Hope you’re enjoying the cooler weather and finding some fun outdoor projects as well.


Tuesday, October 26

More Pumpkin Decor

sew a pumpkin display 

It’s definitely starting to look like fall around here.  Today I had the windows open all day and you know I love that!  LOL!

I’m sure you’re like me and have been reading all the fall decor blogs out there.  And you may have had it up to here with pumpkins by now, so I’ll make this quick and painless.  
Here’s one more you haven’t seen.  Did I mention that Autumn is my favorite season for decorating?  I think this is my fourth post about fall decor. :o)

sew a pumpkin

I made this cutie out of elongated oval fabric pieces sewn together.  Then a little “knob” for the stem with a fake leaf and bow for another quickie decor piece.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 15

Quick, Easy Tassels

This week we made the bed transitions with our little girls. The two year old moved from the crib to a mattress on the floor.  The six month old moved from the co-sleeper to the crib.  Luckily it’s been a pretty smooth transition.

But as we moved furniture around, I no longer had a bed to stand on to reach the light and fan pulls.  I know - bad.  My four year old “scolds” me for standing on the bed since he’s not supposed to. Lol!  So I whipped up a cute tassel for the girl’s room and then another for my son’s room.

girls tassel farblue jean fan tassel

Some purple ribbon left over from the curtains and a little *BLING* for the girls.

purple tassel bling

And some blue jean strips for the boy.  Cute and super functional.  But best of all, EASY!!

blue jean tassel

Oh, and free!


Monday, October 4

Pick A Pick A Pumpkin

Pumpkin month is upon us.  I felt like a mouse in a maze just trying to get into the grocery store today.  Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere!!  But I didn’t buy any this year.  This year I decided to grow pumpkins in my garden.  I really wanted that whimsical look of the pumpkin in Cinderella.

cinderella pumpkin

It was modeled after a variety called Rouge Vif d'Etampes so last spring I ordered some seeds and planted.  Well they got planted in May.  That’s a little late for around here, but I spent “prime” planting time bringing a new life into this world <but I digress>.  So the pumpkins were planted a little late.  After a hot and wet summer the plants have actually survived and have little pumpkins on them.

pumpkin plant

Here is one of my little beauties.

rouge vif deEtampes

It’s still kinda small (only about 8 inches across) so I’m hoping it grows a lot between now and Halloween.   And I’m excited that this variety also makes a good pie.  YUM!!
Have you ever heard this song?  My mom used to sing it to me when I was little.

Pick a pick a pumpkin
From the pile
We can make it’s eyes
And a great big smile.
Pick a pick a pumpkin
Round and clean.
Then we’ll be ready for

Happy Autumn!!!

Thursday, September 30

Fall Mantel Decor

autumn mantel fantel

I finally got my mantel decorated today.  I LOVE it!! (And so do my little ones, which could mean trouble!!)
I didn’t have a chance to buy anything new this year, because I refuse to spend the time I need to bargain shop when I have the kiddos with me.  Their patience doesn’t last nearly as long as mine for such things.  These are the same pieces I’ve been using for years, but I completely rearranged how I usually decorate with them so it feels new to me.  I also shopped the house and added a few pieces like my pickle crock and my old watering can.

autumn flower display

dried arrangement watering can

I also pulled out my cake dome for a cloche and scattered nuts around my candles on a serving platter.

autumn cloche


autumn candles

I can already hear the many times I will have to tell the kids not to take the nuts and leave them all over the house.

Their favorite is, of course, the scarecrow.  He gets a special place up high.  My son is convinced the house is now safe from birds.  Little does he realize that he and his sister have probably already scared all the birds away for MILES!   :o)

scarecrow pumpkins

There are still a number of things at lower levels.  Let’s see if my two year old will listen when I tell her not to touch.  I hope I get to leave this up for longer than it takes me to get the pictures.

How do you decorate when you have little ones in the house?


Out par-TAY-ing at:

Nesting Place


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