Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birthday Milestone Chalkboard Art

This weekend my precious grand-daughter, Jillian, turned six.   She is our first grand.  We were living out West when she was born and I hopped on the plane in Arizona when my daughter went into labor, worried sick that I wouldn't make it in time to see her born.  Little did we know I had plenty of time to get here!  I got to be with her the first six weeks of her life and those weeks rate right up there as some of the best!  Of course nothing beats living just a couple miles down the road from her now!

Anyway, I had seen a few pictures on Pinterest of these milestone birthday charts and decided I would try my hand at making one.  It was one of those spur of the moment decisions that came into my head a couple of days before her birthday when I was deep in the sewing of a Rapunzel Princess dress!  I tried to think of what I had around here to make a chalkboard out of.  

All of a sudden I had a brainstorm.  Remember this old wooden ammunition crate that I refurbished and reused in my living room?  I had removed the lid and was using it on my picnic table as a tray.  I decided it would make the perfect chalkboard!

The wording on the outside of the lid was actually stamped on so that it was embedded into the wood so it took a fair bit of sanding to get the letters mostly removed.

It also made for an extremely smooth surface that surprisingly worked great for a chalkboard!

I gave it a couple coats of my black chalkboard paint.  I love how far this paint goes and how quickly it dries.

Then I brought it in the house and started doodling away!  I'm not artistic and honestly, doodling is not something I'm good at.  It actually is rather intimidating to me.  However, I've discovered with my chalkboard in my kitchen that I change with the seasons, it is really fun to play around with.  It doesn't take ANY talent to doodle on a chalkboard!  

I didn't really pre-plan anything other than having a good idea what it would say.  But I have to say that it came out super cute and now Jillian can have her own little chalk board.

So here are a few things I've learned about chalkboard art.  Whatever you are using for your board, whether it is wood, plastic, metal, etc... make sure it is a nice smooth clean surface before painting your chalkboard paint.  

Use chalk ink, versus regular chalk.  It makes ALL the difference.  I purchased mine from Amazon - it is very inexpensive.  It is easy to write with, it dries fast, it stays; however, it is also very easy to remove with a wet rag.  Keep a wet rag handy as you are writing on your board and you can easily erase anything you don't like.  

I've also discovered not to be too picky about my "art"!  Usually the first try is the best anyway.  I pretty much just wing it and let it go and it is amazing how fun it is!

Happy Birthday, Jillian!  

And here is a quick look at the darling Rapunzel dress I slaved over for hours.  And hours.  And hours.  (You can't tell from this picture but it actually has multiple layers of skirts!!)  It was worth every minute - this darling Princess could not have been happier!

Have a wonderful week, my friends!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Cutest Spring Skirts Ever!

I've had the itch to do some sewing and what better thing to sew than spring skirts for my favorite little grand-girls?  Our library put on a little tea party for the local girls and their American Girl Dolls. 

That was all the excuse I needed to sew some matching outfits!

The young lady that does Story Time at our library really did it up big.  She set the tables so pretty with darling little tea pots at each table.   

And she served lots of different homemade treats made by our Librarian's mother.  It was so very well done.

The girls had to fill out a little questionaire sheet about themselves and that was read out load during the fashion show!  Each girl walked around the tables showing what they and their baby were wearing!  Rosy was the youngest girl there with her American Girl Bitty Baby!

Jillian had her American Girl Doll, Caroline, and she was so proud.  

Her Mommy even combed her hair to match Caroline's! 

The little skirts were a simple pattern that I found here.  

I mixed them up a bit so they were matching, but not exactly the same!

I was such a beautiful spring day here in Tennessee.  We are so happy to stand on our hilltop and see green grass in every direction we look.  The trees are beginning to green up too!  What a happy day!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March Monthly Moos {A Man's Best Friend Is His Tractor}

I'm so happy that we are wrapping up the month of March!   Although it was a great month for doing dirty work on the farm.  And luckily we have a few tractors to help make the job easier.

This is our little John Deere 420.  We've had it way before we moved to Tennessee.  It is a little work horse with lots of frustrating things that drive Eldon crazy, but it sure digs in and does the job.  Eldon bought a Rototiller attachment for it and it sure made quick work of tilling up some ground where I plan to plant my pumpkins and melons.  

And it tilled up the main vegetable garden in what seemed like minutes.   (I'm planting my peas and lettuce this next week - Yay!)

Then we've got the big John Deere 5520 that is the real work horse.  We bought this tractor after we moved here.  It is the tractor Eldon uses all summer with the big mower attachment.  In the winter it is our hay hauler.  See that scary looking spear on the back?

 Back it up to our big hay bales....

...and take off!  

(I actually got to drive this one day - down the highway, through the woods, and up the hill to the house.  A little bouncy.  A little intimidating!)

And when the little John Deere gets buried in mud...

...we have the big one to pull it out!

We also use the little one in the woods for clearing and cleaning.  

Good thing we have a son in law that loves to help us! 

I didn't manage to get a picture of the little tractor hauling the dead tree limbs to the burn pile - but that's how we get them there.  It may not look like it but this is a huge pile.  (Being from out West where we hardly had trees I had no idea what a job it would be out here taking care of clearing dead and old trees.  It is a constant job and I'm thankful for a tractor.  And a husband.  And a son in law.)

And this is our big ole John Deere 3100 backhoe.  We brought this one with us from Utah.  Our son had a little excavation business when he was in high school and this was his baby!

It comes in handy for lots of things!  (And see that old  piece of junk being unloaded from the trailer?  It's the bed of a very old Ford truck.  My daughter and I have big plans for that thing!  And the boys sure are being good sports.)

And that is the story of Eldon's best friends on the farm.  One or another of them are used on a daily basis.  

Can you tell we like John Deere?  I have a John Deere also.  But that's for another post, another day.

A few of our precious little calves.  They are loving the spring sunshine.

April is almost here, my friends!  Oh happy day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blueberry Scones

One early morning last week I arrived at a friends house and she had the yummiest scone and coffee ready for me when I drove up.  Since then I've been craving scones!  She had made a yummy Oatmeal Maple Scone (The Pioneer Woman recipe) which I promptly made the next day!  Then today I was cleaning out my freezer and came across the last little bag of blueberries that my daughter and I picked last summer.  

All I could think of were Blueberry Scones!  

I've had this recipe tucked away for a day just like today!

We oftentimes have dessert with our daughter and her little family on Wednesday night.  So that was a great excuse to make them!

Of course the first thing I did when they came out of the oven was fix myself a cup of coffee and have a warm scone!  

I was thinking as I was making these that it won't be long (thankfully) and we'll be in fresh blueberry season again.  I can't wait to be out in the blueberry field dripping in sweat from the humidity and swatting the mosquitos!  (Can you tell I'm super tired of the cold weather?!)  But strawberry season comes first and oh, is it ever so fun to pick fresh strawberries.  And I'm thinking home made strawberry ice cream is the first thing I'm going to make!

How about you - what is your favorite fresh summer fruit to pick and what will you make first?

In the mean time, buy some blueberries - or dig them out of your freezer like I did - and make these yummy scones!

Blueberry Scones

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking mat on a cookie sheet and set aside.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it is the size of small peas.  Stir in blueberries and zest.
Using a fork, whisk together eggs and milk, set aside.
Make a well in the center of dried ingredients and pour cream inside.
Using a large spoon, lightly stir dough just until dough comes together.
Pour dough out onto floured surface and press into a 6 inch square.
Cut into four 3-inch squares and then cut each square on the diagonal to form 8 triangles.
Brush each with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown and transfer to wire rack.

Lemon Glaze 
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream

Mix together to desired consistency (adding milk if necessary).  
Drizzle over hot scones.