Sunday, December 30, 2012

Making Holiday Memories With 6 Dogs in the House

We had so much fun for Christmas!

The house was decorated; as stated in my previous blog, our family room had a new carpet; the refrigerator was full of food; all the presents wrapped; fireplace going casting a wonderful glow, we were just so excited for everyone to arrive. Not sure about your families, but most people now bring their dogs when visiting, since they are so part of everyone's life. We used to board ours or have someone take care of them at the house when we would travel during holidays, but pretty much most of the people/family/friends that we know, have their dogs with them when they travel.

This Christmas we ended up having 6 dogs of all sizes and personalities. The owners all said, of course, their dog/s were house broken, ours included.

So how our holidays started, within a couple of hours into preparing food on Sunday, kids in family room with snacks watching a movie; guys in front room talking and watching-sports; women in kitchen fixing food with Christmas music on. We heard grand daughter Carli say she felt sick-a mad rush to get towel or bowl, but it was too late. Yes, it ended up all over my slip-covered wing back chair. No troubles, she couldn't help it, off went the chair slip covers, her clothes, the towels, on went the washer/dryer. Poor thing ended up sick with the flu the whole time she was here.

We ate dinner, ready for clean up and all converging together in the living room. I walked through the family room to check on kids and spied a large wet spot on our new carpeting!!! Celli cleaned it up really well, but of course, everyone's dogs are house broken, including mine so could not figure out which dog did the deed!!! More items in the washer.

Our Christmas days were filled with lots of rain and wind. With 6 dogs needing to go outside many times a days, there were towels by the back and front door wet and then sent to the laundry room many times during the 4 days.

When everyone was gone, I had a refrigerator full of leftovers; 3 opened but not empty wine bottles; 4 trash cans full of garbage; 5 large bags full of Christmas ripped wrap and boxes from toys; 3 bags full of recycling materials-glass, plastic, cans. The laundry room was stacked high with cleaned and folded towels, bedding, blankets, rugs, dog beds, dish towels, clothes hat family helped to wash, dry, fold and sort.

But our hearts are full of wonderful memories of our Christmas with family and friends-wonderful memories of our grand kids running into the front room to see what Santa had brought for them down the chimney. And yes, the memories of having 6 dogs running through the house.

PS-And I particularly love my two new vacuums I received from Celli, Chris and Frank.

Hope your holiday season was filled with great family memories!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas from Windmill Farm

Merry Christmas from Windmill Farm-only a few days left so I wanted to get out our best wishes to my fellow followers and bloggers.

There are many ways to make the house warm and cozy and all you have to do is look outside-in the yard and in the garden shed. Cute clay pots filled with greenery and berries or even rose hips. Put them in an old milk carton carrier.

Or put them in an old tin cake pan or jelly molds.

Or you can use garden buckets, I like to use old ones but sometimes you can find the perfect new ones.

So light the candles, turn on the Christmas music and enjoy the last few days with your family and friends.

God Bless.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Projects

Four more days until Christmas, are you ready?? I was feeling fairly confident until I realized I had no food in the house or any plan as to what to fix. Today is the day to do that. I had a few projects on my list to try to do for the grand kids to enjoy and seen these birdseed treats to make, seemed simple enough. You make them almost like cookies with flour, sugar, molasses, but add almost a 15 lb bag of bird seed. What a mess I had in my kitchen of thousands of little seeds. I put holes in the top to string and hang from trees. After drying for a day, I put the strings in the holes and 1/2 of them crumbled apart. Next year I might try again using a different recipe.

One big project Frank and I have been meaning to do is finalize what to do with the family room floor. We normally agree about 95% of the time on any of our projects. On very rare occasions, my darling husband just won't budge on his way of thinking to listen to possibly alternative ideas and we have been going back and forth talking about alternatives to wall to wall carpeting in that room. Carpeting would cost around $1000, too much money. The room has 3 doors into it and is used so much as a pass through to get to the front of the house or my office. It is also the room where the TV is located, where our dogs settle in and have their beds, and where the grand kids play, so the carpeting gets lots of messes on it. This photo was when we were just finishing up the room and the carpeting had just been put down.

The carpeting needs to be changed now and that is why our discussion keeps coming up. I recall the flooring was fine underneath carpeting; Frank recalled that it had holes and in very bad shape and had paint on them and that was why we originally carpeted the room. Our daughter finally settled it for us and convinced us to remove the old carpeting, get a remnant piece, have it bound and paint the wood floor where it shows. Frank agreed, I liked the idea so we moved forward.Turned out we were both right in our memories; the flooring was painted around edging but other than that, in excellent. But we already have at least 90% of our house with wood flooring, we really didn't need another room with 100% wood floors. We found a fabulous remnant place in Yuba City, decided on the carpet; pulled up the old one; I painted the floor and yesterday we rolled out the new carpeting. Frank and I both love it and only cost $200 for the carpet and $90 to have the binding done. The room is now ready or dogs, kids, company and-probably new spills and messes.

A good compromise and isn't that what life is all about!

The grand kids had their Christmas program at their school and it was fun to see them sing the old Christmas favorites. We just love them so much.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Click, Click, Buzz Buzz, Brush, Brush

Where have I been for over 3 weeks?? Frank and I, here at Windmill Farm have been like Elves at Santa's Workshop. I have been click, clicking-the sound of knitting needles making Christmas gifts for the grand kids and friends-

Dragon Scarf for Carli
Alligator scarves for Collin & Carli
knitted headband
Ring of Hearts scarf for friend

Frank has been buzz buzz buzzing in his shop making a very special gift for our daughter and family. I can't show you the finished project because- 1) I don't want them to see it and ; 2) I am still painting it, but this picture was the inspiration-another project I started is painting our diningroom table.
Here is what the table looked like before, a beautiful black Ballard Design Harvest table I have had for several years.
Thought I wanted it white
 And that leads me to the brush, brush business.  It was black; thought I wanted white; then I painted it blue. Finished it is a mixture of Chalk Paint Provence and Okra to match my McCoy Pottery that I collect. Finished it in time for a big dinner a few days ago.
Chalk Paint-Provence Blue

 My friend got me  some raw cotton plants with the cotton still on the plant. I used it to decorate a "natural" bird tree for the kids, with bird nests, birds and "cotton" snow on it.
 All other decorations are done, big tree is up, outside lights are done and Frank lite the star at the top of our Windmill.  Christmas season is officially here for us-
sleigh bells ring
Merry Christmas-Frank and Paula Carli

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bookcases Can Give you a Big Bang for Your $$$ to Change a Room

 Pinned ImageI have always loved the look of libraries in a house.  Bookcases are especially beautiful if they contain old leather bound books; some art work and/or family collections mixed in the shelves.  Libraries don't have to be large or fill a whole room, they can be placed in spaces that normally are over-looked.
   In our house, we created a "family room" out of a space that had once been a front bedroom of our 1920s era house.  It was a fairly plain room with the added problem of having 3 door openings in it.  Frank built paneling around 2 walls that went up to 2 feet of the ceiling and then he put a shelf.  On the other wall, he built bookcases that went to the same height and also had the top shelf.  He added molding details to mirror the age of the house.  At the time, there seemed so much space to fill but in a very short time, there was no room left.
A client of mine had collected Victorian EraBook cases furniture for years but had wanted a change.  She was willing to make some drastic changes, but the biggest problem we had to solve was that she was a collector of cook books; landscaping and garden books; decorating and architecture books and enjoyed seeing them.  With a limited budget to work with and the house being a rented house, we decided to use Ikea pre-made bookcases.  We put a desk in front of the bookcases to create an office within a living space.  She went from a dark and heavy looking front room to a light, bright and more interesting room with the bookcases adding interest and architecture.
Extra wall storage: Create an instant room divider by placing bookshelves back to back. Perfect for kids' rooms!  Bookcases can create a room divider- can become a focal point if painted.,
 I find them really fun if they have wallpaper in the back.  The wallpaper can be a very easy and economical way to change the whole style of a room.Pinned Image
I recently saw this photo of bookcases that were behind twin beds. 
bookcases behind bedsSo the next time you are considering a change, think about using bookcases, they not only hold books, but family pictures, dishes, silver, candlesticks, art work, any collection that you may have.
Pinned Image

Saturday, November 3, 2012

When I first heard on the news of the preparation for a storm called Sandy, I must admit I thought they were probably over-reacting.  Then I saw the storm unfold across the East Coast of New Jersey, New York and saw they were 100% right, it is unbelievable and tragic.  Our hearts and blessings go out to all those that have lost so much.  We know what is is like to loose your life's home and possessions as ours was lost in a forest fire in 2005.   It took me over a year to be able to think about anything positive or to plan any activity. My home and life long collections of loved items WAS me, was part of my life.  At the time I thought my life could not have been more depressing and bleak. but God had other plans for us and we started new in Gridley, farming. Our life has been blessed with wonderful friends; new adventures; new hobbies; new interests; involvement in helping the community with new projects; growing food for others; finding new collections of antiques; restoring an old house, the list is endless.

A close friend had a birthday this week.  I had a table I had found at a yard sale she liked.  She didn't need a table but she did need a coffee table.  Frank cut down the base and I sanded and painted it with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, color Duck Egg.  We buffed up the cute metal plates that attached to the feet and I even put some felt pads on the bottom so it would slide easily on her floor.  We delivered it over to her house with a big Happy Birthday hug.  She loved it and within an hour, had it completely covered with all the necessities of comfy relaxing-apples in an antique tote; designer books; TV remote; treasured items and presto-a new use for an old table.Here are some work in progress photos and the transition of my friend's decorating the top.

I put Brewax on after the paint to give it a nice smooth finish. 
I think the table looks great in her house.  All my friends are having so much fun using paint on old furniture. 
 Our 200 pomegranate trees became ready to pick, but we lost a few days before getting out there to pick resulting in most of them becoming split.  A big loss to our farm's revenues for the year.  I keep beating myself up about it as I picked these beautiful and huge poms blemished with splits.  It just makes me sick.  I am selling them for juice or jelly to anyone needing them, they are perfect for that. But I had a customer who would purchase up to 200 cases of them, IF PERFECT, which I missed.  It sure won't happen to me next year. It was a combination of a little rain, then hot weather and waiting just a day or two, too long to pick.
   In farming and in life, each day I try to be thankful for the blessings I receive each day; to look to the brighter future; be positive and be thankful for the wonders of life such as family, friends, community and the power of something larger than ourselves.  While picking pomegranates, I found a birds nest in the trees that I am saving for my grand kids; I picked some blooming gardenias; cut a few rose buds; and cut the last of my Endless Summer hydrangeas, combined them all together and you can't get more inspirational than that-