Saturday, November 19, 2016


Christmas has been in my thoughts as Frank and I always try to make so many of our gifts.  After attending our local Hazel Street Vintage pop up antique store a few weeks ago, I saw so many of those adorable cardboard /paper mache houses that were from the 1940's time period.
They were called Christmas Villages, or Glitter Houses, each one unique.  I remember you could find them for a couple dollars at yard sales or antique shops.  They are now at least, $8-$15.
When I was young, my mother had these, I have no idea where they came from, possibly kits from Japan and a person could decorate each one with, what I think they call Putz Glitter, and sprayed snow on them.  They all came out each Christmas and always had a space of honor on top of the television cabinet.  Oh yes, tvs used to be a piece of furniture inside a cabinet with doors to hide it.
Some of them had lights inside and my sister and I would always put this village out with "bottle brush" antique trees on a bed of rolled out cotton, so it looked like snow.  One time we put a mirror underneath the village so it looked like a frozen pond with ice skaters.  We also had smaller decorated paper houses that were tree ornaments.  
Frank uses his Silouette cutout machine to make decals for his engines and vehicles all the time so I asked him if he could cut out some houses for me.

 I went on-line and found an article about a group of ladies that got together and put together a bunch of these houses and provided free patterns using the Silouette so I downloaded the patterns. Off he went and gave me several sheets of different house and church patterns which also included some trees.

After he printed them out, I punched out all the cut out windows, details, even the trees had cut outs. There were little pieces of card stock paper everyplace!!! Then I glued the roofs, steeples, trees together.  

The next part of the project was the question, how do you string them together?  Too fragile to punch a hole in the roofs.  So I just threaded a needle with thread and went through the roofs and made a loop.  
 I crocheted a string of yarn about 6' making a loop at each end so you could hang it on a tree or across a cabinet, like I did in the photos.  From that point, I took some heavier twine and tied the yarn through the threaded loops on the roofs and also did the same to the top of the trees.

As I laid out the crocheted string, I set up each house, church and tree and measured the distance between each one.  I marked it with a pin and then  tied each unit to the string completing the banner.
I like it plain, but I think taking the time to put glitter or spray some snow on the roofs would be very cute.
And a great kids project.  What Christmas projects are you working on at your house?  Would love to hear them.  If you want to know where to get the pattern for the churches, houses, etc, just comment below and I will post it.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Gnocchi Class Fun Here At Windmill Farm Kitchen

We are now in the 11th month of 2016 and it is hard to believe Christmas is coming quickly.  I hope to do a re-cap of all my classes this year in the next blog, but wanted to tell you how much fun our last class was here at the farm this past week.
The class was Learn To Make Italian Gnocchi.  If you don't know what gnocchi is, it is a small pillow of a dough/pasta made from potatoes.  
I personally don't believe it is tasty enough to eat by itself.  It needs a bit of fresh herbs or vegetables, cheese or even meat all combined in different ways.  Very similar to a raviolis.
The cooking classes are done in my own kitchen so naturally, a few days before the class, I get down and dirty and clean, clean.  This class was a little difficult to figure out in my head how I could get 8 people around my center island and side island to roll out and cut these little gnocchi pillows.  I think teaming up worked out very well since out of only 1 pound of potatoes, you get tons of gnocchi so they each got a turn at kneading the dough and rolling it into very thin long noodles to be cut.
Just before the class started, I made a large batch of my own sauce using garlic, olive oil, a little butter, parsley, basil.  As each person finished some gnocchi I popped it into the boiling water to cook for about 3-5 minutes, then put them into a bowl and spooned my sauce over it, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and let them taste their very own gnocchi, just made fresh.

My door prizes were fun, I had baskets of fresh Meyer Lemons from our Windmill Farm trees, baskets of persimmons, pomegranates, fresh eggs, 2 beautiful fresh flower bouquets

from our gardens (that are still blooming) and the grand prize was a bunting/banner I crocheted of fall leaves.

Along with some wonderful snacks and drinks that made the evening complete.
 At one point I was telling people some special point about gnocchi, but the noise and laughter was so loud, I had to interrupt them from having so much fun to listen to me!!!  Ha Ha. As usual, once the class got going, I was too busy to take photos.  But one participant took a few so I am sharing them with you.
A wonderful night together with some wonderful past participants to my classes and a few new ones.
Thank you all for coming and for being part of our small, sustainable, Windmill Farm experiences.  
Our last classes for 2016 are coming up, 2 days of Make Holiday Farm Fresh Wreaths.  Both days are full right now, but that can change as we get closer to December 7th and December 8th. PS-These 2 lovely ladies from our 2015 wreath class happened to also attend this gnocchi class.  Thank you Jo Ann and Lori for supporting our small and local farm.
Thank you all for spending the time with us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Beautiful Farm Sheds and Out Buildings

I have been cleaning out sheds and closets lately.  It seems like before you know it, they are cluttered and full.
More and more magazines show darling out buildings, made into additional artist studios, actual garden sheds, writing retreats, you name it.  Sheds are no longer, well just old plan sheds.
I have been so fortunate to have Frank, my hubby who just makes the cutest things out of nothing.  How it starts is I say, "I would like to have another garden shed out back where I do the vegetable and flower growing."  He says, "what do you want it to look like, give me a picture".  Done!!!  On to Pinterest, my old fashioned folders with photos cut out from magazines, Google.  I give him the "look" I want, the materials I would like to see it made from, roughly the size.  And the next thing I know, he has actual drawings, floor plan, estimate of how much it will cost.
I would like to show you the series of out buildings-sheds we have added to our farm.  They are about the cutest things you can find in any magazine and we use each one of them all the time.

#1-The first garden shed had a former life.  When we moved here, the previous owners had horses and about 1/2 of the property was devoted to corrals and a building where the horses could go into to get out of the rain.  The building was in the way of where we wanted to put a new driveway.  Frank and I talked about it and we hated to waste a good building, so one day, they put big round beams under it, hooked the tractor to it with chains and asked me "where do you want a new shed?".  I had tentatively thought about where I was going to have a garden.  You see, when we first purchased the property, it was 2 acres so the garden was going to be closer to the back yard.  The following year, we purchased 3 1/2 acres behind the house and that was when we started farming with fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The horse shed got moved, we found old windows, Frank found an old barn door; I found some old turned posts at a yard sale.  Frank not only made the building so cute, inside he installed a sink and a counter; lights and electricity.  We even put in rubber click in place garage flooring.  We spent many evenings sitting out front making our farming and life plans.

#2 The sorting shed and cooler were a much larger project.  I will save this story for another day, but do want you to see the outside of the cooler when finished.  Another spot to sit and reflect.

#3 We have had 4 different locations of a chicken coop.  The former owners had a small coop that I used for a few years, but
Frank did move it with the tractor several times as we expanded and re-thought our land usage and several times the chickens were in the way.  
After we purchased the land in the back, it changed things and once again, the chickens were on the move.  I had seen in a magazine the most beautiful garden setting I have ever seen in my life.  I had cut it out and had it in a wish folder.
 I loved the style of that garden shed and showed it to Frank to see if he could build it for me as a chicken coop.  
No problemo!!!  What size, where, what do you want it made out of, etc. etc.  Here it is before I ended up putting a picket fence around it.

#4 When you have 3 acres of land that you cultivate, plant, work, you always seem to need a shovel, rake, hose, irrigation supplies, etc and we were having to walk a long distance to garden shed #1.  
So I thought about it and asked Frank if he would build me a garden shed near the garden.  No problemo!!!  Where, how big, how do you want it to look, what materials.  This time, I wanted it out of old galvanized metal since we were fortunate enough to obtain some old stuff from a barn.  
Naturally, I wanted a sliding barn door.  (I have to say, I liked old barn doors long before they have become so popular, particularly since Fixer Upper show).  They are so handy and take up less space than a conventional door.
So in the spring we started getting materials together, bit by bit, the building got finished.  Water faucets outside-check.  Lights and electricity inside so I can charge up electric power tools-check.  Outside light in case I need to go out there at night- oh and use old farm looking lights-check.  Make it cute-check.
Sometimes when I read about agritourism, I think about those sheds.  Wouldn't somebody love to stay a night in these sheds and "experience" a farming life?  I know I would!!!
Something like this old one.
My someday outdoor building project if I had some money???? An old pump house made into an apartment.  I love these things.
Something like this one
My someday outdoor-another project if I had some money???? An old metal grain bin made into an artist studio.
Got to have those dreams.