Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The turkey is roasting happily in the oven, the pecan dressing is waiting to get toasty warm, the myriad of sides are waiting for their turn in the oven and the pumpkin pies are baked.  The tables are set with a variety of gourds, candles, fall foliage, and my Johnson Brothers His Majesty china; otherwise known in our family as the infamous "traveling turkey dishes"!  More importantly, upstairs sleeping are my sweet boys home from the big world and college.  My heart is full!  I thank the Lord for His goodness, mercy, and grace.  I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Supporting Ronald McDonald Houses

I don't know about you,  but I have already planned my Thanksgiving menu.  Do you need a little inspiration?  Look no further than this post!  It's that time of year again when Dillards, Southern Living, and McDonalds team up to create a cookbook to support Ronald McDonald Houses.   McDonald's does three things really well...coffee...french fries...and more importantly, their development and support of Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.  Ronald McDonald House charities offer families a home away from home while the family is dealing with a sick child.  RMH belief is that families should not worry about where they will lay their heads at night or where their next meal will come from while taking care of a sick child, often far from home.  They have helped families with ill children for the past 39 years.  What a blessing for families dealing with a child's medical crisis.

Our youngest child was born over two months premature.  He was hospitalized in the NICU  at Ochsners Hospital which is an hour and a half drive from our home.  We were offered the assistance of the Ronald McDonald House for the duration of his stay in the hospital.  We were able to make the daily drives back and forth, but it was comforting knowing that if needed, they were there for us. I recently made my annual trip to Dillards.  I not only picked up a terrific cookbook at a bargain price of $10.00, but also helped support this wonderful organization.  Let's get some ideas for your holiday dinner table!

I was excited to see that this years edition two sections.  One is a Christmas cookbook and the other is year-round celebration ideas.  All of the photos in my today's post are from Southern Living and the photographers names were noted when available.  When I grow up, I want to be a Southern Living food photographer!
Let's take a look at a sample of the delicious recipes found in this cookbook!  Great meals always start with an appetizer.  How about a yummy cheese ring with strawberry preserves and crackers?  For all you vintage gals, this is something you might have seen at a 1950's dinner party.
This appetizer is right up my alley.  I love pepper jelly and combined with goat cheesecake on a little crust...yum!
Lately I have been craving olives.  I would be happy with a serving of citrus-marinated feta and olives.
Let's check out a few side dishes and salads.  Who wouldn't like to see creamy-fried corn on their Thanksgiving table?  Let's all say "Yum, yum"!  I am adding this to our table this year.  
I love refreshing salads.  A fresh pear and green bean salad with sweet and spicy pecans topped with a sorghum vinaigrette would be delicious.  
My husband will not eat cornbread dressing...I know, he doesn't know what he is missing!  I must always make sure that mashed potatoes are a part of our holiday dinner table.  Southern Living offers a buttermilk mashed potato recipe with five twists ranging from smoky sweet potato bake to bacon and blue cheese bake.  Trust me, plain ole mashed potatoes is all the Mr. Still Woods will eat!
My boys and I love roasted vegetables.  How about cranberry-roasted winter vegetables this year?  What a beautiful display for your table!
We always have turkey as well as ham at our Thanksgiving table.  Southern Living always offers a variety of ways to prepare meats.  I am not one to cook with bourbon and would probably subsitute with a meat stock, but this turkey apple bourbon turkey looks delish!
If you are having a small gathering, fig and balsamic glazed quail would be wonderful.  The quail can be substituted with cornish hens.
Another option is a nice roasted chicken.  This one is complimented with sweet potatoes and apples.
I don't know about you, but I am ready for dessert!  Often, I am so full from dinner that I can barely eat dessert.  What a terrific time for Bosc pear dumplings.  These look so good!
A tiramisu layer cake is a show stopper. Three layers of cake soaked in coffee syrup and topped with mascarpone frosting would tempt anyone!
For the chocolate lovers, a peppermint-hot chocolate cake will be appreciated.  I think this would also make a wonderful addition to your Christmas dinner table.  
A pumpkin-pecan cheesecake topped with praline topping and glazed pecans is a must.  Doesn't this dessert make you wish you could grab the piece through the computer?
I hope I have given you some ideas for your Thanksgiving table.  Please head down to your local Dillards and support Ronald McDonald Houses and their fabulous work with a purchase of a fabulous cookbook.  I have looked at mine over and over.  Stop back by because I will be sharing brunch ideas from this years cookbook in a few days.
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Let's Party!



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Vintage Happy Hallowe'en!

I love sharing vintage cards with you and Hallowe'en is no exception. Why don't you grab a cup of warm apple cider, sit in a comfy chair and enjoy the beauty of vintage cards?

Isn't she sweet?  You may notice that earlier spellings of Halloween have an apostrophe between the e's of the word Halloween.  This comes from an earlier term of "All Hollows' Even".  "Even" was the term for evening.  Eventually, the "all" was dropped as well as the "s" in the term hallows.  The "v" was replaced with an apostrophe and the term became "Hallowe'en".  This particular spelling was observed as far back as 1786.
This one is from the early 1900's.  The color is fabulous. She reminds me of an actress from the 1920's.
 Vintage cards have the best graphics.  These little girls are in for a fright!
How about a romantic card for someone special? 
I have two boys, so I am always drawn to cards for little boys!
You don't want to read this card before going to bed.  I bet anyone who did was not peeping through the curtains!
Aren't they cute?  Ruby cheeks, button lips, and chubby knees!
Beware!  Take care! 
We move from a "jolly" Hallowe'en to a "merry" Hallowe'en.  Of course black cats, brooms and pumpkins are always popular graphics in vintage cards. 
This one is hilarious!  Notice the crank for the auto!
Here is a Halloween game, complete with a spinner.  I would not be able to do #12 without my reading glasses!  Read #8!
This is a beautiful card. You do not find many Halloween cards with light blue backgrounds.
Here is the same cat and owl from the card above, but facing forward. 
This is a very old card.  Fay is another word for fairy and obviously helped with the rhyming!
I saved the best two for last! I like the cute, little mother owl.  Reminds me of Miss Hickory in a way!
This little "punkin" is adorable! Doesn't she look like a Kewpie doll. They were first produced as bisque dolls in Waltershausen, Germany in in 1912, so she may just be a Kewpie Hallowe'en card.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Harvest Home

 Welcome to my harvest open house!  Before it's time to tuck away some of the things I truly enjoy most, I wanted to share a few of them with you.  Come on in!  These two fellows are here to greet you.
This has been a warm fall in the south.  I have held off buying my real pumpkins and gourds for outside decorating due to the heat.  My first tiny gourds and mini pumpkins began to mold, even inside...yuck!  I replaced them with safe, fake, but pretty odds and ends.  Our dining room table decor depends on my mood.  If you came back next week, it will probably be different!
If you love cookbooks, you must pick up Gooseberry Patch Hometown Harvest.  The cover makes me happy and I love to display it on my cookbook stand in the kitchen.  This one has some of by favorite sections...church gatherings, game-day get togethers, slow-cooker pleasers, and more.  I picked up the "Live Life Simply" one year to remind me to focus on what is really important.  Cooking for my family is a simple way to bring warmth and love to any season.  I whipped up a batch of banana muffins just for your visit! 
I also enjoy displaying my faux caramel apples in the kitchen.  If you missed last years tutorial, click here for my Faux Caramel Apples.
Let's move on to my reading room. I shared this room with you last year. My husband asked me about rearranging the room again.  He loves my grandmother's old table and wanted to use it as a breakfast table, but I still wanted to use it as a study table.  With a little rearranging, we have a new room!  He can eat his breakfast looking out into the woods and I still use it as a study table of sorts.  If you look closely, you will see that Grandma's buffet still has the moving pads under the legs.  Can you tell that hubby doesn't think this arrangement will last?! 
Another corner of the Reading Room has my favorite turtle table with a festive harvest sign.  My cousin wanted this table, but I got to it first! Finders keepers!  He still loves me...I think!
The desk and bookcase area off the kitchen is one of my favorite places to decorate.  I love looking out the window into the woods as I am doing now. The gorgeous picture to the left of my computer was taken by our youngest son about this time last year.  We enjoyed taking him on a photo op to the Smoky Mountains.  It was a precious time for all of us.   Our little Maltipoo Luke is in the corner of the photo!  He needs to visit his groomer!
I made this "Punkin, Crows, Kats, and Treats" craft several years ago.  Of course, no Mississippi State graduate's home would be complete without a MSU pumpkin! Hail State!!!
A little wreath decorates this old phone.  Our boys used to love to crank it up and pretend they were calling someone.  Years ago, this phone rang while we were eating supper.  The boys were little and their eyes were round and huge!  It was lightning outside at the time and I am sure the vibrations caused it to ring!  Makes for a good Halloween story!!
Since we moved around the Reading Room, I ended up with an extra wing back recliner that needed a home.  We moved an antique round table and the recliner to a corner in the Master Bedroom.  It makes a great place for morning Bible study, watching the evening news, reading a good book, or just drinking a cup of pumpkin spiced coffee.  By the way, the pillow is another item I made at the same time as the "Punkins, Crows, Kats and Treats" one shown above.  Really easy!
Our living room mantel is festive with a simple leaf garland, candles and an iron cross.  In the evening, the candles cast a beautiful glow into the room.  We have a double mantle which our oldest son designed for us.  We love it, but it is so difficult to get a good picture due to the mirror.  One day I will be able to figure out my camera and get some good shots of this beautiful mantle.  Any suggestions?
I love this Halloween village.  We are not big on scary decorations, but do love a little Happy Halloween decor.  Love the characters of this village.  My all time favorite item is the runner under the village.  It has scarecrows, cats, and signs embroidered in the linen.  It makes me happy to get it out each fall. Speaking of scarecrows, click on the link for a hilarious, true scarecrow story! A Still Woods Scarecrow Story
My laundry room could not go without a harvest touch.  It makes laundry a happier experience.  The candle on the window sill is on a timer as are all candles across the front of our home.  I enjoy the welcoming glow if I get home after dark. 
Wherever you are, I pray that you are enjoying this glorious time of year.  God certainly has blessed us with the glory of His work!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Decoupage Pumpkins!

Happy Fall!  The Mississippi Gulf Coast has experienced a touch of cooler weather the last few days.  It is so nice to sit out on the porch, rocking and enjoying God's creation.   Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that "God makes everything beautiful in its time".  My favorite time is fall...the crisp air, the smell of cinnamon and cloves, football, the beautiful hues of changing leaves, and on and on.  Not to mention my hair always looks better in cool weather!

Since fall is in the air, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite fall decorating projects.  This is an easy project and may bring back memories from childhood.  Do you remember decoupaging?  I did a few class projects involving "gluing" strips of torn paper onto objects.  It was always messy, but fun.

How about a little decoupage history?  I didn't know this, but there is documentation of the decoupage technique prior to the 12th century. Artisans were known to apply up to 40 layers of varnish creating a smooth, inlayed look.  Even though this technique has been around for ages, my inspiration for this project originally came from the October 2011 issue of Country Living...and didn't take 40 layers of varnish!
 
Items needed for this project include:
1- Craft store pumpkin, medium size
1- Bottle of  Mod Podge ( aka modern day decoupage in a jar)
1- sponge brush
3- sheets of scrapbook paper
1- Pair of disposable gloves (optional)
For my first pumpkin, I selected an orange patterned scrapbook paper that was more expensive than some of the others, so it was fairly thick.  I began cutting wavy strips between 1 inch to 2 inches in width.  After laying everything out, I applied Mod Podge with a foam brush to the back of a paper strip as well as on  the pumpkin.   Next, position the paper strip and then repeat the steps until the entire pumpkin is covered.   Use your fingers to press the paper onto the pumpkin, sealing edges with the pressure of your fingertips.
 Lastly, I applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the entire pumpkin and let it dry overnight.  After topping it with a raffia bow, it is ready to add a cheerful bit of color to our home.
I also used a smaller pumpkin and made this black and white beauty.  The scrapbook paper used for this project was thinner and I found that it was much easier to apply to the pumpkin.
I have a large walk in closet dedicated to storing bins of holiday decorations.  These pumpkins continue to look as good as when I first did them 3 years ago.  I hope you try this easy project.  It would be a wonderful family project as well.  Anytime spent with your family is time well spent!

Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

I will be linking to these terrific blogs! 


Metamorphosis Monday at  http://betweennapsontheporch.net/
Masterpiece Monday at http://boogieboardcottage.blogspot.com/
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com