Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Walk to Remember

We just returned from an enjoyable week with our oldest son.  He recently became a homeowner and this mom loaded up the car with her sewing machine and necessary gadgets and headed to Virginia.  During our visit, I made window treatments for 21 windows!  That's a mother's love for you!

Of course, games of Canasta, antique shopping, and site seeing also filled our days and nights.  One of my favorite towns is Port Royal, Virginia.  After dinner one night, we headed out the door and decided to walk off some of our calories in Port Royal's historic square.  It was a lovely evening with gentle breezes and low humidity.  Love low humidity!  I snapped a few pictures with my cellphone.  Established in the mid-17th century, Port Royal is a small, river town steeped in history.  Situated on the Rappahannock River, it was developed primarily as a site to export tobacco, the cash crop of Virginia.

The Holloway House is in need of lots of love and attention.  It was built in 1775 and owned by John Hipkins, a prosperous merchant in town.  Wouldn't you love to get your hands on this house?  The work would be enormous, but the reward of saving a home like this would be plentiful.  My guys posed for me!
Around the corner is an example of a nicely restored home.  This one was built in 1850.  The above ground power lines detract from the natural beauty of the home.  It would be wonderful if the town could bury the lines.
Next is a home built in 1755.  The owner, William Fox, secured the appropriate documents to operate a tavern from his home.  According to expense ledgers, George Washington spent the night in the taverns accommodations on three occasions.  How cool is that?  My photo did not turn out well so I am borrowing this one from the Historic Port Royal website. 
Just like the tavern, the house below built in 1865, is full of history.  One fateful night, John Wilkes Booth and four other men rode up on horseback, knocked on the door of the Peyton House and asked the mistress of the home, Sarah Peyton, if she would give them refuge.  She refused and the group traveled 3 miles down the road to the Garrett farm where John Wilkes Booth was eventually killed.  
Riverview, a home built in 1846, sits on the banks of the Rappahannock River.  It is a beautiful home and is one of the largest homes in Port Royal.  Crepe myrtles line the walk up to the house.  
Townfield was built between 1745-1750 and enlarged in 1790 and again in 1837.  It's a well maintained home and simply beautiful!
Love the colors of this home! Cats are everywhere in this town.  These two didn't mind me snapping a picture.  Notice how the front of the house bows inwards.  
This structure built in 1750 is labeled with a tavern sign, but was the town's print shop.  It is built as a shop and not a home.  Early enterprise at work!
Isn't this a cute home?  It was built in 1775 and is obviously well loved and cared for.  
We ended our walk at one of the newer homes in the area, just a young 109 years old!  It is also a home our son considered when he was house hunting.  When he found a house he was interested in, I would anxiously ask what year was the house built...1700's, 1800's, 1900's, 2000's?!!!  I adore old houses, but I know they are a lot of work.  This house was built in 1906 and has been in the same family for many generations.  He eventually decided against the home and a young couple ended up as the owners.  I am sure they will be happy there for many, many years!
Next time you find yourself in Virginia, stop by this historic town, park your car, and set out on your own walk to remember!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse 
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jolly July Christmas Project Number 1

In my area of the world, one word describes our weather... HOT!  So this is a perfect time to think of cooler weather and a few Christmas projects.  Christmas in July events are found everywhere.  Some of my favorites are on shopping channels, Etsy, and in Blogland.  I have the month of July off each year and it affords me the opportunity to pre-plan.  Do I need to donate gently used decorations to Goodwill? Is there anything I need to put on my early Christmas "to do" list? And even more importantly, is there a way to simplify the hectic holidays so that I spend more time reflecting on the true gift of Christmas?
I decided to focus on a few projects which might give me a head start on my Christmas happies.  I will share several projects with you during what I am calling Jolly July!  Let's start with a simple project. I like the word "simple"!  This would make a cute, inexpensive personalized teacher gift for Christmas.  I plan to make one for my niece to coordinate with her new bedroom colors!

We have had an ugly mouse pad for as long as I can remember.  Yes, I like using a mouse!  I thought of buying a new pad when this idea came to me.  It took all of 15 minutes to complete this project!  All you need are a few simple supplies.  The most difficult task is to decide which fabric to use.  Pictured are fat quarters I picked up at Walmart for less than a dollar each.  I selected a leftover remnant of upholstery fabric.  If the thicker fabric worked out, I would have a mouse that coordinated with the nearby bar stools! Let's get started...

Mouse pad
Fabric of your choice (Pictured are Fat Quarters)
Heat n Bond (I used ultrahold)
Stop Fraying Adhesive
The directions are a breeze! Start out by tracing the mouse pad to the back of the fabric and cut.
Next, trace the mouse pad to the Heat n Bond and cut out the shape.
Following the directions on the Heat n Bond, iron the product to the top of  the mouse pad. After cooling, slowly peel the paper section of the Heat n Bond from the mouse pad.  I like the shiny look it gave my old mouse pad!  Excuse the blurry picture, but I only took one.
Next, position the fabric on the mouse pad and iron the fabric in place.
Allow pad to cool.  After cooling, trim any extra stray edges you see. Apply the Stop Fraying product according the bottle directions.  Wa-lah!  Your mouse pad is now ready for use!  How is easy is that?
Have a Jolly July everyone! Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Creamy Homemade Custard Ice Cream

Are you looking for a fabulous ice cream recipe for a 4th of July celebration? Luckily, your search is over! I shared this ice cream recipe several years ago and it is a perfect time to share again!  This is a traditional cooked custard recipe my dad has made for years.  It makes the most creamy, deliciousness that you will ever put in your mouth.  We hosted a homemade ice cream social at our house and this ice cream received so many compliments.  You can taste the difference between a cooked ice cream and a non-cooked ice cream.  It doesn't take long to prepare this recipe and it is worth the little bit of effort you will put into it. As for me and my house, we serve the Lord and eat cooked custard ice cream!
Let's look at the Starting Line-Up.  Just a few basic ingredients.  Please note that the ice cream salt in the picture is only for my ice cream freezer and not for the recipe!!
If you are like me, I like the recipe all at once and then the pictorial steps.  So here it is!  
Dad's Creamy Custard Ice Cream
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon regular table salt
5 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla

Combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.  Gradually temper eggs by adding the hot milk mixture by small amount to the eggs, beating as you temper.  Once tempered, slowly add egg mixture to the milk mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the custard coats a spoon.  Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Lastly, combine whipping cream and vanilla to the mixture and freeze in an ice cream freezer.
Now to create your masterpiece!  Combine the sugar, flour, and table salt.  Gradually whisk in the whole milk.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.  It looks good already!
While this is cooking, beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl and temper the eggs by gradually whisking in a little of the heated milk mixture to the eggs.  If you just plop the eggs into the milk mixture without tempering, you will end up with scrambled egg ice cream!  After tempering, add the eggs slowly to the pot and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.  This takes about a minute or two.  When the custard coats a spoon, you are done with this stage and will have a pot full of delicious custard.
My dad always strains the custard to make sure that it is free of any flour lumps, eggs particles, foreign objects, I don't know!!  He just does it, so I do it as well. You can skip this part if you want; however, Dad would tell you to strain!
At this point, you are ready to cover the custard and refrigerate it for 2 hours or overnight. Cover it immediately so a layer will not form on the top of the custard.
Now comes the fun part!  After the custard has been refrigerated, add 4 cups of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of vanilla to the custard.  Mix well with a spoon.  You will probably want to get a clean spoon, dip in, and taste what you are about to put in your ice cream freezer!  If you find you have to taste it again (and you will), just get another clean spoon!  No re-dipping!  Follow the freezing instructions for your your ice cream freezer.  This recipe will yield 4 quarts of happiness!

If you don't eat it all in one sitting, just freeze it.  This ice cream freezes extremely well without ever getting icy.  This picture was from a previous batch I made and we ate the last of it over a hot fudge cobbler. However, this ice cream is perfect all on its own.  No sprinkles, nuts, or fancy syrups required.  It is simply scrumptious!!  
Happy 4th of July and Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Patriotic Tablescapes

I was perusing the internet for a little 4th of July tablescape inspiration.  Wow...are there some wonderful ideas for any Yankee Doodle Dandy table.  Let's take a look!

I love the blog Between Naps on the Porch.  She has a gift for setting a beautiful table.  This one is set with solids of red, white, and blue.  The tall lanterns also lend a patriotic flair and really make the setting cozy.
I love the entire setting in this photo from The Gathering of Friends.  The house and yard phtograph beautifully.  Those red chairs really pop! Looks like a great place to entertain and watch fireworks.
Tampa Homebody has incorporated some of my favorite glassware into her table setting.  American Fostoria and blue Cape Cod glass make this a festive display.
Doesn't this make you want to pull up a chair?  The centerpiece is simple, but quite lovely.  I am crazy about checkered prints.  Super cute from Stone Gable!
This is just precious.  Croquet anyone?
An Accomplished Woman has combined polka dots, solids, and plaids for an adorable patriotic tablescape.
Isn't this centerpiece adorable?  The Style Sisters have incorporated a red trike into their centerpiece.
Hands up...who thinks this is a winner?  What a great way to decorate a table! I can imagine guests lingering over the decorations before picking up a plate and hitting the buffet line.
Not everyone will have patriotic dinnerware, but Between Naps on the Porch has a terrific set.  I like her attention to detail.
Here is another sweet table setting.  I like her use of transferware along with an interesting white under plate.
Lastly is a patriotic table setting from Still Woods Farmhouse!  I decided to use my Reading Room table for my tablescape.  It's a cozier setting than the formal dining room and the dark navy walls add to the patriotic decor!  I have the table set for a scrumptious 4th of July breakfast with my guys.  Everything on the table I grabbed from around the house.
The table is set with red chargers, Pfaltzgraff Heritage white stoneware plates, Cape Cod blue glasses and plates and American Fostoria juice glasses (love those!).  We collect nutcrackers and Uncle Sam always shows up for the 4th of July.  Why don't you join me for breakfast and  then we can linger over coffee on the front porch?
I hope I have given you a little inspiration for your own patriotic table setting. If you look around your home, you probably have wonderful pieces that can be incorporated into a patriotic tablescape... without breaking the budget. The main thing is to enjoy family and friends and to thank God for His many blessings including our precious freedom.

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Celebrating the 4th with these terrific blogs!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sour Cream Coconut Cake

Don't you love cool, refrigerated cakes during the hot, summer days? How about one with moist layers of white cake iced with a delicious coconut-sour cream icing?  I adapted a few different recipes to make one that I adore.  We all have signature homemade birthday cakes in my family and this one is mine.  I turned 55 this past week and my sweet hubby made this cake for my birthday party.  Let's whip up this easy, scrumptious cake!
The Starting Line-Up:
1- box white cake mix (prepared as per box directions)
16 ounces of sour cream (regular or low fat)
1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1- 14 ounce bag of coconut (save a little to sprinkle on the top)

Make cake in two round cake pans  according to the directions on the box.  Cool and split the layers.  In a large bowl, stir together the sour cream, sugar, and about 3/4th's of the bag of coconut.  Fold in Cool Whip. Taste the icing.  If you want more coconut, add a little more.  You can add more or less depending on your love of coconut!  Generously spread icing between the layers, sides and top of the cake.  If desired, sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut.  Cover tightly and refrigerate. Serve cold.  This cake can be made several days before serving.  It gets yummier the more it sits. If you like coconut, you are going to love this!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Friday, June 12, 2015

The Dish Fairy Collects Margaux

My husband would say that I am a collector of "dishes".  I can't help it, "dishes" speak to me in the same manner as old aprons and milk glass. The Tooth Fairy collects teeth and this gal collects dishes!

When my husband and I got married, every bride had fine china and possibly a set of everyday china on their bridal registry.  I must say that I am so disappointed when I see a bridal registry without beautiful china. How about you?  My husband and I decided to select both a fine and an everyday pattern.  It was the thing to do! We had two sets of "dishes" when we began our married life almost 33 years ago.  Today, I have 6 different sets!  One of my favorites is Margaux by Mikasa. This was my choice as my everyday china.  Let me introduce you to this gorgeous pattern.

Margaux has a lovely ivory background with a basket weave rim complimented by soft flowers in purple, orange, yellow, and white with stems of green.  I love using Margaux in the spring and summer.  It looks beautiful atop a mossy green place mat.  I have a perky, green paisley tablecloth that looks especially nice with Margaux.  Sadly, Mikasa no longer makes this pattern; therefore, I scour antique stores and the internet for extra pieces.  If you ever see any, please send me a message!
(Photo from Replacements)
Luckily, I have a good number of cabinets in my kitchen.  When possible, I like to devote an entire cabinet to one set of china and the coordinating stemware  The green pitcher is a treasure.  It belonged to my great- grandmother from Germany  I found it wrapped in old newspaper buried in the bottom of  a wooden barrel in my grandparent's garage.  We use it all the time. I think there is something meaningful about incorporating pieces from the past into our daily lives.

Do you have a favorite china pattern?  Jot me a note and tell me about your favorite "dishes"!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Tales From a Front Porch Swing

Oh...what tales our front porch swing could tell.  When we moved from our previous home near the bayou to the solitude of the country, this swing came with us.  The buyer of our home hoped to keep the swing, but I told her I couldn't part it.  For you see, this swing provides memories too rich to give it up.

This swing held a newlywed couple as they spent hours eagerly talking about the new journey which lay ahead of them.  It later became a place of solitude and prayer for a young wife and husband who desperately desired a child, but were met with years of infertility.  In God's timing, this swing softly rocked their first son to sleep while he was sheltered in his mother's arms, a prayer of thanksgiving on her lips. Even later, it held two giggling brothers as they tried to see how high they could swing before their mom or dad stopped them. It has stood steadfast in the sun, wind, and rain as it watched the two boys grow to adulthood.  It cherishes those two young men as they come home and sit on the swing while catching up on life. Later, after the boys go off into the big world again, it holds their mother as she smiles and rejoices at the time they have had together.

It has created irreplaceable memories as it has held those who have been loved deeply, but have gone to live with our Lord. Newlyweds as well as couples celebrating over 50 years of married life enjoy the gentle sway of the swing.  It is a favorite place for holding hands and quiet talks.  The swing knows that love is limitless and without boundaries.    

Many good books have been read on this swing and it is a perfect spot for daydreaming.  It works magic as it softly lulls a guest into a nice afternoon nap.  It has been covered in spilled sweet tea and sticky chunks of watermelon.  A cup or two of coffee has graced its wood and yet a splash of water from the hose has it ready for the next guest.

It has heard silly, but sweet knock knock jokes from the mouth of a young niece.  It watches the niece as she grows up and now hears her share stories of school and cute boys!  It is a wonderful place to observe lightning bugs as they appear in the sheltering woods and to "ooh and awe" over their fancy displays of light.

It is a place of animated discussion and a place of friendly surrender.  It is a place of solitude and a place of companionship.  It is a place of laughter and a place of tears.  It is a haven, a sanctuary, and a refuge...

It is a "Front Porch Swing".

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