Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Woo-hoo...my favorite time of year is only 23 days away!   I started decorating last week and the farmhouse is decked out in autumn splendor.  Yesterday, I made a batch of pumpkin muffins.  The aroma coming from the oven reminded me of falling leaves, crisp breezes, and the delicious spices of autumn.  Why don't you join me for a cup of coffee and a yummy pumpkin muffin? My grandmother's buffet will serve as our coffee bar today. I love the warm tones of the wood in her buffet.  It's the perfect backdrop for autumnal decor.
Pumpkin is the flavor of the season!  I have three types of autumn inspired syrups for the coffee bar. Pumpkin caramel, pumpkin spice, and pumpkin cheesecake.  Don't they sound wonderful?! They are actually sugar free which is an added bonus! I am anxious to try the pumpkin cheesecake syrup.  I picked these up at Tuesday Morning a few weeks ago.  If you hurry, you may be able to pick up a set.
If you are in the mood for something more decadent, then please add a few dollops of my delicious homemade pumpkin creamer to your coffee!  It is my favorite way to add wonderful pumpkin flavor without having to visit a local coffee barista.  It's also easier on the wallet!
Of course, coffee is always better with a delicious muffin. These pumpkin muffins are the perfect compliment to a steamy cup of coffee.  The muffins are so good that it is hard to eat just one! I'll be sharing the recipes for the pumpkin muffins and the pumpkin creamer at Still Woods Farmhouse on Thursday.
Thanks for stopping by for coffee and muffins today! I hope to see you again this Thursday!

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Get a Jump Start with Whimsical Christmas Art!

Today I wanted to share with you a few easy, homemade Christmas gifts.  After all, Christmas is only 121 days away!  I adore homemade gifts.  I am always grateful for homemade gifts whether it be jam, salt scrubs, or a tin of cookies.  One of my all time favorite gifts has been a piece of wood used to pull open hot oven racks.  A student chiseled and sanded the wood until it was completely smooth.  He fashioned a hook on one end of the paddle. This student proudly explained that the hook was "so you can pull out a hot rack without burning your hands".  I cherish that sweet gift and still use it today.

There are many reasons for giving homemade gifts, but here are my top 5:
1.  Homemade gifts are usually less expensive than store bought gifts.
2.  A homemade gift is incredibly thoughtful.
3.  What do you give the person who has everything...a homemade gift!
4.  Or what about the person who wants nothing...a homemade gift!
5.  A homemade gift is unique and can be individualized.

I painted a few very simple whimsical Christmas scenes for my family one year.  The first one I did was a set of whimsical trees for my mom and dad.  It reminds me of the trees you might see in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  I selected a couple of colors and went to work.
This is a simple Christmas tree on a winter's night.  A few drops of snow adds to the whimsical nature of this painting.
The last painting I'll share with you is a whimsical monogrammed Christmas stocking I did for my sister.  It's hard to see in the photo, but there is glitter on the red and purple balls.
Whimsical art is the best because you don't have to be perfect!  I used acrylic paints for each of the paintings due to their quick drying ability.  I also sprayed the final project with a light coat of acrylic varnish to seal and give the canvas a shine. Hope I have inspired you to create your own thoughtful gift to give this Christmas. There is plenty of time to get creative before the big day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Inspiration from Daily Visitors

Our home is nestled in the middle of  the woods.  When we first made this our home, we named the woods and our home Still Woods.  The inspiration came from Psalm 46:10. "Be still and know I am God". A meandering creek borders our property to the east.  A spry, red fox lives in the woods to the west.  Every now and then, we see his sleek body racing across the road and disappearing into the thick forests. Lately, a pair of deer have visited our home.  It is amazing to look up from our breakfast or dinner and see these beautiful creatures in the clearing near our home.
I imagine they enjoy sipping cool water from the creek and resting in the shade of Still Woods. Our two labs, Lucky and Lucy, have decided to accept these graceful visitors.  The deer stand quietly in the woods and watch our two dogs as they lay on the front porch.  Ever wary, the deer appear to be ready to bolt. We knew that deer were in this area, but they have never emerged from the trails so close to our home.  Seeing them is a gift.  They quietly munch on the grass while we watch in awe.  When they are finished, they turn and walk gracefully back through the sunlit trail.
I am reminded of the verse from Psalm 42:1, "As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God".  A beautiful worship song written by Martin J. Nystrom begins to play in my head.

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

You're my friend and you are my brother
Even though you are a king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

I love you more than gold or silver,
only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver
and the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you.

contemplate my own relationship with the Lord. Am I more consumed with desire for my next project than I am for spending time with my heavenly Father?  He is my heart's desire...my strength and shield, but do I always show that to the Lord by my daily relationship with Him?  

I am amazed how the Lord uses the gentle creatures of the forest, whether it be the sparrow or deer, to draw us nearer to Him! Will you join me today and reflect on your own relationship with the Lord?

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vintage Frame Makeover

Everywhere you look, you see frames re-purposed to hold photos, mail, etc.  I have a collection of Luke Bailey's bandannas and needed a way to organize them.  Before we get started on the tutorial, I wanted you to meet the inspiration for this project!  Here is our Luke Bailey catching up on a little reading!
Now back to the project!  I did a little shopping and after discovering the price tag on re-purposed frames, I decided to make one myself.  Even with a coupon, the purchased ones were more than I was willing to spend.
I started with a vintage frame that I was not using.  The frame was from a pair of paintings which belonged to my grandmother and had been recently given to me. You may be familiar with these paintings. They are known as Pinky and Blue Boy. My grandmother loved her Pinky and Blue Boy! Poor Pinky's frame was in awful condition, so I gave Pinky and Blue Boy fresh, new frames. My grandmother would be proud of their new and improved look! Blue Boys frame was in good condition so I thought it would be perfect for this project. Follow along for a quick tutorial!
After a little brushing off, I painted the entire frame with a white chalk paint.  After the paint dried, I roughed up the frame with a sanding block.
Next step was to buff on a little Annie Sloan wax.  This is her clear wax.  Love the way it feels! Do you think it would work as a hand cream?!
Due to the age of the frame, I decided to hot glue the twine strips on the back of the frame instead of securing the twine with screws.  The trick here is to hot glue one side and allow that side to cool completely. Then while holding the twine tautly, hot glue the other side.  To keep my fingers from the dreaded hot glue burn, I used the end of a screwdriver to hold the string in place while the hot glue dried.  Lastly, I gave each side an extra dose of hot glue to make sure that the twine was good and secure.  Sorry, but I didn't get any pictures of this.  Two hands were occupied and Mr. Still Woods was nowhere in sight!

Here is the finished project!  My cost for this project was nominal.   With the exception of the miniature clothes pins, I already had everything for this project.  The clothes pins with an additional percentage off cost $1.92. That is a lot better than $49.99!
Now, little Luke Bailey has all his bandannas ready for a daily outing.  The bow tie is his favorite formal wear!
This is such an easy and great project.  I plan to make another one and use it my home office as an idea board.  Don't you think this would be a fabulous Christmas gift?  Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pillow Covers...The Ultimate Quick Change Artists!

I have discovered the purchased pillow cover.  Yes, I know... I bet some of you have been using them for years.  I'm a little slow at times! For years, I have sewn my own pillow covers.  My mother did before me and her mother before her.  It's what we do.  Who knew you could walk into your neighborhood Hobby Lobby and find a decent pillow cover?

I am doing a little pre-Christmas planning and wanted to make buffalo checked zippered pillow covers for my sofa pillows.  I was perusing the fabric isle for the perfect fabric when low and behold, I saw rows and rows of pillow covers for 50% off. Hold the presses!  After a quick scan of the many rows, no buffalo print was to be found.  Thoughts of Christmas went out the door!  I regrouped and instead, picked up several damask and linen pillow covers.  I thought they would freshen up my decor and would be perfect for this very hot time of year.  The covers are are well made and have a hidden zipper.  The most expensive one was originally $7.99, with an extra 50% off.  Goodness, a zipper alone is about $4.00 and then you still have to purchase the fabric and thread.

I stopped by another Hobby Lobby in our area hoping to find the allusive buffalo check.  I discovered that they do not carry any; however, the trip was not in vain.  I found an adorable monogrammed His and Hers pillow cover for $4.00!  AND I am excited to say that after looking through the vast internet, I was able to find exactly what I wanted for my Christmas decor and those covers should be here any day. Can't wait to share my buffalo inspired Christmas theme with you later!

So in case you are like me and make your own covers or have been in the dark regarding purchased pillow covers, head over to your local Hobby Lobby and see if they have anything that might meet your fancy!  With all the options available, your pillows can become Quick Change Artists like mine.
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Watermelon and Feta Salad

I have to share this delicious salad with you.  It has been so hot here in Mississippi.  One evening all I wanted was a quick, refreshing salad for dinner.  I had watermelon and Feta cheese in the fridge and wanted a salad which combined both.  After a quick look through the internet, I found Ina Garten's recipe.  I was excited to see that her recipe also included fresh mint and I have a caboodle of mint growing in the garden.  It looked like a win, win recipe!

I didn't have arugula, so I substituted crispy Romaine.  I also left out the shallot.  The salad was absolutely wonderful!  The mint added another level of freshness and the citrus vinaigrette was delicious.  I enjoyed the sweetness from the melon and the salty from the Feta.  Yummy!  I can't wait to make it again!  

Forgive my fancy, blurry photo!  I wasn't planning on blogging about it, but did snap a shot with my phone to share with a friend.  

Here is Ina's Recipe!

For the vinaigrette: 
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons) 
¼ cup minced shallots (1 large) 
1 tablespoon honey 
½ cup good olive oil 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

3 cups (4 ounces) baby arugula, washed and spun dry 
1/8th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1-inch cubes 
12 ounces good Feta cheese, ½-inch diced 
1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned

Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator. 

Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately. Hope you enjoy this delicious salad as much as I did!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fall Decor Challenge!

Michaels Craft Stores are having an August Fall Decor Challenge.  I'm always up for a good challenge!  It may seem early, but according to my Blue Sky (love them!) calendar, we only have 24 days until September. I don't know about you, but this house is decked out in fall decor by the beginning of September.  Last year, I made this adorable, bedazzled monogram pumpkin in less than an hour.  Take a look at the simple tutorial and then head to your local Michaels Craft store.  All pumpkins are on sale now.  You might find a different project that meets your fancy.

The Starting Line-Up:
One- 1/2 Cut Pumpkin of Your Choice, Sold at Michael's Craft Stores
Martha Stewart Brushed Bronze Metallic Craft Paint
Peel and Stick Bedazzling Items
If desired, you may want to apply a glaze to your pumpkin before bedazzling.  I chose Martha Stewart brushed bronze metallic paint.  Use a sponge brush and paint the glaze on in sections.  I added a little more glaze to the natural crevices in the pumpkin.  If you put too much in an area, simply wipe it off before it dries.  I did a few practice strokes on the inside of the pumpkin before starting on the visible side. As you can see in the close-up before and after photo, it's adds a nice touch.
The monogram and scroll work come in sheets.  Trim away the excess portion of the sheets and position the items on the pumpkin prior to peeling and sticking.  This gives you the opportunity to get an idea of where you want everything to be placed.  Next, gently peel off the backing and place the items on the pumpkin. TIP!  If you have a large embellishment, peel off a section at a time of the backing.  The items will be easier to position using this manner.  If you don't like the positioning, I found they can be peeled off and re-positioned.  I learned this after having a little trouble with the monogram. Continue in this manner until the pumpkin is bedazzled to your hearts desire. Add a cute ribbon topper and that's it!  I love mine!
Hope to see you back on Thursday.  I am sharing a delicious, healthy...yes, the two words can be combined...salad you will want to try!  
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Encouragement for the New School Year

Many of the students along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are beginning school today. There will be plenty of excitement mingled with the fear of the unknown.  As a psychometrist and counselor in various school settings, I saw it all the time.  The age of the student is irrelevant.  Whether it is an elementary student or student bound for college, there is often some amount of apprehension.

An extremely polite kindergartner once told me, "Thank you for inviting me, but I don't think I will be back"! Loved his forthrightness!  You can be sure that I sought out the little fellow the next school day, knowing that his hopes of staying home would be crushed and he might need a little encouragement.  On the other end of the spectrum, I recently spoke with a college bound student who needed a good dose of encouragement before setting off into the big world of college.  

Encouragement...we all need it.  I draw so much encouragement from God's word.  Many families start each new year with a theme Bible verse.  My good friend Lisa has a theme hymn to begin a new year.  What about an encouraging Bible verse for the new school year?  I can think of no better way to begin the adventure of a new school year than with words of encouragement from the Lord.    May I suggest a few for you to consider?

Proverbs 18:10 
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Psalm 16:8  
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With Him at my right hand, 
I will not be shaken.

Psalm 55:22  
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; 
He will never let the righteous be shaken.

2 Timothy 1:7  
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, 
love and self-discipline.  
(Great for a shy child)

Proverbs 3: 5-6  
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  

Ephesians 4:32.  
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, 
just as in Christ God forgave you.
(Great for conflict with friends)

Isaiah 40:31  
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings 
like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:13  
I can do all things through Christ because he strengthens me.  (ICB)

Do you have a theme verse for the school year?  Would you be willing to share it with all of us?  Please leave me a comment with your family's favorite Bible verse.  If you don't, I hope you will consider spending some time with your family deciding on your theme Bible verse for the school year.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful new school year!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

To Shiplap Or Not to Shiplap...That is the Question!

If you have ears, you have heard the term shiplap.  A few years ago, I would have thought it was the distance required for a ship to leave harbor.  Now we hear the term in everyday conversation.

Friend-       "I'm going to shiplap our entire house!!"
Me-            "Really??"
Friend-        "Yes! Where have you been?  It's the IN thing"
Me-            "I know, but don't you think you might get tired of it after awhile?"
Friend-        "Well, I haven't really thought about it.  I just love the way it looks"
Me-             "So do I... (sigh)"

(Photo Credit: Fixer Upper The Gorman Story Season 1)
 I do love the way it looks.  Geez Louise..I have a farmhouse!  It would look perfect here, but do I want to embark on the shiplap frenzy?  Could it be the horizontal equivalent of the paneling frenzy of the 1970's?
(Photo Credit:  Fixer Upper  The Nut House Season 6)
I have always been a "sit back and observe" type of person.  It's not easy for me to jump on the current decorating bandwagon.  I am also a "stand out in the crowd" kinda girl.  I credit/blame my momma for that!  She always told us to be different...don't follow the crowd.  I think she meant, don't do things I shouldn't be doing and to stand up for what the Lord would want me to do, but the message transferred to everything!

(Photo Credit:  Fixer Upper)
While everyone was selecting stainless steel appliances, I opted for black with stainless trim. While people are happily slapping chalk paint on everything in sight, the rebel in me cries "no".   After all, I enjoy the character of old wood.  I am happiest in a world of moderation.  A little of this and a little of that yields contentment.  BUT and that is a big but...I would love to incorporate a little shiplap in our home ... somewhere ... somehow ... probably while Mr. Still Woods is on a work related trip.  I'm good with power tools!
(Photo Credit:  Fixer Upper Season 3 Beanstalk Bungalow)
Joanna Gaines (Love Her!) of Fixer Upper  and Magnolia Market is the queen of shiplap and she does it extremely well.  There is nothing better to me than sitting in my jammies on Tuesday nights watching Chip and Joanna Gaines work their magic.  Some of their renovations have shiplap in several of the rooms, while others have an accent of shiplap.  I also like the way Joanna mixes painted wood with stained wood.  And Chip Gaines...you can't get any better than that fella.  He is talented and hilarious!  More importantly, they are a Christian couple who love the Lord and proclaim it!
(Photo Credit:  Fixer Upper Season 2 The Little House on the Prairie)
So if you were to shiplap one room, one wall, an entry, or your entire house, what would you do?  Do you already have shiplap in your home?  Please leave me a comment and tell me how you have incorporated it into your own home  Maybe in the distant future, I will be able to share my shiplap adventure with you!  For now, I will dream of that rough-sawn pine paneling commonly used in old farmhouse insulation ...shiplap!

Update...between the time I wrote this post and prior to publishing, I have decided how to incorporate shiplap in our home...and Mr. Still Woods is on board!!  Woo Hoo!  Can't wait to show you my results!!

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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