Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Year...

Where will the road go this year?
I decided to close my book of dreamy ideas and just wander, letting
the road of unknown surprise me along the way with its own story.

I'm letting go of my fantasy dream business and just live in the now and grow
with what I have, where I am.

I've had my butt handed to me several times, thinking I knew
for sure that my plans were going to pan out. It doesn't help to have an 
encourager that agrees with my every whim.
Hhmmph.

The last door slam just made me laugh. Out loud and loudly.
It was one of those laughs where you want to cry but you can't
so you just laugh because, hell, it was just that unbelievable. 
Hubby {my encourager} can attest to that.
I think the words, "Hahahaha! Of course this would happen!", came out of my mouth.

Seriously, that was the last straw for me.

I wanted so badly to just shut it all off, crawl in a hole and do nothing anymore.

Some days I still feel like that.
Remember, I was the one born with no patience.

I did have LOTS of good days, though.
How can I not? I have a loving family, hilarious kids
and a cat that thinks I'm the meow. 

One of my greatest achievements of 2014 
were some experiments I did.

I played with scents for linen and room sprays and played with 
some fantastic ingredients in the kitchen.

My most favorite product is my Baker's Vanilla.




I've made a few batches with different ingredients and gave some
away as gifts (my testers) to see if it was worthy.

I've gotten wonderful response, so far. 

The best part of this vanilla is there is no sugar and you get delicious 
bean seed in every teaspoonful.

I am waiting on my labels and cap sealers so I can
peddle my goods. 


It will be interesting to see what 2015 will bring.
{So far, it's starting out sweet and it hasn't even started!}

I wonder what I'll be talking about
this time, next year.

Regardless, this year is going to be my year
of homestead gardening.
I'll be sharing my glories and failures, my discoveries and
my recipes because I plan on cracking open some of my
many awesome cookbooks.

I am so excited to get some beautiful color in they yard, too. 
My English roses will be coming sometime in January. 

Alright, 2015...
I'm ready! I've got my walking shoes on, let's go!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Let There Be Light!

I hope every single one of you had a wonderful Christmas.
This year, we focused more on what Christmas truly is.
We still shared gifts and Santa finally made it to our home
but we talked about Jesus and the reason we celebrate his birthday.
With short attention spans, I'm hoping a few words stuck with our
simplistic explanation.

Every year, the day after Christmas, a sense of newness comes over me.
I'm ready to see what the New Year brings and to see 
where my life path leads. 
I had written another post about my disappointment
in myself and what I set out to accomplish and failed,
but I threw it out. I didn't think anyone would care to hear that. 

New Year is a chance to start anew, with clear {realistic} eyes and 
set small goals instead of The Big Picture.
Unfortunately, I was not gifted with patience



As promised in my last post, I am sharing my 
birthday present with you. 
My new bedroom windows.


The Before:


Much better, don't you agree?

We haven't done a thing in there except those windows!
I will be painting the logs, white {loving that look so much!}
and my master drywall guy will be applying extra drywall screws and mud
to the sheetrock before we paint.
I soo badly want a chandelier in our room but being in the South...
{ I don't need to finish that sentence}


The amazing mirror hanging over our bed with given to us 
by a friend that was cleaning out their barn.
It was so dirty, very wobbly and a few pieces were broken off.
In just a few hours with some elbow grease, this piece
just looks amazing. I think our friend will be very happy
to see this Antique piece hanging. 
We love it!


I'm thinking we need to add something to either side of it
 but until I find the right thing, it will stay as is. 
Maybe it will just stay as is, period.



Two of the throw pillows I have on our bed are actually
Antique, hand embroidered/crochet, pillow cases.
Our neighbor gifted the two sets to me a few months ago
and I was so excited. They are king sized {perfect} but 
I didn't not want to use them on a daily basis.
I still have a healthy stash of pillow forms so I stuffed them
and just folded the top over.
So simple yet so pretty.
I love knowing where they came from
and having so much history living in our home.




I really cannot tell you how much
I love the light coming in. 

I plan on planting camellia's along the fence in front of 
those two windows just to add some interest and color.

One last photo for the road...
my wedding dress basking in the sun.


See you soon...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sharing a bit...

I can't believe it's been since December 7th
 since my last post!
Well, all of our hands have been working 
and several projects have been completed. 
Hubby surprised me with squeezing a few 
days off in between jobs so we could
get some of the painting done while
 the kiddos were still in school. 

Grab your coffee or tea and come over...

I love our great room. It is such a bright 
and cozy place to linger.
We haven't purchased a log insert yet because we are still 
debating on building a real fireplace, 
installing a wood stove or keeping the gas.
We have an endless supply of oak so the cost 
of heating would be minimal except for
the initial cost of either of the first two choices.
 Of course the natural gas is cleaner but
I could find so many uses for the ash. 

We'll see...


The stairs are done!

Didn't my Mr. do a beautiful job? 
So glad I found a man of many talents.
I always love the part of Miranda Lambert's song, 
The House That Built Me, 
"Daddy gave life to Mama's dream". 






The treads, trim and cap are all painted to mimic a rich wood.    It's a time consuming job but the results are well worth it. 
The wood underneath is pine, which didn't even match the oak floors before we fixed that issue and instead of ripping them out, paint was the best solution. 
I have lived with painted floors before so I know that as long as we keep that top coat up to par,
we'll be alright. I'll be giving our dining 
table top the same treatment. :)




Next on our agenda: 
The boys bathroom, which is the downstairs
main bathroom. But, since this week is Christmas, 
we will be waiting till
after New Year to do that. 
We are doing a farmhouse bath with
bead board and using an old antique dresser
 I've had for the vanity.
All of our material is here and waiting!

I also have some pretty photos to share of 
our bedroom with the new windows but
that'll be next post. 
Wait till you see this amazing antique mirror we saved.
It's good to know people that are cleaning 
out their barns of "stuff".

Joyeux Noel! 




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I am going to wish you all a Merry Christmas now
even though it's still a few weeks away,
just in case.

We've been on a roll getting things finished up in the house
and one project feeds another so
I will take advantage of it!


Our tree is only decorated 1/3 down
{thanks to my fellas}
and I still need to pull the rest of the decorations up
from the basement.
I have the wreaths and garland in the windows
and the picket fence is lit up
but we decided no lights on the house this year.

Once I clean up the dust, put the furniture
back in place and breathe,
I'll decorate and photograph!

We went out and took some 
long overdue family photos but I'm
only sharing one. ;)

From our family to yours, 
Merry Christmas



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cheep! Cheep!

Alas, the day has come!
The French Pressed Home has babies!


Eight little peeps
filling their bellies, warming under the heat lamp
and singing their cheepy song.

The kids will be so excited when they get home.

Now to pick names and keep reminding
Lu and Mia that...

Curiosity killed the cat. And dog.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Glazed Bacon Wrapped Green-beans

Thanksgiving 2014:
The most delicious Thanksgiving ever!



This year, I found a few new recipes to use 
and I will say, they were all winners mainly because 
they were all from scratch, everyone participated
in helping this year and they were all delicious!



Here's what our menu consisted of:

Brined and Herb Roasted Turkey
Country Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy
Homemade Herbed Dressing (Stuffing)
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Glazed Bacon Wrapped Green-beans
Buttermilk Biscuits
and
Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

If I had to pick just one favorite, it would be the
Bacon wrapped green-beans.
 I cannot wait to make these again because
they are so pretty, fairly easy to make and so delicious!

Hopefully next year, we'll be using our own beans.

As usual, I made some modifications to the original recipe.



Glazed Bacon Wrapped Green-beans 

*10 slices of pre-cooked smoked bacon (I used Costco brand)
1.5 pounds of fresh French green-beans 
Glaze:
4 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon sea salt (table salt is fine)
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
4 tablespoons of brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

*Using the pre-cooked bacon omitted a step of pre-cooking raw bacon.
It's a great time saver especially when you are cooking so many other things.
You can increase the number of servings accordingly. Glaze can be doubled, as well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Wash and trim your green beans (just cut the ends off)
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
3. Have a large bowl with ice water waiting to put the beans in after they blanch.
4. Blanch green-beans by cooking them in the water for 3-4 minutes
5. Quickly remove and drain (use tongs) from heat and put them into the ice water
to stop them from cooking. They will still be crisp.
6. In a small saucepan, melt butter then add the remainder of ingredients.
Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot.
7.  Lay your bacon out and place about 8-10 green-beans (in a bundle) in the center 
and roll tightly making sure not to break the bacon and placing the seam down.
Place on baking sheet with sides (jelly roll pan works great).
8. Drizzle a spoonful of sugar glaze onto each bundle.
9. Roast beans for 20-25 minutes.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

**These can easily be assembled ahead of time by preparing
the green-beans and wrapping them with bacon. Place in refrigerator
until ready to glaze and bake.



These are so delicious with the smoky sweet
flavor of the bacon and glaze and they 
look like a million bucks!

I wish I knew how to clip around the recipe so you could print
it easily. Can anyone give me some pointers?

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with
your family. We sure did!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Paperwhites

I have always had the desire to grow Paperwhites.
I love their high fragrance and I love their dainty 
white flowers on stems of glorious green.


 photo via Better Homes and Gardens BHG link for growing tips
I picked up my first batch of bulbs at
Home Depot, I believe, and started them with 
rocks I picked up out of the road.
{Hey, I used what I had on hand!}


I then bought a couple more bags from Walmart and
started those for gifts. Yes, I bought a bag of stones for these.

I started them in whatever I could find.
From my large hurricane
to mason and jelly jars
to a red transferware bowl.
I then set them in the best lit location which is 
the laundry room window. It's a South facing window so 
it gets fabulous light all day.
I read that once the flowers bloom, if you keep them 
out of direct sun, they will last longer.
Well, till then, they will reside in that sunny window
with my Lavender. 



They're growing!



I found my first little bumpy stem this morning
so I know it won't be too long before we see
and smell some action. 

This year is somewhat of an experiment
and so far, so good.

I have plans for doing a show next year around this time
so if all goes well, I'll have some started to sell.
I'll come up with some pretty, rustic and unique
wrapping for them in the meantime.
I think I'll practice that on my gift giving
this year and see who likes what.

Have you ever grown paperwhites for gifts?

I'd love to hear your ideas!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Baby, It's Cold!


Winter is here!

We are in the lower 20's but our
home is warm and toasty and for that,
I am so grateful.

photo via Pinterest

I will be adding to our Etsy today. I have lots to photograph
and put up. 

Hope you are keeping warm!




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:


We cheated on our house.
But only for an hour or so.


This property enticed us with its acreage, a pond, 
and two houses.
We were mesmerized with everything about it.
The location, the layout of the property, the pecan orchard
and the potential of what we could do there.
Being in the county, you're pretty much unlimited.


It was lust at first sight.


We studied it on google earth, drove by it,
got excited about it and planned out how 
our lives would be living there.
I knew where the chickens were going to live, 
where we would pasture our cows,
where the garden would be planted and
 where we would hold Barn sales.
And the pond situation was even figured out:
A crack in the overflow pipe.




Oh, it was perfect.




Except one thing:
The house.
Another complete renovation.

The house is a 1970's two story brick
set on a concrete foundation.

The second house is smaller which would have been
a great shoppe for me
but, it too is on a concrete foundation,
thus NO PORCHES!

I still took pictures and we 
looked at it all with clear glasses
{meaning realistically}.

Too.Much.Work.

After we got home and looked at what 
we have  and have accomplished in our
home, we decided that we love it way too 
much to sell it and move on
to another big project.

We truly love our home and 
 created the perfect place for us.
We will stay firmly planted and continue to
make it our piece of heaven.
With the interior getting closer to completion
{there's still lots to do-trust me},
we will start working on the outside
yards and getting our fruit trees planted,
my potager designed
and build a small poulailler.

Once the upper level of our property is done, 
the Mr. can play with the woods and do
some clearing and maybe find a spot for a
little fishing hole.

So, it won't be too long before I do a 
Home Tour video {since I figured out how to
take video on my camera}.

Thank you for being here and listening to my
ramblings. I love sharing our story with you.

My next posting will
be full of surprises.

See you then!




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Barn Wood Seat

Brrr! We started our first day of November
very chilly and I LOVE it!
I woke up to 35* this morning and promptly
got the fireplace lit. 
I love this weather!
~ ~
As you know, we are huge advocates of using 
someone else's throw-away's, 
re-cycling, up-cycling and making 
something new with something old. 

Some day I will go through our home and 
take pictures and give the history of
all the things that we have used to make our house, 
our home, with cast-offs.

Today I'm going to share our newest project:
A new window seat with 200 year old barn wood.


I purchased this barn wood when it was attached 
to an apron and legs.



It served as our formal dining table in our rental
 but since we only have one
dining room in our current home, 
we didn't have a need for another table.
We both agreed we did not want to sell it.
Since the top was the only element of the table that was old,
we decided to dismantle it, salvaging all parts, to use for another project.

The lore of this wood goes as:
 It was taken from an old barn in Massachusetts
by a friends father. He then railroaded it to 
California where her husband
constructed several Farmhouse tables to sell.

I had to have one.

Who would have guessed this wood would 
almost make it back to where it came from...
just a wee bit more South. 

I have always wanted a window seat in the (this) kitchen and
my Mr. wanted to put a couple of cozy chairs in there.



I didn't quite want the kitchen to feel like a keeping room
so I never said 'okay'.

After finishing the flooring and base, it came time
to bring it up again.

He didn't say anything, walked away, 
came back from the basement with our barn wood.



Fabulous!









I will have some pillows made for some coziness
but it is perfect and exactly what I wanted. 
I love the saw marks in it and the rustic feel
it gives my French kitchen.


We talk about maybe selling after we are done with the house
and buying a house with land.
If that ever happens, I hope the new owners know how 
much love we put into making this house a home
But then again, we will probably 
change our minds about that too.