Monday, April 26, 2010

Fresh as a Daisy

Springtime is here and along with it comes the task of
spring cleaning
and sprucin' up the Farmhouse. 

There are windows to clean, linens to wash, and rooms to freshen up.

This Farmhouse will be as
fresh as a
when this good old Fashioned
spring cleaning
is through.

Now I have to make claim that I am in no way a cleaning fanatic. I like it clean, I don't always like to do it though, lol! I could find a hundred different ways I would rather spend my time being creative.  Don't get me wrong I love being a homemaker, cooking, sewing, decorating, laundry and deep cleaning are at the bottom of my list though.  But a gal has got to do what a gal has got to do!  So when I have to do it, I try to find fun ways to do it and try to get excited about it.

I start by picking out a cute vintage apron from my collection hanging in the laundry room.  That will help get the tasks at hand completed, lol.  Now who doesn't want to clean once they've put their cute apron on, right? 
Don't they put you in a homemaker kinda mood?

So lets turn up the cleaning music
and go through the motions!  What do you listen to when cleaning...
do you have a preference?

The down comforters will be washed and stored away safely in my linen cabinet,
with lavender sachets to keep them smelling fresh all summer long.

Baseboards and door moldings are are wiped down, it is unbelieveable all the grime that they accumulate with little hands in the house.  The little handprints are awfully cute though, I have a hard time washing those away and leave a few for good measure here and there...just keepin' it real.

Windows and windowsills are washed inside and out. 

I have a front loader washer ( girl) that can get a little musty smelling after a while since they are air tight, a couple times a year I run a load with my cleaning cloths through it and I put baking soda sprinkled inside and peroxide into the dispenser. 
It freshens her up and makes her smell better.  She is eco friendly and uses less water, but I miss my Kenmore top loader, she was with us a long time and these new washers just don't compare...IMHO. 
Shhhhh....though, I don't want to upset my girl, I do still need her!
Glass light fixtures are taken apart and put into the sudsy sink for a bath.

Baseboards, doorknobs and Lightswitches are wiped down.

The flannel sheets are packed away and cotton sheets are washed and dried in the sunshine before covering the beds with them.  Who doesn't love the Fresh Smell
of Line Dried bed sheets?

Quilts are aired and put at the foot of each bed to keep everyone warm and cozy on those chilly spring evenings. 

Curtains are exchanged out for lighter, airier lace to let in more light.

Let in the sunshine! 
A brighter,
fresh smellin' home
makes us all feel refreshed and
ready for the warmer months ahead.

I have an enamel bucket that I keep all my grab n go cleaning products in.  It makes it easier to have them all in one place when I'm ready to clean.  They transport easily inside and out during spring cleaning.
I don't like to use commercial cleansers and I opt more along the lines of natural products whenever I can.

Some natural cleaning products I always keep on hand are:

Baking Soda:
I keep a shaker jar by the kitchen sink and one in each bathroom cabinet.
It is a natural, non-abrasive cleaner, perfect for wiping down sinks, and removing dried on food from most surfaces.  I like it because it is natural, inexpensive, available everywhere,
and non-toxic.

It is also great to use in the bathrooms to remove grime and soap build up.  Works great on sinks and showers.  I spray my showers down with a spray bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide in the evening before bed and it rinses away with morning showers, then I take a sponge and sprinkle baking soda on it and begin the process of scrubbing the shower down....
not my favorite chore though, hehe!
There is still something to be said about the cleaning power of 
Good Ol' Fashioned
We have a plethora of cleaning agents available nowadays that make cleanup and removal "faster", "cleans deeper" and "less scrubbing".  Have you looked at some of the chemicals in those bottles though?  I  have and I wonder just how quickly they get to us as well as the surfaces they clean.  Don't get me wrong occassionaly there is a need for something strong, but on average I'll take the good ol' fashioned scrubbing road instead.  Thank you anyway.

I think we are starting to see a return to safer products on the market though, some of the older companies seem  to be coming out with their own lines of "Green" Cleaning products lately.  Speaking of new age cleaning, Magic Erasers are in my cleaning bucket too, I have found they work well on refrigerator door handles, switch plates, glass oven doors, fingerprints on walls, and microwaves.

I keep a few cloth baby diapers in the bucket for dusting and a squeegee for windows and mirrors.  Nothing beats these, and they don't leave behind any lint.

To clean the microwave, I put a 4 cup measuring cup of water inside and power it up for 5 minutes or until it boils.  You can add a small lemon wedge to it for a fresh clean scent.  Turn it off and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then open it up and wipe it down.  The steam from the boiling water will loosen any hardened food particles and they simply wipe away.  I also disninfect my sponges in the microwave by placing in a safe bowl with a tiny bit of water and then I let it run on high for about 2 minutes. 

Hydrogen Peroxide:
I also keep a misting spray bottle handy to fill with small amounts of H.P.
at a time to disinfect counters.
Use about 1/2 cup in your dishwasher to sanitize dishes. 
It does the same thing as some of those "anywhere sprays" at a fraction of the cost.
It removes soapy residue and makes surfaces shine bright. 

Now for my favorite of all the cleaning tools.....(yes, I have a favorite.)
I purchased a steam mop about a year ago and I so love it!  They are a little pricey initially but in the long run they work out to be less than the disposable mops.  I still keep those on hand for quick wipe ups but thats about it (3 kiddos in a house require frequent quick wipe ups).  The steam mop only requires water, no chemicals and it sanitizes your floors.  It is especially great when you have a toddler who doesn't think twice about dropping something on the floor and poppin' it right into his mouth (ewww!).  Yes they do go by the 5 second rule around here....then they kiss it up to God!

A few years before I bought a hand held steamer for general cleaning.  It is wonderful for cleaning seasonally.  The fact that it cleans and disinfects all in one is a great time and money saver.  Use one of those on those little crevis' that you can't normally get to and you won't believe what your regular cleaning can miss.  They are also good to pull out when you have a flu bug flying through your house.  It disinfects doorknobs, faucets, toothbrush holders, you name it. 

I cannot say enough about the great properties of cleaning with steam! 

 Some of the natural cleaners I like to use are Mrs Meyers Clean Day ProductsThere is a whole line of all natural dish soap, counter spray, dishwasher soap, laundry products and all purpose cleaners.  You can purchase them unscented or in scents like geranium, basil, lemon verbena, snap pea and lavender. Don't ya just love the names?  I will tell you that when you put those dishwasher soaps into the dishwasher your
whole kitchen smells awesome too! 

They make wonderful house warming and bridal shower gifts all tucked into a vintage or new enamel bucket.   Throw in some krinkled brown craft paper into the bottom and a few of these on top wrap it all up in clear celophane with a gingham bow and how cute. 
Everytime I give one of those baskets the company gets a new customer
because they love the products lol. 
What newly appointed (or even experienced) domestic diva wouldn't appreciate that! 
Natural and cute ways to clean your home makes that task ahead more fun.

I will be at it for another week or so I'm sure.  I haven't set any timelines though so we will see.
So friends, have you finished your spring cleaning yet?  If so, what is your routine like?  When do you start, what do you do?  Any good tips or products that you love?  I'm curious to hear, so be sure to share!  I love to learn something new and updated ways of getting these
seasonal tasks completed! 
Well, Happy Spring Cleaning gals!

Take care now!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tag You're all it!!!

Well hello there Bloggin' Friends
I just wanted to check in with an overdue post....

I have been given Two Sunshine Awards this past month and I would love to recognize those sweet gals who sent me them.  I was offline for the past couple of weeks and then my daughters birthday came up so quickly I had to put her special birthday post up, so I am overdue on a  thank you post, lol. 

First, my sweet friend Linda from Prairie Flower Farm sent me one,  and then I received another from Toni over at The Tattered Cottage.  Thank you both for the award, I appreciate all of your kind words and the time you take to come here.  I also appreciate the beautiful posts that you put up on your own cute blogs and the inspiration you give to me as well. 
I love all my bloggin' buddies, thank you gals!

Now I understand that I have to choose a few people to pass this award on to.  I just don't think that I can follow that rule though, I'm sorry.  While I have graciously accepted this award I want to give it to all of my readers.....I can do that right?  How could I not?
Your visits do bring me Sunshine, and it's even brighter when you take the time to comment! 
So, I am putting the button up here for you all.  I'm sorry if this isn't a part of the rules....
I hope not to upset anyone.
I'm grateful for all of my followers, you all bring me sunshine!
Answered Questions (also overdue)


It is funny sometimes, blogging can be such a fun and creative outlet but alot of work goes into each post.  It is very time consuming too.  I don't know how people are able to post every single day or even every couple of days for that matter, it takes me a long time to complete a single post.

I have been asked by several readers if I would be posting more frequently, I thought that was so sweet, but the answer is not really.   I have a family, The Mercantile, a part time job (one day a week), and a house to run so that is not practical for me to do at this point in my life, I just couldn't fit it in any more than I already do and still have fun with it. 
I am sure there are people out there who whats your secret gals? 
Perhaps someday but right now that all takes precedence. . 

I was also recently sent an email by a new follower, Deb, asking for tips on starting her blog. I have been asked similar questions by a few others as well so this post is to answer those questions and a few others.  

 Well, I have to start out by saying that I myself have only blogged for a year now and there are so many more qualified bloggers out there to answer that question but I will certainly let you in on how I run my blog and perhaps some of my readers would like to share some of the things they do to keep their blogs updated regularly and how they continue to post? 

The first thing that I have to do in order to come up with a post is find inspiration.  I for some reason feel that I cannot complete the lengthy task of posting without something truly worthwhile posting about (I hope my readers agree) for instance, a holiday, a milestone, a new fleamarket find or makeover, etc.  If I find a recipe that I like I will tuck it aside in my minds filing cabinet and make a post around a particular recipe or find a recipe that goes into that post.  I don't always include a recipe either.   I don't know what it is but I think that the post might be the backdrop for me.  I hope that makes sense.  There are some great blogs that I read that have recipe blogs as well and I get some great ideas and recipes from them, I guess I just don't feel qualified enough as a cook to post a recipe each time only the tried and true ones I know are good, does that make better sense?  I pick my topic as most people do and run with it really.

Once I have found inspiration I have a notebook that I jot my ideas into.  Remember your english teacher telling you to brainstorm?  That is what I do.  Well creative writing 101.....I have found my inspiration and then I brainstorm from there, whatever comes to mind for me when I am thinking on a particular topic or subject.  Brainstorming can come at any given time at the food store, half-time at a soccer game, while brushing my teeth, shower! 

It's hard to tell the deli clerk that you didn't notice him calling your name because you were thinking how a post on your newly painted flea market find would be a great idea, mmmm, hmmm lil nutty I know!  I have a small notepad I jot things into when that happens, geesh you would have thought I worked for the press hehe, but if I don't jot it down right then and there it will be lost forever since my life moves in fast motion for the most part!

Sometimes posting is all about a feeling, for instance the joy of baking with my young son, or a craft I have completed with my daughter, the melancholy you feel when your child has hit a birthday....oh boy!  Those are simpler posts, things, feelings, and times that I want to remember.  I started this blog as an online diary afterall, those are the things that are closest to my heart and I write about those things first when the opportunity arises. 

Like most bloggers, I take alot of pictures, when something looks pretty; like my tomatoes growing in the garden or the twinkling lights on a christmas tree, clothes drying on the line and flapping in the breeze My neighbors secretly  think I'm crazy, I'm sure.  You would you think the lady next door was loopy too if you saw her following her chickens around with a camera like they were in a fashion photo shoot....mmmmhmmmm!   Anything for the ol' blog though, hehehe!

Sometimes the pictures are the inspiration for a post and sometimes they are just a part of the story.  I also have a collection of vintage images, postcards, books, photos that I like to put into my posts to tell the story, they are like another type of medium to me. 

As far as comments on my posts, well sometimes they are there and sometimes they simply aren't  Sometimes people are too busy.  I don't keep a counter on my blog to see how many have visited, if they want to stop by then they will.  Dont get me wrong...the comments are of course the icing and 
the icing makes the cupcake sweeter, lol. 

There are a few people I know who tried to start a blog but gave up because they thought no one was reading it... don't give up!!  I think that if we post for ourselves first and then share it with others, if they like what we have to say we will hear some feedback most of time and if we don't well then how nice to have recorded it for ourselves and our family to look back on.  Being kind and considerate to others is very important and I don't want to sound selfish when I say that I like presenting something I really enjoy to others and getting positive feedback, but even if I don't I have to find the joy in the process anyway.  That is just how I look at it. 

I understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in just reading and catchin' up on blogs, believe me I could sit here all day reading them if I had the time to but I don't.  You're probably just about fed up with the length of this post already lol!!  I have a few I check in on with my morning coffee most days.  It changes every day but with some I have gone a few weeks before having the time to really read and absorb them the way I want to due to lifes schedules.  Sooner or later I will find a little time to myself and go back and catch up on all the posts I've missed.  Sometimes I will go through a whole month's worth of posts and feel compelled to comment, I like to put my cents in too, maybe a little late, but it's there! 

Having word verification on my blog may inhibit some from making comments but it is there for a reason.....
It is really only a matter of typing in a few letters/numbers to verify...that is your choice, I like having it.

I would have to say that one book I think has helped was Blogging for Bliss.  There are some great tutorials in there.  I have also learned so much in the past year by trial and error on how to manipulate my pictures, enhance them and group them...I would in no way be able to teach anyone because like I have said I am an amateur...trial and error.  Don't be afraid to try, and try again Good luck to you gals, I can't wait to read your entries and I hope that I was of some help to you.


And a few other questions I have been asked by readers...

The pot rack in my kitchen is actually a shelf from an old wooden shoe rack from an old shoe factory.  I picked it up at a festival for a song, put wrought iron eye hooks into it and hung it from my kitchen ceiling by some wrought iron hangers. 
The door on my kitchen pantry is really a screen door and I painted the Fried Green Tomatoes on it, my favortie movie.  Since the picture was taken it was moved out to my garden though.  I changed the pantry into more of a baking center and will be putting another screen door on, with another saying on it...still thinking on it though.

The quilt hanging in the upstairs landing is from Gooseberry Patch.  I purchase it about two years ago, I'm so sad they aren't selling their goods anymore, but I am still a huge fan of their cookbooks.  So, no I didn't make that quilt, it was purchased.  I wish I was that talented, lol!

My pictures are taken with a Kodak EasyShare Z650 I have had it for several years now.  I think it takes decent pictures but I am only an ameteur and still learning how to use it after almost 3 years lol.  I am just now learning how to use a few programs to enhance my photos, amateur though.

My signs are literally painted at my kitchen table....I am working on finding an inexpensive (fixer upper)shed/outbuilding currently so I can have an out of the way area to fill my orders.  During the holidays they are literally on every flat surface in my house....oh the memories my kids will have of manuevering around signs! 

Yes, my front screen door does slam!  It is creaky and it's the real deal....wood.  All the kids let it slam too, doesn't bother them one bit, you should here it going all summer long, it probably could make someone nuts, I don't mind it (too much) though.

 I know I have been asked several more questions in email and in comments so I will be answering more of them soon.  Anything else I can answer?  I don't want anyone to think that I am ignoring their questions or emails....thank you for taking the time to ask. 
Sharing Some News...

I have openend an ETSY shop for Farmhouse Mercantile.  It has been up for a little while, I am a little cleared out now but I will be adding more signs soon.  You can also search for me as sure to HEART me, lol!!

I also now have a Facebook account, I would like to try updating that more frequently between posts with news on the Mercantile or my blog..or whatever inspires me! 

You can search for me on FB as Farmhouse Dee....

Well I am off to finish my next post and I will hopefully get it up in a few more days.   I have some Links and blog buttons to add to my sidebar as well, if you have one let me know. 
I will be putting up a page of my blogging neighbors soon
(see the top pages, they're currently under contruction, but I have plans!)
I wish you all wonderful Springtime weather!

Take Care,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Turning Sweet.

Oh where in the world does the time go?

I've probably already said that in several other posts, right?  Milestones come up so much quicker than we ever think they will, days flow gently into one another and sooner or later our children begin to grow up. 

My oldest child has hit one of those important milestones this year, once twirling around as only little girl's can, full of boundless energy, she has turned one full turn into a young woman right before our very eyes.  What an amazing and beautiful blessing. 

Throughout the years a mother's heart rejoices in the fact that her child has graciously become a lady and at the very same time her heart grieves that child that no longer is.  (just a little melancholy about it all I guess, lol.) 

Sweet sixteen is such an important birthday for a young girl.  Her future lay before her, the possiblities endless and she has the world in her hands.  We will celebrate her coming of age with joy and admiration.  It truly is something special.   

My daughter is growing up quickly now and in only a couple more years she'll be off to college and starting to plan the rest of her life.  As hard as the teen years can sometimes be, perhaps I am now realizing that nothing truly good ever comes easy. 

Every relationship has a bump of sorts every now and again, lol.  We've undoubtedly hit a few bumps in the road during these teen years, as most parents do.  Little bumps, you know, the average eye rolling, mumbling, and dragging of the feet variety, but even so, she really is a great kid....Loving, Loyal, Joyful, Fun, Honest, Dedicated, and Considerate.  I couldn't ask for better qualities to be truthful.   I am proud of her and the young lady she is. 

If you can value truth
above approval,
and friendship over beauty,
wealth or fame,
If you can share your gifts
and talents wisely,
leaving someone better off
than when you came....
If you find happiness
in simple pleasures
and see the rainbow, not the falling rain,
If you have faith to keep right on believing
in miracles that no one else can explain,
If you look until you see the good in others
and keep your spirit honest, true, and free,
then you'll be, not just happy and successful,
but the woman only you
were meant to be.
If you could see
all the flowers in the world,
If you could hear
all the laughter in the universe,
If you could make all the dreams
that ever were wished come true,
Then you would know
a little part of the joy
of having and loving
a daughter like you.
Emily Matthews

Our family memories of my daughter through the years......

Her unfolding into the rose she has bloomed into....
A stroll down life's Memory Lane with us...
come along if you like.
16 Candles...
For you my girl......
Happy Birthday!

My pregnancy with you was an interesting one, especially since you were my first.  You wanted the world to know you were on your way for sure.  You were the most active baby, and did somersaults in my belly, you never stopped moving.  You still haven't, lol. 

Looking back it was no surprise that you came three weeks early.  The pregnancy was taxing, but you were such a joy as a babyYour dimpled smile could light me up like no other. It is no secret that you had your daddy wrapped around your chubby little finger the moment he laid eyes upon you...

As a toddler your energy was boundless. I couldn't wait for you to walk.  Talking came first, very early as a matter of fact.  Once you started walking we couldn't get you to sit still (consequentially neither did I, lol).  Once you began to talk, well everyone knew who you were!

I couldn't keep clothes on you for the life of me.  You were my nature baby and wanted to be free!  Thank god our neighbors were like a bunch of grandparents to you and they got such a kick out of you regardless of what you were (or weren't) wearing.  Chubby baby legs and all.

You didn't have the patience for dance.....and wanted to teach the class instead!   You sure did look cute in those tu-tu's though

When we signed you up to play sports, it was because we needed an outlet for ALL THAT ENERGY!  It turned out that you loved it, and still do.  You really are as good as everyone says girlie, remember that and keep a level head.

You were always Gabby Gertie in class but somehow your teachers couldn't help but love you.  You have a wonderful sense of humor still. 

I love that you are still not afraid to be silly, and you really crack me up with some of the crazy things you do!  You have always been a clown!

YOU were a tom boy through and through.  There wasn't a fishing trip you would forgo, a tree you wouldn't climb, a frog you wouldn't find or a boy you wouldn't race. 

But then there were times I could turn you back into a little lady and we would enjoy a tea party or two....

When you became a big sister, you thought that she was only yours, a little doll.  I loved to watch the two of you playing together when you were little.  You will one day become best friends,
I am sure.
You embraced growing up and couldn't wait to become one of the big kids. 
Braces came and went, glasses turned into contacts! 

 What a pretty smile!  Jr. high was a breeze and high school is a blast for you.  I'm so happy you are making some wonderful memories and have been blessed with some great friends to make them with!

You once again became a big sister to your baby brother and I adore the way you are with him.  I see the patience you have with him and the way you protect him. 

I think you will make an excellent teacher someday, if you stick to your dreams because you know you are capable of anything you set you mind to. 

Soon you will be in a car driving around with my  heart inside.  It is hard to explain but it is true that when you have children your heart is walking outside of your body for the rest of your days. I know that you find it silly when I tell you this, you will understand one day.  Please take care of that heart because it is so hard to let go sometimes. 

I know you have big plans my girl and I hope and pray all your dreams come trueBut most of all I wish you happiness in finding those dreams and all your days.  You will fly someday and I will always be here.

Happy 16th Birthday Sweetheart and many, many, many more. 
You have always been a gift to us and I love you child, to the moon and back....
forever and ever--always.

Take care,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Blessings

Eastertime Greetings
to all you

Eastertime at our Farmhouse......
(a long and picture heavy post!)

Is your Easter Bonnet ready?
Did you dress it all up in fresh spring flowers?

Will you be dressed in your best Easter dress, all ready for church?  I love the Easter service at our church, the sermon is so fresh and renewing with all the children dressed up in their pastel bonnets and gloves

 When I was a little girl a pair of white gloves was always a part of the outfit with a frilly pair of socks and a little white patent leather purse to match your shoes.  My first Easter below with my Nannie and above in 76' in a handmade Easter dress my Great Aunt Anna lovingly made for me...
She even made a mathching houndstooth overcoat to go with it.  I loved that dress!

 Have you colored your eggs?


Easter joy...
rejoicing in all that is fresh and new.

A time of birth and renewal.

Birds are nesting, babies are born....
How appropriate for this time of year, considering all that Easter truly means.

The way that the earth resurrects itself
from the death of winter.

The fresh pastel colors harken the begining of this beautiful Season. 

Farmhouse shelves covered in Bunnies....
simply because they are cute!

Vintage easter cards make great decorations....

I cut up reproduction cards and attached them to painted paper mache boxes for display....they are used to store the decorations when the holiday is over too so they serve a double purpose.

I have always loved Beatrix Potter's stories, we pull them out this time of the year and decorate with them, her sweet illustrations of cute little rabbits, fluffy kittens, and ducklings, it seems apropo for the season.

Peter Rabbit
Mrs. Tiggy Winkle.....

I used to put her little books into my children's easter baskets each year, when the girls were little. 
They have grown beyond her books and movies but I still love them.  We still fill their baskets with books, but older versions.  We have also filled their Easter baskets with vintage hankies for our girls, a pretty keepsake mirror and brush set, perfume, books, stationary, pretty pens, jewelry, gardening supplies with vintage seed packets.  My son has received things like little cars and trucks, a new baseball, books, bubbles, crayon and coloring books.  We have a tradition of making cinnamon rolls for breakfast Easter morn after we open baskets, then church, and then we hunt for eggs with cousins before heading off to a wonderful meal at my sister in love and brother's house each year with the extended family. 

As you can see I have a little collection.....

Bunnies all throughout the Farmhouse!

My kitchen bunny...hmmmm, she seems to be missing a few whiskers!

A basketful of sawdust stitched eggs made with some country calico.

My baby's visit with the Easter Bunny at his school Easter party.....
He sure was questioning the size of that bunny!  LOL!

I wish you all a BLESSED EASTER!

May your days be renewed and your spirit resurrected this Easter in all the spring beauty that surrounds us! 

Take Care,

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