Tuesday, June 21, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES: Setting the Farmhouse Living Room Stage

 
I'm gearing up for a very long, multiple photo POST of our BEFORE, AFTER AND DURING the LIVING ROOM RENOVATION. . .hoping toward the end of this week. . .It's been in the making for a couple of weeks, but honestly there is so much I want to share that it's taking a little longer than I thought. . .maybe because I'm having so much fun with it. . .Both John and I look at the  photos and say to ourselves, "Did it REALLY LOOK THAT WAY?" Amazing. . .
 
 
 
 
In the meantime, I wanted to tease you a bit more with just a little of my SETTING THE STAGE for the photo shoot. . .It takes so much time and effort and a lot of materials before I can be pleased with the outcome. . .Sometimes it takes as much for PLAIN AND SIMPLE as it does any other decorating style. . .What you see above is only a few of the many items I pulled from the closets, drawers, and trunks. . .Thank Goodness I incorporate the 'make-do' attitude. . .To go out and shop for everything does not sound fun to me at all. . .I try to have plenty of stashes to choose from. . .
 
 
For the most part, I REPURPOSED every item. . .
but there were a few NEW additions that I did buy specifically off the net or at specialty stores. . .
 
One item was the BLACK AND WHITE CHECKED AREA RUG. . .
 
 
 
My problem. . .if there is one. . .is that I have these ideas in my head but finding what I need for those ideas can be challenging. . .I can't tell you how many months and numerous searches on the net I spent looking for a rug like this one. . .I could find cheaply made ones. . .and they looked it. . .but I wanted  QUALITY. . .I was about to give up and settle for something else when I ran across this one on sale at Wayfair. . .It's wool and woven and I absolutely LOVE it. . .makes the room for me. . .and it fits right in with our CHECKED KEEPING ROOM FLOOR.
 
I have also been thrilled to see bloggers begin to decorate with COTTON. . .Since we own a COTTON FARM, I've decorated with it for years--as many of you know. . .and I will continue to use cotton stalks as my flowers in many of the settings. . .They are a NATURAL here. . .In one of my past posts I explained that it was COTTON that gave me my inspiration for the colors I picked in the kitchen/keeping room. . .and it overflowed into the LIVING ROOM. . .
 
 
 
 
 
 
Probably my favorite piece that's make-do in the living room is this cabinet made
from PALLETS and a $10 SCREEN DOOR. . .
It serves as a place to store some of my linens stash. . .and to hide our DVDs in WICKER BASKETS and VINTAGE SUITCASES. . .
Of course. . .I had to fluff and arrange there. . .
 
 
 
 
I didn't realize it until John pointed out that our FARMHOUSE is now full of CRITTERS. . .
CATS, CHICKENS, COWS. . .the kind you don't have to feed. . .
You'll see them scattered around as we tour through the rooms. . .
There's no 'overkill' with the animals. . .They simply make one aware that this is a REAL FARMHOUSE. . .
on a REAL FARM. . .
 
 
 
This CRITTER isn't real. . .
 
but this ONE IS. . .
 
an earlier photo of BOO. . .
 
 
Our MIRACLE CAT. . .BOO. . .does receive passes every now and then to be home for a few days. . .but the ADDISON'S DISEASE keeps him with Dr. Cato most of the time now. . .He is still a walking MIRACLE and Pfiser Research continues to use him for their studies of the disease in people and animals. . .He has far outlived their expectations--by YEARS. . .
 
Our FARMHOUSE RENOVATION has always been subject to BOO's approval. . .He has helped (?) with most of our projects. . .He has definite opinions about how he wants HIS HOUSE to look. . .I had to take that into consideration, too. . .and part of the reason for our PLAIN AND SIMPLE STYLE. . .
 
 
 
 
So. . .whether it's OLD OR NEW. . .REAL OR NOT. . .Are you ready now for the first REVEAL? . . If we have no major upheavals, dust storms, or floods. . .it's coming up NEXT. . .
 
 
 
 
 
This Post has my
SEAL OF APPROVAL. . .
 
 
 


Friday, June 10, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER: This Old FarmHouse


Well. . .here it is JUNE. . .and I am back as promised. . .beginning a series of BEFORE AND AFTER photos of our COUNTRY FARM HOME. . .It's been a journey that many of you have followed. . .but I've never shared the BEFORE images. . .In fact, I had forgotten myself what a change we have made.
But before we get to the interior. . .I wanted to share the exterior. . .I think it will help you to better understand the lay-out of the rooms. . .and how we made changes that would compliment our HISTORIC DISTRICT while meeting our needs.


Built about 1930 by my Grandfather's specifications, THIS OLD FARMHOUSE has been home to many farm managers and farm workers. . .It began life as a FOUR-SQUARE CRAFTSMAN home with a porch across the front and back. . .all under one roof. . .Around 1950 the right half of the front porch was added to the LIVING ROOM. . .Then in the 1960s, the left half of the porch was added to a the front BEDROOM. . .Pretty box-ey looking, isn't it? . .But, it served it's purpose well for many years. . .
The original BACK PORCH was also incorporated into the house as you see in the right photo above. . .When the house was built in the 1930s, there was no BATHROOM. . .Some time through the years, a bath was added on the left side of the old porch. . .In fact when we took over the house, the bathroom still had the slight slope of the porch floor . . .They made-do. . .Always. . .

 
THE PLAN:
I have renovated many older homes in my lifetime. . .Each time I tried to keep the integrity of the house, based on when it was built, in what region it was built, and the general history of the families who had lived there. . .When John and I moved back to Arkansas with a plan to save this part of our FAMILY LEGACY--and salvage some of the local DELTA FARM HISTORY--we knew we wanted to restore all of the FARM BUILDINGS as close to the original as possible. . .A survey team came from the DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS HERITAGE in Little Rock to assess the buildings and to recommend the farm complex to the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. . .They determined the buildings to be of FOLK CRAFTSMAN STYLE, the manager's house included. We had already started the renovation of the home, but our plan fit into the farm's style, especially since we would be keeping the interior rooms in the ORIGINAL LAYOUT.
THE FINAL PLAN was to add a WRAP-AROUND PORCH on three sides. . .reminiscent of several other houses in this area. . .A WHITE PICKET FENCE was also in the plan. . .For years I had said that one day, I'd have one. . .So the porch and the fence came first. . .These were two things John and I felt we could do ourselves while waiting for the carpenter to start the other additions. . .We were totally out of our comfort zone but determined to be very hands-on with our projects. . .


After many trial and errors, we had the white picket fence in place. . .I then started the FLOWER BEDS. . .There were numerous plants and flowers at my parents home that I wanted to move to the farm. . . HERITAGE PLANTS of the 1930s-50s. . .Day lilies, iris, roses, mums, jonquils, daisies, wisteria, crepe myrtle. . .not all were planted in the front garden beds. . .but quite a few. . .Over the years I've learned where each grows the best. . .where my non-green thumb and the boll weevil spray (for the cotton fields) don't kill them. . .So you'll see them scattered all around the farm. 


Finally the last of 2006, we had a carpenter!!!!. . .Construction got underway. . .The interior room layout would remain the same, with the exception of the old back porch/bath. . .The bath moved to the middle third bedroom. . .The old porch was then opened up to the kitchen and an additional ten feet added to it (upper right) for KITCHEN/KEEPING ROOM that would measure over twenty-six feet long . . .An OPEN HEARTH FIREPLACE was added, as well as a BREEZEWAY off the back of the kitchen/keeping room. . .I remembered the breezeway at my Grandmother's house. . .It was the place that she did a lot of bean shelling and butter churning. . .It's a room that usually isn't heated or cooled, where numerous windows and doors can be opened to catch a cool breeze during a hot day.

 
The BREEZEWAY leads to the DOUBLE GARAGE. . .Care was taken to construct the garage to look as if it was a CARRIAGE HOUSE. . .with track farm doors. . .The actual entrance to the garage is discreetly hidden from the road.
Of course, a METAL ROOF was added. . .What DELTA FARMHOUSE didn't have one? . .Very few. . .And new WHITE SIDING brought the old together with the new as if this house had existed for decades. . .John set to work on the WINDOW SHUTTERS. . .painting them RED to match the barns and buildings. . .
 

And, here is our COUNTRY FARM HOME  just a few months after the exterior completion in late 2007. . .The BEDROOMS and BATH are on this side of the house. . .the LIVING ROOM and KITCHEN on the other. . .It's amazing how much larger the house looks when we only added ten feet to it. . .The addition of the porch also gives the illusion of a larger home. . .We both wanted to keep it's integrity. . .and truthfully, I didn't want a large PLANTATION HOME. . .We live and work in all the FARM BUILDINGS. . .and feel that our 'home' encompasses those also. . . .I wanted the FARM to look and feel as it did when I was growing up. . .as if you've stepped back in time. . .to a SIMPLER LIFE. . .We are so blessed that we experience that each and every day. . .but it's a lot of work, too. . .Someone once commented it was a HOBBY FARM. . .Hardly. . .This is out and out hard work. . .(grin). . .We'll never finish. . .About the time we get caught up in one area, another needs our attention.

2012 barn-house
 2014

Although John and I did most of the interior work, it took years to get to this point because there were other needs that came first. . .The FARM BUILDINGS and BARNS needed much attention. . .For a while we were moving OUT-BUILDINGS around, building some from scratch, adding a LOG CABIN from the Ozarks. . .Let's see, we also moved the OLD COUNTRY STORE from Dell. . .had the Amish in Mississippi construct and move in three SHOTGUN BUILDINGS. . .Well. . .I'll just say that we have had few spare moments to work on our home. . .It was livable as it was. . .One of those things like the cobbler's kids having no shoes. . .

2012

It's HOME now. . .Once you put much time and sweat into a project, it becomes a true part of your life. . .From the outside in, our HOME is a reflection of "US". . .
John and I do make a pretty good team. . .I have the ideas. . .He has the skill. . .(Did that make you snicker?) . .He is actually a very talented carpenter, as you will begin to see next time as we make our way inside. . .
Since THE COUNTRY FARM HOME is a shared achievement. . .
I can't leave John out of these next posts. . .so. . .for a while it will be. . .

 
 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fruity, Nutty Sweet Bread Two Ways

 
SOURCE
 
 I recently attended an AFTERNOON TEA, English style. . .We dressed in vintage clothes. . .including big flowery hats. . .and each of us brought a SWEET TREAT. . .with the stipulation that the sweets had to be baked from a VINTAGE RECIPE. . .and each of us was to bring copies of the recipe to share.
 
I chose a SWEET BREAD from the 1940s. . .one that I had found years ago in my Grandmother's recipe box. . .I had never seen such big chunks of FRUIT AND NUTS in a bread, but found it to be a perfect tea bread. . .or. . .breakfast bread. . .I love to toast a piece and then slather on a little real butter. . .Rich and filling. . .Great with coffee or tea.
 
So. . .here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE. . .
 
 
 
Although I have to admit I am more of a traditionalist, this second recipe is quicker. . .I love cooking from scratch. . .but if you have little time. . .or you're not fond of baking. . . here's the 21st century PILLSBURY recipe that can be on your table within 45 minutes. . .
FRUIT-NUT BREAKFAST BREAD
 
 1 can (11 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crusty French loaf
1 cup dried apricots, chipped
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray Cookie sheet with cooking spray. Carefully unroll dough onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle apricots, dates and almonds evenly over dough. Starting with the long side, roll up; seal edges. Fold ends under; seal. Bake 26-30 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove loaf from cookie sheet; place on serving plate or cutting board. Cool 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir powdered sugar and enough milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle icing over slightly cooled loaf. To serve, cut diagonally into slices with serrated knife.
Both recipes are delicious. . .When John was asked which recipe he liked the best, his answer was, "Whichever one I'm eating!". . .He's only spoiled a little !!!!
 
 
 Remembering my DAD this MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. . .
who served in the U S Navy during World War II.
He loved this COUNTRY and flew the Stars and Stripes Everyday of his LIFE.
He never forgot to HONOR those who lost their lives in war.
 
The Sweet Bread Recipe came from his Mom.
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Sneak Peek: Before and After Series of Our Home Beginning in June

 
Bookmark us. . .Follow us on Google. . .Like us on Facebook. . .Follow us on Pinterest. . .
 
Beginning in June, I'll be sharing numerous posts of before and after photos of The Country Farm Home. . .I'm so amazed myself at how far we have come from the beginning. . .It's still a true farmhouse, but so, so different from the way it looked when we first acquired the Craftsman Farm Style House. . .I called it a house in the beginning. . .but gradually it turned into a home. . .The Country Farm Home. . .and one we are both very proud of. . .
 
 
You'll be amazed yourself at the transition. . .
 
I won't say anything else and give away the up-coming posts. . .
I'll only say. . .
DON'T MISS IT !!!!
 
 
 
One more note for ya: I've been away for a time. . .working on at least three. . .or was it four?. . .major, time-consuming projects. . .Although I still have some involvement in them, I think they are about wrapped up. . .Maybe I can take a little breather now. . .and enjoy my online friends again. . .Sure hope so. . .I've MISSED YOU!!!!!
 
 
 

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