27 July 2014

My Blue Heaven

Are there many enjoyments in life as fine as a porch?

I wonder what the history of the porch is?  Surely a place to hide from the sun and relax for a few moments during a time in history when people worked from dusk 'til dawn just to survive.

I wonder what the nomenclature of the word "porch" is?*

When I feel like I am just surviving my porch is a wonderful place to retreat.  The view of the farm and potager is perfect from its many windows and the breeze is fantastic.

My porch is... shall we say, rustic.  Four seasons it is not, though the spiders tend to disagree.  Darling vacuumed up all the tarantulas for me today and now I can relax without fear.

My porch is peaceful.  I don't get to enjoy it near enough.  To many mouths to feed and not enough minutes in my day.

My porch reaches up into the 80's on some of the coldest winter days.  Taking a nap in the sun and pretending it's summer is a fine way to spend a dull, winter hour.  I can also over winter my rosemary there with ease.

My porch is... of course, blue and white and today, being unpacked from our vacation I decided to grab my camera and capture it for you.

Would you like a little tour?
Put your feet up and enjoy a bit of my blue heaven.

(Before we get started let's take a quick look at my porch when it was a furniture "catch-all"... before blue.

It had it's good days and bad days but finally just became the place to keep all the furniture from the old Parisienne Farmhouse that wasn't working for me here in the new Parisienne Farmhouse on Half-Way Farm.

It was depressing.)

 I love old books.  The colors are moving.  The smell is historic.  I can't get enough of them.
 Found this sweet little English biscuit tin at an antique shop on vacation.  $4.50 of delight!
 This galvanized chimney thing was my mothers day present.  The wonderful french farmhouse looking chairs I found at a garage sale for $2 a piece and the matching metals stools for $5 at my favorite resale shop a few weeks ago.  The table is from my Gramma.  The chandie - my first from many, many years ago.  1930's silver plated.
 I made these pillows with down inserts from the Goodwill, a used drop cloth (seriously, I was desperate to create and that's all I had) and my Mom came over with her fabulous stencils.  I love that stencil too much, it's all over my house.  I may get a tattoo of it.
Am I?
 I I find myself addicted to European looking baskets these days - but you know how frugal I am.  This whole pile has been found this summer here and there for less than $12.  See how the floor slopes (like the Joker's house!) -- so the rain could run off before it was enclosed.   MUST get some shims for that cabinet!
 Hey!  Who's that munchkin!???  Went all out and did french blue floors.  Sigh.

  I fauxed this door to match my kitchen cabinets.  It was white and I have yet to do the other side.  I love it.  If you like this technique it's super easy.  Use a semi-dry brush and the product at the end of this post and go nuts.  I'll put the product down below for you but you'll have to get it tinted.  I believe I used "Deep Ocean".
So don't laugh but I made the slip cover.  I just love ticking and had to try it while saving up for a pro-job.  It's a bit shabby but hey... overall I really impressed myself, I have never done anything like that before though I break into my Cirque de Soliel routine to get the old cushion stuffed into that pillowcase.  Contortionist.

 A favorite vintage apron.  A french thermometer found at that awesome garage sale I blogged about a few years ago and a French barometer that I found at this horrid, funky little market in Paris in a not-so-great neighborhood.  SCORE!... or should I say, "GOAL!"
 Oh, those chairs. 
I am not showing you the top part of this cab.  It's full of homeschool stuff that needs to be straightened.  Long time readers have seen in before.  After all these years I still just LOVE the paint job.

If Ironstone is out of fashion I don't care.  I want a huge wall of it someday.  In the meantime these fabulous prints will have to do.  They are so unique.

Another junkie piece of furniture that takes a beating.  This is where I toss all Darling's stuff that he leaves around the house (drills, duct tape, random screws...) 

 A room with a view.
 Crusty ceiling. 
And last but not least my birthday present from Joel.  On vacation in Door Country last week we found these BITCHIN olive buckets from Turkey.  I think I peed my pants.  We could only get two - would that I could I would have bought all 30 of them.  They are dreamy and I had to toss my rosemary topiary in them for maximum effect.

I hope you enjoyed and had a chance to relax.
Parisienne Farmgirl

*Post Script:
"Porch" comes from the the latin word porticus and the greek word portico referring to the columned entry of a temple.  

For all you creative types...


17 July 2014

She's Sew Chic - Tablecloth Jean Skirt Tutorial

I buy vintage tablecloths whenever they are cheap and somewhat cute and then I just sit on them knowing that SOME day I will find a good use for them.  

Remember the tablecloth I cut up for my Grandparents hometown sesquicentennial party???  I had the pleasure of using those again at the 4th... only this time Anaïs got to wear the baby dress and Julliette got to wear Amélie's.  It was so cute and devastatingly heartwarming to be able to use them again.

Months ago I found this "pin" of jeans cut off with fabric attached to make a skirt-- I don't even think I pinned it, I just thought, "I HAVE to do that!"  

Time passed.

And then I got a bur up my butt (on the day of my BIL's birthday party no less) and decided to "throw" together matching skirts for my girls.  They are terribly made yet terribly cute and my sweet babes are so gracious and excited to wear anything their Momma makes them.

I won't bore you with technical sewing details because there aren't any.  As usual I adopted my policy of "fake it 'til you make it."  And I done made me some cute skirts.

Here's my killer directions...

I took two old pairs of jeans, cut them at the butt, just above the crotch.   (The photo looks like I cut them lower but I cut higher after I took the photo).  I took the tablecloth and measured from the length of the freshly cut jeans to just at the girl's ankles and cut accordingly then sewed the ends together.  I basted the top of the cut tablecloth and then pulled the thread to gather the fabric a bit.  Right sides together... et voila!

I hate to pass up the chance to use the salvage edge of fabric.  It saves so much time.

These little babies have character.  
Little holes in the fabric and everything.

They aren't Momma's personal style but I may just have to make myself one.

Happy Pinning.
Parisienne Farmgirl

14 July 2014

Foraging on the Farm (The Brambleberries with Custard Recipe)

It's been a discouraging thirty days here on Half-Way Farm.

First, I thought it was the crazy weather (as in some cases it was) but now it's apparent that something is really wrong with my gardens.  All 4,200 square feet of them... and all the thousands of pounds of food they were going to provide my friends and family with.

I'm sick.  Moody.  Teary.  Bitchy.  And utterly devestaed.

It's a fresh wood chip/nitrogen thing. 
I don't want to talk about it right now.
But I will.  Lest anyone else make the same mistake.


My little one, my little Blondielocks has provided me with a bit of farm joy at her insistence that I "Google" whether or not she could eat the berries growing here and there around our farm.
The other day I was out lamenting my thirteen hundred onions and their seemingly pitiful fate and she just kept pestering me.  It was clear I needed to walk away from the chaos and tend to her curiosities.  So, I broke off a branch of said berries, snapped a headless selfie and posted my question to my Facebook homies.  Who, BTW - rock.

Within the hour we had ten thousand mosquito bites and two pounds of wild blackberries.  I rather like calling them brambleberries.  It sounds so romantic.  So, "Victorian Farm"
Victorian Farm (and it's sequel Edwardian Farm) is the BEST series EVER!  Here is a link to check it out but be sure you select the right DVD region if you make it your own as it was produced in the UK.

There are hundreds more to pick and Mullberry trees full too... not to mention the guy down the road where bushels of apples will be ready to pick this fall.

So, all is not lost.  Really, it is but I am doing my best to be optimistic and grateful for free, organic fruit to feed my flock.
I am leaning on Jesus on wild berries.

Here's the hope filled dessert I fed my family the other night. 
Bon Appetit!

Parisienne Farmgirl's Brambleberries with Simple Custard

4 Cups of whole milk
4 somewhat heaping tablespoons of organic/non GMO corn starch 
3/4 cup of organic sugar 
One vanilla bean 
Four eggs, beaten

Beat eggs in a separate bowl.  Set aside.  Combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in your favorite saucepan and scald.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of milk mixture and the scraped out vanilla bean* to the eggs.  Whisking.  Slowly add egg/milk mixture back to the remaining milk mixture, reheat, whisking until it thickens.  Can be served hot, cold or room temp.

(*Cut vanilla bean lengthwise, open and scrap out with an upsides down spoon.  Heavenly.)

The items below may be difficult in some locations to find.  I order these items in.  Photos are links for you.