Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Yard...Now and Then

This summer has been sooo hot and dry.
My yard is feeling a major impact from the drought. It is all I can do to keep the flowers watered and there comes a point when I have to let the "survival of the fittest" idea take over. It's really quite depressing as I water every night to see how sad everything looks. I water all my pots every afternoon and try to soak the flowers beds on a rotating schedule. I am the only irrigation system we have - so no timer will kick in and take over my job. I am trying to save the perennials and plants that have special meaning. (like the plants passed on from family and friends)

July 31, 2011
  There are a few bright spots among the brown ones... and these flowers have yet to be irrigated by me (other than the zinnias). You gotta love that! The sunflowers, periwinkles, and yellow four o'clocks have all self seeded and have taken care of themselves with the heat.

To be honest, I have NO idea were the yellow 4:00 came from. I only have hot pink and the yellow ones came  up by the steps. Farmall Man complains about having to walk around them to climb the steps... I reminded him of all his stuff I walk around and they are still happily standing by the porch ;)


July 31, 2011
The trees shouldn't be looking like this till fall, but I have had a red bud to die and the dogwood tree is ailing.
July 31, 2011
Summers in Texas are always hot, but last year my yard was still providing some pretty pictures. 
This is what my yard would normally look like this time of year (and some couch potatoes soaking up the a/c).

Last summer  - July 2010

Sunflowers were blooming in all colors and sizes last year...
Since there aren't any pretty flower picture this summer, I must return to files from last year and hope for a better summer next year. Hopefully the strongest plants will survive and next summer will produce more pretty blooms. After all us gardeners are an optimistic group...when we plant a garden, we are believing in tomorrow. Unfortunately, we are under an Excessive Heat Advisory instead of just a Heat Advisory for this week. Looks like I'll be spending lots of time with the water hose this week and dreaming about cooler weather and rain showers!
My favorite pics from the last week of July 2010.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Burlap Dreams

I've been doing lots of Dreaming lately and thought it appropriate to make this pillow and banner for my bedroom.
I've actually been dreaming with my eyes wide open more than with 'em closed. I'll be honest, I've never been the type to have sweet dreams. If I dream at night, someone is always attacking me, so I prefer to day dream.
I've been seeing lots of banners all over blogland and decided that was just what the wall in my bedroom needed. I had been wanting some kind of quote or saying on the wall ever since I did my bedroom makeover last fall, and finally this week I was inspired to make this.

I am day dreaming about making some major changes in my life. I've never been a dare devil and have always "played it safe", but I'm dreaming about going out on a limb and doing something big. (It will be a good thing, I just can't share details yet.)

I am wanting to find an old vintage style camper and complete a major overhaul on it and can clearly see a Dream banner hanging over the bed. Now if I can just find the camper!
I used my vintage Sew Gem machine and sewed the triangles to a strip of burlap, cut out letters on my Silhouette machine, painted the letters on the banner, and hung it in my bedroom. I thought it needed a little something more and I had several of these burlap flowers on alligator clips on hand and simply clipped them between each letter.
For my pillow I used my Silhouette machine to cut out this dream image using heat transfer material. I ironed on the image and then sewed my two pieces of material together, leaving the fringe. I applied fray blocker to deter any further fraying of the burlap.

I hope a few of my dreams come true soon and with these burlap dreams to encourage me on, it just might happen!


I am linking my burlap dream sewing projects to the following parties:

Visit thecsiproject.com


Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!



Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet

So we have a bakery next door to us at work. Do you know how hard it is to resist fresh off the cookie sheet chocolate chip cookies, or no bake chocolate candy, or carrot cake. Then we are the guinea pigs and have to sample the new recipes of cupcakes and double chocolate cookies, or yada yada yada.....

 Yeah, its not easy! One of the new ladies at the bakery found out I make bling bling caps and ordered a sweet little cupcake cap. She liked it and I like her sweets!

Sorry for making you all crave something sweet! If it's any concelation, I'm craving something from the bakery and I'm at home...not at work...therefore no sweets till Monday for me!

Surprise Sunflowers!

Just when I thought the show was over... A surprise sunflower started making an appearance!
Looks like we will have a few more sunflowers after all! Yeeeehaaaa!




Its amazing in the middle of a drought that these beauties have hung on with out any water. The rest of my yard is struggling to survive. We did get almost an inch of rain last night, so that will help out some. I am very thankful for the rain we did get and just hope and pray for more to come soon.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Sew Gem

This is my sewing machine... My Grandmama's antique Sew Gem machine. It's hard to believe it's been almost ten years since she last touched it. (that's her butter tub of buttons and pin cushion too.)

I remember as a girl, sitting and watching her sew for hours. All my dresses were made on this machine. I think one of the first store bought dresses I owned, I wore to my 8th grade graduation! And boy, store bought dresses just didn't fit the same! She made many a quilts, clothing, aprons, pillows, and potholders on this old dandy. I wish I could have learned from her, that I would have wanted to know how to sew when she was alive. Grandmama had so much knowledge about sewing and gardening and everything else in between. I wish as a teenager, I would have watched more intently, ask more questions, and learned from the best.

I wonder if she ever thought I would have her machine. If the sew gem would ever be used after her death. I wonder what she would think about me making pillows and curtains and aprons on her machine. I really wish she was still here and we could be making stuff together. Grandmama was my hero and I'm just a little bit sentimental about her. When I sew, I seem to miss her even more.

I've been contemplating getting a new sewing machine, one that can do all the fancy stitches and such, but I think back to how Grandmama did everything she ever needed to with this one machine.

Sometimes I ponder the thought of 'if the house was burning, what would I grab first' and Grandmama's Sew Gem and the two quilts she made me are always on the top of the list. Yeah, I'm just a tad bit sentimental...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Butterflies and Flowers Cork Board Frame

I recently made this super cute and girly cork board frame and listed it in my etsy store. It makes a great frame for a girls room and allows for pictures, notes, or ideas to be tacked to the frame or tucked in the flower and butterfly as shown.

I started with a basic brown cork board frame and painted it black. I had a piece of turquoise textured scrapbook paper with an almost has a felt like quality about it. I filled in the photo area and created a mat with a piece of the paper and then made the paper flowers that are attached to the corners.
Feeling like something was missing, I added the rhinestone flowers to the centers of the paper flowers and found these blingy butterflies to compliment the frame. The wire antennae on the butterflies make a nesting area for pictures or notes.

A sheer turquoise ribbon is attached for easy hanging.  Please check out my etsy store: http://gypsyfarmgirl.etsy.com to make this frame your very own!
 I am linking this project to the

Thank you for allowing me to link my etsy store projects to your Christmas in July linky party!



”Build{hers}

Supersuite


Friday I didn't have to work at the flower shop, but Farmall Man needed some help in the hay field, so I eagerly joined him. One of the two paying jobs I've ever had was raking hay. I grew up driving tractors for my families commercial hay baling operation. When I met FM, I knew he was the one for me when we talked tractors on our first date! His family was hay balers as well, so we had a lot in common.

Of course I never had a cab tractor to rake hay with - only the actual baling tractor was air conditioned. I grew up driving "Little John", a 1520 John Deere tractor. I loved Little John and would sport a great "Farmer's Tan" by the end of the summer! It was hot work, but I know that my job on the farm has taught me a responsibility and work ethic that so many people are missing these days. I appreciate all the days I drove a tractor for my family and was thankful for the job and opportunities it provided.

Its been a few years since I've done much tractor driving or hay raking. FM and his Dad usually do all the hay baling, but his Dad had a prior engagement Friday and I was off, so I went along to drive a tractor. My father-in-law recently purchased this newer New Holland tractor and I got to rake hay with air conditioning! Shoot, I've never been so clean or cool while working in the hay field! Mind you its only been a 100 to 109 everyday this week. I think its been hotter in the flower shop than in the tractor some this summer!

I had fun while working...I had my ipod a jammin', took a few pictures with my phone, and did a lot of thinkin'. That's the thing about driving tractors - there is lots of time to let your mind wander and dream. With tinted windows, getting a tan on my legs while raking, just didn't happen!

We were fortunate to get more rolls of hay than we expected, as drought and grasshoppers are taking there toll on crops. We should be on at least the second to third cutting of hay by now, but this was the first hay that we baled this year. Farmers are really starting to suffer and hay is in real shortage this year. Rain would be a very good thing.

Here are a few of my pics from our work in the hay field.




My "office" on Friday!
It was a "Super Suite" Cab Tractor  with tinted windows, a/c, cd player, cup holders, and cruise control!
Once a hay raker...always a hay raker!

Farmall Man driving a Massey Ferguson Tractor baling hay
Baling hay is a dusty, dirty job.
Moving a roll of hay across the field to be loaded on a trailer and transported home.

The view out of my tractor as Farmall Man is baling the row beside me. (Please excuse the dust and dirt on the windows!) 
Part of our harvest.
A view from my tractor.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hard Day...

Trixie says it has been a hard day in the hay field! The little rascal loves to go anywhere with Farmall Man and riding in cab tractors is exciting to her.

When I come home from work, I can always tell if she has been baling hay... she is sacked out on the couch and doesn't come wagging her tail excitedly or eager to give me kisses.

In a little while, she will be ready to go again, but until then she will take it easy on the couch after a hard days work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The show's {almost} over

The credits are rolling, the theme music is playing, the darkness ends, the exit signs are lit up...

Ok, well we aren't at the movies, but the sunflower show is coming to the end. I love how this picture evokes a sad vintage feeling that better times have existed.

The flowers are exhausted from the heat, lack of rain, and being gnarled by grasshoppers.

(This picture was taken a few weeks ago and the buds you see in the picture are now as sad as the big sunflower.)

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: Jimmy
Flash: Off
Film: Kodot XGrizzled

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Picture Frame Wreath

I'm a floral designer and florist are suppose to have big, beautiful wreaths on their front door...but we have a screen door that limits the space I can display a wreath in. Add in the fact that our front door faces the west and the afternoon heat leaves our door scorching hot - hot enough to melt glue, I have to get really creative in a small space!

When I started seeing the picture frame wreaths recently, I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

My front door is Farmall Red - literally! One night I got the urge to paint my door red and the only paint I could find at home was the Farmall Red Tractor paint. (We live too far out in the country to drive into town on every whim.)

I love bright and cheery sunflowers - they scream summer to me.

The picture frame was given to me by a friend when it did not sell in her garage sale. For a previous project, I had attached chicken wire where the glass should have been. I left the chicken wire for this project as well.

I got a wooden cross and mod podged it with random scrapbook paper. (I really want to get our initial in place of the cross- but I can't find one the right size.)

The welcome sign was among my random stuff and I thought it would be appropriate to greet guest ummm, me, when I get home!


Everything was discreetly attached to the frame with little pieces of raffia or burlap strings instead of hot glue, since the glue melts in the sweltering summer heat.

Instead of ribbon, I cut a strip of burlap to make my hanger.
So there you have it  - my skinny wreath to fit between my screen and storm doors!

I'm linking to the following parties:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cherry Crumble

We were at the grocery store Sunday and Farmall Man spotted a big ol' bag of fresh cherries...I never really recall seeing fresh cherries in the grocery store and have quite frankly never made anything with them. Well, we came home with three pounds of cherries. Now...what to do with all of these things... Sure FM was going to eat some fresh, but what about the rest of them? Well I googled a few recipes to get some ideas, then I made my own concoction last night, and let me tell you it was Ooey Gooey Good! 

It was gooey and warm and just right last night with a dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream! See that ice cream melting while I hurried to take a picture!
I managed to use up 4 cups of the fresh cherries and let me warn you now - if you are like me and have never pitted fresh cherries - protect your work surface and your hands! My fingers were BLACK last night when I finished cooking! Now I know and don't say I didn't warn ya.

Fresh Cherry Crumble Recipe

In sauce pan add:
 4 cups of fresh cherries - pitted and halved
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch


Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the topping, in a small bowl combine:
4 tablespoons of butter - cut into small pieces
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon -more or less based on your preference
1/2 cup chopped pecans


After cherries have simmered 10 minutes, pour into a 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle topping over ooey, gooey cherry mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven till golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Just for precaution, I placed a piece of foil underneath my dish, but fortunately, it did not bubble over.

All my measurements were approximate - that's just the way I cook! We try to limit our sugar, so I didn't put a whole lot in the recipe. You can put more if that's your fancy!

And let me tell you, with a scoop of store-bought "homemade vanilla" ice cream, it was good, if I say so myself!

I'm linking to the following parties!


Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mommy




Homemade by YOU Monday Linky Party with Farmchick



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I like Periwinkles...

It's hot y'all! Farmall Man sent me a pic of our thermometer reading 109 degrees on Friday. But I will say I had rather have hot weather over freezing cold weather anytime.

I love my periwinkles in the yard because...

      • they are volunteers, self seeding from last years crop

      • I have not watered them one single time this year

      • same goes for fertilizer - nada zilch none

      • they are blooming beautifully in front of my steps with NO care
      • they can stand the heat and drought conditions

      • the dogs run through the patio and brush them with their tails and they tolerate the beating
  • the grasshoppers avoid the periwinkles in persuit of almost every other item in my yard
So that's a few of the reasons I didn't pull up these periwinkles that are growing out o the rocks in front of my steps and what elevates them to my list of favorite plants for my garden.

So do you grow periwinkles? What is must have plant?

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone
Lens: John S
Flash: Off
Film: Kodot XGrizzled

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks on the Lake

Last night I got to scratch two items off my unofficial Summer Bucket List! I don't know what all is on that list, but photographing a fireworks show and driving around the lake were two items on the list!
 
We had the opportunity to go to our town's firework show at the high school stadium or travel about twenty miles to the lake and take photos with a reflection over the water. Hmmm...what do you think I chose?
We are under burn and firework bans, although these professionally choreographed shows, presented by the towns were permitted.

 I had never been to this lake before, so we drove around the lake Sunday afternoon and scoped out the surroundings. We saw where the fireworks were being set up and found the "point" of the lake opposite the dam.
 I studied up on some manual camera settings and we headed back to lake around dusk. We got a spot on the point and I set up my tripod and prepared for the show.
 We enjoyed the patriotic show of fireworks and patriotic music and I am excited about how my pictures turned out.
 My camera settings that were set to f/11, ISO 100, and shutter speed set to Bulb. Some of the pictures were exposed 3 to 30 seconds. I used a few apps on my phone to help determine my settings. One day I hope to figure out all of the settings on my camera. I never knew anything about "bulb" till I got to reading yesterday on a blog.
I hope you are all having a Happy 4th Of July! Are you going to a fireworks show this year (or did you already attend a show)? Have Fun and Be Safe as we celebrate Freedom!