Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sister

I think it's a Michigan thing, this calling each other Sister than by our names, or maybe it's just a term of endearment that has been with Sister and me for years and years.  I can't recall the last time I called my sister by her name - even when referring to her to others - its always Sister.


My sister is my best friend.  We are separated by ten years and thousands of miles, and yet are as close as a whisper when we need each other.  I swear I can hear her call to me in the rustle of the leaves on the trees when she needs me.
                                                                     My Sister Bonnie
                                                             
We have the same crazy sense of humor, the same passion for our sons, we each have one - who we adore, and although I like to think I’m creative, my sister is the most talented person I know!
                                                          Bonnie and her son Shannon

We are so connected that we can carry on entire conversations without ever finishing a sentence, and repeatedly, much like Name That Tune; we can finish the thought of the other often when she utters just one or two words.

I have been busy preparing for our annual Cottage Christmas Sale and must confess I have procrastinated to the last minute …… using a multitude of excuses, I’m afraid.  One excuse, and I must say a very good one, was that my Sister, my nephew Shannon and his lovely wife Joann, along with babies Alivia and Grant in tow, came for Thanksgiving weekend.  And as you all know, you must have a clean house when family comes, so I devoted my limited time to cleaning and shopping and preparing, and ignored the cottage and barn. 

It’s been three years since my sister’s last visit, and our barn is a new addition since then.  She was so eager to see it, and was a bit shocked to see the pile high of furniture and smalls stacked everywhere when the sale was but a mere two weeks away.  “Don’t worry” she said, “we’ll work in here every night while I’m here” HA, well that didn’t happen.  Every day was full of conversation, adoring babies, meals, and more conversation – before we knew it, our three and half days were gone – and we were saying our tearful goodbyes!
                                                        Shannon, Joann and Aliva visited 
                                                                  the Butterfly Place!

Her visit was over before we knew it and not only hadn’t we spent anytime working on the sale, but I hadn’t spent even a minute in the cottage or barn that entire week.  Since they departed on Tuesday, I’ve made great progress all week, staging new displays, unpacking the last of the Christmas treasures, and putting finishing touches here and there.

This morning my sister called, quite early, to catch me before I headed over the barn to work to share a dream she had last night.  She dreamt that we had been working in the barn together and we hung chairs and small furniture from large hooks all around the perimeter of the room.  Well it is a great idea, in fact it’s such a great idea that I had sent Farmgirl Mister Jim out yesterday morning to buy large hooks so we could hang chairs and small furnishings around the perimeter of the barn!    Yes, my sister and I are quite connected!

So here is a picture of the chairs some of the chairs we’ve hung from the walls, (we hung 8!) and wow, does it add more display space for all of our treasures.
  
Farmgirl Sisters Cottage Christmas sale is Saturday, December 10 – and a full 12 hours long 8AM – 8PM and we so hope to see you there!  Check us out on facebook: farmgirl sisters or at www.farmgirlsisters.com for more information and directions!  We're easy to find, right in downtown Branson, just one block off Hwy 65 and Hwy 76!  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Real Treasure

Farmgirl Mister Jim clucks and sputters with every load of pickin’ treasures I bring home, always commenting as he helps unload, “this really is enough….”

Well today, FGM Jim had an epiphany! Pickin’ really can be for profit and even a good profit! 

Occasionally I will visit an on-line auction site, enter a few minimum bids and then wait to see what happens.  If I win it great, if not, oh well, there will be others.

Recently I happened upon what appeared to be a small vintage beaded evening bag, and the opening bid was less than $5.  So I placed the opening bid and never looked back.  Three days later, I received an email announcing I had won the bag.  It arrived about a week later, and it really is quite lovely.


Wanting to know a bit more about the bag I started to research on the internet and was shocked what I found.  First my bag is as much as 100 years old!  I immediately called to Jim to come look.  My little beaded bag sells for anywhere from $285.00 and up.  Well Jim jumped on his computer and continued the search for an hour, pulling up every version of French steel beaded bags he could find.  Some listed for as much as $400.00!  Needless to say, future pickin’ is now encouraged!

The most difficult part of finding treasures like this little bag is that I find them to sell, and often I don’t want to let go of them. 

This is so true of this gorgeous French Steel-cut Beaded Purse.  It is a shimmery beauty with long lattice fringe, beautiful pink lining, and sewn in ribbon Made in France.  Ornate detailing and a delicate button with loop closure.  Beautiful bead work makes this an outstanding example of this art form, every little bead hand done, and none missing.  A heavy bag, dating to the late 1800's early 1900's. 

But alas, my little find is for sale, and to all you collectors out there, it is in fabulous condition, all fringe in tack, button and loop in tack, handle intact.  Lining is clean and Made in France task is clean and intact.

Add this to your collection for $225.00


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Three R's - Repurpose, Recycle, Reduce

Reducing our carbon footprint – it’s a catch phrase you hear on the news and talk shows, and see in the paper or magazines or the internet……and for most of us, we apply it the other guy, or the big corporate “users” and “abusers”, but me, what can I do?

The other evening, I was emptying waste baskets around the house, preparing for the morning trash pick up, and oh my, where did all the trash come from, I must have not emptied last week, surely all this trash wasn’t from one week!  And even more to my chagrin I went outside to find two large trash cans full, and an extra box already filling fast!  To say the least, I was appalled….how could three people, one of which is a housebound granny who generates little if any trash, have so much waste!


Now I am an avid follower of MaryJaneFarm® magazine and her rural love of life and all things good, and after completely devouring every issue of her magazine cover to cover numerous times, I always think to myself…”self” I say, “if we lived on a farm, we would be thrifty and frugal like MaryJane!”  Well that pre-trash night, I had an epiphany!  I don’t need to live on a farm to be thrifty, frugal and environmentally responsible, and my occasional reusing a bag or piece of foil, just doesn’t qualify.

So here is my plan – we are now a home that lives the three R’s – repurpose, recycle and reduce!

Repurposing gives life to things you may have tossed out.  Jars with lids go to the garage or craft room to hold all those pesky little bits and pieces, nuts and bolts, buttons and the like.  That flannel sheet that can’t be mended is cut up and hemmed for the perfect polishing cloths; our community is full of thrift stores supporting various charities, and one box a week of clothing, dishes, and other unused and stored items that have gone untouched for more than a year will leave this house!

Recycle – bins are in the carport to collect cans, papers, plastic; phone books boxed up for the annual girl scout phone book drive; cardboard now has a new purpose flattened and layered in next year’s garden bed to create the “lasagna” garden that breaks down harden ground for a perfect garden bed!  Shredded junk mail and compostable food scraps to the compost bins and well, one small point for effort, we already use reusable grocery totes!


Reduce, in addition to reducing out going trash, we are reducing incoming trash by bringing less home.  Making my own laundry soap eliminates all those huge plastic bottles; buying less convenience food eliminates some of the boxes, plastic wrap and little plastic dishes and an added benefit is we eat better by buying more fresh items!


And though we are just beginning we will be proficient by the end of the year so that we can save those New Year’s Resolutions for something that won’t be a shame if we don’t keep!

So today, Repurpose, recycle and reduce and
‘til tomorrow,
Stormy-

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Pickin' Diva....


I just spent three days traveling through Arkansas on Highway 64 with my dear friend Sherri, in a borrowed pick up truck - so fancy it shouldn't be called a truck, and pulling a little enclosed trailer - lots of change in my purse, snacks and cooler, packing material for breakables, and high hopes for treasures.  Touted to be a huge sales event, Bargains Galore on 64, with over 160 miles of sales, was our three day adventure weekend.

I must say I was a bit disappointed in the number of sales along the route.  In fairness, this part of the country had been experiencing record breaking heat for nearly two months, and bizarre thunderstorms broke out both Thursday afternoon and Friday night leaving giant mud pits almost everywhere you tried to stop along the way on Saturday.  So this may have dampened the selling spirit.  But not this picker, we stopped and shopped all along the way.

Hug kudos to Sherri who can back up a trailer with the best of them!  I was amazed....I'm a pull through picker.  If I'm toting a trailer, I only park where I can pull through, this farmgirl can't back up!

Although sales were sporadic along the highway, it’s important to note that you really have to watch for signs that take you down the side roads.  There are sales in the area neighborhoods too, and this narrow highway is very winding, so you can come upon a sale and pass it by before you know it.

We stayed Wednesday night in Ft. Smith, and headed out early Thursday morning looking for those "early worm" bargins....not much participation in Ft. Smith, in fact our first sales were in Aurora.  Let the shopping begin.....

Rain about 2:00 ended our day, so we headed to our next motel for the night.  Just because a motel is listed on Priceline doesn't mean you want to stay there.  Let me just say I slept on top of the covers with my clothes on!

Friday we back tracked a few miles to check out sales we might have missed. Not much, so we had a great home cooked breakfast at the Big M Diner and headed out to shop!  First stopped at the local Police Departments trailer where they had a rummage sale to help families for this coming Christmas.  I bought all of their hand-crocheted items.  I'm just sure some grandma made them with love!

A bit of Galore wisdom for those of you contemplating this sale for next year.

Things I learned along the way:
  • Fried pickles from the gas station are pretty darned good;
  • Just because there is stuff in the yard, doesn’t mean they’re having a yard sale;
  • Men selling hunting gear don’t like when you say you could turn their tree stand into a cute chair;
  • Little local dairy-marts have great food;
  • You might not want to follow spray painted arrows into the woods;
  • Don’t pass up the church rummage sales and always buy something from them;
  • Skip fast food stops and eat at the local eatery, they are a treat;
  • And always buy from the local Police or Firefighter’s sales, whatever they are selling it's always for a great cause.

We started in Ft. Smith and headed towards Conway and unlike the World's Longest Yardsale, you can cover great distances in a day. 

 I really do need to address the people we met along the way, both other shoppers and sellers alike.  We met some of the nicest people.  Wouldn’t trade that part of the trip for anything!

My traveling companion, and my best friend Sherri has now named me a Pickin’ Diva, altered from her first go round of Pickin’ Snob.  Hahahahaha.  Seems she feels I was a little too picky at my pickin’.

One thing for sure, shows like American Pickers and Pickin’ Sisters and the like, have ruined it for us local common pickers.  Seems most of the sellers we came across felt like everything thing they had strewn across their front lawn and stacked in the garage was the next great collectible or treasured antique.  Prices were a bit high, and the art of negotiating was lost on most sellers. 

However, with effort and perseverance, I managed to come home with a small trailer full of treasures.  I wonder if when I’m looking the items over and loading them into the trailer full of eclectic if not unique pieces of furniture, the sellers are wondering what the heck I buy that stuff for.

Here’s a peek at some the treasures that made their way home with me…….



One thing I thought was comical was how many of the sellers were intrigued by my Michigan accent.  An accent I don't hear or realize I still have.  One very nice young woman kept me talking for about 15 minutes just so she could here my accent. HA, and I was enjoying her's.  I think her tip off was my saying "we've been out and about since early this morning." HA
Here’s Jim surveying my bounty and wondering “what the heck is she going to do with this junk?”



Just remember these are the before photos, and a coffee table can become a wonderful foot of the bed bench complete with custom cushion, end tables take on a new life repainted in funky colors, sewing machine cabinets are a treasure, and chairs….well chairs in my hands become works of art - just sayin'.

Watch for before and the fabulous after pics on our newest facebook page – farmhouse chic.

And be sure to join us at our next Farmgirl Sisters Cottage and Barn Sale, Sept 29 - Oct 1, where we will all have wonderful treasures for you to do your own pickin'

'til we meet again!
Stormy

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Junque In Your Trunk

This weekend was our Annual Summer Farmgirl Sisters Cottage Sale took place and the addition of our new barn added to the atmosphere and fun of the event.  

Our cottage had new look, a little more vintage, lots more room to rummage through the fun, the antiques and collectibles.  So many new pieces of furniture including a to die for butcher block that sold right away, and dozens of new shabby chic items, made it a very fun sale.  We had a lot of repeat visitors who have become farmgirl friends, and many, many new shoppers, including our new friends, The Prairie Chicks who drove down from Lebanon, MO, and arrived at 7:30AM, which means they had to have left home around 5:30AM!  Wow, talk about dedication to the art of Barn Sale shopping!

our Farmgirl Sister Jan brought in such cute things, and worked everyday even with her back out, I love my "sister" Jan, a friend for 15 years now....





and the added space of the new barn, allowed for more furniture and treasures




The best part of the weekend was Saturday when we hosted our first Junque in Your Trunk Sale and our friends who came to sell brought such fabulous treasures.  They were shopping among themselves as they set up!

Renee and her Mom brought such cute things, and her Mom’s treasures were Country and Primitives and she told me she was downsizing and soon to switch to a Shabby Chic d├ęcor, she was so sweet and we just love Renee and all the support she gives the Farmgirl Sisters.

Our newest Farmgirl Sister Lynn was unable to participate this time around, she had a previous commitment and was missed, but oh the treasures she brought to the cottage were scrumptious.  We look forward to having her touch in our October sale.

Our friends from the Memory Barn in Kimberling City loaded up their fabulous vintage farm truck with such treasures, WOW!  They made a great cornerstone to the set up.

It was hot, hot, hot and we’re sure that put a little damper on shoppers, and we were all pretty wilted by 2:00PM, but what fun we had.  It was great camaraderie and everyone shared such fabulous ideas for our October sale!  It will surely be bigger, better, and more fun.

Here are some pictures of the fun






















We are revamping our calendar for October, and our sale dates will be September 29 and 30 for the Cottage and Barn Sale, and our Junque in Your Trunk Antique Faire will be Saturday, October 1, so mark your calendars now. 

Our Memory Barn friends are hosting their annual 4th of July weekend sale in Kimberling City, head out Hwy 13 to DD Hwy and follow the signs about 1.5 miles and you'll find their quaint setting on the right!
Our Prairie Chick friends are hosting their Barn Sale on Saturday, June 18, 7AM -2PM, off Hwy 32 in Lebanon, MO, follow the signs about 1.5 - 2 miles out.  We'll see you there!

Those that want to participate in our Junque in Your Trunk Antique Faire on Saturday, October 1, contact us soon, space is limited, and filling fast!

'til next time,
Stormy

PS and not to be forgotten, a very special thank you to Farmgirl Mister, Jim who really stepped up and helped make this sale a success, went above and beyond the call of Farmgirl duty.




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stormy (not Julie) and Julia


Long before the movie Julie and Julia, I loved Julia Childs. She was on my list of people I most wanted to meet, along with Frank Sinatra, Jackie Kennedy and Mikail Barishnikov. I can’t even tell you when that began, I’m certain it was before my ‘tween years, when I would watch her on television and wonder how this - not model perfect, Donna Reed, Father’s Knows Best Mom with perfect hair crinoline under her skirt, perfect wave in her hair - woman was on television in her own show, cooking and making me love her with each new segment in her show. Dropping a chicken, flubbing an omelet, that not so melodic voice, I loved it all!


I am 5’10” and have never enjoyed that perfect weight, and here was this woman who carried herself in such a way that you thought about her grace, but you didn’t think about her physical appearance at all, you just thought about this great woman and what she was saying.



Then came the movie, and even with a Hollywood spin, I was enamored with her even more – and Meryl Streep’s performance was so on the money. I love that Julia’s husband loved her like he did, and that everyone who knew them, knew they we so in love with each other.

So why do I bring this up? Because I love to cook, I love to put on an apron and bustle around the kitchen and create new things, bake, and good old fashioned farm fare is my passion, and yet somewhere over these past few years, I have lost my passion, my bliss.





I have dozens and dozens of cookbooks, tucked in cupboards and stacked in piles and on shelves. I can just sit a read a cookbook like others pick up a magazine. The favorite thing about my kitchen is the small corner fireplace and comfy chair. Perfect to sit and read and peruse recipes for my next creation.

I really love old cookbooks, and really get a chuckle from the illustrations and “helpful hints” these vintage gems contain.

My passion for cookbooks began when I received my first cookbook when I was about 8 or 9, and I received Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Girls and Boys. I still have it to this day.

Second to the wonderful contents of old cookbooks is the comfort of an apron. Tying on an apron somehow makes you feel like the queen of the kitchen, of the home. Perhaps it’s those old family television shows when every mom wore an apron and pearls, and that was reinforced for me by the apron and pearls worn by Julia when I stumbled upon her show one afternoon after school.

The concept of the movie, the blogging her way through Julia Child’s recipes, life, and passions opened a passion in Julie…………………….and in me. Watching the movie for my fifth or sixth time, I am consumed by Julie’s words as she blogs, and how the blog changes her life.

So where is this rambling blog going? Well, I am challenging myself, much like Julie did, and rather than working my way through someone’s cookbook, I am going to do something that I have wanted to do for years. I am going to write my own cookbook.

So I have gotten down my recipe box, laid out several spiral notebooks and pens (I work better that way than I do on a computer), picked out five fabulous vintage aprons, and put my string of pearls next to my favorite tea cup.

Six months from today, I will have 50 recipes created, tested, and ready to share in my first ebook, ready for any of you that are interested. From my fabulous stuffed meatloaf to my mixed “bumble” berry cobbler, a taste of good old fashioned farm cooking will be on-line and ready. Let the clock begin!

Bon Apetite!
Stormy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Farmgirl Sews

Farmgirls are strong, hardworking, fun-loving, friendly, and creative. We are passionate, compassionate, and we have an intensely romantic side. Whether we wear overalls and a cotton shirt, or long skirts with pantaloons, there is romance in how we live and all we do and how we live our lives.

Recently I came across a bounty of old sewing patterns and I had so much fun sorting through the bags and bags of envelopes while deciding how I would use them.

Many ended up as tissue paper to wrap treasures purchased at our Cottage Sale this past weekend, and the instruction pages were pulled to use for craft paper and fun gift wrap paper. Empty envelopes were saved for scrapbooking and tag making.




However, nearly two dozen spoke to my Farmgirl heart. Patterns of jumpers, shirts, dresses, overalls, and even nightwear - all from decades past and present - ended up in a pile that I just couldn’t bear to take apart. There are long and short skirted, jumpers that can be adapted in length or embellished, a variety of dress styles, blouses and more. There is even a fabulous Wedding dress pattern that you can just surely envision a Farmgirl Bride marrying the man of her dreams and celebrating in the best barn party ever!




Here are some of the favorites, and you’ll find them all ready for you to purchase at www.farmgirlsisters.com at our on-line Cottage store.








One or two I will keep so that I can make them up and sell the finished products for you buy and wear! I only wish I could copy the patterns so more and more of you could enjoy them, however, remember Farmgirl Sisters respect copyright laws! But I promise to search them out where ever I go, and will keep adding them to our store.











To see them all, visit our website at www.farmgirlsisters.com, they will all be posted in our on-line Cottage Store over the next few days.

Happy sewing…………..