Sunday, October 31, 2010

pray for my mama...

Well girls, I am heading out of town this afternoon. Tomorrow is a big day...for my mom...and for me. She is going in for surgery very early tomorrow morning. It is a scary kind of surgery, so I cannot say enough prayers and cross enough fingers and toes to help ensure she makes it through ok.

I love this woman. More than she will ever know. I am her last child...number 8 in the line-up, and born 9 years after all my brothers and sisters. I think that has always given us a special relationship. I am 35 years old, and when she introduces me to someone she still calls me her "baby".

Secretly, I love that.

And I love this photo of her...and this is how I want to think of her today. Young, in love and so much ahead of her in this life.

Please, say a little prayer for her.

I need her to be ok.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh pottery barn, how you inspire me...

It was a long day was soooo cold and cloudy and we were in the-middle-of-nowhere Iowa working on the "barn project" again today. And the wind?? What the heck, I felt like I was an extra in the movie Twister!! Just so you know, it is VERY hard to handle 16 foot long, solid oak boards in 30 mile and hour wind. Ugh. But so worth it, because that wood is going to make some gorgeous furniture!

 (If you are just tuning in, the meat-and-potatoes of the story is that my hubs and I are taking down a 100-year old barn to salvage the wood and galvanized roofing for some new additions to our inventory for our little furniture biz.)

So anyway, where was I??

 Oh yes, long day...cold...windy...blah...blah. I jumped under my down comforter the minute I got home because I was frozen to the bone. I was toasty & warm, reading the Pottery Barn catalog that came in the mail today when I a mini-freakout when I turned to page 95.

I instantly fell in LOVE with the vintage-inspired wood lockers that were staring back at me.

So, since I am a resourceful girl...I swipe their ideas take inspiration from their gorgeous full-color glossy catalog, draw up some plans, buy some wood and get to work building my own!  In all honesty, I saw something similar to these on a blog last year, and have been wanting to build a set ever since! Seeing these just gave me the boost I needed to get to work!

Soon, my husband will be off of work for 3 weeks!!

I could not be happier...because look what he is going to be building...

I am trying to get everything photographed for my upcoming Etsy shop...but I have to take a little time out so we can build and finish a few of these vintage-inspired wood lockers!

I am in LOVE with them!

I don't have anywhere to use them in my home at the we are building them just for the fun of it. Just because we love building and creating and painting crazy, right?? We really need a hobby that isn't like work...but we love it so much, we just don't want to do anything else!

Hmmm...maybe I should offer a pair in my Etsy shop, just for fun??

Goodnight, my friends...I'm off to curl up again under my cozy down comforter to see what other things Pottery Barn is going to make me dream about tonight!

Oh, and my hubs just yelled to me from the other room...plans and a shopping checklist are already drawn up for the lockers!

I love that man.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue River Cottage

Beth, over at The Stories of A to Z woke me up with some gorgeous eye candy this morning, so I just had to share! The lucky girl toured this beautiful home in Norfolk, VA...and let me tell ya...if it wasn't already sold, I just may have called a moving van and headed South!

This house is say the least!

The inside is full of beachy goodness...white painted moulding like I have never seen...a kitchen that is to die for...a staircase that  I swear I would not complain going up and down 100 times a day...serioulsy, go take a look. I'm gonna stop typing now and go pay it a visit again myself.

Pop over to Beth's blog to take a peek of the inside...


Monday, October 25, 2010

you can call me "Red"...

I have never really been into Halloween. I could take it or leave it, really.

We usually build a fire and watch a couple of movies.

I am not the girl that gets all dressed up for a night on the town.


But this year was different.

You see, my hubs LOVES kids. He loves entertaining them...he is "that Uncle". You know...the c-r-a-z-y one that all the kids stick to like glue at a family Holiday. The one that plays football in the backyard with all the nephews on Christmas doesn't matter if it is snowing, raining...whatever...yeah, he loves every minute of it.

He just loves making them happy.

Every year he volunteers to coordinate and decorate part of our local museum that hosts a Halloween event. The museum has a little historic town behind it and he, along with a bunch of friends, decorates and hands out candy at the Police Station in the town. I usually help him with the decorating part, but I have never actually been there on the day of the event.

But this past Saturday we decked out the building, loaded the car with candy and headed to the museum for one of the best days I have had in a long time!

Somehow he even managed to get me in a costume...


And for all you funny girls out there...I am NOT the one of the left.

Ha. Ha.

It was so much more fun than I expected! The kids that were there had a great time, the museum is so quaint and cute...I could move there with all those cute little old buildings and houses, I swear!

It is such a great event for the kids in out town. They get to come out and spend the day with their parents playing games, going on a hayride, dressing up for a costume contest and stuffing themselves with all the candy they can get their little hands on! Just a good old fashioned fall party with all the fun of Halloween mixed in.

I am so glad I jumped in and did it this year! Even if I did have a serious case of "hood hair" all day.

If you decide to celebrate, I hope you have a fabulous weekend! And if you dress up...I wanna see pictures! I am already planning my costume for next year, and I need ideas!

Happy Monday, friends!

I am off to paint a few pieces of furniture today. I have clients waiting, and I have been lazy long enough!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a tisket...a tasket...a linen ruffled basket!

I am not feeling the best allergies have me in a near coma-like state, so I will keep this short and sweet.

I have been missing the blog world the last few days, the cause being renovations are underway on a few projects I am super excited about! There has been dust flying all over my house (I am sure that is not helping the above-mentioned allergy issue) and I have been tripping over construction workers at every ideas for a blog post just have not been flowin'.

 And yes, I have had worse problems in my life than a house full of strong, young men that are good with their hands being under my feet. But with a stuffy nose, head congestion and swollen eyes, I have been in hiding as to not scare anyone into not coming back to finish the job. Trust is not a pretty sight.

Did I say this was a 'short and sweet' post??? Hmmm...

I guess I better get to it since this post is not supposed to be about strong young men or runny noses...but about......metal wire baskets.

I love my collection of wire baskets.

If there was a house fire, I swear I would grab a few on my way out the door.

These are going to be part of a make-over I am working on for my home office. Big changes are in store...and it involves beadboard, lots of white paint and yards and yards of my new favorite linen-like fabric. I can't wait to show you...but until it is done, I thought I would show you what I worked on today

Metal basket storage for my magazines...

(and I apologize for my lack of ironing of my fabric and dark outside photos...those "men" were in my way again.)

My lovely (and currently favorite sister) sewed liners for a few of my wire gym baskets, and I am loving them! I asked her to give me something simple, and to give me exposed stitching and raw edges. I am lovin' how they turned out!

 And in case you were wondering, my "go-to" fabric when I want a "linen" look is from a pair of Ikea drapes called LENDA. I love, love, LOVE this fabric! It drapes like a dream, the color is fantastic and I love the slight seaming it has, too. But, best of all? It is cheap! $14.99 for TWO 110" long panels. I discovered these about a year ago, and I use them to cover chair seats, pillows, curtains and I will now add to my list...basket liners!

I hope you all are having a happy week! I can't believe the weekend is almost here..woohoo!

Did I mention I am doing a Halloween charity event for a local museum this Saturday? And yes, I am dressing up. My "seamstress sister" is sewing my costume as I type this. If I am brave enough, maybe I will show you pictures on Monday!

(wink, wink...) 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I heart Faded Prairie...

Hello ladies...hope you are having a fabulous Frinday morning! I just love Fridays, don't you? It's my day to get out and about...spend my morning going to sales...uncovering buried gets me all geared up for the weekend!

Ok, but enough about what I am doing today...I am super excited for you to get to know one incredible girl a little better....drumroll, I bring you.....Kristin, from Faded Prairie!

One thing I love about blogland is getting to know people I never would have in real life. I have been lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing women...some in person...and some simply through email and talking over the phone.

One girl that I have grown to just *adore* through her blog is Kristin, and she is so fabulous, I thought you should all know her a little better, too! When I am reading a blog, I always find myself wondering what that person is like...what their life is like...even just for a day. Kristin has a way of life I would love to live, today I invited her here to tell us a little more about what a day in the life of a prairie girl is like.

 Let's start at the and why did you decide on the name Faded Prairie for your blog?

A little so many I had always dreamed of owning my own brick and mortar store. I was always fearful of taking that first step...then unexpectedly I lost my dad. I didn't realize how many regrets could come along. I lost my only tie to my heritage and to the land he held so dear. I knew of one way to make him proud, to make amends for things that were wrong in our relationship and that was to share the heritage of this little prairie and to give voice of those who came before.

A year after his passing I opened the doors to Prairie Whispers in Torrey Utah, a little tourist community on the outskirts of my prairie. A year after that I discovered Etsy and knew I wanted to share not only my way of life with those who were lucky enough to visit Torrey, but also with the world. It was extremely hard trying to decide on the right name, I wanted something that spoke of the past and also something that gave a little glimpse of my *love* Faded Prairie was born. It really was amazing how it all came together, my name, my logo {a cow with a crown, whose name is soon to be announced from a fun little giveaway I hosted on my blog} and my tag line..."What Once Was"...I know for a fact that there is a strong, proud cowboy dad inspiring and helping his daughter each and every step of her way..

Tell us about your typical day on the prairie...

Our days depend on the seasons...right now we are finishing up the farming, putting away wheel moves, getting equipment ready for the long winter storage. October always marks a busy time in our year...the fall gather of our cattle is just starting.  We will be gathering the whole month of October and selling calves the first part of November. Then comes moving the cattle to winter range and finally the calving of all the new calves...all the while trying to stay on top of school and homework, my part-time job as a Librarian and the running of my Etsy shop...needless to say it is never really quiet around here!

I love the painted wood floor in your bedroom and kitchen! I know the kitchen floor you installed yourself, using inexpensive plywood you cut into strips. Now that you have lived with it for a while, how do you like it? If you had it to do all over again, would you?

Oh my, white wood flooring...*sigh*...i have really gotten to know each nook and cranny very well while on my hands and needs scrubbing away these past couple months!! I *love* the look and feel of the floor, the installation was super easy and we couldn't beat the price...that being said I probably wouldn't put white floors in a high traffic area in my home again. I know, I should have known before hand what it was going to be like with three wild children, but at least my curiosity is satisfied.

Ok, for those of us that are miles and miles from a prairie lifestyle...tell us 5 things we need to know should  we ever pop in for a visit...(hint...hint)

Hmmm....five things you must know about prairie life...are you ready for this???
Here are some unromantic facts about prairie life...

1. Flip flops are not allowed in the cattle corral...especially when rescuing small farm animals...
2. Animal slobber, manure, grease, and dirt are a daily occurrence both on yourself and your wild prairie family...
3. Carpet cleaner salesmen, free range chickens and what the chickens leave behind do not do very well together...
4. There is a "language" spoken by the men of the prairie that you must learn how to decipher...especially while backing up a horsetrailer...
5. Prairie life is hard, some days you wonder if you and your family will ever catch a break, but you go on. not just for your immediate family but for your family that came before you and made it possible for you to live this amazing way of life..

Your style is nothing short of you have a "name" for it? I love how you find beauty in simplicity.

I'm not sure if my style could be given a name...I'm not even sure if I know what exactly it is?!?...I do know that it is finally "me" right now. Our home if finally feeling like the home that I dreamed about for my little prairie family. There are major things I would like to change about our little farmhouse itself, but since that is not in the budget right now, I'm always searching for that little statement piece that will bring a sense of the prairie into our home.

About a year after I was married I realized that my husband really didn't give a hoot what the house was decorated like, so I started changing things. I went from extreme southwestern (all things cowboy) to a very country, primitive style for while...then thought i had found my true style with a old world french farmhouse feel. I still have pieces of this style here and there, but about 7 years ago I came across some amazing wrought iron cow brackets and my obsession was born. one constant though as always been my *love* for all things rusted, chippy, vintage farm goods. I have to admit I never would have thought I would be drooling over galvanized farm buckets, old tractor gears, and be on the hunt for a windmill to have inside my house?!?

I am always in awe of your photography. What camera are you using, and how in the world did you learn to take such great photos? Did you take a class or whas it all through expirementation?

When my first son was born nine years ago, all I had was a little point and shoot 35mm camera. I was devastated when after his first month I got the pictures back from being developed only to discover they were all blurry and his little head was cut off 95% of the time! I think that very day I went shopping for a new camera. I have gone through two digital cameras and right now I'm shooting with a Nikon D70. I've had it for three years and have yet to read the owners manual...{shudder...hives...} I just learn as I go discovering new things here and there. My passion really started with the Pioneer Woman and she introduced me to actions. From there textures entered my life and I haven't been the same since! I really believe you can get an good picture with all the good cameras out there, you don't need to have the most expensive camera; just give a little thought as to what you want your photo to say, what feeling to you want the observer to experience when they gaze upon your photos.

I would love to know your favorite thing about blogging. It seems to be so different for each of us, is there a "moment" that stands out that makes you proud to be part of this corner of the world?

(all photos courtsey of Faded Prairie)

I have to admit...shamefully...before I got into the whole 'blogging thing' my attitude towards it wasn't the greatest. I had no idea the sense of community, the awe inspiring posts, and the kindred spirits I would "meet" while blogging. Just recently I was able to travel to the Northwest and attend the fall harvest at the Barn House Boys sale. While there, I was able to meet some of the most amazing women whose blogs I have followed faithfully and who "get" the whole farm junk thing! It was truly one of the most memorable trips and experience I have ever had!

I just love Kristin, don't you?? I swear we should be neighbors...or best friends...but I may have to settle for my current status of "blog stalker". She is an amazing pop over and visit her blog...and don't forget to get lost for a little while in her gorgeous Etsy shop. Maybe you will find a little something to bring a little Faded Prairie style to your corner of the world, too!

Happy Weekend, girls!

I'll be back Monday with show-and-tell of my "finds" for the week!

Oh, and if you want to follow all my crazy junkin' can now follow me on Twitter, too!



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

my cute little 'trash day' find...

I am starting to slightly get a kick out of my little trash-picking adventures.

Trust me, I totally get how weird that is.

I took a walk this morning.

 I admit, use my sweet dog Jake as a 'cover' on trash day.

The poor guy hates to take walks, but Tuesday mornings we are out and about...just in case something was thrown out overnight that I may have to rescue.

Hmmm...if only it were trash day every day, Jake and I would both be a few pounds lighter.

If you have been following along for a while, you know I have become a shameless trash picker. 

My apologies if that freaks anyone out.

I usually only look for big is at the top of my list when I am out 'hunting'. There is some seriously good stuff out there with a one-way ticket to a landfill, I tell ya!

But today...I found this little beauty staring up ay me from heaps of junk around trash cans at my neighbor's house.

Isn't she pretty??

I just had to share. I thought she was quite a find!

My elderly neighbor passed away recently, and his son just backed dumpsters up to the house and threw the whole contents of the house in.

Trust me, I about d-i-e-d when I saw it happening.

I am so glad one piece survived.

And by the way...I am trying to get in touch with Mother Nature today.

I want to be sure this gorgeous weather isn't going to be followed by some whopper of a payback come January.

My corner of the world just doesn't see weather like this in October. By this time last year, we already had snow!

By the way, is 35 old enough to get a condo in Palm Springs for the winter??

Hmmm...note to self...check that out just in case Mother Nature over-corrects herself in a couple of months.

Anyone else out there experiencing this fall heat-wave?? Lets hear it.

Now excuse me, I am going to bust out a watermelon and a fan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

do you FREECYCLE???

Well, the weekend was pretty much a bust for me. I had such grand plans...the weather was going to be gorgeous...I was going to take in the Na-Da Barn sale and the apple orchard. Get a little yard work done on Sunday and try to scoop up some treasures at an auction.

But none of that happened.

(Ok, I guess I gotta confess...I need to ammend my previous statement. I didn't get to go to the auction I had dreamed about all week. I had to miss it. Along with a gorgeous dresser I had my eye on and about 1000 other things. But...I settled for a 3 minute stop at an auction I passed on the way home Sunday. But alas, all the goodies I wanted were at the very end and with bright sun and 86 degrees on a gorgeous fall Sunday, I was not waitin' around! So still, I consider the weekend a bust.)

As it always seems to happen, my plans came to a screeching halt when we got "the call". You know those calls...they usually come in the middle of the night and wake you out of a dead sleep. They are never, ever good news. I mean, does anyone ever call at 3am to say "Hey, you just won a million dollars!!". No, they are usually more along the lines of "someone is on their way to the hospital".

Of course, my call was the second one. My Mother-in-Law has Multiple Sclerosis, and she had a bad fall in the middle of the night. She was able to call for help, but it ended up she had 2 fractured vertebrae. Ouch. But she had a procedure that worked quite well, so she is home and feeling much better.

Today I am just out of it. I feel laaaaaazzzzzy. And that is so unlike me. It was a long weekend, to say the least. I am usually a go-go-go til midnight kind of girl.

So, I am cleaning to pass the time today. Deep cleaning. Closet by closet. Room by room. It is so liberating to get rid of "stuff". I am not a "stuff person" when I decide its gotta go...its gotta go now!

I just posted a few things on Freecycle, and it occured to me...I wonder if anyone in blogland does this, too?

Do you Freecycle?

Or have you even heard of it before??

Almost every city has a local chapter, you can find out by visiting their

I am always amazed how most people I mention it to give me this look like "what the heck is Freecycle???" so I thought I would share the love and tell you about it just in case you were one of those that just gave me the puzzled look with the head tilt that indicates you think I mean "recycle" instead of "freecycle". 

Freecycle is about find new homes for things...without sending them to a landfill. I give away the craziest things, and they always find a home. It takes minimal effort, I just post on the website what I am offering, and someone emails within minutes to say they would like it. Once I choose who it getting it, I give them my address and they come pick it up. It is out of my home and on to a new one! And to be honest, I usually leave it on my porch or in my driveway, and they pick it up before I even know it.  

So far today, I have given away 3 gallons of paint, a huge pile of wood scraps, 6 sweaters from last year, 2 purses and a bag of the lotions that come in perfume gift sets. Oh, and a garbage bag full of fabric scraps!

 Not bad for a couple hours of work. And the people that receive the items are usually so very grateful. Most are looking for things because they are out of work, or just can't afford things they don't "need" to buy. Some are crafters and like getting odds and ends for supplies, and I even have a local Playhouse that takes tons of stuff off my hands as we reno our house, like old doors, windows and paint. They use it for was so weird to go see My Fair Lady this summer and see our things up on stage!

Of course, I do give things to friends and family, and save some for our annual garage sale bash, too...but Freecycle is such a great way to go if you want something gone...pronto.

So, I just have to know...does anyone else out there Freecycle??

I just gotta know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

weekend ideas for my Chicago peeps...

It is going to be a gorgeous weekend here in Illinois! I can't believe it is going to be 86 degrees and sunny today! Hello?? October?? Where are you? I am in the mood to get out and about this weekend, so thought I would share a couple of things I am agenda for my local friends. (Or any of you that are ready and willing to jump on a plane and meet me for some fun this weekend!)

My weekend plans also include taking in an auction or two, a local small-town fall festival and of course another trip to the apple orchard!

So many of my Chicago customers were asking me at my show last weekend about the apple orchard in my area of Illinois they had heard of...and I promised them I would post about it so here is goes.

Ok, now I know there are apple orchards everywhere.

I have been to quite a few around my area. But if you are anywhere in the vicinity or Northern Illinois, you must...and yes, I mean MUST...take a day to visit Edward's Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, IL. It is an apple orchard like no other.

The family that owns this gorgeous farm has been offered every decorating magazine spread known to man...but they refuse every one. They want to keep it 'local'....not too 'commercial'...and to be quite honest you can go there on a Wednesdday afternoon and every parking spot is full. I can't imagine what it would do to the feel of it if suddenly the country roads were a traffic jam because of their new-found magazine fame. I love that about this family. They are humble and gracious. And that is what makes people come back year after year.

It is a gorgeous country drive...I love all the pretty farmhouses along the way...but once I get there I am lost in a little dreamy wonderland for a couple of hours.

The first thing that comes into view when you arrive is the owners house. Isn't is dreamy?? I am so in love with it. Do you ever look at a house and wonder what it would be like to live there? Trust me, with this one, I do. I am a house-dreamer. I admit it.

It is officially my dream property. Gorgeous farmhouse. Huge barns.

And an adorable Golden Retriever named Ollie and an old truck that sits in the driveway. Seriously, how could you not want to move right in??

This apple orchard is part of family tradition around Northern Illinois. Families have been coming here for generations...but a couple of years ago it was almost destroyed by a tornado. The huge old barns were lost, as was the original famrhouse.

Not wanting anyone to lose that sense of tradition when they came out to visit, they rebuilt the farmhouse and barns just as they were, using as much salvage as possible from the wreckage.

Isn't it amazing they could rebuild??

I am always in awe of the inside. It is massive, and the way they reused the old barn wood was genius! Love the signs...but the best part is now there is a big window where you can watch them making the apple cider they sell. It is soooo good. Nothing like the cider from a store. It is like eating a whole apple. Pure love, I tell ya!

And these sweet ladies make the BEST fudge. I am sure it is some sort of sin to leave without trying a piece...or a pound. So worth every extra minute of the treadmill.

(On a design note, this orchard has the BEST light fixtures! I know, so weird to notice things like that, isn't it, but there are barn lights everywhere!)

This is the porch outside the restaurant. I loooove the light fixture.

There is so much to can pet the goats and ooh and ahhh at their babies...and there are baby cows and pigs, too!

Or you can take a ride out to the orchard to pick your own apples to take home. There are even pony rides for the little ones! favorite part...make your manly-man husband feel like a total fool by making him stick his head through the turkey and take lots...and lots of photos of him! He will love it...I promise!

Oh, and I almost forgot the BEST part! There is nothing better than taking home warm apple cider donuts that they make fresh all day...and of course some freshly squeezed apple cider. And have you tried the Autumn Beauty apple yet? It is like candy. So sweet and fabulous!

So if you are out and about...perhaps taking in the Na-Da Barn Sale today...make the extra drive to will LOVE it! I promise!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Na-Da Barn Sale...this weekend!

I am so excited to attend the Na-Da Farm Sale tomorrow! I am busting with anticipation...I can't wait to take in the displays...see the gorgeous merchandise...maybe get a little Holiday shopping done early!

I can't wait to see the magic Anne Marie has worked in her barn! I didn't get to attend the spring show, but from the photos I saw, it is going to be fabulous!

Are you going???

Hope to see you there!