Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to Scar Pumpkins


Welcome to the pumpkin patch!

Some of my gourds and pumpkins are ready to etch, or scar.
I love the look of a sweet pumpkin with a welcoming word... bumpy and raised on the front.
They make the perfect Fall decoration!


The process is super simple, so I thought I would share my how-to with you.

I searched Pinterest for ideas.
Love that place for inspiration!
After coming up with a few ideas for lettering style and wording, I start to look for pumpkins/ gourds that are almost ready.
You don't want to start with a really small pumpkin because as it grows, the lettering will grow a little with it.

Find a pumpkin that is almost full size. 
It is totally OK if it is still green.
Scarring time needs to be about 4 weeks, so late August is a great time to start this project.

I have 2 tools that I use: a pen or fine marker, and a very tiny {1/4 inch} flat head screw driver.
That's it!

Using your ball point pen, or fine marker, draw out your design onto the best face of the pumpkin.
Be sure to leave it on the vine.
It is crucial that the pumpkin is still maturing.



This Blue Hubbard squash has very tender skin, so the ball point pen makes more of an indentation.
It is easier to write on harder shelled  pumpkins.

Using your little screw driver, trace over the lines.
Make sure that you are taking off a layer of rind. The deeper you go, the more raised the scarring will be.
I like to make my indentation about 1/4 inch. 



It gets a little messy, and you will need to wipe the surface clean, clean pulp off the screw driver and then continue on.



Make sure that you have exposed the flesh of the gourd.
Sometimes this means going over a line a few times to get a clean cut,





If you want really heavy scarring, just etch a little deeper.
I can "eye-ball" the drawing, but if you need a template, you can just print the lettering into paper.
Place the paper on the pumpkin and press over the wording lines onto the pumpkin for a rough pattern.

In about 4 weeks you will have a beautiful gourd to display for Fall!

What are you doing to prepare for the next season ahead?


~Julia


Monday, August 3, 2015

Showing the Steers


























It was his first cattle show and little sister also tried her hand in the show ring, too.
She is his "right hand" helper, and little brother is following suit.
The days were hot.
Sweltering 105 degree days where Mama had to just find a shady spot to stay upright.
Heat and I don't get along!
But Dad and the kids just plowed through.
Grooming and clipping.
Getting in the ring with the steers.
In the end, one of the steers decided he was done, and refused to cooperate.
I was so proud of my kids for sticking with it and finishing with a smile.
Because sometimes, that's the way it goes.
You have trials, you stick with it, and in the end you make it through with integrity and you are better for it.

Summer is flying by.
A fleeting run of sunshine and memories.
A part of me is ready for cooler weather and the Autumn colors.
How about you?

Wishing you a lovely day!

~Julia
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Recycling Flowers


I have been stocking my little stand now every weekend, and have made a little.
Mostly, I just enjoy the creating and sharing of what flowers I have blooming in the garden.
Flowers just evoke happy thoughts, memories, and cheer people's hearts.
They bring me joy, and the recipient joy.

One dilema I have run into is what to do with the bouquets that don't sell.
It breaks my heart to just throw them away.


I have had a plan to start bringing mini bouquets to the nursing home on a regular basis once I had enough to share.
After finding THIS site, I am just going to bring what I have left in the stand and share even a couple of flower arrangements with the residents.

This idea...oh it warms my heart.
I would seriously like to take on a project like this in the future.
Just watch this video...

                 


What do you think? 
Doesn't it just inspire you to take a few blooms, even from your yard, to someone who is hurting, or recovering?

Flowers have such a presence and capacity to ease burdens, bring a little happiness, evoke joyful memories.
I will definitely be recycling and sharing the love :)

Hope your weekend is a lovely one!

~Julia

Monday, July 6, 2015

At the Lake

 














A late afternoon dip in the cool waters.
Just the thing to break the monotony of a scorching heat wave that has not let up.
Days that have required a little siesta in the afternoons to renew energy levels.
The gift of water, refreshing and cold.
Laughter with cousins and friends was the perfect thing for our 4th of July.
No fireworks required, we made our own sparks of entertainment well into the early evening.
Topping things off with giant oatmeal cookies and laughter all the way home.

Hope you are having a great start to your week and that your 4th of July was a safe one!

~Julia



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Simple Things

Sometimes, it's the simple things, like a well-run home that make all the difference for a family.
Mind you, I am not the shining example of this trait, but I do still strive to keep the days running smoothly and effectively.


When the kids were younger, the schedule was much different...naps, lunch, playtime...I look back and it was all I could do to keep my head above water!
When my hubby came home, sometimes there was chaos. Kids crying and jumping everywhere, babies neeeding a diaper change, me ...looking like a wreck.
But if I stuck to a plan for housework, a loose schedule for the kids, shopping, etc. my days were much more peaceful, my energy level stayed up. When Darren walked through the door, he felt relaxed and able to rest a little after a long day.

That loose schedule, always open for a change in plans, became sort of a staple in helping me feel peaceful.
I know everyone is different, but for me having a house that is picked up really keeps me from feeling like I am overwhelmed with life.
I started a cleaning schedule after reading books by Emile Barnes.
And you know what?
After 10 years, I am still stuck on Emilie's idea of tackling one cleaning project in the house a day.

This might be overkill to some of you....but here is my week.
I usually stick to it, unless life is incredibly busy.
Then I skip the task and just get back in board the following week.

Monday: Dust and wash all windows. Sometimes even outside.
Tuesday: Dlean bathrooms and wipe down/organize drawers.
Wednesday: Vacuum house, look up and vacuum any cobwebs on ceiling.
Thursday: Clean car
Friday-Sunday: Free days
 Everyday we mop, sweep, tidy the kitchen, pick up/wipe down the bathrooms, make beds, pick up rooms, sweep the porches, file, throw out unwanted papers, and do 4....yes 4 loads of laundry. 
I have help.
Don't worry!
Does it happen ALL the time? 
Nope.
But we do try.
{Lily during her riding lesson with my sweet niece}.

I try and have a menu plan for the whole week and only shop once.
I have this planner and love it. Over the weekend, I write in all upcoming dates and include a menu plan.
It makes my whole day go smoother if I have dinner planned/ started early.

And...instead of "spring cleaning" I clean 1 room top to bottom per month.
Usually, that includes touching up paint, washing walls/ceilings, cleaning light fixtures, and cleaning closets.
It's a wonderful way to keep life from getting overwhelming at certain seasons.

These simple things really have made my life more organized, peaceful, and less chaotic.
Our lives are busy, full of work, yet being a little organized has helped me clear out time for fun and play.

{Just for fun....me in my irrigating attire!}

The simple act of being loosley organized is what makes my husband feel more rested and comfortable when he gets home.
It's amazing to me that even now...being able to try and provide a smooth, functioning home is important to my husband and kids. 
I thought as they got older, it would take less time, but it still takes a large portion of the day to keep things running in the right direction.

Every day is not perfect, and it doesn't have to be!
 Life happens.
Over the years, I have found that getting anxious about it only worsens my attitude, which then affects the whole demeanor of the household.
I just get back on track the next day.
No biggie.

And the way to a man's heart....or a teen's heart....or a kid's heart?
It's true.
A plate of chocolate chip cookies makes the world a better place.
Darren loves it when I have something he can eat right when he walks in the door.
So today, I am making these.


Because life is good... and simple things like a well-functioning home make life more content :)

~Julia

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Farm Stand

Over Christmas my hubby built me this darling farm stand.
You can read about it here...

This week I finally have enough flowers to open a couple days a week.

Lily and I have been working hard to stock a few blooms to sell, along with some fresh herbs, and potted perennials.


I love that my girl loves flowers just as much as I do!



 Our little road side stand is in business!
And, as with any venture, we are learning a long the way.
I had to play around with howto place the stand.
After watching how the sun danced around the cart during the day, we angles it so that the products have shade until about 7pm.
{I have posted some end of the day pictures}.

Keeping the flowers cool has been a little challenge, too.
Right now we are in a heat wave!
Frozen water bottles have done the trick. 
Placed in between the jars, the water stays cool for most of the day, and the flowers fresh!


We live out of town, so it is a bit of a drive to our stand. 
Right now, I only have a few things blooming.
Hopefully, by mid-summer we will be able to offer flowers 4-5 days a week, and people will think it is worth the drive.
We may consider moving the stand to a more visible location if traffic is an issue.




It really is just a neat project for the family.
The kids are excited about it and it is fun to think that THIS....


became THIS...



Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

~Julia
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