Red Tractor Dish Towels

Most people do not understand, but there is a lot of disagreement within the farming community. Red vs. Green

There are other tractors, but the main rivalry exists between John Deere and International Harvester users. I married into the red side. (My dad was just happy for a working tractor- color did not matter.) Snarky t-shirts are often seen at family picnics. My youngest daughter refuses to wear green or yellow. The kids argue at school with classmates about "Junk Deere" tractors.

I thought it was perfectly appropriate to welcome a new bride into our family of red tractor fanatics with embellished Farmall/IH dish towels.

I had some fabric with rows of red tractor designs left over from THIS quilt back. So, I carefully cut strips and sewed them to some bar mop dish towels for an accent border. These were fairly simple to make.

I cut the rows apart with my rotary cutter and cut the width a little more than a half inch wider than the dish towel. I pressed the top and bottom edges under 1/4" and pinned them to the towels, following the textured rows of the towels. Then, I folded the ends under (saving it for last because the fabric can shift) and pinned them in place just inside the towel edge. I slowly and carefully stitched all the way around the fabric 1/8" from the folded edge.

I thought it was a cute gift idea and I think the groom will appreciate it. :)

You may also want to check out these posts:

 

Farm Animals Quiet Book Page

 

Hole in the Barn Door Quilt

 

Naomi's Quilt

 

Raising Farm Kids

Spring is in full swing here with flowers, rain, baby animals, pollen allergies, and softball games. We seem to always go from one busy season or challenge to another. I don't think things will ever settle down, so I need to learn to embrace the busy and enjoy where we are in life. Our garden is woefully behind schedule but the animals are doing well. The new additions are three adorable Hereford calves, 75 chicks, five keets (guineas), and eight kittens.

calves-at-the-water-tub-wm

chicks-wm

lilac

white-kitten

I love that our children can experience farm life. We make a lot of sacrifices to try a little bit of farming, but there are so many rewards. Our kids can go out in the yard and play ball anytime they want; there is so much room to run and play. The animals are a great resource for learning about biology.  (Sometimes their teachers and classmates are a bit taken aback by the graphic, veterinary terminology used in sharing time!) They learn how to work hard and will hopefully be able to appreciate everything that goes into raising/growing food. Farm kids also learn to drive on tractors.

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bob-the-cat-wm

lettuce-in-greenhouse-wm

horse-2

We may not have the newest and best of everything, but these experiences are priceless. I know as they get older and their classmates flaunt cell phones and gadgets and all the brand names it gets harder for them. Those things will only last so long. Memories and knowledge will last much longer.

Getting My Act Together

easter-lily

easter-lily

At the beginning of the year I was challenged to come up with a word to focus on this year. I couldn't really come up with a specific word, but I had the general idea that I wanted to "get my act together."

I bought a cute planner and decided I was going to be organized. I love my planner and it is a great start, but sometimes it gets lost on the mess of my desk. I wanted to get the entire house decluttered, but stalled out before tackling the bedrooms. I had all of these grand ideas that if I could get the house organized and cleaned, if I could tackle the laundry pile I call Mount Washmore, if I could send out birthday cards on time, if I could finish all of my half-completed craft projects, if I could be on time for everything, if I could get a healthy supper on the table at a reasonable time each night, if, if, if... And guess what? It isn't happening. That is not real life. We have 6 kids and a little wanna-be farm. I try, but something will always be a mess and I can't get everything done.

Just because everything isn't Pinterest-perfect doesn't mean that I am failing. I am such a perfectionist about certain things, as I have confessed before, and I am slowly chipping away, learning to let go. I get to a point where I completely run myself into the ground. So, really, "getting my act together" is more about getting my attitude together and prioritizing.

sky

sky

working-on-truck

working-on-truck

clothesline

clothesline

hostas

hostas

I didn't sew the rest of the Easter dresses on time again this year. I ordered some fabric that came a few days ago and I didn't want to stress myself out to get them done. So I didn't. Instead, we made a ton of peanut butter eggs and did a lot of cleaning, both of which were very necessary.  We didn't get to any egg hunts besides the ones at family gatherings because of vehicle problems. Instead, the girls played outside and we painted our toenails on the sidewalk.  Probably the most shocking... I didn't give my kids anything in their Easter baskets. It was a personal decision to combat a materialistic attitude some of them have been displaying.  (When did Easter become the spring version of Christmas?)  Instead, we opened resurrection eggs on Easter morning as a family and took turns reading from the Bible.

blossoms-against-sky_edited-1

blossoms-against-sky_edited-1

cleaning

cleaning

dowel-rod-fishing

dowel-rod-fishing

holding-a-kitten

holding-a-kitten

pb-eggs

pb-eggs

tree-blossoms

tree-blossoms

painted-toes

painted-toes

resurrection-eggs

resurrection-eggs

This Easter I think I found a little more peace. I realized that I can't get everything done, so I have to choose what is important to me. I can let go of some traditions that aren't working, postpone them, or even just take a break from them. I am pretty sure that my kids aren't going to be scarred for life because they missed out on a chocolate bunny. A few years ago I would have been up all night sewing to get dresses finished and baskets filled. This year, I curled up on the couch with a book waiting to shower and relaxed! I can see that part of getting my act together isn't doing more, but learning to be OK with doing less.

Sweet Caroline

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My great-grandmother, Caroline, was Bohemian; so "boho" means a little something different to me because I think of her.  I remember her fierce hugs and the stories of her spunk and determination. Widowed, with three young children, she moved from the city to rural PA and married a bachelor farmer.  I have always thought she was brave, and I wouldn't be here if she hadn't taken a chance. Characteristic of her generation, she was very resourceful.  My baby quilt is pieced from flour sacks and her quilt templates were cut from old cereal boxes. One Christmas, we all got stuffed pigs made from polyester scraps.  She also worked hard and never gave up. She had to quit school to help at home, but got her GED in her 80s because it was something that she had always wanted to do. I still remember her showing us the certificate hanging proudly in the frame on her living room wall. She made the best out of any situation with creativity and determination. That is a bit of what I tried to do this week. We had 2 feet of snow and 3 snow days, so I had to "make do" with what I had on hand, although it meant a lot more work. In the end, both outfits cost less than $5 to make and all that I had to purchase when I finally was able to leave the house was some thread, embroidery floss, and buttons.

Boho week for Project Run and Play!

I still tried to incorporate the modern "boho" style in my designs. First, I made a tunic from an old shirt that was given to me. I loved the color (with a slightly uneven dye effect) and it was a thin, flowy fabric perfect for what I had in mind. I removed the bottom ruffle (the open part was badly torn) and the bottoms of the sleeves. Then, I carefully cut the rest of my pieces from what was left of the shirt. I drafted a bodice with a curved front and trimmed the front of the bottom skirt portion a bit to create a high-low effect. The original ruffle was resized and sewed onto the bottom of the tunic. I embroidered the neckline with some simple flowers and vines. It took awhile, but it was definitely worth it to add some lovely detail. The top is lined with remnants of a really soft sheet I used to line THIS dress and I understitched along the inside neckline. I reshaped the sleeves to create a loose, flutter sleeve with a bit of gathering at the top. Then, I sewed it to the bottom and added buttons on the back. I also made a pair of leggings from some olive green knit fabric that I found in a tote after digging a path to my storage shed.

Before...

before-picture-of-shirt

After...

hand embroidery and understitching

buttons on the back of a flowy, boho tunic

butterfly sleeve boho tunic

double needle hem leggings

hi-low hem tunic upcycled from a womens shirt

purple hi-low tunic refashioned from a womens shirt

Hand embroidered girls boho tunic

My other daughter wanted a maxi dress and I found a dusty coral sheet I had purchased years ago on clearance at Target and stuffed under my fabric table. I only used about half of the sheet to make this dress. I drafted the pattern to have a drop waist and long, gathered tiers. I was careful in my cutting and able to use the original sheet hem, too! Yay! This time, I put the buttons in the front and hand embroidered the button placket in the same intricate flowers and vines. Oh, and those buttons? My husband made them from a dowel rod! He sanded them on the belt sander to make them round and carefully sliced them off of the dowel. I sanded them by hand to smooth and even them out. After a last-minute trip for 1/16th inch drill bits, he drilled holes in them for me. The straps are made from braided strips folded like bias tape and sewn together. They cross in the back and I added an elastic casing so that it would fit well and not gap in the back.

Some more before pictures...

dowel-buttons     flat-sheet

After...

Girls boho maxi dress made from a sheet

embroidered flowers

braided crossing straps

boho style maxi dress from a sheet

braided straps

Elastic casing to keep the back of the dress from gapping!

handmade wooden button

We tried to do a farm themed photo shoot, but it is hard because our options right now are: a) snow or b) mud. At the end, I decided to try to take some pictures with our new chicks, but it was clearly a bad idea. Let's just say that this was the second week in a row that an outfit had to be washed right after the pictures. Ew!!!

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peep-pooping

You can vote for your favorite "boho" look HERE over at Project Run and Play!

Thank you again to all of those who have voted and shared and supported me!!! Thank you to Aunt Karen for the purple shirt. A very special thank you to my sisters this week! Loni, you did an awesome job as my hairstylist and ironer. (Also, thank you for returning my vintage crimping iron.) Thank you to my husband for those awesome buttons and for carrying girls over the mud for pictures! Thank you most of all to my grandmother and other family members who pass down stories and leave a legacy to inspire future generations.

Boho style outfits made from a sheet and an old shirt!

How to get the authentic farmhouse look in 5 easy steps

Fixer Upper seems to have sparked a huge decorating trend. Everyone wants the "farmhouse look" in their homes. I grew up on a farm. We have a little farmette now. I have a little bit of insider perspective.

So, here is how to get the farmhouse look in 5 easy steps.

1. Buy a farm. I never said it was gonna' be cheap.

2. Get some animals. It seems like everyone starts with chickens. That is great! You will get some farm fresh eggs and can probably even find a cute sign to decorate with that now feels legit. You get bonus points for pretty, colored eggs from heritage breeds. Oh, but those eggs are not always very clean, so you have to wash them. And chickens poop. Poop brings flies. So, your farmhouse decor with those pretty white walls and cupboards will now be speckled with fly dirt. True farmhouse style.

box of peeps
chick
colorful chicken eggs
chickens and rooster

3. Start a garden. It is so exciting to watch plants grow and be able to eat fresh food that you grew yourself. Only, you have to deal with dirt, worms, bugs, and the gigantic mess that cooking will make all over your kitchen. Tomato splatter all over the pretty white walls and cupboards and subway tile back splash just gives even more farmhouse charm.

flower seedlings in eggshells
picnic and flowers
pears
buckets of zucchini
worms on broccoli
small cabbage plant
cabbage

4. Add even more animals! Now, there is no need to add cats. Those will be supplied by strangers who think that dropping off cats at any random farm is a lovely anonymous gift. And they multiply, so it is the gift that keeps on giving. They will decorate your porch and work as a doorstop- stopping you from being able to open any doors. Instead, get some cows and/or horses. That will really increase the amount of poop produced on your farm and contribute to the aroma of your property. Correspondingly, the flies will also increase. At this point, you will need to keep those lovely windows closed tightly, invest in fly strips, and scream frantically at anyone who dares to open your lovely farmhouse french doors any more than necessary. Those raised ceilings and crown molding will also be speckled in fly dirt, so be sure to enjoy that farmhouse style as you are scraping it off. Oh, and "muddy" boots will also be the most common accent piece for your home at this point.

litter of kittens
just born calf
grey cat with green eyes
hereford calves
wobbly new calf standing
litter of 8 kittens

5. Get a tractor. No, not a lawnmower. A REAL tractor. Preferably a red one that is very, very old. Before too long, you will have a large assortment of implements to go with it- plows, planters, disks, rotary mowers, etc. There will also be many, many repairs. Your charming little barns will be filled. When a repair needs to be done, prepare to park in the garage next to a tractor that is split in half. (Just be careful not to pull in when a freshly painted hood is in your spot!)

international rusty hay bine
bags of seeds
cat on rusty disk

All joking aside, there is a lot of hard work, sacrifice, risk, and expenses that go along with farming. I do love farming and we are blessed to be able to own a lovely piece of land. I love being able to raise our children with these experiences. But, there are a lot of things that we give up and there are a lot of hard things we have to do so that we can have this lifestyle. Like anything in life, it isn't all picture-perfect.

If you truly love the farmhouse look (I do!) by all means, paint everything white and hang a cute "Farmer's Market" sign up on the wall. I am really considering painting my kitchen cupboards white, too. However, no matter how adorable the decor may be, the real beauty is found outside of the farmhouse.

black eyed susans
tiny birds nest
dew on blanket flower
peach sunset
dew on a rose
sunlight over oats sprouting
queen anne's lace
raindrops on flowers
sunlight over fields and mountains
weeping willow tree buds
sunset over sudan grass field

More authentic farmhouse inspired posts…

WIP Wednesday ~ SPRING!

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I am so happy that spring is finally here! I needed some sunshine!!!

The flip-flopping spring teaser weather the past few weeks had been pretty disappointing. I was kind of in a mood and I ended up not finishing the girls' Easter dresses. I just didn't feel like it. I will finish them all eventually, but I am not stressing out about it. I have 3 1/2 done and need to do a lot of hand stitching at this point because I am a perfectionist.

I did some other sewing, just because I did feel like it. The spring quiet book is making some progress and I made some other toys for the kids that I will blog about eventually.

Other than that, I have been eating a lot of chocolate, doing some kids crafts, and enjoying the spring weather, when it is nice. We have two adorable, new calves and peeps are coming anytime now. Flowers are popping up, although mine are always a little late for some reason. Softball and soccer are starting up. There are a lot of new things going on here.

Linking up at Silly Mama Quilts.