Monthly Archives: February 2012

Love of the Land

My grandparents: Woodrow and Mary Belle Phillips

Love of the land goes back deep on my mother’s side of the family. My grandfather had an eighth grade education.  He later went on to get his GED, marry my beautiful and smart Grandmother, own and run their farm, father five children, {my mom was the youngest} and become a successful entrepreneur.   He passed away a few years ago and my grandmother followed him 2 years later.  Oh, how I miss them.

I have so many fond memories of them and their farm.  I realize now how blessed I was to have that kind of childhood for my heritage.  My siblings and I had the freedom to roam the fields and barns to our hearts’ content.  In the fall, we had bonfires and picked pumpkins with our cousins.  Summertime brought crops of watermelons and cool-downs in our cousin’s pool {who also lived on the farm}. I remember my sister and I would pick soy beans out of the field and eat them raw for snacks.  What a life!

A simple life.

I think a love of the land is something you either have in you…or you don’t. I have it in me. There’s something about the earth…the rich soil…that gets to me. I don’t mind the grungy feeling on my hands or the ache in my back.  Hard work is good for the soul.

My mother must have it too, because she faithfully planted gardens with us children every year.  It didn’t matter where we were.  Rental houses, our home in the Delaware woods, the suburbs of South Carolina…we had a garden.

 I want to pass that love on to my children…

△ △ △ We found some yellow Violas and purple Kale for mere pennies yesterday {thanks to clearance!}.

 Dennis the menace was sleeping, so Emma Claire and I got to plant in the peace and quiet.

△ △ △ She’s really sick – bless her heart – but I think the digging was therapeutic. It wasn’t long before this wise guy felt the need to make up for Shiloh’s absence…

△ △ △ He discovered that it didn’t taste as good as it looked…

△ △ △ Even as 1-yr-olds, they take their job of “helping” very seriously…

△ △ △ I may have snuck in a little rearranging…

Although our backyard is extremely small here, I catch my girls all the time with spoons and other kitchen items digging in the dirt by the brick outside our house.  They “plant” things and search for bugs and worms.  I refuse to scold them.  Spoons wash easily and I’m relieved they’re not prissy girls.

I’m not sure how long these will last when the heat of our midwestern summers begins to take over, but we’ll enjoy them as long as we can.

 I have a dream of owning lots and lots of land one day.

I would like a stream on the property and Steven and I agree we need horses.


After reading an article in Martha Stewart’s Living on Eliot Coleman’s natural style to farming…

 …I’ve decided I want to have organic produce and feed my family primarily from it.

I would also want an herb garden similar to Martha’s

Some old stone would be lovely too…

I would host parties with neutral colors outdoors like this…

And organize my tools like this…

That’s what I’m going to do when we get some land one day.

{Sources found by clicking on photos.}

“The earth has music for those who listen.” – William Shakespeare


Make | Anthropologie Zinc Letters

I have a love affair going with Anthropologie.  Their zinc letters make me particularly weak in the knees.  After running across this easy-to-follow tutorial on one of my favorite blogs {Isabella and Max Rooms}, I decided they really could be recreated. Now, here’s what you’ll need to make some for yourself:

:: Paint brush

:: Paper Machete letters or numbers {found at JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby}

:: Old rag – or I found paper towels worked great too

:: Black Base paint {must be “base”, so the other layers of paint don’t seep right through}

:: Rust colored paint – I mixed red, yellow, and brown paint

:: Metallic Silver Paint – the one in the above photo was cheapo and did NOT work.

Use something like this from Hobby Lobby with a %40 off coupon kindly used from someone in front of you at checkout…

Step One: Completely cover your letters/numbers with the black base paint…

Step Two:  Once dry, use a paint brush to paint the silver over top.  Leave brush strokes in varying directions.

Looking like this when covered…

Step Three: When silver layer is dry, mix some paint together to get a rusty color…

…and paint on the edges or any deep areas leftover from smudges of the silver.

Note: mine may have been a tad orangey.  I would suggest making your “rust” color a little more brown.

Step Four: Rub in your rust paint with a rag or paper towels…

Step Five: Cover with silver layer of paint, leaving heavy brush strokes again.

Step Six: While still slightly damp, rub the silver in with a rag or paper towel…

The finished effect of these 4 layers of paint will look like this…

A Little Homemade Love

Steven has been deathly ill all weekend, so me and the kids were scouring the house to find things to keep us busy.   These kids have too much energy I have determined…

By now, your taste buds are probably watering, so here’s the easy peasy recipe:

Sugar Cookies


:: 1-½ cup Butter (I Use Unsalted)

:: 2 cups Sugar

:: 2 whole Eggs

:: 2 whole Eggs Yolks

:: 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

:: 2 teaspoons Almond Extract

:: 4 cups All-purpose Flour

:: 1 teaspoon Salt

:: 1 teaspoon Baking Powder


In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined.
Add in vanilla and almond extract; mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine.
Just mix ingredients until they are combined, over-mixing will make dough tough.
Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
If you refrigerate for longer than an hour like me, it’s going to be pretty hard to work with, so I suggest you let it rest on the counter for about 10 minutes before trying to roll it out.
7.  When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes.

Icing Ingredients:

:: 1 cup Confectioners Sugar (powder Sugar)

:: 1-3 Tablespoons Milk

:: 1 drop Lemon Juice (fresh Or Processed)

:: 1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup


Combine powder sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice in a bowl.

This next step is important!
If you need a thicker frosting, say for outlining your cookies, add LESS milk.
Just a drop at a time. Since we did the “pour method” with our cookies,  {It’s about all I can handle.} we added more milk to make the frosting very runny.  Still, adding a couple drops at a time.
If you are using food coloring, be sure to use LESS milk. Most food colorings are liquid and can make your frosting more runny. If you are using a gel food coloring, your milk quantity can remain the same.
If you want to add different flavors, you can add drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon, etc. to flavor your frosting.
If you want more SHINE, use more corn syrup and less milk. This frosting will stay good for days in the fridge.

Source: I Am Baker

I sewed the wax paper bags with red thread and cut them to size with pinking shears.  The girls man handled those bags till they were good and wrinkly while stuffing with cookies.  And then I taped them shut with double sided tape.
They LOVED handing them out to their friends at church.  And I meant to get a picture before we left, but well, you know we were pressed for time. :-)
Happy Valentines Day!!!