Thursday, December 25, 2014

Peace and Love

  Merry Christmas, dear friends! 
May you be blessed with peace, love and friendship this holiday season! 
Thank you for reading and sharing! 
Much love,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Farmgirl Friday CHRISTMAS Blog Hop # 181

Merry Christmas, Farmgirl Friday Friends! Forgive us for getting our hop up late this week, but Santa has had me very the last couple of days! Here's a little run-down for ya!
  • Mail Christmas Cards~CHECK
  •  Pow Wow with hubby to see how close we are to being DONE! CHECK
  • Pay bills. CHECK
  • Get packages mailed. CHECK
  • Wrap some gifts. CHECK 
  • Check out a big shoe sale. CHECK
  • Have lunch with Grammy Joy. CHECK
  • Get flat tire fixed on Grammy Joy's car. CHECK
  • Make Grape-Nuts Maple Pudding for Beach Farmgirl Blog post. CHECK
  • Publish Beach Farmgirl Blog Post. CHECK
  • Remind you  there are still THREE days to enter Sarah Hudock's Christmas Ornament Giveaway! CHECK
  • Feed the chickens and give them fresh water. ~ Thanks, honey! CHECK
  • Tell you that Cheri Duncan won Debbie's Cowgirl Boot Ornament Giveaway from last week! . CHECK.
  • Congratulations Cheri! 
  • Congratulate Cheri. CHECK.
  • Thank you all for sharing your fabulous farmgirl entries with Dandelion House and Farmgirl Unleashed each and every week! CHECK.
We'll be taking a break until the NEW YEAR and we look forward to resuming The Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop with you all in 2015!

Enjoy these last few day's of preparations and blessings to you all for a very happy holiday! 
DEB AND DEBBIE  ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed) 

PS.. See where it say's, "Get the Code here" below? Grab it and put it in your post this week and share our hop with more like-minded blogging friends! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Where Christmas ISN'T

 With one week left until Christmas day I am determined to pull back the reins on running through the last few days of the holiday season like a horse racing to the finish line. At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, I have to confess that I resent the commercialism of this beautiful season. It seems like the push for getting the holidays ' right ' whether it be securing the perfect gifts on time or decorating to the nines comes earlier and earlier every year. 

By the time I got going on decorating this year I was already beginning to tire of seeing the mess of fake decorations and pre-packaged gift baskets everywhere. Earlier this month I went out to my local Michael's Craft Store in search of some Christmas decorating inspiration for our dining room table. After circling the floral department for what seemed like an eternity, I assembled some fake evergreens, selected a gilded bird cage and tossed some sparkling faux berries in my shopping cart  for some added bling. As I got close to the check out line ( which is also conveniently located right near the exit doors ) I parked my basket and made a run for it!  Yep! I left empty handed! The whole experience left me cold. It took a few days for me to shake it off so I stayed home, baked some cookies, went to an open house at friends ( which cheered me up ) and then I attempted to find Christmas again. 
This time I didn't travel far. I stepped outside in the wee hours of the morning (still in my jammies and slippers) floral cutters in hand and snipped some fresh pine branches from a lovely tree in our backyard. It was cold, misty and damp outside but it felt good to be in the garden. Once I was back inside I gathered supplies for creating a simple, sustainable bouquet. 
I dug out one of my gold plate chargers, a mason jar, some vintage lace with gold threaded edges, and a sprig faux of holly berries from my stash of Christmas decorations and got busy trying to find Christmas!

Low and behold the next morning when I got up the sun was shining brightly through the window in our dining room lighting up my natural centerpiece so beautifully. At last, I found Christmas! Right here at home!

Have you found Christmas yet? I know where it ISN'T. Do you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sarah Hudock CHICKENART Christmas Ornament Giveaway!!!

Dear friends,
I'm so excited to share with you another amazing giveaway from the delightful and talented artist, Sarah Hudock of ChickenArt.com .

Cottage in Winter

 She's known for her signature Happy Tins signs adorned with down home sayings and images that warm the heart ( and your barn or coop if'n you have'm).  

Today she's giving away THREE of  her Christmas Tin ornaments.  They are a new design this year and have been flying out the door of her studio!


 Whoever wins this giveaway will be getting the last of her 2014 designs! 
Good luck everyone! 

If you don't do Facebook just enter with a comment and answer this question? 
Do you keep chickens?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 12, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 180 and A LITTLE Farmgirl Christmas Giveaway from Santa Claus!

 Happy Farmgirl Friday! Welcome Back! 

Debbie ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed) has a cute little farmgirl giveaway on her blog for y'all today! 
She recently visited Santa Claus, Indiana and couldn't resist bring back this adorable little cowgirl boot Christmas ornament to give away!  Read about Debbie's trip here and then be sure to enter to win at the bottom of her post!
What farmgirl doesn't need one, two or TEN ca-Ute cowgirl boots on her tree? 

 I've spent my morning reading last week's entries and I am just over-joyed with the bounty you all shared! Where else can you find inspiration for creating your very own Vintage Fairy-tale Christmas,  tips for the novice pig farmer and just about everything else in between?

A BIG FARMGIRL THANK YOU from Debbie and I for taking time to stop here each week and share your talents and your daily lives with us and each other. 
Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJane Butters

Friday, December 5, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 179

 Dear friends, 
Happy Holidays from Dandelion House! And welcome back to another week with the Farmgirl Friday Bloggers!
 It's hard to believe we are in our 179th week of blog hopping! Debbie and I love hosting the hop every week and the opportunity it gives us all to share what's doin' on our homesteads. When time allows  we love to feature a farmgirl or two!

 Today I just had to share this beautiful handmade Amaryllis Box made by Carole West of Garden Up Green! She's a farmgirl who knows her way around power tools and she's done it again with this creation just in time for the holidays. 
Go check it out if you haven't already! She's amazing! I have serious power tool envy!

 The weather looks like rain for the weekend here in southern New England. Perfect for putting up the tree and other inside holiday trimmings! What are you up to this weekend?

 You know what to do! Get cookin'! Link up your best and brightest HOMESTEADING holiday posts below!

Be sure to stop by Big Sky Acres to catch up with my co-hostess and "farmgirl in crime", Debbie too! ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed)! 

We love that you come by to share with us each week and wish you the best of holiday seasons ahead!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 178 AND the Christmas Coop Note Card Giveaway Winner!

 Dear friends! Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying some cherished down time and yummy leftovers! Prior to the holiday we were busy with getting my mom and ( her dog ) settled into our happy homestead which hasn't left me much time for blogging.  I've been up to my eyeballs in dust bunnies and piles of " stuff " from emptying cabinets and closets to make room for mom's belongings and in the midst of it all I came to a realization. Ever since I started blogging 5 years ago I haven't done much ( ANY ) deep DE-cluttering. There really wasn't a need for it and let's face it, blogging takes a lot of time ( in the beginning especially) and it's a whole lot more fun than cleaning closets! That being said, it's a good feeling to go through things, make donations to my local Savors and fine tune my storage solutions, none of which are blog-worthy at this point but I'm making progress! Who else has found that certain tasks have gone by the wayside due to blogging? How do you get everything you need to get done, DONE and still have time for blogging? I'd love to hear your solutions!

Christmas is just a few short weeks away ( can you believe it ?)  and soon it will be time to deck the halls here at Dandelion House! I can't wait! 

To get us in the holiday spirit I am honored to announce the winner of my 

"Christmas Coop" Note Card Giveaway! 

 Thank you all so much for entering the giveaway! 


You know what to do! It's time to link up to your Favorite Farmgirl Blog Hop! Share all you are doing on your happy homesteads to get ready for the holidays!

Be sure to stop by Debbie's place ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed)  and check out her low gardening tunnels.  I'm super impressed and inspired! She's growing winter veggies this year for the first time and she'll show you how to do it too!

 As always, we thank you for all you share at the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 

Put Down Some Roots And BLOOM!

Love, Deb

Friday, November 14, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 177 and Christmas-Coop Note Card Giveaway

   Happy Farmgirl Friday # 177! 'Tis the season for Thanksgiving and today I'm GIVING away ONE set of ten of my Christmas Coop note cards. This is one of my favorite images of the little red hen house in wintertime. The cranberry red just POPS out of the freshly fallen snow like a fire cracker on 4th of July! Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win!

 I heard from down the blogging road that Debbie ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed ) made cheese for the very FIRST time this week!  I love the child-like excitement in her step-by-step blog post. Be sure to go by and say hello and pick up some cheese making tips while you're making the 'rounds! Cheese rounds! Ha! Get it? ... Okay...on with the show.... Now it's time to link up for your favorite farm friendly blog hop! What cha all been up to this week on your homesteads? 

Share it all on this weeks Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJane Butters

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


   For all of my adult life I lived away from my grandmother, but she never, EVER forgot my birthday or Christmas. I could count her like clockwork to be the first birthday card I received in the mail every year. Hers would be followed by my favorite beloved aunties and far away friends. I've saved many of them and I have the boxes to prove it! She's been gone for several years now and I sure miss getting her card with loving sentiments written as only she could. It gives me peace to know I've got them stashed away for the future. As I've watched my mother in law age I've been witness to how important old letters and cards become. When my father in law passed a few years ago, she spent much of her first two years sitting on their sun porch reading and RE reading the letters he wrote her while he went a way to war the first two years of their young married life. He wrote every week for two years. That's A LOT of letters!!! They are treasures for all of us now and I'll never forget how comforting they were to her in those first days and months of being without him. 

It's not easy to get our technology crazed teens to pen a note or card now that they are older, but we always encouraged ( okay, insisted ) that they make birthday and Christmas cards for friends and family when they were growing up. I don't think there's anything more precious than a card made by a child's hand. Do you? Except maybe love letters from your spouse. In the spirit of hand -made and hand -written correspondence today I'm sharing how we create our homemade photo note-cards in hopes you'll be inspired to make some of your own. For those of you who take lots and lots of photos of your farm and garden this is a great way to get those FARM FRESH images off of your computer and out into the world where they can be enjoyed! 

 This is our handy-dandy Epson Picture Mate personal photo lab that we use to print our 4x6 photos. The photo above shows with the lid and carry handle closed. Below it is open, turned on and ready for printing.  Once you find your images you simply load some photo paper into the printer and select how many you would like to print. You can also select to have a border or no border on your images.  I personally like a border. I think it frames up the images nicely and makes them look better once they are mounted to card stock.

We've had or PictureMate for about 5 years now and I'm sure there are newer models that are Smart Phone compatible, but this little machine works great for all of the images we take with our Nikon D70 Digital SLR. We love the flexibility we have of printing what we want, when we want and the images come out bright and crisp with brilliant color saturation. Nothing is more disappointing than a photo that has great composition or styling but is dull to look at. 

This unit excepts Memory Sticks and Memory Cards, but no direct downloading. It has no hard-drive for photo storage. The ink cartridge goes in the  back just below the battery. We are always able to find the correct ink cartridge and photo paper combo at Staples. It usually runs between $41.00 and $45.00.

Now for the pretty part of this post! Today I filled an order for three sets on my sunflower note-cards. Once I printed them, I adhered the images to plain 5x7 card stock. Most office supply stores sell card stock but I usually get mine at Michael's Craft Store. I've used colored paper, ivory, brown and even black. For this order I chose plain white. I just liked the way the colors popped off of the bright white background!

My note-cards come in sets of 8 and 10 with envelopes. ( which I almost forgot to include in my package today ) YIKES! 

 I like to tie them up with different ribbons ( think gingham, velvet, and lace) and sometimes when  I just want to keep it simple I use garden twine which is what I did today. I get Luster Leave Natural Twine from my local independent farm and garden center. For $5.99 I get 325' feet which is plenty for my garden tasks and crafting!

 I want the nice people who get my cards to know the back-story to the images so I always include my blog address on the back of each card. We use Avery Labels and print them out on our home HP Laser Jet Printer.

Here's two of the three bundles tied and ready for shipping. I also included complimentary brown paper gift tags.

 Tucked into the back of each package of note cards I include my business card!

 And, I always include a handwritten thank you card as well. I just love Liza Jane's pose in the pic below! I sure miss her! 

 I doubt we'll start a revival for the hand-written word, but I do hope you'll be inspired to put the pen to paper a little more often. I've got to pen a couple of my own then it's off to the post office for me!
Tell me, do you still send cards and letters? The hand-written kind?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Old-time Apron Giveaway by Dave and Grace's Gifts

Blue Ellensburg Calico Apron
  I love a GOOD giveaway and I love a GOOD story. Allow me to introduce you to Dave and Grace of Dave and Grace's Gifts. A true- blue mom and pop operation inspired by dear old Grandma. Today they are giving away one heirloom quality heritage apron to one lucky Dandelion House friend.
 Perfect to add to your apron collection or as a gift! 

Read Grandma's Apron below then leave a comment to enter the giveaway!

Be sure to pop over to their Facebook page and give them a like! And, you don't want to miss a visit to their shop for more holiday shopping! :)  Think aprons, tea towels, children's aprons, bonnets, table runners, and more!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 176 Has GONE BATTY


Happy Halloween Farmgirls! 

Are you ready for All Hallows Eve? Do you have your pumpkins carved, candy dish filled and ghosts and goblins ready to spook the little ' Trick or- treaters ' tonight? I confess I completely dropped the ball for Halloween this year. Yep, not even a pumpkin on the premises for carving, and no candy to be found. Where is my Halloween Spirit? It's buried in a box in the basement this year. Our kids no longer trick or treat and we've been so busy with some long over do DIY projects that I just decided to let this year creep by...Shh...Thank goodness, Daisy from Maple Hill 101 was on the ball! She's got things looking mighty festive over at her place! In fact, she's GONE BATTY if you ask me! 
If you're still prepping for tonight's festivities, take a peek at the neat project she found for making black bats to decorate with! Looks simple and festive! 

I feel so guilty that I didn't prepare anything, Mr. Dandelion and I are going to hide our shame at the local movie theater tonight during peak trick or treating hours! Gosh, I hope we don't get egged!

What do you do on Halloween? Do you go all out on All Hallows Eve or do you turn out the lights and head for the movies or your favorite restaurant? No matter what you're up too, Debbie and  I hope you'll find a few minutes to spare and enter this weeks FARMGIRL FRIDAY Blog Hop! 

Be sure to stop by Big Sky Acres to catch up with my co-hostess and "farmgirl in crime", Debbie ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed)

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJane Butters

As always, we thank you for all you share on the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 

Put Down Some Roots And BLOOM!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 175 and Farmgirl Friday Kitchen on Pinterest

Dear friends, Welcome back to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 
It's hard to believe this is our 175th hop. 

 I thought it would be fun to do the math on how many total entries that adds up to. Using an average of 50 entries per hop x 175 that comes to, 8,750 entries! That's a LOT of farmgirl soul food! 

Speaking of soul food, a couple of years ago I created a pinterest board called
 Farmgirl Friday Kitchen   inspired by delicious farmgirl recipes that have been shared on the hop over the years.  At the time I didn't know much about group boards on pinterest, but I've since learned how much fun a group board can be.  

Please leave me a comment if you have a pinterest account and would like to be invited to pin to the Farmgirl Friday Kitchen Board! 

It's RECIPES ONLY and currently we have over 400 delicous farmgirl recipes there! 

As always, my co-hostess Debbie Tegart ( Farmgirl Unleashed )  and I thank you for all of the weekly goodies you share! She won't be hosting with us this week. She's out on a road trip celebrating her birthday! She say's howdy and, see ya next week! 

Now, what cha all been up to this week on your homesteads? Share it all on this weeks Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJane Butters

As always, we thank you for all you share at the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 

Put Down Some Roots And BLOOM!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Flower Arrangment~ Go Native and Natural

  As the temps continue to drop my perennials and shrubs fall deeper and deeper into the rich shades of autumn. The colors and textures may change but they are still beautiful and provide plenty of inspiration for floral arranging!

Today I'm sharing a fun recipe for making a quick and easy seasonal arrangement that is suitable for a basket, bucket, vase ( CHICKEN COOP ) or even a fresh fall garden wedding bouquet.
I've been needing to freshen the container that hangs on our hen house for a while now. 

The flowers in the container below have been hanging on the chicken coop all summer long. They  have become quite faded, plus the bright yellow and blue hues don't represent the rich earthy tones we love a bout fall! So  I tossed them out and got busy cutting some faded  autumn blooms from my garden.

It's fun to walk around the garden this time of year and look up close at the plants as they begin the final descend into dormancy. It allows one chance to give thanks for the bounty the garden has provided and the nurturing and teaching it has offered throughout the flourishing months of spring and summer. The fall garden is still a living, giving thing of beauty! 
 I cut a small branch off of my Oak Leaf Hydrangea which is just beginning to take on deeper shades of pink, red and burgundy. I built my arrangement around this branch.

Next I cut a large Hydrangea blossom off of my Bridal White shrub.

The edges of  the petals look as if they've been dipped in lavender. To think that they were still a brilliant white with hints of lime green just a few weeks ago. 

I also gathered some nine bark for the rich almost chocolate brownish red color, another variety of hydrangea with petals that have already faded to a vintage sepia tone, and some autumn sedum joy for its plum tones and large, nubby flower head.
 I tucked in a few ornamental grass plumes just for fun! 

Here's what it looked like when I brought it over to my potting bench. As I walked the garden I looked for variations in the leaves, blower heads and textures of the over all plant selecting some for the most color variation and others for the least. Does that make sense? If not, just walk around and cut some of your faded flowers. Hold them in your hand until you like what you see and feel you have enough to fill your vessels. There, that's the easy way to creating a natural fall bouquet!
 It's not rocket science, it's playing with flowers... Easy!

  I can just imagine all of these colors wrapped in burlap then tied with a brilliant gold or brown satin ribbon as a fall wedding bouquet.

You'll want to add some water to your vase before you add the cuttings. The water will keep your foliage fresher longer. Put the vase in your container ( with water ) and start to add your cuttings. 

I  put the largest branch in first, then the large hydrangea blossom. I free-styled it from there!

Here's what it looked like when I brought it over to my potting table. I can just imagine all of these colors wrapped in burlap then tied with a brilliant gold or brown satin ribbon as a fall wedding bouquet. I hear  herbs, grasses and garden foliage are trending" for wedding flowers in 2015!

Since no one is getting married here, I hung the container back on the hen house... The cottage hens were so happy! I even heard them talking about wedding dresses and venues as I walked away... Those silly girls!

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