Friday, August 7, 2015

Busy.Busy.Busy...Warren County Farm Tour

I've dubbed our place, Peace & Plenty Farm.  I feel at peace and always have when I've been here.  We purchased part of the farm that my hubby grew up on a few years ago.  It's where his parents lived when we first met and started dating.  I loved it the first time I visited...what's not to love?

The house sits smack dab in the middle of the original 400+ acres.  A portion has been sold off to the west of the house now, my in-laws live on the 160 acres to the north of us and we own the back SE corner. It's a half mile view and drive to any other road in on three sides of us.  We are blessed with neighbors in the distance, but not right "next door".  We love it!

When family and friends visit, they, too, have felt a sense of peace and tranquility here. A place to unwind, enjoy the quiet and all the pleasantries of living in the country.  We raise beef cattle, have a small garden and have plans to get chickens.  We find it provides our needs.  Thus the Plenty in the name.
When I heard that a few individuals were planning a Warren County Farm Tour, I was interested!  I volunteered Peace & Plenty farm right away and was thrilled when we were selected. 

It's been a labor of love.  Visitors will see the finished projects.  Here's a before photo of the shop that my husband works on tractors, boats, the vehicles and sometimes, projects for Burlap & Roses.  It needed a facelift and got one this past winter/spring. 

You can see a portion of the refreshed shop in this photo.  You can also see the rafters for the shelter that was built at the pond.  These cedar logs were harvested from our farm.  Another project of my hubby!  We collaborated on the design and he seems to get it all together and brought to fruition. 

Here are a few additional photos of our home...the before photos of projects that were a long time coming and are now complete.  Nothing gets you in the mood for getting things done than an event held at your place.  No more procrastination.  We are making headway. 

When we first moved here, approx. 9 years ago, we did some major renos,  Windows, doors, remodeled the upstairs adding a bath, laundry and rerouting a hallway to the sleeping porch.  We also remodeled the kitchen and dining room.

Stay tuned.  I'll write again on this venture in the next few days.  In the meantime, follow the farm tour at:  www.warrencountyfarmtour.com
and LIKE the Facebook page:  Warren County Farm Tour/FB

Friday, June 5, 2015

In the studio, Websters Chalk Paint projects

I've been in my element this past week...readying things for the Rustique Ranch Flea & Vintage Marketplace this weekend.  I really like the setting of this show and it's so easy and accessible for the vendors and show goers as well. 

 This is a great sofa table that will be great used as that, a sideboard in the dining area, entry table or even a desk for a narrow space. 

I did a bit of gluing and tightening up, then painted with True Value paint in Whale, mixed with Websters Chalk Paint Powder that I sell at McCoy True Value in Indianola.

Always starting with a clean, no chips or peeling paint, nice and sturdy, I put on two coats, then distressed on the edges, then I finished this piece with two coats of Minwax Polyurethane in satin.

 I have two metal desks that came out of a warehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.  Super cool and industrial.  I had fun with these pieces.

Cleaning and removing loose rusty areas were needed.  I then painted using the same True Value paint in Whale.  I then stenciled the chevron pattern, giving it a modern look.
After distressing with sand paper, I finished with Fiddes Wax in Jacobean, adding depth and interest.  I did then add two coats of poly for added durability.

I spray painted the original lucite (I hated to, but) handles in yellow and put some paper down inside for a more finished look.  I love how it turned out.

Perfect size for the entry way, a child's room or small area for writing, paying bills, etc.

Then, I had scraps of barn wood and rusty, corrugated metal decorative cut outs that I put together for some fun and interesting decorations for the home, deck, garden shed, etc.

I had allot of fun with these and have several.

If you'd be interested in my Chalk Paint workshops at McCoys or other areas, please email me your interest or comment here and I'll add you to my email news notices.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fulfill your's the joureny that gets you there.

The other day I was chatting with a friend who's husband was in ministry and decided to close it down...he had a church.  She said he was still a bit disappointed and felt unsuccessful.  I understand, I've had a few unsuccessful go a rounds myself.  But, you know what, I've learned to accept those "failures" as stepping stones to what really does work for me.  I've grown and discovered what I like and more importantly, what I don't like on my journey.  Which, it's the journey after all, that gets you to where you're supposed to be.

It's true, you know!  We all have dreams and very few of us even attempt to try fulfilling them.  How many people do we know that are too terrified to even take one small step into the direction of their dreams.  Just to even try is success to me.  

There is a lot that goes into having a business.  Over and above the financial side of things, there's the time commitment, which turned out to be my demise.  I loved the idea of having my own shop.  I tried it in New Virginia, then moved to Indianola (which was the icing on the cake for me).  However, I learned quickly that running a shop full time is not for me.  I don't enjoy being confined to a set schedule.  I just don't operate that way.  

I discovered, it's the hunting, gathering and repurposing that I really, really dig!  Had I not tried the other, I wouldn't have known.  The longing to have my own shop would continue to override my thoughts.  I had to try it to get it out of my system.

Once I closed, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.  I tried having two booths at two different antique malls. It started out great, but overall, just did not fit for me. So, I'm committing to doing shows this summer, once a month.  I'll camp during the show at my spot...another love of mine.  It'll be a fun get away for me, combining the things I love.  I'll have no t.v., but I'll have my writing, reading and dreaming with me. 

I also found a sweet little shop in occassional sale; open once a month, that seems to fit my "personality".  

It's all good.  If you don't try, you'll  never know.  If you don't try, you'll never get that "dream" out of your system.  And, there are many, many ways to fulfill your's in the journey that gets you there.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crossing the Great Divide Part II

“Disparate treatment leads to disparate impact.”

In an earlier post, I started with the above quote.  I said I would get back to it in my next post...I fibbed.  I wrote another post in-between and it's been more than a few weeks since I did that.  

Since I wrote part I, on this subject, another young black man has died at the hands of the police. This time, it happened in Baltimore, Maryland.  This, too, has triggered riots and racial discord.  The six policemen involved have been charged with homicide.  Time will tell if a jury finds them guilty, but for now, the investigation has found them worthy of being held accountable for their actions.  A step in the right direction.

It feels, to me, like an uprising.  A revolution.  A time that we must all evaluate just how we, personally, contribute to the racial discord...intentionally or unintentionally.  

Let me just say that, I, in no way, shape or form condone the rioting.  I guess, "two wrongs don't make it right" applies for me here.  I also don't believe that most anyone does.  Black, white, pink or purple.  With that said, as I continue my path of "Crossing the Great Divide", I'm willing to look at and consider my contribution, and most definitely not an intentional one, to the situation.  I invite you to take this path with me...

When this all first came about, last August, 2014, and as I wrote about in my first blog post on this subject, I took a step which involved having a discussion with a black man.  I wanted a better understanding and a different perspective.  After all, aren't most opinions and biases based on our own personal experiences...albeit it, perspectives.

When I sat down with Pastor B, a youth minister at the church we're going to, he explained to me the black person's plight, and I would bet, most generally speaking, the black man's plight.  This is when he used the term, “Disparate treatment leads to disparate impact.”  I had to have him explain it to me.  This is what he said, 

"Disparate treatment is when you have people experiencing the same or similar situations but consistently receiving different or unequal treatments.

Disparate impact is the results of disparate treatment.  The impact of continual disproportionate treatment. How that treatment has effected people."

These two terms are important and have really stuck with me.  I think they are worthy of everyone's consideration and something to all our life experiences.  Here's a loosely based analogy.

Let's look at the hot topic within our schools; BULLYING.  A person gets singled out, time and again, for whatever reason.  Let's say it happened to his father and to his father before him.  They had the same tendencies, personality traits, their walk of life never had changed, generation to generation.  The grandfather was bullied, the father was bullied and so is the son. 

After awhile, it plays on their psyche.  Their confidence.  Who they are and how they feel about themselves.  It's constant and relentless behavior on the part of the ones doing the bullying.  The conversations in the home are ones of defeat, poor image, self doubt.  No one stands up to the one comes to the rescue.  Because of the way they have been treated, time and again, the results are how it has effected the family.

To me, this is what is happening in the black community.  In easy terms, there has been a lifetime of bullying.  That lifetime of bullying has reached it's pressure point and we see it in the "acting out" of their frustrations, anger, disappointments and struggles.  No, I don't get it!  But, I never's not my journey.  But, I can try to open up my eyes to their struggles.  I can learn to ask the questions and enter into a conversation to get a different perspective.  

I've done it time and again...spouted off my opinion, based on "my" view, without really considering how someone else may be feeling about the same situation.  How something is effecting them.  However, if we think about it, don't we have more compassion for someone that has gone through a similar situation, let's say, the death of their grand parent.  We can relate.  We have some knowledge of what they are feeling.  I want to attempt to think about another's "perspective" before forming my biased opinion and SHARING it.  It's a struggle...sometimes it's out there before I take a breath.  OR, worse yet, before I've even really thought about the situation.  I'm really trying to do better.

Crossing the Great Divide...I've started the process and I know I have someone that I can go to to chat with on this subject.  He honored my "lack of knowledge" by respecting me and understanding my naivety.  I started the conversation with an upfront apology.  Asking him to understand I was not coming from a place of intentional disrespect or hurtfulness.  Really, I was coming from a place of ignorance...on the subject.  

In my next post on this subject, I'll write about his comment, "
“No conversation starts at an argument, it escalates to aggression.”  It again, opened my eyes to how "things" get started.  With our friends, our spouse and especially our children.  Stay tuned.  

Please leave a comment here...I'd appreciate your thoughts.  Feel free to share with your friends, as well. #disparateimpact #disparatetreatment #racialdiscord #blackmansfight #racerelations #conversationswithablackman #crossingthegreatdivide

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's springtime and the living is easy

The grass is green, the flowers are blooming and the trees are budding out.  Lilacs scent the air and in vases in my home.  It's just a special time of the year...don't you think? #lilacs#flowers#spring#specialtimeoftheyear

Our neighbors across the road from us are enjoying new babies.  Goats, sheep, and kittens.  They share their photos on Facebook, and it really does bring a smile to my face.  Not much sweeter than new babies dotting the countryside. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Websters Chalk Paint Powder Inspirations

This trio enjoyed an afternoon in January at a Websters Chalk Paint Powder workshop I held at McCoy True Value Hardware in Indianola.  I provide the materials and project pieces or they can bring something of their own.  It's fun and enjoyable for me and I sure hope for the participants.  Follow McCoy on Facebook for upcoming workshop events held there.

Ammie transformed a 70's mug stand into a jewelry holder for her little girl.  This piece went from dark brown to a happy turquoise color and finished with a stencil and clear Fiddes Wax.

Isn't this adorable?  It started out as a tiered boring and bland serving piece.  It's all happy and delightful.  The workshop participant is going to use it for jewelry, too!

Anita took a tired metal planter and freshened it up with a rich red, then sanded the piece down on the raised areas to the original metal. It turned out fabulous and she was thrilled, as was I.  

Websters can be used on most any surface.  The best eliminates most, if not all prep work. 

A vintage chair gets a facelift with Websters and True Value Paints in Whale.  Distressed in all the right places and places in my booth at The Brass Armadillo. It SOLD in good time.

These two pieces turned out beautifully.  I had so much fun refreshing both of them.  The cabinet is actually a vintage sewing cabinet.  I decoupaged vintage wall paper on the top of the cabinet.

The Eastlake style shelf is gorgeous.  Whale (true value paint) and Off White (True Value) gets finished with Jaccobean Fiddes Wax.

A vintage stool is refreshed with Websters and Whale paint, then topped with a vintage feed/seed bag for a fun, modern country look.

Another trio and their finished products.  All left happy and with product in hand to complete more projects at home.  Another fun and inspiring day for me...and them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crossing the great divide…one HUGE step in the right direction. Part 1.

“Disparate treatment leads to disparate impact.”
“No conversation starts at an argument, it escalates to aggression.”

These are two quotes from a middle aged man I had a great conversation with.  I want you to think about them.  A rather handsome guy, a Christian, smart and much more ‘worldly’ than I. His history goes deep and he was raised in the south.  Memphis, to be exact…in the ghetto!

The idea and experiences that go into the writing of this blog post began many, many years ago; as a young girl…almost 40 years ago now.  I went to school in the NE part of Des Moines, Iowa.  Not the “east side”, which was a couple blocks away (the boundary line).  The two blocks might as well have been 2000 miles, really, in what I was accustomed to; acquainted with.  The differences within the walls, schools, neighborhoods and community.  More color…more culture…more diversity…more racial conflict.  Two blocks away!  And, Des Moines was worlds different than Memphis.

My school boundary lines started, as I stated, two blocks from where I lived, which meant that I did not go to a school within “city” limits.  We lived on the county side of Polk County.  We were predominately a Caucasian school.  I’m trying to think if we even had a person of “color” in elementary, as I write this, I’m reminded of one family of Hispanics.  We didn’t even have a huge difference in economic status.  We were raised in a very naïve, sheltered and culturally deficient environment (IMO)

However, in Jr. High, that changed a bit…a very small bit.  There were a couple more Hispanic families.  And, only a couple, that I recall.  Then, one day, a young black man came to our school.  Then, during black history month, we had a class outing to a Jr. High School in Des Moines. The student body was predominately black.  I realized for the very first time in my 13-14 years what it was like to be a minority.    It was one of the best days of my childhood.  I was intrigued, I was enlightened, I was interested.  That has never left me.  

To this day, I still do NOT have one girlfriend of “color”. I am 53 years old.  I have one that is German, one that is Finnish, one that is Japanese and a couple that are from Australia. How shallow is that!  Even more…how sad is that!  I’m on a mission to change that.  Not to have a ‘token’ black friend or Hispanic, or any other ethnically different friend…but, so I learn and grow and become a better person…for me, my family, and community and beyond.

We have hosted exchange students.  I had a pen-pal from Korea when I was in grade school.  Engaging with those with different backgrounds is very important to me and I love it.  I thrive on it as a matter of fact. 

Okay, are you wondering where I’m going with this?  Let’s fast forward to about a year and a half ago.  I and my husband, Steve, had quit going to our church; for various reasons.  Out of the blue, I sent a message to an “acquaintance”…not really a friend-friend.  I asked her if she was aware of any Bible studies in our area.  She replied, “We are going to start one in September”.  Now, how odd is that?  We started with the Life group that September and a year and a half later, we’re still going and have been a part of their church for a year.  These things, to me, are God things.  I have no other explanation, nor am I interested in looking for another.  That is my Faith in action. 

We knew the church would be different than our Methodist experience.  We knew it would be a bit more vocal, musical and a bit more charismatic.  What we were not anticipating was the diversity. Specifically, the number of black people.  Well, I was instantly intrigued, enlightened and interested. 
Last August, the Sunday after the Ferguson shooting, where a young black man was killed by a white police officer and riots ensued, our pastor said something to the effect of this:  In this church, we have an opportunity to reach out to each other. We are rich in diversity…ethnic, cultural, religious, political and generational.  We should be sitting down with each other having conversations.  Asking the question…how does this affect you?  How are you feeling about what is going on?  Rather than set out with our opinions and feelings and irritations.  That really made me think to myself, how often do I do just that.  I like to think that I’m pretty open minded.  But, I was struggling within myself.  

A few days later, the man I referenced above posted something on Facebook (I had reached out to him and a few others in the church early on through FB).  He was sharing an incidence that had occurred with his son.  His words, ”if this isn’t racial profiling”…made me stop in my thoughts.  I was irritated by this.  Then, the pastor’s words came back to me. I was INSPIRED to do just what was suggested; I needed to reach out and sit down and have a conversation with this man.  Find out where his thoughts and words were coming from. It took us awhile to get it done, but, we did.  I’m so grateful that he was open to doing this.  My first real conversation with a black person in 53 years of living.  

We were comfortable with each other.  My first question to him was, “is it okay to refer to you/black people as ‘blacks’?  Can you believe it?  But, that is how naïve I am.  I didn’t want to offend him.  I also made it clear that I had no intentions to offend, and if I said something wrong or hurtful, it was coming from a place of not knowing.  He assured me that it was fine.  

We talked about several things, but the two quotes at the beginning of this post have stuck with me and I’ve shared them with several people.  The comments started me on my way to crossing the great divide.  To listen, to learn and understand.  I invite you on this journey with me.  I’ll endeavor to explain the meaning behind the two quotes in my next post.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chili first EVER!

Trying to live my life to the fullest, taking in new and fun things, I decided to participate in Two Saints Wineries, Chili Cookoff.  I've never done anything like this before, but no I'm a reasonably good cook, so, what the heck!  

Named, Nach"YO" Grandma's Chili...the name was a hit!
 Secondly, I think it's important to support our local businesses. We live in a nice area of Iowa that has several wineries.  So, if you want the "local" biz and a bit of culture close to home, you have to support a variety of ways.

Guess what, I came in third place out of eight entries.  Not too bad, huh?  I was thrilled with that and will participate again next year.  I've already thought about what I could do, what I'd like to try in the next months to prepare.  Well...I'm inspired to develop a new chili.  

To the left is the wine that I used in my recipe.  It's Two Saints VII.  A very dry wine using grapes from a neighboring vineyard.

To the right, I served cheddar cheese and nacho cheese doritos with the chili.  My recipe used chili powder, taco powder and a ranch flavored spice mix.  

A variety of beans and hominy, green chilies and diced tomatoes.  Hearty and good!

I used richly colored linens from my own collection and a primitive box for display.

I entered my first chili cookoff...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I had a chat with my cousin...

I chit chatted for a bit with a younger cousin of mine this morning.  It was a much needed "catching up" chat.  She's younger than me by several years; enough that I used to babysit her.  

She had just gotten done working out with a couple friends.  I had reached out to her, as I've noticed she's really be working on "her" for awhile and I just wanted to catch up and let her know that I had noticed and wanted to encourage her to keep on keeping on.

I think we all get to this stage in our life.  We take a look at ourselves and say, if it's going to be it's up to me.  As she pointed out, and I paraphrase, 'I do what I can and leave the rest up to God"  I liked hearing that.  

We all make mistakes, go sideways, back and then back and forth through life.  We also have many triumphs, happiness and forwards.  That is our journey.  That is what makes us who and what we are.  The main thing is that we come to the point that we recognize our life for what it is.  We make the move to change "us".  No more excuses, No more blame and lots and lots of gratitude for those who have carried the load when we weren't carry any..or at least our share.

We face our failures head on.  We get off the path we were on.  We forgive ourselves and ask those we've hurt to forgive us. We decide once and for all that if it's going to be, it's up to me (Oh, and the guy upstairs)!  And, if we take a step backwards, we recognize it as a step backwards and correct it right away, not make it a life blowing event.  We stay the course.

I told her as much...and, you know what she said to me, "It means a lot to me to hear you say that"  That made me feel great.  It meant that somewhere along the line, I was being watched and that what I did, how I conducted my life; the ups and downs, meant something to someone else and impressed upon them in a way that they found it okay and good.  

It also impresses upon me how important it is to conduct your life in a way that can be uplifting, encouraging, forward thinking and optimistic.  I'm not perfect nor has my life been.  I have chapters in my book of mistakes, offenses, heartache.  However, I do believe that I had my faith, all my life to rely on.  I kept moving forward, striving to do better and live in an optimistic and uplifting way.

Growing up, the song Jesus Loves Me carried me along life's bumps and bruises.  It still does.  Because of this song, I was able to hold my head high, shrug off the disappointments and humiliations that seemed to inhabit my psyche at times.  I had those that I looked up to and wanted to emulate.  Knew I could do, be, have, because of the way they conducted their lives; my Mom, my Grandma Grace, my Aunt Kay.  There are many others, but these three strong, loving, giving women graced my life. And, I saw their failures and missteps for what they were, missteps, not who or what they truly were.  It was in their getting up and having the do-overs that made the difference. 

A chat with a younger cousin today just lifted me higher.  She inspired in me to keep on doing what I do. To live my life a little bit better than I did yesterday.  To reach out to those I love a bit more.  To reach out to those that I don't know when an opportunity arises to lend a hand up.  To extend my resources, my experience, my life to those to inspire them, to be a friend, to hold them accountable, to let them become the best they can be.  

I had a chat with my cousin...thanks, Jenny...I love you!