Thursday, December 12, 2019

Contemplating Over Coffee

I’m sitting at Bakers Square having coffee following a good breakfast. I’m treating myself today...prior to a day filled with Christmas shopping. In front of me sat a table full of men. 10-12 of them. I contemplate, over coffee, how they may know each other. What brings them together today; If they meet weekly, monthly, annually?  Classmates? Previous co-workers?  Men’s benevolent group?  

Retirees, no doubt. Their dress, gray or non existent hair, and character-filled faces tell the story. Some haven’t uttered a word...observers. A few carry the conversation...the outspoken “leaders”. They all chuckle. And, true to their character, the observer’s chuckles are subdued; the later, more boisterous. Then, there’s always those in the middle. Neither quiet observers, nor outspoken “leaders”. A nod in agreement. A clipped sentence. Speaking only when they have something meaningful to share. Something of substance. Not earth shattering, but not bobble-headed, either. 

I’m inspired by the ones in the middle, as I contemplate over coffee today. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Burlap & Roses...My inspired life: Inspiration is just around the corner...BBJT Fall ...

Burlap & Roses...My inspired life: Inspiration is just around the corner...BBJT Fall ...: This is NOT my property. Sourced from a post off of Instagram.  Original source unknown FOLLOW B&R ON INSTAGRAM BURLAP & ROSES...

Inspiration is just around the corner...BBJT Fall 2019

This is NOT my property.
Sourced from a post off of
Instagram.  Original source unknown
It's my absolute FAVORITE time of the year...FALL!  Is it yours, too?

Have you heard the term:  FIKA?  I stumbled across it on Instagram and thought it was special.  My great Grandma's family came to the States from Sweden, so that made it extra special.  The meaning is ME.

I'm busy getting ready for my ANNUAL Red Flannel Affair at Burlap & Roses.  It's such a beautiful time to be out in the country and gals come decked out in their red flannel, leggings and boots.  It's very fun to see all the various outfits...and the boots!  So many cool boots!

As in the past, I've invited a few vendor friends to join me on the lawn.  Also, we're just one stop on the ANNUAL Backroads & By-Ways Junkin' Tour.  This tour runs from St. Mary's to Osceola, Iowa and points in between.  B&R is in the 'in between'.  We've added two new stops to the tour, as well.  A freshly OPENED antique shop near Lacona and a fabric artists studio in New Virginia.  GRAB A MAP HERE

Over the past month, I've had a sale going on, to reduce my old inventory, to make room for some new things.  It was a success, so I'm moving in two new large pieces, lots of smaller pieces and some fresh from the wholesaler's NEW merchandise.  It's felt a bit like it used to be when I offered a lot more NEW vs. mostly vintage and upcycled selections.  It's been FUN!!!

I love every single thing in this photo.  The barn's designed to look like a paint by numbers painting.  There are four different designs and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them all.

Grace & Gratitude.  These are really nice signs, a great size and a wonderful reminder to live our lives in Grace & Gratitude.

And, Let's Stay's an embroidered piece...another fantastic size to tuck into a shelf vignette or add to a wall grouping.  And, let's be honest...staying home is most often the BEST thing to do, especially as the days get shorter and temps get cooler.  Cozy at home is nice.

Oh, and the buffalo check Merry Christmas pillow...YEPπŸ’

Look at this sweet velvet pillow...HARVEST.  The colors are warm and lovely.  Scream fall to me. A stand alone pillow or the highlight in a grouping.  A perfect addition to freshen your fall decor for the season.  I'm really smitten with the 'gather' sign.  Another fresh update to the hand-lettered painted signs.  Metal and wood are featured on this sign.  A more polished look if that's what you're after.
Tell me...are you a traditional decorator?  Your preference is the quintessential colors of fall:  orange, russet, golds and greens OR, are you more inclined to decorate in the more current trend of creams, whites, grays, and even the ever popular "blush".  
Honestly, I like it, I've been using a lot of the creamy whites with bits and pieces of traditional, and some aqua thrown in for good measure.  Here are some photos of my own decorating at Crooked Hedge Farm.
I live with a GRATEFUL ♡  I always have...second nature to me, I guess.  I'm a cup half full kind of gal.  It's in my DNA. So, this pumpkin is displayed proud and center...a reminder to all. The wheatsheaf is quintessential fall to me.  It's not prevalent in Iowa, as a crop, but I really love the golden color, the texture of the seed head, don't you?

In the BBR, I pulled out the traditional black and cream ticking that I got last year.  I love the clean lines, fresh and tidy appeal.  Here, new this year, I added the very pretty pillow showcasing pumpkins in every shape and color.  It fit perfectly centered on my bed against the backdrop of stacked pillows.

For texture and a bit more modern feel, I added the geometrically appealing throw.  It's so soft and warm. The perfect topper, when reading a book at night.

Thankful, Blessed and Fall and pretty all at once.  The throw I've had for a couple years and it never gets old.  It fits in my home decor year round.  And, the lighter layer is a just right weight to keep the chill off.  I added to this vignette, a really pretty plate with a stag on the front.  It represents the wildlife we see daily on Crooked Hedge Farm...and, there's a couple of these big guys roaming our property.  The wheatsheaf ( I purchased two of varying sizes) sits proudly in this grouping, too, and adds an element of height, where it's needed.

I appreciate your stopping in and getting a bit of INSPIRATION for your home.  I'd enjoy hearing from you, so if you would kindly leave a comment here, sharing some of your decorating or even ask me a question, I'd appreciate it. Feel free to share my blog with your family and friends.  


p.s. If you'd like, you can leave, in the COMMENTS on this blog post, your vote: 1 or 2, from the photo on the right. 
Which is your style?

FOLLOW B&R ON Instagram

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Getting the itch?

I’ve posed this question on my INSTA page, #burlapandroses. 
Are you getting the itch to decorate for fall?  What inspires you?
Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. The colors, the bounty of harvest, cool, crisp air. Hayrides and pumpkin patches. Rusty colors of fall leaves. 

I’m more interested in baking and homekeeping in the fall. Cooking seems simpler; crockpot soups and stews and roasts make it so. 

I have to admit, I am getting the’s just a bit too early for decorating for me, though. 

The photo is from an Insta page I follow; #kindredvintage. If this festive and inviting porch doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. It’s got my creative thoughts flowing. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

It’s August 2nd and it’s a beautiful day!

Wowza!  This is a picture perfect summer day in Iowa. Low humidity makes it so. A gentle   breeze helps. The pretty blue sky with             floating clouds adds much to the beauty. It’s.  just delightful all the way around. 

I find inspiration comes in many forms. A       scent, a flower, a bird. Songs inspire.              Laughter inspires.  A memory inspires. 

But, kindness and generosity, a thoughtful    word or gesture inspire me most. Inspire me  to be better. To do better. To want better...for those I love most, my community and the     world at large.

Facebook post today was truly an inspiration. It made me happy. It made me think about what I’d do in a similar situation. Would I have done something or nothing at all?  I’d like to think I’d have done something. I’ve gotten to be a blessing to others in different ways. As I am blessed in so many ways, I want to be a blessing to others,too. 

Did you know, or have you heard it said, that if you don’t accept another’s help, you’re keeping them from using their gift to be a blessing?

Taking help from others can be difficult. I’ve struggled with it. But, knowing how good it makes me feel when I’m able to bless someone else, and after hearing it described in this way, I’m much more accepting of help. 

Life is full of blessings. Sometimes, events and happenings cloud our perspective. I try really hard to concentrate on the blessings in life. Big ones, but mostly a series of small ones that make up this thing called life. 

I’m inspired to find, create, look for ways I can be a blessing to others. I encourage you to join me in this. 

Please feel free to use these hashtags if you hear and share a story. 






Thursday, August 1, 2019

I’m all about inspiring others, especially women.

I posed a couple questions to my IG followers 
this morning and want to continue this 
conversation onto My Inspired Life.
There’s so much beauty and goodness in our 
world. It inspires me to read 
positive and healthy living stories on my FB feed#goodpeopledoinggoodthings
are my hashtags that I use when sharing good 
news and stories. Feel free to use them, too. 

Please share with me and my blog followers 
some ways you inspire and encourage others. 
Big ways, little ways, out loud and in private. 
If you don’t actively engage in this way, I 
“encourage” you to do so. 
Because, we can all use a “little good” today πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Monday, July 1, 2019

Homekeeping at Crooked Hedge Farm

Summer is quickly upon us and the temps here in Iowa have been excruciating, to say the least.  It's perfect for the corn (especially sweet corn) as the saying goes, "knee high by the 4th of July".  In many areas, I'd guess this is true, however, eastern Iowa experienced 100 year floods early this spring, and I'm afraid many fields have not even been planted yet, nor will be.  It's been a difficult time for our farmers.  

In amongst the heated days, I've spent much of my time the past week in my garden beds.  They were, and some still are, a disaster.  When I had the time to get in them, it was either raining or unseasonably cold.  Even though it was hot, I seemed to get quite a bit done and felt real good by days end.  There's just something about getting in a good day's're tired; and I mean tired.  A very good tired. 

This week, it's all about prepping for my monthly occasional sale this weekend.  But, before that, we CELEBRATE!  The 4th of July is this week, too, and although I'm not a real big holiday decorator, I have pulled out a few things in my stache of goods.  It doesn't take much, to add a few pieces to your everyday decor to look festive and in the mood for the holiday.  

Our annual outing is to the parade in a neighboring town.  It's always a nice one and we always seem to get our same spot...nice and shady.  I do love a great parade and the 4th of July ones are my absolute fave. YOURS?

The one thing about the summer holidays; Memorial Day to Labor Day, the red, white and blue theme works all season long.  Again, a few additions here and there.  A take away, like Uncle Sam, over there, and your simple easy decorating works.

In this photo, I have a vintage, stand-alone, flower box that sits front and center on my front porch.  Filled to overflowing with annuals, I added a flag that will stay in year 'round, actually.  Uncle Sam adds to the 4th of July spirit and I have a cut-up piece of a South Dakota license plate that fit in perfectly.  Both Uncle Sam and the plate will come out after this weekend.  The rusty, crusty flower stays up all summer, too.  I've had it for several years and I never tire of it.  Made by a local gal pal who runs her own business, I've bought and sold many of her pieces through Burlap & Roses over the years.

I've found another local biz to get my own designs cut, now, so I'll be selling them at B&R starting this weekend.

This display is found in my home.  The large platter is a piece out of a set of Pfaltzgraff.  Love lives here, is a tin tray that I picked up for $5 bucks at Dollar General.  I could not pass it up and it fits perfectly behind the vintage beaded daisies, placed in vintage apothecary jars.  Their little tops sit in front.  I like how this turned out.

Let's just say it's "as fresh as a daisy" in its appeal.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing over-the-top.  Simple in design, clean and fresh.  

I'm inspired by many things.  What inspires you?  A color, flower, barn or building?  Good people doing good things?  Tell me about what INSPIRES you.

A few years ago, a gentleman in Indianola came into my shop and offered to let me and my biz partner come into a home he was going to demolish and get out what we wanted.  As I was walking around the outside, I asked him what his plans were for the surrounding landscape bushes and plants.  He said they'd be destroyed.  

I jumped on that and we saved quite a few of the Hydrangea bushes.  I'm happy to say, mine all survived and have done very well.  

I went out today and got another bunch to replace the original bouquet.  They are lush and vibrant.  I quick made this display using vintage flash cards, old "collectors' stamps and the creamy hued Hydrangeas. 

Bits and pieces come together to make great vignettes with very little time or money spent.  Shop your home...your garden, heck event the garage.  One never knows what you'll find. 

Our lighted flag is slightly swaying today in the mild breeze. It hangs in its rightful place of honor at our front steps, on the old round porch post.  

I've place a solar light in one of our planters that keeps it lit at night so we don't have to take it down daily.  

I think our flag is very pretty.  


What are your 4th of July plans?  How do you celebrate?  Please share with me some of your traditions or new things you're trying.  A recipe?  An outing?  Picnic?  Leave it in the comments section on this post.  It makes it fun for me and everyone who reads it. 

Happy 4th of July...and REMEMBER, 


Burlap & Roses at Crooked Hedge Farm is open this Friday and Saturday, July 5th and 6th from 10:00-5:00.  4500 G76 Hwy., New Virginia, Iowa 50210

You can always SHOP with me on my ETSY store.  Open 24/7 for your shopping convenience. Just click on the link and you'll be taken to my site.  

You can follow me on Instagram: Burlap & Roses

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hey! It's been awhile, but I'm Inspired to get this up and going again.

Gosh, how is it that life can consume you and before long, months to years pass.  Crazy, crazy, crazy!

But, I do have some things to say, so I'm inspired to get back at it.  Sooner, rather than later, I hope😎😎😎  I have been clearing my calendar, to get to do more of what I love.  And, those things are my writing, creating and the biggest part of my πŸ’— are my five grandchildren.  I, and the hubs, take such great joy in their presence.  It's a remarkable feeling!

As I write this, it's three weeks away from my season OPENER for Burlap & Roses at Crooked Hedge Farm.  I'm gathering new merchandise up, cleaning and clearing out, moving things around...all for stop and shop with me on June 7th and 8th, 10:00-5:00.  Shabby, primitives, barn and farm, linens, furniture, cabinets, industrial, garden, rustic, signs, vintage, clothing, home decor, decor, doors, dishes, and more.

We'll be a STOP on the 3rd Annual Backroads & By-Ways Junkin' Tour, which runs from St. Mary's to Osceola, Iowa and points in between.  10 unique shops, pop-up and occasional sales, as well as, a couple great eating spots.  

We hope you will plan to join us on this special weekend in 
south-central Iowa, just about 40 miles south of West Des Moines, Iowa 
or 40 miles north of the Missouri line on Interstate 35.  

How's your spring going?  I hope this finds you doing well.  Please share my blog with your family and friends...I'd greatly appreciate it!

If you'd be so kind, I'd appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment and remember to share and help me spread the word.  Thanks!

All the best,

Friday, January 6, 2017

Miss Daisy today

January 6, 2017

Beth Voltmer
What I’ve learned from remodeling Miss Daisy

As we’ve moved through the tearing out of walls, cabinets, flooring and such, there is always a surprise.  The surprise can be good or bad…or just that, a surprise.  Earlier this week, I called the hubs, he was there and I was elsewhere.  He said, “well, you want the good news or the bad news?”  I always say, “just tell me the ‘news’” He goes on to say, “the good news is the wall under the 70’s
Car siding on one wall of the breezeway...soon to be a
laundry/multi-purpose room.  We'll put this all around the room.
paneling is car siding” This excites me!  Then, “the bad news is, I found two bats.”  I was overjoyed by the ‘car siding’ so, the bats, were no big deal.  He didn’t find them in the main house, they were hibernating, and he found where they had gotten in.  No harm done!

The hardwood floors underneath the carpet are beautiful and we’ll sand them down, renting a floor sander from McCoy True Value.  (I just love how convenient they are).  We’ll go a bit darker on the stain, getting it, also, at McCoy’s, bringing it more in line with today’s dΓ©cor trends.  We’ll have to patch here and there, but the areas we’re tearing out and changing will offer us plenty of flooring to patch with. 

We’re going today to order the cabinetry.  It’ll take about five weeks for it to come in, so time is of the essence.  We’ve measured twice, three, four times, so there shouldn’t be any problems.  The minute I started working at Miss Daisy, I knew what I would do if ever I owned her. #missdaisy #411lincoln #burlapandroses #flippinghomes 

Miss Daisy

What I've learned while remoding Miss Daisy..

The hubs and I are embarking on a new adventure...remodeling our first flip property.  He retired back in September and I've been working on Miss Daisy off and on for the past couple of years, helping the family with "mom's" things, cleaning out and holding some tags sales for the.

The first time I walked into this sweet little house, I hoped someday it could be mine.  I "got" Miss Dazey, the owner of the home.  She'd been a long-time customer of mine at Burlap & Roses.  She and her daughter Joan would come to my shop in New Virginia, and we just grew to like each other.  So, when Joan contacted me about helping her out with "mom's home" I was delighted to do what I could.  Mrs. Dazey had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, was living with Joan and it was time to adequately clean out and ready the house for its next life.

I have loved being there, looking through her things, and in many ways, we are kindred spirits.  Mrs. Dazey, a long-time, beloved art teacher in Indianola AND a phenomenal artist, herself, saw potential in everything.  I could see what she may have been thinking when she collected various things.  She saved many of her students artwork; I bet she had every intention of finding them and giving their artwork back to them someday.  I recognized some of the names, and have returned some of the pieces to those I knew and there whereabouts.

I had told Joan that if ever the family wanted to sell, that I'd like a chance to purchase the property and bring it to it's finest glory...something that Mrs. Dazey and I would both approve of. Ideally, it would make a lovely retirement home for Steve and I, but, we won't be moving from the farm any time soon.  So, when the time came to sell, we got first chance and are now the very proud and honored owners of Miss Daisy!

Here are the first postings I've done and posted on Facebook.

Let's get organized.
Beth Voltmer
January 2, 2017

It is said that your kitchen should be organized into Zones. Five to be exact. The zones : Cooking, Cleaning, Prep, Storage and Food.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be providing tips on how to get organized throughout your home. We hope you'll find them helpful...whether you're getting organized, remodeling or going to build a new home.

Cooking: In this space, not only do you want your cooking utensils, pots and pans, but included spices, oils, vinegar, pot holders, trivets and the like.

Cleaning: All things related to cleaning should be placed together. Most generally close to or in the sink cabinet area. Cleaners, sponges, scrapers, paper towels, cloths, soaps, etc. This is the best and most likely place for garbage bags, bins and recycling, if you have room. Now days, cabinet makers are including recycling centers in cabinets.

Preparation area: Everything you need to prep food goes here. Mixing bowls, cutting boards, knives, mixing spoons, small equipment like blenders/mixers, etc. Within this area, you may want to install a Mixing cabinet, which houses a pop-up shelf that houses your Kitchenaide style mixer, food choppers, and the like.
The other cabinet you may want to install or retrofit would be a place to house all your baking sheets...go upright!

Storage: Think on those things you use everyday: plates, glasses, silverware, food containers and small appliances. It's important to keep your everyday dishes, glassware, silverware and such in close proximity to the sink and dishwasher. In this same area, you'll want to have all your towels and washcloths, too!

January 2, 2017

Beth Voltmer,
What I've learned while remodeling Miss Daisy.
We're in the tear-out stage of the property we're remodeling to sell. It's always interesting to see what has dropped between walls and floors. The construction shows it was some sort of "kit" home, but not a Wausau type. We are learning there are several homes like it in the area. Trying to find out who built and developed the's daunting.
So, the two areas that are getting completely renovated are the kitchen and bath areas. I'm enjoying the design process, keeping in mind the five zones, I wrote about earlier.
I've got the cabinet choices picked out, and have picked my samples out of possible choices for for paint; both interior and exterior. I've grabbed them here, at McCoys. I like to take the chips and put them up in the light they'll be used in.
Here's a photo of the exterior of the house as it sits now.

January 3, 2017

Beth Voltmer
What I've Learned While Remodeling Miss Daisy

One of the first things we did, prior to anything else, was to contact the City of Indianola, to inquire as to codes, rules and regs on remodeling a house. What we could do on our own and what has to be done by a licensed professional.

Some of our concerns were about the size of door openings. We found out that at least one exterior door has to be 36" wide. Minimum for a doorway going into a bath, 24". Seems a bit small, doesn't it?

We've found that McCoy's offers such a convenient in-out setup, we like getting all of our supplies and many of the materials we've needed so far here. A real time saver, when you don't have to walk all over kingdom come to find something.

The paint chips are fun...but oh so different looking in different light. It's going to be harder to figure out than I first thought it'd be.  One of the nicest things about getting paint here, is they keep everything on record, defining and labeling which rooms of the house the paint goes to. Such a great service!

The photos show the tear out to the entryway into the house. We are taking this entry out and moving it to the breezeway area of the house. By doing this, we'll create a dining area adjacent to the kitchen. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Today...I'm home-keeping and I'm happy and blissful.

It seems my life works around blocks of time.  For instance, last week, it was focused on getting my shop ready for the weekend sale I was having.  This week, it's blocked out for home-keeping and preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

There are many things that make me happy...and blissfully so.  Nothing compares to having the grand-kids here.  It's always lovely when all my kids are spending some time with us.  Traveling with my hubs is at the top of my blissfully happy list. There's plenty to make me happy and blissfully so, but, I must say, there is something about home-keeping for me that satisfies my soul; that touches me in a way that is comforting.peaceful.reassuring. 

As I sat down to write, Louis Armstrong is singing in the background.  And, the song is one of my favorites:  What a Wonderful World. How perfect.  How blissfully good for my soul.  I'm in my happy place.  

Whether I'm hanging new curtains, wiping down walls and base-board or just doing mundane laundry, at times, it's just pleasant and something I really love to do.  And, music in the background allows me to put a little hand pump, swish and sway and a bit of groove to my duties. If you knew me, on a personal level (and some readers do) you'd get a vivid picture, I'm sure.  

Not everyone feels this way.  The thought of being at home doing the mundane home-keeping chores drives them insane.  Me, too, at times.  About four times a year though, I really get into it.  

Maybe it's the changing of the season, maybe because company is coming.  Or, maybe it's just an inane need that I can't really put a "reason" too.  All I know is that I'm doing it and loving it.  

I've always loved being at home; never really tire of being here.  I've always known I wanted to be a home-maker.  I enjoy keeping my home relatively clean (minus the daunting and excessive dust and areas of creating).  I don't really mind cooking and baking. My interests have a home & family basis.  I like the ebb and flow of it all.  I need it, for my soul, about four times a year.

Today it's the upper level that's getting a good clean.  Bedding laundered, a new look to some of the rooms by changing out the top covers.  I love this warm and cozy time of year and want the bedrooms to convey this.  Vintage quilts, coverlets, and old wool blankets are coming out of the closet.  Flannel sheets have been on for quite some time.  In Iowa, we've only needed the furnace and warm blankets on this past week.  It's been unseasonably, actually, for this time of year.  A picture perfect fall, as far as I'm concerned.

The lower level will get tackled tomorrow along with roasting the turkey and a fire going in the wood-burning fireplace.  I haven't gotten any fall decorations out at all, so, for this year, I'm forgoing them and going straight to the Christmas/winter holiday decor.  That'll come out after Thanksgiving though. I'm more of a seasonal decorator, rather than specific holidays. I find I'm too busy to change everything out so often.  Seasonal it is for me.  How do you decorate?

Today...I'm home-keeping and I'm happy and blissful.  I want to make my home warm and inviting for those I love most, because, as the sign says, "What is most important almost always involves the people around us".  Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

So, just what can one man or woman do?

I decided to get up this morning and do something I've not done for awhile.  I didn't turn on the t.v., I didn't get on Facebook or email, other than to check for important or timely messages.  No, I made coffee, gathered some reading material and came to my porch.

It's such and amazingly beautiful day. A perfect early summer morning.  To sit in silence and really listen is remarkable.  The variety of bird song, cars in the distance humming along, and the rustle of leaves from the nearby birch tree make me happy.  Three little sheep are enjoying a patch of clover...outside of their designated confines, but they aren't hurting a thing.

I picked up my non-ceasing pile of home decor magazines.  Seems I don't ever take the time to enjoy looking through them much anymore, either.  As I was grabbing and heading out the door, I picked up the book, Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul.  I bought it at a garage sale some time ago; read a couple stories and there it has sat.  Good intentions.

Today is different.  I read a story from the book first.  Barnaby Conrad was telling the story of how he came to know the now famous, Alex Haley.  You know him, or should if you don't.  Alex wrote the award winning book, Roots, which subsequently became a movie.

At one time, Alex told Barnaby the story of his dad, Simon Haley, who had dreams of going to college.  He was a hard worker and was burning the candle at both ends, trying to work and go to school, concerned he'd have to give up his dream.  He took a job as a Pullman porter and it was there that he met, R.S.M. Boyce.  Mr. Boyce had retired as an executive of the Curtis Publishing Company.

Mr. Boyce took an interest in the young Mr. Haley and they spent some time chatting.  He found out about Simon's life, his dreams and ambitions.  It wasn't too long after the chance encounter that Simon received a check in the mail from Mr. Boyce in the amount of $500.00.  It was enough for a full year's tuition and living expenses for a year.  That amount enabled Simon to graduate, first in his class.  He then won a scholarship to Cornell University for a master's degree.

A chance meeting, where being a polite and alive young man, collided with an inquisitive, discerning and generous man, changed, most likely, both of their lives.  One in an overwhelming way and the other, in a quietly proud way.

What can one man or woman do?  This story speaks volumes to me.  The ripple effect of this good deed goes on for years, centuries, millenia.  Changing Mr. Haley's life's course of continuing in the sharecroppers livelihood and poverty was halted because of one man.  Mr. Haley went on to have four children.  Alex, a famous writer and play write; George, chairman of the U.S. Postal Rate Commission, Julius an architect and one girl, Lois, a music teacher.  This all happened in 1918.

So, just what can one man or woman do?  Don't you find this inspiring?  One man, meeting another man changed the course of life for all those who's lives have been changed by this one act for generations.

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!