A Blog For The Farm Happenings And Whatever Else Strikes My Fancy.

Monday, 30 January 2017

7 Ways To Lose the Winter Blues

Winter is actually one of my top four favorite seasons. I think it's beautiful.  I love to go for long walks in the snow and I love trying to guess who all the paw prints and hoof prints belong to. I love snow and snow storms. I love snowshoeing and even sledding. As hard as it may be for some of you to believe, I prefer Winter to Summer.

Now, having professed my love for winter, I have experienced the feeling of being "Snowed In" and it's not fun. Here is simple list I've put together of tried-and-true ways to make winter your friend. 

Lose your winter blues and realize the beauty of the season. 

1: Go for a walk
Sounds easy enough, right? Bundle up in all your favorite layers, grab a camera or your earbuds (or both) and go for a walk. 

Experience winter.

 I like to walk through the woods, but a street or hiking path would be just as good. Spend some time in prayer and thought while you walk. 

Still thinking "Eww, cold." Well. all I can say is, you don't know what your missing till you get out there. 

2: Bake something from scratch
When your feeling locked up in the winter, fresh baked goods are one of the most amazing, warming things. But it's not just eating the baked goods that makes it so perfect, it's the actual act of making it. 

Imagine this: You've mixed together all the ingredients and set the batter/dough perfectly in the appropriate pan. You double check the recipe to be sure. The counters are dusted with flour, as is your apron. You think you might have got flour on your forehead as well but you don't care. You're already feeling warmer as the sense of accomplishment claims you from head to toe. The house fills with that warm, sweet smell as you sit, waiting for the oven to do it's magic. Than after it all, you are rewarded with the final product which you proceed to smear with butter, honey, or jam... it's amazing isn't it? 

 What? You don't bake? Oh, you only use boxed mixes? Well, I challenge you then. Make it from scratch. You can do it. It's not that hard and the reward is 100% worth the effort. If you don't have a recipe just Google search it. The internet is a treasure trove of recipes... to be honest, I barely ever use cookbooks anymore. You can also add any dietary restrictions to your search. For example: If you can't eat dairy just put "Diary free" in the search bar with whatever it is you're searching for (like "Dairy free muffins") you will be surprised at how many recipes accommodate special diets. It's super cool.

Some of my suggesting would be: cookies, zucchini/banana bread, scones, or muffins. And none of those should be very hard. 

TIP: don't forget the oven timer. The timer is your friend. 

If you happen to make brownies click the image for my super easy tutorial for adding an extra touch of mouthwatering goodness to any brownie recipe.

3: Tackle that photo album you keep talking about
Commit a day, a weekend, this winter to finally get that scrapbook or photo album together. How many of us have a pile, a drawer, ful of pictures, fancy stickers, printed paper, post cards, and enough photo safe glue sticks to last a lifetime? Winter is the perfect time to get it all laid out and organized in the way you want. It's fun and easy once you've started, you just need to get started. 

4: Go for coffee with a friend at a new cafe
You know that cafe that opened down the street? The one you keep meaning to go to but never find the time? Call up your bestie and make it a date. You could go to an old favorite cafe as well, but it's not as fun as trying something new. 

Your bestie doesn't like coffee? or maybe she lives in Ohio and can't make the trip for a cup of Joe? Go with your mom, I think it's about time you two did something fun together. Or your sister or brother. How about that friend you keep meaning to reconnect with but just haven't? 

Who ever you go with, it's a great way to add variety to your winter. 

5: Rearrange a room in your house
This is one of my favorites, and it's perfect for a cold, stormy day of being stuck inside. Rearranging can make a room that's feeling old and tired seem brand new. My mother and I are constantly moving the furniture in the house around and it can really make a difference!

My rearranging tips: 
  • Start with the largest piece of furniture and decide where you'd like it. Then arrange everything else around it.
  • Clean as you go. Move the couch and sweep where it was before moving on. 
  • Start a box of donatables. If you have everything looking wonderful, but you're just not sure where to put that lamp or that jar of silk flowers... there's no where to put that completely empty, but absolutely adorable, little box. Maybe it's time to get rid of those things and let someone else enjoy the.
  • Go a step further and buy something new to to brighten the room. Buy a throw blanket or a painting for the wall. Even something as little as a candle holder can make you feel like there's something new and cherishable about the space. You don't have to spend much, even less if you hit up all the thrift stores and bargain hunt for that special new addition. 
  • AND if you're feeling really ambitions you could make something for your room or give an old piece of furniture new life. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to do either of those things. I made a canopy to go over my bed. It was a fun project and gives the room such an elegant ambiance. Check out my tutorial HERE if you want to do something similar. 
6: Winter day+Good book+Cocoa+Soft blanket=Perfection
Honestly, when it's so cold that you don't dare step on the hard wood floors, and the window panes are frosted, and even the baked goods aren't helping, this is the trick. Bundle up in your favorite chair, leaving space enough for the dog or cat to join you, and spend the rest of the afternoon reading with a cup of hot, fragrant cocoa beside you. Whether you're reading your favorite psalms or the newest, most captivating novel... this is perfection.

7: Make a puzzle
When my family does puzzles we set up a spare table in the corner of one of the rooms and spread hundreds of puzzle pieces across it. We will go and stare at it whenever we feel like it and gradually the pieces start to form a picture. Usually the puzzle will sit there for a week or so till it's done, then we let it remain for one more day so we can stare in awe contemplating how clever we are. It is then returned to it's box to be put under a shelf and never touched again. 

This is a fantastic way to break through the winter blues when they've got you down because it lasts for more than just one day. Also, the fact that it doesn't take a lot of brain power can be nice if you're in a state of sluggish hibernation. 

And there you have it. 7 ways to lose the winter blues. I hope you have fun trying some of  these and let me know if they were helpful to you!

What's your favorite way of beating the seasonal blues? Share your ideas in the comments!

 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:21

Thursday, 12 January 2017

My cup of tea. Literally.

Today is National Hot Tea Day. To celebrate I have purchased myself this tea cup. I had seen this cup before at Walmart and decided that I didn't need another tea cup and managed to talk myself out if buying it. But now, with an occasion like National Hot Tea Day, it is absolutely justified!

The best part? You can get one HERE. They're by The Pioneer Woman. I really love her things.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Darn It! How to fix that hole in your favorite sock

Assuming you're a human being, you probably know this story as well as I do: The threads of  your favorite pair of socks have worn down and created a hole. You have continued to wear them with your big toe hanging out. Your dog has pointed it out to you with her wet nose. Your parents have begun to worry about you and your financial state. You try to ignore that cold spot inside your boots. You yank your socks off for what you believe to be the last time. You dangle them over the trash can. A tear rolls down your cheek. But wait! You favorite socks can be saved! 

Here is a simple tutorial on how to mend that hole to lengthen your sock's life expectancy. 

The basic idea of sock darning is to replace the material that has worn away and to reinforce the material that is still there. Essentially, what you'll be doing is weaving. There are multiple ways to darn, I will just be giving you one of the more basic techniques. 

NOTE: Keep in mind when you're looking at my pictures that I  should have made my initial cross threads closer together. I would suggest you make them closer, it will give you a tighter weave and, in the end, a more durable patch. 

What you'll need:
  • A sock with a hole in it 
  • A Darning Egg or a Darning Mushroom 
  • Darning needles or long, blunt craft needles that aren't too thick
  • and string, or a very small yarn, or embroidery floss (You want to make sure it's not too coarse, otherwise it wouldn't be very comfortable to wear after) 

 I wish that my egg was a little larger. It works fine, but if you're buying on new I would suggest you get something a little bigger. I think it would just be easier to work with. I also would not steer you away from a mushroom. I have never used one but I have heard good things about them from those who have.


Step 1. Put the egg into your sock and line the hole up with the end of the egg. Hold the handle with your left hand (assuming you are a righty, reverse it if you are not) so that the sock is not bunched up on the egg. If you pull the sock too tighty your patch will be too big if it's too loose the patch will be too small. Make sure it's just tight enough around the egg that there isn't tension on the threads, but you can clearly see them all laid out. 

I have seen some people put a rubber band around the sock and egg to help hold it all in place while you work. I have not tried this but you certainly can if that sounds helpful to you. 

Step 2. Start by putting your needle in at one side of the hole and pulling it almost all the way through so that you leave a tail that's just a few inches long. Don't tie any knots yet. 

Even with a round hole you need to visualize it as if it were almost square. Keeping that in mind, start sewing across the hole so that there are threads laid out over the hole in a consistent pattern. Usually you can see that the threads right around the hold are beginning to wear out, keep your threads beyond that. Stitching into the material that is currently in good condition will help to reinforce the threads that are beginning to to show wear.

If you are familiar with weaving, this step is creating your warp.

Step 3. Once you have your warp laid out you will begin weaving. Start from which ever corner you ended the last step in and start stitching threads in the opposite direction. Go in an under-over-under-over pattern using the threads you just put there. at the end of each row, stitch into the sock to hold the threads in place. If there is sock material under where you are weaving stitch into it when you go "under." Incorporating that into the weave will make the patch stronger.

Every couple of rows, push the strings towards the end where you started weaving. You want the weave to be as tight as possible and the strings and stitches to be as close together as you can make them without them overlapping. 

Step 4. To finish you need the last stitch to be right beside where your first stitch was. If it is not, do one more weave across in the appropriate direction to make it so. Take the two ends of the string (The start string and the end string) and tie them together in a nice, tight knot. Cut the loose ends of the knot. 

At this point you can admire your handy work and congratulate yourself on giving your socks new life. Job Well done.  

 Now. The big question is: If you darn a sock so much that there is none of the original material left, is it still the same sock?

This tutorial has been shared in this link party! 

Over the Moon Link Party

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Trivia Game

Here's a super fun game I created for our new years party (To read more about my epic party, click here) I'm not entirely sure what to call it. Jenga Trivia? Tower Challenge? Stacking Quiz? Maybe just Stacked? Well, whatever I decide (or if I decide not to decide) you should definitely play it at your next party or gathering. All the questions I have are New Year related, of course you don't have to use my questions. You can totally make up your own questions or find others online somewhere.

If you do play this game, wind up loving it (which you are bound to), and post a lovely account of it on your own blog, please add a link to my blog. And also leave a comment here with a link to your blog so I can read about your party, I would love to see what fun you had with my game.

What you'll need to play

To play you will need is a block stacking game (like Jenga) with numbered pieces. If you have Jenga you could number them with a sharpie (or a wood burner if you're feeling fancy.) I ordered one that was already numbered from Amazon (and, lucky for me, it was also the cheapest one on there.) HERE is the link. It comes with 3 dice which you won't need but are pretty to look at.

You will need a set of questions. There should be one question per block, that's 48 questions if you're using the game previously linked.  HERE is a link to a PDF of the questions I had for the New Years party. They are not easy questions. Some are easier than others, but they are all pretty difficult. If you're playing with a lot of young kids I would suggest using a different set of questions. If you do a Google search for "(whatever theme you want) trivia questions" there will be other options for you

Now recruit a lot of people. You will need all the people who want to play (The more the merrier. If there's a lot of minds at work, there's a better chance of someone knowing the correct answer) and you will need one person to be the question asker. This person is the game master. The one who gets to hold the sheet of questions and cackle loudly while everyone else hurts their brains. It's fun.

Lastly, you will need a timer of some sort. I used my pocket watch but you could use a game timer, a stop watch, or just a clock. You can get this nifty set of timers HERE if you don't have anything that keeps time.

Doesn't she look like Princess Leia when she's knelt beside R2D2?

Game Play

There are two different ways this game can be played and it mostly depends on how many people you have playing and how smart they are. If you have a few people who are very smart I would play version two. If you have a larger gathering of moderately intelligent people I would play the first version.

For each version you will need everyone comfortably seated and the stacking game neatly stacked where everyone can see it. They will also need to be able to reach it if you are playing at a table. We played in the living room and just had the players stand up when it was their turn to take a piece.

Version 1 (The version we played):

  • Form teams. I had everyone sit down then I divided the room in thirds. It ended up being 3 teams of  5.
  • Have the first team designate a player to remove a block from the tower. They will return to their group and tell the game master which number is on their block. 
  • The game master will say the question loud enough for everyone to hear. 
  • The team will then be given 60 seconds (Or 30 if you want) to consult among themselves. They have one chance to answer the question and must have team consensus when their time runs out. 
  • If they answer the question correctly they get to keep their block and the next team takes their turn. 
  • If they do not answer correctly they pass the block clockwise to team 2 and team 2 goes through the same rigmarole and so on until each team has had a chance. 
  • In none of the teams answer the question correctly there are 2 things that can happen. 1) the block can be returned to the top of the stack or 2) you can give the block to the team that answered closest. For instance: if they are trying to guess a year and team 3 is only 2 years off while team 1 is 7 years off and team 2 is 408 years off, the piece should probably go to team 3.
  • Game ends when the tower can no longer maintain its balance. Which ever team has the largest amount of blocks wins. 
Version 2:

Version 2 is played very similarly to version 1, the difference being that there are no teams and everyone has to try for themselves. I would say this is the harder of the 2 versions. 
  • Player 1 picks a block from the tower and tells the game master the number. 
  • The game master asks the question loud enough for each player to hear.
  • The player is given 30 seconds (Or whatever seems fair to you) to ponder the question then must make a guess when the time is up, or before that if they are ready. 
  • If the player answers correctly they get to keep the block and it is then player 2's turn. 
  • If they fail to answer correctly they must hand the block over to player 2 and player 2 has the same amount of time. This goes on until one player is able to correctly answer.
  • Or, if it has gone all the way around and no one knows the answer, it can either go back to the top of the stack or to the player who answered the closes. For instance: If they players are trying to guess a percentage and player 2 guesses 99% while player 1 guesses 45% and Player 3 Guesses .5% but the correct answer is actually 97%, the block should probably go to player 2. 
  • The game ends when the tower tumbles and whoever has earned the most blocks wins the game. 
Some of these questions are more difficult than others. On some of the tougher ones, as game master, I gave the players a little help. For instance: if they are trying to guess what the Italians do to bring good luck the game master could tell them "It is something they wear" because otherwise they will be guessing WAY off and the GM will get a headache from all the face palming.

Good luck with your party, I hope you have as much fun with this game as we did. Although I do think everyone was ready to kill me by the end....

I also wrote up instructions to another game we played involving silly phrases and people making fools of themselves. You can find that HERE along with a PDF that you can print of the phrases we used.

If you have any questions or ideas please leave a comment. I love hearing from you. 

Our Second Annual Costume Party

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had an excellent holiday season, I know I did! Have you made any great plans for the coming year? 

To celebrate 2017 my family had our Second Annual New Years Costume Party. It was so much fun. Last year was great, but not as great as I had hoped. Due to last years disappointment, I almost didn't have a party this year. We decided to give it another shot to see how it goes (and because I practically attack any chance to wear a costume) and it was smashing! 

My Eldest brother, Forest, is at Fairwood Bible School and, being home for the holidays, he would have been here anyways, but a number of the other students came as well. We also had friends (some whom we hadn't even met yet) from NY come. Church friends came. Family from MA came. It was a fantastic party. I'm not even sure the exact count of how many people were at the party, but I do know we had 11 extra people staying in our home that night in addition to the six of us. 

I have to say, I really love having a house big enough to be able to do this kind of thing. 

All of the costumes were amazing, however the only two I can say much of are mine and my sister's. Mary was Princess Leia and I was Glinda, the good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.

The Princess Leia costume is a a very basic tunic made from a bed sheet. We made a belt to go around it and put her hair up in double sock buns (tutorial to come.)

My costume took a lot more to create, but it was 100% worth it.


I started with a wedding dress I had found at a thrift store. I asked the woman working there how much it cost and she nearly begged me to take it. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of it before I started taking it apart but it wasn't all that pretty. Quite outdated. I removed from the dress the train, 4 bows (three on the front and one huge one on the back), an uncountable amount of tiny white beads, and almost all of the lace, of which there was an abundance. To make it witchy (in a good witch sense) I attached tulle to the sleeves and neck, a tacky decorative square thing to the chest, a HUGE butterfly to the collar, silver beads to the waist,  and 12 yards of pink tulle to the skirt. I also added a myriad of sparkly things for added bling. The crown I made of wax paper and tulle (I will make a tutorial for that later as well). Then I just had to snatch up a wand, put an entire thing of blush on my cheeks, and I was ready to party.

This is by far the girliest ensemble I have ever donned. It's especially unlike me if you consider the fact that last year I was an incredibly accurate Captain Jack Sparrow (a costume I will forever take pride in.) Though I must say, I do like the shock factor that comes when one wears 12 yards of pink tulle. Although, I did have to remind people, repeatedly, that I was a witch... not a princess.

I have already disassembled my dress and have a very exciting project in mind for all that tulle. Details will follow.


Among the other characters we had were Audrey Hepburn, Effie Trinket (From the Hunger Games), Super Girl, Mr. Clean, John Luke Picard, Captain Jack Sparrow (Borrowing my costume from last year. Although he was much more in character than I was last year!), a Cowboy, a Ninja, Etc. 


One game we played was a party game I have seen on many different websites, under many different names. I'm not sure exactly who came up with it first, but the idea is that everyone is given a silly phrase for the night. The goal is to say your phrase throughout the night in conversation without anyone realizing that you're using your phrase, you also will try to catch others using theirs. It's great fun. You do have to go off of an honor system and have everyone keep a tally of their own score. It's not exactly a game others can score you on as the whole point is to not get caught. I think it works pretty well though, I just made sure to remind them all ahead of time that lying is a sin and that Jesus was watching. 

 Some of the phrases I used were: 
  • I could really go for some peanut butter
  • I used to be vegan
  • Cut the green wire
  • I've escaped Alcatraz 
  • Like a confused dinosaur 

HERE is the printable PDF page of all the silly phrases I thought up if you want to play this at your own party. It's really a big hit. 

I almost regretted not getting to play this (I knew all the phrases, so it wouldn't exactly be fair) but it really was fun to be able to hear people get away with using them in conversation. 

The other game we played is a trivia/jenga game I created that involved a stacking game like Jenga only with numbers printed on the pieces. HERE is the one I ordered. Each block that was pulled had a new year's themed question according to the number on the block. They aren't easy questions and as everyone was playing I was almost grateful that I already knew the answers and therefore couldn't play. It was a tremendous amount of fun to watch though.

I have written up detailed instructions on how to play and I would definitely recommend this for your next gathering. HERE is a link to the instructions where you can also find a PDF of the questions I used at our party.

And of course I had to dress Lexie up to match

These Chocolate covered Fortune Cookies were the party favors. They were fun to make and such a huge hit! I have a tutorial HERE for how I made them and the tags you can print to make them for Valentine's Day. The image is a link to the tags and sign that you can print at home!

And I'm already eager to plan the our Third Annual! 

Do you have any holiday traditions that excite you? Leave a comment, I would love to hear about them!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

I am absolutely in love with the newest addition to my work space! I figured, seeing as how this marvelous dress form will be making frequent appearances in my blog posts, that she deserved her own introductory post. My brother informed me that I had to name her, to which I shouted the first name that came to mind, which just happened to be Giselle. I don't personally feel she needs to have a name, so I doubt it will stick, but you never know. This specific Dirtz dress form can be found HERE and it is one I would suggest. She's easily adjustable and seems durable. I do wish that you could pin into the surface, but I could either get one that was adjustable or pinnable, apparently you can't have both. And there you have it. Isn't she wonderful?