ThistleDew Farm

ThistleDew Farm
Established 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Finishing Up Friday!

Yesterday I started a fiber project - yes I know you find that hard to believe. At this moment your mouth is hanging open and you are just finishing up the end of a long incredulous sighing "nnnnaawww".

Here is what I'm working on... a crocheted sachet - garnished with a delicate pansy and some ribbon.

Do you know who it's for? Possibly one of you. Terri (that's her to the right) over at Clay Hill Farm is sponsoring a giveaway and I so graciously agreed to be a part of it - she is so cool to let me join in~!
Terri's portion is a really cute tote bag which she'll fill with Easter goodies. My portion is a crocheted sachet.

While looking for an appropriate item to crochet my thoughts turned to Spring - I know - you're thinking I'm a mind reader, your thoughts are on Spring too right? Aren't I like --- AMAZING?

One of my favorite spring flowers is the Pansy. Any type of pansy - plain, ruffled, old fashioned, viola, yellow, pink, blue, purple, orange....

Now for the lecture portion of my post: The word pansy comes from the French pensee or pensie which means remembrance. So named because the first occurrence of the wild pansy was found in a French field after the 4th century. The origin of the plants we now call pansy began in Iver, Buckinghamshire, England in the 1800's by two guys messing around crossing Viola species.

These plants are easy to propagate and take little care to grow. Water and sunshine that's all they really need as they are pest resistant. Their enemies are drought and heat. Believe it or not pansies can have a delicate aroma in the early morning and at dusk when the humidity is high. The yellow and blue ones are more likely to have a smell.

Both the leaves and flowers of pansies, and violas for that matter, are edible and high in vitamins A and C. (I recommend using organic ones or grow your own to avoid pesticide/herbicide ingestion. The flowers impart a strong flavor and can be used to make syrup, flavored honey and salads. Both the leaves and flowers can be used as a garnish, such as on cold fruit or cream soups. The flowers are also useful as a dye. I like to freeze pansies and violas in an ice ring and add them to a punch for a pretty touch - especially for Mothers Day celebrations.

The most important reason I like pansies is because I can indulge my passion. I love to deadhead flowers. You know my motto - "Off with their heads". It is a stress reliever for me and an obsession - I can't hardly pass a bed with spent flowers without deadheading. It is embarrassing sometimes - especially if I am around a certain person, who shall remain nameless, who considers my passion - planticide! But she must concede that I have prolific blooms on my pansies and petunias.

So my Spring fever has led me to crochet a sachet which I shall include in Terri's giveaway. Don't forget to sign up by tomorrow and Think Spring!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 Herb of the Year - Bay

Browsing around this morning made me wonder what the 2009 Herb of the Year is. I am a lover of herbs because they taste good but also because they like to grow for me. They are so forgiving, which is a good trait for anyone or thing that hangs around me. It happens on occasion that I get distracted and forget about you. I almost always remember to come back for you, but if you're fragile it might be to late.

This year the Herb of the Year , as established by the International Herbal Association, is Bay or Laurus nobilis if you are Latin or prefer to address your plants by their formal name. I, am on a first name basis with my plants. Sometimes even on a nickname basis.

I have a bay tree in a pot. I have had it for about 5 years and it loved me....hopefully it still does as I did not treat it well this year. I usually bring it in but this year I didn't have room. As luck would have it we had the coldest year in a long time. It was in a protected spot so we'll see how it does.

I highly recommend a potted bay tree. I pluck leaves from it whenever I make a stew or soup. It looks very professional and impresses people when I do this. The tree is easy to keep - it likes moisture during the dry winter months but that is all the special care it needs. Water and a misting when you remember.

On my recipe for the day I used Chocolate Pudding with Bay. This sounds great to me especially since it is a cold damp pre-spring day. Great for one last warm and cuddly treat before spring gets here and we have to go to fruit dishes. Nothing wrong with fruit (especially if it's dipped in chocolate) - but a warm cup of chocolate pudding makes me want to get a book and a blanket.

In Jane Austen type books they often refer to having a cup of warm chocolate for breakfast - I wonder if it is similar to this pudding served warm. I am reading the books by Elizabeth Ashton, she is continuing the Darcy story. They are light, fun reading and especially delightful if you are a Jane Austen fan - and a whole lot easier to read!

I am going to go read up on Bay and update my shopping list to include Chocolate Pudding with Bay ingredients.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today is the Big Day

Well it's official - we have a certificate of occupancy! We are no longer hippies - but have a bonafide governmentally certified to be safe and ready to be taxed home!

This afternoon the appraiser arrives to tell us if all the hard work we put into the place withstood the housing market crash.

It is all very exciting -

The rest of the week we'll be moving in and deciding where our belongs go....I'm not sure but this might end up being the hardest part.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finishing Up Friday

Here's an update before I dash off to Windy Meadows for the weekend. My little baby niece Tayler is turning sixteen! I can't believe it! We are having a celebration bash at Kaden Center in Louisville Kentucky. Tayler is an awesome young lady and makes you believe in the promise of youth!

Here's a few pictures to show what we've finished up - and what still needs to be done!
We finished the window seat bench. There are now over 241 hula girls dancing across our front room! The bench is a great place to sit and enjoy the view or soak up the sun. Especially if you're working on an intricate needlework item....hmmm I've got a few of those laying around somewhere.....
With the Princess' assistance we completed the project in an afternoon.

Super Hubby finished tiling around the stove - yes that's his Jenn Aire downdraft gas stove with grill and griddle - no propane yet - it is only for show! Every girls dream a kitchen that doesn't get dirty.

The Master Shower is complete also....

The above picture shows SH finishing up the grout at the drain - this shows about half the shower, it goes around the corner where the shower head is....after I finish this post, I'm going to take my first shower (the floor is heating up as we speak) - hurray, no more forced baths (I prefer showers over baths, that's why we don't have a master bath - we've got a master shower! - with a heated floor - I"m very excited!)

Super Hubby is nearly finished building the vanity - he's still got to set the sinks in - probably today.

Can you see the llama?

How about now?

I think it's a camel - but I'm out voted.

The fireplace hearth is poured (cement, awaiting stain) and the tilework around it is complete. I love the copper! We've gotten lots of compliments from the inspectors - putting the stone in is not so much a priority now! The budget is thankful! The front of the hearth will be finished in the tongue and groove on the window seat - probably this weekend also....busy Super Hubby!

I completed my first project in the Studio....

and working on the window treatments for the Game Room with this fabric....

It's been hard keeping reliable help for the sewing projects. The princess received Dollie from Grandma this week and immediately turned into a you have any idea how hard it is to keep fairies focused? And out of your trimmings?

Striking resemblance in the hair!!!!!

Well, that's the update for this week - I'm off to dance the night away! If I have a chance I'll post a number you can text message Birthday Wishes to my niece on.....The DJ has a hook up that allows text messages to be shown on a big screen! Isn't that a great idea for those who can't be there in person? It's also a great venue for an Aunt who has some silly things to announce to the world about her niece!!!! Hee Hee Hee......

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Am Waiting....

Today's post is dedicating to waiting - because that's what I've been doing for the past week - waiting for my closing to happen.....each day brings a new challenge - I think it is the banks duty to ensure we are really committed to this mortgage, because the average person would have given up by now!!!!!

I am Waiting -

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up

and I am waiting

for a rebirth of wonder

and I am waiting for someone

to really discover America

and wail!

and I am waiting

for the discovery

of a new symbolic western frontier

and I am waiting

for the American Eagle

to really spread its wings

and straighten up and fly right

and I am waiting

for the Age of Anxiety

to drop dead

and I am waiting

for the war to be fought

which will make the world safe

for anarchy

and I am waiting

for the final withering away of all governments

and I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming

and I am waiting

for a religious revival

to sweep thru the state of Arizona

and I am waiting

for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored

and I am waiting

for them to prove

that God is really American

and I am waiting

to see God on television

piped onto church altars

if only they can find the right channel

to tune in on

and I am waiting

for the Last Supper to be served again

with a strange new appetizer

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called

and I am waiting

for the Salvation Army to take over

and I am waiting

for the meek to be blessed

and inherit the earth

without taxes

and I am waiting

for forests and animals

to reclaim the earth as theirs

and I am waiting

for a way to be devised

to destroy all nationalisms

without killing anybody

and I am waiting

for linnets and planets to fall like rain

and I am waiting for lovers and weepers

to lie down together again

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed

and I am anxiously waiting

for the secret of eternal life to be discovered

by an obscure general practitioner

and I am waiting

for the storms of life

to be over

and I am waiting

to set sail for happiness

and I am waiting

for a reconstructed Mayflower

to reach America

with its picture story and tv rights

sold in advance to the natives

and I am waiting

for the lost music to sound again

in the Lost Continent

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day

that maketh all things clear

and I am awaiting retribution

for what America did

to Tom Sawyer

and I am waiting

for Alice in Wonderland

to retransmit to me

her total dream of innocence

and I am waiting

for Childe Roland to come to the final darkest tower

and I am waiting

for Aphrodite

to grow live arms

at a final disarmament conference

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting to get some intimations

of immortality

by recollecting my early childhood

and I am waiting

for the green mornings to come again

youth's dumb green fields come back again

and I am waiting

for some strains of unpremeditated art

to shake my typewriter

and I am waiting to write

the great indelible poem

and I am waiting

for the last long careless rapture

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder
Good Morning ThistleDew and Clay Hill Farm readers. I am posting simultaneously on both sites this morning to dispel the were-skunk confusion.

Terri has totally taken a serious issue and tangled it up in such a way that only exceptionally dedicated readers have a clue what is going on.....

So allow me to straighten things out for you.

There are two issues here - were rabbits (you can find out more about them by watching the film Wallace and Grommit and the Case of the Were Rabbit or reading my post about him)

and skunks
To through you off the trail, Terri has combined them!

She has discovered that there is a were-skunk on the property. The question is who's were-skunk is it?

I maintain that it is Terri's skunk:

  • he hangs around her house
  • she maintains a skunk buffet she calls a compost pile
  • the skunk's lover is at her house

  • and, on occasion, I have seen him in her house....

To affirm my view of Terri's were-skunk ownership I fall to the old adage "she who smelt it dealt it"

so adeptly put by The Yarn Princess

During the course of this debate, Terri organized a giveaway - don't be fooled, she is only doing this to bribe you - and it appears some of you are weak enough to fall for it! Adding chaos to the confusion she has turned things around so that I too must participate in the giveaway by including a crocheted item....I have until April 1st to whip something up worthy of the lavish praise she heaped on me....not that she really believes me worthy of the praise, she just knows how to awakened my competitive nature and backed me into a corner, forcing me to excel! What she is really after is your vote that I am the owner of the were-skunk - of which she has no proof what so ever, that is why she has resorted to bribery.

On second thought - she has got me involved in the giveaway so I can't enter the contest - drat I fell for it again!!!!! That skunk!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Put Your Money...

...where your mouth is! Or, your crochet, that is! This is Terri from Clay Hill Farm, letting everybody know that I will honor the extra ten entries my partner in crime so rashly promised, IF Melissa will put one of her crochet creations in the tote for the lucky winner. What say you, folks? Don't you think she should take part?

Mildred can attest to Melissa's crochet skills - while my creations may have wonky bits, Melissa's truly don't. This is why I think she is an alien. I mean, really - what earthling can do perfect work??? And it's also why the were-skunk likes her so much, and why she keeps sending it to my house to dig in my compost pile.

So, neighbor, whaddaya say? Will you participate? Or will you chicken out like a yellow-bellied SKUNK??? :)


Friday, March 13, 2009

Guess What?

Last night I used my new Dish Washer!!!

Yep, you heard it. With a few magic touches by Super Hubby I zipped right into the 21st century - I have running water (hot and cold) and an automatic dishwasher!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Photos on Monday - hopefully, you know how I am. Super Hubby did take my picture in my apron, next to the dishwasher - but I forgot to download them!

The house should be ready for our Certificate of Occupancy on Monday!
Let's all say a prayer for the house - pray that it passes!

Then start praying for a good appraisal!

I know I'm a task master!

Did I mention the Were-Rabbit might have frozen? At least he did if he stood around the garden waiting for it to grow. We planted in 75 degree weather and now we're back down to 30 degrees. Don't tell me you mumbled "I told you so under" your breath when you read my blog about planting the garden.....anyway the cold shouldn't affect the three items I planted - they like it chilly (I hope).

Have a great weekend - I think about you often and wonder what you're up to and wish you could drop by and see me. Don't forget to do your praying - we need it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Did you notice the full moon?

On my way to Lowe's yesterday evening I noticed that the moon was almost full. When I need info on the moon I call my mother - she is in touch with her lunar self. She informed me that this is the Warm Moon. And I was inspired to plant an impromptu spring garden. Which brought a recommendation from Ashley aka The Princess, to plant enough to satisfy the Were Rabbit. If you have not watched Wallace and Grommit's Curse of the Were Rabbit you are really missing out!

So, while in Lowe's buying another quart of paint, another two sheets of Hardy Backerboard and yet another box of concrete screws, I picked up a package of carrot seeds, peas and a bundle of sweet onion sets. By the light of the Warm Moon, accompanied by a princess, and being watchful of the Were Rabbit we planted our little raised bed. It was so much fun! We made up stories about what the Were Rabbit liked and what would happen if the crop failed and basic sillyness. We left a few onion sets on the path as a sacrifice to the Were Rabbit, in hopes he would only take his share during harvest time.

If the spring garden takes off like the Garlic Bed has, we'll be rolling in carrots, peas and onions! I was really worried about the success rate of the garlic especially during the January flood when the bed was completely covered and then again about a month ago when we had a really hard freeze. Tennessee just isn't prepared for zero degree weather. But it appears the little garlic are very hardy - glad I bought them in Kentucky.

So, if you haven't been bitten by the Spring Bug yet - go plant something by the light of the Warm Moon! And leave something for the Were Rabbit or you might regret it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow What A Weekend

We worked very hard this weekend and I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel...let's all say a silent prayer that it's not a train!

The painting is all finished - ok not all finished. There is the pocket door in the master bedroom and touch up paint. Then it will be done - until it's time to change things (which might be a while before I want to look at a paint can again!). Most of the kitchen and laundry room are tiled and we covered the window seat cusions. Of course I didn't download the pictures - I'll get those this week sometime....

I wanted to share with you pictures of my studio and the cork flooring. It is wonderful stuff. The benefits include being softer to stand on, material is a renewable resource (only the bark is harvested and regrows within nine years.) and it comes from the mediteranean, and is a fab color. This cork is Lisbon Cork in the color/style Monet. You do have to treat it gently, no water on it, no stilletos, and gentle wear - it should be perfect in the studio and inspire me to be creative!

Here the Princess is telling you that she was in-charge of keeping the stock pile up.

The instructions said lay the cork on under layment and connect the pieces by gently tapping into place until you hear the "click". Obviously who ever wrote these had not actually done the process. It took much more than gently tapping and we messed up a few edges before we got the right combination of rubber mallet, shim and angle correct. It definately takes a strong person to install this stuff.

Once we got the hang of it we zipped right along.

Even had time for a quick break....doesn't the chocolate look fab next to my hep green wall? I really need to get better lighting so you can get the full effect of the green - it looks like lime yellow here.

Three hours later....and it was all done.

We had a little bit of left over supplies and as you expected The Princess turned them into a costume....

The final to do list is pretty short -
Put railing up where the dirt is more than two feet below the porch.
Plumb the kitchen - sink, garbage disposal, dishwasher
tile the master shower
build master bath countertop
grout kitchen and master bath
finish hanging trim
install propane tank
touch up paint
Apply for certificate of occupancy!
Maybe this is the last week of construction!

Friday, March 6, 2009

House Pictures

The long awaited update with pictures has arrived - it's like you've won a giveaway isn't it?

It's been so long - where to start....let's see.....
The middle of February Dan finished the trim on the windows. He stained it the same as the outside siding - thinking it would be cool to tie the outside with the inside. After he'd finished it just didn't set right with me...maybe because there wasn't any of that color on the inside - maybe it made that wall look like an exterior wall...I just couldn't put my finger on why... So the little critter in my head responsible for scheming starting working quietly in the corner of my mind. Keep your eye on the fireplace to the left in the picture - we'll get back to that later.

With the windows done and the pendant light installed it was time to remove the scaffolding and get to work on the flooring. As expected without the monstrosity of scaffolding the great room looked huge - hence the name great meaning large as opposed to the interpretation I'm accustomed to when referring to myself - fantastic!!! Ha Ha Ha!

Dan enlisted the assistance of child labor to help.

After a few lessons she was on her way!

We had a consultant
and a government inspector.

It was all very meticulous work!

Back to the fireplace. I decided that what it needed was a touch of copper. Actually I got the idea last summer when redoing my sister's kitchen at Windy Meadows. We did a venetian plaster in Sherwin Williams Sweet Cream (very light creamy orange) above the chair rail and the bottom was Chivalry Copper. I added some highlights on the copper with metallic paint. It turned out so well her husband asked me to do a treatment in blue for the bathroom....anyway I fell in love with the copper but couldn't get Super Hubby on board when I slipped it in as a color choice for our kitchen/dining area. So like a good wife, I put the idea aside waiting for a target of opportunity.

After we picked out the house colors Super Hubby agreed with me that the fireplace needed to be a darker color until we could get it stoned. Unfortunately he picked a color to close to the wall color and it would have looked like a mis-die lot. So he agreed that I could go darken it up.....I waited and thankfully I did because with the window trim a redwood color I had my inspiration to use the copper and tie it all in. This turned out harder than I thought - when I showed Mr. Sherwin Williams the color I wanted to change the already tinted can to - he shook his head. Something about that color being a light base with some black in the color made it impossible to go to the Chivalry Copper which was a dark base with some other dark color. What we got was a muddy pumpkin. That's Super Hubby applying it and mumbling under his breath that he didn't like it. I had not revealed that it was only step one! Back to the paint store portion of the story....I had Mr. Sherwin Williams open the metallic and see what it looked like over the muddy pumpkin - I loved it! So home I went with a gallon of Muddy Pumpkin and two quarts of Metallic Copper.

Super Hubby cut in the pumpkin as mentioned and then just finished it all since it was mostly ladder work. He kept hoping it would look better in the morning - boy what a shock he was in for!
He went back to tiling - our child labor lost interest after about three tiles. Which was a good thing because the pattern is really complicated - the schematic had to be posted on the wall for reference.

I woke up at 4am to put on the first coat of Metallic Copper - goodbye Muddy Pumpkin. Hello roller marks!

I started rehearsing my speech for when Super Hubby saw it. "Don't worry Dear, it's only the base coat, it's supposed to look blotchy". I got my chance a few hours later and Super Hubbies response was "but is it supposed to look amateurish?" I explained it needed a crossed brush stroke treatment on top to finish it off - it's a work in progress. He immediatly went and got the 25 foot ladder and took the quart of metallic. This was a great sacrifice on his part because he "doesn't do random" On the pych charts he's a square - everything aligned and even and centered. I on the other hand am a squiggle and do random very well. So...he's on the ladder and I'm below telling him where he needs to "be more random" add a stroke here, scruff up a pattern went amazingly fast and turned out so awesome I can't even describe how pleased I am (guess I better take a picture to show you). I immediatly went over and crafted a mirror to match.

I bought the unfinished mirrors at The Home Store for $8 each - it is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and they sell new and used building materials. The proceeds go to building houses for low income and needy families. It is an awesome project and they have great deals. Items are donated due to overstock or contractors donate remodel unneeded items.

Sometime during all this - I painted the chocolate suede wall - what do you think?

And Super Hubby put in a tile "rug" at the entry way. It is so awesome - he is definately an artist!

Monday I will show you the cork floor in my studio.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


No, I haven't been on a deserted island - I've been to Washington DC for training and fun with my sister - who followed me there because she thinks I'm cool!

Amazing things happened at the house while I was gone. Carpet for one! Tiled bathrooms for another! My hubby is the most amazing tile craftsman! He has done everything from car dealerships to show rooms to residential remodel and mansions in LA. He is truly a craftsman. We used 18" travertine through out and he developed a very complicated pattern for the great room. The sitting area has a carpet insert - very cool. It all looks so nice - I am so excited to move our furniture in and look for some cool antiques to add.

I'm painting every night after I get home from work. Super Hubby is building cabinets, finishing up tiling, putting down baseboard, building the window seat....

Things are really shaping up. About 5-7 days and we should be ready for the first final inspection. Pictures when I have a chance!