Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 things I'm thankful for

Have you seen this on facebook?  Every day people post 5 things they are thankful for.  There are a few people in my feed doing it and I always love seeing the things they find extraordinary in the ordinary days.  I love the attitude of gratefulness for the smallest of things.  So I was inspired yesterday when I was driving down the road (NOT looking at facebook), to chronical these small victories that are consequential to my life.  Here they are in no particular order.  And if you've been around here long, you'll know how big these really are.

1. My freedom.  I live in America.  People fight to keep me safe.  They don't even know me!  And they do it anyway.  Man I'm lucky.  And so are you, American readers.  I'm thankful I can speak my mind without dying for my words.

2. The results are in.  "No genetic mutations were found"  I had to read it outloud about 12 times to let it sink in.  It was bitter sweet.  Because I am THANKFUL that I do not have the BRCA1 gene, like one of my sisters.  But then again, solidarity, man.  I would have been happy to walk along side her in her struggles.  So now, I walk alongside her and listen.... to anything she has to say.  And I love her and pray for her and thank God every day that my sister won't have these two types of cancer to deal with in the future. I'm thankful for my sister.  And I'm thankful for not carrying the "breast cancer gene".

3. My "accidental" new business.  See, the beauty here is that God knows my heart.  He knows that I love to create and share it with other people.  So He orchestrated this amazing thing called the Farm Girl Fair and now He has inspired us girls to start a new dream... called Gatherings.  We will mostly "gather" on the farm and for now, we will "gather" for short classes.  But in the big dream, we will host weekend-long "Gatherings" complete with many handmade crafts, meals over campfires, and even live music.  It's a big dream!  But I believe it can happen.  Because who knew how big Farm Girl Fair would be and yet..... it was awesome!  Do you want to attend our inaugural class?  Here are the deets.  I'm thankful for Gatherings by the creators of Farm Girl Fair.

4. I'm thankful for my husband.  He's this goofy, sports-loving, family man who loves me and our family with a love we don't even deserve.  He's committed, passionate, hard working, and occasionally funny.  ;)  He works really hard at his business and he's blessed the socks off our family with a new home this year.  He is a good man.  And he loves Jesus!  What more could I ask for?  I'm thankful for the Mister.

5. And last but not at all least, yesterday we visited the pediatric spine surgeon.  He is this great guy who is so unassuming and gentle in nature.  We have loved working with him.  In the way that you love having to go have someone tell you that your child has an abnormality in their back.  Anyway, we've been with him for 4 years now and for the last 9 months we've been stepping up our prayers in a mighty way.  We've been on our knees asking God to STOP the growth of her curvature.  She has two curves and they cause her a good amount of pain daily.  But if they didn't stop growing, she was close to surgery.  You know, no big deal, the kind of surgery where they slice open your back from top to bottom, RIP the muscles off your spine and fuse a metal rod to your spine.  Bleh, I threw up in my mouth a little telling you this.  Anyway, yesterday he told us the MOST AMAZING news.  Her curvature has STOPPED GROWING!  ThankyouJesus!!  Such great news.  She's still and never has been a candidate for a brace based on the placement of her curves.  And she's grown now as tall as she'll ever be.  But she's grown!  According to their measurement, she's 5' 8" now!  Woohoo!  I'm thankful for a daughter who will not be having surgery this year.

Yes, I'm thankful.  Very thankful.

Monday, November 9, 2015

my heart in a jar.

I love Christmas.  I love decorating and making goodies and having parties and decorating some more and going to parties.  I love the music and the smells and the gifts.  And mostly I love Jesus, for giving us such a fun time of year to celebrate his birth.  I love winter.

This year we're headed out to ski for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I'm going to get in all my love of snow in 6 weeks time.  It will be epic.  ;)

And speaking of snow, I have been busy making snow globes.  They are so cute, I admitted to my Mister yesterday that I am having a hard time considering parting with a single globe.  Each one holds a piece of my heart!  But alas, they will be for sale at the Holidays at the Farm private event on November 22nd!  Here are a few I've been working on this weekend, along with some personal goodies that I just simply can't sell.  But hey!  If you want a snowglobe, I will make you a custom jar!  Just let me know what you want inside and comment here or buy a ticket to Holidays and place your order then!  :)

 See that deer?  It was love at first sight.  I think I need to keep him.

 I recently became obsessed with vintage Tonka trucks as Christmas decor.  I scored this little guy at the Vintage Market Days sale in OKC last weekend.  Then I threw on some trees, a miniature vintage santa and a bumper wreath and voila'!   {{swoon}}

And this globe?  Well, it too, can be yours.... very soon.  Follow me on insta to see the next great thing coming from the creators of Farm Girl Fair!!  {hint, hint}

 This sweet gal was the last one standing after Farm Girl Fair this fall.  You can still snag her!

 And this one?  It's all slightly off, just like me.  He'll be sold "as is" for a discount at Holidays on the Farm later this month!  Vintage Santa, glittery deer and all.

 This miniature is one of my favorites.  It's all tiny.  Like super tiny.  And the perfect piece for that little cranny you have looking for a Christmas decoration.

And last, but certainly not least, is this miniature vintage snowman snow globe.  It's got sparkle galore and a snowflake hanging from the ceiling.  It's really too cute to pass up.

SO.  Have I convinced you to purchase a ticket to Holidays on the Farm yet??  If not, consider the other AMAZING vendors who will be back with their wares to share their immense talent with YOU, one last time before Christmas.  Tickets are $20 each and all the proceeds go to the CCFI Holiday Wishes program!  Tickets are being PRE-SOLD and will NOT be available at the door.   Spread the love and buy local for Christmas!  Happy Holidays y'all!

Monday, October 26, 2015

the future is in my hand

You've heard the term "holding the future in your hands", right?  Well have you ever?  Like literally HELD the future in your hands?  I did.  Recently.  And it looks like this...

That little box.  What does it hold?  Well, specifically... my spit.  It holds mama's saliva.  And it got mailed off over 7 weeks ago to a genetic testing company.  I'm waiting patiently for results.  6-12 weeks, to be precise.

How do you wait patiently for genetic testing results?  By the grace of God.  And a lot of ignoring that it's possible you could carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or any of the other 19 genes they are currently testing me for.

It all began earlier this year when my sister sent in her "sample" and was identified as carrying the BRCA1 gene.  Life can get really simple when faced with this kind of information.  Life matters.

You see there isn't a single life that exists that wasn't breathed into existence without God.  He is never surprised by unexpected pregnancies or deaths or cancer.  He is never surprised when we find out we carry a gene that all but guarantees what we've assumed our whole lives.  And so... I trust Him.  I trust that He knows what I don't.  That He sees what I can't.  And that His plan for my life includes any obstacle that brings me closer to Him.

Soon I'll get the call.  The one where I'll sit down on speaker phone with my Mister and a genetic counselor.  And although I have no idea if my call will sound like my sister's call did (well, I do have a 50/50 chance of it being the same), I know, like she does, that all is well.  I don't have to be in control.  Jesus is at the wheel.

This is in no way an advertisement for or endorsement of the genetic testing company we chose, but if you're curious, I'm happy to share that we used color.  Genetic testing has become significantly more affordable and available.  My test cost $249 but this month (October 2015) they are offering their testing for $199.   Just so you know.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

mama's new office

I mean y'all.  You wouldn't believe the lengths I would go to for a good craft.

Over the weekend Mr. Mister told me that he wants to kick me out of the office in our house.  He "needs more room to spread out" he says.  And let's be honest, he really didn't want me there to begin with, but mama's gotta have her cute desk somewhere, so.... the office seemed like a logical place in our new house.

Although I am a purger by nature, I have accumulated a RIDICULOUS amount of craft supplies over my time as a maker.  And that "stuff" has to go somewhere, so when we moved in here, it got dispersed to nooks and crannies where it fit.  Which means I've got crap in the office, guest room, and master bedroom.  No bueno.

So on Sunday, the Mister gave me marching orders to head to Ikea (alone!  gasp!) and get a desk/table/whatevertheheckIwant to set up my "office space" in the guest room.  Have fun he said.

Has this EVER happened to you?  It's a rarity around here.  So I did the logical thing: I ran around like a crazy woman, threw on a hat, grabbed my toothbrush and jammies, and RAN out the door (before he could change his mind, of course, and because who knows when Ikea closes.  I was coming from Oklahoma, you know.)

Now I'll spare you the details of my hours-long trip to mecca and tell you that I was working on the fly.  I was using many numbers in my head for measurements.  And I was trying my darndest to keep it all straight.  And yet....  when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I came home with this awesome, long tabletop, and two trellis legs.  Hmmmmm.  Anything sound off here to you?  It didn't to my mind that was swimming with all the possibilities.  Apparently when you buy a "build your own desk" deal at Ikea, you need to LOOK AT THE TABLETOP before leaving to see HOW MANY LEGS IT NEEDS.  Turns out, this looooooong top needed an extra support in the middle.  Snap.

And yet, this Macguyver managed to assemble the table without needing that extra leg.  But not before she ordered one online and tried to cancel it minutes later, only to be told by Ikea that they couldn't cancel it twelve hours later.  Whose fault is that??  Check your email sooner, Ikea.

Anyway, I digress.  So now there's a bonafide office space being erected in my guest room and last night I had a cussy moment.  You know, I have a problem with that.  So, I had been inspired by youknowwho to make a pegboard to go above my new office space.  And of course, I jumped in my car and ran over to Lowes (which is because they are the closest store to my house).  I went inside and had a precious time dreaming about cross stitching my new peg board.  Let me share some inspiration here with you.  These are all from Pinterest.  Who I hate, by the way, but she's a necessary evil in the inspiration business.

WHA??  Paint a cross stitch?  I was just planning to hang some crap on my wall.  Now you're speaking my language!

Is this for real??  A cross stitched RUG on a PEGBOARD??  GET IN MY HOUSE!

And this, folks, was the original inspiration.  But when I went searching I found so much more than I imagined possible.  I'm leaning now between simple and roses.

So anywho... Last night I check out at Lowes with my new 4x4 pegboard and went out to my car.  That mother scratcher wouldn't fit into my stupid little car.  (This is one of those time that I actually miss my minivan.)  I sat there, on the edge of my back bumper for a solid 15 minutes, watching the sun set in the freaking Lowes parking lot, silently cussing.  I called Mister for some practical help (like should I go inside and buy a saw and cut up that board right here in the %@^*& parking lot?) because of course, once I was inspired, Lowes was unprepared for me.  Their saw was out of order.  No cutting on their end.

Alas, I had to return that stupid board and go home empty handed.  Well, technically not.  I kept all the gadgets I bought to put on the pegboard that I WILL OWN VERY SOON, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD.

Stay tuned.  Office reno is coming soon...... 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

this is my story.

Man I love fall.  I love when the wind turns to a chill, the leaves fall, the pumpkin candles burn, and the football is on tv ALL DAY LONG.  I know that's surprising, me, loving football of all kinds.  But I think it's just the sound of fall as background noise.  It's comforting.

As fall settles in, we all start coming indoors.  We look around, fluff our nests, and ready for the winter ahead.  Oklahoma falls don't last that long.  We sort of go from hot to cold.  But that's fine by me.  I love this "little" town in our little state.  I love the community I feel here, the friendly people, and the shared value systems around me.

Speaking of value systems, lately I've been a leetle convicted.  I've started back in BSF and this week one of the questions basically asked about a sin you struggle with.  I wasn't in my normal group where I should feel safe sharing the answer.  Nooooo, my leader is out of town so I was in with another group, where luckily two of my friends normally meet.  So I felt "safe enough".  And as is customary while you're in my company, I just laid it out there to these precious and God-fearing women.

"Welllll, I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.  Because if you're honest, you know that sometimes a well placed cuss word is FUNNY."  Yep.   There it is.  I actually said that outloud to strangers in my bible study.  But seriously: Jacka$$.  That's a GOOD word.  And it has all kinds of uses.  So I use it.

The problem with all my cussing is that I worry that people see the words and miss the message.  I cuss a little (and don't worry: only in appropriate places and around adults) but I LOVE JESUS.

Y'all.  You don't even know the road I've walked in my lifetime.  You don't even know the crap that lies beneath.  But you'll know my heart if you spend any time around me.  You'll know that for being a conservative Christian, I am surprisingly non-judgmental.  (Well, it's no surprise to me, but liberals might find this hard to understand.)

I know pain.  I know loss.  I know struggle.  And I know the feeling that God is far far away and not really interested in my heartache.

But I also now know that God loves me and every intimate detail of my life.  He loves me in spite of my awful mistakes.  He has pulled me out of the pits of despair and redeemed me.  He has made my story beautiful when I gave Him a mess to contend with.  I have seen redemption and forgiveness first hand.

Do you have a story like this?  Well let me tell you now, that SHAME is removed from your life when you are able to have victory over it.  Telling your story is the only way to really remove the shame from your mistakes.   You don't have to hide in fear anymore when you say hey, here's who I am.  I'm not perfect, just forgiven.  And God has the final say on the chapters ahead for me.  That pain has no dominion over my life.

Listen to this little diddy.

I love this song.  Because lately I've been convicted to share my story.  It's not a story that I will write here, so don't get your hopes up too high.  ;)  But know that if I get that feeling while I'm with you, and God tells me to share, I will do it.  And you should consider doing the same thing.

Do you know why it's important to your own story to share it with others?  It's this little word called HOPE.  Because your story may be the one that gives someone hope to someone who is desperately seeking it.  It tells them that they, too, are worth the cost of the cross.  Their life matters.  And didn't you need to hear that at some point in your story?

So don't hold it in.  Share your story of defeat in victory, explaining how God used your brokenness to make you completely whole.  Don't be afraid, friend.  You were meant for this.

Monday, September 28, 2015

dreams realized

Me, in my Farm Girl glory.  Ha! 
photography by Shar Rother

I'm not a dreamer.  I'm the daughter of a man who held the same job at a desk until he retired and a woman who held stable jobs along the way to her retirement.  We are do-ers, not dreamers.

So when I married Mr. Mister, I was thrown for a loop.  What are all these dreams you talk of?  Please! Put them away!  Just go do your job, make your money, and let us be stable folk like I know how to be!

And yet.... God had a few things to teach me about the dreams He WANTS us to have.

I rode along for 16 years on the coat-tails of my dreamy (er...) DREAMER husband.  He took our family all over town to new houses.  He led us to own rent houses, sell them, and make money.  He dreamed about starting businesses.  And he taught me a lot along the way to let go of my NEED to control.  Because dreams are really just letting go of control!  I can't be in control and dream big!  I like to say that I'm a Type A personality in remission.  God has healed my need to be the one who always had the wheel.

So back in February, seven short months ago, I was doin' my thang.  Working at my job, homeschooling my son, remodeling a new home, and plugging along like I know how to do.  And that's when the dream began.

I was texting Carol about this Little Craft Show in NW Arkansas.  We were both obsessed with it.  We both wanted to drive out and attend.  We loved the idea.  We loved the vendors we saw online.  We loved.

She said to me: Let's do our own little craft show!  MY reply?  Yah!  Let's do it!
The difference here was that she was serious and I was half kidding.

The more we talked about where and what we would do, the more we realized together that this really was an actual possibility.  We can't do it alone, she said.  Let's bring in our mutual friend Lindsi!  YES.  This would be good.

photo courtesy of the amazing Shar Rother

And so Farm Girl Fair began.... in a bar, at a table with salads and wine and hearts full of anticipation.  Carol brought us each a little notebook and Lindsi brought us cute pens.  We needed to plan with style, you know!

We asked questions.  We took notes.  We found areas of common ground on the important stuff.  And our dream was small.  We were afraid to ask for much more!  We brainstormed names for our little event.  We chose a price for admission.  Carol suggested we give our admission money to a charity.   She was involved intimately with the Center for Children and Families in Norman.  Let's give it to them!  YES! we all agreed.

And our dream took root.  We began meeting every few weeks, working through details and inventing the wheel.  We didn't need a handbook on how to throw a fair because our vision was unique.  Let's plan the whole thing around the Charlotte's Web fair we always had in our minds as kids.  Bunting strung everywhere.  Pigs to pet.  Horse rides.  A blue-ribbon pie contest.  Entertainment.  The list went on and on.  And as our excitement grew, so did our vision.  We poured our hearts and souls into the details.

When we began looking for vendors, we called our crafty friends.  We created a website.  And we promoted on facebook and insta.  We sat back and waited.  And God showed us just how BIG He could make our little dream.

Our dream began with 20 vendors and a pasture with a hayride.  But this weekend?  50 vendors, activities for kids, kettle corn, Italian Ice, a bustling marketplace, and 3 women overcome with JOY.

Let me tell the story in pictures.

Wilbur, of course.

Charlotte, who showed up, like a gift from God that morning in Lindsi's booth.

AND THEN... just like in the Field of Dreams movie... IF you build it, THEY WILL COME.
And did they come!  The cars stretched for a MILE down the road.  {TEARS, PEOPLE}

The one and only Caryn Ross!  Sassy Mama herself!

These sweet girls made cookies and brownies to die for

 My little booth... not much, but something!

Our pie judges!  Caryn Ross, Terri Owens, Rob Standridge, and Bill Niebur
The winner was a Salted Caramel Drowned Turtle Pie.  Hmmmmm, with a name like that, can you imagine how they won?? Haha!

The Three Farmgirls... Carol, Kim, and Lindsi

And now, folks, for the FUN part.  
That night, after all the vendors had packed up and left, precious friends came over with food and drinks.  They fed us, made yummy club specials, and counted the money that was made at the gate.  This picture was right before we made guesses on how much we could donate to CCFI.  Right before we all cried tears of JOY.  Right before we realized, fully, how BIG our dream had become.  What we had ACTUALLY accomplished. 

I guessed $3,000.
Carol guessed $2,000.
Lindsi guessed $4,000.

But we were all LOW.

Seven thousand seven hundred twenty four dollars.
$7,724!  WHA WHA?????
Yes.  That.

Dream big, y'all.  DREAM BIG.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Farm Girl Fair

Warning!  This is my shameless plug for the Farm Girl Fair.

We are less than a month out now for the Farm Girl Fair, people!  Less than 30 days until over 50 vendors of handmade things come to the Sandy River Ranch and set up shop!  I can not tell you how excited and stressed and nervous I am.  My two girls and I text all day long, every day.  The artistically talented Lindsi Niebur, The Unlikely Farmgirl Carol Bauman and I are working our tails off to remember EVERY. LAST. DETAIL.

There's nothing like inventing a wheel.  Which is really what we're doing.

There's no handbook for how to throw a fair.  But that's good!  Because we get to invent it ourselves!  And we have so many cute details to pull off.  It's going to be awesome.

What IS the Farm Girl Fair, you ask?  It's an old fashioned "County Fair" feel (think Charlotte's Web) with vendors that lean more towards artsy than craftsy, live entertainment, a Pie Tasting Contest (wanna enter?  There's still room!  But time is running out.  Click here to enter!), a petting zoo, hay rides, and a Farm Girl Fair Photo Booth.  There will be a make and take area for kids and food vendors for the hungry.  Yes, this is a BIG DEAL.  A lot of details to be pulled off.  But we are well on our way!  And we're super excited.

My guest room has turned into my personal Farm Girl Fair headquarters.  I told hubby to expect a mess for the next month.  "Just look away" I say.  ;)

So here it is, my beautiful mess:

That produced these, among other goodies...

Y'ALL.  We are having fun preparing.  Check out this cutie from The Unlikely Farmgirl!  She'll kill me for posting it, but HELLO??  HOW CUTE IS IT???

AND WHAT THE WHA?  How cute are these cake toppers from our very own Lindsi Niebur??

See you at the Fair!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


If you've been around here long, you'll know that I love Jesus.  He's my main man and my rock.  I trust Him and rely on Him.  Jesus loves me.  And He loves you, too.

Today I want to tell you a little story about provision and I'm gonna jump on a soapbox for a moment, too.  Bear with me.  I promise not to offend anyone.  :)

Many years ago my older sister was a young wife with two small children, married to a pastor.  They were on a fixed and limited income and they relied on God to take care of their "needs" and especially their "wants".  She kept a list on her fridge of things she "wanted".  I happened upon that list one day and asked what it was all about.  There were three things there including throw pillows for her sofa.

She told me that she couldn't afford to buy those things, but she wrote them down and offered them up to God.  She trusted that He knew her heart and her desires and that if He wanted her to have them, then He would provide a way.

She would pray over her list (and add needed items to it) when she went out garage sale-ing on the weekends.  And ALL THE TIME God would meet her heart's desires right where she was in a driveway.  It was amazing!  She needed school supplies and there they were, new in a package!  Those pillows?  Perfect condition in someone's garage.  Clothes?  Yep, they were there, too.  God PROVIDED for my sister and her young family.

I look around myself and see American excess.  And yet, I'm a purger.  I find things to give away at least once a month.  It's a habit that mostly does me well.  Occasionally I will wish I hadn't given that one thing away, but for the most part, I love to give.  I pray fervently that I will be known for generosity and if there's one thing that goes on my tombstone, I will be happy if that's it.

Kim Hudson Frakes: Beloved wife, mother, giver.  Lover of Jesus and people.

I've learned generosity from my parents.  All three.  They've been generous with me for my whole life.  Even the one who chooses to love me although I'm not her own.  Parents teach generosity without saying a word.  I hope I'm passing this along as well.

So yesterday, I was planning to unpack and decorate my new classroom at school.  I'm getting excited for school to start.  To meet my new littles (who you may hear a little about soon because kids are hysterical).  I'm looking forward to a new group, a new challenge, a new start.  And yet, I began realizing the things my room is lacking.  So I put out a call on facebook for anyone who might have a generous heart.  And WOW, did God provide.  I got not only what I asked for, but BETTER than I had even imagined!  A globe?  How about on a stand?  A bookshelf?  A nice tall one work for ya, Kim?  Yes.  God was good to me today.

I have a hard time admitting that I can't do it all.  I don't like showing a crack in my shell.  But every once in a while, God teaches me a little about myself when He directs me to use other people for His glory.  So THANK YOU to those of you who donated.  And THANK YOU to anyone reading who has considered being generous to a teach in need.  Teachers pull out of their pockets every year in every classroom.  It's a huge blessing to them when you share your excess.

I'm looking forward to sharing the before and afters of my classical education classroom.  Wondering how that differs from a regular ed class?  Think Pottery Barn, not red, yellow, and blue.  I think you'll enjoy what you find.  See you soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

mirror mirror on the wall

My friend Carol.  Man.  That girl is full of inspiration.  And energy!

When she made this design board for my guest bathroom, I fell instantly in love.

My only problem was the cost.  We hadn't originally planned to update that guest bathroom.  Suddenly we were adding cost to the mounting remodel cost.  We had already been blindsided by a new HVAC system at the tune of $6,000 and water in our breakfast room air ducts which resulted in a new french drain.  Oh!  A french drain?  Would you like the $4,000 model or the $1,500 one?  Either way, it was money we hadn't planned to spend.  

So I tried to create Carol's beautiful bathroom, but it fell short.  The shower curtain came in and it was 6 inches too long.  Cue new curtain.  The cute pink rug was really expensive.  Cue pink bath mat from Bed Bath and Beyond.  The beautiful mirror?  Ix-nayed by the hubs.  I was trying.  But I just couldn't pull off the darling bathroom on the inspiration board.

We did find the tile at a price we could stomach and installation wasn't that much more, considering they were already there to install the kitchen tile.  So we took the plunge.  BEST DECISION.  The floor makes the bathroom!

I also FINALLY and ON A WHIM found the knobs I'd been searching for for MONTHS at Hobby Lobby.  {{{swooooon}}}

And I settled into this bathroom redo with some satisfaction.  I wasn't done yet, but I was okay with what I stared at each time I walked to my bedroom.

UNTIL.  One day I went antique shopping with that now-famous friend, Carol.  I was telling her that I loved the idea she had given me for updating my mirror with cedar wood planks.  I'm good with a saw, but I'm not a master angle cutter.  I don't have a table saw!

And then she did it once again.  She told me I didn't need angles! (What?? I'm a little {ok maybe a lot} OCD and tend to a be a box thinker. You mean I could do this with straight lines??)

I went straight home that day and started measuring.

I went to Lowe's where they cut the wood for me. (Did you know they'll do that??  YES! For free!)

I brought those babies home and stained them right up!  And then with a little liquid nails and the resolve of a woman in need of new shoes, I MADE THAT THING HAPPEN.

Now, what you see here are the two sides of a cedar wood.  I stained both to see which look I preferred.  I used the rough side but either are beautiful, really.

Once I had them up, I taped them down with painters tape to keep them in place overnight.  I glued the wood directly onto the mirror.  And voila!  In the morning it was like a new room.  

Then I added this bench and crate I found in a vintage store in OKC and BOOM.  Room done.  For now.....

Monday, July 13, 2015

vanilla anyone?

I'm doing it again!  I'm making homemade vanilla.

I've done this before on my blog, but it's been some time now and it was on my old blog!  So now that we're having to think ahead for Christmas gifts, I'm sharing it with you here.  Let's get working!

A few notes before we begin:
1. Making homemade vanilla is extremely easy, but not super fast in prep time.  Be prepared to spend some time on this.... maybe an hour?  Ok, pretty fast, but not that fast.

2. Patience, grasshopper.  It will steep for 6 months.  Don't start this if you need vanilla in 2 months.  It won't be ready.  This is why we prepare for Christmas in July.  :)

3. Vanilla beans come in all types.  I have done this enough to have a preference.  Bourbon.  I'm not a fan of Tahitian or Madagascar beans.  But you can choose whichever sound yummy to you!  That's the best part!

4. All vodka is created equal.  Buy the cheap stuff.  Trust me on this.  One year I got the pricey stuff to see if it was superior and guess what.  It was not.  Don't waste your money on that.  Put your money into the cute labels you'll be buying later on etsy.

5. When it's time to harvest your vanilla from the gallon jar, you'll need brown glass jars.  This protects your vanilla for long lasting use.  You can get those here if you'd like.

6. The total cost on these jars in the end will amount to about $8 each, between the vodka, beans, jars, and labels.  This isn't a cheap project, but it IS a great gift to give friends any time of year!  And they love to receive them!

7. And last, what we're making here is not a vanilla extract.  It's technically a vanilla marinade, because we are not extracting the beans, we are steeping them.  The great thing about this method is that you can use this for more than just baking!  This vanilla can be added to a coke or ice cream!  It will have those yummy little flecks of bean in it.  So don't freak out when you see them later.  ;)

OKAY!  We're ready to start!

You will need:
1 gallon jar with a lid
3/4 pound of vanilla beans (I buy mine on amazon)
2 half gallons of vodka
yields: 13- 8 oz. bottles of vanilla

You will begin cutting your beans from the bottom up until you nearly reach the end.  Don't cut them completely in half.

Drop these into the gallon jar.

Now you're almost done!  Poor in those bottles of vodka and close the lid.  Place that wonderful gallon of yumminess-in-the-making into a cool dry place in your kitchen and walk away.

Each month between now and December, you should come back to that fun jar and invert it a few times.  Then put it back again and walk away.  You'll note that each month the liquid will get darker and darker.  It's working!  And do you know why?  When you sliced those babies up, it exposed the flecks of vanilla inside the bean.  Did you see it?

So, when you've allowed your vanilla to sit for 6 months, you can begin assembling your products.  Take 2-3 beans from the gallon jar and put them in each brown bottle.  Then pour the vanilla in with a funnel, slap your darling label on, maybe a ribbon or two, and voila!  You're done!  Let the gift giving begin.  And don't forget to save a bottle for yourself!

 oops.  looks like i'm in need of a refill!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3 quick tips to love your home

I love to decorate.  I've been nesting in my homes since I had my first little apartment.  I would wake up on Saturdays and clean my little space from top to bottom.  And then I would sit down and watch Martha Stewart's show and be inspired.  Occasionally I would attempt one of her projects, if I could afford the materials.  I was a teacher after all, in 1995.  And starting salaries were around $24,000.  Eek.  I could stretch a penny like the best of 'em.

As I've grown older in my adult years, my tastes have changed.  Can you relate?  Just getting on pinterest can make me want to redecorate an entire room.  So mostly I stay off these days.  It's not good for the soul.  Too much coveting.  :)  But I do still enjoy fluffing my nest!  And that's where you come in.  I'm going to share with you three keys to fluffing your own nest, according to mrs. frakes.  These tips come from years of studying magazines, reading about decorating, and asking questions of my wiser, more swanky decorating friends.  I am not a professional interior designer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

1.  Fill your home with pieces you love.

I'm all about a good bargain.  And I love Hobby Lobby!  But I use those kinds of stores for crafts, not decor.  Don't fill your home with pieces to fill space.  Only buy things you LOVE.  That means that when you are on a trip, find one fun knick-knack or piece of art that you can incorporate into your home and bring it back.  It will be fun to look at later and recall the joy you had on that vacation.

Or, when you are with friends visiting that little tea shop or craft show, find something that makes you smile and bring it home.  People ask me where I find the things I decorate with.  The real question is where do I not find these things?  I look everywhere because I love to mix sparkle with rustic and everything in between.  There is no shop or estate sale that I think is beneath me.  Now, I may not find anything that speaks to me, but I will look anywhere.  Especially for a good deal.  :)  My favorite places to shop are estate sales and antique/vintage shops in tiny towns.  That, my friends, is where you find the real gems.

Frame: vintage shop in Noble, Oklahoma
Chicken Wire: Lowes
Fabric: Hancocks
Fleur de Lis: Canton, Texas
Assembled by moi

2.  The devil is in the details.

Ever since I was a small child I was obsessed with tiny toys.  The smaller, the better.  And even when my daughter was a little, I forced my love on her in the form of a toy called Polly Pockets.  Oh yes, they were fun to play with.  We spent hours on her floor dressing up our tiny ladies.

In decorating, the small details get noticed.  You may not realize it, but if you walked into a home filled with giant planters and huge floral arrangements, it could seem very beautiful and regal.  But it probably wouldn't seem like a house someone lives in.  Now, I don't know about you, but I actually live in the house where I sleep.  That's why you may pop in and see we've got laundry laying around and shoes waiting to find their closet.  We may even have dishes in the sink and a toilet that needs to be flushed (ugh. the boys!).  As much as I feel healed of my earlier-in-life OCD, it still creeps up on me.  I try hard to have a lovely home at all times, but it just doesn't happen.  So I decorate in ways that distract the visitor from the flaws surrounding us.  I have gallery walls and good lighting and cute rugs.  I fill my galvanized stand with cute small things.  And hopefully all they notice is the overall effect, not the temporary mess.

Too many things to tag here, but let's just say they range from Pottery Barn to anthropologie to my mom's garage and Target.  Those little flags?  You know you need one that says "but first coffee" too.  You can find those cuties on etsy here.

3.  Patience is a virtue.

I like being liked.  So don't go telling your spouse that I told you to get out there and GO SHOPPING!  While I believe in picking things up here, there, and yonder, I don't condone doing it all at once.  Please don't go on a shopping spree and blame it on this mama.  The key to decorating your home in a way you love is to do it slowly, over time.  Remember: one little piece at a time.

And did I mention?  Don't buy fun decor only if you have a certain spot to put it in.  It's okay to buy speculatively!  Most things I buy have no specific place to go once I get them home.  I find a place for them.   That means things get moved around frequently.  And that's okay too!  Don't be afraid to mix things up.

If you need help mixing things up, let me know.  I love this stuff!  If you're local, I'll come help you in a heartbeat!  Everyone should love the home they have.