Monday, March 2, 2015

Accidental collector: canning jars

There is just something about canning jars.  From as far back as I can remember, canning jars have been a practical part of our family system.  My mom and grandmothers fed their families by preserving food from gardens and orchards, all in Ball and Mason jars.

Beyond the practical, canning jars are beautiful and fascinating.  I love this article in The New York Times from last August. Canning jars have always been beautiful to us, but they are also suddenly hip and trendy. I am guilty of following the madness, as I am lusting after the new purple Mason jars. And, I may or may not have purchased a t-shirt with Mason jars and the saying, "I eat local because I can."

Canning jars also show up around my house as decor - holding wooden spools of thread, crafting supplies, vintage dominoes, puzzle pieces, and other treasures.  In the kitchen, the jars hold pasta,  muffin cups, baking soda, and other pantry staples, in addition to home canned fruit and vegetables.  I also just have some antique jars as stand alone beauties.

During a trip to Target this fall, I found some Italian jars for food preservation on the sale aisle.  Am I the only person who cruises the sale end caps at Target and gets sucked into the impulse buy? For these particular jars, I picked them up and set them down several times and ended up bring them home with me.  And then, they joined the piles in our spare room. I wanted to do some research on the jars and didn't want to use them for anything less than a worthy purpose.

The Bormioli Rocco company makes these jars - embossed on the sides and just the right size. The jars are so beautiful, I wanted the best possible use for them.

My answer:  sprinkles.

In an organizing frenzy this weekend, I decide that I would put together all of our baking supplies, including our surprisingly large collection of sprinkles.  I realized that I could combine several of the smaller containers and I could use my Italian jars!  I was pretty pleased with myself for cleaning the cabinets and for using the jars and for finding a beautiful and practical way to solve a problem.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Framing some finds

 I wanted to share two new pieces we just got back from the frame shop.

We picked up the Farm Fresh Picks print this summer when we were at Antique Archeology in LeClaire, IA.

I loved the print for the subject matter, but also because it is a Hatch Show Print.  Famous for their show prints, I have long wanted to own a print from their presses.

I am still trying to find the perfect place to hang it, but know that this art will be a perfect fit for our home.

 This little gem has been on my wish list for a long time. My husband's parents gave it to us for Christmas this year.  

Two things that make this print great - the artwork is beautiful with charming little illustrations across the state and the print is on the back of a book page.

Our framer - who is fabulous at helping to select colors and styles of mats and frames to make the print really shine - was creative in helping me protect the print and still preserve the chance to honor the book page.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Prairie School Farms Spring Show Schedule

April 11 & 12
Tulip Festival - Wamego, KS
Saturday hours: 9 a.m. to 5 pm.
Sunday hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

April 25
The Red Barn Outdoor Market - Benton, KS
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

May 2 
Funky Junk Market - Funk, NE
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

May 8 & 9
2 Friends & Junk - Dewey, OK
Friday hours: 5 to 9 p.m.
Saturday hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

May 23 {tentative}

SugarPete Fabulous Flea - Lyndon, KS
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spring Show Schedule: Funky Junk Market

We are really pleased to be a vendor at the Funky Junk Market in Funk, Nebraska.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $1.

Be ready for some vintage and handmade shopping and food trucks - a perfect combination!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Olivet church: Progress, sweet progress

We are celebrating some progress on the renovation of the Olivet church.

You might remember that we bought my childhood church with the intent of renovating it for community use. Our first goal for the project was to replace the roof.  After collecting bids from a few contractors, we found a highly recommended and trustworthy person who was willing to help us. His business is in the county where the church is located and we felt good about keeping money within the county.

We got word last week that the project was finished.  With only a few "no good deed goes unpunished" moments, we were really, really pleased to have something finished.

The first phase included completely replacing and shingling the roof, installing new guttering, and replacing and painting some fascia boards.  We are most proud of the bell tower - it was shored up with the replacement of some boards and a new paint job.

We look forward to catching up financially and then tackling the next phase.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Let's make some stuff!

One of my goals in the new year is to make some stuff. 

I have a lot of unfinished projects and ideas galore.  One of our favorite sayings is, "More ideas than time."

In an effort to make good on some of my promises to myself and the desire to make some stuff and tell people about it, I made vanilla.

I get a real kick out of trying something, just to see if it will work.  I had read about making vanilla and it seemed pretty straight forward.  My first batch was purely for our consumption - just in case it went terribly wrong.

Well, it didn't!

I read a few recipes and followed the instructions and it turned out pretty great!

Just before the holidays, I started four more jars.  You can see in the picture a jar that has had three months to process and a new jar on the right.  The small bottle in the foreground is the sample that I sent home with my mom.  The big jar of vodka in the back - the main ingredient that makes all of the magic happen.

One of the hints I discovered in my research was to order the vanilla beans in bulk - they can be expensive at the local grocery store. I ordered from Vanilla Products USA on Amazon.

I also read some conflicting advice about the vodka to use - some recipes recommended the cheapest possible and others recommended buying something more expensive.  I went for middle of the road.

Dreaming of spring

This time of year always begins to wear on us - too much time cooped up inside, too little sunshine, too much cold.

We begin to feel a little hopeful when the seed catalogs start to arrive in the mail.  My dad has already called and asked about my wishlist for our combined seed catalog order. The tradition of collaborating in planning our separate gardens is one that I love.

This month's Midwest Living has a feature on a plant about which I know very little, but it has made it's way to my wishlist.

Hellebores is touted as an early bloomer, but I can't figure out if it will grow in Kansas. It has an old-fashioned look that
I love and the idea of having early blooms is certainly attractive.

I will have to see if we can some to plant as an experiment.