Thank You

361.

Three hundred and sixty-one “impossibles.”

I am overwhelmed and humbled.

Seriously.

When we started this little “impossibility” project at the beginning of January, I could not ever have envisioned the strength and heart and courage that so many of you have displayed when faced with your “impossible.”

And now….I am faced with the impossible task of selecting “impossibles” to feature.Continue reading “Thank You”

It’s In the Fine Print

Did you know that you signed up for the “unlimited question” plan?

Yep.

It’s in the fine print.

As an official reader of this blog, you have access to the “unlimited question” feature.

You see, on the “unlimited question” plan….questions are limitless.

As in, without limit.

Never-ending.

For example, if you happen to be reading this post about the guest bedroom and you wanted to know where I got that rug.

You simply click here.

And I’ll be all like….it came from a yard sale.  For $1.00.

What can I say? 

That’s how yard sales roll in Kentucky.

Or if you wanted to ask me a question about where I got that chair.

You simply click here.

And I’ll be all like….I got it a thrift store. 

Or the trash. 

Or whichever came first.

Or if you saw this picture of the guest bedroom. 

And you saw those tags on the baskets.

And you needed some tags just like them.

You simply click here.

And I will be all like….I got them at an ETSY shop….

        …and hope that you didn’t ask me which one because I don’t remember.

But if you did ask me which ETSY shop….I would remember that you had the “unlimited question” plan. 

And I would go and find out where I ordered them from.

Just for you.

A plan is a plan, after all.

Now, just one thing I forgot to mention.

The fine print also states that all questions regarding the previous mentioned “hot dog pot pie” are off the table.

It’s a secret family recipe.

Enough said.

PS  I am linking up at these parties to spread the word about the question plan.  here and here.

Easy Peasy Burlap Vase Project

What is your opinion on the word “easy peasy?”

Does it speak to you?  Is it reassuring?  Does it let you know smooth sailing is ahead?  Does the simple mention of easy peasy put your heart at ease?

Now, I have heard that there are a few bloggers who think that “easy peasy” is overrated.  They are dismissive of the word.  I think they think it’s trite.

Really?

Not me.

You see…..I like “easy peasy.”  So much so that I am going to appoint myself the “easy peasy” spokesperson for 2012. 

I am going to start an “easy peasy” blog campaign where we all post reasurringly easy projects filled with simple instructions.

I’ll go first.

Here is my first “easy peasy” project of 2012.

Easy Peasy Burlap Vase

Step 1:  Purchase some of this.  You can find burlap anywhere nowadays.  I like Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby or any fabric store.  If you can’t find any there….try your local 7-11.  I’m sure they are selling burlap by now. 

You will need 1/4 yard per vase. 

Step 2:  Find a glass vase.  I bought mine at the dollar store.  Measure the circumference of the vase and the height of your vase.  Add approximately 3/4″ to these measurements and cut out a rectangle.

Step 3:  Fold over a 3/4″ border and sew.  If you are a precise person, feel free to use pins here.  I didn’t.  I am always in too much of a hurry for pins, so I adopt the “easy peasy” method of eyeballing.  Sometimes it is more successful than others.  Above is a picture of a successful attempt.

Step 4:   Sew a strip of velcro to your finished rectangle.  Make sure you buy sew-on velcro, not iron-on velcro.  Sew it to one side.  Flip rectangle over and sew it onto the opposite side at the other end.  This way the two velcro pieces will join and hold the burlap onto your vase.

Step 5:  Determine what you want your vase to say.  Hopefully you will be much wittier than me and my simple name vase.

Step 6:  Take a sheet of this and print your image (make sure it’s reversed).  Cut out your image and following the directions, iron it on.

Step 7:  Attach to vase with velcro.  Burlap cover can be removed at any time for washing.

See, I told you…..

                                   …..easy peasy lemon breezy.

That’s my word and I’m sticking to it.

PS  I just added a linky widget to my sidebar…..all the cool kids are doing it.  I’d love it if you would follow along.

PSS  I am linking to Funky Junk Interiors and Taters Tots and Jello.

A Modern Day Carol Burnett

Blogs are a lot like the people who write them.

Some are serious.

Some are educational.

Some make you laugh until you cry.

Some just make you cry.

I have read blogs and thought….I would love to be their neighbor.

I have read blogs and thought….how intimidating.

I have read blogs and thought….I hope I never meet them in a dark alley.

And then…

                            …..every now and then….

….I read a blog where the writer is someone who makes me smile….someone who inspires me….someone who understands me….

                                             ….in short…..

                            …..someone I would be friends with.

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If you have ever met Linda from “it all started with paint,” then you know exactly what I am talking about.

If you haven’t….I’m telling you to walk….no….power walk….no….sprint like you are in the last 100 yards of the Boston Marathon….over to her blog.

I promise you this…..you will not be disappointed.

I mean….she is super crafty (check out her numbered napkins) and talented (check out her chalkboard door) and creative (check out her steps)…..

….and while it’s fabulous to be crafty and talented and creative…..

                       …..the thing that makes her a must-read…..

…..the thing that brought me back to her blog again and again…..

                                              ….is her incredibly witty sense of humor.

Not just courtesy-laugh funny, but side-splitting….belly laughing….snorting-until-your-sides-hurt funny.

A modern-day Carol Burnett.

Seriously. 

And the fact that she is one of the best commenters in the history of ever.

For example….I posted about the upstairs playroom and stinky socks.

She commented: 

“My teen son had his 4 teen friends over last weekend … and they played Kinect. Not the bowling game. Track & Field. And I was reminded of why we always kept my brother’s room door closed at all times.”

I posted about my “impossibility” bread making challenge and before and after “impossibles.”

She quipped:

“So, who are your taste testers? Those adorable little girls of your? Perhaps your “blog widower” of a husband (and I’m so stealing that “blog widower” term … and may or may not give Mr. Blog Widower credit).”

I post about this bingo card pillow….

and she said: 

“Now I have to add “make a bingo card pillow” to my ever-growing list of to do’s ……but the list needs to be named “step away from the computer” …”

And lastly…..when I posted about my impossible and had a guest poster discuss the ins and outs of photography.

She said:

“…..one day you can take incredible pictures of the incredible bread you bake! I must pin this for the day I finally get my DSLR … oh, how I covet one! I think I made 13 cents last month from Google ads … so, let’s see, I should be able to afford a DSLR in close to 400 years ….”

And so my incredible witty, hilarious, and genuinely authentic friend, Linda.

Thank you for the laughs and the snickers and the snorts.

Thank you for always making me smile and believe in myself.

But most of all…..

                                   ……thank you for being my friend.

PS  All this humor and creative genius can be found at “it all started with paint.”

PSS  Tell her I said hi!

I Think I’m Going to Be Rich

I think I am going to open an ETSY shop.

And get rich selling these.

Dust bunnies.

You see….I have this feeling……they are going to be the pet rock of 2012.

Seriously. 

I mean….I do have children that would like to go to college one day.

And that bread making could get expensive.

You laugh, but I think this is my ticket to the big leagues.

I have them everywhere, which means overhead will be minimal.

And they seem to reproduce at a rapid rate, so keeping them in stock won’t be a problem.

Shipping and handling should be next to nothing.

This dust bunny thing is going to be big.

I just know it.

Forget ETSY. 

I’m going to take this all the way.

So don’t be surprised if one day you see…

    ….me and Joan Rivers hawking dust bunnies on QVC. 🙂

A Journey of 1000 Steps


This is it.

You made it.

You set a goal and you set forth to conquer it.

A wise Chinese philosopher once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Well…..my wonderfully creative, fabulous, exhausted friend.  Your journey has begun.

And we want to see it.  We want to see your “impossible.”

If you finished…..we want you to take a bow and show the world.

If you didn’t….if your “impossible” didn’t really get off the ground….if it fizzled at the starting gate……if your paint is still sitting in the can…..if your knitting is unraveling….you know what…..

                                                                 ……we don’t care. 

You see we don’t care because we are excited and thrilled that you even started.

We want to see what you have accomplished…..we want to see where you are in the journey…..we want to see your first, middle and last step of 1000 steps.


<img src=”https://thistlewoodfarm.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/1imadeit.png?w=160″>

Show Us Your Impossible Linky Party

Here’s the Party hostesses:

Thistlewood Farm (me)

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The Space Between

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A Sort of Fairy Tale Girl

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The Cottage Market

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Eclectically Vintageimage

it all started with paint

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(1)  The party opens at 7AM CST and will close Friday at midnight.

(2)  Add your link by clicking on the link below.  This will take you to another page where you add the link.  (I know….a little lame with the other page and all….take it up with WordPress).

(3)  When you add your link it will also appear on the link parties at The Cottage Market, The Space Between, It All Started With Paint, A Sort of A Fairytale and Eclectically Vintage.  I know.  You are telling me!  Awesome.  Six link parties and you only have to link up once!

(4)  Grab a button and wear it like the badge of honor it is!  You earned it!  Show the world that you….yes…..you….have accomplished your “impossible.”

(5)  We will be featuring outstanding “impossibles” from the party on Tuesday, February 7.  Be sure to check back to see all of the features.

(6)  Lastly, this is not the end of the world where “impossibles” become “possibles,” so if you want to be updated on all our future challenges and exciting projects, be sure to add your e-mail to the box on the sidebar!

Let’s get this party started!

Click on this link to take you to the linky page.

Putting the Possible in Impossible

I DID IT!  Yesssireee!  I did it!

I can’t believe I made my “impossible” a “possible.”

Remember when you were in fourth grade and they were picking teams for dodgeball and you were always picked last and then you grew over the summer and then the team captain who never realy liked you picked you……first!

Remember that?  Remember how excited you were?

THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER!

Did you see it?

Did you see it from both angles?

You know you want to scroll up one more time just to check out that adorable little loaf!

I want to take a giant picture of it and post it on a billboard.

I want to fly it from a banner on a plane.

I want them to announce it from the international space station.

SHE BAKED HER FIRST LOAF OF BREAD!

So how did I accomplish this herculean task?

Well…..

First, I bought one of these (notice the positive slogan….I am off to a good start)!

…then I bought some of this…..

…..and some of this.

And then…..

                      …. and this was truly the key to my success…..

….. I followed this recipe exactly as given to me by this incredibly talented and truly generous blogger.  She is the reason why I was able to accomplish my “impossible.”  She is the reason why my family tasted homemade bread baked by me for the first time in their lives.  She is the one who gave me the courage to do what I would never even have attempted before. 

Thank you my friend.  Truly…..thank you.

And now….without further fanfare….here is her recipe…..

Never Fail Bread  (I like the title already)

2 c. warm water  (Make sure it is slightly warm.  If it is too hot to put your hand in, it will kill the yeast)
1/2 c. white sugar 
2 envelopes yeast or about 4 1/2 teaspoons
 
4 Tbsp. oil ( I have used to use corn oil, but now I use canola. both work well.)
1 egg
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
 
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra oil for coating bread while rising and after baking.
 

In a large mixing bowl, pour your fresh yeast into a bowl. Pour 2 c. water that is very warm, but not too hot. If it is too hot to touch, it will kill the yeast. Add 1/2 c. sugar. This gives the yeast food to grow. Allow this mixture to “proof” – meaning, it will sit for 10 minutes and show that the yeast is live by forming a layer of bubbles on top of the water. If this does not happen, your yeast may be too old. If it does form bubbles,  continue with the recipe.

(Aside….this is what the bubbles look like….exactly like she said…..isn’t it awesome)!

Lightly beat the egg. Add the oil and salt. Add this to the yeast/sugar/water mixture.
 
Next, add the flour a cup at a time, mixing it in with a wooden spoon as you go. It will begin to get very thick. Keep adding the flour. You’ll need at least 6 cups. You want this mixture to begin to look like torn up rags. At this point, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it only enough to form it together into a ball. 
 
(Note to self.  Buy a real wooden spoon instead of using one of your wooden salad spoons).
(Second note to self.  The color of that dough would be a perfect paint choice for the pantry).
 
In your mixing bowl, pour a little oil – no more than 1/4 cup. Put the ball of dough in and roll it around to coat it on all sides with the oil. Cover it in saran wrap or a damp dishtowel and leave it in a warm place to rise. 
 
Rising time is variable – depending on the temperature. You’re looking for the dough to double. You can tell if it is doubled if when you poke your finger into the dough, the hole does not shrink back. It may take an hour or more.
 
(Aside.  Mine took an eternity to rise).
 
When the dough has doubled, you literally punch it down. With your fist, punch the air out of it to flatten it. Now you’ll need a fairly large space to turn it out on – at least 2′ x 2′. Since it is now oily on the outside, you don’t need to flour your surface. 
 
Get your rolling-pin and roll out the dough as thin as you can get it. It will be about 2′ square or a little more. When you’ve gotten it this big and thin, fold it over and roll it again. Keep folding it over and rolling it until you have a rectangular hunk of dough roughly the size of a loaf of bread.
 
If using pans, grease your pans with Crisco or butter. 
 
Cut this dough into 3 equal parts. You can make this as rustic round loaves or loaf pan loaves. If you want pretty loaves, you take each piece of dough and fold the outside edges to the bottom. The top will sort of get rounded, and it will keep this shape as it rises the second time. 
 
Let this dough rise again until doubled. This time, just visually estimate that it has doubled. No poking.
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have doubled, bake them about 30 minutes until they are nice and golden brown. 
 
Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes – this is hard! Cutting them too early affects the texture, so it is worth waiting. Have some nice real butter waiting.
 

And you end up with something that looks like this…..

…..that turned into this……in under five minutes.

That’s it.

If you have never baked bread before……please try this recipe.  Trust me when I say…..if I…..the queen of the hotdog pot pie…..can bake bread…..

                       …..you should be able to do it with one hand tied behind your back!

So you have seen my “impossible” and now I want to see yours! 

Please join me and each of these incredibly talented and truly creative bloggers as we host a six blog linky party.
The Space Between

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A Sort of Fairy Tale Girl

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The Cottage Market

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Eclectically Vintage

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it all started with paint

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The party starts tomorrow, January 31 from 7:00 EST until midnight on Friday, February 3.

And don’t worry if you haven’t completed the project…..this “impossibles” party is about the journey.  We want to see what you have accomplished.  We want to see your progress.  We want you to show it to the world!


<img src=”https://thistlewoodfarm.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/1imadeit.png?w=160″>

If you want to get started early….grab a button.

And please remember that this is no ordinary button….this is your badge of honor….to let the world know that you have made your “impossible” into a “possible.”

So put it on a billboard….or fly it from a plane….or send it up to the international space station. 

You earned it.  You have done what so many others never even attempted.

Because you, my friend, yes, I am talking to…..you….

                                              ….you put the “possible” in your “impossible.”

Ouch! That Hurt!

Blogging can be thrilling and exciting and surprising and scary.

Yes.  Scary.

There are thousands of us.

Painters and sanders and thrifters and upholsterers and junkers and crafters.

Thousands.

Most of us aren’t professionals.  Most of us don’t have degrees in painting or sanding or thrifting or junking or crafting.

We are simply doing what we love…..what we were born to do.

And we put it out there….

                              …..on our blog….

                                          …..for all the world to see.

And sometimes the world loves us.  The world embraces us with open arms, flung wide.  Sometimes the world says…..I love your craft, your painted chair, your upholstered headboard, your distressed bookshelf,  your newly chosen paint color.

And sometimes…..

                              …….sometimes the world doesn’t agree.

My bathroom was recently featured on another blog.

It was a pretty big blog.

And the world saw it…..

                                   ……and found it wanting.

Here’s a sampling of the comments:

“I would have removed/changed the wallpaper and that’s it. The after is generic, boring, bland, safe, martha stewart crap. I can’t fathom why someone would take classy timeless rich stained woodwork and paint it white to look like the cheap vinyl paneling they sell at home depot…..”

“I love wainscoting and plan on having some painted white in my own bathroom soon. However, it should be painted when installed new made from cheap pine, NOT when it has such rich beautiful character and patina as in the before picture. The old stuff made with good wood and stained is such a rarity now. What a waste to paint that and also the rest of the room does feel ho-hum cookie cutter like everything else we see now.”

“Love the white chair rail and even the blue above, but that girly frou-frou all over is not chic. Back to the drawing board.”

And my personal favorite….

 

“It’s a perfectly lovely “before” that could have been easily accessorized, I think.”

Ouch!

That stung.

The comments were harsh.  Truthful in someways….but harsh, nonetheless.

So what do you do with this feedback?

Where do you go from here? 

Simply put, what do you do when you, as a blogger, encounter criticism?

Do you stop creating?  Do you let it into your soul?  Do you cry a silent cry that you were rejected?  Do you lash out at a cold sea of faceless, nameless critics? 

Or do you chose to go on?

 

I create and blog because it is simply who I am.  No degrees.  No professional title.  Not for others.  Not to impress.  Just for me.

My house is me.

My blog is me.

My bathroom is me.

And world, I’m moving on because the thing is……

                                                         ……I really like me.

 

 

 

 

My Old Kentucky Home

Some people have a Cricut.

Some people have a Silhouette Cameo

Nope.

Not me.

I have my very own personal vinyl cutter.

Her name is Greta and she is one fine vinyl cutter, but she is tough.

You see, when I talk there is a lot of hand waving and excited gesturing.  As a matter of fact, truth be told, I am heavy on the exuberance and excitement and light on the follow-through.

Not Greta.

For example, I say, “Greta.  I need the largest state of Kentucky possible you can create in vinyl. So I can create…..

……these.

Greta is not a hand-waver.  Greta is not overly, unnecessarily exuberant.  Greta is efficient and task-oriented and always follows through.  And, of course, the next day a 12″ x 8″ vinyl Kentucky shows up at my house.

“I want to see it when you are through,” says my vinyl cutting task-master.

No pressure.

So I stop my hand-waving, curb my enthusiasm and get to work.

To complete this project I:

(1)  Bought two canvases from Hobby Lobby.  They came two to a package.  I bought long canvases because Kentucky is a long state.  People who live in long states or square states might want to take this into account when purchasing canvases from Hobby Lobby.

(2)  I applied the vinyl of Kentucky to one canvas.

(3)  I applied the outline of the vinyl to another canvas.

(4)  I painted the two canvases with leftover paint samples from these projects.

(5)  I waited one hour while I watched Project Runway All Stars and bemoaned the fact that Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are not on the show.

(6)  I peeled off the vinyl and debated if I should use them again, realized that Greta might frown on this, and threw the vinyl away except for one corner I saved.

(7)  I cut out a star from that little piece of vinyl and added it to the canvas.

(8)  Then I hung the canvases on the wall of the playroom at the top of the stairs with thumbtacks.

(9)  I called Greta and tell her how wonderful she is and start hand-waving about my next project.

Really! 

That’s it. 

Easy peasy project.

Don’t even think about asking for Greta’s number though….

                                  ……it’s under lock and key 🙂

PS  Don’t forget about our impossibility challenge.  We would love for you to join us.  Please note that while I do paint and sand and sew…..baking overwhelms me.  See my attempts at homemade bread with all the other “impossibles” at our linky party on January 31.