Goals for 2015: The Farmer’s Wife Version

I know everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, but I also know hardly anyone keeps them past January.  So instead I am going to make “goals” for 2015.  Basically these are things I said I was going to do last year, and never got to.  Hmm…this is starting to sound familiar…New Year’s resolutions anyone?  Either way, 2015 is THE year.  It is the year where Things. Will. Get. Done.  In no particular order:

The beautiful gray and teal office that I have been envisioning.  (This is currently in process.  And I will be posting pictures).

More DIY projects.  As many as I can possibly handle.

An array of homemade, all natural cleaning products and beauty products.

Learning to cook with more fresh and healthy foods.  We have really done a pretty good job of this, but I know there is SO much more out there we have yet to try.

Along with the food category, meal-prepping and freezing more whole meals so dinner is maybe easy for once.  Or at least easier.

Cleaning the house more often.  I never dust.  I am not ashamed.

On more of the farm side, learning how to run more equipment.

Organizing farm receipts, invoices, and whatever other kind of paperwork is floating around.

Keep track of the farm LLC meeting minutes and official business.

Shifting away from the farm, and more towards the “Horses” part of this blog’s title, commit more hours to my horses.  It’s time to enter the arena again and actually be a competitor.

And last but definitely not least, commit more hours to this blog!  Writing is my passion and I know there is so much power in blogging.

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A Place to Hang the Towel

Our upstairs bathroom was pretty much perfect when we bought our house; it’s as if I designed it myself.  It’s painted a soft green with white trim, has hammered hardware on the vanity, and a tall closet.  The only thing it was missing was a place to hang the hand towel!  If you ask my husband he will pretty much confirm I have an obsession with towels and their specific places in the bathroom, kitchen, etc….but I think it is completely normal. To not have a place to hang the hand towel, and to have to set it on the vanity top, started to drive me crazy.  So I got on Pinterest and got some ideas.  With the help of my husband, we made ourselves a hand towel holder.

 

Here’s what we used:

Scrap wood, cut into two different sizes

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Clear polyurethane

Hammer (for distressing the wood)

Nails

Coat hook

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Black hammered texture spray paint

And this is what we came up with:

A place to hang the hand towel!

A place to hang the hand towel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soap Making

At this point I have pretty much decided that making things from scratch, or almost-scratch, is what I’m all about.  So my mom, sister and I tried our hands at soap.  Now I will admit we didn’t start from complete scratch on this one, as we read how dangerous lye can be, so we started with these really great soap bases from Hobby Lobby- we used the Goats Milk Soap Base and the Glycerin Soap Base (which doesn’t seem to be available online).  After reading some different recipes and blog posts, we decided on a few ingredients we already had in our houses.

Here is what we started with:

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We melted the soap base cubes in a microwavable glass bowl, at about 20 second intervals.  We noticed the glycerin base took much longer to melt fully, and therefore got a lot hotter.

And here are our soap ingredients:

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This one is the glycerin soap base, lemon peel, and orange oil.

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For this one we used the glycerin soap base and brown sugar, vanilla extract, and mint leaves.

 

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Goats milk base with vanilla extract, brown sugar, castor oil, and oats.

For the final one we used the goats milk base and recycled coffee grounds.  I didn’t get a picture of the ingredients because I had stepped outside to help the guys with the water line project, and my sister and mom got tired of waiting for me.  I really liked this one because all I had to do was save coffee grounds from the previous week’s coffee!

Another note to add, I did read to spray each mold with rubbing alcohol, as the soap base tends to bubble, and this prevents that from happening.  Also spray the top of the soap after it is poured into the mold.

Now you might notice that our soap molds are random leftover containers.  Plastic sprout containers, lids, and butter containers.  The plastic sprout containers worked the best because they were pliable enough to pop the soap out once it had cooled, but they were also susceptible to heat and we were not able to reuse them.  The butter containers and lids were not flexible enough to pop the soap out of, so we had to pry them out with a knife, which made the soap edges not so pretty.  I am currently doing research on what works best for molds, without having to spend a lot on actual soap molds.  I suppose if you plan on making a lot of soap, and can reuse the molds, then it would be worth it.  I would like to make soap again soon, and start giving them out as gifts to family and friends!

And…final products!  We were really happy with the way they turned out and are already using them!

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My Very First DIY Project

I have to admit something—I have never been very crafty.  My mom can paint a mural without a second thought, but her artistic ability never made it to me.  However, when my husband and I bought our first home and weren’t quite ready to drop a few hundred dollars on a dining room set, I decided to take some old chairs and make them “work.”  Luckily I already had a table that had never been used, and was in good condition.  But for a month it was paired with lawn chairs.  Ugly lawn chairs.

We had some family move that left behind their old kitchen table chairs, and my first reaction to them was no way, I don’t want those in my house.  A few weeks later, and they were in my garage.  After a little bit of research on chalk paint and the technique of distressing furniture, I decided to take it on as my very first project.  Anyone who isn’t aware—chalk paint is not cheap!  Even though I was pining for some Annie Sloan paint, I settled for something I found mentioned on another blog, Valspar Super Flat Paint & Primer.  I went with a color called Pam’s Lace, and got started.  My canvases were not in great condition, with water damage from sitting out in a barn uncovered, but I persevered anyways.  I took my sander and worked the finish down on a couple of the worse-off chairs as much as I could.  Then brushed on two coats of paint (three or four coats in a couple really bad spots), and then got my hand sandblock ready to go.  I rubbed it over the edges and curves, places that would be more likely to have “natural” distressing.

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This is what I started with (one of the worse-off chairs).

Meet Beans, my barn kitty.  He was intrigued.
Meet Beans, my barn kitty. He was intrigued.

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My tools.

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My finished products.

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And…the end result.  Yes, there is one chair that’s the odd man out.  I take what I can get.

The Beginning

So in order to start from the beginning I have to back up a few months…to June 11–the day we closed on my dream house.  An old, brick farmhouse complete with a big red bank barn.    While my husband’s idea of a dream house is 100 acres of farm ground (who needs a house–worry about that later!), we both knew this was the place for us.  Close to the family farm, it is the ideal place for us.  One thing I learned pretty quickly is that horses are a bit easier to pick up and move than all of the things that make up a farming operation.  With our new home being over an hour away from my hometown and job, we decided to go all traditional and wait until after marriage to officially move in.  That was hard–working all week without seeing each other and spending the weekend at the house planning, painting, and just enjoying it.  But I have to say, now that we are all moved in and settled, it was worth it.