Wednesday, July 28, 2021

When does furniture painting become an ART

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Last week I ventured north into Wisconsin to meet up with two cousins. Sigh, we hadn't been together for almost four years. We picked an 'out in the county' location to do some shop perusing and have lunch.
What Fun! 
One of their favorite places was the Rusty Gate in Burlington, Wisconsin.

From the moment you pull up into the parking lot, you know you are in for something special.

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A wonderful old bed, mounted on the wall greets you.
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Despite the 90+ degrees, flowers in every imaginable container establish this is a 
HAPPY PLACE! 

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I really loved the hodge-podge and riot of colors...all with VINTAGE touch.
Inside the high ceilings of the building and many full length windows fill the space with a soft light. 

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Susie Myres, the owner greets you with a big smile a swish as she never stands still. The store is all hers, everything painted or curated by her, and it's divine.

In her own words, the Rusty Gate is Painted Furniture, Rustic Decor, Shabby Chic, Farmhouse, Steam Punk, Vintage Glam, and a bit of Industrial thrown in. 


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A true artist, she fills the store with what she loves and it all seems to work together. 

This is where painting furniture becomes an artform.  She teaches online, and in the shop when Covid will permit, the many techniques she uses on the furniture (all of which is for sale or custom projects) displayed in the store.

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Taking a 1920's dresser and turning it into a masterpiece for your home.



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In this photo the piece is not so blue...but would work anywhere! 

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Loving the shadowing on the raised details.

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Not afraid of playing with color, this clay pink and ivory dressing table was a masterpiece. Notice the three- dimensional ivory facings on the drawers.

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Accessories and hand-painted smalls were also for sale. Little 'This and Thats' make you want to take everything displayed home.

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Here's the Hollywood GLAM. What makes this buffet so special are the lines, and the mirror inserts on the cabinet doors and drawers. Totally gorgeous.

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Soft colored vintage rugs scattered across the floors add a touch of elegance and detail reflected in the mirrored cabinet door.

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Cabinetry displays mini-vignettes of vintage and newer items, perfect for gifts.

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Who can resist a Strawberry teapot?

The back room, used for classes was an artistic mess of activity and on going projects. Paints, stencils, stamps, and other items are available to finish your own vintage pieces.

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Susie has such a great smile while wrapping my purchase of a large sheet stamp and a decorative molding silicone mold.

If you are interested in seeing more of Susie's artistry on furniture and other pieces you can check these out!



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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Midwest Gardening 2021: Finally Crops and Garden Food

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Last weekend, the garden started to go into full swing for producing real crops. The first crop was the July 4th tomatoes. Sooo-oo-ooo sweet and delicious. 

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  I highly recommend these for just popping into your mouth. They are similar to Caprese tomatoes you buy at the store. They get to about 2 1/2" across.


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 Our summer squash, zucchini and pickles are really starting up also. Nothing is better than fresh veggies from the garden. 

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Mix that with fresh picked basil or rosemary, dill in pickles...it is just the BEST!
So what's on the menu today. 

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There isn't enough to can....but you can easily stir up some zucchini in stewed tomatoes. 

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How about a chicken, vandalia onions, zucchini, and roasted tomatoes with fresh herbs. Just toss your meat choice, veggies with some olive oil and your favorite mix of fresh herbs and bake or grill. Use lemon juice to reduce the sodium in your meals.

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Yellow Squash, Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, herbs, peppers done in a wok. Lightly cook...then seal in bags for freezing. Super in the winter when you crave some fresh garden tastes.

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Too many tomatoes all at once---cut tomatoes in half (cherry or small tomatoes), spray with oil, the pan and the tomatoes. Put in the oven at 250 degrees and bake until they have begun to carmelize or begin to look dry. I bag these in 1/2-3/4 cup measure and freeze in sandwich bags. Add to tomato sauces spaghetti sauce, chilis, bake dishes, the flavor is so intense---just kicks everything up in flavor.

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Our pickles haven't gone nuts yet...but soon.

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Slippery Jims made with those cukes that have gone too large. Sweet and spicy, these pickles are  easy the recipe is HERE:

Home favorite is fresh sweet or dill pickles.

Fresh Danish (slightly sweet) Dill Pickles: HERE! 

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Family favorite here is our  Refrigerator Dills, courtesy of Hubby's Mom.

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These will stay crispy for a year in your refrigerator...Plant lots of dill for these scrumptious crunchy pickles.
Refrigerator Dills Recipe---so easy----HERE:


Other veggies we are harvesting right now: sugar snap peas for stir fry, Swiss chard is perfect in salads, stir fry, or blanched, and all sorts of lettuces and green onions. 
All these veggies are healthy and good for you. 

Have you ever tried zucchini hash browns are scrumptious!!! Just shred, toss, add chopped onion and peppers if desired, with olive oil or corn oil and fry on the griddle. Great side dish or throw an egg on them for a delicious breakfast almost carb free breakfast.

Our beans haven't blossomed yet, and our pickles will be going nuts with the next rain.
We are watering on a rotating schedule.

What are you 
HARVESTING IN YOUR GARDEN?  

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Midwest Gardening: Our Front Yard and new plants.


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Good morning, I took these photos right after our rain spell on July 1st... for those who look for timing of plants. This has been a strange year, and different plants reacted to our Spring drought and others not. I'm showing lots of new plants and bulbs this year, so this will be and and Old and New post.


These are some new small Alliums that I planted from bulbs.Very sweet and ethereal and about 18" tall. I think I will try and find some more because they would be lovely in bouquets. I put them in two places; full sun and part shade, the shade ones lasted longer.


Because of rain, we hadn't cut the grass for two weeks....and it was VERY long. But the rains really boosted the condition of the lawn. 
In front here is a creeping sedum which will get yellow flowers later in the summer. Clearly the variegated Hosta is happy here, and I will have to dig at least two out of here this Fall and move them.


Nothing has been weeded or clipped here, but I love these Day Lilies with the burgundy centers. They are soft peach and will bloom for at least a month.
Last year we had a crack in the birdbath--and put on flex-steel paint, and it really worked. Now when I dump the bowl, nothing sticks to it. The birds collect here every morning for a drink.

The ladder is up here because we had to cut down our beloved Cinnamon Maple, it was more than half dead, sadly. 
The neighbor's Walnut tree is so toxic, I think that is what killed our Maple, despite our picking up garbage cans full of walnuts every year.


I made two pots of elephant ears this year, because the roots were so big. I held them over in the basement in peat moss....and they grew once they got lots of water in the house. We had lots of wind with storms, so a few leaves are tattered. 


This is the other pot...they are lots of fun and certainly are a focal point in an area where everything is the same height. I did not buy any shade Impatiens this year, as they all looked sick everywhere. I do miss the color.


The camera flash went off over here in the shade. The rose is old and two huge branches died off of it this winter, so I'm happy I have any blooms at all. The pot has something that grew from last year (the frond thing????) and everything else is seed starts from our greenhouse and maybe one New Guinea Impatiens. We'll see what happens here.


Along the west side, deep in shade, we have Lilies from bulbs that have been here for maybe 15 years.


I do stake these and surround them with wire very early to keep them from breaking. Yes, that is the monster dying Elm tree on my neighbor's property.


Out under what we call the Mound (dirt from excavating for the garage) we trimmed UP under the Spruce trees last year...and wow, did everything take off.  A circle of rocks/cement chunks in a circle with fresh dirt, holds new Blue Hosta from starts, some of our greenhouse Caladiums, seed Allysum, and some Scotch Moss -plus lots of weeds.  I weeded later in the day...and it looks much better.


I planted two new Hydrangeas and the blossoms are huge, and on the ground. The ground cover is Periwinkle, which loves having some sun now out under those trees.


My different varieties of Day Lilies are getting ready to bloom...apparently really tall, I blame that on the 13 days of barely any sun and constant rain..


The rains (12-19") not sure, were constant. My Shasta Daisies I planted last year, are very happy. This is a shorter variety, which works well here.  I do want this whole area to be perennials.



I purchased a Pin Cushion Plant this Spring, which when I took this photo was sorely in need of dead-heading. SOOOOO important to dead-head immediately. With all the rain, it was too wet to step into the gardens, so today I will be very busy after taking these photos.



This is a new Day Lily form last year. Love the burgundy and yellow centers. I'm big on GREEN and textures to surround my flowers. Soon there will lots of color here.


Out by the telephone pole we have Joe Pye Weed. This plant had gotten huge, and was damaged by AT&T when they serviced the pole. We attempted to dig up the roots and move it, with no success. I'm happy some bits survived and are beginning to reach maturity. 

Joe Pye Weed gets large blossoms that butterflies and bees adore...it is one of the best native plants for attracting them, and Monarchs like to lay eggs on it, also. A GREEN YAY!


Out under the shade of the Spruce trees we have a Giant Sedum, I have to corral, lots of Variegated Vinca Vine for ground cover. It's a real challenge who will win the ground: Vinca, Perwinkle or Wintergreen MINT-which I have to pull constantly.


Of the four bushes we planted last year, this is the most unhappy---I went in and clipped off all the dead and will give it a shot of fertilizer and see if it starts regrowth in the bare areas.  Hubby wants bushes for Christmas Lights....lol.


The mailbox planter is starting to look alive. I use my own Vinca now---instead of purchasing trailers, a couple of wave petunias, some dahlias from bulbs, and our own seed Marigolds. 


One spike plant, and it seems to be filling out nicely.  Everyone loves our mailbox set-up...and it's almost 'crash' proof!


Our new pot patio, out by the light post on the driveway is also doing well. 
The tall grass wintered over. I put in some Zinnias from seed, Creeping Charlie in one pot, and the large pot has a bit of my seed starts and a New Guinea Impatiens. We will see what it looks like in two weeks. Behind is Fever Few and Some sort of weed or a plant I can't remember what is? Maybe some plant for butterflies? We put in 4 cubic yards of fresh dirt along this planter this year, so everything is very happy and hubby has the irrigation working. 


Planter box under the wreath gets sun 90% of the day...so some things make it and others don't. Petunias, marigolds, Vinca and I think I put some Salvia in here which the bugs have eaten.?


I thought this pot had wintered over some plant from last year, (Mexican Heather) but, I added a some others. We cleaned the sheds and I found the old flamingo---lol...which adds some color while the plants are maturing. 


The walkway isn't spectacular....YET! 



My giant pot has a Hibiscus this year, and the usual suspects. I adore Sweet Potato Vines and...have them in pots along the walk and here. The Hibiscus is orange and has had blossoms everyday, except today.


My painted screen has finally found a home along the bricks. I can never grow anything but weeds back there, so it adds some welcome color.

This year, all our wood beams will need preservative stain on it. Tough winters and lots of sun just scrapes the wood bare in two-three seasons. 

The pots here are a mixture of everything I've planted elsewhere. The Phlox, Roses and small Del Oro Day Lilies will make this area very colorful in a few weeks. 
The pond is happy, the frogs weren't impressed and I haven't seen them for awhile. Maybe there was too much water or not enough mosquitos because of the drought. There will be plenty now...maybe they will come back!


I'm ending with the Holly Hocks again....and then I have to go weed, clip and pull...excess out of everywhere! 
I filled up two waste cans of excess out of the mound alone. Next garden posts in two weeks. 

Have a great summer!  Sandi

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