Friday, March 30, 2012

Grandmother's 1940s Spring Dress

1940s Spring Dress-Grandmother Magers
Hat-Grandmother Duncan
Gloves and Satin Shoes-Irene Magers Duncan
Daisy Pin-The Antique Barn
Photographed at the Old Baptist Church Building, Osceola, AR

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rag Rug Inspiration

I have a confession. 
I didn't go fishing this past week.
(Gone Fishin' )
 I went for my annual "spring retreat"
in the Ozark Mountains.

But, I Was at a lake, 
and I Did eat some fish!

While there, I began another rag rug,
inspired by the blues in the sky,
the greens of the trees,
and the whites of the Dogwood in bloom.

I think you can see my inspiration--
the view from my deck.

It all began when I visited a thrift store. 
They were having a Bag Sale--
all you could get in a brown paper bag
for $5.00.

I spotted the turquoise curtains first,
and then added shirts and skirts 
in the whites and blue-greens;
tore all into strips,
and started weaving.

There's a rhythm to weaving 
that is so comforting.
Add to that a little bit of a breeze,
the fragrance of flowers blooming, 
songs from birds in the trees,
and life, for me, was pretty close to perfect.

For more rag rug inspiration:
Rag Rugs: A Delta Folk Art

Rag Rug Looms may be purchased at:
Our Old Country Store

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Gone fishin'  for a few days. . .
Might be a week before you hear from me again!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Visit To A Painted House

a painted house, lepanto, arkansas

Have any of you seen the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "A Painted House?" 
The original movie set farmhouse is located in Lepanto, Arkansas.
Author of "A Painted House" novel, John Grisham, grew up just down the road from Lepanto at Black Oak. The story stemmed from his memories of growing up on a cotton farm.
And, both places are "just down the road" from us! 
Well.....maybe 20-30 minutes away.

We've visited the house several times 
but found ourselves on a road headed that way today.
Thought we'd take another look at it.

As we passed the Barber Shop in Tyronza,
 I "suggested" we stop and get John a haircut--
my John--not John Grisham.

He sure didn't like the idea, at first. . .

He does like to hang on to his long hair. . .

We were soon back on the road. . .

"A Painted House" is set in the 1950s, 
but the house looks much as farmhouses did in the 1920s-40s.

Things didn't change very fast in the Delta.

Photo by Thomas R. Machnitzki

We plan to use ideas from this kitchen in one of our shotgun houses.

Photo by Thomas R. Machnitzki

We bought a wood burning  cookstove like this one just recently. 
It will be part of Cowboy's shotgun house kitchen. 
I can't wait to try my hand at cooking on it!

Poor John. 
Still pouting over that inch of hair the barber cut. . .

Looks like John's vintage overalls could have come off this line!

Yep. It's an outhouse.
Last stop before heading home. . .

If you'd like to read more about the movie and see some still shots: 

If you'd like to read a PDF copy of the novel: 

For more on John Grisham:

We plan to dress up in vintage clothing 
and return one day soon for a photo shoot. 

Won't that be fun?

(Note: A few of the photos were taken on previous visits.)

Linking up with:
Rural Thursday Blog Hop 

Friday, March 16, 2012

A White House Cookbook of My Own

Many of you may be familiar with the White House Cookbook. Originally published in 1887, Grandmother's 1915 edition is the only cookbook she owned.  It's very fragile, as you can see. I rarely use it, but there are certain recipes and information in it that I find invaluable.

Imagine my excitement when I found a 1967 edition of the same cookbook recently at a thrift store for $2! . . .The cover and cover pages were not in great shape, but the inside pages were very good. Of course I bought it!

As I was photographing my copy of the White House Cookbook,
I laid it on an old cotton towel, as you see here,
and thought, "Why not cover it with the dish towel?"

Sometimes things just happen.

I first covered the stained pages with acid free paper. 
Then it was just a matter of attaching the dish towel to the book.

Very simple.

 I had a pile of doilies I'd just washed in a basket close at hand.
 Another "brain storm"--why not use doilies for bookmarkers?
 No attaching.
 Just place the doily in between the pages! I loved it!

And, I'll love being able to use my White House Cookbook as often as I like.
In fact, I think I'll just leave it on the Baker's Cabinet for now. . .

Here's a peek inside:

The White House Cookbook is an interesting glimpse into a housewife's many duties 100 years ago. There are lots of simple recipes, health tonics, toiletries, and tips on housekeeping. 

Til next time. . .

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The 1930s Keeping Room

Our 1930s  Keeping Room. . .going, going, gone. . .

We've lived in this 1930s farm manager's home for seven years!
It sure doesn't seem like it.

It's already time to re-plaster and paint. 
There are cracks  and dings and just general use blemishes.

Since we teach classes in open hearth cooking in this room, 
we decided to "back-date" it. 
While most people up-date their homes,
we'll be returning our keeping room to the 19th century
with primitive furniture and accessories.

So take a quick look--
the next time you see this room,
it will look entirely different.

I'll keep you posted. . .

I've already unpacked my collection of redware.

The Scottish sideboard will go into storage for a while.
There's four primitive cabinets replacing it.

Fall 2011

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some Spring Thoughts. . .

I'm convinced now that winter is over,
even though we are still having some very cool nights
and a few cool days.

But, I know it won't be long before
the days will warm--
and I can get outside to enjoy it.

I've had cabin fever for too long now.
So, this morning, as I passed by the old rocker
I was excited to see grass growing in the tub!
A definite sign that Spring is here!

I just had to stick some silk flowers in that tub
and take a couple of photos--
to remind me, as it clouds up and rains today,
that clouds and rain are necessary
for every living thing's growth--

including mine. . .

Saturday, March 10, 2012

If Life Gives You Pots, Make Gumbo!

I suppose you could say this is the second part of

I had fun writing that post. It sure fooled a lot of people. They thought they were clicking onto a recipe for Gumbo--the kind you eat!

So, I thought I'd make amends and share my easy Gumbo recipe with you.

We have many recipes influenced by Creole/Cajun cooking here in the Delta.
Staples in our garden are tomatoes, okra, onions,
beans (of all kinds), hot peppers, and greens.
Staples on our shelves are rice, beans,
lots of herbs and seasonings, and hot sauce.

There's a controversy whether gumbo is Creole or Cajun.
I asked Google and loved one explanation:
"Gumbo is a Creole dish that has been adopted by Cajuns!"
Now, that's covering all bases.

There are as many Gumbo recipes as there are cooks. 
The only rule of thumb for ingredients is:
 Stock. Meat. The "holy trinity" of celery, bell pepper, and onion.
Okra and/or a roux to thicken it.
Almost any meat such as sausage, chicken, turkey, crayfish, shrimp
leftover meats will make a tasty gumbo.

The following recipe has been adapted over the years in our family.
It has less fat and is not as thick as most Gumbos in the South.
All ingredients are easily adjusted to your taste.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
The "Light" Version

 3-4 chicken breasts
12 oz smoked sausage (I used turkey sausage)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup onion
1/2 cup bell pepper
1/2 cup celery
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (red pepper,
black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder)
2 tablespoon Worcester Sauce
2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can tomatoes (optional)
(I used 1 can of "Rotel")
6-12 oz. or more chopped frozen or fresh okra

Place chicken breasts in a stock pot. 
Cover with water and cook until tender. 
(I also added basil, wine, and a piece of celery.)


Remove chicken. Set chicken broth aside. 
Remove bones from chicken. Break into pieces.
Coarsely chop the smoked sausage and brown in a heavy pot. Remove from pot.

Add flour to sausage drippings. Slightly brown flour in drippings, stirring constantly.
If you desire a thicker Gumbo, brown 1/2-3/4 cup flour.

Add a little reserved chicken broth to the flour mixture,
stirring until there are no more lumps
 and the mixture is like a thick gravy.

Looks like this needs more blending!

Add all remaining vegetables and seasonings.
Note: The onion, bell pepper, and celery may be cooked til tender in olive oil, butter, or broth before adding. This step is optional. It does give the Gumbo a slightly richer taste.

Add strained, reserved broth. Cover vegetables well. 
More broth may be added as the liquid evaporates.
Cover. And, sit back and wait.

Let the Gumbo simmer until the vegetables are cooked. 
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. 
The longer it simmers, the better it tastes!

If you desire a thick broth, 
add more okra and/or a little flour mixed with the hot broth,
or add some cooked rice.

Gumbo smells soooooooooo good while it's cooking!
Expect visitors in the kitchen!

Serve your Gumbo over cooked rice--
with cornbread!
Garnish, if you like, with diced tomato and chopped onion.

"John tested and approved!"

"More, please?"
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