Sunday, October 20, 2019

Am I Dreaming?

Dreams Really Do Come True




I never dreamed that my home would grace the cover of a national magazine!  

I began my blog to document and share our experiences of downsizing and moving to the country!  I wanted to share how my life has come full circle!  

My blog quickly lead me to Instagram!  I realized there are as a whole world that I was unaware of. A world I wanted to become a part of. 

My Journey 

As I began to build my Instagram account, I wish I could say I was an overnight success! 

Instead I worked hard to learn how to navigate this new world of Instagram!  I made a lot of mistakes but slowly began to grow my account! 

I photographed and shared my home during Christmas 2017 and fortunately these photos captured the attention of a photographer, Anne Gridley. 

And So It Began!!  

First, photos were submitted to editors and then the call came. They wanted to come in December for a Christmas Shoot!!  

After planning all summer, December 2018 finally arrived and so did the photographer’s!  

It was a day I’ll never forget. Gridley and Graves arrived on a cold and rainy, December morning!  They photographed our porches for most of the morning.  I know they were freezing.  They were so nice and we enjoyed our time with them so much!  They were here for over 10 hours and I learned so much that day!  

And then we waited!  


10 months later, the magazine finally arrived!  A very surreal moment!  Not only was my home featured in Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Magazine, but it made the cover!  

None of this would be possible without my friends, family and Instagram supporters encouraging me to share my home. I’m amazed daily by how generous you are with your compliments and your interest in our lives here at The Ponds Farmhouse!  You truly helped make this country girls dream come true!  

Copy’s are currently available on newsstands everywhere!
Thanks for your support!
Rachel 


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How To Save Money When Decorating for Fall



Look to Nature When the Decorating Budget Dries Up!


I mean this quite literally!!!   I started my Fall decorating early.  To Early!!!!!
I purchased mum's and pumpkins to style my tables and porches.  

The problem was, we had an extremely hot beginning of Fall.  Record breaking temperatures.  The was great for our pool time but didn't work so well for my new purchases.  

So when everything burned up in the heat, I found I didn't want to spend anymore money putting my Fall decor together.  

Here are a few things I did to pull together a fully decorated porch without spending any more cash!!!





First I went out gathering.  I cut goldenrod & wheat from the pastures!  I picked a full basket of gumballs from the maple trees around the property.  



These gathered treasures began to add to my decor.  




Goldenrod looks great spilling from my market basket.



And from my farmhouse sink!  Even Rudy agrees!!



I used hot glue to attach some of the gumballs to wooden skews and made an arrangement out of them.  



I used painted tin cans filled with sage and rosemary from my yard.  I even made a wreath to place this pumpkin in by weaving the rosemary into a circle.  




More sage, rosemary and marigolds filled thrift store container's for centerpieces.  



Even vintage bottles hold natures bounty.  




The porch started with fill up with cornstalks from a neighbors field.  Since my mum's had died, I filled my containers with bundles of corn shucks instead.   

The wreaths are from Floral Treasure, a company that organically grows their own flowers and preserves them to make these wonderful wreaths.  






Only a couple of the pumpkins survived!!  The rest are FAUX.  



Faux or Real?????






Even the pier received natures bounty!!!





I used packing paper to create these nature inspired plate chargers for the screened porch.  



Mini grapevine wreaths made with grapevines pulled from the woods surrounding our property made perfect place card holders for the table inside.  Also, slightly visible is the garland made from gumballs that I strung together from my gathering.  




Decorating doesn't have to be expensive when you look to nature first.  
Best of all, most of these items can be tossed into the woods at the end of the season.  

  

Monday, September 16, 2019

Outdoor Entertaining Tips


Entertaining In

The Outdoor Kitchen






Now that the temperatures are dropping slightly, we will have more opportunity to spend time in the outdoor kitchen.  

This is our favorite place to entertain.  My husband loves to use the grill.  I love to style the tables and make the space look festive.  

We always have a Low Country Boil at least once a summer or fall.  This was the weekend for the Boil!

The Challenge is to make this space look festive for guest.  

This is a hard time of year for the yard, because the summer flowers are almost gone and it's expensive to replace everything with mum's and pumpkins.  



I personally use a combination of faux pumpkins and real.  This little REAL pumpkin was only $3.00 at Walmart and I thought it would make a cut centerpiece for the outdoor table.  




I made a ring out of fresh Rosemary that I have planted in the yard.  This was a free and easy way to add a decorative touch and it smells wonderful.  

The table runner was inspired by a table runner I found in a  thrift store!   I purchased some wide ribbon from Hobby Lobby that had the same colors to use on my longer tables.  
However, there was a problem!  
The colors faded away on the metal tables.  I dug around in my fabric storage and found some upholstery samples that had similar colors.  
I cut them to size and stitched them together to lay under the ribbon runners.   


I used these DIY runners on my two long tables and the thrift store purchase on my serving table.  




Here is the thrift store runner.  The wood tool box was also a thrift store find.  I had intended to paint the toolbox but never got around to doing so.  It has perfect dividers for the utensils and I filled the remaining areas with a vintage amber bottle, an ironstone pitcher and a candle.  





I used Rosemary, Sage and Marigolds from my yard to fill the vases and this was my center piece for the serving table.  




These tables are narrow and it was important to keep the center pieces simple so my guest would have room to eat.  I had two mix matched tin cans that I had painted a few years back.  I just filled them with water and added my herbs and marigolds.  








I used an old Coca-Cola crate filled with Vintage Pepsi Bottles (ironically) as my bar centerpiece!
I cut more flowers from the yard to use here for a whimsical look.  





Inside the outdoor kitchen, I have another long bar height table with the same DIY table runner.  
The center piece is a narrow vintage fruit basket that I filled with packing paper, rosemary and faux apples that I found in a thrift store.  Next I added two vintage amber bottles with marigolds.  




These items are also small enough to allow plates on either side.







 I was able to put this table arrangements together for less than $8.00.
The ribbon was $3.75 and was enough for both tables.  The faux apples were $4.00.
Everything else on this table was something I already had or free.  




The tool box was  $10.00 and the table runner was $4.00!  Both were a thrift store purchase!





I paid $3.00 for the pumpkin!  Everything else here was free!.  

So the total for my outdoor tables was only $22.00!

The good news is the herbs were free and stayed fresh looking and smelled great all weekend long.  
The table runners, tool box and faux apples will all be used again at a later date.  
The only disposable purchase is the real pumpkin for $3.00.  

You don't have to spend a lot to make your guest feel welcome.  



The Low Country Boil was a blast and we have so much fun with our guest.

Here's my husband's LOW COUNTRY BOIL Recipe

Amounts based on how many people

Shrimp
Small Red Potatoes
Smoked Sausage
Corn on the Cob
Sweet Onions
3 Lemon's Cut in 1/2 half
Zatarain's Crab Boil Bag

Boil Potatoes and Onions 15 Minutes with Lemons & Boil Bags in water.

After boiling rapidly for 15 minutes, 

Then Add Sausage Boil for 5 minutes

Then Add Corn boil for 10 more minutes

Then Add Shrimp for 5 minutes

Dump and Eat







Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Planning Girlfriend Time

A Girl's Brunch




I've been restyling my screened porch and one of the additions was these fabulous preserved floral from Floral Treasure.  They inspired me to have a few girlfriends together for a brunch and pool party. I feel it’s very important for women to nurture themselves with girlfriend time. I’ve read many studies that share a belief that women need other supportive women in their life’s. It is believed that women who have girlfriends that they socialize regularly with are healthier both mentally and physically. 

In fact the Mayo Clinic has a list of friendship benefits which include
* Reduced Stress
*Improved self confidence
*Increased happiness, sense of belonging and purpose
*Help you cope with traumas, such as serious illness, death, job loss and divorce.

So with all these facts in mind, I felt it was time to get my girlfriends together!  You don't have to do anything special to spend time with your friends and it certainly doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  I love to entertain so the process of planning and putting together a brunch is actually fun for me.

So let's get started planning the party!!!

THE INVITATION


First, finding a date that most of your friends can participate and sending the invitations!  
In the past I’ve bought nice invitations and mailed them from the post office. This time I decided to send text messages. I designed my invitation using Canva free templates. I loved how simple it was to design and once I had my invitation saved,  I was able to send it as a text message. 



The Menu 


You know I love to entertain but really don’t like to cook. I always have at least one thing on my menu that I prepare myself. The rest I leave to the professionals! I also want to stress that you don’t have to break the bank to have your girls together. If you love to cook, then go to it. If you’re like me just do what feels good to you. It’s important that you enjoy this time together as well as your guest. 

 I recently found a new recipe in Southern Lady Magazine that was easy and delicious so I decided to start with making this tasty recipe!  The other great thing is I was able to make them in advance and freeze them. On the day of the brunch, I just pop them into the oven for 20 minutes and they are done.  I'll share this recipe at the end of this post.
 I also like cucumber sandwiches for a brunch!  I can mix up the spread ahead of time and make the sandwiches easily on the day of the brunch. The rest of the menu consists of things I can order or pick up easily from grocery deli or bakeries.  

Menu


Mixed Cheese Plate (appetizer)
Mini-Chicken Salad Croissants
Mini Cucumber Sandwiches
Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Bites
Fruit Salad
Banana Pudding Cake 

Mimosas 
Lemonade 


Serving Dishes


I love an excuse to use some of my vintage dishes and unique serving pieces. So I start to gather the pieces I want to use. Since this is a small brunch, I can use my collection of Ever Yours Boutonnières Dishes. The whimsical flower is perfect for this girlie, girl brunch.





In addition to my vintage pieces, I have a beautiful set of 4 Organic Shaped Farmhouse Style Wood Plates from Pepper and Vetiver.  They add so much to the table and are the perfect compliment to my vintage dishes.


These are available from their website which I've linked here and you can receive a 30% discount through 10/31/19 when you use the code RAH30







Before the Event


Once I have everything planned, I start preparing.  I place orders for the items that I don't plan to prepare myself.  I shop for all the ingredients and supplies I need for the the event.  Anything that can be prepared in advance, I go ahead and cook.  So I prepare and freeze the Phyllo Bites the weekend before the event.  The day before, I prepare the fruit dip, the cucumber spread and wash and cut all the fruit.  I pick up all the items I've ordered from the bakery and deli.  

I place cherries and blue berries on wax paper in the freezer.  These will be added to the mimosa's. 

I wash all the dishes and serving pieces and they are ready to fill.

I get the house and porches cleaned and everything in order!








Day of the Event

I fill the Croissants with the chicken salad from the grocery deli.
I cut the bread and add my cucumber spread.
I cut and prepare all the cheeses. 
I bake the phyllo bites and transfer them to a plate.  
I place the champagne and juice on ice and place frozen fruit in glasses.
I cut lemons and fill glasses & pitcher with water.


Now place everything on the table!  





I try to be ready for my guest 15 minutes before they arrive.  



Styling the Table


One rule of thumb I use is keeping all the dishes similar.  I have a few serving pieces in my Ever Yours pattern so I used them first and then added some additional white pieces. 

I also like to add different textures.  In addition to my white dishes, I added some pewter pieces and wood trays.  

 It's important to vary the heights of your food platters.  I used a plate rack with two levels and a couple of cake stands as risers for this brunch.  I didn't use a table cloth for this casual display so I needed props that would vary each plates height.  

If you are planning a tablescape with a tablecloth, you can actually use boxes under the cloth to add varying heights.  I like to have two cloths, one for the base of the table and one to drape over the boxes that I use.  You can also wrap boxes in wrapping paper to use as risers.  This is a fun idea especially for kids parties, showers, etc.  

Look for interesting items around the house such as wooden boxes, stacks of plates, small stools, old books, etc.  All of these can be used as risers for making your table more appealing.  










Now it's time to relax and have some girlfriend time.  






CHEERS!!!  
To great friends.  






I hope this will inspire you to plan a get together with your friends.  
If you don't like to entertain,  plan to meet for lunch, a glass of wine or a coffee.  
Making time for your friends so important!

Recipes



Artichoke Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Bites
(makes 45) 

2 (14oz.) cans Artichoke Hearts (drained/chopped finely)
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3 (1.9 oz.) packages frozen mini phyllo cups, thawed
Garnish - chopped Chives

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Line baking pan with parchment paper

Mix all ingredients & spoon into phyllo cups
Place on prepared pan

Bake 15 minutes or until filling is hot. Garnish with chives

(Freezing Option)
same as above but spoon mixture into frozen phyllo cups and place in air tight container to freeze.  When ready to serve, remove frozen cups and place on baking pan (same as above)  Bake for 20 minutes at 350.




Cucumber Sandwiches

Creme Cheese (8 oz.) softened
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons finely chopped cucumbers
sliced Bread
Cucumber Slices
Fresh Dill 


Mix first 4 items until smooth and spreadable
Cut bread into desired shape
Spread creme cheese mixture thickly on bread
Top with a cucumber slice and sprinkle with fresh dill
serve cold





Monday, March 18, 2019

SPRING REFRESH DECOR TIPS

SPRING REFRESH DECOR TIPS









It's that time of year when we want to refresh our home decor.  We want to get rid of the heavy feel from Winter and embark on an adventure into greenery, flowers and a light airy feel.  At least that's how I'm feeling.  I'm ready to shed the winter trappings and lighten things up!





One thing that I love to bring out in the Spring is my collection of bunnies.  They give an instant feeling of spring to any decor style.  I also moved all my ironstone collection to the hutch.  I love all the white against the natural wood.  The preserved lavender wreath is a purchase from last summer but still looks and smells great.  It's from Floral Treasure.  








I also painted a new Spring Cow.  She's called Faith!.  She's actually a twin to my Christmas painting, Sophie.  For Faith, I included Eccl. 3:1 TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON.  With the tree just starting to bud out, it felt so appropriate.  Prints are available of Faith!





This year my inspiration for my table setting was a set of Bunny Plates that I found for a great deal at Marshall's.  The minute I saw these plates, I knew exactly what I wanted my Spring Table to look like.  They inspired my whole Spring Refresh!  The idea of simple black, white and green just felt so fresh and clean to me.





So I started pulling out all my bunnies and other spring decor.   I added a couple more moss covered bunnies and the wooden charger's from my Christmas screened porch table, to give the tablescape a woodland look.  I was looking for white and green to complete this look.  Most everything, other than the plates, I have used in various places around the house.  Adding the glass Cloche's and wooden base, allowed the bunnies and toparies to shine on the table.





I also added some bunnies to the island to continue the green and white into the kitchen.  The metal cake tray was a Vintage Cottage find.  




I love how fresh and clean the kitchen feels for Spring!

The Living Area Refresh





I also carried that theme into the living area.  Here I've used concrete bunnies, my handpainted "BUNNY TAILS' pillow cover and shades of blue, grey to keep this area neutral!.  The ruffle ticking pillow covers and the bunny pillow covers are also available in my online shop.  



Books, bunnies, and greenery fill the vintage tool box



Shades of creme, white, grey and blue complete the sofa area.  The buffalo check pillow covers are from Amazon.  





I added touches of lavender throughout the whole living area.  These are faux lavender baskets that I purchased last year from The Painted Fox Home.  The natural preserved wreath is from Floral Treasure.  



Even the office area got a refresh with a Floral Treasure Wreath and some faux flowers from Hobby Lobby.  



I wish my desk looked like this all the time. LOL 




Mixing vintage finds in unusual ways creates a more interesting vignette.  Here I've used a $1.00 thrift store  glass cloche that was originally a part of a cheese tray and a Hobby Lobby cake plate updated with some Chalk  Paint.  I add it to a vintage book and a thrift store frame.  I filled it with a birds nest and a couple of sweet bunnies for a unique vignette.  




Use what you have in new and interesting ways to refresh your home for Spring.  If you find a great deal on a Spring item, let that be the influence to style your home around.  Start pulling out items that fit the theme you are designing around.  I pull items from every room.  That helps to keep all your rooms fresh. It's every revolving.  

If you'd like to see a video tour of this space, link to my Instagram account and watch under stories highlights.  

Happy Spring Y'all!.