Sunday, June 17, 2018

Quitman Arboretum, Stinson House, and Medicinal Herb Class

A few weeks ago, by Sister-in-Law Lisa shared a post on Facebook about a Medicinal Herb Class at the Quitman Arboretum. First, I didn't know there was an arboretum in Quitman (which is about 20 miles from our house) and second, I love herbs and wanted to know more. 

We discussed it and our schedules both allowed it, so we decided to go! Quitman Arboretum, here we come! My niece Brenna was also able to attend with us and we had a fun girls day. 

Holly Ross from Hollyberry Herb Farm near Canton, Texas was the presenter for the very informative and enlightening class! We got to make a herb tincture and purchased some herb plants that we usually don't see at the local garden centers. 

This quote was in our workbook and I believe this is the way we should view our food. I've always grown some herbs and love to pick them fresh for cooking, although now I will be studying and making some more tinctures and even household cleaners, with the plants I grow here at home. 

quote for healthy living and eating
After the class, we got to tour the arboretum grounds and the Stinson House that is on the arboretum property. The Quitman Arboretum is all volunteer operated and funded. Last year, they had extensive wild hog damage to the grounds and they are in a rebuilding and replanting stage. 

This was the drought tolerant garden - after the initial planting and first year of watering to get the plants established, there is no irrigation to the plants in this garden.

I've never grown echinacea, although I'll be looking for some plants to add to my garden and can even make some of our own tinctures in the future! I certainly think it is a very pretty plant and love the flowers! 

My husband swears by his triple echinacea (aff. link) tea for help with allergies. We order it on Amazon, since it is no longer available in local grocery stores. A few weeks ago, we ran out of his tea, before the new shipment came in (I procrastinated ordering it) and he had some dizzy spells and allergy trouble while we waited for it to come in. He was so relieved when it came in and two cups a day keeps him on track! I seldom get sick, but if I have a a scratchy throat, I'll drink a cup of the tea and it always helps me. 
 Here's the path to the gazebo. This place is great for pictures and is located right behind the Hogg Park in Quitman. It's such a peaceful and calm place!
 The property is steeped in history and has a story to tell - this is the George Bridge that was once used for wagon traffic to cross the Lake Fork Creek.

 The Stinson House is located on the arboretum property and the class was held indoors the home built in 1869. It is also very steeped in history. The first native born Texan to become Texas governor was Jim Hogg from Quitman - he married Sallie Stinson, who grew up in this house near the present day Pine Mills. Their daughter was Ima Hogg (yes, really) and she was instrumental in getting the house moved to the Governor Hogg Park in 1969. Ima's initials are on the trunk pictured below.
Lisa and I both loved the tour of the house! We both have a love for old homes and history, so this was a fantastic day. Last week, while we were at the Mineola Antique Fair, we got to talking about gardens, photography, and eating healthy with one of the co-owners of the fair. Through that conversation, we found out that Deanna is also the President of the Quitman Arboretum. She gave us the tour and told us a lot about the work of the arboretum. Lisa and I have already made plans to go back in December when they have the Christmas tour! The exterior of the home is currently being painted, so I didn't take exterior shots of the house with the ladders set up and windows covered with plastic. Rest assured, we will be going back! 

After we left the Arboretum, we headed down the road and had lunch in Mineola. Next, Lisa and Brenna shared one of their favorite place with me. While I have seen the signs for the Mineola Nature Preserve, I had never been and it was a treat! I can't wait to go back with Jeff for a return trip. I took lots of pictures there and we only saw a tiny portion of it (it's almost 3,000 acres!) I'll share them in another blog post, so stay tuned! 

Friday, June 15, 2018

An Artist Hands...

I've worked with fresh flowers this week and my hands look filthy.
An artist hands by Gypsy Farm Girl

This reminds me of a time a coworker was accused of not bathing and just being nasty because her -florist hands were dirty / stained. 17-18 years later, I've never forgot those words that were said to me, about another creative person, by someone who worked in the industry.

Y'all, I've washed them numerous times. I've hand washed the dishes and I've taken a bath every single night, I've scrubbed, I've scraped my nails... They are still stained. Everything I made this week had a type of eucalyptus in it. We have private well water with iron in it. The combination makes my hands speckled. It's crazy, but eucalyptus is gorgeous and it won't stop me from using it or from creating art!

You know, it rials me up when I see and hear people comment that they judge a person by their hands (or feet, etc.) Don't get me started on feet and why cute shoes are not supportive or comfortable!

I'm proud to be an artist, who puts my hands, heart, and head into everything I make. I'll proudly wear the stains of my work on my hands in order to create something for you! I'm not embarrassed by the stains or the paint, and the cuts, wire scrapes, etc on my hands. I encourage you not to ridicule someone because their hands are not perfectly manicured.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

How to Plant Succulents in a Vintage Chicken Feeder

It's summer in East Texas and that means three things: it's hot, it is dry, and some of my spring plants were looking sad. When I saw a nice mixture of succulents and mini cactus at the store last week, I had to grab up a few! They thrive in the hot and dry conditions and forgive me if I get busy and forget to water a day or two. 

I knew I wanted to plant some of the cactus in a vintage chicken feeder, like I've done in the past. It has been a couple years since I had a chicken feeder with succulents, so it was time to plant one again and I thought I would share a few tips on how I plant in them. 

 I gathered my plants and started to do a video, but I was a hot, stinky mess and decided nobody wanted to see a video of that, so I hope you can follow along here. The chicken feeders are a shallow container, which means it will not hold a lot of moisture or be able to accommodate plants with deep roots. That's why the small cactus plants are perfect for this!
 The chicken feeder on the left is planted with Hens and Chicks, creeping Jenny, and some volunteer phlox.
 Now here's the trick that most will miss, if they don't know how the feeders work. Take notice to the gap in the wire frame. You can grab a hold of the bars on each side of the gap and squeeze them in and lift out the top frame from the bottom piece!
 Now you can start planting in the bottom tray, without having to work them between the bars!
 I purchased 6 small plants - I think they were considered 3 inch plants. I also used one small succulent I had in a planter from last year. Sometimes they will survive over winter here in Texas, some times they don't.

I don't have the names of each variety handy - although I want you to take notice of the barrel shaped cactus that looks like it has two arms reaching out. I had a similar shaped cactus a few years ago and one morning I walked out to the prettiest pink bloom ever. This cactus will have white blooms and I can't wait to walk out  one morning and find them!
 Now, slip the cage piece over the plants and be careful to work the plants between the rails.
 Now, you can either display the planter on a flat surface or you can add a hanger.

I save all the hangers from hanging baskets. It's seldom now, but occasionally you find a wire hanger. I simply wired the hanger to the feeder and made a quick hanging basket. Easy peasy!

Then I was able to hang it under the arbor, as the set was setting through the trees. I watered the plants this evening and they will forgive me for not watering for a few days.

I'll have a few of the rusty chicken feeders with me at the Mineola Antique Fair, so you can plant your own or repurpose them anyway your heart desires. 

I'll also have the two tall galvanized chicken waterers  that can be used as plant stands, hanging baskets, etc. We've even created a flock of tin birds that will be at the fair this week! (For the time being, I'm keeping my pig feeder / flower container / pedestal.) 

A tip if you want to use the tall watering can as a planter - I turned a few clay pots upside down in the tower and set the basket of springeri (asparagus) fern in the top opening.The pots keep the plant from sinking to the bottom of the container. You can even put a saucer in there to hold water Also, the lip of the hanging basket didn't want to fit in the galvanized container, so I simply took my scissors and cut it off!  

So there you have it - a few tips for flea market style gardening, using vintage farm related containers! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Customer Wedding Pictures!

Janet was a recent wedding customer and we created a custom burlap bouquet for her.and boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party. She wanted a turquoise burlap bridal bouquet with something flowy and draping out of it. We discussed ideas and we decided on adding cascading greenery to the bouquet. Last week, she sent me a few pictures from their California wedding! 

Photo credit to Helen P Cherry Weddings - photographer

Photo credit to Helen P Cherry Weddings - photographer

Photo credit to Helen P Cherry Weddings - photographer
 Congratulations to the Bride and Groom! Sending my Congratulations and best wishes for many happy years to come! Thank you for letting me have a small part of your wedding day! 
Photo credit to Helen P Cherry Weddings - photographer

All pictures were provided and used with permission from the bride. Photography credit goes to Helen P Cherry Weddings - photographer.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sneak Peek at Our New Space at the Mineola Antique Fair!

We are so excited about our NEW place at the Mineola Antique Fair! Last week Angea and I closed the door on our booth at Uniques and Antiques and moved down the street to our new location at the Mineola Antique Fair. The fair will be held the second Friday and Saturday of the month and we will actually be there to work it and meet all of you! Working predominately from home with my online shop and then having the booth in the store (that we restocked once every week or so,) we miss getting to talk and connect with our customers and friends, so we are definitely looking forward to getting to meet  and visit with y'all!
Vintage market booth

We've still got a few more things to take over to Mineola this week, before opening day, although we wanted to share a few sneak peeks of our place. The building is 111 years old and located downtown Mineola, Texas (behind the Sonic on Hwy 80 or can be reached from the street by the depot and railroad tracks if coming in from Hwy 69.)
GypsyFarmGirl and Rooster Tails vintage market booth

We've got more room to display our items and have several themed vignettes with our Shabby Chic section, our repurposed clothing, a patriotic / 4th of July and turquoise section, vintage kitchen gadgets and pottery and some furniture pieces. Garden pedestals, containers, and yard art along with some floral arrangements are mixed in our display. There's a little something for everyone! Jeff and I have made more of the tin Mason Jar signs and will have them available on Friday when we open. I think Angea has a few more things she's working on as well!

GypsyFarmGirl and Rooster Tails booth at the Mineola Antique Fair

Please don't let the name of the show fool you - there are antiques including this 1950's Hall 'Heather Rose" pitcher and platter I recently found that came out of an old farmhouse, although there is a nice mix of handmade, repurposed, paintings, jewelry, and new items from local artisans. This month there is a BBQ food truck scheduled to be there and live music at various times. 

We've also got an antique bed and Angea has that gorgeous lamp from the 1940's that will be available.vintage pitcher with pink roses
All of the vendors we have met are super nice and everyone talks about how fun the show is! We are thrilled to be joining the fair this month. 

We shared this short Facebook Live preview Saturday morning giving you a glance around the building and a walk through our area.  

Here are all the dates for the rest of 2018 and the address if you are plugging it in your GPS. We will be open 9:00 to 5:00 each day. Hope to see you at the fair and if you're a blog reader, please stop by and introduce yourself!

The building / barn is beautiful and rustic on the inside. The brick walls make a perfect backdrop for our space. The overhead timber beams are great to hang things from - Jeff made us some big over-sized hooks to hang chandeliers from. It is summer in East Texas, so dress cool and comfortable, just as you would if you were going to Canton Trades Days or heading to the ball park. There are big doors that are open for the breeze to come in, lots of fans in the building and all of the vendors are bringing fans for their spaces (we've got two and may add more), and they are adding new ventilation this week. Free water will be available as well. With it being under cover, we will never have to worry about the show getting rained out, our tent and displays blowing away, or inventory getting wet! That's a win in our book as we always dealt with rain or wind on set up day! Oh and it's FREE parking and entrance!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Rust, White, and Blue - Our Rustic Gazebo Dressed Up for Summer!

Happy Memorial Day! May we never forget the sacrifice of so many for the freedom we have. 

This morning I decided to get out and decorate the gazebo for summer time! Some of my early spring flowers were already fading and it was time to straighten up the yard and replace a few plants. It's turned hot and dry, so I found a few more drought resistant (or so they claim) plants to fill in a few places. 

This rusty meat grinder has been attached to the gazebo rail for a long time. I'm not sure why or where it came from. Jeff may have put it there - I'm just not sure... Anyways, today I added a little succulent to it and now I'm wondering why I didn't do that a long time ago! 

 I recently picked up a big stack of buntings at a sale and dyed them to have a vintage and tea stained look. I hung one on the front of the gazebo and love the way it looks!   Rust, White, and Blue!
We are grilling tonight, so I'm fixing to go clip some of the herbs for a corn on the cob herb butter recipe!

P.S I'll have the several of the buntings at the Mineola Antique Fair next week, so you can get one in time for the Fourth of July or message me if you would like to order one to be shipped to you. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Gypsy Farm Girl!

A day in the life of a gypsy farm girl.... 

At midnight I was sewing up my “gypsy sassy pants” (converting skirts to palazzo style pants.) They are so dang fun and cool to wear! I got stopped several times today and ask “is that pants?” “I love those!” 

Me: “Thanks, I made them!”

6:10-6:30 slapping the alarm clock. 

7:30 Packing up wedding orders to ship out. 

8:30 Meet up with Angea to go junkin, pickin’ and the post office, followed by a “board meeting”. 

These folks know how to host an epic garage sale! Great signs marking the way, everything priced, they brought us shopping baskets when they saw me snatching up the vintage lace and doilies, they had a tent, holding area for the big items we wanted, and even used a cash register to ring up purchases! 

11ish  Board meeting aka business lunch, aka what we do after Thursday morning pickin’. Some of our best ideas have came at the corner table at La Finca! Tea and green sauce, yes please! We’ve got visions for our Mineola Antique Fair space that are exciting! Can you make sense of the scribbles? 

12:30 A trip to the store for all the soaps - laundry, hair, and Jeff’s “old man soap” as he calls it and cat food. Got to keep the boss cat happy and everybody clean! 

Home again.

3:00 Hook up trailer and head to the farm. 

We dated in this truck, sold it 15 years ago and it came back home this weekend. ❤️ It just feels right in the red farm truck! 

The start of this blog post came, while Jeff drives to the farm. I’m typing on my phone, windows down, the air and ideas flowing through the truck. 

Farm chores

We got the cow herd up in the pens and sorted some heifers to take to market. I grabbed a light weight, long sleeve shirt, should’ve grabbed a hat too... gotta little sun on my face. 

That one in the center looks all sweet... Let me tell ya, that is one crazy heifer! Our herd is usually very calm, but this one was a wild one to pen and thankfully no one got ran over by her! 

Ronnie D Donkey kicked up his feet after he got turned out and he said “see ya” as we left out with our trailer load. 

7:45 Our calves were delivered and now we are home again. The dogs were ready for supper, their nightly run outside, and we had supper to fix.

Along the way, we’ve sold some candle stands, answered and read email, and handled some other business.

My jeans (and me) were splattered with cow poo, so baths and clothes washing also happened. I can usually load cattle without getting too dirty, but the heifers were a messy bunch today!

11:20 Finally finishing up my blog post and getting it to a computer to finally publish. There used to be a blogger app, but a few phone updates back, it disappeared, which makes it harder to blog on the go. 

Tomorrow we ship more items out and I plan to stay home and work most of the day! Weddings, sewing shirts, making tin signs, who knows what all the day will entail? No day is ever the same and I like it that way! 

I started out sewing and wearing my gypsy pants and ended it sitting with my girls (dogs) on the couch! I’d call it a great day!!!