Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Give-Away that you do not want to miss!!!

     The Old Farmhouse Gathering is a talented, professional group of artisans who create everything from Primitive to Shabby Chic.  We now have over 200 members in the group and over 5000 items listed on Etsy.  Just click on the picture to see all the great items handmade by the Old Farmhouse artists.  
      Many of the artists at the Old Farmhouse Gathering 
Etsy group have put together this magnificent give-away to celebrate the fall season.  I don't want to ruin the suspense, so I'm not going to tell you the names of all the artists involved in the give-away. I will tell you that the beautiful basket was donated by Rose Clawson of "Baskets by Rose" and that the total value of the give-away is over $155.00!!
I you know you don't want to miss this...all you have to do is
                           "CLICK HERE TO ENTER"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gourds...Cleaning & More

     Before I begin my gourd cleaning tutorial, I want to tell you a little about them.  I have been working with gourds since the mid 80's and they are still one of my favorite painting surfaces.
     The gourd is in the pumpkin family and some are edible.  Unlike a pumpkin, a gourd will dry and the surface will be wood like.  When asked how long a dried gourd will last, my husband always says it lacks two days lasting forever...don't ask, you have to know Mike!
     Gourds are native to Africa and the bottle gourd is thought to be the oldest plant domesticated by humans.  Gourds have been used as musical instruments, masks, pipes, canteens, sponges, water jugs, flower pots and the list goes on.  Of course, my favorite use is gotta love a gourd Santa.
     Gourd seeds should be planted in the early spring after any threat of frost.  The plant looks much like a pumpkin or squash vine.  A gourd loves sunshine, water and good drainage.  When the vine and leaves begin drying out it is about time for harvest.  Check the vines for moisture because they can look brown on the outside and still have moisture on the inside.  To insure the gourd is ready for picking, you should wait until the stem on which the gourd is attached is hard or brittle and dry.
     Green gourds should never be stored inside your home to dry because of the many types of mold that grow on them during the drying process.  The gourd will dry quickest if it can get air and sunshine.  It will also dry stored in a shed or even left out in the field.    Several types of mold grow on the gourd making it look like it is decaying.  So, don't throw your drying gourd away because it is black and nasty looking...that's just the gourd doin' it's thang!
     I am cleaning egg gourds for this tutorial because the size will be easy to work with. You will use the same process to clean all sizes.  See the nasty mold I was talking about?  Even that white color you see on the gourds is mold!
     Cover the gourds with a solution of  hot water and bleach.  Approximately 1/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water will do...I am very specific in my application, I add the amount of water I want then pour in the bleach till it smells good and bleachie!   (If it is a sunny, hot summer day, you can tie your wet gourds inside a plastic bag along with wet towels and set in direct sunlight instead of using this soaking process.)
     While soaking cover the gourds with an "old" towel, making sure it is wet.  If you are cleaning bigger gourds you will probably need to weigh them down so that as much of the gourd is under water as possible. 
     I let the gourds soak for at least an hour then check them to see how soft the mold has become and how easily it will come off.  When soaked long enough you should be able to just wipe some of the mold off.  The gourd will have to be scrubbed to remove all the mold.
      Use something like those green Scotch pads or a copper Choreboy...I don't use steel wool because particles of steel can actually imbed in the surface of the gourd and rust, causing it to turn brown. I found the blue scrubber I am using at Wal-Mart in the broom aisle.  It originally had a white handle and is more coarse that the Scotch pads.  Scrub off as much mold as you can.
     Remember that white mold, it can be ornery!  You may also need to use a knife to remove some of the more stubborn spots.  Rinse the gourds after all the mold has been removed. I add a little bleach to my rinse could say I'm a little paranoid when it comes to the mold!!  Now, they are ready to lay out to dry.  Make sure gourds are completely dry before using.  They can be put in the oven on low to speed up the process.  Be sure and keep an eye on them, gourds do burn.
    Voila, the gourds are pretty, clean...
and now the real fun can begin.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ain't it purdy!!!

I just love my new graphics...Kim of Sugar Creek Hollow made them for me and I think they are great. Thank you, Kim, you did a wonderful job!! Now, I need to get to work and get some stuff added.

I am also excited about my plans for tomorrow...I am headed to the gourd farm.

Now, I need your help. I am thinking of ways to make my blog more enjoyable and informational for you such as "how to's", freebies, give-aways, etc. I would love to hear what you would like to see or do. Since I will have gourds that need to be cleaned I thought I would give a step by step in how this is does that sound for my first "happening" on the blog?

I really do want to hear your ideas and look forward to your comments.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Great Give-Away...

Kim is giving away not one, not two...but, three of her wonderful
soy candles and you get lots of chances to win. Click on her button
and hop on over to her do not want to miss this!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day...

I hope you are enjoying your day. What makes the day even better? It's time for this weeks "Monday Marketplace" feature.

I want to introduce you to Joan Minervini of "Vintage Keepsake Trunk". I have enjoyed getting to know Joan at the Old Farmhouse Gathering and am really excited to be able to share her talent with you. She has just added some wonderful Halloween items to her shop and following is just a small sampling, be sure to visit her shop to see more.


Hocus & Pocus

Halloween 1708

Alrighty, now, I wasn't kidding was I? Joan is one very talented lady!!! Now that you have seen some of her work, I want you to get to know her a little better...

1. What is the name of your Etsy shop and why did you choose
that name?

Vintage Keepsake Trunk
I chose this name because I like the idea of searching and
finding an old trunk in the attic and opening it to find vintage
time-worn treasures from the olden days.

2. How long have you been on Etsy?

Since March 2009

3. What type of items do you offer?

Primitive Folk Art handmade soft-sculpture offerings featuring
Art Dolls, Home Decor, Holiday and Seasonal Decorations and
Collectibles, all created with that time-worn look.

4. How long have you been crafting?

35 years

5. Who or What inspires you?

I was inspired as a youth by my Great Aunt and Grandmother
that taught me to sew on an old Singer Sewing machine.
My crafting really took off when I injured my back in my 30's
in an accident and was left in chronic pain and forced to change
to a sedentary life style. Creating is therapy for me and helps
me to forget the pain and I thoroughly enjoy it!

6. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

Probably my Art Dolls. I love to dress them in vintage baby
clothes from the 1920's and each of them comes out different
with their own personality.

7. Other places where you can be found


Home of Vintage Keepsake Trunk.....

Thanks again for stopping by. It has been fun sharing Joan's interview and pics of her work. I always love to hear from you so please leave a comment.