05:: Good Things Gathered

Good morning, friends! Here we are at Friday, and time for another Good Things Gathered post! I had meant to post here earlier this week, but somehow this turned into a very busy few days. My daughter turned 14 (!!!) and projects just kept popping up. She wanted an Italian Cream Cake for her birthday, and I had the grand idea to make one from scratch. Homemade is always better when it comes to baked goods, but it turned out to be a rather involved cake, haha, with the toasting of coconut and pecans. But it was very good! I also learned something very shocking— Italian Cream Cake as I know it isn’t even Italian, it is a southern invention that seems to most widely known in the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas region. I found a great recipe for it on the blog Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen. It was definitely a very good thing!

Some of the good things I’ve gathered for you today— more books! more yarn! And my favorite spring time tea cup!

  1. In my Good Things Gathered post from last week, I mentioned the magazine Country Home. I’ve been perusing it through the week (it’s actually inspired the redo of my laundry room, thanks to a feature on Union Willow and her amazing laundry room!) and came upon an article featuring Kim Leggett. Kim has a well known shop in Franklin, TN called “City Farmhouse” and she’s written two books about the modern country look– “City Farmhouse Style” and “Home Stories.” I was happy to find that my library had both these books and checked them out this week for home decor inspiration and am really enjoying them! I love the concept that you can have a ‘farmhouse’ with its eclectic and functional style no matter where you live. There are very few of us that truly live on a farm with an amazing old farmhouse, but there are elements of that style we can have no matter where we live. I also very much enjoy seeing how the ‘country look’ is evolving in the 21st century and am feeling the urge to spruce things up around here. If you’re feeling the same, I suggest these books! You might even check your own library to see if they’re available. And speaking of the library— our libraries here finally opened to so that we can go inside. This makes me so happy!! Losing the ability to ramble through the library was one of the hardest parts of lockdown for me personally. I never in my life thought there’d be a scenario where we couldn’t just go to the library. So many things we didn’t even realize were so precious we were unable to do in 2020. 2021 is definitely all about appreciation for me. Those little things DO matter!

2. Is a confession— remember how I was all set to knit with that amazing yarn that was a linen/silk/alpaca blend last week? I sat down to knit with it and promptly got distracted with the shawl shown here. Oops! Funny enough, the yarn from this shawl was yarn I also bought at Fiber Christmas in July from Apothefaery! Literally purchased together with the other yarn, haha. I started this shawl last summer but as it became autumn I got distracted making every baby I know a pumpkin hat, and then went on to winter knitting. This shawl with its more springtime colors fell by the wayside, but the yarn is gorgeous, and now that spring is approaching I’m reaching for it again. I’m making this shawl using the very simple “asymmetrical shawl” method I love so much. This is how I do it:

Row 1: knit 3

Row 2: knit 1, yarn over, knit to the end (place stitch marker on this side to mark it as your increase side)

Row 3: knit

Repeat rows 2 and 3 til scarf is at desired length, bind off with a picot bind off.

Sometimes to add a bit of design interest, I add a row of eyelet holes doing a row of Yarnover, knit 2 together on the row that has no increase on it (row 3 in the directsions)

By doing a decrease right after a yarn over, you are keeping your row of stitching the same size as the row you just knit. Voila! That’s my scarf method!

With this particular scarf I am using 2 different colors of yarn, a pink and a purple. And you know me, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the color changes, haha.

3. And now— lastly— my favorite spring mug! This bluebird mug came from Susan Branch’s shop. It is a design I have loved for several years, and last year she brought it back in a limited run. It is the perfect springtime tea and coffee cup, so cheerful with the little bird and blossoming branch. Susan sells her mugs, which are made in England, on her website. It’s very cool to be able to purchase from the artist herself, and the china is wonderful quality. They would make a great Mother’s Day gift as well, it’ll be here before we know it!

I am looking forward to Mother’s Day this year, I have a feeling that the world will really start to open up again by then. This week marks the 1 year anniversary of when lockdowns began and we were all so scared and unsure what would happen. My children came home from spring break and didn’t return to school for months. We could have never imagined what lay ahead of us in the months that followed. During this week of our 1 year of a world pandemic, both my husband and I were able to get our vaccine. I should be fully vaccinated by Easter, and it’s just mind blowing. So much has happened. I hope we come out of it having learned to be better people, know what we want out of life, and ready to begin new adventures.

Thank you so much for coming to visit today! I’m hoping this next week isn’t so busy. I never even got to sit down to paint once— hoping to change that today!

Hugs and wishing you a wonderful weekend, full of the promise of spring!
Take Joy,

H

2 thoughts on “05:: Good Things Gathered

  1. This week of a one year marker for a pandemic was mind boggling. On one hand it feels like the longest year ever, and yet the months kept flying by in a strange sort of way. Or at least it felt that way to me. Glad you and hubby are getting vaccinated too. Each tiny step we can make forward gives me hope that life will get back to less restrictions this year, maybe by late Summer?

    I am loving Gouge’s The Scent of Water right now and after that I will hunt down The Rosemary Tree . Her books are wonderful and a great way to escape into a totally different living experience.

    It feels like to me that the Farmhouse look movement has been evolving more and more each decade. Remember the Country Living look of the 1980s? That is when I was inspired to create that feel in my home as best I could. We called it country, but in fact it was more Farmhouse than Colonial because of it’s return to simplicity and more primitive decor with returns of those things our Grandmothers had and used. Then came country chic with roses and lace and everything white. After that came more mid-century pieces mixed with modern and antique. And now there is a new Farmhouse call for another mix of old and new with a new color palette. What stands out to me is that whatever Farmhouse look appeals to you, it is a trend that has never died. To me, Farmhouse makes you feel “down home”and welcoming. Easy, not too fussy or museum like. A place you don’t have to worry about spills or dings on furniture. For me, it always conjures up the homemade, handmade, generation tested quality that never gets old. I think of quilts, flowers from the yard or garden, little embroidered dish towels that are still hard at work, homemade bread in the oven, canned jelly and jam on the shelf, and things like cast iron skillets from your Mom, and a collection of aprons in fun but useful fabrics. Farmhouse decor is meant to be used and lived in by all the family and friends who come. Isn’t is fun when you get inspired from books and see ways to “Farmhouse up” your home? I know I do!! It is a great way to blend your fond Grandmother memories with your own take on farm living. And remember what MaryJane Butters says who is the creator of the magazine MaryJanesFarm, “Farmgirl is a matter of heart”. I am all in!! Aprons on!!

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  2. Yes, I think “Farmhouse” is a very timeless style, although it can be changed depending on color scheme and collections to suit everyone’s individual tastes. I just love a very cozy, lived in, gathered look. Especially if it’s filled with things you love. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Goudge books as well!

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