Friday, July 31, 2009

Campagne Maison Brownies

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

This is not a recipe for the typical, everyday, run of the mill, “your mother’s” brownies—especially if she is Betty Crocker—and they certainly aren’t for the diet conscious! The secret to the super decadent, delicious fudge center of these made-from-scratch brownies is the egg and oil ratio to the remaining ingredients. I bet you can’t eat just one!

Campagne Maison Brownies

4 eggs – beaten
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 cups *flour
4 Heaping Tablespoons Cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare **two (2) 8 x 8 square or one (1) rectangle 9 x 13 baking dish/pan with vegetable spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the oil and continue to beat until the mixture is well incorporated.

Mix the *flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together. Add this mixture slowly to the liquid ingredients. Stir in the vanilla and nuts. Pour into prepared baking dishes and bake no longer than 30 minutes. Leave in pan until completely cooled then cut into serving sizes.

You CANNOT test the center with a toothpick as the center will remain moist but still fully cooked.

* If you use Self rising flour, omit the salt and baking powder

** I prefer to use the two square baking dishes because I love the corner pieces….

The batch shown above were made for my man's birthday! I prefer mine served a la mode!

me know if you try this recipe and what you think about the brownies.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir and
Bon Appetit

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Des Vignobles de Campagne Maison

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

It must be all the rain that we have gotten over the past couple of months! The apple trees produced early and now the grapes!

I have been making Apple Jelly and Apple Butter for the past week and actually wasn't expecting the grapes to be ready for a couple more weeks. I happened to go out and check the vines yesterday afternoon and was surprised to see them loaded with luscious ripe grapes. I picked and cleaned ten quarts on the first harvest and the vines are still producing. Looks like the next few days I will be found in the kitchen making jelly and jam! It is alot of work but I really enjoy the entire process--from the harvesting to the eating.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Bridal Ring

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I have been searching for some old chenille bedspreads to use in making a patchwork duvet cover for the bed in the master bedroom. My tentative plan is to piece 12x12 blocks together with strips of the chenille. I am going to make the entire cover white-on-white and quilt a design on each block to mimic parts of the design in the canopy, which I will blog about later.

I have found several bedspreads that were so thin they could be used as bridal veils and the prices were equally as ridiculous! Recently, I took an afternoon scouting out a local antique store and happened upon three brand new chenille bedspreads—never been opened from their original packaging. Two were pinstripe and one was a bridal ring. All of them were turning a little yellow. I purchased the bridal ring because of its similarity to the canopy, brought it home, laundered it, and spread it across the bed to check out the sizing. I stood back to get a birds eye view of it and I knew immediately there was NO way that I could cut it up, it was SO PRETTY! So, after sitting and admiring it for awhile, I carefully folded it back up and sat it atop the armoire. My plan now is to use it instead, as a throw across the end of the bed.

It’s still a go on the original plans for the white-on-white quilted duvet EXCEPT it will not include the chenille strips. If Plan A doesn’t work out, there is always Plan B.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stained Glass

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I previously had six of these glass window panes but somehow during our move, four of them "mysteriously" disappeared. I think they are floating around in outer space somewhere with all the other things of mine that have "mysteriously" disappeared over time.

Please tell me that I am not the only blogger whose husband isn't really "into" all their wonderful junk finds. Mine sees only what he is looking at with his own two eyes and NOT what my two eyes are seeing thru my imagination. And, when I say: "YOU can make me a frame to mount these and I will hang them in the window and the sun will shine thru them and fill the rooms with beautiful rainbows of color"...etc..., he backs up and walks in the opposite direction. I don't let him get too much over on me however, because at our former home, his shed/shop was almost as big as our entire house. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for him to have at least two junk automobiles sitting inside there waiting to be "restored". Anyway, ladies...I think you get my drift.

I spotted these glass art pieces at a church auction. The owner, who was also the pastor of the church, owned rental property and was into "flipping" houses. These windows were on an addition to a home that he was remodeling to "flip". The artist had gone to great lengths to replicate the existing original stained glass windows in other areas of the house and he said he hated to see them destroyed. They have aged and the plastic paint is cracking in areas. I have the supplies to repaint them BUT I love them just like they are!

And, this past week I was finally successful in getting the DH to make me frames for the two remaining pieces of glass and I got them hung up in the windows and the sun shines thru them filling the room with beautiful rainbows of color" ...........ahhhhhhhh....I love it when a plan comes together!

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bon Appetit

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

A few weeks ago, I was looking thru my craft items for one particular thing and found a treasure that I had tucked away and forgotten about having. Ever done that?

I used to be HOOKED on cross-stitching. I simply couldn’t put the needle down! I would burn everything I tried to cook because I would be counting stitches and changing thread colors and forget that I had food cooking on the stove. I would get up a couple hours early every morning so I could work on a piece before leaving for work, come home at lunch and cross-stitch instead of eating (hey—there’s a thought on a way I could drop a few pounds) and pick up the needle again as soon as I came home from work. The funny/strange/stupid thing about doing that was that the items I spent hundreds of hours of my time creating, were given away as birthday, anniversary, wedding gifts, etc. to people that had NO CLUE about the amount of time involved in making it. I’m not crying over spilled milk--those of you that cross-stitch or work on any craft can feel my agony.

One day a light bulb went off in my head and I knew that I had to break my habit. I quit cold turkey--just like I did when I put the cigarettes down several years earlier. For me, that is the only way to stop some things. When I was down-sizing and packing things for our move to the farmhouse, I gave away EVERY cross-stitch related item that I had in my craft closet. (Except for the Ten Commandments that is half-way finished. I couldn’t part with that even if I never finish it!)

I do have a few items that I made for myself. This one is dated 1986 and compared to many of my other projects, it looks so novice! I am happy to have found it as it looks right at home atop the bonnet top china cabinet. It appears I even had France on the brain back then, too.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!

Au revoir,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pay It Forward

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I was up to my elbows and eyelids in apples this afternoon when the DH came back from the mailbox with my PAY IT FORWARD gift that was sent to me by Dari, the Sea Witch. I couldn’t put the paring knife down fast enough to grab it from his hands. I love surprises, and I certainly was surprised when it arrived today!

The box was chocked full of wonderful things all wrapped up in yellow handmade paper…..

A pair of “decked out” gardening gloves—so I “will look as fabulous as my flowers” says Dari, when I am out tending to my garden. They are luscious lime green, skirted with a hot pink and yellow stripe material and trimmed out with hot pink pompom fringe (how did she know those were my all time fave summer apparel colors)? She even had her very own designer label sewn on—too cute, gotta have me some of those!!

A black Mockingbird silhouette to hang in a Campagne Maison window—but, my mind is racing with other ideas for it as well.

A “Dari” original brooch created from beveled glass and copper foil showcasing a Gibson girl and her beau in a warm embrace--so romantic, so French, so Moulin Rouge! (And, can I say, “so sexy”, if not--scratch that comment…)

A petite snow globe of the Eiffel tower surrounded along the base by other famous Paris landmarks….

A bar of Lavender milled soap from France--the smell is so heavenly I keep picking it up to smell of it…

And a scallop shell to remind me of the sea…and of the Sea Witch.......If you haven't visited her blog, ....go on over and tell her I sent ya!

All wonderful things from a wonderful fellow blogger! Thank you so much!

In keeping with the Pay if Forward spirit of giving, and the blessed recipient of 2 Pay it Forward gifts, I am inviting you to join in on the fun!

Here is how it works:

If you are one of the first three people to leave a comment on this post, sometime in the next few months you will receive, via snail mail, something cool that I've hand made~Just For You !!! There is no obligation, no worries. The only request is that you include this logo on your blog and the next three people do the same. And on it goes!!! This should be fun! Leave your comment below and start watching the mail!!! Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you and get your address or you can email me ~~just go to my profile~ I'll need your mailing address to get your gift to you. Let's see how far we can get with this thing!

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Compass Rose

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

After etching and staining the concrete, I painted on this Compass Rose. It is centered in front of the entry door and a fleur di lis marks magnetic North. (That discoloration is a glare in the photo--sorry)! It is a "tribute" of sorts to our family heraldry, as we are suppose to belong to the naval lineage that fought at sea. In our former home, I painted one in a similar pattern in the foyer. I loved the “surprise” effect it had on people when they entered our home for the first time. No one can ever accuse me of living in a “cookie cutter” home, that’s for sure!

The next step was the application of an aggregate sealer to the entire porch. That was one thing that I was a little uncertain about doing. I originally thought that I would leave the stain muted, but as you can see, the sealer brought out the colors of the stain and it matches the natural stone on the farmhouse perfectly. Now I am happy about that decision because the shine of the porch versus the dull of the stone play off each other and that’s a good thing!

We are just getting started on the next step in the porch remodel. We are attempting to take down the old metal porch supports and replace them with wooden posts WITHOUT the roof falling down on top of us. Pics of that process will be coming later on.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!

Au revoir,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Etched and Stained

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

Etched and Stained Concrete

We put our sons to work during their visit over the 4th of July holiday. They seem to enjoy helping us OR at least they never complain about it.

Our eldest etched and stained the concrete front porch. At some point in time, it was added to the farmhouse. We suspect it to be one of the 70's additions which included the bathroom. The age of the concrete caused the masonry blade to do did a little jumping and there are some random uneven lines, but the finished results are still perfect for an imperfect house.

Tomorrow I will show the next step, the sealer, which pops the colors of the stain. And, also--that little pop of the "UNEXPECTED".

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miracle - Conclusion

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

It was Friday morning, June 26th, thirteen days since Demi’s disappearance. My husband and I were sitting on the front porch having our morning coffee when the wild cat that our neighbor puts food out for every day, appeared across the road with her new litter of kittens. Apparently she was bringing them out of hiding for the first time. She had come into season around the same time as our cat, Jack-E, and the same old Tom cat had courted the both of them. Her kittens appeared to be about two weeks younger than Jack-E’s but three of them were almost identical in appearance to our three. I remarked to my husband that she even had one that looked “almost” like Demi.

I walked out toward the road to get a better look at them, and being wild kittens they quickly darted out of sight. I came back to the house and went about my day as usual not thinking any more about the kittens.

As I opened up the window blinds on Saturday morning, I saw the cat and two of her kittens outside our back door. I reached to open the door and they heard the noise of the door knob turning and darted under the porch. I wanted to see if I could get a closer look at them, so I put some cat food beside the doorsteps and waited. Too smart for that trick, they stayed out of sight and I gave up the thought and came back inside the house. About an hour later, I looked outside the window again and two more of the kittens were there, eating the cat food that I had put out earlier. I reached to open the door and THEY darted back under the porch.

In keeping with our morning routine, my husband and I went out onto the porch to have our coffee. Knowing from the previous day that there were five kittens, I told him that I had seen the kittens earlier but all I could account for were those four. As we were talking, I heard a “meow” come from across the road. I remarked to my husband that apparently the mama cat had left one of the kittens behind and that I was going to walk out to the road to see if I could coax it across to get with the rest of the litter.

As I went toward the road and called for the kitten, it ran STRAIGHT TO ME. Now…that should have been my first clue! The other kittens were wild. Just the sound of me turning the door knob had scared them away. This kitten came straight to me. I noticed immediately that it was the one that I previously thought looked just like my Demi. As I reached down to pick it up, I commented aloud, “let me see if you really look like your sister”. The kitten was so malnourished that I could feel the skeleton of its entire body as it lay limp in my arms. The thought immediately went thru my mind….could this be Demi? Our kittens had been spayed and neutered, so I checked her belly and to my surprise, the belly hair still showed signs of being shaved and her spay scar was present. IT WAS DEMI, frail and malnourished, but alive!

I shouted out loud, “it’s Demi, it’s Demi” as I ran to the porch to show her scar and shaven belly to my husband. God had heard and answered my prayers!

It took two--not-so-well received baths to remove all the dirt and bad odors from her body and three days before her brothers, Hemi and Semi, would accept her. Her mother, Jack-E held out for five! But today, Demi is as healthy as ever and everything is back to normal. She is playing with her mother and brothers and no one would ever know that they were ever apart. I still think they need to be outside in wide open spaces, but until I can get peace about that, they will all remain inside cats.

Yes, I still have all sorts of unanswered questions…exactly what happened the night of June 14th, how did Demi get with that other litter, was she with them all thirteen days of her disappearance, why would the other mama cat take care of her, OR was she never with them at all and alone with God providing for her the entire time...all unanswered questions.

Sometimes, perhaps it is the unknown that keeps us searching for the answers. I just know I experience a “wonderful” thing….a miracle.

It Took a Miracle

My Father is omnipotent and that you can't deny

A God of might and miracles, 'tis written in the sky

Though here His glory has been shown, we still can't fully see

The wonders of His might, His throne, 'till all eternity

The Bible tells us of His power and wisdom all way through;

And every little bird and flower are testimonies too.

It took a miracle to put the stars in place;

It took a miracle to hang the world in space

But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole,

It took a miracle of love and grace!

by John W. Peterson

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!

Au revoir,


Demi...3 weeks old

Miracle…. “ an event or effect in the physical world deviating from the known laws of nature, or transcending our knowledge of these laws; an extraordinary, anomalous, or abnormal event brought about by superhuman agency; a wonder or wonderful thing; a marvel”.

My life has not been short of miracles. God has been gracious in the giving and I have been blessed beyond measure in the receiving. This is an account of the most recent:

Jack-E, our one year old polydactyl cat, gave birth to triplets on April 2, 2009, two males, Hemi and Semi, and one female, Demi. A young mother, Jack-E was very protective and every night, just like clockwork, she would bring the kittens and put them into bed with me and my husband. Having always slept with us, I assume Jack-E thought her kittens were supposed to as well. This ritual continued until the Easter weekend. Our grandchildren came to visit and Jack-E must have decided it was safer to keep them hidden behind the bathroom vanity.

As time passed, on June 14th, I decided that three kittens and a mama cat had become a little more than I could continue to handle inside the farmhouse. I had my husband put their “cat house” beside the deck in the back yard where I knew they would be safe and where their mother, Jack-E, could take care of them. It was settled in my mind that I was making a good decision knowing that nature takes care of its own. However, that little voice inside my head just wouldn’t let me really have peace about the decision. So, it was a long night and as daylight broke the next morning, I went outside to check on the little ones.

As I called for them, they slowly came out from their hiding spot underneath the deck. That is, all but one--Demi. The smallest of the litter, weighing in at just a little over 2 lbs, and the only female, she was dearest to my heart. I have always been a sucker for the underdog, or perhaps in this case, the “under cat”. As the search grew, three trips around the entire perimeter of the farm acreage, soon morning became noon and it was apparent that my Demi was lost. When my husband found evidence of an altercation with several swatches of hair, it was his decision that a coyote or a wild dog had taken her during the night. With that being said the tears that I had managed to hold back with the anticipation of finding her safe, fell uncontrollably down my cheeks. I just could not accept the fact that I was to blame for her demise as I was so insistent on putting the kittens outside. What was I thinking? They were too young. Demi was too small. Jack-E was a new mother. Three kittens were too many for her to protect on her own. Why do I keep forgetting that we live in the country where wild animals roam and not in the city where only a few stray dogs are considered a cats’ worst enemy? Too many questions flooded my mind!

That was Monday and even though I pretty much accepted the fact that Demi was gone, I kept asking God to please let her show up. Maybe she had just gotten too far from the house. Maybe the morning exercise group would find her on their walking route and bring her home. Maybe she was hurt and hiding nearby. Each morning I continued to search--Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…I walked the roads and the farm acreage still asking God for a miracle. Then, I gave up.

**This is a long post, so I will continue with Part 2 tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit. We love having company!

Au revoir

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Neck of the Woods- Loudon, TN

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

**I don't have a wide angle lens, so I had to take this picture in two shots due to the length of that building, but I think you can get the general idea. The artist did a great job!

Loudon, TN is in the process of revamping their historic downtown district. The old water fountain was completely removed and the new replacement is almost completed. It is going to be gorgeous sitting next to the new city signage.

This mural covers the entire length of an antique store that sits at the foot of the bridge crossing the TN River into the Main Street area. Built prior to 1834, the city is full of Civil War history as well as the times predating that period. There are many landmarks in the city to attest to its longevity. The Loudon County Courthouse still stands from the original days.

During the Civil War, the biggest employer in the town was the cotton mill. It was owned by Dr. B.B. Lenoir, whose father had founded the neighboring city of Lenoir. When the Union Army came through the area, they burned down the General Store because the owners had supported the Confederate States. Before the Army reached the Cotton Mill, Dr. Lenoir gave the “secret Masonic handshake” to several of the Union officers and in doing so, he saved his cotton mill from being burned down.

I just love history, especially the Civil War era!

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse today for a visit. We just love having company!

Au revoir,

Happy Birthday Claudia

me and my BFF, Claudia

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” William Yeats

Some of my earliest childhood memories include her. I spent more time at her house than I did at my own. The distance between our two houses was approximately five city blocks, but we would meet each other half-way, so neither of us would have to walk the distance all alone. We played jacks and “go fish” and as we got older, we played a few games of “spin the bottle” with some of the neighborhood boys. When the Beatles made their debut, she loved Paul and I loved George. We both went to work at the local movie theatre where we met and “fell in love” with real boys.

I ate my share of “white beans”, mashed potatoes, and homemade biscuits sitting at her family’s dining room table. Her mother made the best biscuits that I have ever eaten--to this day! Claudia later shared her secret of making them the night before and putting them in the freezer until the next day. Don’t ask me why but that just made them GOOD! We drank ice cold tea, with lemon slices from those sweaty aluminum glasses--still my drink of choice today! Every time I go to a thrift store or antique shop, I seek out those aluminum glasses and tea pitchers.

As we grew up and I married at age 16, our lives began to part. She later married a military man and they moved all over the country. As I lost touch with her, she birthed two daughters and I birthed two sons. Time passed on but our friendship never faltered. Finally reconnecting after years of lost contact, we now use the internet and telephone to keep in touch. She is my number one blog fan.

Today, July 16th, is her birthday and she is NOW the same age as me! The other day she emailed me a picture of their new boat. She was sitting on the deck, wearing a bathing suit. When I mailed her birthday card I commented on how “sexy” she looked. She emailed back and thanked me, saying she knew I was “just being kind”—BUT I really meant it.

Happy Birthday, sexy thang!

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!

Au revoir,

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Neck of the Woods

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

Isn't this a beautiful little water feature? It is located a couple miles down the road from the farmhouse. It appears that several springs feed into that one location. The sound of the rushing water beckons you to stop and take notice. It is a very peaceful sound.

I cannot believe that it is July 10th! Where has this month gone? Our second annual 4th of July Family Reunion is now history. All of our out of state attendees are back at home safe and weary from the travel, resting up for next year. We have a new Cornhole Champion. I will blog about that later on. My mother had her 87th birthday. I will also blog about that a little later on. I have a new deck, a new canopy, a stained and etched front porch, a couple new flowerbeds, my grandchildren have been here, a MIRACLE happened .... several new things to blog about--LATER ON.
But right now, I AM RESTING!!! A girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit. We just love having company!

Au revoir,