Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Neck of the Woods: A Passion for the Art of Quilting

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I am having TOO many “darn, I wish I had my camera” moments. The DH told me that I needed to buy another camera to keep in the car. Well, that would be a wonderful idea but I would have to bring it into the house to download the pictures onto the computer. And you guessed it, THAT would mean I would have two cameras that would never be in the car when I needed them!

Since moving to East TN and driving the country roads, whether it be intentional or not (as in L-O-S-T), I have seen so many things that I would love to share. Old homesteads, barns, and buildings that barely leave a clue as to what they once were AND plenty of wildlife. That may not seem exciting to some readers but remember, I am a city transplant.

I thought it would be nice to share some of these things with you, so beginning today and continuing every Friday--until whenever, I will feature a “My Neck of the Woods” post. If some of you would like to join in, please feel free to do so!

The lady of this farm has a passion for quiliting. She "shows off" some of her families favorite quilt patterns by duplicating them with paint on plywood. Now, THIS is a keeper!

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. We love having company!

Au revoir,

The Sejant Lion

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

Meet Leo. He is the guardian of Campagne Maison and greets all our guests.

According to heraldic references, the LION ranked first among all beasts as the most noble and heroic. It symbolized strength, courage, and generosity.

The Sejant Lion--in the sitting position with one paw raised, indicates one that is prepared for combat.

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse today. Please leave a comment, we just LOVE company!

Au revoir,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

C'est UNE Vie Merveilleuse

The excitement of Spring is taking me away.........

The apple trees have bloomed, the hummingbirds are back, the birds are singing AND the grapevines are showing off !

Last month, I celebrated 13 years of being cancer free and 5 years cardiac stent placement success. It's a great big WONDERFUL world and I am happy to be alive and enjoying it. "God is SO GOOD...He's so good to ME"

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. WE LOVE HAVING COMPANY!

Au revoir,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

They're Baaaaaaaaaaaaaak!

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I cleaned and filled the hummingbird feeders this past weekend and it wasn’t a moment too soon. I am in the process of painting the front porch and yesterday I was “supervised” on several occasions by this little darling.

I never knew that hummingbirds would perch and drink. For some reason, I always thought they drank in mid-air. This picture does not do justice to the little fellow. He is really colorful.

Because the feeders were so successful last year and the “food war” got pretty bad, I am going to add more this year. If you are interested, I found this great recipe for making hummingbird food:

It seems to be a hit with all the hummingbirds around the farm.

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bonnet Top

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

If there is ONE thing that Campagne Maison is NOT afraid of, it’s color. This is another “oldie but goodie” that holds a great deal of sentimental value to me. I got this bonnet top china cabinet from my father in the mid 70’s. The DH and I had just purchased a new home and I needed a china cabinet for my new dining room. Luck would have it that my father had recently bought out a used furniture store and the china cabinet was part of the stock. I fell in love with it immediately.
It was its natural walnut finish when I got it; I later “antiqued” it yellow and kept it that color for several years. Then, I stripped it back down to its natural state AND now I have "antiqued" it again.

My china pattern is “Rosewyll”. It was chosen and given to me by my mother approximately thirty five years ago. She has gifted over the years, a set of china to all NINE of her children and her THREE grand daughters. There isn’t anything any prettier than pink roses for a shabby chic farm gal--that is, unless it is yellow ones because they’re my absolute favorite.

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. We just love having company.

Au revoir,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Ramblings

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I am unsure of the name of this flower but it grows wild here in East TN. It lines the country roads and you see it in masses everywhere. It must be a TN wild flower comparable to the Texas Bluebonnets.

Since moving to the “country”, I see things in a “whole different light”. I’m as excited as the birds are that Spring is finally here. It seems there are so many different species of birds here than from where we lived in Arkansas. My favorite so far is a small yellow finch. They are so pretty! Until we moved to TN, I don’t recall ever seeing any of them in the wild. And, last year, for the first time in my whole life, I had groups of hummingbirds feeding from my feeders. Butterflies and bees are in abundance and they frequent the hummingbird feeders as well.

The farm has three different varieties of apple trees and a grape arbor that kept me busy making jelly last summer. They are all in bloom now and I hope they produce an abundant crop again this year.

I am still indecisive about planting a garden even though I thoroughly enjoyed it last year. It was my very first attempt at gardening and I learned several valuable lessons. I need to hone my skills, so if I don’t procrastinate too long, I will try to improve and plant some different things this year.

As I sit alone having my quiet time today, I am reminded of just how much THIS city gal has learned since moving to the country. My weaknesses are slowly becoming my strengths and my strengths aren’t so important anymore. I think those are called “life lessons”.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse today.

Au revoir,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's A Frame Up!

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

If confession is good for the soul then I should be better than good. Yesterday, I admitted to having a love affair and today I have another issue to put on the table--or is that the wall? I have a frame fetish!

Most of the time, I buy a picture for its frame. And, in doing so, over the years I have accumulated a lot of them. I have small ones, large ones, round ones, square ones. I have wooden ones, metal ones, iron ones, and plaster ones. Some are brand new and some are in a state of much needed repair. Sometimes I paint them, sometimes I decoupage them and sometimes, if the mood strikes, I do both.

The DH gets angry at me about my frames, especially when he bumps his head on one hanging from the attic rafters or trips on one that has fallen off a hook. I agree that they are bulky and awkward to store and they do take up a lot of space. And, space is at a premium here at the farmhouse. So I am coming up with lots of uses for them. I double and triple hang them, place them around wall sconces, use them as “trays” on tabletops, and on occasion, I use them to frame pictures. Who knew?

Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse today. Please leave a comment if you also have a frame fetish OR know of other creative ways to use picture frames. This may be an emergency situation as the DH is cleaning out his workshop and the attic will be next!

Au revoir,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Light Up My Life

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

O.K. I admit it. I am involved in a romantic relationship. I am in love.

It is just a simple, five arm brass chandelier that has moved into the farmhouse with me. It is another “oldie but goodie” that was taken out of my brother’s home during a remodel in the 70’s. He put it up in my mother’s dining room where it remained for several years before I became the proud owner.

It once was new but now is old. It has been rejected, removed, re-cycled, repainted and rewired. It has a history. WE have a history. I simply cannot imagine this farmhouse without its little bling. I love it. It lights up my life.

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. We just love having company.

Au revoir,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Sister's Chest

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

My Sister’s Chest

This chest of drawers was part of a bedroom suite that my newlywed sister and her husband purchased from a used furniture store in 1967. At that time, it was several years old but I am uncertain as to the exact age of the piece. It does have built in brass key holes in each of the drawers and ivory casters, so my guess is circa 1930. Nevertheless, it is still a nice addition to my collection of oldies but goodies.

Originally a walnut finish, they opted to paint it a glossy lacquered black. What can I say other than it was the 1960’s? It was rather quite stunning and I remember how impressed I was the first time I saw it. When they decided to upgrade their style, I acquired the furniture and “antiqued” it white. (Gosh, I remember when those “antiquing” kits were so popular. I think my mother’s favorite of all time was “Fruitwood”. I seem to recall brushing on a lot of it on her furniture). In later years, I stripped it back down to its natural finish where it remains today. I guess you could say that it has come full circle.

Please leave a comment so I will know that you stopped by the farmhouse today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Born Again

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

This post recounts Campagne Maison’s motto: Cheap is good, free is better

Sorry that I don’t have any before pics of this Re-finish, Re-cycle project, but take my word for it, it wasn’t pretty. This table, along with 4 chairs, was actually a "FIND" made by the DH. It had been sitting in an outside storage building for several years, then rescued by our neighbor who in turn kept it in his attic for a couple more years. The neighbor mentioned it and offered it for sale. Long story made short, for the modest sum of $ 20.00, we purchased the entire five piece solid oak set. It has extension leaves that close inside the table and open up to seat six comfortably.

Lots of elbow grease, some sanding, and a little primer and paint, turned the ugly ducking into a beautiful swan. And, as Martha Stewart would say…."That’s a GOOD THING"

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse today. Have a great weekend.

Au revoir,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

YOU are my Sunshine

Bonjour from Campagne Maison


I just love the color Yellow! It makes me happy which, from what I read, it is "suppose" to do.

Color researchers believe that the color Yellow increases self-esteem and strengthens our overall well-being. The color Yellow has stood for wisdom and intellect throughout the ages. It is full of creative and intellectual energy. A sun color, it makes us feel happy and optimistic. Expansive and free to do and be all that we can be. Cheerful, Joyful, and Curious, Yellow promotes optimism and helps you feel expressive, friendly and experimental.

Any dull, dark room with little sunlight will greatly benefit from a Yellow based color scheme to compensate for the lack of light and bring in the gentle warmth of the sun. Yellow promotes the energy of fire and is easier to "live with" in bigger/larger quantities than the color red.

People that suffer from seasonal disorders and become depressed in winter months should try adding something Yellow to their wardrobe and environment. Have you had your dose of “Yellow” today?

Please leave a comment so I will know that you stopped by the farmhouse today.

Au revoir

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Bonjour from Campagne Maison

Let me introduce you to the new kits on the block: Semi, Demi, and Hemi

Semi is named in honor of the Seminole Indian tribe. My hometown was named after their great Chief “Osceola”. The Osceola High School mascot was a Seminole Indian Chief and our football team was the Osceola Seminoles.

Demi, who is the smallest of the litter, is named in honor of the beautiful Demi Moore. If I had to pick a favorite, she would be it simply because she is the runt and I am a sucker for the underdog, or in this case, the under-cat! (I KNOW...that was bad)

Hemi is named in honor of Ernest Hemmingway whose favorite breed was the Polydactyl. They have free reign of his home in Key West, FL. He named his cats in honor of movie stars and other celebrities. Jack-E, their mother, is a Polydactyl. Hemi is the only one of the three kittens that has six toes.

I am so proud of Jack-E. She has been a devoted mother to them and they are all thriving well. This is her first and LAST litter. I am glad she only had three because there is NO-WAY that the DH would ever part with one of them. Today they are thirteen (13) days old and quite the handful!

Au revoir

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's April in Paris AND in East TN

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

O.K. I'm not Doris Day or Miss Ethel "Dynamite" Jackson, this is not Paris in 1952, but it is April and the apple trees are in blossom at Campagne Maison.

April In Paris
Vernon Duke/ E.Y. Harburg

I never knew the charm of Spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of Spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart

"Just twist my arm and I'll agree, Paris is getting to me"
Miss Ethel "Dynamite" Jackson, "April in Paris", 1952

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pay It Forward

I came across this wonderful idea from Debbie at and wanted to join in on the fun….

This 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 "Pay It Forward"~~~~~

As you know from my Friday’s post, my children and grandchildren were in from Arkansas to “check on their mom and dad” (when did those roles reverse??) and celebrate the Easter weekend, so Mama (moi) is tired! The boys always have a “special food” that only Mama (moi) can make, so I tried to oblige. The DH and I really did have a great weekend and as always, Mama (moi) cried when they left—I am sure that I ALWAYS will. That is a “mama” thing.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Thanks for stopping by to visit us at the farmhouse today. Please come again!

Au revoir,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Legend of the Dogwood

At the time of the Crucifixion, the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus, when he was nailed upon it, sensed this. In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering, Jesus said to the tree: “Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender and bent and twisted. Its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross, with two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flowers will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember”

Author Unknown

Upon that cross of Jesus, mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One, who suffered there for me.
And from my smitten heart with tears, two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love, and my unworthiness

Excerpt from the great hymn written by Frederick C. Maker, 1844-1927
“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”

Have a Blessed Good Friday and Easter weekend!

Au revoir,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Noir et Blanc

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

I don’t know what draws me to it, but I love anything black and white. Together, separately, diagonally, checked, striped, and floral. Boston Terriers, Jersey cows, zebras, penguins, and skunks (well, Pepe Le Pew). Dominoes, dice, Oreos, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (as in Ebony and Ivory).

There is no shortage of it being used to decorate the farmhouse either. So far I have a black and white checked tile floor, black and white toile office chair, black and white toile and gingham checked curtains, black mantel and white fireplace surround, black and white Dominecker chickens, and a black and white computer keyboard, just to name a few....

They are yin-yang, positive and negative, each one complementing, completing, and giving force to the other. They are quirky, they are fun, and they make me happy!

"There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction". ~Salvador Dali
What colors make you happy and do you use them to decorate your home? Please leave a comment so I will know you stopped by the farmhouse for a visit today.

Au revoir,

"Petite cuisine agrandit la maison"

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

As you already know from reading my post entitled “The Moniker”, I have forever been the lover of scripted walls. One of our remodel projects here at the farmhouse included removing a wall between the kitchen and living room to make an open floor plan. This required the use of a support beam and two columns to redistribute the weight of the roof in order to keep the ceiling from falling. For the cosmetic purpose of hiding the support beam, we covered it with a 6” strip of wall to span that opening. And, like the wooden valance above the kitchen sink, that area was begging to be scripted.

I had no idea what wording I wanted to use until I researched popular French quotes and found this one: “Petite cuisine agrandit la masion” which loosely translated means “A small kitchen makes a large home”. Isn’t that SO French?

And, it just fits the sentiments of all us here at Campagne Maison. Our cottage kitchen is small but never too small for family and friends, enjoying good food, having a good time, and making good memories. Now, isn’t that what life is really all about?

Please leave a comment if you stopped by the farmhouse for a visit today and please come again. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fleur de Lis

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

This is the painting technique that I used on the Dining room walls. After removing wallpaper and paneling and repairing and patching sheetrock, a California knockdown or skip trowel treatment was applied to all the walls and ceilings in the farmhouse.

My niece, the Design Diva, reported for duty once again to help with this project. She man-handled the plaster hopper and I followed behind her with the flexible knockdown knife to create the texture. It wasn’t really that difficult (probably because I wasn’t the one with that heavy apparatus strapped to my back) but the process has to be done quickly AND it sure is messy! There is still plaster on parts of the floor that I’ve yet to get removed. I sure am happy that we had the foresight to save the flooring as the final "layer of design" in the farmhouse remodel. I shudder to think what condition they would be in with all the sheetrock mud and painting being done around here.

I just love the high and low textures that this technique gives to the walls, especially when a French Wash is applied. After painting the walls and applying the wash, I used a rubber stamp to add the Fleur de Lis. I measured off the distance in between each stamping and just went with it! I chose Ralph Lauren Ballroom Gold for the initial print and after that dried; I applied a “shadow” print by using the same rubber stamp BUT with metallic silver leaf paint. I completed the look with a small diamond stenciled in between each Fleur de Lis. I am especially fond of both colors used together and the shimmer they add to the entire room. It adds the “French Twist” to Country and that “added touch of the unexpected”.

This was a NO COST project. The gold and silver paint and the rubber stamp were “leftovers” from other projects. Cheap is good…FREE is better…

Please leave a comment so I will know you stopped by the farmhouse for a visit today.

Au revoir,

Monday, April 6, 2009

Une Semaine Occupée

Bonjour from
Campagne Maison

The hammers were swinging and the saws were humming at the farmhouse this weekend. The weather finally gave us a break from all the rain, so work has commenced on the backyard deck. It is all framed up and looking great! Pics of that project will be coming soon.

The weatherman is using that four letter word again….S-N-O-W. One day we are lathering on sunscreen, the next day we are layering on clothing, go figure!

No worries here though because we have plenty of projects going on inside the farmhouse to keep us busy. I am painting the guest bedroom and the DH is framing up the half-bath. I will also be posting pics of those projects later. We have doctor’s appointments and our children and the grandkids are coming for Easter weekend, so things are going to be moving in fast-motion at the farmhouse this week.

For those of you that know about Jack-E from my post “Free Kittens”, (if not, you must read it), she now has triplets. They were born Thursday night and they are adorable! The grandkids are more excited about seeing them than they are about seeing us. Talk about being fickle!

Thanks for stopping by Campagne Maison today. Please come again. We just love company!

Au revoir,

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Moniker

Campagne Maison: Loosely translated means Country Home. It’s short, simple and easy to remember.

When we came to live here, I knew that I wanted to give the farmhouse a name. To the locals it is known as “the old Cassady place" and I am sure to the locals it will ALWAYS be known that way. Some things never change. Do I care? NO.

I racked my brain trying to come up with something unusual or quirky but at the same time, short and simple. Every thing I thought of never seemed to fit. Remember how I said that sometimes you just have to let the house tell you what it wants? Well that is basically what happened. This house is our home in the country. C’est la vie!

I’ve been scripting on walls for years. Everything from single words, to phrases, to whole Bible verses. Kinda like Barbara Mandrell—you know, she “was Country when Country wasn’t cool” well, I was scripting on walls before it became increasingly popular. As I said before, when this house talks, I listen. I heard the wooden valance above the kitchen sink begging to be scripted and what could be more appropriate than the farm’s moniker? Personally, I think it looks like it has always been there.

For as long as I can remember, I have been enamored with anything FRENCH. It must be the French bloodline oozing from the roots of my family tree. I WILL go to France someday but until then I will be content with adding a little French Twist to this country farmhouse. Quite frankly, I feel most accomplished when I am being creative. My decorating style is ME, it reflects who I am. Who says a farmhouse can’t have a crystal chandelier or a fireplace surround that shines like a pearl or its name scripted over the kitchen sink? Your home should reflect who YOU are and how you like to live. I like to live “outside the box” and color “outside the lines”.

Please leave a comment so that I will know you stopped by the farmhouse for a visit today.

Au revoir,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Medallion Part II

The fireplace surround was cut freehand out of MDF. No fancy router cuts or finished edges, just plain and simple but curvy, just like I requested. The DH actually started the project while we were still living in AR and brought it to the farm for assembly during one of our work weeks. It only took a few minor adjustments, which is unusual as nothing in the farmhouse is plumb or level.

I made the insert for the Medallion using a white craft foam sheet. Then I painted on the initial and glued it inside the frame. After giving the entire piece a couple of coats of paint, I hung it smack dab in the center of the surround. I chose to hang the frame UPSIDE down because I wanted the point on the top to be at the bottom—like I said--a woman’s prerogative!

The mantle was fashioned from a shelf board that was taken from the old garage/storage building that had to be demolished. It is a solid piece of oak that was milled on sight, and like the lumber in the rest of the house, the saw blade marks are still visible. I painted it black and then applied a Flekstone paint finish that resembles granite. Then I applied three coats of aggregate sealer for protection as well as for shine.

I just recently added the fluted trim and the bulls-eye accents to give a little more substance to the surround. It is painted Woolen White and generously glazed with Behr Pearlescent White Opal decorative paint. That stuff is wonderful! It gives the wood a translucent luster that changes colors with the direction of the light—just like a pearl—just like I had envisioned—just like I wanted.

I usually try to give the approximate cost of each project but I am not really sure about this one. I have forgotten the cost of the MDF. I think it was around $ 25.00. The pearlescent paint cost around $ 20.00, the Flekstone paint is around $ 12.00, the picture frame was $ 3.00 and the other items were leftovers from other projects. My guess is it totaled around $ 60.00.

I consider this project finished but the DH says it ain’t finished until his 42” flat-screen television is hanging on the wall above it. Hummmmmmmmm…that WAS the deal.

Please leave a comment so I will know you stopped by the farmhouse to visit today. We love having company.

Au revoir,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Medallion

Bonjour from Campagne Maison

This story reminds me of that faucet commercial on television. You know the one where the couple goes into a renowned Architect’s office and after showing them all the magnificent buildings that he had designed; he asked them what he could do for them. The woman sits a faucet on his desk and says “design a house around this”? This is the same scenario that I presented to the DH when I showed him a $ 3.00 picture frame and told him to “build me a fireplace surround around it”.

The farmhouse has a double-sided fireplace that opens up into the Living room and into the Master bedroom. The living room side of the fireplace, at some point in time, was bricked over and replaced with a gas heater. We installed a central heating and air system to eliminate the use of propane gas, so during this remodeling project the DH had to use a crowbar to dismantle a stone riser that the heater sat on. That is a story in itself, but not the type that needs to be told to the outside world. Both of us should still be on our knees in prayer asking for forgiveness or holding up a giant silver cross to ward off demonic entities. Yeah—it was THAT bad. But, now that the holes in the floor are patched and the marble tile is down, no one needs to know anything about that monstrosity away. Looking back on the whole ordeal, it was kinda funny seeing as how I wasn’t the one that lost the thumbnail, slit a gash out of my leg or had to pick wood splinters out of my knees for a week.

Back to the story…..the only request that I made for the surround design was that I wanted it curvy and I wanted to use the picture frame as a center medallion. I envisioned it finished--painted stark white with a pearlescent glaze, topped off with a black mantle and the “piece de resistance”a center medallion with a scripted “W” initial. I had no scaled drawings, only the finished width and height. I didn’t really care if it was not “standard issue” with plinth blocks and pilasters. In fact, it took me over a year to decide to add those elements. I have found that with time, Campagne Maison tells me what she wants, so many of the remodeling projects have evolved and they are always subject to change. A woman’s prerogative, you know!

Tomorrow, part II…….

Please leave a comment so I will know that you visited the farmhouse today.

Au revoir,