Thursday, December 31, 2009


If you remember my first post, September 16th, this'll remember where we started...

My husband had just broken ground for his new workshop and in December of this SAME year we planned to move his stuff out of the studio into the new space....And, in January 2010, I planned to begin to convert his old workshop (the downstairs portion of my studio) into our new shop, Ranch Dressing.

Well, here is where we are in our progress...

Footings dug only yesterday...

with plans to pour them at 8 am today....

...but, guess what? It rained, AGAIN, last night.

  The good news is...NC is no longer in a drought. We've had rain, rain, rain, a little snow, and more rain.  We are good in that respect. And now we have MUD.

Checkers seems to love it more than I do.

Karat has no problem with it either, but, she prefers to wear it on her rump rather than her face.

 Is this what they are talking about when the "old timers" talk about drinking from a horse track?

I'm about to get sucked under...

 ...I'm okay, but the Ariats are needing serious attention.

Are we discouraged? No, not really. Where there's a will there's a way. Things always work out for the best and May 8th is still far enough off that I think we can still have our first open house then. We are hoping to pour the concrete Saturday. As soon as the building is in the dry we are moving everything out of the old workshop so we can concentrate on Ranch Dressing.

We have been blessed abundantly in 2009 and know that 2010 promises many new friends and wonderful experiences. We are so looking forward to the new year and hope you will continue to follow along with us on our journey.

On Monday, I will announce the first of 12 giveaways  for the year. Until then, I hope that you have a Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little Nite-time Sparkle

1960's Santa my grandmother made...I've had to add a little cotton over the years but he stand's pretty much as he did when I was a child...which is honestly, a little wobbly.
 It's no secret that I love color....bold color...always have and don't guess I'll ever change. My house is easily decorated at Christmas because of all the red I already have, but I love the way it looks best at night, with only the lights from the trees and the candles in the windows.

My little thrift-store snow village sits atop the player piano in our den. The background is a 1920's velvet painting that came from my great-aunts home after she passed away at the age of 99 a few years ago. 

Tiny little hand made reindeer and a crystal the contrast of materials

 The last three photos are of our little tree and a tiny Santa, but with a little embellishment from photo shop...

Watercolor tree

...and the glowing tree.

 1950's ceramic skiing Santa

Will you miss the ambiance of the lights after the season is long gone? I really do, and will keep out a few window candles through the winter as well as the snow village minus Santa and decorated trees.  

Link your photos, I'd love to see your nite-lites.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite Ornaments

 Salt dough cookie cutter ornament made 20 years ago by my one year old and I 

Just a quick little post today about my favorite Christmas tree ornaments. Each year I have intentions of having one of those beautiful trees like you see in magazines and like the ones I did years ago for the Festival of Trees where someone bids on the tree and takes home all the trimmings for the price of a good cause.

...and each year with all my good intentions and new Krebs Bravarian hand blown glass ornaments ready to be displayed...I look at my little hand-made treasures from my grown-up children and know that I can't bear to leave them in the box.

She sings at the top of our tree every year
Toy Soldier Banner
A popular design among teachers...I think we have 4 or 5 of these

I believe this is a framed snowflake

This is quite possibly an original design- at any rate it's a one-of-a-kind

Some that our daughter and I made together are now 20 years old. Others, and most of them, were made by both children in the early years of elementary school. They are beginning to look a little tattered and glues have browned with age, but they make me feel like I still have little kids when I see them on the tree.

 Love, love this one!

...and this one I made.

One day, I will follow through on my grown-up tree, but I imagine I will always have a kid's tree somewhere in the house.  Do you do still put out your children's decorations?

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Bit of History

 September 1987

We are no longer the house without a Christmas tree...last week I made a lot of progress, finishing up art projects for customers, getting things shipped out and lastly, decorating our home...but, I know you are not interested in all that...hopefully you are here because you want to know more about Ranch Dressing and how things are coming along.

Well, things are coming along slowly, but surely. If you are from around here, you know that we've had rain every week for months now. NC is officially out of it's drought. My first post showed a photo of where my husband, Rick will build his new shop so that I can take over his part of the studio for the store. Sadly, nothing has changed yet on that part of our property with the exception of lots of standing water. This week promises more sunshine and come hell or (more) high water, we are digging and pouring footings on Friday. Yay!

I continue to dig around in the container to find new treasures, but I can't pull anything much out yet because of lack of space upstairs in the working studio. I am wrapping things up for the year in the art end of the business and don't plan to take on any large projects until summer...there is a short waiting list forming so if you want a floorcloth by next summer contact me soon to get on the calendar for May.

In the meantime, I dug out some pictures of what it looked like here when we bought the place 22 years ago. I loved the old house that was still standing here and tried to figure out how to use it for a studio but it was just too far gone to save at that point. Because we were young and poor...and had lots of time on our hands...we (mostly Rick) tore it down piece by piece and salvaged what we could...which was not too much...for the new studio.

A couple of the girls that lived here with us for a while

You can see the cows couldn't get in there to keep it cleaned up around the house.

By spring of 1988 we had cleaned up quite a bit.

Fall 1988

Rear veiw of the smoke house and  house

Summer  1990

What a cutie! He still looks about the same with the exception of a few white hairs in his beard.

To be continued....have a great week!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taking it Slower

My first post since we rolled into December...and here it is the 7th already. My confession for today is that I haven't started decorating for Christmas yet. This, for a designer is probably considered as sin...but, I have reasons.

Today is the first day in over 2 weeks that I haven't felt bad, in fact, today I feel like a million dollars compared to yesterday. I'm finally over the hump and it feels miraculous.

I did what so many other women are guilty of and we need to stop! I ignored red flag after red flag that I was getting sick, but I kept on working to the point that I finally crashed and could not function. By the time I drug myself to my doctor he was ready to put me in the hospital. That scared me to the point of deciding to be a good patient and go home and take my meds and rest...but not without a shot in the hiney to go.

I have much catching up to do this week such as groceries, shopping for the angel tree, some decorating for Christmas here and finishing up an order. Naps will be a priority! I am taking no chances on a relapse!

Take care people! Life is a gift. Health is a priority.

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Auction for a Good Cause

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we did and are so blessed by family and friends along with a warm home and abundance in so many ways.

I want to send you today to my art blog for a link to a charity, Stolen Horse International, that is based here in NC but is a national help to our horse friends and families. This is the time of year for their annual fundraising auction and you can not only help support thier mission but get a start on your shopping for the horse loving friend or family member on your Christmas list.

We have donated a hand painted cookie plate shown here and there are dozens more incredible items to choose from. See you there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Low Center Pieces

I'm working on my Turkey Day "to do" list this week like all of you, and am hoping I can get it all done without a hitch! I try to keep things simple, because I've discovered over the years that time spent with friends and family are much more important and memorable than whether my floors sparkeled or my decorations were perfect.

With that said, I have a couple of center pieces to show you that you can make in a matter of a few minutes. If you have children you can  take a nature walk with them and collect your supplies.

When I have guests I don't like peeking around a tall center piece to talk to or see them. I've always preferred something low flanked with candles on each end.  If you have an old dough bowl or a trifle bowl, and a few things you can borrow from nature you're good to go.

The first one is made from an old dough bowl that was my  great grandmother's. I've laid down a base of magnolia leaves and sweet annie and lavender dried from my herb garden. Next I layered dried fruit from Walmart ($4.00) with pinecones, walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns and  moss, all free for the taking in the woods around our home. It smells wonderful and is a good alternative to the horn of plenty that my Mom always puts out this time of year. 
The second one is small and still relatively low, made with the same items. The little pumpkins stacked on the crystal candlesticks are carvable from Hobby Lobby. I cut holes for the candles with an exacto knife and inserted the candle into the top pumpkin only.

Simple and easy for your busy week.

Just my two cents...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A little something for you...

I've been out of town for several days visiting our daughter so I am behind here at Ranch Dressing and literally at the ranch here at home. Here's a little something until I get cranked back up....

I'm involved in several charitable events already this season and with the items being donated for good causes I am also handing out coupons for folks to use when the shop officially opens in May.

For you...for helping spread the word I am offering the same gift to you...enlarge it by clicking on it first...right click and save this coupon in your documents or pictures file, then when you are ready, print and bring with you when the shop opens. It will entitle you to 10% off you complete purchase from Ranch Dressing. I will be listing things from now until the end of the year in my online shop on Etsy and will honor the coupon there as well with just a mention of seeing the coupon here on the blog. The listing will be shown here  before I list it in the Etsy shop so you will get a heads up of the items before hand.

Feel free to print one for friends as well and help spread the word for us! Thanks a bunch and I will be talking to you later this week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slowly but Surely

Things are moving slowly but steady. Each day I do something to get us closer to opening our doors in May. It still sounds like a long way off but in a few weeks, things will really get busy around here with all there is to do around Christmas time and before you know it it will be 2010.

Today I finally made a decision on the banner for the blog which can also be my button for sharing on other blogs. I think she represents us well. Very retro, very cowgirl and very pretty.

I added a description of what I expect the shop to be like. It will grow and evolve, but this is what I'm seeing so far.

I'm still cleaning things from the trailer. The mildew and dust makes me feel horrible on a daily basis. This can truly be called a labor of love. I can't eat or sleep when I'm nauseous and stuffed up. Benedryl and Claritin are my good friends these days.

I have found some great treasures, one being this Roseville piece. It's in near perfect condition with only one tiny crack under the rim. It doesn't go all the way through and doesn't show on the outside. I've never been a collector of Rosville, but have seen many a person get carried away in a bidding war at an estate sale. If you are interested in purchasing it you can contact me by email and we will talk turkey.

Roseville Zepher Lilly Green #132 7
Even though it's not my thing, or my taste, I do appreciate the details and the lovely glazes. It should bring enough to help with my allergy meds!

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's a Contest

 Western Glamour is sponsoring a contest for the beautiful necklace shown here. It is the creation of Silver Steer Boutique and will end tomorrow, Thursday November 5th....sorry I'm just getting the info out to you...I know it looks like I am trying to make my odds for winning a little better, but I honestly didn't have a minute for blogging before today.

I won't waste your time here telling you the rules...hurry over to Western Glamour and get yourself entered!

Western Glamour Pendant Contest

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Goodies Inside

Here's the scoop on the container...It is packed with a family's life possessions and has been sitting for about 15 one wanted any of it has been waiting all this

I haven't even begun to see everything in there yet. Friday I started with the few boxes at the door and got carried away reading notebooks....Evidently someone in the family was hearing impaired, the Mr. from what I can tell....and the family had saved conversations written in pencil and pen...on composition books, note pads, and even scraps of paper, all packed away in a box. Some of the more important conversations were wrapped carefully in plastic bread bags. These people wasted nothing! That could be a post in itself.

I've got my work cut out for me. As you can see, it's all dusty and in need of much TLC. I am getting a vision, though, of my first open house. I am seeing a very retro 1940's set up. I've already got my friend making aprons for the kitchen section. She got all excited when we started talking about it and threw in the idea of matching hot I'm thinking placemats and curtains.

Tonight I am finishing up the jewelry boxes. I've sorted out what is good and all in one piece and tomorrow I am going to start cleaning it all. There is lots and lots of costume pieces from the 40's - 80's. I can't wait to show you.