Friday, January 2, 2015

With a New Year comes a few new changes

With the new year comes a few small personal changes here on the farm. One of these small changes is our home décor. I know this sounds a bit odd, but I've always had a taste for the finer things in life but could never quite decorate our house with a certain old fashioned formal flare, until now. I've always had a passion for the Victorian era. The houses were magnificent and people had a very formal refinement, something that has been long forgotten, especially in these modern times.

I had found a website a couple months ago that cater to the Victorian era. They have everything from women's hats and clothing to home décor and everything in between. The website is  Since finding the website, I've noticed it seemed to go hand in hand with one event the women in the Sweeney family love to participate in and host, and that is the tea party. The women get together in their big funny hats and we sip tea and eat gourmet finger foods. Being a little on the eccentric side I decided I needed some Victorian style hats for these tea parties. As I would look at everything the website had to offer I noticed "affordable" items for the house that I just couldn't do without. With Christmas fast approaching and family members needing ideas for things to get me, this seemed the perfect opportunity to revamp our home, and so it began.

However, with the new décor I realized that I needed a new me. Most people say that to create a new self, you must start from within and work your way outward. Well while that may be true for some its not for everyone. I for example need to work outward in. For starters, growing up I was taught to behave like a lady, although I'm pretty sure I didn't quite achieve this goal completely. I was always more of a tomboy.  However, I still remember the basics of polite society.

So, to work on myself there are a few things that need to change. For starters, like with everyone's new years resolution, I need to loose weight. The second thing is that I need to use my manners more often, and to brush up on basic etiquettes and put them to use in everyday life.

I  also need to teach these things to Skylar. I've taught her the basic manners, but I feel she needs a slight bit of refinement.

So, these are our small personal changes on the farm and while it may be a little odd or maybe even outdated in our modern society, I feel that getting truly back to the basics will improve our lives a little more.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas in the bayou

In Lutcher, Louisiana, (which is where I am originally from,) we have a special Christmas tradition for lighting Santa's way on Christmas Eve. We build huge unique Bon fires on our levees that boarder the Mississippi River. The construction of these elaborate Bon fires begin at the end of November. The residents build Bon fires in the form of swamp cabins, castles, tanks, or whatever floats their boat. On Christmas Eve night around 7:00 pm we light the Bon fires to light papa Noel's way through the bayous. In the bayou papa Noel doesn't have a sleigh of reindeer instead he arrives in a pirogue driven by gators. Papa Noel uses this method of transportation in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana because according to legend and history the reindeer refused to go through swamps and his sleigh was too big to navigate the swamps. Many of the original settlers would build homes in the swamps and lived on whatever food the swamps provided. There are still homes and camps in our bayous and swamps that are very much inhabitable and to many living in the swamps as their anscetors did is still very much apart of every day life as well as tradition. With the lighting of the Bon fires to light the way there is yet another tradition, the festival of the Bon fire. Being Louisiana we tend to find any reason to throw a party. So the festival of the Bon fires began. On this night everyone and their families come out to do a little celebrating while lighting the Bon fires on the levee. We come together as a community andput differences aside and pass on the tradition to our kids. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tea Party

Since being with Sean the last couple of years and us moving onto  our farm, I have grown a lot as a person and have been thrown into a pleasantly strange new little world. While Sean seems to have grown up in a family that has a bit more social standing than mine, I have realized that I'm not completely out of place.  Keep in mind that neither I nor Sean have ever come from money although neither of us have ever really wanted for anything.

My grandparents, like most peoples grandparents who came up during the great depression, had a classy refinement that would be hard pressed to be found in the younger generations. My grandmother, who to this day has always had an Audrey Hepburn quality to her, tried her hardest to teach me proper manors and how to be a lady. My Grandfather, who seemed to have a clark gable refinement to him even when hunting and fishing, always tried to teach me to be smart and tough. I think my Grandfather won out as I grew up a tomboy. Always wanted to go fishing and hunting when I was little. My Grandmother use to try and talk me out of fishing but would give in as it was more lady like than hunting, which I was never allowed to do.

My mother, as well as my grandparents, has always worked but my mom has never been an outspoken person where my aunt, her sister, has always had a refinement that matched my grandmothers and an outspoken wit to match my grandfathers. I myself have always been more on the shy quiet side and always lacked a certain confidence when around others. Although I have mastered the art of "social illusion".  Most people who meet me, even the ones who've known me awhile, don't believe me when I tell them I'm shy.

When I say I've grown a lot since being with Sean, it's true. I've been yanked out of my shell and  thrown into social situations that I'm not use to being in.  One of the things that the Sweeney women love to do and have seemed to make into an art form is to throw tea parties.

When most people think of a tea party they either think of little girls sitting around playing dress up and taking to stuffed animals and drinking imaginary tea from tiny cups. The other image that comes to mind is of old Victorian women sipping tea in the gardens and having idle chit chat and gossiping.

Well, I can assure you that I had no idea what to expect when I was told that I was attending a tea in lieu of a bridal shower last October.

My soon to be sister in law, Bridget, who is also the tea party throwing guru of the Sweeney women , told me that sky and I were to wear dresses and funny hats to the tea. Luckily I had two 50's style sundress that fit both sky and myself and I just so happened to have an old straw sunhat from when I was a kid, Sky had a fedora that just so happened to go perfectly with the dress she was to wear.

Well, the day of the tea party arrived and as always sky and I were fashionably late. I was a nervous wreck and it takes a while for me to get half way descent looking hair.

When we got there, Bridget's living room had been turned into a very formal dinning room. The tables were set with fine china, candles, napkins, silverware, the works. Finger foods were passed around and tea was poured. There was laughter and idle conversations. To me it was something out of the handbook for the rich and social.

As of recently, Sky and I had been invited to another Tea. This one for Sean's grandmother's birthday. This time it was a little less formal but equally as nice. When we got home from this last tea, I had made up my mind that We needed a tea set. I do like to drink hot tea from time to time, but I've never had a "proper" Tea set.

By the time Sean had gotten home from work I was busy studying and shopping for tea sets.
I even read up on the proper etiquette for tea parties. Sean and I finally agreed on a tea set by the time we went to bed, which if all goes well I'll get for Christmas. I even went as far as to take Sky and her best friend Cindy to the English tea room the following Saturday. Sometimes I tend to throw myself full heartedly into things, This whole tea thing is one of them.

In all of my craziness I did learn a ton of new information. Apparently the art of the Tea party is not dead and is actually making a come back. The art of Tea has never and will never be dead in England, mind you. However, it does seem to be making a come back in the southern states. I can't speak for the northern states. 

I will be posting another blog on tea etiquette, for those of you who may be interested and I will try to also post a few recipes on tea party foods.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween party

Well our first annual Halloween party went over really well. Everyone who came out had a great time and enjoyed great food. However, next year will go a little smoother. We'll have all the decorations up no later than the night before and most of the cooking will be done the night before Or the morning of. For Sean and I Halloween night was hectic trying to get everything done and cooking while people were showing up. Needless to say we had so many leftovers that we're still eating them. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween at Sweeney manor

This year on the farm, or as we've come to call it "Sweeney manor", we are hosting our first annual Halloween party. We don't seem to have as many Halloween decorations as I remember so aside from buying most of my Halloween decorations to expand our assortment of ghoulishness I found a few diy projects. 

Since we don't have nearly enough decorations for inside as out, I got creative. I remembered that I had an old deck of tarot cards (been having them since highschool) grabbed some black felt large enough for our round coffee table, and while searching high an low for the cards stumbled across an old brass candle holder that Sean had and a pillar candle that I bought recently. So all I did was lay out the felt, place the cards on the felt( 7 lined face up and the rest face down spread out), placed the candle holder and candle on the table and presto simple diy creepy Halloween fortune ( or misfortune) telling table complete ( as pictured above with effects added).The only thing I'm missing is a crystal ball:) 

My next diy project was a ghost :

I used a styrofoam head
Cheese  4 large layers of cloth 
Fishing line

Basically, you glue the cheesecloth to the styrofoam head in a cross pattern. One strip unfolded goes on from the front of the head to the back. The next strip goes on from ear to ear. Next you glue on the two other strips where there is room on too of the head. Let glue dry. Then cover the head and face with the modgepodge. Once dry attach the fishing line through the top of the head for hanging. Finally add eyeshadow to the eyes and highlight the nose, cheeks and chin and add color to the lips. Let dry completely and you're ready to hang.

My next project was the guest bathroom:) 

While the shower curtain, the toilet cover, and the mirror cling are obviously store bought, the bathmat and guest towels are painted by hand..... Literally. 
I saw the bathmat done up and for sale for 27.00. That was way too much to pay for a bathmat. So I went to dollar general and picked up a bathmat for 6.00. Already had the red acrylic paint and also purchased the towels for about 2.00 a piece. All we had to do was put the red paint on our hands and feet and go to town:) so we did. I was also able to make a tablecloth for our outdoor BBQ table the same way using a plastic tablecloth we got for a dollar at dollar general. These are great for adding a bit of gory slasher fun that kinda has a very Norman bates feel to it ;) 

My other favorite, is "mr. Creeper". 

He's almost as simple as the bathroom. All we used for him was an upright wooden coat rack, Sean's old black cowboy duster, some old shirts and rags for stuffing and an old goofy mask. Really anyone can make mr. Creeper. He's actually one of the best props we have at Sweeney manor. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Halloween lantern

A quick inexpensive way to light your path on Halloween. Mason jars are so versitle they can be used in so many ways. We had done some mason jar lanterns for sky's 12th birthday as part of her Rustic themed birthday party a couple years ago and I've decided to repurpose them for Halloween. 

All you need is mason jars

Copper wire

Votive or tea light candles (flame or flame less)

Water color paint

Wrap the copper wire around the top of the mason jar creating a handle.

Use red paint to create the blood drip on the jar

Let dry and place the candle inside and you're done. 

Super simple lantern for Halloween either for the little ones to carry on their hunt for treats on dark Halloween nights (for this use led candles) or to light a pathway. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Simple Halloween decoration

All you need for this cool decoration is some Spanish moss and two ravens or crows. 

Take the Spanish moss and create a nest around the chandelier or wherever you're using it and then attach the ravens or crows with floral wire to make them stand up. 

Simple, quick, and super easy:)