When the television show, Fixer Upper, started several years ago, we all became instantly enamored with Joanna Gaines. And, why wouldn't we be enamored with her? She's a lovely person who reminded us that chipped up corbels make great book ends, that giant farm tables are romantic and she brought the words "ship lap" into homes across America. As someone who already likes old, rustic, rough around the edges type items, I was hooked. I wanted the farm table, the white ship lap walls, the ginormous chandeliers...then I remembered, I live in a ranch style home built in the 1960s.
There's nothing wrong with being inspired by the top trendy designers, but its ok to realize that maybe your style and your home can incorporate something else other than the current craze. Joanna knows her style. She made that style into a trend that so many of us want to have a piece of. I tried it, I did. But, it just didn't work in my house. I had to think about what would work and would bring me joy in the objects and design I live with everyday. Somehow I ended up in the mid century look of my Grandma's house that I loved to visit so much.
During quarantine this spring, I decided to embrace a change inside. I painted a couple of walls turquoise, I ordered a crazy wild chandelier, I insisted to my family that the record player become part of our daily routine and I found a dining table that reminded me of the one my Grandma had. Thankfully, my family embraced the changes and they were even ok with decorating for Christmas completely different than we've ever done before...we went retro.
My Mom had a set of antique Christmas bulbs that she treasured. Since her passing, I have come to treasure this set as well. I've been too afraid to put them on any Christmas tree, in fear that they would fall and break, so they have been boxed up for several years. This year, I placed them in a glass candy jar so we could enjoy them and they would be protected.
If you've known me at any point in my entire life, you'll know that I am a lady who loves plaid. The first question I received when I revealed parts of our retro Christmas was, "What? No plaid!?" There's no way on earth that I could remove plaid from my life, especially at Christmas. I found ways to incorporate it in other rooms of the house, still with a bit of vintage flair.
Driving through the colorful scenic woods and lakeshores in Northern Michigan is one of my favorite ways to experience the changing of seasons. It seemed fitting to use that as inspiration for my fall pumpkin carving and carve my Wagoneer into a delightful autumn lantern. I sketched an outline onto the pumpkin and scored it with a knife. Once the outline was in place, I used my wood carving and linocut tools to slowly peel away layers of pumpkin (just deep enough to let light shine through).
Pumpkin carving turns into a bit of a competitive sport in our family. Each year we gather with relatives to carve our pumpkins, eat comfort foods and roast the pumpkin seeds we've removed. What started as traditional jack o'lantern carving has now morphed into all kinds of unique creations. Undoubtedly, no one was really all that surprised with my pumpkin carving choice.
Is it just me, or do you binge watch baking shows and suddenly decide you need to see if you can whip up some kind of sugary masterpiece in your kitchen? With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to dig out my Christmas cast iron gingerbread mold and see if I could modify it to create a spooky (but kind of classy) Halloween gingerbread house.
I bought the cast iron form at a garage sale several years ago. One side has the template for the front of the house and roof section. The other side of the template has the forms for the home's sides and awnings. Due to this fact, baking gingerbread becomes a labor of love. Once the gingerbread is mixed, rested in the fridge, rolled out, cut to fit and pressed into the form, it takes 25 minutes to bake each section and ten minutes of cooling before the pieces can be removed and subsequent pieces baked.
My name is Jenny. I'm a hand engraver but I also am a creative who has a tough time sitting still. My mind is always swirling with new project ideas. In between engraving, I like to jump in and out of other activities like restoring a vintage camper, redecorating my home, woodworking and print making (just to name a few).