A Journey of 1000 Steps


This is it.

You made it.

You set a goal and you set forth to conquer it.

A wise Chinese philosopher once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Well…..my wonderfully creative, fabulous, exhausted friend.  Your journey has begun.

And we want to see it.  We want to see your “impossible.”

If you finished…..we want you to take a bow and show the world.

If you didn’t….if your “impossible” didn’t really get off the ground….if it fizzled at the starting gate……if your paint is still sitting in the can…..if your knitting is unraveling….you know what…..

                                                                 ……we don’t care. 

You see we don’t care because we are excited and thrilled that you even started.

We want to see what you have accomplished…..we want to see where you are in the journey…..we want to see your first, middle and last step of 1000 steps.


<img src=”http://thistlewoodfarm.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/1imadeit.png?w=160″>

Show Us Your Impossible Linky Party

Here’s the Party hostesses:

Thistlewood Farm (me)

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The Space Between

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A Sort of Fairy Tale Girl

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The Cottage Market

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Eclectically Vintageimage

it all started with paint

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(1)  The party opens at 7AM CST and will close Friday at midnight.

(2)  Add your link by clicking on the link below.  This will take you to another page where you add the link.  (I know….a little lame with the other page and all….take it up with WordPress).

(3)  When you add your link it will also appear on the link parties at The Cottage Market, The Space Between, It All Started With Paint, A Sort of A Fairytale and Eclectically Vintage.  I know.  You are telling me!  Awesome.  Six link parties and you only have to link up once!

(4)  Grab a button and wear it like the badge of honor it is!  You earned it!  Show the world that you….yes…..you….have accomplished your “impossible.”

(5)  We will be featuring outstanding “impossibles” from the party on Tuesday, February 7.  Be sure to check back to see all of the features.

(6)  Lastly, this is not the end of the world where “impossibles” become “possibles,” so if you want to be updated on all our future challenges and exciting projects, be sure to add your e-mail to the box on the sidebar!

Let’s get this party started!

Click on this link to take you to the linky page.


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Putting the Possible in Impossible

I DID IT!  Yesssireee!  I did it!

I can’t believe I made my “impossible” a “possible.”

Remember when you were in fourth grade and they were picking teams for dodgeball and you were always picked last and then you grew over the summer and then the team captain who never realy liked you picked you……first!

Remember that?  Remember how excited you were?

THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER!

Did you see it?

Did you see it from both angles?

You know you want to scroll up one more time just to check out that adorable little loaf!

I want to take a giant picture of it and post it on a billboard.

I want to fly it from a banner on a plane.

I want them to announce it from the international space station.

SHE BAKED HER FIRST LOAF OF BREAD!

So how did I accomplish this herculean task?

Well…..

First, I bought one of these (notice the positive slogan….I am off to a good start)!

…then I bought some of this…..

…..and some of this.

And then…..

                      …. and this was truly the key to my success…..

….. I followed this recipe exactly as given to me by this incredibly talented and truly generous blogger.  She is the reason why I was able to accomplish my “impossible.”  She is the reason why my family tasted homemade bread baked by me for the first time in their lives.  She is the one who gave me the courage to do what I would never even have attempted before. 

Thank you my friend.  Truly…..thank you.

And now….without further fanfare….here is her recipe…..

Never Fail Bread  (I like the title already)

2 c. warm water  (Make sure it is slightly warm.  If it is too hot to put your hand in, it will kill the yeast)
1/2 c. white sugar 
2 envelopes yeast or about 4 1/2 teaspoons
 
4 Tbsp. oil ( I have used to use corn oil, but now I use canola. both work well.)
1 egg
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
 
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra oil for coating bread while rising and after baking.
 

In a large mixing bowl, pour your fresh yeast into a bowl. Pour 2 c. water that is very warm, but not too hot. If it is too hot to touch, it will kill the yeast. Add 1/2 c. sugar. This gives the yeast food to grow. Allow this mixture to “proof” – meaning, it will sit for 10 minutes and show that the yeast is live by forming a layer of bubbles on top of the water. If this does not happen, your yeast may be too old. If it does form bubbles,  continue with the recipe.

(Aside….this is what the bubbles look like….exactly like she said…..isn’t it awesome)!

Lightly beat the egg. Add the oil and salt. Add this to the yeast/sugar/water mixture.
 
Next, add the flour a cup at a time, mixing it in with a wooden spoon as you go. It will begin to get very thick. Keep adding the flour. You’ll need at least 6 cups. You want this mixture to begin to look like torn up rags. At this point, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it only enough to form it together into a ball. 
 
(Note to self.  Buy a real wooden spoon instead of using one of your wooden salad spoons).
(Second note to self.  The color of that dough would be a perfect paint choice for the pantry).
 
In your mixing bowl, pour a little oil – no more than 1/4 cup. Put the ball of dough in and roll it around to coat it on all sides with the oil. Cover it in saran wrap or a damp dishtowel and leave it in a warm place to rise. 
 
Rising time is variable – depending on the temperature. You’re looking for the dough to double. You can tell if it is doubled if when you poke your finger into the dough, the hole does not shrink back. It may take an hour or more.
 
(Aside.  Mine took an eternity to rise).
 
When the dough has doubled, you literally punch it down. With your fist, punch the air out of it to flatten it. Now you’ll need a fairly large space to turn it out on – at least 2′ x 2′. Since it is now oily on the outside, you don’t need to flour your surface. 
 
Get your rolling-pin and roll out the dough as thin as you can get it. It will be about 2′ square or a little more. When you’ve gotten it this big and thin, fold it over and roll it again. Keep folding it over and rolling it until you have a rectangular hunk of dough roughly the size of a loaf of bread.
 
If using pans, grease your pans with Crisco or butter. 
 
Cut this dough into 3 equal parts. You can make this as rustic round loaves or loaf pan loaves. If you want pretty loaves, you take each piece of dough and fold the outside edges to the bottom. The top will sort of get rounded, and it will keep this shape as it rises the second time. 
 
Let this dough rise again until doubled. This time, just visually estimate that it has doubled. No poking.
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have doubled, bake them about 30 minutes until they are nice and golden brown. 
 
Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes – this is hard! Cutting them too early affects the texture, so it is worth waiting. Have some nice real butter waiting.
 

And you end up with something that looks like this…..

…..that turned into this……in under five minutes.

That’s it.

If you have never baked bread before……please try this recipe.  Trust me when I say…..if I…..the queen of the hotdog pot pie…..can bake bread…..

                       …..you should be able to do it with one hand tied behind your back!

So you have seen my “impossible” and now I want to see yours! 

Please join me and each of these incredibly talented and truly creative bloggers as we host a six blog linky party.
The Space Between

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A Sort of Fairy Tale Girl

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The Cottage Market

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Eclectically Vintage

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it all started with paint

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The party starts tomorrow, January 31 from 7:00 EST until midnight on Friday, February 3.

And don’t worry if you haven’t completed the project…..this “impossibles” party is about the journey.  We want to see what you have accomplished.  We want to see your progress.  We want you to show it to the world!


<img src=”http://thistlewoodfarm.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/1imadeit.png?w=160″>

If you want to get started early….grab a button.

And please remember that this is no ordinary button….this is your badge of honor….to let the world know that you have made your “impossible” into a “possible.”

So put it on a billboard….or fly it from a plane….or send it up to the international space station. 

You earned it.  You have done what so many others never even attempted.

Because you, my friend, yes, I am talking to…..you….

                                              ….you put the “possible” in your “impossible.”


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Ouch!  That Hurt!

Ouch! That Hurt!

Blogging can be thrilling and exciting and surprising and scary.

Yes.  Scary.

There are thousands of us.

Painters and sanders and thrifters and upholsterers and junkers and crafters.

Thousands.

Most of us aren’t professionals.  Most of us don’t have degrees in painting or sanding or thrifting or junking or crafting.

We are simply doing what we love…..what we were born to do.

And we put it out there….

…..on our blog….

…..for all the world to see.

And sometimes the world loves us.  The world embraces us with open arms, flung wide.  Sometimes the world says…..I love your craft, your painted chair, your upholstered headboard, your distressed bookshelf,  your newly chosen paint color.

And sometimes…..

…….sometimes the world doesn’t agree.

My bathroom was recently featured on another blog.

It was a pretty big blog.

And the world saw it…..

……and found it wanting.

Here’s a sampling of the comments:

“I would have removed/changed the wallpaper and that’s it. The after is generic, boring, bland, safe, martha stewart crap. I can’t fathom why someone would take classy timeless rich stained woodwork and paint it white to look like the cheap vinyl paneling they sell at home depot…..”

“I love wainscoting and plan on having some painted white in my own bathroom soon. However, it should be painted when installed new made from cheap pine, NOT when it has such rich beautiful character and patina as in the before picture. The old stuff made with good wood and stained is such a rarity now. What a waste to paint that and also the rest of the room does feel ho-hum cookie cutter like everything else we see now.”

“Love the white chair rail and even the blue above, but that girly frou-frou all over is not chic. Back to the drawing board.”

And my personal favorite….

 

“It’s a perfectly lovely “before” that could have been easily accessorized, I think.”

Ouch!

That stung.

The comments were harsh.  Truthful in someways….but harsh, nonetheless.

So what do you do with this feedback?

Where do you go from here?

Simply put, what do you do when you, as a blogger, encounter criticism?

Do you stop creating?  Do you let it into your soul?  Do you cry a silent cry that you were rejected?  Do you lash out at a cold sea of faceless, nameless critics?

Or do you chose to go on?

 

I create and blog because it is simply who I am.  No degrees.  No professional title.  Not for others.  Not to impress.  Just for me.

My house is me.

My blog is me.

My bathroom is me.

And world, I’m moving on because the thing is……

……I really like me.

 

 

 

 


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My Old Kentucky Home

Some people have a Cricut.

Some people have a Silhouette Cameo

Nope.

Not me.

I have my very own personal vinyl cutter.

Her name is Greta and she is one fine vinyl cutter, but she is tough.

You see, when I talk there is a lot of hand waving and excited gesturing.  As a matter of fact, truth be told, I am heavy on the exuberance and excitement and light on the follow-through.

Not Greta.

For example, I say, “Greta.  I need the largest state of Kentucky possible you can create in vinyl. So I can create…..

……these.

Greta is not a hand-waver.  Greta is not overly, unnecessarily exuberant.  Greta is efficient and task-oriented and always follows through.  And, of course, the next day a 12″ x 8″ vinyl Kentucky shows up at my house.

“I want to see it when you are through,” says my vinyl cutting task-master.

No pressure.

So I stop my hand-waving, curb my enthusiasm and get to work.

To complete this project I:

(1)  Bought two canvases from Hobby Lobby.  They came two to a package.  I bought long canvases because Kentucky is a long state.  People who live in long states or square states might want to take this into account when purchasing canvases from Hobby Lobby.

(2)  I applied the vinyl of Kentucky to one canvas.

(3)  I applied the outline of the vinyl to another canvas.

(4)  I painted the two canvases with leftover paint samples from these projects.

(5)  I waited one hour while I watched Project Runway All Stars and bemoaned the fact that Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are not on the show.

(6)  I peeled off the vinyl and debated if I should use them again, realized that Greta might frown on this, and threw the vinyl away except for one corner I saved.

(7)  I cut out a star from that little piece of vinyl and added it to the canvas.

(8)  Then I hung the canvases on the wall of the playroom at the top of the stairs with thumbtacks.

(9)  I called Greta and tell her how wonderful she is and start hand-waving about my next project.

Really! 

That’s it. 

Easy peasy project.

Don’t even think about asking for Greta’s number though….

                                  ……it’s under lock and key :)

PS  Don’t forget about our impossibility challenge.  We would love for you to join us.  Please note that while I do paint and sand and sew…..baking overwhelms me.  See my attempts at homemade bread with all the other “impossibles” at our linky party on January 31.


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It’s Only a Phase

There are days I think I am in the running for the “Mom of the Year.”

I am quite impressed with myself sometimes.

So much so that on really good days I imagine….                                             

….as I leisurely stroll through the aisles of Wal-mart dressed to the nines,

with my obedient,

well-behaved,

neat-as-a-pin children skipping and (of course) holding hands behind me….

….I imagine that I’m going to be spotted by staffers from the Dr. Phil show.

You see, those Dr. Phil staffers are trained….trained to spot pure motherly goodness at its best.

And they will quickly and with great fanfare whisk me away to Chicago….or New York….or Las Vegas or wherever they film the Dr. Phil show.

And upon determining my general fabulous skill-set as a mother….

….immediately ask me to come up on stage to recieve my trophy.

All of the world’s eyes on me.

Mom of the Year.

And as I stand there…..hands outstretched…..ready to recieve all the praise and adulation that comes with my new title…..

…..someone will stand up in the audience waving this….

….and my dreams of glory and a starring role on the remake of “The Waltons” will come to a screeching halt.

Security team?

Walkie talkies and sunglasses and notebooks filled with top secret information?

Really?

What was it my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, smocked-dress wearing, tea-cup holding twins that brought upon this?

Too many late night episodes of Charlie’s Angels on TV Land?

Too much Sonny with a Chance?

I’m so sorry Dr. Phil and crew….

….please keep my Mom of the Year Trophy shined and ready….

….I’m sure this is only a phase.


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Medal Display

Medal Display


Medal-Display

Here’s an easy simple way to create a Medal Display.

 

(1)  Buy an herb-drying rack at an exorbitant price at an antique store.

(2)  Pat yourself on the back at being ahead of the curve in the herb-drying rack trend.

(3)  Discover that you have no place to hang aforementioned herb-drying rack and try to sell at yard sale.

 

Medals-Display

(4)  Realize that the herb-drying rack trend has yet to take off in the state of Kentucky when no one purchases rack at yard sale.

(5)  Wait 4 months and put out herb-drying rack at another yard sale.

(6)  Cringe when, surprisingly, yet again, no one buys the incredibly trendy herb-drying rack at the yard sale.

How-To-Display-Medals

(7)  Place herb-drying rack in attic.

(8)  Wait one year.

(9)  Plan a party and realize that you have a blank space over television in playroom.

(10)  Go to attic for inspiration.  Spy neglected herb-drying rack and immediately re-purpose as medal and award display.

Medal-Displays
(11)  Pat yourself on the back on your ingenuity as children cheer and guests marvel at your incredibly unique award/medal display.

(12)  Post herb-drying/medal award display as your “mini impossibility” and return to the arduous task of trying to figure out how to bake homemade bread. :)

 

PS  Always remember….you are a rock star :)

PPS  All pictures taken by RTM Connect.

bhg awards


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Out of Sight and Out of Smell

Out of Sight and Out of Smell

According to a recent survey of 2000 people, the stinkiest smell in the universe was the smell of wet dog.

Hmmmm.  Wet dog.  Stinkiest smell ever.

Really.

Have they ever smelled the socks of a teenage boy and an almost teenage boy?

I think not.

Because if they had…..trust me….wet dog would never even have topped the list.

When we re-did the upstairs for the boys.

When I spent hours ripping out blue shag carpet….

….when I tediously stripped wallpaper with a bottle of vinegar and tiny scraper…..

…when I patched and sanded and painted until I could paint no more…..

It was all done with the understanding that stinky socks were not to grace this freshly sanded and painted grey wooden floor.

T-shirts, legos, video games, cards, ball caps, books, papers, train tracks…..

….even a stray remote or two.

All these were on the acceptable list.

But socks?

No way.

No how.

We do have standards here at thistlewood farm.

So far we are all on the same page.

So far the inhabitants of the second floor of thistlewood farm are keeping their socks out of sight and out of smell.

But if the day comes….

…..when the stinky socks of the world take over the playroom.

It’s over.

And I promise you this….

….. that blue shag carpet may rear its ugly head again.

 


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It’s About Time

ATTENTION ALL BOOK CLUB MEMBERS

I apologize profusely….

…..that this greeted you when you stopped by.

I know it’s January 18.

I know December has come and gone.

I know Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.

I know the neighbors are talking.

Seriously.

I know.

I also know you were thinking…..

“What is the statute of limitations for Christmas decorations?”

I see.  I really do.

I understand this shameful display of wanton disregard for the timely removal of seasonal decor is beneath a card carrying member of the Livingston Literary Society….

                 ……but can’t we just overlook it this one time?

Let’s just concentrate on “The Help” and forget this little embarrassment ever happened.


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