Friday, June 29, 2012


My dear friend, Diana, hosted a 'June Birthday' luncheon at her home today.

I made
Cake In A Jar for dessert.
It was fun to make, easy to serve, and easy to take home. Bake a Chocolate Sheet Cake  (let it cool completely), then cut the cake into circles (I used the rim of a cup) to fit inside the half-pint canning jars. Start by laying a circle of the cake at the bottom of the jar, then some Butter Cream frosting, another layer of cake, fresh sliced strawberries (slightly sugared), fresh whipped cream, then add a few fresh (un-sugared) strawberry slices to the very top. Put the lid on the jar and you can decorate the jar to your liking.
Dessert ready to go.

It was a wonderful afternoon spending time with some very special friends. 

June is a very good month
The Girasole Lady

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's About Feeding America

Farmer's Feed America, it's that simple. 

Agriculture is, in my opinion, one of the most important lifestyles a person can participate in. Lifestyle? Yes, because your work begins before sunrise and, if your having a good day, it may end at sunset, and even then you're on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are no holidays. There are no vacations. There are no "personal time off" days. 

When I was a child my parents were dairy farmer's, as were their parents and grandparents before them. We sold our milk to a creamery, so we could help America have milk on the table.

Every single person needs to appreciate Farming in America, whether it be large Farming operations, your local CSA, or your local Farmer's Market. Large or small, it doesn't matter. Without Farmer's and their endless sacrifice, and hard work, we wouldn't have the wonderful abundance of food that we enjoy each and every day. 

Every now and them I come across something in the media that really just makes me smile,
hopefully it will make you smile too...

Thank you, The American Farmer, for feeding me. 
The Girasole Lady
p.s. please feel free to share this post. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cleaning Turned To Painting

Monday I decided to give my Living room a long overdue deep cleaning. You know the type of cleaning where you actually remove the cushions off the couch and chairs, and clean and vacumn underneath them. It doesn't happen very often, sad to say, but true. In the midst of my living room being torn apart, and the clutter from the living room piled all over the kitchen table, waiting to be put back where it all belonged, I decided to paint the play table in the living room I have for the Granbabies.

It's a simple pine table my youngest daughter, Beth, made in wood shop while she was in high school. It's plain pine, no stain coloring on it, just a clear coat. It had been stashed away, who knows where, until Laci was old enough that she needed a table to sit at when using color crayons. Over the last year or so Laci has managed to color all over the top of it with crayons and markers.

Honestly, the poor table just needed a good dose of TLC, and apparently right then and there, that very second,  seemed like a perfectly fine time to go ahead and just start a painting project. No- I did NOT finish the living room cleaning project before I started on the table!

Does any one else do this kind of thing, where right in the middle of an already disastrous mess, just burst out with a paint brush because you can't take it a minute longer? Really, please don't make me feel alone here. 

Well, I do, and it went something like this...

I  finished cleaning the living room right after I finished the table. 

And that's all I have to say about that. 
The Girasole Lady 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Story Of A Barn

The cow pasture is straight out my back door, past my own grass and garden. 
It's the first thing I look at when I get up in the mornings. It's towards the East, so I get a good look at the sunrise every day.  
It's chilly and breezy outside this morning, 56 degrees. I needed a flannel shirt. I have several old flannel shirts. This one belonged to my daughter Kristina, when she was in High School, she's 31 now. It's thin and soft, and perfect for the slight coolness in the air this morning.

As soon as the horses hear the sounds from inside in the mornings, they let me know they are ready for breakfast. For the most part the boys are very patient, and I don't have to rush out the back door to the barn first thing. 

The back of the barn faces East.
The front of the barn faces West.

Years ago, when I was first deciding where to place the barn, I walked around with a spray paint can and marked several different areas, to help in choosing the best location. At the time there was little shade out here, so in the end I decided to face the barn West and East. I knew the horses would get evening shade from the barn itself out back, and morning shade from the porch overhang. Sheltered from the sweltering Summer sun in the Summer, and sheltered too from the South rains, and cold North winds in the Winter. 

Along the front of the barn I planted 4 Purple Ashe trees,
which are now big enough to shade the entire front porch all afternoon from the West sun, so now the barn porch is entirely shaded all Summer long. The Purple Ashe trees shed their leaves in the Winter, which makes for a nice sunny spot on the porch and helps keep the stalls warmer on the colder days. I have small patches of seasonal grass just off the ends of each porch side, that I keep watered and  green during the Summer months. 
Did I just hear someone say my horses are spoiled? 

I bought my horse barn from 
I pretty sure they go by another business name now. 
Buying the horse barn was a surreal experience for me. I was scared and excited all at the same time. 
I'm not gonna lie- it was expensive, and it was the first time, being on my own, that I made such a big decision. It was just me and my girls at home at the time, Caveman and I were divorced.
 I'm so thankful my girls were nothing more than supportive and encouraging during every step. Not too mention we were all excited to finally get the horses home, after years and years of boarding. 
I picked out the color of the walls and the roof, style of doors- front and back and the type of railing I wanted. 
I remember driving home and just thinking to myself, wow- I just bought a building. 

Ray's Concrete was hired to pour concrete for the porch and stem walls for the barn. I then waited patiently for the next 6 weeks for the barn to be delivered. It looked pretty weird to see this large concrete slab in the middle of my field. I had many friends wonder and ask me, if I had just  put a concrete "patio" in the middle of my field. 
The barn arrived at the dealer, and they called to set up the installation, I'll never forget the day... 
I was sitting on my porch swing, watching a dream come true. My dear friend, Whitney (also my employer at the time), shared the experience with me, like so many other experiences as well. 
Whitney, if your reading this, thank you. 

Into the field came a large flat bed truck with all the pieces to the barn, and several workers. 
It was assembled like a giant puzzle. 
By mid-afternoon I had a complete horse barn in my field. 
Over the next few weeks the girls and I worked really hard at putting up fence panels out back of the barn, and stall mats inside the stall floors. Goodness- that was HARD work. Those stall mats are so heavy, and some had to be cut to fit!!!   
(I wish now that I knew about blogging back then. I'd have to scour around for some pictures.)
Blogging is a good thing.
The Girasole Lady

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vintage Table Cloth Turned Vintage Apron

This apron is created from a vintage table cloth I purchased at a second hand shop, and is 100% cotton. The ric-rac and trim are original to the vintage cloth. The complimentary fabric features nostalgic kitchen wares from Summer's past, and is also 100% cotton. 

Due to the age of the fabric there may be very slight irregularities, but only enough to add real charm and character to the perfect vintage apron. A truly unique apron that will transport you back in time to a slower, more simple way of life. 

 Today is the first official day of Summer
and Summer Solstice. 
June is my first favorite month of the year, the second is November. 
The Girasole Lady

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Girasole Lady- A Shop For Aprons

Since my last post I have neither painted nor sewed, like I said I was going to do. Instead, I have spent the better part of the past three days setting up my Etsy Shop for my aprons. After talking about it for over a year or more, I finally decided to really go ahead and plunge in as a Seller.

It would not be fair to say I have worked entirely by myself on this endeavor, I really have to thank my daughter, Tonya, for her awesome help, not only in photography and editing skills on the amazing pictures of the aprons, but for her honest input through out the entire process. Today, for the most part, we worked at her house doing the photo's, uploading them to my shop, creating descriptions of each item, adding tags, shipping info, and ordering policies. Like anything else of value, it took time, way more time and effort than I had anticipated. A learning experience for sure.

Overall, I am happy with the end result, for the moment. I know along the way I will change and revise lots of things about my store, especially as I learn and become more experienced. Right now I am a novice at this  rewarding journey.

With that being said, I would like to kindly ask a favor of my family and friends....please click on the link and  visit my shop... Let me know if you like it or even if you don't, if there is something I should add, if the apron descriptions are clear enough to understand, if the pictures give a good impression of the apron itself, are the prices reasonable, any thought shared is appreciated, good or bad. I need to grow in this experience, and what better place to start than with family and friends. All I'm asking in return is a honest opinion.

It's really hard for me to ask..... please share my new shop with your friends and family, or anyone you know who loves aprons. If you know me well enough, you'll understand how hard it was for me to ask for your support, and it will be appreciated more than I could ever express. 
Thank You.
The Girasole Lady

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Sign- Part Two

I know, I was suppose to post these pictures yesterday.

Yesterday was spent at Tonya's house lovin-up on the Grandbabies, so Tonya could sew curtains for her kitchen and girls bathroom. No excuse- I know.
Oh, yes-we went fabric shopping, you guessed it, I accidentally brought some fabric home too.  I would say I would show you the fabric tomorrow, but let's wait a day or two, that way there is no pressure on me...ok?

Here's the finished signs.
I hung them on the wall right above the window in the dining room, which I actually like to refer to as the Kitchen Table Room. Weird- oh well.

The wood for the "groceries" sign also came from the broken up dresser. It was the part that stood up along the back of the dresser top.

I lightly sanded the front again, then applied some of the Annie Sloan Dark Wax with a soft clean cloth, just a thin wipe here and there. 
I am happy with the way the signs turned out. 
And just to remind you again of how terrible I am at tutorials, here is the only picture I took during the whole process of finishing the sign...
Does that even count? 

I've seen signs similar to this for sale at Pottery Barn

Actually, now that I am looking at this, it gives me inspiration to make my own "home-made" version of this sign for my kitchen. Because really...$89.00!!!   I don't know about you- but that is totally out of my budget! 
Today I'll either be sewing or painting...right after a trip to Costco. 
The End
The Girasole Lady

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Sign- part one

After months of pondering the idea of making my own Farmer's Market sign, today I got started.

The signs are going to be used as decoration in my home. No- I'm not opening a Market. 

I know I have posted this link before, but Funky Junk Donna was my inspiration. Her sign tutorial is HERE.
There was help from HERE too on the lettering and transfer.

I am terrible at tutorials, pretty sure I have mentioned that before. I'm more of the before and after kinda gal. If you're really interested in making your very own sign, I suggest visiting the above blogs for the real instructions. 

Here's my best shot.....
I have a old wood pile out back.
This particular piece of wood is the top of an old broken up dresser. Well actually it's half of the top of the dresser.
 I sanded the wood with an electric hand sander. 
Then I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The color is Old White. 
I used a sponge brush. After the paint was dry I took sand paper (by hand) and gave the wood a distressed look. (oops- no picture) 
Using Microsoft Word I created and printed out the words Farmer's Market. 
The image was flipped, and was then filled in with pencil. Placing the paper, pencil side down on the wood, then tracing around the letters to transfer the outline of the letters onto the board. 

I forgot to take a picture of it when I was done with that one, but I made a "Groceries' sign too, and this is what it looked like...then you paint inside the lines. I used craft paint for the words. 

I chose red for the word Farmer's and Charcoal for the word Market. 
Tomorrow I will distress the signs a little more and then play around with some 
Annie Sloan Soft Wax (dark wax) 
So far, so good! 
part two tomorrow...
The Girasole Lady

Monday, June 11, 2012

That One Perfect Photo

This unlikely story begins on a sea that was a blue dream, as colorful as blue-silk stockings, and beneath a sky as blue as the irises of children's eyes.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

(This one single picture is the reason I shoot all the hundreds before) 

I'm back from visiting family in the Bay Area. I took a few hundred pictures (yes-I'm sure there were those who thought it to be crazy), for the sole purpose of capturing that 'one perfect' photo. That one perfect photo this weekend was Mia's blue eyes. I swear they are the same color as the blue water in the pool. 
We all had an amazing visit. This morning my heart is full of nothing more than a loving family and the close knit bonds that hold us so very dear to each other. 
 I have so much more to share, but for this morning there are tons of chores to get caught up on.
The Girasole Lady

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sisters- This One's For You Fire Ball...

To:  Fire Ball
From:  Skippy
This is my sister, Jen, she was born when I was 15 years old.  

 This is her newest son, Justin. Jen has 3 boys, Brandon-17, Ryan-7, Justin-3months. 

When I was 17 and she was 2, I got married. Shortly after I married my Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister moved 180 miles away, back to the Bay Area. Though we saw each other frequently, usually once a month or so, we never created a sister bond between us. Rather Jen was more to me like one of my own daughters. 

Circa 1982
When my sister Jen was 5 years old, I had my first daughter, Tonya. In the above picture- Jen is on the far left, she was 7 then.  Kristina is in the middle, she was 1, and then Tonya, she was 2.

She played with my daughters, and my relationship with her was mother-like.
As a matter of fact she was more of a sister to my girls. They grew up together creating the memories that sisters often do. There were camping trips, Country Fairs, bicycle riding, playing at parks, trips to the zoo, swimming, eating ice cream outside on hot Summer days, and lots of sleep overs.

When Tonya was 7, and Kristina was 5, I had my third daughter, (1986) Beth. 
Tonya and Kristina came to see me in the hospital when Beth was born. 
When Beth was born she joined the circle of sisterhood. 
I continued to be a second mother to my sister. 

As time passed, Jen and I lived very different lives. While Jen grew up in the big city, I was safe in my country life tending to my family. 
For so many years I couldn't grasp her lifestyle and she thought mine one of mere simplicity and dullness. 
During those years we never talked much. She stopped coming to the country to visit, only on rare occasion,  and when we traveled to the city for a visit, she was busy with her social activities and had little time to hang out with us anymore. 
Time just moved on, as it always does. 

One Summer (1999) my safe content country life fell apart. 
(Caveman - yes the same one I now share my life with-walked away from me and the life we created, after 22 yrs of being together. We divorced /2000, and re-married /2005/ 5 years later. Another story for another time.)
I don't remember how or when it happened but I called my sister, who was then 25. She had been married and divorced herself, with a 5 year old son, and I needed someone to talk to. She listened while I cried my heart out. She never judged me and I never judged her, we just listened to each other. We talked almost every day, she was my confidant, and we talked about unspeakable things. Somehow the gap between us vanished, as if it never existed, and for the first time in my life I had a sister, a real sister. 

Jen pleaded with me to come to the Bay Area for a visit. I had never spent time with her since she lived on her own. I desperately needed to get away, away from the small country town, where is seemed everybody knows everybody, and everything. I couldn't wait to get out of town and head to the city where no one knew me, or my story.  I packed my bags, and Beth and I headed out for the 3 hour drive ahead. 

Jen decided she was taking me out on the town, in true "city life" style. 
This is us together getting ready for our very first "sisters" date. 
One of many, many, to follow. 
Jen was 26, I was 41. 
Summer of 2000
Oh- the times we had. 
(umm... stories never to be revealed)
The city became my grown-up play ground with my sister by my side.  
The stories from the city never traveled to the small country town. 
I love you Sis. 
I love that we can tell each other anything. 
I love that we can call each other and if we're not in the mood to talk, we can just say it, and agree that we'll chat later. I love that we can just sit on the porch swing, eating Corn Chex, not saying a word to each other at all, then get up to leave and feel as though we both just had the best time. I love that we don't care about money or things, and that family is all that matters. I love that we both agree NEVER to combine your telephone, cable or internet services, because when you only have a couple of nickles to rub together you want to have a choice of which one to keep for the month. I love you because if we only had a dollar, we'd split in in half and be happy with 50 cents.
 I love you too because you are a sister to my daughters as well. 

I love you because one day we're gonna take that Road Trip together that we've always talked about. 
When we do, the world better look out because FireBall and Skippy will be on the road together. No plans, just where ever the wind takes us, wild and free, following the sun during the day and the moon at night. Who knows Fire Ball, we just may end up in White Rock. 
Love- Skippy
p.s. see you tomorrow sis
The Girasole Lady

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Late Gardening

Finally, last night we started on the Summer Garden. We had several delays, due to out of town family guests. Family always comes first, and visiting was more of a priority.

(Caveman and Kristina)
May seems to always be a busy month for us, next year we will plant late April or earlier in May.
Kristina and Beth both came out to lend a helping hand. 

We started with the Tomato plants from the Green House...
and some Eisley Peppers

(Caveman and Beth) 
We won't be planting the seeds for another week, because I am headed out of town on the 8th for the weekend. I'm going to my sister, Jen's, in the Bay Area, for a family visit with my sis and brother. 
I don't get to leave town very often, so I am really looking forward to the trip. 
I've accepted the fact that I will just have a late garden this Summer. 
June 5th is the Strawberry Moon. 
According to the 'Farmer's Almanac' 
The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. 

Yesterday morning we took our first trip to our local Farmer's Market. 
I picked up Yummy blackberries (for a pie), strawberries, zucchini, peaches, nectarines, and cherries. 
Our Farmer's Market is small and filled with the goodness of local produce. I'm looking forward to more Saturday mornings at the market. 

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
― Henry James

The Girasole Lady

Friday, June 1, 2012

In Hopes Of More Blogging

I'm trying to inspire myself to blog almost every day. Not because it's expected of me or I feel it's necessary, Simply put, it's because My Blog serves as a place for me to store my stories and memories, and one day, leave for my family, and all those still yet to come.

In November 2011 I challenged myself to post each day for the entire month, in retrospect it's heart warming to look back and remember the happenings of each day.

Today is the 1st of June. 
I have my first ever Hydrangea Flower. 
The Girasole Lady