Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Do you Pinterest?

O.K. 'tis just a bit addictive ....But oh so fun!
Have you found your way to the magic of these inspiration boards on Pinterest?
Honestly --- for me, so much better then tearing pages out of magazines.

Here are some of my most recent wonderful finds....
from my Celebrate board.

Tonight I will work on three new boards:
Little Girl

I have already begun work on these inspiration boards (and more):
Study in Sepia
Window to my heart

and even a little sneak peak...
Sipping Tea - Spring Barn Sale

Find me by clicking on: Pinterest - Meadowview Farm

It is well worth a peak....

Monday, December 26, 2011


definition:  organizing by putting things in quite adorable containers.

I do this often, well, to be honest, very often.  I love vintage items that can hold stuff -- baskets, bowls, orphaned boxes & drawers.  They each offer the same important purpose, "hold my things". 

So - with no exception  --- Christmas is no more than "out the door on the way home" and here I go making a switch-a-roo on my little old blog.  Creating a new sweet holder for my words & pictures -- containerizing it. I do this with the seasons, sometimes with the change of the wind.  It is just what I am about and who I am...changing, ever changing -- and always finding a sweet holder to scoot my stuff into.  So, here I go again -- I can feel a new year approaching.  So, polka dots it is -- and two columns vs. three.  A new blog container.   Enjoy...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

our wish

All is calm, All is bright…

Every now & again -- when the hurry up of life seems to take a toll -- I am reminded that we each have a silent night, holy night within our grasp.

On a recent morning, I found just that. It had snowed the night before, the first snow of the season, the special one, and I was anxious to greet it. Pulling on my boots, coat and mittens, I grabbed my little camera. There was no traffic, only light in the country was from the moon, our farm security light & the twinkle lights decorating several trees. It was so very quiet, I could hear the flap of wing over head. I walked through this fresh snow -- where no tracks had been, careful to disturb as little as I could -- to leave it calm, & pure for the moment. I captured that early untouched hour in my heart -- it would travel with me on busy days.

Often when Dave & I enter our barn at the first or last light of the day, we are greeted by this same pure joy -- it is found in the animals that call it home. It is found in the hundred year old hand hewn wood & beams so high they form a cathedral overhead. It is a sanctuary so exquisite & humble it can mend all hurt and take away that bustle that often fills us up. It is a place we relish and respect and love.

And home…our Meadowview Farm -- has offered such respite. I never understood that I was such a weary traveler until we found this place -- this place that called to us just as we must have called to her. This place that embraces us after a hard day of work and reminds us that we must celebrate and feed the soul & spirit.

So---what we wish for each of you is that you have a sanctuary in your life. Perhaps it is found in the hand of a child, in the knowing smile of an elder, in a kitten curled up in your lap or a dog at your side. Perhaps it is turning the door knob at the end of the day or a special quilt pulled up as you read. It is a place where all is calm, all is bright. It is yours - just yours for that moment, and it reminds you that all is indeed O.K.

We each need this, deserve this -- and sometimes have to find it, again. It is heavenly peace - right here on earth. And it is ours to have.

Blessings this holiday season,

Kari & Dave

Sunday, December 18, 2011

beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

and our farm kitchen is ready for the holiday

A sweet little bear by the artist, Jennifer Murphy
(in a product line for Seasons of Cannon Falls)...
and bottle brush trees tucked here & there.
to find out more about the charming artists & midwest treasures,
Jennifer & her mom, Pat-
check out their blogs:

In my kitchen, Ironstone is the anchor -- with little nods to red & green added.
The little parade of sweet cups on the top shelf was this year's promise.
Each holds a little secret - an ornament, bottle brush tree, mini wreath.

as much as our living room is about "serene" - white, silver & gold....
our kitchen is about "joy" - color, color, color.
Even Dave adds his own take on Christmas...
hanging a vintage lure or two.

One of my favorite books for sweet, simple, easy-to-do decorating with what you have is:
 Merry & Bright *301 Festive Ideas for Celebrating Christmas*
by Country Living magazine

I must also share my favorite holiday decorating books of ALL times:
Celebrating Home
Decorating for the Holidays and Seasons
by Seasons of Cannon Falls
**Watch for a special give-away of several copies of this book in 2012**

All for now, hope you are enjoying this count down week to Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Hurrah, for the Holidays"

I have this little book from many holidays ago...1915.
It is all sweetness - loved & worn.
The words, the pictures...of a Christmas story for a child.
It is simple, quite charming -- a celebration of Christmas in the woods.
The Bunnikins Bunnies Christmas Tree
by Edith B. Davidson  - 1915

Soon after, Paddy Tippity-Flippitt, Ruddy and Chippy Gray-Squirrel, and Frisky Bushy-Tail arrived, and then the great fun of trimming the Christmas Tree began, the children having been told that they could do it all themselves.  They had strung yards and yards of the snowiest popcorn, which they festooned all over the tree, and on all the branches they hung little yellow and green gourds, which glowed like tiny oranges.  Mr. Gray-Squirrel had gilded a basketful of walnuts and acorns for the tree, while Jack and Billy Beaver had shown the children how to make the prettiest birch-bark cornucopias.  These had been filled with tiny frosted cakes and delicious candy animals, made by that nice little mouse, Mrs. Poppetty-Poppett.

I am so drawn to vintage toys, sweet pictures,
charming nods to childhood.
That reminder of waking with anticipation on Christmas morning
when our only worry was how we would ever stay in bed but a minute more.

"Hurrah! for this Merry Christmas Day;
Hurrah! for our Christmas Tree;
May every one have a glad New Year
And be as happy as we."
Then they went in for supper,
Mrs. Bunnikins-Bunny had trimmed the table with holly and little red candles,
and never were there seen so many good things to eat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

silver & gold

I am part of the "Rudolph generation"...growing up
nestled around the black & white t.v. with my sisters,
while Burl Ives shared,
"silver & gold, silver & gold - how can you measure it's worth?"

My answer now is "tarnished, please".
And in bowls, on trays, in jars....
old forgotten ornaments, vintage silver garland decorate my living room.

anchored with chippy white wood & Ironstone...

and little deer all in a row...

Oh, no -- feel another Burl Ives song coming on about the most famous reindeer of all.

What are your go-to colors for the holidays?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

special holiday sale

For your shopping pleasure (and as a thanks),
I am offering a 20% off sale in my booth AND case
at the Hixton Antique Mall
from December 10-31, 2011.

For the scoop on Hixton, click HERE


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stillwater, MN

Oh yes...we got away to one of our favorite holiday stops -- arriving just after breakfast and getting home well after supper.  To start my little story -- here is the best -- my sweet finds, the ones that will live with me.  I am so easily smitten, when this little mottled Japan made rabbit peaked out at me from the case at the first Antique Mall we visited, I hurried to the man with the keys and said, "let her out".  Combined with vintage tinsel garland and a yellowed with age glass star mold found on my day of gathering-- my twinkle has been tickled.

Now...with the bunny out of the bag,
Let me share our day.

Stillwater, Minnesota is a sweet vintage town set along the St. Croix River on the border of Wisconsin.  It is but an hour & a half drive from our home.  The downtown can be easily walked - even on that cold Friday (but must be said, Dave moved our car every now & again for easy loading of our treasures).  We always start our day at Midtown Antique Mall -- as the three floors require our full attention.  This is where my rabbit found me.  From here we traveled to American Gothic Antiques -- two floors, finding a few treasures, and enjoying the welcomed cup of coffee.  Next in line was Country Charm Antiques -- where I met a dealer with a booth I always enjoy (discovered she visits me in Hixton too)...adopted vintage garlands from her.  The final stop before lunch was at Rose Mille -- sweet sweet little gift shop -- which, to my amazement was moving & had a 30% off storewide sale -- quickly adopted the latest Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Interiors book.  Then on the 5th stop, we at Leo's Grill & Malt Shop.  (For the sake of the story -- let's pretend that is Dave & I standing out is not - just two willing participants in our little story.)

Here we found the best onion rings, kitchen made kettle chips & malts around...
trust us, we tried them all.

Rebooted, we traveled down Main Street, ending our day
at the Staples Mill Antiques.  (Shops are generally open from 10-6 on weekends)...
so we stayed until almost the end, always respectful to check out well before the clock tolls closing.

And as we left town, who was on the corner?
As we drove by, of course I had to open my window to
greet Mr. Claus.....not to mention driving around the block
to greet him again.
(Dave is a good sport)

What a wonderful day -- highly recommended to boot your holiday mojo.
Fun shops, nice folks, pleasant way to spend a day...
on our list every year!

What holiday jaunts are on your to do list?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

holiday charm

I love little sweet Christmas details tucked into little spaces in my home --- and I spend a good day unpacking all my favorites.  I have become a bit more discerning over the years -- and generally now just use vintage decorations (I have also down-sized to just 4 Rubbermade containers -- smile).  In recent years, I have become especially fond of tarnished silvers & golds and faded red -- and always my go-to color - green.  Tinsel garlands, spools of holiday thread, little papered boxes, sweet little cards, Christmas ribbon and millinery will always come home with me.

 Of course, fabrics that make me swoon are tucked here & there

not to mention sweet little nods to Santa.

Now...speaking of Santa -- let me take a moment to share a little story about "holiday charm" - or rather, lack of it (this is the "you'd better be nice" stuff).  Recently, I stopped in what I always consider a fun little antiquing town in Minnesota (names will not be added to protect the innocent).  I had driven a bit to get there, so the first stop was a multidealer mall with a restroom in the basement.  As I entered, I checked in with the two older ladies sitting behind the counter, " are you two, your bathroom is in the basement - correct?".  One of the ladies lifted her painted-on eyebrow to reply (in a curt manner), "that is the employee bathroom.  But if you have used it before - go ahead."  O.K... but as I walked to the back of the building to access the stairs she yelled, "we like to have people buy something before they use the bathroom".  Hmmm -- so sometimes (not usually) I might let this go -- but come on, Santa Claus is coming to, once I came back up to first floor I went back up to the counter to ask what their mall discount policy is and identify that I am a dealer & tax exempt.  Then I stated quite clearly & concisely, "you know, a part of me would like to take my wallet and leave this mall right now -- as that was the rudest welcome.  I suspect that if I ever treated a customer like that at the mall I work at, I wouldn't work there anymore."  The lady apologized (sort of) and stated that so many people come in to just use the bathroom -- to which I responded that the 3 foot by 3 foot sign next the bathroom that states "restroom"  -- feels mighty public to me.  And, I followed up again that no one deserves a rude welcome in a place of business.  Later, as I checked out my almost $100 worth of purchases, she apologized again & again.  Fine, accepted --- but in the end, I would guess that she hadn't been reminded as of lately that rude is rude.   And, I suspect that she may not have had eyebrows left as she was sweating bullets when I left---which I felt kind of bad about, and kind of not -- see, I do believe that I will be the last rudely welcomed customer in a while........see, holiday charm shouldn't be relegated to shelves & table tops only.  As I left, I might have let out a tiny "ho, ho, ho" (thinking that I may indeed have earned me my own little lump of coal -- oh well.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

and she arrives...

welcome winter, we have been waiting

your beauty does take by breath away

And, as I walked thru fresh snow where no step had been
and, as I waited, but no sound stirred the air but the flap of a crow's wing...
contentment arrived for the day. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


~I covet vintage ribbon ~

So, once upon a time - at an auction -
when I not only found the sweet wire basket above....
BUT all the vintage ribbon in the cast off pile,
I swooped in & gathered.
You will go home with me, I told each little strand I found.

Each little ribbon would be honored.
Each little ribbon had been picked to decorate a package from the past.
And then saved - to be used again.

No dumpster would do for these sweet memories.
A place on a little Meadowview Farm alter would be their destiny.

ribbon, vintage ribbon, makes me smile it does indeed

loved, lovely, cherished still

What reminds you of Christmas past?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

dreaming of a white Christmas...

And so it is, for the first time,
contrary to what I ever thought I would do...
I unveil a white tree.

antique ornaments
in silver, gold, pale shades of green & blue
vintage postcards
old upholstery webbing as a garland
even a house tucked in the branches
And under the tree...sweet white.

(and, this morning, a sprinkle of snow greeted us)

Are you trying something new in your holiday decorating?

Friday, November 25, 2011

tick tick tick tick tick

Every year, as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are tucked sort of neatly
into the fridge, it feels like the timer is set, the whistle is blown,
and we are off.....

the race has begun to Christmas

And, every year I vow to keep it all in perspective,
to not make insurmountable lists....

but then these little thoughts creep into my mind:
how about a candy cane theme in the kitchen?
hmmm - could I really do just white in the living room - tree too?
what about a few lit up deer in the orchard?
 before I know it, I have mounted the sugar plum pony---and
we are off to Christmas! 
Hang on & enjoy the ride...

tick tick tick tick tick

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ralphie on the horizon.

Each morning we look out the window to the pasture -- to our little family of goats:  Little Moo, Taffy, Charlie and Ralphie.  This morning they were playing -- stepping back, raising their front feet, butting heads.  Once they see us, they will call to us -- each in their own little alto maaaaa -- asking for hay, fresh water & a stroke or two.
However, on one recent morning since the corn was harvested, Dave looked out to see Ralphie...
not in his pasture, but eating the field, outside the fence.  Seems our boy had raised up his little goat feet on the fence to see if the grass might indeed be greener on the other side and fell head over hoof into the field beyond.  And, Ralphie, being Ralphie (yes, Cheryl -- he is one of a kind)....stayed just outside the fence and munched.  The other goats, including maternal Taffy, called to him.  And, when Dave got out to the pasture, Ralphie was trying to figure out how to reverse his way back into the pasture.  Dave helped to lift him over the fence line (no easy do -- Ralphie is a big little goat)...and then repaired the fence wound.  And Ralphie was back with his family -- not even interested in sharing this keen adventure, or trying to get back out to the acres of corn....just happy to be back home.

So, now each morning we peak out the window at dawn to see if this:
has been added to this...
to equal one little black & white goat running across the horizon...
running home, kicking up his little goat feet, munching here & there...
but traveling back to his family
where he indeed knows the grass is the greenest.

Happy Thanksgiving....
May each of your homecomings be grand!
  Kari, Dave & Ralphie...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

call me content...

I am just old enough & wise enough to know
that you have to take contentment when you can.
There are enough storms on the horizon that will some day arrive...
but when there is that sweet moment of "all is good",
you grab it, embrace it, hold it close to your heart.

And so it was -- we went to harvest evergreen boughs from our
property up north---and in that quiet place, contentment waited.
And, when we returned home just after dark--
the lights of our farm whispered, "here too". 

For this moment, call me content.
Dave on our land in Winter, Wisconsin.

Where do you find contentment?

guess what greeted us this morning?
kitty prints in the snow...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

call me tired...

as darkness comes way too early now
as cold mornings hint of days to come
as layers are added
that feeling of nesting & hibernation sets in.
I almost look forward to that
first snowed in day (call me silly)
when we are trapped from the world & must stay still.
But right now it is, "hurry little squirrel,
gather your stash for winter".

This week (actually year) in my work life has been crazy -- crazy expectations, crazy hours, crazy motives, crazy...  And, I haven't felt well to boot --  the body has a way of often saying, "too much, slow it down".  So--in the middle of meeting after meeting after meeting on Wednesday, I managed to run (yes, literally over lunch -- needed a horn on my cart) to the grocery store and get all my Thanksgiving needs. I know I am lucky for having the means to get what we want for that day (so do call me humble), and I now make sure that the first item I purchase is a donation to the Humane Society or Food Pantry (call me appreciative) -- but I really must share ------- that as tired as I felt by the end of the day with "one more this, or one more that", there was something pretty special knowing that Thanksgiving dinner was in the trunk of my car... a certain symbol that I would soon close my door to the world as it is. That my family would gather around our table, eat more than we should, play one more game of scrabble, take treats out to the barn and keep the crazy world at bay. 

Call me tired right now --
I am needing the sanctuary of my own normal (my Kari world) to
anchor me, provide a safe harbor and nourish my soul...
so I can go back out and fight those dragons again.
but not now,
now I just want squirrels & kittens & goats & family
and time to relish it all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

call me organized...

And so it I stand and admit it -
yes, I am one of those Type A folks -
who sets their own bar way too high,
creates systems within systems...
yes, get ready ---
even has an organized little bowl of flower frogs.

Now I once had someone wonder if I had the ultimate-
all my spices organized in alphabetical order --
but alas, I am more of a grouper when I organize,
an aesthetic grouper might I add...
so my spices are not in alphabetical order,
but are in the most delightful red spatteware pan you might ever behold.

Call me organized--

but, come now --
who ever can miss that life is not complete without
a batch of chickens (& a duck or two), just waiting in
their organized little box?
Would that be getting your ducks in a row?

Are you organized -- come on,
stand & share...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

call me kind...

or call me thoughtful, or helpful.
I aspire to this every day, every moment.
Sometimes it is easy, sometimes not.

When my son was first born...
I wished for him that his life would be
seasoned with kindness.
And as he got older,
I expected that he would be helpful without judgement.

So each day, I try.  If there is a door to be opened in some one's life, or a kind word that may be meaningful, or a "thanks" that may be unexpected....I try to offer my kindness.  In small ways, without expectations, kindness can make a difference -- I know it has in my own living.  But it isn't always easy -- I once worked at a Food Pantry, helping to organize & get food out to those that needed it that day -- another volunteer turned to me in line & with a smile shared these unexpected words regarding someone at the pantry that day, "you should see the car they drive -- they don't need this food".  My heart just hurt in that moment -- makes me cry to this day.  But I do understand, kindness is hard, helping without judgement is hard...because it is an act of selflessness.  And I also can attest to the fact that I am no Mother Teresa -- I do have a German gene coursing through by blood that can get out and out feisty or defiant at the smallest indication of, shall we call it, yucky behavior.  But in the end, I would like to be remembered as both -- strong & kind.  An advocate & a helper.  Someone who might call you out or reach out a hand. 

So -- here is my list of what I know I can do:
  1. Help those in need....bird food in the winter filled daily, a dollar or two given to the bell ringer, a "here let me help..." offered without expectation.  If you are a parent, model this for your children...cause in the end they do what we do, not just what we say. 
  2. Offer kindness...sometimes it is a smile, a word at just that moment....those unnoticed, no thanks needed, times when we show that this is indeed our own "better angel".
Call me kind -- most of the time
(and that is far better than none of the time).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

call me thankful...

I look at the calendar and am
continually amazed when
this time of year rolls around again.
How ever did that happen so quickly?

A few years ago I stumbled upon the book Simple Abundance at a thrift sale -- and read it daily that first year.  It suggested keeping a Gratitude Journal -- writing down 5 things daily that one appreciates.  I did that well for about a month....then wandered off from that to just jot a note in it every now & again.  So this time of year takes me back to that list --- 5 things that one appreciates.  Now, the typical way one might go about this is to do the basic:  home, family, friends, health, work......but what if it needed to be specific -- detailed moments that caught your breath and made you think, "I am indeed lucky".

So, do call me thankful for:
  1. Running across the farm yard with three cats at my side - Whisper, Chestnut & Cinnamon.  They keep steady to my pace, making me feel like an Olympian.  And when we make it to the barn door -- I am surrounded by a chorus of purrs -- a fitting closing ceremony.
  2. Turkeys in a compote, buttons in an Ironstone bowl, quilts in a pile, magazines stacked by season, lace at the window -- gentle & inviting nuances that say "this is home".
  3. The stack of 1st edition Harry Potter books found on a recent antique trip -- with a call to my Ian, they now await his homecoming --- my 23 year old has discovered reading for pleasure -- and I am not caring if that reading is about a boy & his owl or the best of William Shakespeare -- he is reading.
  4. A call to the front desk of my office just yesterday-- where a client waits with flowers and a card that says, "thanks for your guidance".  Oh my -- I can't even put words to what that means to me.
  5. Ladders.  This morning I asked Dave to take the ladder up to the hayloft -- I need to put the barn to bed for the winter and have some taking down to do upstairs after the last Barn Sale.  There was a quilt hung in the rafters I would need to get.  And then I saw him folding the quilt in his arms on our porch in the early light, gentle and thoughtful -- he had taken the quilt down for me.  And I thought about ladders we climb to reach our goals or maybe to even reach for a star or two.  What would we do if there were not others to hold that ladder steady, to encourage us to climb, to maybe even lead the way, my blog friends -- I am thankful for each of you.  You might not even know that you do that -- but you do, you hold my ladder every now & again.  Please know I am thankful -- ever so thankful for that. 
Do call me thankful....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

call me obsessive...

Oh, how I wish this was how I got
ready for winter...
My indoor cats, Shawnee & McCoy,
on their pillow pile in front of
the first heat of the year.

But alas, no....
this is how I get ready for winter:
And -- as you might notice,
plenty of unchecked items.

Now I'm thinking about Zac Brown's song
"Colder Weather" -- and hoping we
can get this all done soon.

So, what are you -- "orderly" or "let it come" when it
comes to winter's arrival?  Or maybe
pretend "it ain't so"....

Call me obsessive,
call me a tad too organized...
but hopefully,
call me ready.

Oh my...
best get checking things off today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

call me sentimental...

I am drawn to words, to details,
to intricate layers
equally magnificent wonder.

(this is the tree line behind our farm)

I put my Halloween decorations away last night, bringing out the turkeys that would roost in the house for the next month.  As I did so, I thought about things -- pondered them in my heart, retelling a story again in my mind and now here.  Although sometimes it seems like yesterday -- it was a fair number of years ago that I spent a last Halloween with my mother - a strong, independent woman who knew a thing or two about joy & hardship & celebration & resiliency (all the ying and yang of life).  She also knew about the power of simple magnificence -- and would mark the first snow fall and the first robin's return as important markers in life.  I sat with her on that October day -- window in the nursing home open with that year's unseasonably warm weather for a Halloween.  I sang songs to her -- from day camp, from holidays past, words that came to my mind ... about peace and farewells and silent nights.  Knowing that in each of those last moments time was fleeting -- but yet it stood still.  So, it was no surprise at all that as she passed on, I would turn to the window just inches behind me --- and see robins lined up on the window sill. 

Call me sentimental, call me spiritual...
yes, sometimes
the moment truly takes your breath away.

"my whole world it begins & ends with you...."
(those are the words I think of lately
-- words by my favorite Zac Brown Band)

How lucky we are to have moments, people & places
that make us smile when we see them
and cry when we say our farewells.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Put your feet up, relax - home tour continues...

When we first climbed the stairs of our house,
walked through our floral sewing room...
and came to what is now our bedroom,
I thought I was in a dance hall --
yes, it is a big room.

Here's a view in:
3 walls are "forget-me-not" blue
-- the wall behind the bed is green.
There are three fabulous windows...
It is just such a sweet sweet room.
It required floral...just did.

To get to this room, you have to go through
the study or the sewing room--
so it feels kind of like a secret.
It needed a special color palette:
with a bit of dark wood to
anchor it...
and a bunny or lilac or two to boot.

It came all together with a quilt over the king size bed.

And here is a "walk around the room"...
door leads to study

big oval rug, yellow painted floor...

door to our sewing room is to the
left of the yellow dresser...

Since there are no closets (because in 1857 those were taxed too)...
we use wardrobes & dressers & trunks for storage.

Now, let's add some "sweet" & "adorable"
Even an original Tracy Porter Collage!

And a "Kari Original Collage" too...framed
foam core covered in vintage lace.
Added all my favorite paper scraps, pins, millinery.

**Hint -- if you ever cross paths with a 3-tier table,
nab it.  This table is perfect for so many uses --
 here holding a sweet array of goodies
-- have also used it on the dining room table.

There it is -- our sweet bedroom....
purely simple & quite precious,
if I might say so myself.
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