Welcome to Le Beau Paon Victorien! I'm so glad you stopped by!

Here you will find a variety of things that might interest you: food, books, house decor, crafty things, random thoughts, dishes, gardening and more!

Spend some time with us and happy reading!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Craft Fair Acquisitions

For the last three years, I have attended a huge local craft fair in September at Holy Hill with my mom and my two sisters.

 Holy Hill's actual name is the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill.
The Church sits atop a great hill, thus it's name, which sits in the middle of 435 acres of grounds. It is also home to the Brothers of Mount Carmel, or officially, the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. The Friars, who wear the robes of their Order, can be seen on the grounds and are the essential staff of Holy Hill. Their Order originally came from Bavaria in 1906, at the invitation of the Archbishop.

Every September there is a huge craft fair on the grounds. It is a beautiful place to visit and a pleasant place for a fall outdoor craft fair beneath the shady pines with the huge church on the hill as a backdrop.

Above: a picture of the Basilica, shrine and monastery buildings.

I was excited to find the vendor booth with the handcrafted witch dolls again, and had to buy another one for myself.
This is the new one. She wears a brown dress and has a burn-out velvet cloak. I have named her "Ellendea".

They are so beautifully made and at only $45, it seems almost like a steal, since it seems like there must be hours and hours of work involved. The woman who makes them says that she changed the design this year and made the nose longer. I also noticed that she made the dresses longer and more voluminous.

Ellendea will join her "sister", Euphraxia, who was purchased two years ago:

I also bought a few small things (a knitted hat, a painted Christmas ornament, home made soap) and these small folk art prints:

They are encased in plastic sleeves, so the colors are a little muted.
The artist who does these had a large vendor booth with all of the original, large-size paintings in the booth, plus lots of smaller prints. The original works were beautiful, with beautifully painted frames, but were a little out of my price range. The small 8x10 size prints were more in my budget.

This one is very colorful, but with the plastic over it, it's not quite so vivid. I got a kick out of the witch's skirt. I thought this would look cute framed and put out with my Halloween decorations.

The other two have a more nautical tone: I thought these two had a fun 19th century look to them.This one has lots of mermaids in it.

I love all the teeny little sailors in the rigging on this ship. I planned to frame these and put them in Erik's "Victorian gentleman's study", perhaps in a grouping with some maps and other folk art-type decor, including a scrimshaw tooth that used to belong to my father.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Farm Life

Both of my parents grew up on a farm; my Dad's family had a turkey farm and later a dairy farm. Many of his relatives, who were from Michigan, were loggers and those who were not loggers, were farmers. My Dad's father was Belgian; his family, before emigrating to America, were sheep farmers.

My mother moved to a farm with her family when she was about twelve or thirteen years old. Her grandparents had both come from farming families, potato farmers to be exact, after arriving from Poland they settled in Chicago, but were soon lured to northern Wisconsin, where farm land was being given away for free. Later, after my great-grandparents were grown and had married, they decided to move to Milwaukee to try life away from farming. My great-grandfather got a job driving a streetcar, which was lucky for his family, because he didn't lose his job during the Great Depression like so many others did.
Many years later, his second oldest son, my Grandpa, decided that he wanted to buy a farm, so he did, taking his wife and seven children with him. My Mom was about twelve or thirteen at the time, the second oldest of seven children. My Grandpa still had a regular day job; the farming part was mostly like a "hobby farm", although he did plant fields and they had animals; goats, rabbits, chickens, a few cows and horses. They also had a very large vegetable garden and an orchard. Growing much of their own food was helpful when you had a large family of growing children and not much money.

By the time I was born, my Dad's parents still lived on their farm, but they no longer kept a dairy herd and my Mom's parents, though still living on their farm also, kept no animals anymore and the fields were rented out. As the years went by, my grandparents aged and by the time I was in high school, their farms had been sold, the equipment auctioned off and long gone; my parents had careers ( my mom a nurse, my dad had his own business), so I never knew what it was like to live on a working farm myself.
But, the farm life loomed hugely in my memory, from stories and pictures from the past, and me and my siblings and cousins had always enjoyed visiting our grandparents so we could play in the huge empty barns, swing on old pasture gates, hide under the corn crib, and dive into the hay in the loft (which we were forbidden to do, but did it anyway!)

A few years ago, one of my cousins, and her husband, decided that they wanted to buy an old c. 1850s farmhouse, which also came with a few acres of land, and numerous barns and outbuildings. They also decided to become goat farmers. Every year they have a Labor Day picnic at their goat farm, and me and my extended family, all of us "city folk" go out to the picnic and have a fun day "on the farm".

These are all pictures that I took this last Labor Day at the farm, and then edited using my new editing program.

The old smokehouse

They do have some cows; a few young Holsteins and two Herefords.

These are actually some of the young kids. There are two pens of the kids, who were all born this last spring. One pen holds all the males, the other are females.

I have forgotten now exactly the number of kids that were born this spring a the farm... but I think it was close to sixty or seventy kids!

These are the adult females. There is only one adult male; the "billy", who 'services' all the females, but he is kept with the cows in the cow pasture.
Evidently you can "rent" other males if you want to have some genetic diversity in your goat herd. 

The two Herefords are actually a mom and her baby. The heifer is called "Big Mama". The baby doesn't have a name yet, although she is a couple months old already.

I got this picture of my Mom when I was looking down the hay chute. She's holding onto my Grandpa's arm as they were walking around in the lower level where the goats are. At nearly 95, my Grandpa still loves to talk about his own farming days and it's a great treat for him to come see my cousin's farm.

Just like cows, the adult female goats get milked twice a day. There are about 50 adult female goats. They can fit two rows of ten goats in the milking room at a time, where they get hooked up to the automatic milking machines. If you walk into the milking room, they all will turn and look at you. Goats are very curious creatures; they are also very friendly and entertaining to watch and have quite distinct personalities.

Black and white version:

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a taste of the "farm life"!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Say Goodbye To Summer

Yet another summer has flown by!  Every year I regret how short our summers are in Wisconsin.

I really felt like I had no time at all this summer to do many things; including work on my blog!  Our landscaping project was very consuming because of how bad the heat and drought was....I had to water, water, water, water to keep the new grass and new trees alive.
Because I currently work somewhat long hours, I had to always make sure I went home right after work so I could start the watering process, which often took me four to five hours to complete. With only one outdoor faucet, I had to use a hose splitter to hook up multiple hoses so I could run two sprinklers at once...but I still had to move them around so all areas of new grass got watered, and with how hot and dry it was, we really had to saturate it. To really saturate the straw covering the new seed, I had to water each section 40-45 minutes. Erik helped me move sprinklers, but it was still a very tedious task. If we had been getting regular rainfall, it would have been much easier on us, of course, but we, unluckily, did this project in the middle of a severe drought. Our efforts paid off, however. The grass came in beautifully and our new trees are doing well.
Most people in blogland have already been posting pictures of their fall decor and even Halloween decor! I am way behind....my fall decor is still in the attic. Erik's band had many summer shows, which kept us both busy. I had also decided to change jobs and will be starting a new job in 3 weeks, leaving my current employer after nine years. My new job will have "regular" hours; which means that I will be working a regular five day week instead of four days, so my Friday day off, a day I often did my blog posts, is a thing of the past.

I will adjust to the new schedule, and hope to get back on track again and post more regularly soon! Erik bought me a new photo editing program that I have been learning also. It's  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and it's been fun learning how to use it.
Here's a few images I've played around with:
Fuschia on my front porch


A statue atop a gravestone at Holy Trinity Cemetary in Milwaukee (where I recently visited and took many interesting photos).

I finally hung up my J.Gould bird prints in the front hall (actually, Erik hung them, since I am apparently too indecisive and I told him to pick a spot and hang them before they ended up sitting on the hall table for six months!)

I had mentioned in other posts about how I was trying to find the right sized, and right type, of pictures to make a grouping over the spinet piano in the hall, without success. We ended up buying this reproduction tapestry at a local Renaissance Faire and decided to hang it by itself above the piano.

I want to add some hanging tassels to it also. This is a small reproduction of a Flemish tapestry that was woven around 1500 in Flanders, called "La Licorne Captive" (Unicorn in captivity). It is done very nicely and is of good quality. We thought it would look interesting and very "old world". I might end up moving it to Erik's "Victorian gentleman's study" when we actually start that project later on, but I think it also will look lovely in here permanently.
 On my never-ending list of things are window treatments for the hall windows. We have been in the house now for nearly seven years, and still there are no curtains on the windows in this room!!!

Thanks for stopping by!