Pink & Pretty & Red All Over

Our farmgirl chapter met at my house recently. A Valentine’s Day theme for our craft project and gift goodies was the game plan. Come on in and sit a spell.

“Think pink” has been my mantra in preparation for the upcoming light-hearted holiday (pun intended). Red is my favorite color and pink is her little sister. Valentines Day just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Ok, so here we go to the “High Plains Sage Hens” farmgirl conflab (is that really a word?). Before you head out the door though, dress like you’re going for a leisurely trek across the frozen, frigid Klondike. My farmgirl pals and I have “cabin fever” due to this winter being one of the snowiest in recent memory. I know we’re not alone. Many of you all over the country are experiencing the same thing!

From left to right: Lisa, Anita, Michele, Jennie. The girls peeled off their layers and the pile of coats, hats, scarves & mittens left on our bed was impressive! Then, the gift bags appeared while I was finishing up supper details. On the menu: Chicken noodle soup, salad, bread, Nanking Cherry butter (made from fruit that I picked in August), and Strawberry heart-shaped cookies. Look for recipes below.

I’ll try to keep some order here. First, let me share what the gift goodies were. Michele made embellished chicken wire hearts stuffed with moss, also spearmint soaking salts (for feet) and on the brown paper sack they were tucked in, hung a chicky-bell. She also left a fabulous cabin bird house in my care; she built it from scratch and donated it for an upcoming benefit auction (for a beautiful baby girl named “Lily”). I’ll deliver the cabin. For the auction, Anita made and donated a couple of split-oak baskets, I’m donating jewelry. Lisa has made sure that news of the auction is well promoted in her newspaper. Jennie has been helping with the auction and is distributing bracelet bands. We are all planning on bidding at the auction. Please keep little Lily and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She is going to be undergoing cancer treatment for quite some time.

Lisa gave each of us a beautifully wrapped trio of pink tipped yellow roses (below) with a gourmet candy bar tied on with ribbon. Jennie brought each of us an extra long “hank” of tea-dyed cheese cloth to hang folk-hearts from – oh so artsy for lots of things. I used a little of it as a decorative jar cover for my cherry butter jars (see below). My gift to give the girls was wooden spoons and jars of cherry butter. Anita knitted each of us a pair of woolen mittens. She also made my mother a pair that fits her hard-to-fit hands (bent over because of arthritis).

Jennie took a few pics with her phone … stitching up hearts …

Gift bag from Michele, roses from Lisa …

Shery and Anita …

I’ll offer up the recipes now – one for my cherry butter and the other for the cookies shown on today’s blog. I took these photos of the cherries while I was picking them … over 15 pounds in three buckets + several handfuls for the picker :o) Hang with me, I’ll get to our craft project too.

Nanking Cherry Butter

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I based this recipe on the amount of juice I ended up with. Multiply or decrease your ingredients as needed. I ended up filling 20 half pint jars.

9 Cups “pulpy” juice

8 Cups sugar

3 packages of cherry gelatin

2 packages of Sure-Jel

Bring fruit to boil and simmer for about half an hour. Let cool. You can freeze the juice until later if you like.

Spoon cherry pulp into a sieve and mash thoroughly. Discard seeds. Add sugar, cherry gelatin and Sure-Jel. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stir often. Turn off heat. Skim foam off the top. Pour hot liquid into clean pint jars, put lids on and process in hot water bath for about 8-10 minutes. Yield: 20 half pint jelly jars.


Pink & Easy Valentine Cookies

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These cookies are crispy crunchy.

I box of Strawberry cake mix

1 stick of melted butter

1 large egg

several drops of red food coloring (optional)

Ready-to-go Strawberry frosting or home-made butter cream frosting

Combine ingredients, stir until dough is uniform in color. Roll out and cut cookies into heart shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Yield: about one dozen.

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Our craft project was to stitch up a bushel of hearts. What to do with them afterward, you ask? The ideas were to hang a trio of them on an Aspen branch and then hang the branch on a door or a wall etc. Or, another option is to make half a dozen stuffed hearts out of tan linen, then attach them to strips of Jennie’s tea-dyed cheese cloth. I saw a herd of them hanging on farmhouse door … oh so charming. I made a long heart out of a piece of an antique crazy quilt. For trim, I added an old key, velvet ribbon and a ribbon rose bud. It now hangs on the front of my Hoosier cupboard. I think I’ll make another smaller heart out of tan linen and embellish it with mother-of-pearl buttons and maybe my first initial. Notice two other stuffed hearts in this article … the checkered one that has the word “farmy” cross-stitched on it and the other one graces a miniature twig bed. You can get directions to make your very own twig bed by subscribing to the MaryJanesFarm sisterhood online newsletter/magazine. The twig bed is in the current February issue — look for it in the ‘Make It Easy’ section when you open the file.

Oh, and here is a quick & easy valentine that you can make several of in just a few minutes. Very easy for children too. Literally handmade! You could use red paint on one hand and pink on the other. As a family project, make a mural of all the hands in your household and give it to Grandma and Grandpa. *(I found this on an educational website – “free ideas”.)

Whoooaa pony, slow it on down to a gentle mosey. We’re gonna take a little trail ride through Pink-A-Dilly Canyon.

Cowgirls Do Pink.

Pink is fun loving … and fun to wear. It has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Not so long ago, I read that “Pink is the new black” … whatever that means. There is nothin’ new about girls gravitating toward pink. I was “tickled pink” to find a chocolate colored riding coat with pink fleece lining. I also bought the vest for milder weather. Lassies and ladies have been wearing pink for a long, long, long time.

One of America’s favorite “First Ladies” made wearing pink all the rage. Below: Jackie Kennedy (Onassis).

Historically, pink has been very popular … and not just for clothing.

A friend of mine has a pink refrigerator. Reproduction models are now available in “retro” colors. Below: Fiestaware pitcher, antique French enamelware pitcher, Depression glass cake plate, “fridge”.

Pink textiles…

MaryJanesFarm editor, Carol Hill, drives a vintage Volkswagon Bug (soft green, I believe). Here are a few more pink retro “rides”…

Our friend, Leroy, owns this gorgeous 1956 fuschia pink Ford Fairlane. When it was brand spanking new, I was too :o)

As is true with all colors, our Creator invented pink

The community of wildflowers offers a vast array of pink beauties. The water loving species below makes it’s home in a pond down the road from us. It blooms in August. I’ve not been able to name it. Does anyone out there know her name? I took the photo when we were helping neighbors ship their cattle.

Last year, I discovered a wonderful flower bed plant … salmon pink Oxalis. This variety is called “Iron Cross” because of the dark coloration on the leaves. Wyoming is a harsh climate … hot, dry summers, cold cold winters. I was delighted to see my Oxalis not only survived, but thrived and bloomed until they froze. I left the corms in the ground because it is said to be winter hardy. We’ll see. Regardless, I’m ordering s’more.

True pink is a gentle and comforting color. It can veer left and appear as barely pink or take a hard right and light up the High Plains prairie like the brilliant Bitteroot does when in bloom. I took the below photo when we were moving my BIL’s cattle in the month of May. The prairie looked as if it was scattered with HOT pink faux flowers. They didn’t look real! I should have taken a photo of the effect. Words can’t do the image justice. But, the cattle were moving and I had to move on.

In the not so distant past, jobs for “womenfolk” beyond the homefront were pretty darn limited. The jobs that did exist for women were referred to as “pink collar” jobs. Now, the pink collar list is much longer and multi-dimensional. Personally, I believe there is no job more important than being a “home maker”, but … having a good career ought to be among our choices. Life is all about making wise choices. My mother once dreamed of being a doctor when she was a college co-ed. But, as was the case with so many women in the early 50s, her dream didn’t happen. Instead, she chose to marry & raise a family. For my sake, I’m glad she did. This year, the daughter of friends of ours will become a pediatric oncologist. She’s worked very hard for several years to finally arrive. I have to believe that her journey was made a little easier though since her generation doesn’t have negative social pressure working so hard to oppress the gifts and talents that half of the population has to offer. Women today are contributing so much heart to society. Not only in the home, but in the workplace. I also think I see young women realizing how important balance is. A one sided affair in any situation is not good in the long run. Balance, now there is a word worth dedicating your life to. Role models come to mind. We have one whose name is at the top of this page. MaryJane Butters. Talk about a great “pink collar” role model.

Psychologists claim that pink has a calming effect on men and an empowering effect on women. Hmm, interesting. Pink is said to be the color of happiness. I’ll buy that. “Words often have color in their meaning and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for them too.” ~ Gladys Taber. That quote nicely conveys the shared feelings of my farmgirl pals when we hang together.

Happy Valentines Day to all of you, my farmgirl friends out yonder. Here is a wonderful song of love by the late Nicolette Larson … “French Waltz”. The waltz truly is the dance of love, inspired by the rhythm of the human heartbeat. The classic art vignettes that accompany this song/video are as charming as the song. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj8Wat1Z0PY

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  1. Janice K. says:

    I would like to know how you manage your hectic lifestyle and still have time to produce the MOST WONDERFUL blogs! You are my absolute favorite. I envy your closeness with your farmgirl chapter and you’ve made a decision for me. Join, or create a farmgirl chapter!
    Lovely pictures and sentiment, Shery.
    Jan

  2. Debbie says:

    Oh Shery! You’ve done it again! Everything looks and sounds so pretty and yummy! I truly believe color has the power to heal our emotions. Why else would the CREATOR have made so many beautiful and awe inspiring colors? I agree… home making is a choice and for some a real calling, but I’m grateful to have the choice to be a homemaker and or a working mom outside the home too. Your term " Pink Collar" is adorable and fitting for so many working women today. And Mary Jane is the perfect example…You can love pink and still be all ( well, almost all ) business too!
    Oh I just love your blogs!!!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Beach Blessings,
    Deb

  3. Brenda says:

    There you go having a good time without me again. Love to see what you and your farm girls friends are doing at your gatherings. Afraid there is only about two foods I do not like and cherries are one of them. I do make hubs a cherry pie once in a while though because we have cherry trees on our property. We could substitute a different flavor of cake mix though and still try your recipe right? I painted one wall in my work room pink. I like pink but cannot wear it. It is just not one of my colors. I think I could drive a pink car though!

  4. Bonnie says:

    Shery,
    I have to agree with Janice – you are my favorite! You have an artistic eye and nature – one can certainly tell. It’s always a joy to see your fun times with your farmgirl sisters. And sharing some of your favorite music is an added benefit. I am still playing "In The Bleak Midwinter" from Utube! Thanks a bunch for all your wonderful words and pics.

  5. Kathy says:

    You and your friends have such a wonderful time together. You’re all so creative. I always look forward to your blog. I especially love that you share photos and instructions for us on how to do the crafts, recipes, etc. I would definitely want to join your lovely group if I lived near you. Keep up the good work and have fun.

    Kathy Lee

  6. bonnie ellis says:

    I would just love to be at your meetings and hang out. You make us just drool over the fun you have. Your blog is the greatest. We have 60" of snow here and it has been below zero. I’ve got lots of those "klondike" clothes here. Pink is my favorite color. I have lots of it to share. Happy Valentine’s Day girls…I’m with you in spirit. Bonnie E

  7. Reba says:

    This was a Valentine gift in itself…your fun blog! Thanks again for the beautiful words that go so well with your beautiful pictures.

    When I worked in the ’70′s at Dwight D Eisenhower Army Medical Center, I remember one of the patient rooms was held special and reserved as the "Pink Room" and it belonged only to "Miss Mamie" Eisenhower when she came to GA. I loved the name and the thought of it then, especially when it was the years of gold, green, and "burnt" orange. My, my how the years have…oh well…they have been good!

    I enjoy pink now even more than ever because of a beautiful daughter (30 years old now) that has always LOVED pink!!! And she still does!! So I make "spa" towels, kitchen towels, and even a "lipstick" towel that has pink somewhere on them. We both love it. (Red and green are my most favorite colors though.)

    Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  8. Rusty McHale says:

    Shery,
    I always look forward to your blogs. They are so inspiring and like you, I too love antiques, flowers and all things home/handmade. Keep up the good work and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Ours all always special since it is also our anniversary (#3).
    Thanks again-

    Rusty

  9. Oh Shery,
    Happy Valentines to you & your sweetheart.
    Oh, and how sweet of you to let your 4-legged purrbaby join in the fun with you & your ‘sage hens’ friends.
    >^..^<

  10. Brenda says:

    You make me wish I could be in your group. I love your blogs. Everything you and your friends from the food to the gifts to the crafts make me to want to try them all and I am going to try. Thank you so much for the invite to a little of the fun you and your group had. And please keep sharing.

  11. Jan says:

    Thanks for sharing your Valentine Tea with us, looks like a lot of fun.Sure wish I could have been there too. Your kitty is very pretty, looks like she was having fun too. I love pink and red, two of my favorite colors. Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

  12. Florence says:

    I love that you shared your gathering with your fellow farm girls. Thank you! Florence

  13. Claudia says:

    You truly make life "delicious"Thanks!

  14. Lisa Price says:

    I wish that I could have been there. I love your blogs. have a happy valentines day.

  15. Debbie Strong says:

    Love your blog – all pink and filled with super ideas. I baked some Valentine cookies today, but used strawberry cake mix, with strawberry frosting, and red sprinkles. Thanks for the inspiration, as always. Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend.

  16. Kristy T says:

    Oh how I love your blog !! And you hit me between the eyes with all things pink…As I LOVE PINK !! Great pictures and info I’d never heard about pink !! Farmgirl Hugs…Kristy

  17. Denise says:

    Thanks for the great blog. I actually made the cookies for valentines day and brought them to work. Pink, so cute.

  18. Joanna says:

    Ooh, I just loved this post and your blog. I never thought of making cookies from cake mix before. I might have to try that.

    Joanna

  19. Laynee says:

    Pink, need you say more! Absolutley perfect :)

  20. susan waggoner says:

    How did you form the heart shape cookies?

    ———

    Hi Susan, a heart cookie cutter :o)   shery

  21. Elke says:

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the
    best blogs on the web. I am going to recommend this website!

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