Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sometimes things take a turn for the macabre at Silo Hill Farm this time of year......
I would love to tell you more about this funky bird cage that I have, but I've had it forever and I don't remember much about where I got it.  All I know is that when I saw it, I had to have it and I mean, I had to have it.  Obviously it was not used to hold a bird, unless it was a very big bird, but it holds this skull and pumpkin quite nicely.
Not that they're going anywhere, because if they tried, Edgar, the raven would be informing me right away!
Why do I need to keep a skull and pumpkin in a cage? Hmm........
Skullduggery I think.

What is skullduggery? 
According to The Word Detective:

“Skulduggery” today means “underhanded dealings,” “trickery” or “clandestine machinations.” The term is apparently an American invention, first appearing in print (as far as we know) in 1867 (“From Minnesota had been imported the mysterious term ‘scull-duggery’, used to signify political or other trickery.”), but since that quotation is an explanation of the term, we can assume it had been in use for some time before that.


 Skullduggery indeed!

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Saturday, September 29, 2012


 Hello Inspiration Cafe readers... Its time to wrap up round 3!

You will notice some big changes coming up very soon. We are very excited and we hope you will be joining us for more!

First off though, we are rapt that Sherry from Pondered Primed Perfected
has decided to rejoin us after taking a short blogging break. It just wouldn't be the same without her, so welcome back Sherry....

In this last round, Sherry took a break so we have 4 fun projects to share with you in case you missed them the first time:

1 Easy Wrap Bracelet by Natalie from NorthShore Days
2. Baked Apple Tortilla Rolls by Mary from Sweet Little Bluebird
3. House Haunts by Heather from The Beating Heart
4. Four for Fall by Danni from Silo Hill Farm

Now, the 5 of us are taking a week or two off to implement our changes and get a whole new Inspiration Cafe makeover....

So this coming Monday we have a very special guest, sharing an awesome craft. You do not want to miss Mel from Mellywood's Mansion.

Please pop on over and visit her this weekend and give her some Inspiration Cafe love.

And finally - check out our fab Facebook badge - our Mary designed it! And while you're checking it out, don't forget to "like" us too


 Have a great weekend and we will see you all on Monday with Mel

Take care



Friday, September 28, 2012


Want to make a cute but creepy Halloween effect for your door? 
This is such an easy project and takes about 30 minutes.  
You need some cheap glue-on fake nails, a piece of heavy gauge wire or a coat hanger, an old shirt sleeve or a piece of fabric, some newspaper or plastic grocery bags, duct tape and a glove.  I used a green garden glove.
Stuff the glove with the paper or bags.  Glue on the nails and while that's drying, cut off a shirt sleeve.  Make a loop around both ends of the wire and then bend it at a 90 degree angle.  
Duct tape the cut off shirt sleeve around the base of the first loop.  Stuff the other looped end into the glove.  Hook one end on to the back side of a door handle and bend the wire so that it fits around the door to the front side.  There ya go!
I did this on a door and stuck a lollipop in the hand once.  An apple would be nice too!  Well, that's the beginning of my Halloween decorating, which tends to lean towards the creepy side, but what did you expect from a farm girl who runs a haunted maze every fall???

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Thursday, September 27, 2012


When I say this is the easiest, I'm not kidding!  Less than 10 minutes to make, 45 minutes to bake, no candy thermometer and you can be eating this in less than an hour.  When I say it's awesome, I'm not kidding there either...I have NEVER met anyone who didn't love this caramel corn.  It has no hulls and no seeds, so little kids and older people love it too!
Here's what you need to make this giant pan of awesomeness:
8 oz. bag of Puff Corn (not all bags are 8oz. - I used 2 bags to get 7oz.- close enough)
1 C. butter (do not substitute)
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda

Here's what you do:
Place puff corn in a large roaster pan sprayed with cooking oil. (A dutch oven works fine too.)
In a 2 qt. sauce pan bring butter sugar and corn syrup to a boil, then cook for 2 minutes.
 Add the baking soda.  This makes the caramel mixture foam up.
Stir well and remove from heat. Pour over puff corn and stir it up really well and try to coat it as evenly as you can.  (I just kind of lift and turn it.)  
(Don't freak out because suddenly this is in an aluminum roaster pan instead of my dutch oven.  I quit taking pictures at this point the first time I made this is a different batch...sorry.)
Bake in oven at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread out on waxed paper to cool a few minutes.  Then just kind of break apart any larger clumps.  
Stored in an airtight container, this caramel corn will keep up to 5 days....but it won't last that long....promise.
I would like to note here, that sometimes people panic over the sticky mess that caramel corn seems to make in pans and dishes.  I will remind you, it's only sugar and butter and if you just rinse it in hot water, it melts away.  Really.  Then wash the pans in hot soapy water and you're done!  Now go make some of this killer stuff!!
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Monday, September 24, 2012


Welcome Inspiration Cafe Patrons!  It's Danni from Silo Hill Farm today.  Fall is upon us here in the Midwest and with the change in the season comes some changes here at the cafe.  We are considering adding an occasional guest poster to our menu, so if you think you might like to give that a try, just contact any one of our wonderful Inspiration Cafe contributors and let them know!  
Today, I have two fun and easy projects for you, plus a few quick ways to spruce up some of your old fall decor.  Let's start with this:
Last year I had this half pumpkin and although I thought it was really cool in the store....when I brought it home and hung it on my wall....
It just had zero pizazz and I was not lovin it.  This year I decided to cute it up a little and give it some presence.
I found these little leaves in the dollar bin at Michael's and thought they just might do the trick.
Now you don't have to have a half pumpkin to do this, it would be lovely on a regular foam pumpkin or, if you're ambitious and trust yourself with sharp instruments, you can cut a foam pumpkin in half.  Either way, just lay out your leaves the way you think they might look best.

I set my pumpkin in a colander to keep it stable while I worked.  Using white glue, adhere your leaves to the foam pumpkin and add whatever trimmings you like.  I used  some small bittersweet berries.  Easy as pumpkin pie!  Much better don't you think?
Now, because I was happy with this little makeover, I looked around and found a few other things that I thought I could spruce up a bit.
I had an oil candle that just had a ribbon tied around it.  Boring.  I added a few faux leaves from an old garland and a sparkly gem and voila....
Suddenly it has come to life with no money spent.  My favorite kind of project for sure!
Now I'm just looking for more easy, "use what I have" projects.  I'm not a huge fan of raffia, and I've had some for years that I've never used.  Cutting raffia can be a mess and it seems to go everywhere when I use it.  I just looped a bunch of it together and tied it together in the middle with some wire.
 Then I cut open each end of the loop on both sides and trimmed it down to a smaller size.  I wired a piece of bittersweet to hang down from the center and added a little ribbon bow to the center to hide the wire.  
It reminds me of mistletoe.  Autumn Mistletoe...not a bad idea!
If you are a regular follower, you might remember earlier this week I was lucky enough to receive some beautiful buckeyes from Mary at Sweet Little Bluebird.  I have been scattering them all over my fall decor because they are just so much fun!  I had a little mini-vase and I put some of the buckeyes in it and added small pieces of bittersweet.
 This is just a tiny little vase, sitting on an old ceramic insulator that I wrapped in a piece of garden twine.  I can think of several places in my home that have room for something tiny and fall-ish.  Sometimes when something is so simple and beautiful, it doesn't need to make a big statement.  
Pretty much the only money I spent on these four little makeovers was the leaves I got in the dollar bin at Michael's.  Not bad, huh?
The moral of this post is shop local....real your own home!  Sometimes a "fresh coat of paint on the old barn door" looks pretty cute!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Pumpkins.....Sad Corn

Most of you know that Sam and I have a Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze that we open to the public every fall.  Although we had  severe, sustained heat and our area was declared to be in the extreme drought zone, our pumpkins actually made an awesome comeback!  I took a walk early yesterday evening and snapped a few pictures of some of the varieties that we grow.
This is a Cinderella grows kind of low and flat and looks like Cinderella's carriage.
My favorite is this one, the Lumina Pumpkin grows round and white like a full moon. 
This one is the favorite of crafters.  It is called a Phat Jack, because the stem is so very fat.  
I put a quarter on this one so you could get an idea of the size of the stem. This was our first year to grow them.  Last year I had many people asking for them because they use the stems to make those fabric pumpkins you see with the real pumpkin stems.  I like the pumpkin itself because it is so perfectly round and has such a beautiful color.
 This Big Max pumpkin will be huge!  Some of our biggest pumpkins have been the Big Max variety.  I can see these clear across the field from my deck!
These Warty pumpkins are just kind of fun to use in decor.  I always love the weird ones!

Although our pumpkins made it through the extreme drought, like so many other farms around, our corn did not.  You can't open a Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze without corn.  Sadly, we will not be open for this 2012 season. If you are interested,  you can watch a clip from the Springfield KY3 TV news about our farm being closed because of the drought HERE.  The cute guy standing in the field of sad corn is my husband Sam.  It was a hard interview to do, but he did a great job!  
On the lighter side, it's been a long time since we've had an opportunity to really enjoy some of the fall activities around our area and we are looking forward to them.  We are also looking forward to next fall and seeing all of our friends and customers who come out to enjoy some good old fashioned fun in the country.
I'll leave you with my favorite picture from Silo Hill Farm.  It is my 3 beautiful grandchildren heading out into the corn maze for the first time....when the corn was tall, green and happy and they were so very small!  *sigh*

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I am constantly amazed by the kindness of bloggers. I have been blessed so many times by it, that I should not even be surprised anymore, but I am.

You may have noticed that I have a new blog design.  I hope you like it.  I love it!  I didn't do it myself....oh no.  I have been wanting to, but I have been terrified of doing it.  

This blog design was a gift to me!  That's right, a gift!  Rose, from A Rosie Sweet Home created this custom blog design.
You probably already know her, but if you don't , please, go visit her blog A Rosie Sweet Home and get to know her.  She is so talented in so many venues. She may be the most famous for this post that was so wildly popular because it's so wildly awesome:
It is so cute and will stay in even a baby's hair.  She sold a ton of these in the Etsy Shop she had with Heather from Heatherly Loves, but now she is going to share the "how-tos" with you! 

So how did all of this come about?  Well, I have been a long-time follower of A Rosie Sweet Home and one day I went to reply to a sweet comment she had left me on one of my posts and I discovered she had suddenly become a "no-reply" blogger.  If you are a blogger and suddenly that happens to you, you want to know about it!  So I sent her a quick note and a link on how to fix it.  I also mentioned that she had a really cute blog design and that I was afraid to mess with my "stock" blogger design.  She got her "no-reply" problem fixed in no time.  A few days later, she left another nice comment on one of my posts and in it was this little paragraph:
"I was wondering if you would like for me to give your blog a little makeover?    I am not a blog designer but I have learned some things about it.  If you want I can set up a Sample blog and if you like it you can add it to yours or I can do it for you, if your comfortable.  I can add a background, custom navigation bar, and a header.  What do you think?  no pressure and no charge.   If you don't like it my feelings wont be hurt or if you love your blog the way it is that is great too.  Rose"
Now I have to tell you I read that a couple of times before it really sunk in what she was offering!  Then I read it about 10 more times and yelled for my husband, Sam, to "come and read this email!".
Is that not the kindest offer EVER???!!!!  
That was all a few weeks ago and today, you can see the end results for yourself.   I know Rose is a busy woman with a family, a home and a blog to take care of.  I know that this took plenty of her precious time.  I am grateful and I am humbly thankful.
Please take a minute of your time and visit this wonderful woman's blog, A Rosie Sweet Home and give her a little comment love.  At the moment, I can think of no one who deserves it more!!
Thank you Rose!  You are so incredibly amazing and you make the blog world a better place!!
 Stay tuned next week, when I tell you about another awesome blogger who is teaching me to stencil....via email!  (That might not be as easy as it sounds...I stink at stenciling and I might not be the best student in the world!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I have some of the most amazing blog friends!  Truly I do!  My friend Mary at Sweet Little Bluebird happens to be one of them.  She sent me a box of buckeyes in the mail!  I love buckeyes and they are a great addition to any fall decor, not to mention that they are supposed to bring good luck!
Don't they look fabulous?
If you want to learn some interesting facts about buckeyes, including how they got their name, go check out Mary's post HERE.  And while your there, don't miss her wonderful Buckeye Candy's to die for!  You may already be familiar with Mary because she is one of the members of our Inspiration Cafe group and is one awesome cook.  So, while you're over at her blog, check out a few of her other posts.  You won't regret it, I promise!
As for my box of buckeyes...well....check this out!  She didn't mess around...this package came Priority Mail!!
And inside.....
 A Gallon size bag filled with beautiful buckeyes!  Mary is so smart, she put a paper towel in with them to absorb the moisture so they wouldn't mold!
Here are what the buckeyes look like in their shell and out...
 She told me to bake them in the oven so they would dry out quickly.  While they were in the oven, I got out this old bread dough bowl that I purchased from an antique store when I lived in Montana.  It is so old and was very well loved by someone.  I always thought I would paint it, but couldn't bring myself to.
So I decided to give it a good rubbing with some paste wax and bring it to life!  Check out the difference it made in that old bowl.  I snapped a pic of it when half of it was waxed.  Big difference!
I put all of the buckeyes in it and added a little bit of ribbon that I curled around a curtain rod and threw in some of those beautiful  bittersweet berries. now I have a beautiful bowl full of Autumnal good luck, compliments of an amazing blog friend whom I hope to meet one day!
  Thank you Mary!  I love them!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012


O.K.....I can't stand it anymore!  I just had to do a little Halloween something and then I'll get back to the rest of my fall projects!  

When my good friend Judy was here last year we made these cute little witch hats out of felt and then decorated them.  I stuck one on a small pumpkin and set it on a candle holder.  Kinda cute and creepy at the same time, no?
Whew....glad I got that out of my system!!

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Monday, September 17, 2012


Welcome to the Inspiration Cafe. It's Heather this week, and I am so excited to get you inspired to do something....sewing.   Yeah.
Halloween is almost here. I know,  don't blink or anything. That is why I am taking the time today, in September, to help you get some Halloween decor ready before Halloween...because that's how I typically make decorations for holidays.  Once they are over I get things done and then can't use them until the following year.  So, we're getting started early.
I felt my house needed some haunts.  Kinda like Halloween groupies.  They hang around giving my house some ambiance, make us feel a little spooky...make my kids need to have the hall light on all night while they know, things like that.  I also wanted to give you two options.  One you can make with a sewing machine and one to make by hand with a needle and thread.  Both are easy and cute....and they take very little time. Which for me, counts for a lot when it comes to make decorations.  I love to get inspired and be able to make something in an hour flat.
So, to make some House Haunts of your own...