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16 Jun
JW and Marcelyn Brown, my maternal grandparents

One of the characteristics I admire so much about previous generations is their resourcefulness. They lived by the mantras of, “waste not, want not” and “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” In our fast-paced, 2-day-delivery world, this is not a skill at which we are adept.

Recently I was decluttering my craft supplies. Thanks to my sweet Mom, Aunts and Cousins, I’ve inherited many things (mostly quilting related) from my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. It’s been hard to let some of these things go because of the sentimental attachment and the historical appeal. But, my clutter threshold is fairly low and I do better managing a smaller inventory of items, so I determined to let go of some things.

As I sorted through, I was in awe of the materials they used for pattern guides, storage bags, and quilting designs. They let nothing go to waste!

There were tissue box tops, panty hose packaging, old panty hose itself as bands, bread bags, holiday gift boxes, detergent boxes and more. They put our current attempts at “reduce, reuse, recycle” to shame!

Tissue box tops, scrap cardboard, and bread bags
Worn out panty hose cut and used as bands to secure groups of quilt-block patterns
Holiday gift box as quilt block pieces
Panty hose packaging insert as a pattern for a quilt block. Sidenote: look at my grandmother’s lovely handwriting!
An assortment of scrap cardboard. Nothing went to waste!

Amazing, right?!

As an aside, I thought these old magazine cutouts and this pamphlet were so interesting! I’ve got loads more and I can’t quite part with any of them. If I do, I’ll try to find a historical society that would be interested.

What’s something you do, or remember someone from a previous generation doing, to be resourceful?


John 6:12

And when they had eaten their fill, [Jesus] told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Halloween Merriment

2 Nov

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe here). I made homemade pumpkin puree for the first time this year and this was my maiden voyage using it. Super easy and turned out great!

By the time Oct. 31 rolls around, I’m not always in the mood for Halloween. Sometimes it just seems like more work at a time when we’re busy getting crops out. But, this year I got excited to dress up with my pregnant belly. Who knows if I’ll ever be pregnant during Halloween again? So, putting together a simple costume really got me in the spirit.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I bought a $5 orange shirt, some black felt and green pipe cleaners to dress up like a Jack-O-Lantern. The hat is the stem and the pipe cleaners are the vines. I used spray adhesive to attach the felt and at 32 weeks along, Little Girl Lauck filled out the pumpkin portion of the outfit quite nicely.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I also talked my husband into carving Jack-O-Lanterns with me. We’ve never done this together and we thought it was great fun! We raised the pumpkins in our garden (I had 34 in total!). I think the convincing factor for him was the promise of roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s the best part of carving pumpkins. Here’s the link to the recipe for Jalapeno Pumpkin Seeds and several other yummy looking options.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I got all geared up to give out candy. I get a kick out of seeing all the little costumes and since we live in town, we actually get quite a few trick-or-treaters.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

We live in a community where most kids say thank you and are a delight to interact with. And they come up with some great costumes! My favorites were Punky Brewster and a Lego Block. Clay, however, was not amused by the constant doorbell ringing and parade of strangers in startling outfits at his door. It was a stressful night for him.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Did you pass out candy? Dress up? Hope it was a fun and safe day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. – Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NLT)

Friends Don’t Let Friends Quilt Alone

12 Jan

Since I started learning to quilt four years ago, I’ve discovered my favorite part about it is the socializing. There are times when I haven’t quilted for a whole year and pick it back up just in time to go to the annual Wheatwater Retreat in my hometown. It’s that much fun to hang out with other quilters.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Me, Carmen & Leslie

This weekend, two of my friends and I got together to quilt, eat, drink wine, quilt, laugh and quilt. What fun we had! None of us got a huge amount done, but we had a huge amount of fun. We’re looking forward to the next get together and hopefully more quilting friends can join us!

Leslie won the prize for first one with a block done. This is the Wyoming State Block.

Leslie won the prize for first one with a block done! The prize was to hurry up and start on her second block.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Leslie’s Wyoming State Block. Fun Fact: each state has a block!


Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

This is an inverted star block that I did. I need to replace the white and red striped fabric with something darker so you can really get the inverted effect. Got instructions for this block for free on!

Carmen didn’t do any piecing, but she is working on embroidery pieces for a baby quilt for her new nephew. Each block is a different, hand-embroidered animal and will be adorable when complete.

Don't Quilt Alone | The Farm Paparazzi

Hand, embroidered and custom-designed by Carmen

Now go forth and quilt with friends!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12(b) (NLT) 

Beans and Chili

10 Jan

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziOkay, so I know Christmas is over, but I was organizing some photos on my hard drive and ran across these gift bags I made several years ago. They are too cute, easy and inexpensive not to share! So, maybe it’ll inspire you for Christmas gifts next year, or maybe you can make some for birthdays and thank you gifts throughout the year.

To be fair, I have easy access to both major ingredients in these gift bags. A) We raise pinto beans on our farm and B) Chugwater Chili is based just 30 miles south of us in, well, Chugwater, Wyo. However, you can obtain the dry beans at any supermarket (or check with a local farmer!) and you can find Chugwater Chili in many stores or order online at

Trust me, Chugwater Chili is the best! And I’m not just saying that because my Grandparents were co-founders of the company.

Start by making the fabric bags.

Cut a piece of fabric to a suitable size. Make sure to calculate for seam allowance on the width. Make it double the length you want to end up with plus about an inch for the drawstring pocket. Fold right sides together and sew along both long edges. The fold on the bottom saves you from sewing another seam. Leave the top end open.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziThen cut a piece of yarn or ribbon so it’s long enough to loop around the bag to create a draw string. Fold the top end of the fabric over and tuck the yarn underneath. Pin so the yarn stays above where you’ll sew (you want it to be able to move later, so don’t sew it down). Keep the two ends of the yarn showing outside the folded end and tie a knot so the two ends stay together.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziStarting at the end where you’ve tied your knot, sew a seam all the way around. You’re creating a pocket to hold the yarn, while leaving the top of the bag still open. Leave a little space on the end so the yarn can still move freely, and again, make sure you don’t sew over the yarn.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziPull out your pins and turn the bag inside out. You should probably use a thread that more closely matches your fabric. Don’t be like me.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziNext put the beans and chili together.

Fill small plastic bags with about 1 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans. If you’re using beans straight out of the field like I do, make sure to sort them first. You don’t need to rinse them, but make sure you tell your gift recipient to rinse them before cooking.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck a 1 oz. packet of Chugwater Chili in the plastic bag with the beans. The chili packet has enough seasoning for one batch of chili and the beans should be enough for the recipe (beans expand to about 2-3 times their original size when cooked).

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck your yummy treat into the fabric bag.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Pull the draw string and, voila! You have a fun, homemade gift.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziWhen I made these, I also included instructions for rinsing and cooking them. The chili recipe is on the back of the packet, so no need to repeat that.

Have fun!

Do you have some creative magic you want to share? Be sure to link to it in the comments below.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT)

Marking Memories

8 Jan

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Today is our 4th Anniversary. Tyler and I met because, well, when you live in a small town, you end up meeting. Six years later we were married. At the wedding reception we asked guests to write their birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar I’d created. The thought was to keep them a part of our marriage beyond the wedding.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

The calendar was a fun, custom addition to our first year together, so I decided to make one every year. I missed making one last year, but made sure to get on the ball for a 2015 edition.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

I use Shutterfly. It’s super simple to use. I’m sure there are other great calendar-creation services out there, but I just use what I know. (This isn’t an ad for Shutterfly…they’ve never heard of me…except when I order stuff from ’em).

I try to match the image to the month, but sometimes I go rogue and just use an image I like.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

This year I also added some favorite Bible verses. Sometimes they fit a theme for the month, but some are just ones I love.

Marking Memories | The Farm Paparazzi

It’s just a fun way to highlight our work, display some of my novice photography and to create a keepsake to look back on.

Do you have any annual traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Don’t Ditch Your Calendar

4 Jan

Don't Ditch Your Calendar | The Farm Paparazzi

I hate throwing things away, but I also love getting rid of stuff. I know, I’m a complicated person. My trash bipolar derives from my hate of waste coupled with my love of cleanliness and organization. Do you suffer from this affliction as well? I need to know I’m not alone.

So, every year when I happily put up my new calendars, I struggle with throwing away the old ones. We’ve developed a bond, you know? That calendar saw me through the last year. It was with me every day.

So I turned to another dear friend to help me with this inner struggle. Pinterest.

Pinterest showed me I could do useful things with my calendar and for that, I’ll be ever grateful. There are a lot of grand ideas and incredible works of creativity happening with last year’s calendars. However, for the less ambitious crafters out there, like me, I’ve found a few simple ideas for reusing old calendars.

1. Make bookmarks

I already tried this one using a current calendar. Scandalous, I know, but it was one of those freebie calendars and I already had two hanging in the house.

Don't Ditch Your Calendar | The Farm Paparazzi

Supplies: calendar paper, scrapbook paper, cardstock, glue stick, paper cutter or scissors, hole punch and ribbon. Cut paper to desired size. Glue scrapbook paper to cardstock (both sides) and glue calendar images on one or both sides. Punch hole in top and loop ribbon through.

2. Make custom stationary


From Mother Earth Living

3. Make gift tags


From Twinkle & Twine

4. Make paper boxes


From Creative Bug

5. Use as wrapping paper (can use picture side or date side)


From blah to TADA!

There are also other great calendar recycling ideas on this blog.

6. Make envelopes


From Practically Living

Of course there are a million other ideas, but these were ones I thought I might actually do. So enjoy 2015 while paying homage to 2014!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

D-U-N, Done

22 Nov

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWe finished up our corn harvest on Oct. 31. I proceeded to celebrate by going quilting. Tyler kept working at other projects. See how I am.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziOverall, our harvest was successful. Good yields, few breakdowns and relatively good spirits throughout. Praise God for all the bounty and for allowing us to farm for a living!

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziD-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziD-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWhen my Farmer Husband took the last pass in the combine and unloaded the last dump onto my grain cart, I literally did a happy dance in my seat. I love harvest, but once all the crop was out, I felt a huge sense of relief. No more worrying about corn blowing down or early snow making it hard to get in the field.

The very last pass of T&L Farms 2014 corn harvest.

The very last pass of T&L Farms 2014 corn harvest.

The very last dump from the combine into the grain cart for corn harvest 2014.

The very last dump from the combine into the grain cart for corn harvest 2014.

We filled our grain bins up, so my Farmer Husband and Damon (our cousin and farm-team member), used some of the barley straw bales to create a temporary bunk for the rest of the corn. Part of the winter will be spent marketing the crop and delivering it to buyers.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziNow that we’re done with harvest, my Farmer Husband will plan and prepare for next year. This includes wrapping up 2014 office work, settling up with landlords, purchasing seed and other inputs for the operation, maintaining equipment and fall/winter field work. My father-in-law also custom feeds cattle through the winter, so Tyler helps with that operation as needed.

"Playing with Diamonds." The quilt I started right after harvest during the 2014 Wheatwater Quilting Retreat.

“Playing with Diamonds.” The quilt I started right after harvest during the 2014 Wheatwater Quilting Retreat.

As for me, I think I’ll just put my feet up for a few months. That is, after all the housework is done, all my public relations projects are wrapped up, I check off the long list of tasks I put off during the busy farming season, I don’t have any more volunteer projects left and I paint the house and replace the baseboards. Then I’ll just lay around, eat chocolate bon-bons and watch HGTV and the Food Network.

D-U-N, Done | The Farm PaparazziWe hope your harvest was successful and you’re able to take time to spend with family and friends during the holiday season.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)

The Farmer’s Wife Wedding Quilt

23 Aug

When I was a bright-eyed newlywed, my good friend, Judy, asked me if she could make me a wedding quilt. In a moment of insanity, I said, “Actually…could we make one together? That way I could learn along the way!”

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWell 3 years and, almost exactly, 3 months after I said “I do”, I finally finished said wedding quilt.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziThe journey has been so fun. Judy was so patient with me (especially after a year in there were I didn’t accomplish anything on the quilt) and really helped me get excited about being a quilter. I can’t thank her enough for her kindness in teaching me and dedicating so much time and so many resources.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWe got the project up and running after Judy handed me a copy of The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. The book description says:

“The 1922 The Farmer’s Wife magazine posed this question to their readers: “If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?” The magazine at the time had 750,000 subscribers, and received over 7,000 letters. The best answers to this question are included in this book, along with the traditional quilt blocks they inspired.”

How fitting for a girl who’d just married a farmer!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi The entire sampler quilt has 111 unique blocks, so we decided to scale it down. Instead, I found another quilt pattern I liked, chose 23 blocks out of the book and Judy created a design from which to work.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziBecause we wanted to include family in the process, I sent a letter to many of my and Tyler’s female relatives and asked for donations of fabric from their “stashes”. I received fabric from many generous family members. My maternal Gramma Marcie also gifted me with most of her huge fabric stash.

Then my mom gifted me my paternal grandmother’s sewing machine. Although she died when I was a baby, having Grandma Rozella’s machine made it feel like she was cheering me on as I sewed my wedding quilt.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziJudy and I spent a lot of time selecting the right color values for each block. She also washed and ironed all the fabric (no small task). My first piecing experience was at the 2011 Wheatwater Quilters Retreat that the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department hosts each year. Judy started me off sewing all the little tan pieces. I even tried my hand at a couple blocks during that retreat.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

Over the next couple of years, Judy and I worked on the tan blocks, the sampler quilt blocks and the piano keys (the striped borders). Finally at the 2013 Wheatwater retreat, we finished the blocks, added the brown borders and the piano keys and figured out what order we wanted to display the blocks.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziA couple weeks later, we got together to finish the quilt top. It was so exciting to see all the intricate details start to form a REAL LIVE QUILT!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziAfter the top was finished, Judy quilted it on her longarm machine.

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziOnce that was done, she showed me how to square up the quilt and how to sew on the binding. I took the project home, finished the binding and then proceeded to jump up and down and squeal!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziIt was finally done! The girl who couldn’t sew a straight line in Jr. High Home Ec. just finished a whole quilt!

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm Paparazzi

The Farmer's Wife Wedding Quilt | The Farm PaparazziWe still have to put the label on, but as of April 2014, the Farmer’s Wife Wedding Quilt is done!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3


5 Feb

Tyler got the cutest Christmas present this year. Our good friends made this candy tractor.

Craftiness | The Farm Paparazzi Almond Rocha hood, Lifesaver & peppermint patty wheels, Smarties exhaust pipe, mini Snickers under carriage, and Starburst seat. I love clever people!

Speaking of creativity, I finished the biggest chunk of this pinwheel quilt top recently.

Craftiness | The Farm PaparazziI was given this “turnover” pack at a quilting retreat three years ago and had it laid out on my design wall. It was in the way for laying out my niece’s quilt, so I pieced the top instead of trying to re-create my layout again. I’m hoping to eventually add a border or two down the road.

Not much winter downtime left, so taking advantage of these cold days to create. It’s clear up to 5 degrees right now! Stay warm!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

Family Photos

25 Oct

My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and amazing niece (no I’m not biased) visited a couple weeks ago and while they were here we took some family photos.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziI’d like to make a big, bold statement right now. I’m not a professional photographer. I don’t even take my camera off the automatic settings. I just shift from the little mountain setting to the person’s head setting or, sometimes, when I’m feeling adventurous, to the little man running setting.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziI always try to talk people into using professional photographers. I have friends who actually take photos for a living and actually know what they are doing. You can’t get real quality without a pro. My friend, Kassi, actually just blogged about this very thing. If you look at the quality of pros like my friends at Big Star Photography, Double H Photography and Cowgirl Graphics, you’ll see a big difference.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziThat being said, I really do enjoy taking photos. My mom was always taking photos as I was growing up and I loved seeing how her pictures turned out. I remember getting my first camera and how excited I was to get the prints in the mail. It was a Kodak Advantix and you could mail the film off to get it developed. I took a lot of unnecessary photos of random objects. I probably spent a lot of birthday money on printing nonsense, but that is a 12-year-old girl’s prerogative.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziSo, when my sister-in-law requested I snap a few photos while they were in town, I argued with her, then agreed to do it.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziAll went well except we had trouble getting my niece to smile. She was determined to stare me down until the dog licked me in the face while I was crouched down with my camera. She thought it was hysterical! She also laughed and giggled when I let her throw corn at me. So, just remember, when you’re having trouble getting a toddler to smile in photos, just go with the Three Stooges theory.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziOver the years, I’ve learned a few Photoshop tricks so I’m usually able to adjust my photos the way I like. The most important thing I’ve learned about photography, or any hobby for that matter, is to just have fun.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziAnd an adorable 2 1/2 year old niece as a photo subject doesn’t hurt either.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziNow, go hire a professional.

Family Photos | The Farm PaparazziGod Bless You & American Agriculture,


Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. – Proverbs 1:8-9

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