Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Products, Textiles are in the shoppe!

I just returned from my supplier this week and was amazed to see so many new products available, and I am happy to bring many to you.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a coverlet in the pattern "Lover's Knot" and my quantities sold out in 24 hours! Well, the good news is I was able to get more in stock and they also had all of the coordinating accessories!

In addition to the coverlets, I now have matching napkins, placemats, kitchen towels, table runners, lamp shades, pillows AND afghans! Just take a look!

I was thrilled to see that they had these same accessories in a wonderful print called "Jamestown". This print is a mustard colored willow tree and diamond design onto a black background, so very prim! I have placemats, table runners and afghans in this pattern as well.

These textiles are very high quality woven material made of 100% cotton and are machine washable. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

There are even more wonderful products that are new to our shoppe. I just love the new trend in silicone bulbs which are hand dipped into scented silicone with grubby spices mixed in. The scents that I have are Cinnamon Spice and Hazelnut, and they smell great and look so primitive!

I also have carved wooden swans, sepia tinted Christmas and Winter plaques, Santas, raggedies, wooden barn stars, and large prim wooden cutting boards. My favorite new item are the large rectangular bowls that come in your choice of four colors...mustard, red, black and the very hard to find, GREEN! Just incredible, you won't be disappointed!

Stop by www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com and see our new and exciting products. We always have something new for you, we love to bring in the latest trends in the primitive world, and strive to offer you high quality items at affordable prices.

Mary Jo

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here is a wonderful article....

This is a wonderful article printed with permission from Patternmart.com. Enjoy!

Home Sewing A Forgotten Pastime

There was a time in the world when mom or grandma would make their children's school clothes, repair garments by hand, and make stuffed animals and gifts for the neighbors.

Children arrived on the first day of school wearing a new handmade dress or uniform. Their fashion dolls were dressed in clothing made of the same fabrics and stuffed animals were created from remnants or socks. Fast forward to the 21st century where most people's clothing, home decor items, and gifts are purchased at the local mall or department store. Brand names and trendy styles are what kids are wearing now. Today we live among a multi-tasking fast-paced generation where instant gratification is the norm. No longer do people have the time or the patience to sit in front of a sewing machine or grab a needle and thread to create hand-made items. People today are constantly on the go.

Where did our mothers and grandmothers learn to sew? They were taught by their mothers, grandmothers, and even in a school. It wasn't until the late 1970's that we started seeing sewing education classes disappear from many school curriculums. During the 1970's and before, sewing was primarily viewed as "women's work". However, there came a time when women were longing to join the workforce and earn money working outside of the home like their male counterparts. Eventually, it became common to see families who had two parents working outside of the home. In two-parent working families, when would there be time to go back to the basics and sew? Parents were still responsible for home and family duties after working a 40-hour week which left little time for doing things "the old way". As a result, with more money coming into the household and less time to sew, families were buying their clothes and gifts off the shelf.

As a child growing up, my mom was too tired and lacked the time and patience necessary to teach me how to sew. After all, it was much easier to just go to the store and buy whatever we needed. If children of my generation experienced family life as I did, how would we learn to sew and teach our children to sew? Better yet, how would we keep this tradition alive for years to come? Looking back, some of the most beautiful dresses I owned and the cutest outfits my Barbie dolls had came from grandma's sewing machine. I didn't know it then but handmade clothing was becoming scarce and I wish I would have treasured it more than I did. I have very few items left from grandma but I still have the handmade Barbie doll clothes.

Something inside of me always yearned to sew. I wanted to create handmade items that would be carried through generations. I wanted to create items that had my personal touch and a quality you could no longer find on a store shelf. I wanted to pick the fabrics and lace and create beautiful dresses. When I went in search of someone in the family who could teach me, I didn't find anyone who still sewed or who was willing to teach me. I decided I would buy a sewing machine and teach myself. With the help of many books and a little trial and error, I became a self-taught seamstress. I began making my own clothes, making gifts for family, and making Barbie doll clothes for my nieces. The joy I derived from sharing my handmade treasures was more than I could hope for.

As neighbors, friends, and family began to appreciate and treasure my love of sewing, I was finding that it reminded them of a time when their relatives created handmade items for them. Very few of them had any remnants of the items that were hand-crafted for them which made them appreciate my talent even more. Today, not only do I teach my younger family members how to sew, I sew Barbie doll clothes for my online store. I've been selling doll clothes online since 2001 and have received so many emails from appreciative customers who tell me what my hand crafted items mean to them. Even if people today do not have the time or skills to make hand-sewn items, I am able to bring my creations into their families which helps them to create new memories and traditions. My hope is that the handmade items I make for others not only bring them happy memories later in life but might also one day inspire them to learn how to sew.


Adrienne Hughes, seamstress and e-book author of Sewing Patterns Defined lives with her husband, her Yorkshire Terrier, and her Barbie dolls in Texas. She has no affiliation with Mattel. She invites you to visit her online Barbie clothing store at www.sewingbyadrienne.com and www.shopforbarbie.com.

© Copyright 2007 PatternMart.com

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A special Thank You to my husband.

I thought that this Thank You deserved it's own special post.

My husband Russ, has been an inspiration to me since I first met him 9 years ago. We worked together for nearly two years before we started dating, and that allowed me to get to know him very well, and right from the beginning, I knew he was someone special.

This dream of ours, to open a retail store, has been with us from day one. We always knew we wanted to do this together, it was just a matter of where and when.

When we purchased our home here in Springville, PA, four years ago, we knew this was the place for our family and our future.

I want to thank Russ for his un-stoppable determination to make this dream into a reality. Russ works a very hard job, a 12-hour swingshift of nights and days in a factory is not an easy career to have. Each day that he has had off from work for the past several months has been dedicated either to working on our shoppe or caring for our two young boys so that I could create handcrafted items to sell online, to make trips to the wholesaler to find new items, and given me the time to push our business forward.

I thank him for the un-stoppable determination because, when someone tells us we can't do something (and they do try!), he becomes more determined than ever. When others call our business a "pipe dream" he politely smiles, because he knows, deep down, that if you want something bad enough, it can be possible. He is making this possible for us and our family, and I cannot thank him enough.

As you all can tell, I love Russ very much. He is everything I could have ever hoped for...strong willed, confident, intelligent, and a caring and loving father and husband. Thank you Russ, for doing all that you do for me and the boys and thank you for making this wonderful dream come true!

Mary Jo

Our new shoppe, updated photo!

Here is an updated picture of the outside of our shoppe. Russ finished the porch roof yesterday and it's decorated for Fall using our own pumpkin and gourd crop! My favorite rocking chair is there, and I can sit and relax and watch the boys play in the yard.

The next picture shows the the entire shoppe. All that is left on the outside is signage and gravel for our parking area and driveway! Plus, when we open, we plan on having seating areas so you can sit and relax too! Don't forget, primitive decorating isn't just for the inside, so we also plan to have some outside primitive decor available for sale and displayed on the porch as well!

I will be taking pictures of the inside before we start renovating so that I can share the before and after pictures of the inside as well...so stay tuned!

Mary Jo

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our New Retail Shoppe, A work in progress....

As many of my customers know, my husband and I have decided to expand our online business and open a "brick and mortar" shoppe here on our property. We (really, he's doing all the work) are renovating one of our barns into a retail space so that we can share our love of primitives and country living with those around us. We are very excited that we can do this next to our home and enable me to be here for our boys as they grow up! In fact, Sam, the youngest, can't wait to "be the boss" and manage the store! LOL!

Here are a few pictures of where we are in the process. These are before pictures and "in process" pics, and next week I will post pictures of our completed porch decorated for Fall! It's hard to see in the pictures, but we covered the wooden clapboard siding with foam insulation (that's the blue material the boys are measuring) and resided with vinyl siding that matched the original clapboard siding. We didn't want to alter the original look of the barn, but wanted to insulate it and make it easier to maintain. Russ (my husband/contractor/electrician) also added new windows with smaller window panes so it matches our house.

And I know that I posted these before, but I just have to show off my two boys again helping their Daddy build my shoppe!

Now, all Winter long, my husband will be working on the inside. All that is needed is for the upstairs to be sheetrocked and the walls painted, we need new stairs leading upstairs, and the downstairs needs to be painted, new subfloors and carpeting put in. He has already wired the shoppe, so after the painting and floors are done, we can start adding the track lighting, the heater and we can start filling it up! Oh, I cannot wait!
This has been a dream of ours for 7 years now, and it is finally becoming a reality! It is hard work, but well worth it and we hope to open in the Spring!
I will post those pictures of the new porch decorated with our pumpkins and such next week, until then, have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the last few days of summer!

Blessings to one and all,

Mary Jo, Russ, Seth and Sam.........The Elliot Family

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just wanted to share....

Here is a picture of our front porch that my husband and my two little boys, Seth and Sam, surprised me with last week! I had to be gone for the afternoon, and while I was out, they took the initiative to harvest our pumpkin and gourd crop and decorate our front porch! I love how it turned out and I must give them 100% of the credit, and they deserve it! Not bad for guys! LOL!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The "1827 Collection"

I have been wanting to do this since I started Fine Country Living Primitives, and finally, I have had the time to do so!

I've started a new category and product line called The 1827 Collection. Here you will find handcrafted items and primitives that represent what life was like in 1827. Here's just one item, my Colonial Sawdust Pillow...

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Times were hard in that time period, but still it was simple and full of family, community and tradition.

Why 1827 you ask? It was the year that Albert and Eliza Beardsley built our home here in Springville, Pennsylvania. They moved from Kent County, Connecticut, and married in 1826. Albert and Eliza had many children, but only one survived until she was an adult and she later took over this home and owned it until 1906. Albert and Eliza lived long and health lives with Albert being in his late 90's when he passed! That is amazing for the 1800's and showed their strength and conviction to overcome so much during their full lives.

With that said (yes, I am very proud of our home!), I felt that I needed to honor them in some way. This is why The 1827 Collection was created and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Mary Jo

New Contest and Handcrafted Items!

I am so excited to announce my September contest! During the month of September, each order/purchase made on www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com will be entered into a random drawing to win my own version of a start up kit for Affordable Mineral Makeup!

The winner will receive a full size pink Kabuki Brush, the perfect tool for applying your mineral makeup! With this brush, the winner will also receive a pink leather carrying case for the brush AND a compact mirror so you can always check your makeup during the day (but with mineral makeup, there's really no need to!). Also included with this prize is a makeup kit with the "neutral" shades and products to get you started.....one of the most popular shades of foundation and veil to give you that airbrushed look and a perfect canvas to add your other minerals too! Also in this kit are a few multi purpose minerals that can be used as blushes and eyeshadows!

I love this makeup so much that I wanted one of my primitives customers to get a chance to try it for free! The retail value of the prize is approx. $38, so I hope you enjoy this bit of extra fun for a contest!


I've also been busy sewing and creating new and exciting items for the upcoming Fall season! My newest is a set of shelf sitters that are a pilgrim couple! You have to see them to appreciate them, so please check them out under the "Seasonal" category of my shoppe!

I've also been busy keeping up with the demand of my candy corn bowl fillers and have also made a set of WHITE pumpkins for something different and new! I know that you will just love them!

Also new is my Catrina and Baby Kitty set of primitive black cat dolls! They are a great larger size, perfect for sitting in a doll chair or highchair and Catrina has a great rusty wire collar with rusty jingle bells all around, you will just fall in love with this pair and they are oh, so prim!!!!!!!!!

That's all for today, I'm off to relax a bit with the family before bedtime and hope to see you all on www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com!

Mary Jo

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fall is in the air....

Even though it is still technically Summer, Fall is in the air around our household. As I sit here on my front porch working on my laptop, I am watching Seth and Same, ages 3 and 4, raking the leaves from our chestnut tree in the front yard. For some reason, they are falling earlier this year, and the boys are enjoying gathering the chestnuts in bags and it's giving me a little quiet time to write this! :-)

Our pumpkins have matured and turned orange earlier this year also, and already a few neighbors and friends have come asking for a few to fill in those bare spots in their outdoor gatherings. We don't have as many as last year, but they sure are a lot nicer....perfectly shaped and uniformly orange. I can't wait to pile some bales of hay and dig out the ol' scarecrow from last year and pile the pumpkins on the bales of hay by our front door....I'll be sure to post a pic, but in the meantime, here's a picture of LAST year's harvest! My, how the boys have grown!

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I sure wish that this time of year could last ALL year.....the warm sunny days without humidity, the cool nights with the windows open and a need for a light covering...I surely wouldn't complain!
We are planning our final Fall vacation to Lancaster with the boys in a few weeks. Since Seth will be in Kindergarten next year, we won't be able to sneek away during the off-peak months like we've been doing for years. I wll miss seeing the harvesting of the fields that we have enjoyed for many years now, but maybe I COULD take him out of school next year for just a day or two and count it towards an educational family trip! The boys enjoy it as much as we do and I would hate for them to miss out on it.

That's all for today, I just wanted to spend a few minutes here to relax a bit and collect my thoughts, it's good for the soul to just slow down and savor the small things in life, and my two small boys and our time together is the best things in life that I know!

Mary Jo