Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The small things in life....

Have you ever had a simple experience in life that you will never forget? This is what happened to us last night at my sister's house.

We had just been visiting my sister Terri, and her husband, Mark, and were getting ready to leave. We need to walk through their garage to exit the house, and I heard a buzzing sound and a tapping. To my surprise, there was a hummingbird that was trapped in the garage trying to escape through the closed window. My brother-in-law said that it had been in the garage for a 5 days and he couldn't get it out....he even left both garage doors open for those 5 days and it just couldn't find it's way home.

My husband is always wonderful with animals and is always (to my dismay) saving snakes (yuck) and such in our yard from meeting their demise. Without a word, he climbs through their garage and gently approaches the hummingbird that is weak and weary from his little ordeal...no food or water for days! He literally scooped the hummingbird into his hand and carried it to us so we can all see it up close. Our two little boys ages 3 and 4 were amazed to see a hummingbird peacefully resting in Daddy's large, loving hands. And just as peacefully, the hummingbird then flew slowly away, hopefully able to find it's family and a good meal!

This is one of those precious moments in life that I will never forget. I jokingly called him "The Bird Whisperer", and he just chuckled. That is how my husband approaches everything in life....slow and steady, without apprehension or even a second thought....and is always there for those in need, even our Friends in nature.

Sometimes the smallest things in life bring us such peace and satisfaction!

Have a wonderful evening, and blessings to you all!

Mary Jo

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another Decorating Tip-Berry Pip Garlands

Berry Garlands can be used in so many ways. One of my favorite ideas is to intertwine it with one of my primitive chandeliers. When I was selling these on ebay, I had more emails about my lighting and exposed beam ceiling than I sold garlands! LOL!

All you do is fluff out your garland and drape the garland so that it looks as the berries are naturally growing on the chandelier. I use orange (as shown) for Fall, red metallic for Christmas and light green or cream for Spring and Summer...sometimes I just keep changing them for something fun! I have these on my webshoppe and they are currently on SALE! Stop in and check them out!

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Blessings,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Announcing my New Website "Old As Dirt Primitives"!

I am so happy to announce that I have opened another website called "Old As Dirt Primitives". This website will be exclusively for Handcrafted Primitive Dolls, Folk Art, Bowl Fillers, E-Patterns and Doll supplies.

Please be sure to check it out!

http://www.oldasdirtprimitives.com

I bought the domain name in January after looking at some of my dolls and thinking that they looked as old as dirt.....then I thought that it would make a great website name! Voila'.....that's how this all started! LOL!

I hope you enjoy it! I will still be offering my handcrafted items on Fine Country Living Primitives.com, but hopefully will be able to someday offer them only on Old As Dirt Primitives.

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pretty up that Porch!

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Here is a quick and easy way to add primitive charm to your outdoor living space.

I go to auctions, but not as many as I used to since I've had my boys! LOL! Anyhow, there would always be one or a few chairs up for bid that had no seats. Well, who has time to repair or recane chair seats!

So, what I did was I waited for just the right one (I have a few "Right Ones" but don't use them all). I bought this beauty for just $1 and turned it into a primitive flower holder.

I was lucky enough to have a decorative plastic container that looks like terracotta that fit perfectly into the seat frame. If you don't have one that fits, you could always add scraps of wood to the corners to adjust the diameter of the seat opening to accomodate your pot. If you buy a plant that cascades, it will hide the scraps of wood and no one will ever know!

I usually buy wave petunias, but this year I fell in love with these regular petunias and couldn't be happier! I can't wait until about mid-July when they will be at their fullest and prettiest!

I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy idea! It looks so pretty next to my front door, but you could also place it directly in the yard or anywhere that needs that little unique "something"!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Apple Salad

Here's a good one!

Makes 10 servings

8 unpeeled apples, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup broken walnuts
1 cup miniature marshamallows (optional)

Stir above ingredients together

Dressing:
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend cornstarch into the water. Stir in other ingredients over low heat until all are dissolved. Bring to boiling point.

Cool and pour over apple mixture. Chill.

This is delicious and a great salad for picnics and family get togethers! I know I will be making this in the Fall to use up all those apples from our trees!

Blessings and enjoy,Mary Jo

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Postal Regulations and Increases

Well, the post office has dramatically changed how Priority shipping will be shipped and charged.I will try to use one of my products as an example.

If you buy a peg rack (it's long and narrow), I will be able to ship that with the Priority Shipping boxes no problem and with no additional surcharge other than the regular postage due.

BUT, what if you want to buy a peg rack AND a treenware trencher? Well, I would then have to mail your order in a regular brown box. GUESS WHAT? I will now have to measure the entire dimensions of the box and it is possible this will be an additional cost because it will not be shipped in a Priority Mail box. Also, if I tape two Priority Mail boxes together, it is considered "altered" and an additional charge may apply.

My wonderful Postmaster in town ran a "test" on one of my packages last week. This is what he found.....It was in a brown box and was sent to the west coast from here in Pennsylvania. Last week it cost approx. $9 for me to ship via Priority Mail. After May 14, it will cost $16!!!!!!!! That is HUGE!!!! I just cannot afford that, and also, I don't think you would be willing to pay that postage, am I right?Since my online shipping calculators can only calculate by weight and not by dimensions, I decided to also add The Brown Truck, UPS, as a shipping option. I'm new to them, so bear with me! LOL!!!

Here is my dilemna....you may still choose USPS Priority Mail and pay for your order. If the USPS charges me additional postage, that comes out of my profits. I could always raise my product prices, but I HATE doing that......and I won't because I only raise product prices if my wholesale prices increase.So, what may happen is if it is cheaper for me to ship via UPS, I will do that....even if you chose Priority Mail. I hope that is okay, but I don't know what other choices I have at this point.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining, but I know that I do! LOL! But these changes make it hard on us "little guys" in the retail world. I certainly hope that you all understand and bear with me during this time.

Of course, I will keep adjusting whatever I can to save my customers as much money as possible. Wish me luck!

Blessings,Mary Jo

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Simplify....

Years ago when my husband, Russ, and I fell in love with the primitive country decor, one of our very first purchases was a wooden sign that said "Simplify". We hung that sign up in our home and decided that it would be our family motto.

We both grew up in rural Pennsylvania. Even though Russ had moved around quite a lot when he was growing up, his favorite place to live during his childhood was in Bradford County, PA. He then joined the Navy, and of course, moved around yet again. He was able to settle down in Haverford West, Wales, where he lived for four years.

Russ always talks about how simple life is in Wales. He said everyone moves at a slower pace. No one rushes about to and fro, zipping in and out of parking lots and always trying to get in front of the next car as we do here in America. He talks of the pubs where people gather for social visits, where no matter how rich or poor, or what social rank you were, everyone was on equal ground and shared stories and fellowship.

Russ then moved on to New Jersey for many years after leaving the service. He moved to the Point Pleasant area where, of course, all the tourists flock to the shore each summer. There he says he's wasted several years probably of accumulated hours sitting on the Parkway in bumper to bumper traffic. I've been there to visit, and it is so beautiful and great for a vacation, but I don't think I could live there either! :-) We may complain at times that the nearest mall or store is 30 minutes away, but at least that's driving time and not sitting in traffic time.

Russ decided that the cost of living and the fast pace life was no longer to be a part of his life, so he moved back "home" to Northeastern Pennsylvania. I'm ever so grateful that he did since it was when he moved back that he came into my life! (love you hon!)

As for me, I have always been a country girl and have never lived more than a 20 minute drive from my childhood home. Even yesterday, I took my boys shopping in our nearest city, Scranton, for the day and it was ever so good to be back home! As I drove the back way home (I hate the highway), I took in all the blossoming trees and forsythia bushes that dotted the landscape and what a joyful feeling it was knowing that I lived here my whole life. Even my boys, ages 3 & 4, can't wait to get back home. In fact, one time when we were in Lancaster for vacation, I told a merchant that my boys can't wait to get back home. She gave me the greatest compliment I have ever received...she said that my family must have a loving home if my boys can't wait to return there. I'll never forget that for as long as I live.

We try to live simply, we both have cars out of necessity, but they are always used, economical and very practical(yes, I have a minivan and love it!). I have a cell phone for the first time (other than those pay as you go ones) only because I am on the road now so much more with my boys and need it in case of an emergency. I have the internet, but that is my job after all! Other than that, no frills here! We don't go out much and prefer to stay at home. I've always believed that if you create a home and a lifestyle that you love, you will never want to leave. And that's precisely how we are. There are weeks that go by when the only time I leave the house is to walk to the post office or go to the grocery store ONCE. LOL!! But that will change soon enough when the boys start school, and you all know that I will then turn into a taxi mom!

But that's our life in a nutshell. Russ and I have rocking chairs on our wrap around porch and sit and visit while watching the boys play. We talk of turning our one barn into living quarters so that we can have the main house as a Bed and Breakfast. We say that someday maybe our boys will want to stay on here and raise their families on this property and we could sit in these very rocking chairs and watch our grandchildren play, God willing.

What a happy and simple life we lead, may it never change!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Postal Rate Increases

Hello everyone! By now, I'm sure all of you have heard that effective May 14, 2007, the USPS is raising their postal rates again.

Unfortunately, that means that it will cost a touch more to ship your orders out. My shipping calculators are about 99% accurate, so you really are only seeing an increase thanks to the good ol' post office, and there's nothing I can do to stop that! LOL!

Thank you for your understanding. I am also looking into UPS for shipping as well. They have always been more expensive for shipping vs. the post office, so I'm not going to guarantee that I will add that shipping option, but I will look into it.

Have a wonderful evening!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

All Mom's will understand....

I belong to a wonderful group on ebay named A Primitive Country Gathering (APCG). We are over 300 members strong and are primarily work at home moms who craft and are fantastic artisans!

On one of our discussions, my dear friend and fellow co-leader, Cathi Hall, wrote this funny little tidbit and I thought you'd enjoy it. She has a great website too! Be sure to check it out!
http://www.springthymeprimitives.com

To all the Moms who will understand, Moms-to-Be who will soonunderstand,and to the Dads who wonder what the hell we do all day long,CHILD ACTIVATED ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER - you can have it!

Recently, I was diagnosed with C. A. A. D. D.? Child Activated AttentionDeficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:I decide to do the laundry. As I start toward the basement, I noticethat there are cheerios all over the floor and my car keys are in thecereal bowl.I decide to pick up the cheerios before I do the laundry. I lay my carkeys down on the counter, put the cheerios in the trash can under thecounter, and notice that the trash can is full. So, I decide to take out the trash.But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take outthe trash I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off thetable, and see that there is only one check left, my extra checks are inmy desk in the office/playroom, so I go to my desk where I find a sippycup full of juice. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I decide Ishould put the sippy cup in the refrigerator to keep it cold.As I head toward the kitchen with the sippy cup a vase of flowers on thecounter catches my eye -- they need to be watered. I set the sippy cupon the counter, and I discover baby wipes that I've been searching forall morning. I decide I better put them back in the bathroom, but firstI'm going to water the flowers.I set the wipes back down, fill a container with water and suddenly Ispot the TV remote, one of the kids left it on the kitchen table.I realize that after school when they go to watch TV, I will be lookingfor the remote as they fight over who lost it, but I won't remember thatit's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den whereit belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor.So, I set the remote back down, get some paper towels and wipe up thespill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planningto do.At the end of the day: the laundry isn't washed, the bills aren't paid,there is a warm cup of juice sitting on the counter, the flowers aren'twatered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find the wipes, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm reallybaffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail. Do me a favor, will you?

Forward this message, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent.Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Paypal Spam and Scams

I love Paypal. I think it was the greatest invention since sliced bread. The problem? You always get these funky emails asking you to update your info, your account has been suspended, and so on.

After hearing from a customer this week that her account was frozen, I thought I'd share a few tips.

First of all, NEVER click on a link within an email that asks you to update your profile or change information. Paypal will never ask you to do this....they will tell you to go to Paypal.com and log in there securely.

Also, usually SPOOF or fake emails won't have your name...they will just say Dear Member, or use your ebay id or email address. Paypal will only address you with your full name.

When in doubt, check it out! Email any Paypal email that looks suspicious to spoof@paypal.com. They will send you an email back (they're pretty fast) and let you know if it's legit. Need to know NOW? Go to Paypal.com and get their phone number and call them....don't be afraid to speak to a human!

With ebay emails that are questionable, do the same thing, but send to spoof@ebay.com or go to ebay.com and use Live Chat. Better yet, log into your MyEbay and check your messages. If it is from ebay, it will be there as well!

Hope this helps you all out! Paypal is still the safest way to pay online, just be ready for those crooks and don't be discouraged....the pros outway the cons!

Blessings,
Mary Jo
http://www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com