Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Friday, November 30, 2007

We love old barns in this house!

My husband, Russ, loves old barns. In fact, he would love to turn our other old barn, the one that is original to when the house was built back in 1827, into a house.....hmm...is he trying to tell me he'd rather move out there? Let's not go there! LOL!

Anyhow, he was surfing websites about old barns and loved this poem and wanted to share it on my blog. We hope you enjoy it as we have!

That Weathered Old Barn

The weathered old barn that stands in the field
Is just a remnant of days long past
Gives me memories made in other times
But the memories linger and last

The hayloft was spacious and dusty
The loft door let in the sun
But the ladder that took us to it
Was the ladder to so much fun

Many days spent in the hayloft
Pretending was just a game
My sister and I loved singing
As we watched out the door at the rain

We could sing as loud as we wanted
The cows never minded at all
We watch as the neighbor sat milking
As the shadows fell on the walls

Oh, the smell of fresh hay in the loft
And the sounds of the animals there
As we sat and we sang in that old barn
Memories of today were made there.

That weathered old barn, no longer needed
It just stands, leaning into the wind
But the things that it sheltered and cared for
Are my memories of what it was then.

By: Jene' Lind
9-23-02

Blessings,
Mary Jo

We're making progress!

As you all know, Russ and I are converting one of our barns into a primitive shoppe in the old country mercantile style and doing all the work ourselves. Well, let me rephrase that, he's doing the work, I'm supervising. :-) Hey, I give credit where credit is due! LOL!

Anyhow, it's coming along better than we expected and the downstairs is nearly complete. Our heat should be hooked up next weekend (thanks to my brother in law, Tom!) and then we can paint the walls. I'm sewing up the curtains hopefully this week, then the downstairs is complete! We plan on opening in January, so at least the downstairs will be available for shopping while we finish on the upstairs. But that is even moving along fast as well!

We are so excited, our sign will be completed before the first of the year and everything seems to be falling into place.

It has such an old fashioned, small town, country-mercantile feel to it, and I just cannot wait to start setting up our display pieces, our furniture and all of our products. Russ custom built a HUGE counter and made the countertop out of reclaimed barn floors (from our own barn!) and it is so big, we could dance on it when we need to unwind a little! We all need that now and again, am I right?

So, that's all for now on the shoppe. I've had soooooooo many people from the East coast contact me and tell me how they are somehow connected to the Springville area....who knew, right? The world sure is a small place, and I am thrilled to hear from each and every one of you. I hope that those who have contacted me, and all of you, get a chance to stop in when we are open, you are always welcome here!

I'll keep you updated, now, back to do some online shopping for my little boys while they are upstairs sleeping. Shhhhhhhh.....Santa's at work!

Blessings to all,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Cindi H. who won our scavenger hunt contest!

I would like to thank everyone for participating and hope you had fun playing!

Blessings to all,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The "New" Neutrals

Everyone knows that tan, browns, white and black are neutral colors. And there is also a big trend with sage green as being a neutral.

In the world of primitives, mustard yellow, navy blue, greens and even some shades of red, are the new neutrals.

Mustard yellow can be incorporated into any decor by either adding a touch of color by spreading it throughout the room, therefore making it an instant neutral at the same time. I've added mustard yellow to my Keeping Room which has bright red walls, and it works wonderfully!

Navy blue can also be a great neutral when added to a room. I've just made a long prairie bonnet out of navy blue checked homespun, and I just love how it can look good hanging on my tall black cupboard in my one sitting room and it even looks great on my pegrack in my Keeping Room with it's bright red walls and those touches of mustard yellow throughout the room.

Of course black is a neutral color, but black can also add drama and also allow your eye to move about the room. I once saw a segment on one of these home decorating shows how they used black to add punch to a room. They showed a "before" picture, and I remember how, just by adding a black lampshade, a few black throw pillows, black and white photographs and black framed family photos, it transformed the entire room. I personally use black as my major accent color all throughout my home and love the results. Don't forget everyone, that black also comes in many different shades and hues...some with a green undertone and others with browns, and it can blend in perfectly with any decor.

I guess that the point I'm trying to make is if you see something that you just absolutely love, but are turned off because of the color, re-think it. Maybe that mustard colored lampshade or blue bonnet would be just that "touch" that you need! If you are thinking of redecorating totally, don't be afraid to use mustard yellow or navy blues to be your base color and work off of that as your neutral....be creative and buy what you love because it speaks to you!

Blessings to all,
Mary Jo

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Primitive Times Magazine and Prim Talk Radio

There comes a time in life that you have to make tough decisions, and this was certainly very hard for me.

Due to all that seems to be going on right now with opening our new retail shoppe here in Springville, the ongoing sales from my website and the Christmas rush, and my busy daily life with my husband and two little boys, I just had to make the decision to step down from being a contributing editor on Primitive Times Magazine and a weekly contributor on Prim Talk Radio. I so enjoyed doing both of these activities and have met so many wonderful people through them, especially Angie Wenke who is just the best person to work with!

It seemed that I was not being able to give the proper attention that was needed to participate with these great primitive resources, and I would rather give quality time and effort than just trying to "get it done and over with". That's just how I work. Thankfully Angie understood and maybe, someday, I can continue to work with these resources once again.

I also had to make the even more difficult decision the other day to leave my ebay group that I had belonged to for about 1 1/2 years. I was a moderator and co-leader up until about 3 months ago, and even remaining as a member was difficult. Again, it's one of those things that you just have to take a step back and look at. Once I reviewed my priorities, I just had to leave there too to make more time for my business and family.

I am still amazed at what a wonderful community our primitive world is online, and I have made several great friends that I know I can count on anytime I need anything...that's more important than belonging to a "group", even though I enjoyed the community I belonged to.

Even though decisions like these are hard, it's all for the good. I encourage all of you to check out both Primitive Times Magazine and Prim Talk Radio because they are excellent resources for anything you need to know about primitives.....I know that I will still stay tuned each Friday morning and each month!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

The shoppe is coming along well.....

Well, it's a busy time of year for all of us, but even busier when you are trying to open a brick and mortar style store! The retail shoppe is coming along very well. The downstairs floors will be the original wide plank floor boards that were in the barn (my husband did a wonderful job of "reclaiming" them) and it looks oh so prim! He built me a large, wide counter for the checkout area and the top is made of some of the wide plank barn boards. He sanded them lightly and stained them so that they were a uniform color, then used polyurethane to seal them and protect the surface. My countertop should be wide enough for my cash register, a countertop display area, a wrapping area for those fragile items, and hopefully, room for my 1800's slanttop schoolmasters/merchant's desk! I can hardly wait!

The only remaining work for the downstairs is for us to paint the walls and trimwork, and hang our lighting. Now that I think about it, I best get working on sewing up those new curtains! Yeah, I'm making them myself, very primitive style just as in the Colonial times when they used simple cotton fabric hung from the top and pulled and gathered to one side.

My husband has done a wonderful job in getting the downstairs ready so that, after the holidays, I can hang out the OPEN sign if I'm up to it that day. This way, we can be partially open while he works upstairs. Don't forget, we will have two FULL floors of primitive goodies for you to enjoy!

We have recently added a longer driveway and a great parking area as well. We are in the process of getting our sign designed for out by the road, then we should be just about ready! I would like to enjoy this one last holiday of semi-quiet time with my boys before I open my shoppe. They are only young once, and I hate to rush anything!

So bear with us! I know that I have already had (amazingly!) several customers and potential customers that live locally contact me and ask when we will be opening. Be assured that it will be soon enough, and hopefully, well worth the wait for you all! I want this shoppe to be a reflection of everything I love about Colonial and Primitive Living, and hope that you will enjoy what we will have to offer.

In the meantime, please visit our website at www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com and see our new items for the holidays! I am thrilled and amazed at how quickly the items are selling, so please hurry for the best selection since I am not sure if I will be able to get more items in before the holidays.

If you are a local customer, you always have the option to shop online and during the checkout process, choose customer pickup, or just email me through my website or call 965-0985 and make arrangements to pick your items up, we'd love to meet you!

Blessings to all!

Mary Jo

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My latest trip to Lancaster

As you all know, I love going to Lancaster county, PA. It's not only the primitives "Mecca" for this part of the country, but it has one of my favorite things....the Amish.

I always make sure that after I complete my shopping for the retail and online shoppes, I take a little time to drive through the farmland and just see what the farmers are up to. I live in Susquehanna County, PA, and am surrounded by farmland, many of my family and friends are farmers, so I can certainly appreciate their lifestyle when it comes to agriculture.

But something this time caught my eye. I actually came across a special moment between a father and a son. The little boy had to be about my oldest son's age, about five years old. I was driving through the town of Leola and took a little shortcut on a back road through an industrial part of town that bordered some farmland. I slowed down when I saw this Amish father crouched down beside his son and obviously explaining something to him.....they had strolled over from the farm to take a look at this large piece of equipment that was on the train tracks backing into the factory. It had a huge tank on it, and I have no clue what it was, but this father was very serious while explaining his thoughts to his son....and the son just looked up at him with such admiration. It was something special to see, and I see my very own husband explain things to my two boys the exact same way, maybe that is why it touched me so.

I can't help wondering what they were discussing...was the father explaining why they can't use the modern machinery as us "English" do? Maybe he was explaining their belief of remaining simple and honoring their ancestors and following the Ordnung (their church rules) as each generation copes with newer, bigger, faster and more competetive technologies? Or were they simply being the typical boys and enjoying something as manly as heavy equipment? I'll never know.

I also was driving along another road on my way home and found a lone Amish gentlemen, about my father's age, returning home from his neighbors and was walking through a field carrying his overcoat and lunch pail. Again, I wonder what he was doing....thinking about the day's work? He obviously left early that morning because it was cold earlier, and the day turned wonderfully warm and sunny, so his coat was no longer needed. Maybe he was wondering about what his wife had for dinner that evening.

It was such a warm day that the school houses had their doors opened, and with one, I could see the children inside, sitting at their desks. I love to travel through as they get out of school for the day.....some are on scooters, others just walking, but all are laughing and having so much fun with each other. Many eagerly wave as you drive by, and of course, they are all just simply beautiful children.

This is why I love visiting Lancaster County. It really is a beautiful place, and is the home to such beautiful and hard working people.

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Comfort Food Recipe!

I love sweet potatoes and this is the time of year to enjoy them over and over again! Here's a sweet potato casserole recipe that I hope you enjoy during these chilly months ahead!

3 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together the first five ingredeints and place in casserole dish. Mix the remaining ingredients together and spread evenly over the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 1/2 hour.

Enjoy and blessings!

Mary Jo