Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shoppe Closed May 3 for Special Family Event

I just wanted to let everyone know that we are closing our retail shoppe just for this Saturday, May 3, to attend a special family event.

My husband's ancestor, Joseph Elliott, is being honored that day. A monument was erected in his honor in 1929 and is being re-dedicated this Saturday, and our Elliott family will be proud to attend. He was quite the heroic and honorable man. This is an honor for our family, literally a once in a lifetime event, and cannot wait to share it with our two little boys! Joseph Elliott was not only heroic on that day 226 years ago, but was also commended for his bravery six years earlier and on Christmas Day, 1776, was presented with a sword by General George Washington.

I would be honored if you took a moment to read about it also, so here is the link....

I would like to add that I am not surprised that my husband is a direct descendent of Joseph Elliott. Afterall, my husband is the most noble and honorable man that I know, and I am sure that Joseph Elliott would feel the same way.

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo Elliott

New Products!

I just returned from my latest trip to Lancaster and my sisters and I had a wonderful time together. The weather was perfect, we ate too much, and shopped too much too. Good news is, I brought back nearly 30 new products for you!

I was able to get a great deal on Primitives by Kathy's new wool line, so I'm passing the savings on to you! How does 50% off the suggested retail price sound? That's right, I was able to get them at a bargain, so you get a bargain as well!

Below is just a sampling of these wool items. I have chair back pieces that tie onto the back of your chair to add instant prim to your home, and there are several designs to choose from.

Here are some wool jar candle huggers. These slide over your 22 ounce Yankee Candle size jars, and they even fit over the 16 ounce jars that I carry in my shoppe. They are only $4 each and I have about six different designs to choose from.

Here are some penny rug rounds that look great on end tables or as a centerpiece on a large table. These are in two designs.

Many of these items coordinate together. For instance, I have the penny rug round, huggers and chair covers in a willow tree pattern, the sheep pattern, and crow patterns so you can have a theme throughout your room. But hurry in to get the best selection, because once these are gone, I don't think I can bring them back at the same low price.

I also have some new everlasting candles, candlesticks, prairie bonnets, 4" cinnamon candles, and restocked some old favorites.

I look forward to seeing you in the shoppe!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On this day in 1870....

The mysterious author of my journal wrote this on April 23, 1870:

3 Meals at Home
Worked on Fosters Trestle

3 yards silk 3.75
12 yards dress goods 3.60
1 yard (illegible) .20
2 1/2 yds cambric (?) .31
1 yard Braid .10
milk 2

It must have been such a splurge to buy that silk....I wonder if his wife was making a dress or bonnet for a special occasion? And what would this gentlemen say knowing that milk is quite a bit more than $.02 now!!!?

One other note: A local town named Hop Bottom used to be known as Foster and had a train station. I wonder if Fosters Trestle is connected to the town of Hop Bottom (Foster)?

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I am one lucky gal!

Just look at what my husband has done for me! He told me that he had tons of square cut nails from our old barn for me, but couldn't find the cans. We found some handfuls here and there, and I've used them in the Statue of Liberty dolls that I have made and, most recently, Miss Independence that I've written about in this blog just the other day.

Well, I came in from the outside the other day, and sitting right in front of my computer was this!

I was tickled pink! Can you imagine the goodies I can make with these? The coffee can is full of the large nails, and the mason jar is filled with the smaller nails.

What a man! I wonder how long it took him to gather these from the barn? Thanks Russ! And what perfect timing.....the new Early American Life magazine has an article on handmade nails including how Thomas Jefferson used nail-making as a reliable source of income on Monticello for some time. Great article, and a great magazine and worth the subscription price.

So anyway, be on the look-out and keep checking back to see what I've made with my new treasures!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Shoppe Product!

Here is a wonderful new addition to our retail shoppe. This wooden fireboard was handmade by a local artist and is painted on approx. 2" thick wood and has wooden feet.

The style is perfect for any home and would fit into a Victorian, Colonial, Country or Primitive home easily with it's beautiful black painted edging with barn red in each corner. There is crackling in areas, and is signed, ready to place in front of your fireplace or anywhere you need to screen something off in your home. Measures 30 inches wide, 28 inches tall.

We hope you enjoy this new addition to our shoppe, and we are always willing to ship, so if you would like a price quote including shipping, just be sure to email me at maryjo@finecountrylivingprimitives.com with your address and I can get you a quote within 24 hours!

Many Blessings!

Mary Jo

Friday, April 18, 2008

Miss Independence

I just wanted to share a doll with you that I absolutely love. I made this doll to sell online, but she actually sold to a neighbor of mine before I had the opportunity to put her on my website for sale! Well, she's too pretty to hide from you all, so I thought I would share her here!

I made her dress from great quilting fabric I found at Endless Mountain Quiltworks. It's a toile style, but has part of the Declaration of Independence on it. It also has the state seals of the first 13 Colonies and the first Presidents of the United States. There are also pictures of our first militia, The Boston Tea Party, and a wonderful Flagship scene.

I trimmed the top of her bodice on her dress with a scrap of lace from an 1800's blouse that I have...what a beautiful way to recycle!

Her hair is raw sheeps wool that I needle felted into her head. I fashioned a glorious crown from small rusty square nails that my husband took from some old barn boards from our barn. I used 13 square nails, one for each of the original 13 Colonies. I then wrapped rusty wire around each one twice and added a rusty star to finish it off.

I think I may need to make a Miss Independence for myself. It is rare that I make anything for myself, and even my boys keep asking when we are going to get to keep a doll. (I'll remind them of this when they are 16 and are too manly to even glance at one of my creations!)

I hope you enjoyed viewing Miss Independence, and if you like her, I have another Colonial Style doll named Savannah that is very similar on my website. Just visit www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com and click on the Handcrafted Primitives button and you can find her there!

Many blessings!
Mary Jo

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chick Pictures!

No scantilly clad ladies here, I'm talking about our new baby chicks! Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.

This is a picture of my youngest, Sammy, watching television with the chicks. (It didn't last long, one escaped and we had to chase it around the living room to get it back! LOL!)

Here they are getting their exercise in their little fenced in barnyard. They were enjoying their first sunny and warm day outside.

Here is their soon to be new home. My husband, Russ, made it look like an outhouse. It features recycled barnboards and the door is made from the original door from my shoppe (the one that used to be upstairs, and are now windows).

You can tell it's Spring here in Springville, Russ and Sam couldn't wait to mow the grass! I think, once again, we were the first house in the township to mow!

Just another day in our little corner of the world!

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do you like the music?

My wonderful friend, Deanna, from Nanny Goat Primitives told me how to embed music into my blog....thank you Deanna!

I've added a few of my favorite Elton John songs that have some wonderful memories attached to them.

I also have a few piano selections by the O'Neill Brothers. I sell their CD's in my retail shoppe, and I am going to be adding them to my website this week. If you love having soothing music to listen to while reading, cooking, relaxing, meditating....these are for you!

Visit their website at www.pianobrothers.com to listen to selections and hop on back to later this week to purchase some of these inspiring and relaxing cd's. Remember, Mother's Day is May 11 and they make wonderful gifts!

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

Have I been neglecting you dear blog?

I know, I haven't been paying attention to my dear blog the last few weeks, and I'm sorry! It seems that now it is Spring, there is so much to be done!!!!! Let's get caught up, shall we?


I am having a Spring Cleaning Sale on www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com. Simply use coupon code SPRINGCLEAN at checkout and you will receive 10% off your order including sale and clearance items! This sale ends the 18th, so hurry on in!


My sisters, Terri and Wendy, will be hopping on in my white minivan and the three Gow sisters (my maiden name) are going to Lancaster! The Amish will never be the same! LOL! That's a big reason why I'm having my spring cleaning sale, I need to get some more goodies, but need the room in my upstairs warehouse area (the spare bedroom). I don't think I've ever mentioned that I have a warehouse in my house! LOL! I have several extra bedrooms that I use for storing my wares (um, I'm up to THREE!!!! bedrooms) plus a little storage cubby area AND my retail store to boot! It's funny, I have shelves, tables, stuff hanging from the walls, I am sooooo glad that I'm having that sale! LOL!

Oops, got off subject.....back to roadtrip....

So my sisters and I will be going to Lancaster next week just for a one night stay, but we leave early in the morning and come back late evening the next day. It's fun! We eat at Dienners (our favorite Amish restaurant) three times a day (yep, it's that good!) and roam around all day stopping in shoppes and going to my suppliers. Then in the evenings after dinner, we hit the outlets! WooHoo! I am in some desperate need of capris! We usually come home with a van full, mostly of my items, and it's nice to get away with just us girls for a change.


Um, nothing to say here, haven't done a darn thing yet! hehehehehehe....


Literally, peeps are in my house. We bought three baby chicks last week and they have to live in the house with us until it's warmer and they are bigger. I love it, they peep all day and I will miss them when it's time to send them outside. I talk to them, and now they seem to know my voice because when I bend over their box and talk, they come running and stretch their little necks to see me....too cute! I'll take pictures and post them here maybe later today and tell you more about raising them!

Well, I think that's it for now. Are you still awake? Did I bore you? LOL! Just trying to catch up while the men are still sleeping and I had a moment of quiet bliss.

Until later, many blessings to you all!

Mary Jo

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On this day in 1870....

April 8, 1870 (it was a Friday)

The mysterious author wrote:

3 Meals at home
(ineligible) an falts work in river
10 men

Milk 12 cents

I know that this gentleman worked for the railroad, and it is hard not only to read his cursive handwriting, but also to understand the "language" of a railroader. But I love every word I read!

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Three new great website links...

I wanted to share three new wonderful websites that I stumbled upon over the last few weeks. Quakers are known for their simplistic living and strong values. There are some wonderful tips and great information on these sites. I've included the web addresses below and they are also links on the left side of this blog.

Most notably, Quaker Anne (www.quakeranne.com) has some wonderful simple living tips. She gives tips on keeping a well-stocked pantry, cooking with honey, making maple syrup, and more. Just click on the "Simple Living Skills" link on the left side of her webpage. Quaker Anne (by the way, her real name is Kimberly Anne) is also a children's author and she has wonderful stories on her site that you can share with your own children. I love the story "A Chicken is Born" which shows a hen laying an egg and you can see the progression of the hatching of the egg later on!

There is also a link on her site to Quaker Hill Farm (www.quakerfarm.com) located in Michigan where you can obtain wool fiber for your doll hair and handmade soaps. If you live in Michigan, or are willing to travel, there are workshops on simple living skills such as cooking, cheese making, soap making, spinning wool, baking bread and more! Looking for a unique gift or something for that hard to buy for friend or relative? You can adopt a goat, sheep, or the farm! What a wonderful site for browsing!

I spent nearly an hour last night reading all about Quaker Hill Farm, and even mentioned to my husband about attending one of their retreats and workshops.....maybe someday right? Michigan and Pennsylvania aren't all that close, but still, not all that far either.

Quaker Jane (her real name is Isabel)is a Quaker by convincement (wasn't born a Quaker) and shares her story of how she was led to dress plain. It is quite an inspirational website, she is so honest and forthcoming with her "new" old lifestyle, and I can appreciate that. Isabel also provides wonderful references to Amish, Mennonite and Quaker dress and headcoverings. A very thoughtful and interesting read!

I find myself becoming more and more passionate about simple living. We already live a slower paced life, but at times, I long for even more. These websites have given me the ability to dream about it and live vicariously through them.

I hope you take a moment to look at both, it is always wonderful to open yourself up to new ways of life and, as in these cases, I feel a relatively unknown piece of our American heritage.

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

I needed a change....even if by accident!

Do you all like my new look? I was just viewing the features on my blog and clicked on "something" and **POOF**, my blue blog was gone! Somehow, I had changed it to jet black! LOL!

Well, I panicked, and I hit the back arrow button, but alas, it was gone for good.

So, I certainly couldn't have left it jet black (even though it is my favorite prim color!) and found this lovely template.

To be honest, I like it better! It is easier to read than my blue blog, and I like the "prairie" feel it has....natural colors, pretty patterned background. Hey, this isn't so bad!

Things happen for a reason, and I like this little accidental change!

Many blessings, Mary Jo

Friday, April 4, 2008

And the battle begins!!!

It's that time of year, Battle of the Birds. I love our fine feathered friends, but don't like them building nests right on my porch.

Now really, we live in a very small town and have trees, creeks, farms and woods all around us....why must these birds pick my porch for their new home?

Hey, let's face it, we know we are good neighbors. We're quiet, keep our property neat as a pin, and help our fellow neighbors when needed....no wonder they'd like to take up residence literally outside my kitchen door!

But the reality is, I don't like bird doo-doo on my head, or on my porch floor, or on my furniture, or on my boys' toys. I don't like being startled out of my britches when I walk past a nest and scare the birds into scaring ME by flapping their wings and squawking at me for no good reason (really, I'm not going to hurt you birdies!).

And with all of the lovely trees, bushes, and even a BARN for them to live in on our property alone, is it too much to ask for them to build their nests elsewhere?

******* sigh ********

What we usually do is shoo them away, and continually tear down the nests that they start to build with the hopes that they get the message. But it breaks my heart to know that they spent a lot of time and energy to find their nesting materials to build that little home, just for me to tear it down.

I've tried spraying the area with room fresheners, cleaning solution, vinegar, anything stinky, to them at least. No luck.

If any of you have a natural and animal friendly remedy for this situation, please leave a comment on this post.

Gotta go and grab my broom. Yep, out in my pj's I go to scare off my birds! (I think the neighbors think I'm nuts, isn't the first time, won't be the last!)

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mercantile Gatherings Magazine was a hit!!!!

Thank you to all that have purchased the Spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings from our website and shoppe! I can't believe how quickly it sold, and I only have two left!

I received many emails and telephone calls telling me how much you enjoyed it and that it was better than you could've imagined. I agree!!!!! This is a great magazine, and the perfect resource for us primitive and antique lovers.

I've pre-ordered the Summer issue, and will make an announcement when it will be available for purchase. Sorry, I can't take pre-sales or waiting list requests, but will be sure to send out a newsletter announcement through my mailing list (Did YOU sign up yet?) and also an email to all my customers...so be sure to check your bulk spam folders! I will also post here, on my blog, when it becomes available.

Enjoy those magazines ladies, and can't wait to see what the girls in Ohio have for us next time!

Many blessings,

My latest trip to Lancaster

I enjoyed my day trip yesterday to Lancaster County, PA, and it was a beautiful sunny Spring day. It was quite windy, but wasn't a hinderance, only when trying to drive my minivan on the interstate! LOL!

The Amish families have already started to clear their vegetable gardens near their houses and many farmers were plowing their fields. If you have never had the opportunity to see the rich, dark soil of Lancaster County fields, there is no other way for me to describe them other than saying that they look like chocolate....that rich, dark brown of yummy chocolate! I love farming, and I appreciate the beauty in those fields even before anything is planted there.

The forsythea bushes were just beginning to bloom and many early flowering trees were past the budding stages and starting to open up their leaves. What a welcome site!!!!

I went to my suppliers to stock up, but many were sold out of our regular items. The everlasting tapers and pillar candles were gone yet again, so if you wanted any, now is the time because I'm not sure when my suppliers will have more once I sell out.

Lover's knot coverlets and accessories were also sold out, and the 4" cinnamon scented handpoured tapers that you all love were also out of stock. *sigh*

The good news is that I do have some new items, and will be adding them in the next few days as I have time. I also was able to restock Betsy Ross Flags, both large and small, and those great rusty taper candle shelf clips (the pointed and the star) that I have had several telephone calls about.

Local customers, I brought back some wonderful items for you as well! Larger lighted saltbox houses are in, and they are a NEW style....a light in every window! They look great, and I can't wait to see them lit in the shoppe. Just in time for Mother's Day, great handpoured cupcake candles. They look real and smell great....I brought back Chocolate with Chocolate icing and Chocolate with Buttercream icing. Seriously, you won't want to stop smelling them, and they will be priced right at $3.50 each! They come wrapped in cellophane, tied with curly ribbon and have a beautiful label....a gift already in the making! A new print will be available, reed diffusers and holders, rag balls, new primitive words for your shelves, Americana items, and much more. We're open every weekend, Saturdays 10-5 and Sundays 12-5 and once my son is out of preschool at the end of May, we will be open Fridays and Mondays too!

One more thing I brought back from Lancaster.....Amish made sticky buns and bread....but they are for us....sorry! LOL! Sorry for the tease, I couldn't resist!

Many blessings,
Mary Jo