Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pictures of Grand Opening Celebration

I must admit, I was a bit frazzled and busy on Saturday to take pictures. Sunday I was more relaxed and was able to get a few snapshots and thought I would share!

Here is my husband, Russ, and myself by our sign and on the porch of the shoppe...(have I mentioned that I really don't like to get my picture taken, but it was a special occasion after all!)



Here is the lovely Calla Lily that my sweet sister-in-law, Mary, brought for me along with a handmade keepsake Congratulations card.


Here's Seth trying out my "new" antique treadle sewing machine...he had that baby humming! No, I am NOT a sweatshop! LOL!


Mother and Daughter Shopping Duo who are regular customers and now, fantastic friends....I'll keep you anonomous ladies! Thanks, as always, for your support!


Joe (a.k.a. Joe the Postman) and wife Peggy who are two of my biggest cheerleaders! Thanks friends!


And here's my Sam, the big helper as always, picking the winner of our Door Prize....congratulations Carol of Springville!


That's it folks, hope you enjoyed the pictures and thanks again for everything!

Many Blessings!!!

Mary Jo

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Interesting article on copyright laws

Found this on the internet while browsing for some clothing patterns and found it so interesting. So many artists and fellow doll makers/folk artists feel that there isn't enough emphasis on copyright issues and this gives some great facts.

Permission was granted by the author to reprint this in case you are wondering. ;-)

Copyrights & Copywrongs
By Cheryl WeiderspahnPattern Designer, Homestead Specialties Pattern Co.

“If you didn’t write it or create it, you do not own the right to copy it or distribute it!” - Susan Levin

Our schoolteachers warned us all about plagiarism. We were refused when we took a professional studio photo to Staples to make color copies. We all know we shouldn’t buy a movie video and make copies for our friends. We all have heard about the piracy controversy over illegal music downloads from the Internet. Yet quilters and sewers are incurable sharers and we think nothing of laying a magazine or pattern in the copy machine and distributing copies to all our buddies. It all seems innocent enough at first.

Copyrights protect “Visual Art” such as drawings, sketches, paintings, blueprints, maps, labels, photos, charts, stationery, music, movies, architecture, sculpture, cartoons, patterns, how-to instructions, books, fabrics, quilt designs and other two- and three-dimensional works. (Patents only apply to inventions.)

** Note the following.....Mary Jo

Copyright Law was established in 1710 to protect the creator’s “intellectual property” and has been updated many times to reflect current society and technology. Since a law change in 1978, any “Visual Art” is protected under Copyright Law automatically upon it taking on a tangible form. In other words, a thought, concept, idea or intention is not copyright protected. But the minute it takes on a physical and visible form (a created design or writing that others can see, and therefore copy) the work is protected under copyright law, even if no fees are paid and no papers are ever filed with the Copyright Office. The symbol “©” followed by the year and the artist’s name is not required, but constitutes a “Public Notification” warning and simply expresses the artist’s intent to claim her “rights to copy.” So, if in doubt, anything in tangible form (if you can hold it and read it) is protected. Ask permission!

This copyright grants the creator five inherent rights: the right to reproduce or copy their work; the right to distribute their work; the right to publicly display their work; the right to perform their work; and the right to create derivative works of the original work.

How long does a copyright last? In 1998, Congress fine-tuned the law to allow works to be copyrighted for the life of the creator plus 70 years. This means that 70 years after the creator dies, the copyright expires if no family heir files for an extension to renew it. After that it is in “Public Domain,” allowing anyone to use the work. So the fact that a magazine, book or pattern is out of print, or the author is dead, does not mean you can copy it.
But many Public Domain works are available for legal copy. Also, there are copyright-free sources such as some of the EQ5 designs. I got over 20,000 results when I did a Goggle search for the topic “public domain quilt patterns!” Take the time to look and ask for necessary permission and grant credit where due.

Another great tidbit....Mary Jo

Let’s dispel a few myths. First of all, forget any nonsense you ever heard about “If I change it 10%” (or 20% or 30%, the myth varies) or “If I change three things” then it is my own design. That is a myth. What will a judge look at? If the work is in any way recognizable as the work of another artist, and you use it without permission, you have created a derivative work of art, which is an infringement on the original artist’s work and a violation of Copyright Laws.
Another myth is that if you don’t sell the work, or if you create it for charity, you aren’t infringing on the artist’s copyright because you aren’t making any money. That is a myth. The law is not based on how much money YOU make, but on how much money the artist might lose had she been able to charge you for your use from licensing, royalties and other fees. An artist denied this income has no money to invest in future designs for you. Artists are in the business of selling their designs. If they don’t sell very many, they can’t keep designing new ones, and the entire creative community suffers in the process.

A quilter called me one day to ask if she could make one of my vests to donate it to a charity auction to benefit Breast Cancer Research. Of course I thanked her for calling and granted permission. It was my choice to enable her to raise money for a worthy cause. Any artist with a heart would grant permission. She was not claiming it as her own design and I did provide her with a sew-in label stating “Created with a Homestead Specialties Pattern” and a catalog flyer to include with the vest. Can she also make one of them for her niece for a Christmas gift? Of course, I see that as being for her own personal use. Would I have grated permission if she had asked to make four vests from my pattern and sell them for profit at her local gift shop? No way! Would I ever find out that she sold four vests at her local gift shop? Would the Copyright Cops arrest her and haul her off to jail? Probably not, but she still broke the law and ripped me off. If I were she, I would not want that guilt hanging over my head.

In a shop class situation, that is why each student is required to purchase the pattern/book being taught. Otherwise, the artist is being denied her income from the sale of her pattern/book. Does paying for that class entitle the student to make and sell those items? No, not without the designer’s expressed permission.

This is also why shop owners must buy the patterns from the designer herself (or one of her distributors, like Checker Distributors), rather than laying the pattern on a Xerox machine or scanning it and making copies for sale. This is clearly denying the artist of her deserved income and the shop owner’s professionalism and integrity is in question to all who see this activity. Legal action could easily follow, especially since the shop owner is bold enough to expose the counterfeit patterns to the public eye.

If you copy a quilt or garment, even making changes, and enter it in a national competition as your own design, you are not only guilty of infringing on the rights of the original artist, you could be forced to forfeit all prizes, as well as any commission work that came as a result of that show. By all means, you should give credit to the original artist and say so when filling out the entry forms!

When I do retail shows with my original garment designs all over the country, I do not allow photography (which amounts to “copying”) in my booth unless the person taking the photo has already bought the pattern. Many people take photos with the intent of making their own garment from the photo rather than buying the pattern, and this denies me my earned income. This photography policy is printed in the show program and most show attendees have the courtesy to ask my permission to take photos.

Have artists actually stood up and won? You bet! For example, Connie Spurlock, owner and designer of Sew Wonderful Dreams Patterns told me how she was looking at patterns at her local fabric chain store one day and was shocked to see that a “major pattern company” had a pattern very similar to one of hers. She opened it up and saw that it was her design; even the instructions had been copied word for word! It was just a crafty little doll pattern, but they settled out of court for a tidy sum of money! True stories abound where the artist prevails over copyright infringement.

If in doubt, ask permission and give credit where credit is due.
For more information:
U.S. Copyright Office: 202-707-3000 Copyright Information Office: 202-479-0700 To request a publication: 202-707-9100 http://www.homesteadspecialties.com/www.copyright.gov/

Permission is granted by the author to reproduce this article in its entirety.

A Heartfelt Thank you!

I honestly could not wait any longer to post on my blog about our Grand Opening Celebration and Open House this weekend.

I would like to thank my sister, Terri, for coming to help us both days with our Grand Opening. She was my help in the shoppe and also helped with keeping our boys entertained while Russ and I greeted customers and shared our home with friends and family. Terri was always there to run and get me an ice cold lemonade when I was about to fall over from dehydration, when I needed help with packaging purchases and was also a wonderful hostess. Thank you again Terri, and you'll never know how much I appreciated your help this weekend!

Many thanks to my wonderful customers and even strangers who, online, saw that we were having our celebration and emailed me to wish me luck. I know that most of you live all over the country, and even the world, and so many of you just sent me a quick email to say that you wished you could be here. I just wanted you all to know how much that meant to me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Thanks to my old and dear friend, Debbie G., who came all the way from Scranton to see the shoppe. I worked with Debbie years ago and she has always been such a true friend, through thick and thin. Thank you Deb for being here to share this moment with our family, and remember, there's always a rocking chair on the porch for you and an extra sewing machine to sew with!!!!

Thanks to Leah, another dear friend from our teenage years, who has always been there for me. Leah, and her son Tyler, came up from Clarks Summit to celebrate with us. Tyler and our son Seth are only three weeks apart, so the boys had a great time playing while we did some catching up. Thanks Leah for being here for me, yet again!

Thank you to my local customers who came from all over! I had customers drive from Candor, New York, Binghamton, New York, Carbondale, Scranton, Clarks Summit, Forest City, and all of our local towns and rural townships to see our new shoppe. It was a pleasure to share with you all my love of primitives and folk art, and I had so much fun laughing and sharing stories of wonderful finds, trash to treasure tips, doll making techniques, and just plain talk about simple living. Thank you for shopping local and helping out a new small business in our area. We can't thank you enough for your support!

Thank you to Russ's brother Tom and his wife Mary, who traveled from Athens, PA, to see how our shoppe finally turned out. Mary was kind enough to bring me a lovely potted flower and a handmade card with a keepsake copy of my invitation I sent them. It is truly something I will treasure forever, and you know how much we love you both! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to share this special time with Russ and I, we will never forget it! And it was great seeing Mary's daughter, Erin, once again! She's engaged to be married and is in the process of buying her first home with her fiance, so we wish them all the best of luck!

Gosh, I can't forget to thank my boys! Seth and Sam helped me so much (well, tried) to get ready for the Grand Opening. Some of you may have noticed items priced several times....well, they love to put prices on items, and they were a great help, many times over. And we can't forget all of the supervising that they did when Russ was working on the shoppe and Sam loved to get in there and paint and spackle....spackling was his very favorite thing! He's good at it too! so thanks boys! Mama loves you!!!!!!

Finally, but most importantly, I must thank my husband Russ. Anyone who has read this blog or knows me, understands the importance of him in my life. This man has turned my life into a dream come true. He is the hardest worker you will ever find in your lifetime, or a few lifetimes. He spent countless months (okay, like a year) preparing for this weekend, making sure that I had a beautiful shoppe that I could peddle my wares in. He made a place for me in which not only can I sell my primitives and folk art, but I could share my passion for it with others. When I step through the door, I can see his handywork in every inch of that old carriage barn, and my heart swells with pride in what he has accomplished for not only myself, but for our entire family.

Something that my brother-in-law, Tom, had said to me on Saturday touched me more than anyone will ever know. He told me that ever since they were little boys, Russ has always dreamed of "This". He said that Russell (he always calls him Russell) always loved old things, and as they grew up, expressed that he wanted to have an old house of his own someday that he could work on, restore, and share with his family. Tom said that "This" was Russ's dream his whole life, and little did Tom know, "This", has always been my dream too. A simple, honest and good life is all I've ever needed, and all I've ever really wanted, and my dream has come true. Thank you Russ, and I love you and the boys more than anything in the entire world. The Light within you is your greatest gift to us all!

Thanks again everyone! And many blessings!!!!!!!!

Mary Jo

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Grand Opening is next weekend, June 28 & 29

I just wanted to remind everyone of our Grand Opening Celebration we are holding in our retail shoppe here in Springville, PA. Even though we will be open Friday through Monday, the celebration days are Saturday and Sunday, the 28th and 29th. We will open on Saturday from 10-5 and will extend our Sunday hours a bit and open from 10-5 as well.

What can you look forward to on Saturday and Sunday? Well, Barn Stars, Berries (garlands, rings, wreaths, picks, willows) and Scented Candles are going to be 15% Off! We will also have a drawing for a door prize. You can enter your name to win a beautiful basket filled with all sorts of primitive goodies like one of my handcrafted dolls, a quilted wall hanging, soap, a candle, and more valued at $115! We will also be handing out free gifts with each purchase while supplies last, so please get here on Saturday if you can...I'd hate to disappoint anyone even though I think I have enough for all. And remember, the sale, door prize drawing and give aways are on Saturday and Sunday only.

We are still planning on having an open house as well and you can see the downstairs of our Circa 1827 home. We've been working so hard on her for five years now, and we think we've re-captured her charm. As so many of you know and appreciate, renovating an old home is neverending, but we are enjoying this journey that we have started, and know that this is where we were meant to be.

If you need directions or anything else, never hesitate to call me at 965-0985. Hope to see you here in Springville!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Monday, June 9, 2008

Going to Meeting Dolls, What are they?

Traditionally, Early American Mothers made church dolls to keep their children quiet during church services. These were made using scrap materials, and there are many versions out there in the prim community.

Russ and I have been fortunate to find a Quaker Meeting to attend and it is held at a local Friend's home here in Susquehanna County. We've met so many wonderful people, and two of them inspired me to create, as they put it, a "Quakerly" version of the church doll.

So, thanks to Sally and Barbarajene, there are now "Goin' to Meeting" Dolls! I may hold the copyright to these simple beauties, but Sally and BJ get all the credit! By the way, since Quaker Meetings are a silent worship, these dolls will keep young and old alike nice and quiet, don't you think? ;-)


I've sewn their bodies from muslin and heavily stained them in my primitive solution. I stuffed them with rags and fashioned their clothing from another inspiration....Quaker Jane and Quaker Anne. Their websites are listed on the left side of my blog as Websites and Blogs of Interest, so please check them out.

Early Quakers, and more recently Conservative Quakers, wear traditional clothing of plain and simple dress. Many people think of Quakers of wearing just black, just like my dolls are, but there are many historic examples of browns, grays and even greens. Of course not ALL Quakers dress in this manner, and most Quakers are indistinguishable from anyone else in their way of dressing.

I created their bonnets with the traditional wide brim of a Quaker bonnet and also added a cape or a handkerchief wrapped around their shoulders and held with a rusty safety pin. I know, since when have you seen a Quaker wearing stained clothes with rusty accessories....but I've just got to add that primitive touch, you know! LOL!


So anyway, that is how I made my Quaker Goin' to Meeting Dolls and what they are all about. I already have two other dolls floating in my head with Quakerly clothes and a primitive twist, so keep your eyes open!

And thanks again Sally and BJ!!! What a great idea! And if you are interested in these simple ladies, just visit my website by clicking the link below!


Peace and Blessings,

Mary Jo

Friday, June 6, 2008

A New Doll, and the Confession of the Doll Maker

First, I just had to show off this great vacuum cover doll that I just finished. Here she is in our side yard with my son, Sam, on top of my Hoover upright that I use in the shoppe.


She's tall, and Sam is proud to pose next to her. Seth, my five year old, loved her so much and was sad that I wanted to sell her, so I had to quickly make one for our house. He is happy now and I caught him talking to her earlier today...that and talking to "Angel", his Angel fish in our tank.

Now for the confession part.

I get very frustrated as a doll maker sometimes. I love my art, I love creating the dolls that speak to me. Whether they are from a pattern of another designer, or the images floating through my imagination, I get nearly giddy with excitement at the prospect of another new creation.

Then it happens.............

I want to make several dolls at once....can't make up my mind. I stare aimlessly at my sketches or my patterns, then I look at the vast array of fabrics that I have to choose from just hoping that one of them will leap out at me and scream "USE ME!!!". But most of the time, MANY of them do that.

This is what frustrates me the most. Call it ADD, indecisiveness, or simple madness, but it is so frustrating!

Maybe I should look at it as one of my best traits. I do take pride in the fact that I don't just crank out doll after doll after doll. I truly do take one doll at a time (okay, maybe sometimes two) and work until it's complete. It may take days, but I honestly do not just mass produce my dolls, even though part of me wants to get them all out of my head at once.

As I am typing this, I already have one doll that I know I need to make for my neighbor, I just need to "get at it". Again, maybe it's the artist in me (did I just call myself an artist?) or just knowing that I "have" to do it. But I must be "in the mood" to make a specific style or design of a doll. I've got something else brewing in my head that is literally causing me to dream about them, so maybe this weekend is the time to clear my head and start my new idea before diving in and creating the doll for my neighbor.

So that's it, the big doll vacuum cleaner cover and my confession. It's not exciting, but it's my life, and I like it plain and simple!

Mary Jo

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Well folks, it's finally here! We are planning our Grand Opening Celebration on June 28 and 29 and hope that you all can attend! We will be open from 10-5 on both days, and are tentatively planning also having an Open House at our home next to the shoppe as well. We love to show how we've decorated our circa 1827 farmhouse in the beautiful Primitive and Colonial style, and plan on allowing those who wish to see it, a brief tour of the downstairs. As I said, this is tentative, and with two little boys around, we hope we have the extra hands and time to do this, so please understand if we can't at the last minute! :-)

We are also planning a special sale for these two days only. All Barn Stars and Scented Candles (not battery operated) will be 15% off. In addition, we will be asking everyone these two days to enter our drawing for a door prize which will be a basket of goodies from the shoppe! And one last thing....a free gift with each purchase while supplies last!

If you need detailed directions, either visit our website and click on the DIRECTIONS tab or call me at 570-965-0985 and I'd be happy to help you out. We will also be open on Friday and Monday of that weekend, but Saturday and Sunday are the celebration days, so please plan to attend!

Many Blessings!!!!

Mary Jo

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Congratulations to Kate T. for placing our 1000th order! I will be sending Kate one of our popular handcrafted, rag stuffed, church dolls for her prize!

Once again, thank you all for your support and dear friendship, all of which has helped me reach this fantastic milestone! Let's continue sharing our love of primitives with each other and celebrate #2000 sometime soon!

Mary Jo