Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Hey, it's another giveaway!

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Click on the picture to visit April's great blog and be sure to leave a comment on this beauty to be entered in her giveaway.....yep, you got it right, you could win this OOAK painting she created! Incredible, isn't it?

Good luck, but secretly and honestly, I hope that I win it! LOL!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

A New Primitive Online Magazine to enjoy!

I am proud to be a part of this new venture for a great online primitive magazine called the Olde Prairie Register. Michele from Hollytree Primitives is the Chief Editor and creator of this wonderful resource and here's just a little preview of what you can expect!

Spring is a time for celebrating new beginnings! So come celebrate with us at The Olde Prairie Register. We are a free online magazine dedicated to primitives and those who love them. We offer articles on Antiques, media review, interviews with prim artists, tips for crafters, information on the primitive art movement, folk art discovery, fun and commentary. Our first issue comes out March 1st and we would love to see you.

To celebrate our debut issue, we are also holding a huge drawing. So many prizes, and everyone can enter. Simply sign up for the newsletter and you will get a chance to win PLUS advance notification of all that is going on at the "register". Those interested in contributing to the magazine should use the contact form on the website for more information. We would love to here from you and are always looking for submissions. All contributors do receive advertising with their piece.

Also this month, we have an interview with Primitive Artist Dawn from "the Forgotten Barn", a how to on prim porch decorating, and a tour thru Amish country. PLUS we have a fun look at the dangers of primitive crafting and so much more. In addition to the drawing we are also holding a picture contest, so be sure to get the details on that. Winner of the picture contest receives a prize, PLUS, if the winner has a business, an button ad for the month of April.

We hope you stop in and stay awhile, we look forward to sharing our passion for primitives with all of you. See you on March 1st!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It must have been difficult, and quite scary....

I was just working on a doll here in my office/craft room and was thinking about our bouts with the flu last week. As you all know, I have two little boys, ages four and five, and with Seth in preschool, it seems like someone in our home is always coming down with a cold. Well, it was actually about two weeks ago, we all had the flu that is going around...ear aches, sore throats, fevers, and so on. In fact, we had Seth in the emergency room one Sunday, then the next Sunday, it was Sam's turn thanks to an allergic reaction to his medicine.

I began to think of how blessed we are in this time of modern technology and medicine that something like the flu is just a passing illness. Of course, with two visits to the ER in seven days, we were quite scared, but we knew that this too shall pass and we would all be well again.

Back in the 1800's, it must have been so frightening when your child, or even yourself, came down with such a simple illness. Once in a while, when we have a quiet moment after the kids go to bed, Russ and I try to research the original owners of our house and their history. Unfortunately, we have found that they had several children that died at young ages, and I cannot imagine the pain that they endured in this very home dealing with the loss of a child. Some say that it was almost expected in those times that some of your children would not survive to adulthood, and I find that to be depressing in a way. Was that always in the back of their minds? If your little one suddenly had a rash, or worse, a fever, would you begin to panic? I most certainly would have!

Albert and Eliza Beardsley did have one child, Eleanor, survive and grow up to be a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. It was her granddaughter, Mrs. Keck, that sent us pictures of the house from the 1800's.

So, even though many times I say that I wish I could live back in the 1800's when times were more simple, I would not want to have to live through such fear and loss. I am happy right here in the year 2008, and living a somewhat simple life while playing with my two happy and very healthy sons!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I've redecorated...

Well, my little baby Sam is going to be four years old on March 1st. Luckily, he and Seth aren't getting into things like they used to when they were much younger, and I felt it was time to do some redecorating.

BEFORE:



I have this wonderful tall black cupboard that we purchased from a local antique store about a year after we moved into the house. For the past three years, I have had to keep the door closed on it for fear that the boys would try to climb the shelves (it's secured to the wall, by the way, just in case!) or remove all of it's contents and do their own "decorating". I felt this was the day to open it back up.

I cleaned it out and started fresh. I went up to my upstairs spare bedrooms above our kitchen and started digging. Yes, I stash everything up there and I can literally go shopping without leaving my own home! There are piles and boxes filled with goodies that I can't resist when I go to auctions and yard sales. It's a sickness, I know!

I found a wonderful old quilt that has been hand quilted using red thread. Well, what a great thing to drape over the door? By the way, draping ANYTHING over cupboard doors is my most favorite decorating idea.

I did have great cream colored berry pip garland draped over the top of the cupboard, and now that looks awkward with the door open. I simply "folded" it and placed it in my old market basket and it looks like I went picking berries in the woods....love it! Oh, forgot to mention, I got that old market basket for $1 (or was it $2?) at the local auction because there is a hole broken through the bottom corner...but you can't see it and whatever you do, don't devulge my secret! LOL!

Next, I found an old store bought quilt from my bed that I had stashed away, I folded that and placed it in the very bottom shelf. Then I folded a beautiful mustard yellow and brown tone quilt top that I just purchased....it's Amish made and one day, when I have time (yeah, right) I will finish the quilt myself. This came from an auction in New Holland, PA. That went on the next shelf. I have a cute little black "fake" kitten curled up sleeping, so I placed it on top, and it looks like I have a little kitty taking a nap on the quilt...too cute!

I found an old family photo and took one of my everlasting pillar candles and placed it inside a berry wreath I had. That's why I love those battery operated candles. The flame flickers and looks like I have a candle lit inside the cupboard where it would be too dangerous to have a real candle lit. An old robins egg blue covered book and one of my little inspirational signs finish that shelf off nicely.

The shelf above that holds some antique books my Aunt Rosemary gave me along with a little journal that I found of an old farm in nearby Harford, Pennsylvania, that documents everything that happened on the farm for four years. I know what cattle and pets were born, died or were sold off, the price of grain, the weather, and whatever else was on their mind that day. My grandmother's glass oil lamp and a candle box that my father made also sit on that shelf.

Finally, the top shelf just stumped me. I couldn't find anything that look just right. So, once again, off I went shopping, but this time I went into my own retail shoppe. There I found a reproduction sampler and propped it in the left corner of the shelf. Beside that, I placed one of my faceless prairie dolls in a pretty robins egg blue dress. (I hardly keep any dolls for myself, this was a treat!) I tucked in one of my Colonial Sawdust Pillows in blue ticking and wrapped with raffia and my large flameless pillar candle finished the shelf off perfectly. I have two realistic looking candles "burning" away in my cupboard, and I don't even have to worry about a fire!

One last touch...I added a set of my grungy tallow styled candles to the cupboard door's hook and tucked in a sprig of Sweet Annie for an added touch.

AFTER:






I really like how this turned out and hope you get some ideas from this old-yet-new primitive gathering in my sitting room!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Check out this website!

The best part of my "job" is meeting new people online and visiting their wonderful prim sites. I'd love for you to check out www.primitive-stitches.com and see the wonderful patterns that Rhonda has in store for you! If you like needlework, you will love her patterns, and they are so affordable!

She has patterns for everyday and seasonal patterns too. There are mini patterns and patterns to create your own stitched tags. Trust me, it's worth a peek!

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I hope you stop by and visit Rhonda at Primitive Stitches, and be sure to tell her that I sent you over!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Here's a giveaway!

Help Lorraine celebrate her 100th post on her blog, PieCake Primitives! Go visit her blog at http://piecakeprimitives.blogspot.com/2008/02/100th-posting-give-away.html and post a comment and be entered to win this lovely prize she made for the celebration!



She has lovely things, what a wonderfully talented artist she is! Congrats Lorraine and here's to many more blog postings!

Blessings,
Mary Jo

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New products are in!

I just returned from a day trip to Lancaster and stocked up on tons of new products, you will be amazed at the variety and selection of new items that are waiting for you!

Since the everlasting flameless candles were so popular, I brought back another style of flameless candle. The suppliers can hardly keep them in stock, so I grabbed as many as I could!

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This flameless candle is a very large pillar candle made of solid black wax. Just like the other everlasting candles, this one has the top hollowed out to hold a battery operated tea light that flickers just like a real flame! You get the look of a primitive, Early American candle, but no risk of fire....place them anywhere, in your bathroom, bedroom, inside a cupboard, all the places you were afraid of lighting a real candle before!

The candle has been dusted with cinnamon dust and has the look of Colonial America, very primitive! This candle measures 4" high and 5" in diameter and will last you forever since you are never burning or melting any wax....simply replace the lithium watch style battery (which is included by the way, you will be ready to use this immediately!) as needed, and you will enjoy this for years upon years.

Another new product that I brought back was a Paul Revere punched tin candle lantern. This is made of galvanized tin and can be set on any surface or hung from a hook. It has a taper candle holder inside and has a hinged door so you may leave the door open or closed, whichever you wish! I would even suggest hanging this from a shepherd's hook outside for a unique primitive accent to your outdoor space!

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Please stop by my website at www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com to see many more primitives and colonial wares that I brought back for you! The easiest way to find new products is to click on the NEW ARRIVALS button on the left, and there you will see all of the new stock.

Thank you for taking the time to read up on what's new and I look forward to hearing from you all soon!

Peace and blessings!

Mary Jo Elliott

Monday, February 4, 2008

The passing of someone dear to us.

What a bittersweet day it is today as I read about the passing of someone formerly of our area, Mrs. Elizabeth Jessup Keck. Mrs. Keck passed away at the glorious age of 103, and this is how we came to briefly know her.....

When we purchased our home here in Springville, PA, in 2003, we knew it was special...you could just feel it had history in it's old bones. After some preliminary research, we found that the house belonged to Albert and Eliza Beardsley according to a map we found of Springville in 1872.

I decided to try to trace back the history of the home and went directly to the Susquehanna County Historical Society in Montrose, PA. Once I described the house and showed them the copy of the map I found us on, they knew exactly who I must contact. They pulled out the copy of the Centennial History of Susquehanna County Pennsylvania book written by R.M. Stocker. There on page 403 began the story of Albert Beardsley and his wife, Eliza. She told me that the great-great-grandaughter of the Mr. Beardsley resided in Emmaus, PA, and gave me her name and address. Mrs. Keck happened to be a dear friend to the historical society and donated many belonging from both the Jessup side of the family, and the Beardsley side, to the museum. They showed me the many articles from our very own home built in 1827 that she donated to the museum for all of us to enjoy, and what a treasure that was, to see so many things from the 1800's that belonged to my own home.

I wrote Mrs. Keck a letter, never expecting to hear from her, to be honest with you. About 6 weeks later, I received a phone call from Mrs. Keck's caretaker, and within just a moment, I was speaking with the great-great grandaughter of the original owner of the home! She told me that she remembered the house well....taking the train to Montrose, then a horse and carriage ride to Springville, to visit her father's family who resided in the home after Albert and Eliza's deaths. She remembered a grand staircase in the foyer that was open at the top, and was sad to learn that this was all torn down and turned into bedrooms to form a double home in order to rent out. She was happy though to learn that a family such as ours had moved in and was restoring it back to it's original charm and wanted to, once again, raise a family in the home.

She remembered the hammock on the front part of our wrap around porch, and we still have the hook by our front door where the hammock was hung. She also remembered seeing a picture in her collection of family photographs in her attic. She knew it was a picture of her father as a young man sitting on a bicycle in front of our wrap around porch. She promised to have a family member search for it, and again, I never expected to be able to see that picture she spoke of.

About two months later, we received a thick envelope with a wonderful surprise. Her great-grand niece's husband had copies of that picture duplicated so that we could have one for our own collection, and it was exactly as she described! Her father was on the bicycle in front of the porch and her mother and other family members are sitting on the porch in rocking chairs creating what I am sure is wonderful needlework pieces! This would date the picture at about the early 1880's.

Another surprise awaited us in that envelope. There was another picture of a pretty little girl, her parents and grandparents on the same porch. That picture was of Mrs. Keck at one year of age sitting on the lap of her grandfather, the son-in-law of the original owners, Albert and Eliza Beardsley! Along with the photos, the family also sent a long history of the Jessup family, which is the family that Albert and Eliza's daughter married into and they were from the Montrose area and have strong historical ties to the area.

This was such a joy to receive, and I thanked her and her family for the copies of the photographs. We had them framed and mounted, and they are proudly displayed in our kitchen where we look at them several times a day. We used them as a reference when we were replacing our windows in the home, and we changed them to be the exact design that was original to the home in 1827.

Even though that was the only contact that we had with Mrs. Keck, we thought and spoke of her often in our home. There are still people out there that care about our nation's history and the love for a home and those that once lived there and reside there today.

So let this be my little tribute to a woman that showed us that the special feeling we had about this home the day we walked into it for the first time was correct...it was special. Even though it was in a sad state when we bought it, we have tried to bring her back to the way she used to be and are proud to be a part of our local history.

Here is the link to her obituary in our local paper. You can read of her and her family's historical and political contributions to our area and our nation and also her generousity with many organizations. Just cut and paste the url into your address bar to view the write up....I think it's worth a look!

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19242948&BRD=2279&PAG=461&dept_id=467074&rfi=6

If you want to read more about our home and see a slideshow of pictures we have taken of the house, please visit my website at www.finecountrylivingprimitives.com and click on the "Our Primitive Home" button and the "About us" button on the left sides.

Thank you Mrs. Keck!

Blessings,
Mary Jo