Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

Okay, I'm hooked. I just finished reading Cindy Woodsmall's newest book, "The Sound of Sleigh Bells". Again, amazing!

Cindy really knows how to tell a story with such feeling, and since this is the fourth or fifth book I've read of hers, I can now proclaim that you cannot predict where the next twist and turn of storyline will take you. I like that, I dislike predictibility.

Last week I finished up her Sisters of the Quilt series and just could not put the three books down.

If you are looking for good Christian fiction pertaining to Amish and Mennonite lifestyles, but fiction with a good storyline, intrigue, and tells real stories of peoples' lives (not just the sugar coated version), then Cindy Woodsmall is the author for you!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Interesting article....


Friday, December 11, 2009

Early American Christmas....


Many customers ask how we decorate for the Christmas season, so I thought I would share our kitchen with you.

We like to keep things simple in our house and I prefer to decorate as many Early Americans did way back then......simple wares with greenery.

This is our 1800's one drawer work table that we purchased in Strasburg, PA, over the summer. I simply added an old crate and placed a tabletop Vienna Twig Christmas Tree inside a folk art Rufus Porter inspired box.

Inside the crate I put an old cigar box on end and inside placed one of my new favorite primitives from our online shoppe, the peppermint swirl pillar candle. Next to it is our antique white Besnickle Santa and also an antique Christmas book that I purchased with a box lot of other items at an auction years back.

On either side of the crate are larger old and grungy looking Santas. I love placing larger objects such as these up on a table to give dimension, depth and up where you can see them and enjoy them! A little framed sampler sits beside the largest Santa.


Under the table is our old dough box that I always have filled with our dried gourds from a few seasons ago. I simply add faux greenery by tucking them around and in between the gourds. I must admit that it looked much nicer a few minutes before I took the picture, but Sissy, my adopted kitty, decided she needed to re-arrange them herself before I could snap the picture. The joys of owning a cat......


Other ways that I decorate around our home for the holidays is to take down my all year 'round pip berry vines from our Colonial chandeliers and add vines of holly berries and greens. I also have crocks filled with faux hemlock branches and greenery draped from my cupboards and display my very own cutter quilt table top Christmas Tree make-do. I hang some antique stockings and have two full size Christmas trees simply decorated with silicone tipped Christmas tree lights, dried orange slices, rag ball ornies and handmade gingerbread men and snowmen. One of our trees was beautifully decorated by our sons with their own handmade ornaments.....they even say how prim it is!

Remember, less is more and keep it simple. Especially with Primitive, Colonial and Early American home decor, you already have the perfect backdrop for an Early American Christmas....let your beautiful home show through and just add special touches to create your holiday mood!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We have a new look.....


Oh, I'm just tickled pink....or maybe tickled prim....about our new website graphics! We've had custom website graphics created using a picture of our very own 1827 farmhouse!

This picture in the logo was taken sometime in the 1880's according to the family, and depicts a typical day at our home for the Beardsley/Jessup family. Ellen Beardsley-Jessup is the woman in the dark dress and her son on the bicycle, Albert Beardsley Jessup, is the grandson of Albert Beardsley, who built this house with his wife, Eliza, in 1827.

Somedays it still gives me chills to look at this very picture that hangs in our family's kitchen. To think that this home has seen so much in this country's history, has dealt with both sadness and joy, and is still here to whisper her stories to us amazes me. Very often I sit in my own chairs in that very spot on the porch and overlook my boys playing in the yard, and more often than not, I have some sort of hand-work with me to pass the time just as these women did that very day in history. I picture my husband and I growing old here, together on that very porch, watching our grandchildren run and play as our boys do, and a sense of comfort comes over me of how truly blessed I am to have such a simple, yet happy life.

We really do love what we do. This is not just a job for us here at Fine Country Living Primitives....it's who we are and what we live for. There's a story behind everything, we love sharing our love of primitives and our own personal lives with all of you, and "Recapturing the way things used to be....."

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Want to read a good book?

Many of you know, I love reading Beverly Lewis's novels about Amish life. The fictional stories are always fun and relaxing, and I think that I have read everything she has written.

I recently purchased a few books from author Cindy Woodsmall. Amazing! The first book I read of hers was "When the Heart Cries" from her Sisters of the Quilt series. Wow, WOW! I couldn't put it down.

I still love Beverly Lewis, and enjoy the sing song sound of her words, but honestly, I could always figure out what was going to happen next.

Cindy Woodsmall's book was so intriguing, so exciting and full of energy, I couldn't put it down. I read the book in one day, even staying up very late to finish it.

"When the Heart Cries" made my heart cry. I haven't felt that involved in a story in quite some time. I cried several times, and simply enjoyed every page. Even though I was savoring what was being said on this page, I couldn't wait to jump to the next page to continue. How delightful!

So if you are in the mood for a good read, I do suggest this first book in the series. I cannot wait to start the next, but I know that I won't be able to put it down, so I'll have to get caught up on work and life to make the time to sit and indulge in the next book in the series.

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sign of the times?

A sad note today. I had a few minutes and decided to check out all of my primitive friends in my links page on my website. So many have closed.....it's such a shame. There were some fabulous online shoppes that had great wares, and it's sad to see that they are no longer online.

When I first started, many of my online friends were also starting websites. I know that only one, maybe two, remain open in addition to myself. I also remember one person telling me that for about every online shoppe that opens, another one or two will close.

Is it a sign of the economic times? I'm not sure, since many shoppes that I remember from my beginning days closed about two years ago, before the economic crisis began.

All that I know is that it's a sad day to see someone's online shoppe close...even though it's the "competition", it's still someone's dream that has been put to the side for one reason or another. I know how much I love my online shoppe, I could literally eat, sleep, breathe primitives, and can't imagine the sorrow I would feel if I had to close. My heart goes out to my primitive friends out there who had to make that tough decision and I hope to see you all back online sometime soon!

Many Blessings,
Mary Jo