Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Child's rocking chair - before and after

We picked this child's wicker rocking chair up at an auction.
It got lots of rave reviews, but for whatever reason, no one bought it - even on clearance!

So..................it was time for a little re-purposing.
A can of spray paint and a bit of fabric to the rescue.

A re-upholsterer I'm not, but... the little pillow didn't come out too bad.
The chair is pretty sturdy, but the wicker does show it's age, so...I'd recommend it for decoration.
Wouldn't your favorite bear or doll look sweet sitting in it?
Maybe mixed in with plants in your sunroom, or on a covered porch?
Or the corner of your bedroom....or............

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tool boxes

Some of the old tool boxes we have right now:

The one on top (lighter colored) also opens on the end.

The one below is one of my favorites.
It's shown closed, then open so you can see the tray.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This old floor radio was in very bad shape when we brought it home from an auction.
It's another good example of what some paint can do!
I put some gray primer on it, then a coat of black paint.
I sanded some of the black back off, which let the gray peek through.

The fabric at the bottom was beyond saving, so I pulled it all off, then replaced it with a black & white check.

Does the radio work? I have no idea. There are still tubes etc. in the back.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Just another reminder:

If you "like" the shop on facebook, or follow this blog,
you'll get 15% off regular prices on November 26 & 27.

Just tell me that you're eligible for the discount.

Small shops like mine can't "keep up" with the big box chain store sales.
We simply can't afford the huge discounts they give.
Nor can we provide the "shopping rush" you get from standing in line at 3 AM, then jamming through the doors with hundreds of other people who all want the same thing you do.

Nothing against the big boxes, I shop there myself.

But, all of us mom & pop stores out there just ask that you remember us, and shop with us as often as you can.

We offer sales too, though not as big.
We're friendly, and we know and care about our products.
We offer you advice if you ask, or give you ideas.
We listen when you give us advice and ideas.
We truly care about our customers, and our community.
We laugh with you, and become friends.
We cry with you, and become confidants.

We need you...& the small towns across America need us too.

Feed sacks framed in old windows

I love the faded colors in old fabric feed sacks. 
I have stuffed a few in the past, like a pillow.
Lately, I've been framing them in old window frames.

These make a very primitive, country wall statement.
They're easy to hang, because the glass has been removed, so they aren't heavy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Wish I would have thought to take a "before" picture! George brought this cupboard home from an auction, and it was nasty! Unfinished plywood, and quite dirty from setting in a shed or barn for years. I wasn't sure if it was worth the time to paint it. But I'm glad I did! I really like it now!

It will look great in someone's country home.

Thanksgiving thoughts (and Pumpkin Pie!)

The year flew by, I can't believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving!
What am I most thankful for?
That I was raised in a home where God came first.
That George & I raised our children the same way.
That Jessica married into a good family who loves her, & that she loves.
That Kevin made it through another year without getting stung.
 (He's severely allergic to bees)
That after 27 years, our marriage is still strong.
That George got called back to the plant, and that it's still open.
That I have faithful customers who are helping me hang on in this economy.
That we have great friends & family who put up with us.
That Jessica & Kevin are firmly planted with country roots 
(hang on Jess, you won't be in the city forever)
That the garden did well - really well.
That we made it thru last winter without any accidents.
(and hopeful this one won't be as bad)
That our health is good enough that our complaints aren't all that serious.

And, that we get to eat this pumpkin pie tomorrow:

makes 2
Beat together in large bowl:
Large can pumpkin
2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
2 cups evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pour into two 9" pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees, bake another 35 to 40 minutes, till filling is set, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

You can use frozen pie crust, but this is better:
Stir together:
2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt
Cut in : 3/4 cup shortening
Sprinkle with 5 to 6 Tablespoons cold water, adding 1 Tablespoon at a time. Stir water in with a fork.
Roll out dough, put in two 9" pie plates.

This was my mom's recipe, and I've never found another pumpkin pie recipe I like nearly as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This weekend - Black Friday & also Saturday,
if you follow this blog, or "like" the shop on facebook,
you will receive 15% off regular prices. 

There's a link to the left of this page to my facebook page.
Just tell me at the counter that you are eligible for the discount.


Refinishing antiques

Several years ago, I always heard, "Don't refinish an antique, it will ruin it's value". True, but.....

I heard an "antique expert" talking on a TV show one day. Sorry, I don't remember his name, or even what show it was. But, what he said really stuck with me. He was in the home of a woman who was showing him a piece of furniture that had been in her family for years & years. She wanted to keep the piece, but it really didn't go with her decor. She thought about painting it, but didn't want to ruin it's value.

He told her if she would enjoy it more painted, then, by all means, paint it! He said it's monetary value was only important if she wanted to sell it. But since she wanted to keep it, he advised her to go ahead and paint it, then put it in a place where she would see it every day and smile.

What great advice!

Over the last couple of years, we've been taking family heirlooms out of storage, and placing them where we can see them every day, and smile. They don't do us a bit of good stored away in a box, in the back of a closet. Will they last as long if they are out in the light and the dust, where they might get broken?
Probably not, but life is too short not to enjoy it as much as we can.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Country Life

Our neighbor has a well fenced farm, but no matter how much fence there is, sometimes whatever animal is fenced in manages to find a way to get out. At certain times of the year, these cows are in the field. I love to watch them graze, they seem so harmless. But I admit that if they get out, I become afraid of them.
They seem to get 3 times bigger when they are standing on the road!

Right now, these goats are in the field.

Well, they are supposed to be in the field.

Our son Kevin lives next door to us, and we rode to church together yesterday. When we got home, and pulled in our shared driveway, we saw the goats in our woods. I called the neighbor, but no one was home, so Kevin & I went down in the woods, circled behind the goats, & got them back through the gate.

Ah, problem solved.

Well, not quite.

A couple hours later, Kevin came and got me, "You better come mom, the goats are next to the road now". We live back a lane, so there's not a lot of traffic, but still, we wanted to get them away from the road quickly. They acted like they would like to follow me, but, they didn't really want to get on the gravel, after all, the plot of grass they were eating was nice and soft! I said I wish we had some grain, or something that the goats would think was grain.

That's when Kevin lit up, and said, "Cat food!"

He ran up to the house, put some cat food in a tin can, then gave it to me. He circled back around behind the goats, I started shaking the can, and those goats followed us right out the road, and back into the pasture.

 The cat food saved the day, but our cat Billy thinks he was the hero. Both times the goats were out, he "helped" herd them back in. Both times, he brought up the rear. He was as fascinated with the goats as they were with him. And it wasn't because I was carrying cat food, he could care less about that. It's that he has always acted more like a dog than a cat. Anywhere we go in the field or woods, he is right there with us. He's afraid he might miss something!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I painted this jolly trio on what had been a frame for a mirror. It's big - 30 x 40 inches.

These ones are painted on the side piece of a cupboard that fell apart.

 And this one I painted on what was once a kitchen cabinet door.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stocking holders

These railroad spikes make great stocking holders!
Only for an empty stocking of course, they would flip off the mantle after Santa fills the stocking

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vintage suitcases

I had fun painting these old suitcases. Not sure if these snowmen are traveling, or going somewhere.

The first one is only painted on one side, so you can use the snowman side in the winter, and just turn it around the rest of the year.

Hoosier style cupboard

We just got this Hoosier style cupboard in.

Jessica has one similar to this in her dining room, she said it seems like it holds more than her kitchen cupboards. This one doe not have a flour sifter. There are shelves behind the long door on the left.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Customer ideas

I get so many good ideas from my customers. While attending my niece's bridal shower yesterday, I remembered the lady who came in one day looking for seasonal items. It was the middle of summer, and she was looking for a snowman, something for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween and/or Thanksgiving and also something patriotic. She explained that she was going to a bridal shower, and her gift was going to be something that the new bride could decorate with for several holidays. She wanted things that were small enough to fit in a large basket.

She knew it would be hard to find fall and winter things that time of year, but as luck would have it, my shop and another nearby happened to have some of those type of things on the clearance table. Between the 2 shops, she found just what she needed for a very thoughtful gift.

As she said, it's better to buy the seasonal things in season, and just put them up so they are there when the need arises. So.........if that is an idea you would like to use in the upcoming year, now of course is a good time to buy Christmas and snowmen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aha! moment

Did you ever have one of those moments where something that you have tried to figure out for years just suddenly became crystal clear? That happened to me driving in to the store this morning. Above the store there are 2 apartments that are only accessible from the outside. We have often thought if we could add a set of steps inside, we could open up one of the apartments as part of the store. But every way we thought of to add steps was going to be a huge job, and probably cost huge money as well.

But this morning, while thinking about something else, the solution hit me. Of course I have to have the expert (AKA husband George) take a look at it and see if he thinks it will work, but just talking to him about it on the phone, he thought it sounded like a possibility. It wouldn't be anything we would rush into, but maybe in the next year or two..... Hmmm....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Store history

I was excited to see in my stats that some people looked at my blog! But then I thought, "oh no! how do I keep this interesting?". The pressure is on! I have several blogs I check in on often. I like the ones who update several times a week, so that's my goal.

A little about the history of Country Lane Crafts: I did local craft shows for a few years before opening the store. The building was in terrible shape. One day when we were replacing the roof, a storm came up, and water poured inside. We tried to keep up with it by forming a bucket bridgade, but finally gave up. I turned to Jessica and asked if we were in over our heads. She said, "no, but we're in up to our necks!". That was in the summer of 2002, we opened that fall.

The shop has had several changes since then. At first, I had a few antiques just to set the mood. Folks kept wanting to buy them, so George & I started going to auctions. The antiques have become my bread & butter. We've discovered that we can't sell a "nice" antique. But, if it's falling apart, & the paint is peeling off, it will be a sure seller! The more primitive, the better.

Also at first, we had several crafters on consignment. After a few years though, we discontinued that. I do have a couple crafters I buy from, but other than that, the crafts here are made by me.

The biggest change though is that at first, we only sold handmade crafts. No imports at all. It was a noble thought, but sadly, it just didn't work. I was losing customers to the shops who did carry imports. If you can't beat them, join them. I thought I'd hear complaints, but didn't.

We've dabbled a little in the cottage look; it didn't work. Spring seasonal doesn't sell, and fall is fading, maybe due to the economy. Even Christmas doesn't sell as well as it did. I decided not to buy much new Christmas decor this year, but am making more Christmas crafts instead. Today I'm painting snowmen on silverware, old angel food cake pans & vintage suitcases!

That is the type of thing that is selling best for me these days. Vintage items that can either be used as is, or that I can re-purpose into a whole new look, but still with the primitive feel. That is where my concentration will be now. So many ideas in my head - it's just a matter of finding the time to do them all!

Switching Gears to an Occasional Shop

For a loooooooooong time, I have wanted to switch our shop to an occasional shop. Until yesterday, we were open 5 ...