Monday, February 28, 2011

It's been one of those days

And blog post wise, it started last night.

After a very busy, very grimy, very tiring weekend, I sat down at the computer to do a blog post on Sunday evening. George came down the hall and saw me sitting there, head on my arms on the desk.

"What are you doing Barb?"

"Posting on my blog."

Uh-huh. Not sure, but he may have caught me snoring. So much for that post.

So, I took pictures today to post. Of shelves I was hanging on the wall. On the wall behind the computer at the store. The computer with the nice big comfy office chair. The chair that I bumped into, knocking over my glass of water.

See that towel on the seat of the nice big comfy office chair? Yep, it's soaking up water. See that gold glass by the mouse? Not a good place to put it.

In the meantime, I was getting hungry. Popcorn sounded good.

Don't walk away from microwave popcorn. It's not a pretty sight. Nor a pretty smell.

It was smoking and smelling so badly I had to take it outside. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Here's a little tip for shop-owners. Having a slow day? Burn some popcorn. You will suddenly have a steady stream of customers walking through the front door. Before the popcorn fiasco, there hadn't been anyone in for a couple hours. Immediately after it burned, one after another came in.

Again, for those of you who had the misfortune of coming in right then - I apologize...profusely.

I'm home now, and other than accidently bumping the cat in the head, it's going pretty well.

Let's try a post again...................

These are small shelves I've been working on. All are trash to treasure projects. Most were simple brown tired-looking shelves before a little paint breathed new life into them.

Whew! I didn't think I was ever going to get those shelf pictures posted!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Painted door arch

I'm not totally sure what this thing is...........

I bought it cheap at Goodwill. I think it's an arch for over a front door. They had several there, and I kept looking at them, thinking, "what could I do with that?". Nothing was coming to me, and the price was too high, even for Goodwill prices. What can I say - I'm cheap!

Then I went in one day, and there were only 3 left, and the price had been cut some more. I made my move.

I took them home, then thought, "why did I buy those?".

The other day, I put white primer on the 3 of them, that is what you are seeing in the photo above. And then I stared long and hard at one, and this is what I came up with.............

It's funny, but when I chalked out my lettering, I thought it looked ok. Even when I held it on my lap and painted it, I thought it looked ok. I'm not much for centering things exactly. I think centering is too perfect for the country/primitive look. I knew I would be filling in around the lettering with stars and berries so, I thought it looked fine.

Then, I hung up the finished product. Hmmm, I think I should have leaned a little more toward centering. Oh well, too late now!

I have one more like the one above to paint, but I'm still waiting on inspiration to strike. The third one is bigger, and the slats are vertical. I have absolutely no idea how I'll finish that one. Come on inspiration!!!

These are pretty big, but they aren't heavy at all. They are made out of..........something. Whatever it is, it's lightweight. I wanted to hang the finished one over the mantel, but even though it's lightweight, it's still just a little too heavy for the nail I have up there. The nail goes through the paneling, and that's it. There's nothing back there - I could tell you stories for a month on the less than perfect construction of this old building. So, I propped it up on the wood box like you see in the photo.

Where there's a will, there's a way!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rusty hearts, stars and flags oh my!

Yesterday, when talking about the snow and ice, I mentioned that I would have pictures today of the project we were working on in the garage. I know you have been pacing the floor, breathlessly checking your computer every few minutes to see our latest project.

Ok. I'm being delusional.

But, I know I'm being delusional. When you know, you're ok. It's when you don't know that it becomes a problem. But, I digress.

The project is......................................


As in rusty stars, rusty hearts, and rusty flags..........

These are cut from old, rusty, corrugated metal roofing that came off a barn.

Some of my long time customers may say, "hey, wait a minute, you've had those before!" And that would be true. We made a bunch of these a few years ago, and had just a handful left. We recently found more of the old roofing, and decided to make more. What you see in the pictures is not even half of what we have....

The ones in the box still need the wire hanger attached. Those are all smaller. We have lots of them still at home that I have to drill the holes in for the hanger, then of course, they need the hanger attached.

I thought I may finish them tonight, but that may have to wait.

Why? Because tomorrow...........THE TAXMAN COMETH!

I better make sure all my paperwork is in order - he probably wants to see everything in nice, neat rows. Nothing delusional. CPA'a probably don't do delusional.

But then, if you have to try to understand the tax code every year, delusional might be a good thing.

Speaking of delusional..........................when I put the above pictures on the computer, I clicked the wrong button, and they ended up in one of Jessica's picture files. And somehow, everytime I went into it to pull one out for the blog, it made another copy of each picture in it. And each time I went into the file, the first picture I saw was this...............

And because it was making copies, I'd see it over and over!

I beginning to think that not only is my son-in-law Brian laughing at me, but he's calling all his friends to tell them how crazy I really am!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow and ice = closed today

George just came in from midnight shift and said the roads are a sheet of ice. We only got an inch or so of snow here, just north of us they picked up several inches. But our inch of snow is mixed with quite a bit of ice. The store will be closed today.

Kevin spent the night plowing snow - he works for a landscaping company who spend their winter keeping hospital lots clean. I talked to him a few minutes ago, the roads are even worse where he is. He didn't sound too, too bad for working all night without getting any sleep first!

Our CRV sat outside during the evening hours because of a project we were working on in the garage (pictures on that tomorrow!) When I went out at 10 pm to put it in, it was covered in a layer of ice. The only door that would open was the back hatch. No choice but to crawl up through. I'm getting too old for this!

A couple days ago, it was in the 60's, and some of our flowers shot up............

All right, all right, I'm exaggerating. Those aren't our flowers. Wasn't it nice of HP to put those pretty tulips in the sample pictures they loaded on our computer? But, some of our flowering bulbs did shoot up about 3 inches. We never get pretty tulips though. They get just ready to bloom, and then they are gone overnight.

The deer LOVE tulips.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Country life = Boys and guns

Yesterday, George and I went for a walk in the woods of his father's farm. We walked down a very, very, very steep hill to check out a pile of logs. When we were done, we had two options, go back up the very, very, very steep hill, or walk out around the hill to the road, then walk up the mild hill on the road.

We stood at the bottom, looking at what seemed to be straight into the sky. "Oh those West Virginia hills, so majestic and so grand". And steep. Very steep. Very, very steep.

Around the hill to the road it would be. Except for one problem. We could hear gun fire ahead of us. Bang, bang....... bang, bang, bang, bang. Someone was target practicing up ahead. We were several feet up a bank above the creek, and it sounded as if someone was down at creek level. We figured the neighbor's boy had probably set up targets against the bank.

Hmmm, what to do. We couldn't be positive that he would be able to see us. We didn't want a stray bullet to hit us, or one that had ricocheted off a rock or tree. We looked at the very, very, very steep hill again..........and decided to take our chances with the bullets.

We walked ahead, slowly, watching closely for the shooters. Ahh, there they were, 3 teenage boys. When they saw us, they turned and started walking back to the house.

We stood there for a little while, admiring the beauty of a February day without snow. You can see the creek in this photo, and you can also see that since the boys were at creek level, we were quite a bit higher than them.

Today, we were talking about our walk, and it occurred to us that lots of people wouldn't understand what had happened there. We were in the woods, heard gunfire up ahead, and didn't feel the least bit afraid. Yes, we were concerned about walking into it, but were we afraid of the shooter (or shooters) himself? Not at all.

Jessica had an interesting conversation with a big city friend one day about guns. Her friend was aghast at the news that "Back home, everyone has guns. Most people have several".

Her friends reaction? "You know people who own guns!?!?!?! What do they do with them?"

Jessica has had the experience of living in two different worlds, right here in America. The simple country life, vs. the big city. Two completely different cultures. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different.

Her friend would have been terrified if she had heard gunfire up ahead. In fact, she would have been terrified to be in the woods at all. For me, the woods are a sanctuary, a solace, a friend. To her, they would just be a nightmare.

And why DO we have guns? To hunt mostly. And for the fun of target practicing. And, if absolutely need be, for protection. No, we don't have assault rifles, no good can come from those. Around here, guns are as common as the food on our tables, and are treated solely with respect.

We felt no need to be afraid of 3 teenage boys with guns. We would much rather see them target practicing for the fun of it, than sitting around with nothing to do. THAT'S when teenage boys seem to get in trouble.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Breakfast, Jessica style

I decided to have a bowl of corn flakes this morning, and while I was getting out the bowl, and the spoon, and the corn flakes, my mind started to wander (it's a common problem).

All at once, I realized I was absent-mindedly pouring orange juice onto my corn flakes! I started laughing, then poured off as much orange juice as I could. I looked at the bowl, wondered briefly if I should just throw away the corn flakes and start over, then laughed again as my mind went racing back.....

Who is that in the photo? Jessica, when she was close to two years old. (She's 25 now, where did the time go?) Jessica was eating her cereal, well, in this photo, she is actually feeding her cereal to a little plastic bear. Details, details.

Anyway, see that blue sippy cup on the left? That's orange juice. When Jessica got done feeding the bear, she would do what she did every morning  - she would pour the orange juice into her cereal. Being the unadventurous, boring adults that we were, her daddy and I would put milk on her cereal. She made life a little more exciting when she poured the juice in. It didn't take long for the juice and milk to start curdling. And that's when she liked it!

Well Jessica, it took me many years, but this morning I followed your lead. I did pour most of the juice off my cereal, but then I went ahead and added the milk. Guess what? It was quite good! It added a little sweetness, of course that may have just been because I was smiling at the memory.

While I'm telling stories about Jessica in a high chair, I also laugh when I remember doing dishes as she ate one morning. She was singing, but that was nothing new, she sang all the time. But I slowly realized what she was singing. "There's a bowl on my head, there's a bowl on my head". Oh no! I turned just as she was about to turn her full bowl of cereal over on her head. Whew, that was close!

Friday, February 18, 2011

If only they could talk

As I was looking through old pictures on my computer, I ran across the following ones. Keep in mind, most of these are old photos, so the treaures in them have already been sold.

They are a good representation of the type of antiques we keep on hand though.

The kind we are always looking for.

The kind that makes us wish they could talk so we could hear their stories.

What tools were in these boxes? What great things did the carpenter make using those tools?

Who used these stools? Why?

What was the city like when these shutters were on a house built in 1909? What was the daily routine of the family who lived in the house? Did the windows ever get broke with a stray baseball?

Where did these suitcases and trunks travel to...or from? School? Military? A new country?


What kind of farm did this wheel toil on?

Who rode this bike? What after school adventures did it see?

How many babies started their life, and their travels, in this stroller? How did their life turn out?

What concoctions did these bottles hold?

What was the lady of the house like? Did she enjoy cooking for her family every day?

Did she make the best apple pie in the county?

Did she lovingly teach her daugher to cook on her new gas range?

If only they could talk.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Red cupboard

This is the little red cupboard I mentioned yesterday............

It wasn't any more than a shell when we brought it home. The shelves were missing, and there was no door. It was dirty, and looked like the best place for it might have been a burn pile. But, cleaning the dirt off showed it had a little potential. George cut simple shelves for it from luann. We had a stash of cupboard doors on hand, and this one fit pretty well. The poor little thing had looked so drab, I decided it needed a little cheering up, so I painted it red. That made it a bit too cheery for it's still somewhat primitive condition, so I dry brushed some black over the red. It's approximately 17" wide by 28" high.

Hmm, wonder why I see a whitish circle on the door in this picture? There isn't one in real life.

Maybe it's a ghost, or signs of an alien invasion, or...........

Maybe it's a reflection. Mystery solved.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big difference

I took a couple photos a few minutes ago of a small cupboard I painted and brought in this morning. I then opened the camera to take out the SD card and transfer the photos onto the computer. Oops! No camera card. That's when I remembered that I had transferred some photos onto our home computer, and I had carefully laid the SD card where I wouldn't forget to put in back in the camera. So much for that plan!

So, I was looking through some photos already on the computer, and thought you might be interested in the following couple of photos.

I opened the store in October of 2002. And, to be honest, I got in too big of a hurry, and  opened before I should have. Why, you ask? Well, because I didn't yet have nearly enough inventory.

Look at all that blank space! And all that blank space.

And look closer - there's so much blank space!!!!

The hay rake is no longer in the store. It was never for sale, it was just a display piece, and a way to take up some room. It now sits in our yard. It was always interesting to see people's reaction to it. They would look at it, then at the door, then at me with puzzled expressions. "How did you get that in here?"

Ahh, it was magic! Or maybe it was that we took it apart, brought the pieces in, then re-assembled it.

Back to the topic at hand:

I tried to find a recent picture taken from about that same spot. This following one was taken in 2008...

Trying to find a blank space. Blank space anyone? Hello, need a blank space!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Playing again

After all the work Jessica and I did getting a country lane background on the blog, I decided it wasn't working. I loved it on my big monitor at home, but it wasn't doing a thing for me on the small one at the store.


So, I decided to try again. A whole new look again. (So many choices!)

The lane that is now in the heading, (where the blog title is) is a very familiar site. It's right outside our front door at home! It was taken during the summer, right after the hay had been baled into round bales.

We'll try this look for a couple days, or at least till I get a chance to look at it on another monitor or two.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day


I was watching the Today Show this morning, and they were reporting on Michelle Obama's feelings about Valentine's Day. (Must be a slow news day). According to the report, Mrs. Obama feels that one of the most important things in a healthy relationship is laughter.

I couldn't agree more.

So, in honor of Valentine's Day, I encourage you to laugh with your Valentine, with your family, your friends, your co-workers, with everyone around you. Note that I did not say to laugh AT them, laugh WITH them. Big difference!

Laughter has got us through lots of rough spots thru the years. You know the moments. The either you laugh or cry moments. I won't pretend that we didn't cry, but the laughter was the healing process.
So, for Valentine's Day, I send you a little something to laugh about...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Following a blog

"If I follow a blog, what will the blog author see about me?"

"Will they know where I'm from?"

"Will they know how often I stop by to visit?"

"Will they know my name?"

I wondered these things before I started my own blog. I didn't have too clear of an understanding on how it works. I'm a pretty private person (I know, I know, then why did you start a public blog?). And as a private person, I was afraid to officially follow the blogs I enjoy reading.

Now that I have my own, it's all much clearer to me, and I thought maybe you might be wondering too how it works. I feel better knowing how private it really is.

I can go look at my stats anytime to see how many people have looked at my blog over the course of the day, or week, or month, or since the beginning. I can see from what countries those visits have come from, and what web browser (firefox, internet explorer etc.) brought those visits to me. I can also see if a visit came from my facebook page, or from craigslist, or my website etc. Or if someone typed in specific search words to find the blog.

But, that's it. If you are only visiting, but not not officially following, that's all I know.

However, if you choose to follow me, I might be able to see just a bit more, but that is entirely based on what you want me to see. When you sign up to follow a blog, you can put in your name, or leave it anonymous. Or, you can make up a name. Further, you can end it there, or put more info in that would lead to your own blog or website or profile. But only if you want to. You are in control of that.

So if you want to follow a blog, be reassured that if you want to remain private, you will be.

Am I the only one who wonders about things like that?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New look

Jessica and Brian came home for the weekend, and this morning, Jessica said, "lets jazz up your blog a little". That sounded like a good idea, so we started. Whew! Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears!

For whatever reason, the preview feature wasn't working, so as we experimented with different looks, we had to click apply each time, then go out and look at it. Some of the combinations were, shall we say, awful! And impossible to read. And each time, they were out there for the world to see. We looked at the stats afterwards, and sure enough, there were a few views while we were working on it. Uh-oh! So sorry if you happened to see the blog at one of the times when it was impossible to even read!

We found this background with the country lane in the templates. Ah, that certainly seems appropriate. I may use our own country lane as a background sometime, but I think we've done enough damage for one day! The lane shows up great on this monitor, I'm curious how much of it will show on my smaller monitor at the store. I'll find out Monday I guess. What do you think of the new look?

I'm seeing this now on my smaller monitor. So disappointed! On this one, I'm pretty much just seeing a white background, hardly any of the background with grass and a lane shows. So, if you can't see it either, try clicking your Ctrl key, along with the minus key. The middle will get smaller, and you'll see the lane. Since these small monitors are becoming scarce with everyone buying bigger, wider, flat screens, I'll just leave it the way it is. Sorry if you can't see the new look!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Table runners & candle mats

Just got these in yesterday............

These table runners are locally made. They are 14" wide, and the length varies.

She also made an assortment of candle mats......

I'm working from home today, painting on all kinds of things.
It's a beautiful day, full of sunshine.....cold, but beautiful.
As my father-in-law used to say, "this time of year, that sun has some power to it!"
It's enough to be melting the snow from the keeps falling in chunks.
And each time it falls, it makes a noisy racket.
The first time it I heard it fall, I about jumped out of my skin.

They're calling for temps in the 50's next week. That's going to feel like T-shirt weather!
Which as George always says, "is flu weather".

I like my father-in-law's saying better!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Door prize winner

Nancy Moore from Wheeling WV won our door prize last weekend during our February First Friday and Saturday Event. She picked it up this morning, and was thrilled! After she took it home and displayed it, she was so excited she called to thank me again. I'm so glad she likes it! Congratulations Nancy!!!!!!!!

The next First Friday and Saturday Event will be March 4 & 5.


Check out these cool spindles that used to be part of a bannister.

Some of them are a little charred - there had been a house fire!
Most are around 26 to 33 inches or so.
Endless possibilities with these.

So what can you do with spindles?

These spindles are from the back of some kitchen chairs.

These were table legs, now they are candle holders, or anything else you want to stick on top.

We have so many other projects on tap right now, I decided to bring the bannister spindles into the store as is.
There may be some DIY folks who will want them for their own projects.

I'm selling the bannister spindles cheap!
$2 each, or 3/$5

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

Cold, cold, cold.
Normally, I can handle being cold better than being hot.
But every once in awhile I don't handle the cold too well either.
Today is one of those days, & according to the forecast, tomorrow will be worse.

This old building the store is in is hard to keep warm.
I usually do ok with a space heater beside me, but not today.
I can feel the cold coming up through the floor,
which is resulting in my feet being VERY cold.
Which makes me cold all over.
Which makes my mind become mush.
Which makes me not want to do anything.
Well, I do want to do one thing....
I want to go home and curl up under a blanket!

In the meantime, I'm thinking warmer thoughts to try to keep my sanity.

It was warm this day last May when George & Kevin were putting in hay.
I'd venture to say it was probably even hot, it always seems to be hot on hay days.

Hot sounds good right now, though I'll change my mind when the hot days come.
Fickle creatures aren't we?

Monday, February 7, 2011

A touch of black

They say every room needs a touch of black..........

We keep a variety of black shelves on hand.

And also wood sconces, painted black.......

And black candle holders...........

Or, how about a medallion for your wall? Black, of course.

All of these are trash to treasure projects.
See what a little black paint can do!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crafting with licensed NFL logos?

It's Super Bowl Sunday, and it's almost time for the big game. It seems a fitting time to mention a little about crafting using NFL or college logos.

The fabric stores are full of licensed fabrics. Can you use it to make and sell crafts for a profit? It's a tricky question from what I can see. Back in the days when I had crafters on consignment, I had 2 crafters who made very nice crafts, using NFL licensed fabrics. I sold them for a couple years, but the question of whether or not that was legal kept coming up. It says on the selvage that the fabric is for private use only, (or something to that effect). There's no  question that it's ok to make your own personal things with it, the problem arises when you make things for sale.

At that time, my sister and I spent a few hours researching the issue. Some say you can use it for a profit, some say you can't. In the end, we decided it was too risky. The sale of a few wreaths etc. were not worth taking a chance on losing my business license. Do a google search on the subject, and you will find enough opinions, court cases, and law interpretations to make your head spin. When we researched it, most things said it can not be done. Just now I did a very brief search, and found several opinions saying it was ok. It seems to be very murky territory, and I personally am staying out of it.

The law is clearer on  painting a logo. That is a definate no-no. You can't legally paint a NFL logo. I live in the heart of the Steeler's Nation, and I see lots of Steelers crafts that are handpainted. I've been asked many times to paint Steelers or Pirates or Penguins things. I won't do it, those are all trademarks, and it's against the  law for me to copy them.

Same with WVU. I'm also in the heart of Mountaineer Country, and right next door to Ohio State country. Those logos or symbols belong to them, and I can't copy them on crafts to sell, no matter how innocent it seems.

I do  paint West Virginia signs, but they are saying things about the state itself, not WVU. As far as I can tell, that is ok.

If this issue is something that effects you personally, I highly recommend that you research it for yourself. You might want to have a bottle of Excedrin handy!

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 ...