Saturday, January 28, 2012

Never Walk Alone

I lost my dad just over 3 years ago....and lost my mom physically almost 7 years ago....and several years in addition to that due to Alzheimer's Disease.

Dad had a wonderful voice - and he loved to sing. Gospel mostly....I can still hear him beside me in church, singing the hymns he loved.

When mom was in the nursing home, dad bought a karaoke machine, and he would sing for the residents of the nursing home. He recorded some of his singing on cassettes.

After he passed, George and Jessica and I were in his house. Jessica pushed the play button on his karaoke machine, and suddenly dad's voice filled the room. It was wonderful and terrible all in the same moment...

I haven't been able to listen to the cassettes since, knowing I would go to pieces. But this morning, I was finally ready.

I put a cassette in the player, pushed the button, and there was dad, singing just the very song I needed to hear...."You'll Never Walk Alone".

Mom and dad may be gone physically, but they are with me everyday, guiding me. I take great comfort knowing that because of my memories of them, I'll never walk alone.

You can listen to Elvis sing this wonderful song here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Country Life = Marx Toys and fun

I've been working on our basement - cleaning...sorting....organizing.

One of the boxes brought back many happy memories. My cousins and I spent many an hour playing with these...

While I'm not 100% certain, I think they are Marx toys. I just called my sister Jo, and she too thinks they are Marx. They actually were her toys first......and I'm sure she had just as much fun with them as I did. And maybe we played with them together...if so, I don't remember that.

You see, she is 6 1/2 years older than me. Which makes me 6 1/2 years younger than her. Which made me quite an annoyance to her. By the time I was old enough to be interested in these kinds of toys, she had probably moved on to a new interest...........BOYS.

But no more than 3 years separated me and my 2 cousins - a girl the same age as me, and her brother who was 3 years younger. We didn't care at all about BOYS then, (or in the case of my boy cousin - GIRLS).

We just played ranch...and farm...and stick-em-ups. Then we'd tear it all down, and do it again. Oh the fun!

If you look closely, you'll notice some of the horses have lost their tails. One of the benches is missing a leg. The fence is a bit precarious. And the stage coach is in need of serious repair.

But that's ok. Those are signs of toys that were played with, and played with often. Those are signs that make the memories come flooding back.

Marx Toys were made in Glen Dale, WV from 1919 to 1980. Glen Dale neighbors our town of Moundsville. We're thinking our toys are from the late 50's/early 60's. Like lots of folks around here, our dad had a stint working at Marx Toys. According to their website, during the 1950’s and 60’s, Louis Marx & Co. became the “largest toy manufacturer in the world,” with over one-third of all toys in the United States being Marx toys. 

I encourage you to check out their website - And if you are a country music fan, be sure to read the page about the legends of Glen Dale -

It tells about the display they have of the Marx Toys that Brad Paisley played with. Brad is from Glen Dale too - I remember seeing him sing at local festivals etc. when he was just a boy. Our hometown boy has certainly made a name for himself!

If you're in our area sometime, be sure to make time to stop at the Marx Toy Museum. It's a fascinating trip down memory lane. The Turner family has done a wonderful job showcasing those marvelous toys. aunt may just be your tour guide.

She's the mother of the 2 cousins who played ranch and farm and stick-em-up with me all those years ago!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Country Life = The year of the rainbow?

It's only the 23rd day of January - but it's been a really, really, really cool year so far in the rainbow department.

On the 1st day of the New Year, we saw this rainbow....

It was unusual, because it was out the back door - we had never seen one from that direction before. We have always stood on our front porch to see them. You can read more about that rainbow here.

Today, we saw something even cooler.............

George and I were driving down a country road in a downpour. The rain started letting up, and the sun came out. Just as George said, "there should be a rainbow", it appeared.

It was bright, beautiful, and not too far from us.

And then....

The end came down, right into some pine trees along the side of the road!

How about that!

No, we didn't see a pot of gold.

But who cares! It was enough just to see the rainbow of colors coming down into the trees.

Oh to have had a camera handy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking for...antiques

I saw a post on another blog the other day... the shop owner had made a list of things she tries to find when she's out junkin' - not things for herself, but for her to put in her shop.

We too have a list in our heads we take with us whenever we're out on the hunt. The trick is, we have to find it at prices that allow us to raise the price enough to make a profit on it. After all, we have bills to pay.

Chairs are always on our list. If they are sturdy enough to sit on, it's a definate plus. But we also buy them if all they can be is a "porch chair that holds flowers".

And tables. Farm style tables in particular. I can't sell a "nice" piece of furniture. A fine oak piece? A beautiful mahogany dresser? A graceful cherry cabinet? Nah. My people want chippy paint.

That's what we call our customers when we're out on the hunt. My people. It's a term of high praise and endearment. We are very, very, very thankful for my people.

Wheels are always fun - any size will work in flower gardens. We tend to find smaller ones like these more often, but we've also had some monsters.

It's tough to get old mantles at a price we can afford, let alone make a profit on. But once in a while we get lucky. Old ladders are also in demand.

Windows, windows, windows. I'm ALWAYS looking for more old windows. One time George bought almost 200 old windows at an auction. That was a bit much, because almost all of them were big - 8 pane and larger. That was a couple years ago, and I'm still selling those windows. He took a chance, and bought them sight unseen.  If they had been 4 and 6 pane windows - like in the above photo - they would have all been gone by now. It's harder to sell the big ones, but I have sold the majority of them. Just guessing, I'd say there's 40 or so left. When the last one is gone - we're going out to celebrate!

Old wood boxes. Another thing we constantly look for. When we first opened, we just used antiques for props. I went to an auction one evening, and there were dozens of wood boxes. They sold for rather low prices, and I bought just a few for display purposes. Boy...would I love to catch another auction like that one now that I sell them! Many times at auctions, boxes sell higher there than I price them in the store! Just depends on who is at the auction, and how badly she wants those boxes.

Who doesn't love the coziness of an old quilt? How adorable is this one with cats in the middle, and paw prints around the edges? It sold very quickly. I wish I would have had several of them, because it sold within a day or two of putting it on facebook and this blog. Several other customers asked about it after it was gone.

Crocks are very hard to get at a price we can make a profit on. A fellow who has an antique shop in a neighboring town is usually at the auctions. If he's there, I know I won't be able to buy any crocks - he's willing to pay much more per crock than I can. I wish he's stay home more often!

We like to find unusual items - this heavy, heavy piece sold before we even got it inside the store. We unloaded it out back - because it was so heavy, we were going to have to move some stuff around inside in order to place it close to the front door. That would make it easier on whoever bought it when it came time to take it out. While it was sitting out back, one of the girls who works next door saw it. She bought it to plant flowers in. And we didn't have to try to get it inside! A win-win!

This is just a short list of what we look for. We know our customers well enough now to have a pretty good idea of what they are looking for, and it's fun to go on the hunt with that in mind.

It's great to have an excuse to spend all that time "goin' junkin'!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Country Life = A boy's collection

One afternoon when Jessica was home for the holidays, she went with her dad and me to sort through some things that had been left behind in the house he grew up in. While Jessica and I looked through some boxes out in the main room, George looked through the closet.

All at once he started giggling.

"Look at this!"

More giggles.

"Oh no! This is proof I really am a packrat!"

The proof was in the decoupaged jar.

The jar he doesn't remember, but we're guessing he probably made it in school. Maybe an art class project. He wasn't a fan of school, so it's no wonder he forgot making it there.

The jar was stuffed full. For several minutes, he pulled stuff out of it, giggling the whole time. I wish I would have had the camera with me at the time, because he threw a good bit of it away while he was sorting through it.

But he did keep a few things, a sampling of what had been in it since he was a boy...

At first he couldn't figure out why he had this, then he remembered. His favorite team had been the Kansas City Chiefs, and he had a rain poncho with this patch on the back.

George grew up back a private lane, 1/4 mile or so in length. He and his brother and sister would walk to the main road to catch the bus. At the end of their lane was a little bus stop building, where they could wait if it was raining. One morning, George left his Kansas City Chiefs rain poncho on it's shelf when he went to school.

That evening, when he came home, the poncho was gone, though the patch was laying there. When he told his mom, she remembered that earlier in the day, during the rain, she had seen a motorcycle stop at the end of their lane, then it took off.

Apparently, the rider was getting soaked, saw a bus stop, and took a chance that he might find a coat. It was his lucky day so to speak. He took the poncho, but tore off the patch that was evidence.

George stuffed the patch in his jar.

Also in the jar was the typical school boy rulers and pencil stubs. A little plastic football. A change holder. He has no idea why he had a shoe horn in there. The metal tag by the protractor is a dog tag from 1956. (He wasn't born till 1961 - he was already getting into old stuff!)

The golf tees were from when he would play golf in the back yard. He didn't have a golf club, but a croquet mallet got the job done.

But his favorite find was the metal pieces in the front of the picture. What are they you ask?

A 3 point hitch for his Ford toy tractor...

That tractor was his favorite toy when he was a boy. As you can see, he took very good care of it. He has many fond memories of playing with it in the dirt under a shade tree right beside the house.

The neighbor boys - a set of brothers - had the same tractor. But they were rough with theirs, and tore it up. All that was left was the 3 point hitch, and George rescued the hitch. He had put it in the jar, but by the time he became an adult, he couldn't remember what happened to it, and would wonder about it every so often.

He was thrilled to find it in the jar!

And for the record, the day he found it, he called it a packrat jar.

But now, he prefers to call it his time capsule.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Open Today

For those of you who are local............

I'll have the shop open today. As you know, I'm officially closed for the winter, but I'm having days here and there that I open the shop. It was open yesterday, and will be again today.

I'm putting new merchandise out - some new crafts, some antiques. And, I'm packing up leftover Christmas supplies. Right now, you can hardly walk through my back room - here's hoping the fire department doesn't do one of their surprise inspections today. Hopefully, by the end of today, it will be neatly packed away.

If you're in town today - come see me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Country life = Kevin's birthday

Our son Kevin is one of the lucky ones....

He knows exactly what he wants to do with his life.

He wants to farm.

The tricky part is having enough money to really get started.
He's lucky to have a good neighbor who is helping him
get started, and who is teaching him the ropes.

Right up there with farming is his love for anything timber related.

Yep, you might say he's a country boy.

He takes it all very seriously.
why do boys stick their tongues out every time you point a camera at them?


Another thing he takes seriously is his engagement to Katie.

Well, ok, sometimes he takes it seriously.


May God bless your 24th year abundantly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Country Life = Busy days

Thought things were supposed to slow down after the holidays? Not in our world.

We've been swamped. But in the midst of it all, we have found some time to go junkin'. Pictures to come later as I get them worked into the store.

As you know, I've closed the store for the winter months due to cold (it's hard to heat that old store building!) and bad roads (it's not worth the risky drive into town when it's icy and snowy).

So guess what's happened? We're having a very mild winter! Lots of days in the 40's, hardly any snow. Why is it that the years I stayed open, we had terrible winters?

I will be open tomorrow...Wednesday, January 11. I'm still taking Christmas out, and trying to work in some of the "new" old stuff. Which means the store is a bit of a mess right now. Bear with me.

Just be glad you don't have to see my basement. I'd like to think it's organized chaos, but it isn't close to organized. How bad is it? When Jessica & Brian were getting ready to go home after the holidays, they took their cat Domi downstairs to use the litter box one last time before the long road trip.

He realized what was happening, and got away from them, hiding here & there amidst the chaos. Jessica said it took them 15 minutes to get hold of him again.

She said, and I quote, "do you know how many places there are down there for a cat to hide?"


Yes, yes I do.

I'll be working on that.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Country Life = Our favorite daughter's birthday

It's so much easier to have a favorite daughter when you only have one daughter.

While she was home for the holidays, we celebrated Jessica's birthday.

It was a very serious celebration.

We had Irish Cream Cheesecake.

And as you can probably guess
(especially if know Jessica)
she is dancing as we sing Happy Birthday to her.

(Jessica, I apologize for putting you on your side)
(I edited, I saved, I re-edited, I re-saved)
(On my screen, I see you up-right)
(On the blog, you're on your side)
(But I'm using the pic anyway)
(I love your look of making a wish)
(And "can I do it"?)

YES!!! She can!

Her husband Brian had faith in her.

Their Aunt Jo & Uncle Terry sent insulated bags for her and Kevin.
(Kevin's birthday is next week)

Gifts from their Aunt & Uncle are known for having something tucked inside.
Jessica went all out looking for that something.

That's our girl.

I know anyone who has a daughter thinks they have the best one.
But they are wrong.

George & I have the best daughter in the whole wide world.
Just thinking about her brings a smile to our faces.

May God bless you with a wonderful 26th year Jessica...
We love you sweetie!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Country Life = A New Year Surprise

Here in our neck of the woods, we've had a mild winter. Hardly any snow, and most of December was in the 40's. Chilly, but certainly not all that cold.

And then came's cold. Very cold. Hurts your skin cold. And we have an inch or two of snow. Blowing snow. Blows right in where you just swept it off snow.

Right now at 2 PM, it's 14 degrees. With the wind, it feels like single digits. A few of the chickens ventured outside, but most are saying No Thank You - even if their favorite treat of cracked corn is scattered out there.

But before the cold, we started the New Year with....a rainbow!

This was our view from our deck early Sunday morning. It hadn't been raining, though the sky looked like it could rain any second. But that wasn't the only reason this rainbow took us by surprise...we have never seen one in the west before. We have always seen them from the front of our house - in the east.

We started looking for the other end but couldn't find it, nor the middle of it. I took the above photo just to show the threatening sky.

And then, a minute or so later, the other end appeared....

How cool is that to start the New Year?!?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Apologies for the lack of posts during the holidays - my time was taken up in the wonderful realm of family.

For various reasons, we spent a fair amount of time going thru family "stuff". That's what son-in-law Brian calls all the material things we get wrapped up in. He told Jessica her family consists of hoarders, but then admitted his was too, so they are probably doomed to the same fate.

We're not really hoarders, at least not to the extent as on the TV shows. In fact, if I watch one of those episodes, I go into a cleaning frenzy, lest that fate befalls me!

One thing we went through was fabric. Jessica is getting an interest in quilting, so she was going through fabric with an eye in that direction. I love quilts too, but to be honest, I'm much more interested in them when someone ELSE goes to the trouble to make them. Ha!

I did just say to George a few minutes ago that looking at all this fabric makes me wish I could sew. Well...I can sew - a little. My skills are pretty limited. How I wish I had paid more attention when mom tried to teach me to sew when I was a teen!

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, but maybe that could be mine for this year. Sewing machine - here I come!

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 ...