New Framed prints in

We have some new signs in today. This framed print is called Words of Wisdom and is a large 11 3/8″ X 38 X 3/4″. signs this size are great above a door or above a bed. Add some pip berry or ivy garland over the top to dress it up a bit.

Also in today are favorites in the popular smaller size of 3 5/8″ X 12 X 1/2″ that have such heart felt sayings as “Let us be silent that we may hear the word of God.”

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Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Use what you have

A good way to stretch your decorating dollar is to use what you have. This cabinet has a large wide area so I need to use large pieces up there to even be seen. I borrowed this chicken feeder from a friend. The bottom is rusty but I coiled a yellow garland around the base and pulled up the pip berries to be seen above the edge. The feeder would look good sitting on the floor as well and could have ivy or flowers as well as the garland in it. An old box I had lying around houses a variegated ivy bunch and had several old jars on the top of which only one remains. These jars were found discarded and we also picked up some at yard sales and flea markets. The wreath was another yard sale find and it was taken apart and redone to add interest. None of these items were expensive in themselves.. they were brought together and repurposed in an attractive display. This allows one to splurge on something like the goose decoy . It adds interest and pulls the colors together.. especially sporting a small yellow candle ring around its neck. This entire display could remain and the florals changed out to reflect the seasons.

Ok, this is not the best picture, but again, I have used some everyday items to create a unique display. the speckled pots were pulled out of a cupboard and stacked to add height and be noticable on the top of this hutch. I turned a divided box on end to show my crocks, a pine cone from my Grandmother’s old house and an pretty blue bottle I found in the dirt somewhere. Added to this are garlands and picks in rich earth tones to pick up the colors of the crocks.

The key to shoe string decorating is to keep one eye always open to the possibilites an item may have beyond what it was origionally intended to be.

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Soap Sudz

As much as I love old beat up stuff.. I have to draw the line at my skin. As I get older, I refuse to have my skin get older with me. I learned many years ago to get out of the sun and take better care of my skin because I refused to look my age. I accidently learned how nice hand-made soap and lotions were for your skin.. and I have never looked back. My mother had purchased a bar of cold process soap for me and I had it sitting in a dish because it was decorative. Well, I ran out of soap and was forced to use the decorative bar. WHAT a difference in my skin. I was hooked and on a path of learning to make my own.

 Hand-made soap does not tend to dry your skin and you can even use it to wash your hair. Chemicals added to commercial products to increase and stabilize lather are not found in hand made products. They will initially feel a bit different on first use, but you will be loving the feel of your skin. If your skin tends towards an oily side, use soaps that have clays in them. The clay absorbs the skin’s oil and the clay leaves a silky smoothness behind. Adding things like goat milk and oatmeal also affects the final bar and the properties it brings to your skin. 

 Because of the time it takes to make these products andthe expense of oils like olive , they are more expensive than a bar of soap you purchase at the grocery store.. but believe me.. you are worth it. Give up one coffee a day and splurge on a hand-made bar of soap for a special treat. Cold process soap involves combining oils and butters with lye to create a new product ~ soap. By choosing oils and butters by the properties they bring to the finished soap, you can create bars that have great lather or are very moisturizing.

Castile soaps, made with 100% Olive Oil are the most moisturizing for your skin. Using a high Olive Oil content in any soap will increase the bar of soaps conditioning value for your skin. This oil is good for dry skin and creates a long-lasting, non-drying mild bar of soap with creamy lather. No other soap making oil contributes its unique set of characteristics. It retains moisture to the skin by forming a breathable layer but does not block the skin’s natural functions while performing its own.

Another favorite oil for me to use in soap making is Grapeseed. This oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential fatty acids which help strengthen tissue cells. This oil helps preserve the natural moisture of the skin and is great for damaged or aging skin. You will find I also like to add this oil to butters and lotions as well.

To get a nice, rich lather in a bar of soap I use coconut oil. This oil will produce a bar of soap that will lather in the hardest water and even sea water if the bar is made of a high percentage of this oil. This is a light and penetrating oil that when used in soaps makes lots of rich, creamy lather that will not clog pores and is readily absorbed into the skin. To see other oils used in soap making and their properties check out THIS PAGE on our web site.

Hand-made soaps are a process. Because of the lye, care must be take with their creation. And to be sure all the lye is use by the soap oils to become soap, calculations determining how much lye is needed have to be figured. When we create our soaps, we do what is called super fatting. We calculate the oils needed to convert the lye and have 5% of the oils that remain unreacted with the lye.. a safety margin and extra conditioning factor for the soap.

The required lye is measured into water and it immediately heats up to over boiling. This must cool down as you melt your solid oils and butters. Again, each oil has to measure exactly to the formula specifications. When everything is about 100 degrees, the lye solution can be combined with the oils and mixing then begins. Some recipes blend into soap in about 5 minutes, some take several hours.. and a few can make instant soap. Not a fun thing to put into a mold. It can easily take half a day to make a batch of soap.

Our soaps are ready to unmold the next day. They will air dry another day or two before we cut them and put them away to dry for 6-8 weeks. This is a cure time for them. Water evaporates from them and they become more solid and hard. I have used a week old bar in the shower with no harm.. they just tend to go quicker because of their softness.

After they drying process our soaps are then shrink wrapped and labeled. We hope to get in the back and get more of our soaps made this month. Soap making is not easy to do when the shop is busy because of all the measuring, and when the batch starts to turn to soap, it has to be poured immediately. When we do get some made I will have some small pieces that I will offer as samples. I have used hand-made soaps and body products for over 10 years now.. and because it has made such a big difference in my skin I want to encourage others to experience it as well.

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Eggs-Actly PrimiTive

I enjoy searching the net looking for ideas and products related to Country and Primitive decor. I like to make things myself.. when I have the time.. so like to check out patterns. These Primitive Easter Eggs are darling in this small basket. The price of the pattern is only $4 and you get her staining recipe as well. Make up several to use around your home in baskets and bowels. Click on the picture or HERE for the site to order.

According to the site, this egg pattern kit is a ‘No Sew’ pattern. This might be a good project to do with kids. The eggs are beautiful and the rich colors would be great in any Prim home. An old basket, some grass or straw and these rustic eggs and you have a nice touch for the coming season. Click HERE or on the picture to check out the sellers web site.

While you are on this site check out the articles and the rest of the information contained on the site. I have been here before I have gotten a lot of info here.

Another very nice site with lots of great patterns. These eggs are very cool and I fell in love with several of the patterns on the site as well. I particularly love the Woolie Sheep.. and am tempted to get that pattern for myself. I just don’t know when I will find the time to make them. Maybe when I get moved later this year I will have a few evenings to myself.. lol.. time to wake up from that dream. 🙂 anyway, click HERE to visit the site and enjoy.

Chicken Spagetti

When I moved to Texas I was treated to a dish called Chicken spaghetti. I  had envisioned a spaghetti sauce with chicken chunks instead of beef.. boy was I wrong. The dish is creamy and different from what most people think of spaghetti. It is a good recipe to bring to church functions and pot luck dinners as it is easy and feeds a lot of people. So, for you Northerners that have not heard of it, give it a try.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup oleo or olive oil 
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 can (12 oz) chicken broth more or less to taste
  • 1 can (12 oz) of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (12 oz) of cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 cups of diced cooked chicken
  • 1 can (16 oz) of rotel tomatoes
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti cooked in; chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of velveeta cheese sliced; more or less to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation

In a large skillet,  saute bell pepper and onion in oleo or olive oil if you prefer.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces as it’s cooking. Use 3 cups of chicken. I’ve used canned chicken as well as dropping a whole bird in water and simmering till done, then removing the meat. If you boiled the bird, you have to stock to use for the spaghetti.

 Cook the spaghetti in boiling water or chicken broth until just slightly cooked “al dente”.  Add cut up chicken, all soups and the Ro-tel tomatoes. Stir into the spagetti. Cut the Velveeta into chunks and add.. stirring until melted.

Serve up a large portion and enjoy! The Ro-tel adds some kick.. if it is too much, use less the next time.

Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 1:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Simple Life

  I got wind of a new magazine called ” A Simple Life“. It looks to be very interesting and the pictures from the sneak peek have made me get a subscription. If you love primitive furniture and the simpler way of life, I think you will enjoy this magazine.  I have included the link to their site above and by clicking the picture. Check them out for yourself.

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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LoCal FlaVoR

Kenton is such a wonderful place. The area has a rich history, people are friendly, the architecture of the old buildings is interesting and the miles of farmland encourages one to slow down and relax a bit. Our shop is located downtown on the square in the Historic Courthouse District. When I came to Kenton 5 years ago, not much was happening on the square. Now we have several interesting and thriving businesses and upper floors are being converted into living space. I see downtown Kenton a real happening place in a few years.

Kenton is also home to some very talented local artists. I am very fortunate to have several of these artists as friends. Sycamore Circle Heritage Farms produces hand-made herbal soaps with herbs they grow on their farm. Their family is  four generations working together on various aspects of farming. They also have a concentration on nineteenth century (or “heirloom”) herbs, apples and poultry. Sycamore Circle offers several lines.. herbal, specialty and goat milk soaps, soaps with Civil War and Victorian fragrances and their incredibly popular Foot Scrubbies and Doggie Bath line. They can be found at several markets and craft shows in Ohio, at Whole Foods and at Helen’s Gifts in downtown Kenton.

Another very talented local artist is Marilyn Reed. Her motto is “if it doesn’t move ~ Paint it!” The owner of Marilyn’s Artistry, Marilyn has painted everything from wooden bowls to murals on buildings. Kenton’s own Michael Angelos is a show case of her work. A lifelong student of the arts, she is inspired by the latest trends and colors and a master of many techniques.  At the shop we sell her hand painted furniture, candle boxes, plates and what ever else she can get a paint brush on. Right now we have a wonderful table with a checkerboard painted on top and a delightful potting bench. Be sure to check them out when you stop by.

When you do craft shows, you meet  and get to know the regular professional crafters. Over the years we have become friends with talented artists and always enjoy seeing new items they bring forth. Cindy and Frank were two crafters we enjoyed and they constantly had new items. Their booth was always attractive and full of people buying.. a nice thing to have next to your booth. And, I learned about crafting from them.. from setting up my booth to always have something new. Imagine my surprise when I found out they lived right here in Kenton! I begged and pleaded and finally have some of their items in the shop. This house is only one of their lighted houses. We have smaller, shorter and wider ones.. and they are available in mustard, burgundy and cream. Their lighted church is darling.. and the price point they offer can not be found else where. They also make a narrow shelf that we are constantly selling out of. They do not have a web site but can be found at many of the finer craft shows in Ohio. Look for them at shows we will attend.

Because we started out as crafters, we love to support other crafters. If you make a quality hand-made country prim product and would like to consign at the shop, stop by and discuss it with us. As the area grows and more tourists come through, there will be a market for locally made items. If your not ready to sell and just need some advice, also feel free to stop by. I am more than happy to share the knowledge I have picked up over the years. Who knows, someday you too may have a business on the Square.

Do You Have a Great Idea..

Have you come up with a nice display combination?  Have you repurposed an item in a unique way? I know I get a lot of inspriation from seeing what others have done and I love those ‘I never would have thought about that’ ideas I stumble across.

Share your tips and ideas with others by sending them to me for posting here on our Blog. If I add them to the blog I will give you one of our highly scented and long burning candles at half price or a $5 gift card for the shop.

And if you like the little bench in the picture, click the picture or HERE to check out the Etsy shop I found it on. Nice stuff.. her motto is “ Because a Womans Place is in the Woodshop”. I love it!

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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