Pepper Grass, Benches and Scraps..

I am a bit bored with some of the florals I have and seems my regular place to get them does not carry the selection it used to. Sooo, I am on a hunt for a new vendor with some exciting selections. Around the shop you will notice I carry more than just pip berries.. I like a wide variety and like some unusual stuff.. everything from coleus and dusty miller to wild grassy picks.

This rustic looking floral is Pepper Grass and I am loving it in just about anything I put it in. It is a neat color.. going with the traditional burgundy, mustard and brown.. and also with some of the new reds and sage greens we are seeing. I have it in rusty pots and here it is in an old kettle.

These little Deacon Benches are back in stock and are a nice way to add some height to an arrangement. Made with pine that has a  medium stain and a rusty star, they go with just about anything.

No matter how careful you are making candles and melts.. some wax always ends up on the counter. Usually, we scrape it off and that is what I use at the house in my warmers. But, I have been burning some candles and have decided to try something new. Now we are bagging our scraps and selling them for .50 an ounce. Our regular melts are $1 per ounce, so you are getting your wax at half the price. There is no telling what you will get.. but that is half the fun. So, while we have it, come try an assorted bag of scraps and enjoy fragrance at an unbeatable price.

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Published in: on April 6, 2010 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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BeAuTiFuL BoXeS

As stated in the earlier post.. I like to get inexpensive little containers like boxes to use in my decorating. Often old boxes can be found for a few dollars a piece and the beat up nature of old boxes in general lends itself very nicely to country and prim decor. Take this little green box, for instance. It is a reproduction but it is made to look like a little drawer from a spice box. This box actually has a hook on the back for hanging on the wall as well as sitting on a shelf like it is here. We have put all kinds of things in it and right now it is home for a twig ball. The rounded ball plays a nice complement to the little wood block’s rounded top and the box’s round pull. The square shape of the box is a sharp contrast to all the other spherical shapes in the arrangement. A nice floral pick with trailing stems ties the green color of the box to the arrangement and of course it softens and ties it all together.

This is my new favorite treatment of small rectangular boxes… masses of pip berries! We have some great, thick pip berry wreaths that I have been scrunching together and putting in boxes. The pip strands are long enough to pull up above the top of the box and the thickness of the wreath makes a very full effect in the box. With this little box I added a mini candlestick light. Is that not the cutest way to display a light?? Instead of the candle stick light try adding a small strand of christmas tree lights or the popular mini rice lights. Those tiny lights look darling in among the berries.

Once again I have taken one of our pip berry wreathes, this time a mustard color,  and flattened it sideways to fit in this box. You can see how thick and full the berries are in the box. This box has a neat rustic fence behind it that just begs attention. I stuck a star up there for no reason other to get the star up where it could be seen. I can see this box with some nice ivy trailing over the side and up the fence and some spring colored florals added in for color. Or add some brightly colored eggs or a cute little rabbit and you have a seasonal piece for your wall or table.. and it could be easily changed for the coming seasons.

The texture of time-worn boxes can also be used to set off other pieces. This candle stick is fairly new. We added a candle ring to dress it up and then put this unique box behind it duplicate the tall vertical feel of the candlestick. And of course, the beat up box adds to the rustic finish of the candle.  The compartments in the box are a nice place to tuck little things like a wood block or a small picture.

Boxes are also very useful for adding height to an arrangement. A well placed box with items on the top help to draw the eye up without drawing attention to themselves. This reason in particular is one of the best for having a collection of boxes to use in your decorating. And.. the best part.. is they are usually cheap and easy to come by so having several will be easy on your purse. First thing to do is look around for the free ones. My grandmother had several in her garage. A cool old box with items to repair shoes in it and several long, shallow boxes with compartments for screws, bolts and what have you. A quick scrub and her trash became my new found treasure. I have picked up boxes at auction for just a few dollars each. Even larger storage boxes with hinged lids can find use to get items up off a floor and to add visual appeal next to a table or hutch. Happy collecting.

DeCreAseD EcOnOmY = InCrEasEd CrEaTiViTy

The slowed economy is showing up all over. People have cut back on trips to town, groceries and the little extras that make life nice. Retailers too are having to cut back and tighten up with reduced inventory and rethinking product lines. But all this is not bad news for decorating your home. With some creativity, you can have new looks for the season that add warmth and are pocket friendly.

I love to go to yard sales and auctions. And my favorite things are baskets, bowls and boxes. Unique glassware will also piqué my interest and most of these things can be had for little to nothing. Why do I like them so much? Because they are a blank slate to make something unique.

Alone this little bowl is very cute. It can be set on a shelf and it will add a bit of punch on it’s own with the chipped finish and the red trim. To dress it up a bit all you need is some greenery.

Greenery and floral picks are a place I do not scrimp. Kinda odd maybe.. but I like my florals to look real, and, to stand up to all the bending and twisting I will put them through when I am working on an arrangement. You won’t get that with dollar store florals. So, I get nice stuff. Ivy is always a good base and investment. At the shop we offer ivy in deep rich greens, muted greens and creams as well as variegated picks and stems. No matter what your decor tastes.. and what they might be in the future.. ivy will go with it. This little ivy bush is about $6. It has good scale for the little bowl. There are several longer stems that can be bent around to soften the edge of the bowl

Check out that first photo of the bowl placed with a cheese grater and a candle stick. Now these are new items at the shop.. but you know things like this can also be picked up at yard sales and such. A rusty old grater would actually be really cool here.. especially with a little light under it. Its shape offsets the rounder shapes of the bowl and candlestick. And, they ivy trailing over the edge softens all the piece edges and ties it all together. So check out the sales, check out the garage and basement and see what interesting items you can come up with where you can add a beautiful piece of greenery to create something new for next to nothing.

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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I’m BoReD..

I am bored! I have new things set to arrive and the holiday stuff is almost put away. But I am wanting to do some new things in the shop this year and need more room.

To make that room I have placed on clearance my curtains, many of my place mats, bathroom items like shower hooks and curtains and much more. All items I am bored with are 40% off. We had a great day Saturday as many of our customers were delighted to walk in and find the bargains. Come in and get some great deals on items for your home while the selection is good.. then tell your friends so they can get some goodies too.

Christmas items are still being put away. They are boxed up but I will take half off any Christmas items still on the floor. And,  for those of you that just LOVE the German Twig Trees.. I have one left and I will take 40% off of it. These trees are the Country ficus. Add lights, and change the decorations with the seasons. Right now add some red bows and prim hearts. Then do some red, white and blue for summer. This tree will NOT last long.. and you will not find a better price on this tree.

Published in: on January 31, 2010 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FeaThEr TrEEs

feathertree-5Christmas items have been arriving at the shop for months now. It has been no fun to have all this cool stuff and not be able to have it on the floor. In a few weeks we will be phasing out Fall and bringing out the Christmas goodies in preparation for our Open House November 7th.

One of the items we have new this year are Feather Trees. I did some checking on the internet and found out some history of these trees. I’m going to pretty much quote a page I found at Victorian.com. This site has a lot of cool information if you are into Victorian decorating so check them out when you finish reading this. Here is their article:

Yes, it is actually true that feather trees were the first artificial Christmas trees and they were originally made in Germany as early as 1845.  Like many inventions, tabletop feather trees came about out of necessity. By the mid-19th century, decorated trees were more popular than ever; however, in Germany deforestation was widespread, especially during the holiday season. It had become the fashion to chop off the tip off a large Fir tree to use as a Christmas tree; however, this practice prevented the tree from growing taller and thus made it useless as a timber tree. Statutes were enacted to limit people from having more than one tree, hence protecting the forests. With the introduction of the “goosefeather” tree, this problem was resolved. Goose feathers were plentiful and these feather trees began to be produced as a cottage industry as the alternative to cutting a live tree. These goose feather trees became the first artificial Christmas trees. Metal wire or sticks were covered with goose, turkey, ostrich or swan feathers. The feather sticks were drilled into a larger one to resemble the branches on a tree; the feathers were often died green to imitate pine needles. The trees were made to resemble the locally growing white pines of the German forestland, so they had wide spaces between their branches, short “needles,” and composition “berries” on the end of every branch tip.

feathertree-3Meanwhile in America, cut live trees were the cherished way to make the holiday come alive.  When the Germans immigrated to the United States, they took their beloved portable feather trees with them to use in their new homes. While it was the German immigrants that introduced feather Christmas trees into the U.S., the practice of using artificial trees really did not take off in America until Sears Roebuck first advertised artificial trees for sale in their 1913 catalogs.  Often they had berries and candleholders at the branch-tips and a round white base.  They ranged in size from 55 inches to 17 inches tall.  By the late teens, Japan followed suit and manufactured feather trees for the U.S. market.

In the 1920s feather Christmas trees were gaining in popularity, especially to European-born Americans continuing to follow their customs. However, by the mid-1930s their popularity declined somewhat as the tree farm industry grew.  In an effort to revive the market, Germany began supplying Montgomery Ward with a wider variety of color choices and fancier designs on the tree stands. Artificial trees all but disappeared during WWII. Then after the war, in the 1950s, feather trees were replaced by artificial trees made of synthetic substances, like visca and aluminum.  It’s no small wonder why feather trees are now a popular decorating choice for people with period homes.

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 1:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another YeaR

01010622Here it is September. It is Fair time and also our anniversary. On September 18th we will have been open for 2 years. It has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Our downtown is growing and we have fun events like Sidewalk Sales, our Fall Fest and Christmas around the Square. In the shop we have a week long event the week before the Thanksgiving week called Hunters Widow Party. During that week we have our specialty Dip mixes made as well as delicious, hot Cider and you shoot our Big Buck of Savings for your discount. If  you land in the grass or trees, or even hit the wall,  you get a 5% discount. Better shots will get you larger discounts.. all the way up to a ‘kill’ shot worth 30% off you merchandise. It is a fun time for everybody as most of the men are in trees hunting the Hardin County bucks and the women are preparing for the holidays. You can get a head start on Christmas gifts or just add some holiday cheer to your decor at great savings during this week.

gasgasMost businesses keep stats on sales figures, weather and whatever might be related to their sales figures. We have been doing that almost from the beginning as well. Tracking weather, foot traffic and starting last year, the price of gas. Since we started a new year it required a new spread sheet. I copied the old one and began changing the figures to reflect our new year.  One thing I noticed was our gas prices a year ago were $1/gallon higher. Other September events were hurricane Ike headed to shore and around the 15th the Market crashed.

So much has happened over the last year.. good, bad, exciting and ugly. Here at the shop we are looking forward to what this next year will bring.

Published in: on September 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rusting Recipes

rustThe last buying trip I picked up a lot of rusty items. Rusty stuff looks so nice with primitive decor. Buying pieces already rusted is one way to get them.. and another way is to rust items yourself. I cruised the net and found some nice recipes for rusting your own items.

This recipe I got from Two old Crows and will nicely rust safety pins, jingle bells, or anything else you want to ‘age’ for your primitive creations.The most important thing to remember about rusting, is that you will want to buy the cheap brand of pins, safety pins, bells..etc that you can find. The more expensive brands have a shellac coating on them that you will have to sand off before rusting. Makes sure they are NOT brass either -brass will not rust.Do this outside away from children and pets…..the fumes are terrible !

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bleach
1 teaspoon salt

Directions :
Combine the ingredients in an old quart jar.
Add items you want to rust and cover loosely – place in a safe spot and let set for at least 2 days.
Line a tray with a couple of layers of paper towel and remove the items with an old fork from the mixture. place in the sunshine …….the items will begin to rust as they dry. Move them around so that they dry on all sides.

Caution: do not throw the mixture down the sink- dispose of properly where no animal or child could come in contact with.

And here’s another recipe I found at the Home Decor Ideas blog.

For heavy rusting:

 Measure 2 cups of CLOROX or any household bleach and pour into a metal cookie sheet with sides.

Add l cup of APPLE CIDER vinegar and mix thoroughly.

This must be done in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Use an all-metal cookie sheet with sides. DO NOT use Teflon-coated, enamelware, glass or plastic containers.

 Immerse tin into solution. Tin has to be completely covered. It will start rusting immediately in the solution. It takes approx. 2-3 min.

Lift out of solution and stand on edge to dry. It will become very rusty. Let air dry completely for approx. 1-3 hours or overnight. When it is completely dry, wipe some of the rust off with a dry cloth…this is optional.

 I found another recipe that is not as toxic at Primitive Folk Art. First, place your items to be rusted into a container that has a lid – She used an empty glass candle jar. Pour enough bleach into the container to cover the items you are rusting, and then put the lid on. Let it sit like this for about 24 hours. Then drain the bleach into the toilet (get a second use out of it as a disinfectant!), leaving the metal items still damp in the jar. Next cover them with cider vinegar and add in a healthy dose of salt. Cover again, and let sit overnight. Pour the used vinegar down the drain (you can also get a second use of this as a drain unclogger if it follows a dose of baking soda), leaving the damp bells/safety pins/what have you in the jar. Put the jar out in the sun to dry, uncovered, and the metal items in it will rust as they dry.

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 2:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Catchin some Z’s

b8I took a walk down to the farmers market before we opened and when I came back, Bruce was looking like he didn’t like being left behind. He got wound up yesterday because a different UPS driver came in and got him a bit fritzed. The regular guy talks to him and pets him.. this guy just left.. and I guess Bruce was a bit put out. So, he was a bit silly all afternoon. Now today, completely out of the usual routine, he got left alone. After following me around a bit, some kids came in and he got busy playing with them. He settled into chasing his string and playing hide and seek under the cabinets with the kids. All was well with Bruce again. Then we got more kids.. the Farmer’s Market brings families to town and we get a lot of traffic because of it. And best of all, Bruce gets a lot of kids to play with.

b2Things finally setteled down in the afternoon and I got busy putting the shop back together. Poor Bruce! All the excitement today wore him out. Instead of napping in the front window.. or on my counter.. Bruce got up in the hutch facing the front door for a nap. I had a step stoole in front of it as I was changing out some stuff on the top, and Bruce just cruised up and got comfortable.

b6If you’ve been reading this blog, you know this is not his first time up here. I imagine it is pretty cozy and it still gives him a birds eye view of the front door so he doesn’t miss a thing. Most of the time he gets up here when I have something in front of the hutch to climb up on. For a shop cat he is pretty good about not getting into or onto things. More often than not he is under things so he can play with your feet as you go by.

b4The hutch isn’t quite finished yet. We are still changing things around. But for now I will let Bruce finish his Cat Nap.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 3:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Putting thinGs Back Together

2Well, the shop is still a mess.. but it is coming together. I  have moved furniture and rearranged some things. This is the red cabinet to the right inside the front door. Hard to make out in the photo, but I added a strand of the 140 Deco or Rice Lights. The lighted Church and Prim House are locally made and we are having a hard time keeping them in the shop. In the display are a couple of our newer plates and some of the nice prim fabric stars are stuck in a basket of greenery and in that metal bucket with the fern. These stars add a different texture to the floral elements and are just plain fun.

5 As you come in the front door you will see this. A nice rusty watering can with this festive fern poking out of the top. More rusty pails and an assortment of pansies and berry picks are stuck in them for color. Add a nice Barn Red Star for contrast and you have a nice arrangement for a front porch.

4This black cabinet also got a makeover. It was pulled out of the corner and put flat along the wall. Another lighted Prim House is on the top with some lush ivy spilling out over a basket. Some nice pictures of herbs and a few plates and crocks round out the display.

6This is in my Spoon Carved hutch. It has a nice light inside and it shows off anything burgundy very well. This time, I decided to change out the burgundies and add something different. This rustic pot on the left is cool.. dark and great texture. The pocket star has a pip-berry pick stuck in and it is in front of a nice, colorful plate I use as a backdrop to a lot of things because it has so many colors in it. The little blue crock is hand made and the fabric bird is added for whimsy.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 1:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Happy Mother’s Day

10Mother’s Day dawned breezy and beautiful. After a nice Church service and lunch, my son and I decided to drive around and take pictures for the photography contest we mentioned earlier. We thought it would be a nice way to remember the day if we got some photographs. Having one of them a winner and turned into a post card would be nice too.

8Every Mother’s Day my husband and I take a walk in Lawrence Woods located off 68 just outside of town. Since he had to leave for business today, my son stepped into the role of taking Mom for her annual walk. Spring is still new this time of year and the sun dapples through the trees and many flowers adorn the 1 hour walk.

4This year I spotted only a few of the Trilliums I usually enjoy. It is nice to see these lovely flowers in their natural surroundings. There was a small patch of about a dozen flowers.. maybe it is a bit early.. or a bit late for them. The few I did get to enjoy made my day.

13Other flowers dotted almost the entire walk. Shades of lavender and sky blue were sprinkled under the canopy of trees and dancing in the breeze. Spring brings so much rain and the damp air and new growth make a Spring walk in Lawrence Woods one of my favorite things to do around Hardin County.

15When you first enter into the woods, you come upon this unique tree known as the ‘Rhino Tree’. It is one of the few really mature trees in these woods of several hundred acres. When you see the young trees bent by the ice storm about 5 years ago, one can imagine a storm bending this tree in it’s youth and shaping it’s future. Because it was not tall and straight, it was not harvested.. and now it causes young and old to marvel at its shape.

6Another tree, this one broken by a recent storm. My son is still several inches shorter than the clearance under the branch.. but as the years pass.. he should be able to stand under it and touch it with the top of his head. This will be fun to check out on Mother’s Day in the coming years.

Hope everyone had a delightful Mother’s Day!

Published in: on May 10, 2009 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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