shopping, supplies, working, and worries

Good morning!!  Wow, I have lots to say today…..and show. Yesterday was a busy day—we headed out to buy a vanload of lumber. The other day we went for lumber locally but came back with zip,nada,nil, and zero. Sometimes we have to go through 50 boards before we find one I like. Because it is for art, it has to be pretty much perfect. I believe if customers buy my art, they deserve everything as perfect as possible. Luckily, yesterday was our day!! We filled the van with beautiful lumber and today I will start marking it so Al can begin cutting. I am moving along on painting and thought I would show you my first completed batch of the year. I am already finishing painting the third batch—hopefully will finish today.


This is about 5 steps into painting.


Here we are 3 steps later.


Here we are at finished product… many steps later. All are vigorously copyright protected except for the crow painting. It is adapted from a great Pam Grady design. My favorite things to do are gameboards.

Today I am hoping to finish a batch of paintings of roosters.  Roosters are not really my thing, but we sell this design by Terrye French very well. I’ll probably have to make 2 more batches of this design before the end of the year. Here is the first…


After we picked up our lumber we had other errands….Hobby Lobby for frames (didn’t find any we liked..too ornate or too PLASTIC!! ), Sam’s club, and Pat Catan’s. Pat Catan’s is like a Michael’s…only cheap. All my paints come from there and we are lucky that we have a huge one so close. I only use Americana paints…I used to use Ceramcoat, but they cheapened their paint by thinning it out and one bottle doesn’t always match the next. Again, quality is important.


I can’t believe this is all I got—usually I just swipe out an entire row of the color I want—but I DO have a lot of paint I got before Christmas.I have a very limited palette of colors so everything I do will coordinate with the others. We have customers in DC that have over 50 of our pieces. I ALSO got… TADA!!!!


These are 14 inch raw wood platters!!! I have never had anything like this and am so excited I found them…on SALE yet!!! I have to come up with something special for these !! Can’t wait to get to these. Maybe a penny rug design.

Last, but certainly not least, my brother, who has always been super healthy, has been having trouble with his one knee. Turns out he has severe arthritis in it, several ligament tears, and….the worst of it….a mass behind the knee. At first they thought the mass was a piece of bone broken off after a fall. It’s not.  They want him in to see an Oncologist  ASAP. He also has some dead bone in his knee from blood circulation being cut off. Wayne teaches respiratory therapy in a hospital and was scheduled to retire in June—he may have to retire immediately. Please keep him in your good thoughts—he is a really nice guy who has never had anyone say a bad  word against him. Thank you so much.

Well, after a good rest last night, I am ready to start marking wood—have a wonderful day!!—Jan


Pie fixes everything!

Good morning! How is everyone today? I have not felt well the last two days…slept a lot, worked nada, couldn’t eat anything but eggs. Sooo….what did I do last night?  Made a pie! As you know…pie fixes everything!!!  This is a wonderful recipe from Pioneer Woman’s site Tasty Kitchen. It kicks a cherry pie up a notch and is very easy and very yummy.

Cherry Blueberry Pie

top and bottom pie crust-homemade or store bought

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tab. cornstarch

1/4 teas. cinnamon

21 oz. canned cherry pie filling

1- 1/2 cups fresh or frozen(no need to thaw ) blueberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Spray pie plate with no-stick spray. Line pan with one pie crust.

Mix together sugar,cornstarch, and cinnamon.Add pie filling, and gently stir in blueberries.

Pour mixture into pie plate. Top with several thin pats of butter.

Top with other crust and crimp edge.

Cut vents in top crust. Spray top with butter flavor no-stick spray..sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and filling starts to bubble through vents.


Like I said…a yummy pie fixes everything—feeling much better today!!!  Take advantage of those big fat blueberries showing up at the markets now!   Enjoy!


My most meaningful belongings

Six days ago, Linda of Behind My Red Door posted about some of her favorite things. It made me ask myself what I valued in my life. I’m sure all of us would say family, friends, jobs, etc.–all of the things that enrich our time on earth. Material things don’t mean a lot if you are alone without loved ones. But, what are your favorite “things “ that have special meaning to you?  A trinket is nice, but if it was left to you by your grandma, the value is changed—-not monetary value, but the value to your soul.

I’d like to share some of my favorite things:


This tiny little vase was left to me by my mother who passed away in 1989, three weeks after my dad. It was an unbearable time. Mom was born in a small village in England called Scholar Green—near Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent is where Wedgewood china is made. This small vase came to this country with my mother when she was six. When I was small,mom would sometimes fill it with violets from the yard for my room. It reconnects me with her when I hold it.


Next is this #3 crock. It’s nice, but just an ordinary crock. That is until I remember mom used to make dill pickles from cukes in our garden in it. I remember the big heavy plate she would put on top to hold them under the brine—I could barely even see the crock because I was so small. One day my brother and I got funny stickers in our cereal box, snuck into the kitchen and stuck them onto the crock of pickles—I can clearly hear mom and dad laughing as they read “worm food” on the crock, and dad calling us “ little rascals”


This is more recent. We were considering moving to Charlotte N.C.  We took the boys on a mini vacation to Charlotte, stopping at Asheboro to visit the zoo, and then at Seagrove—a village occupied by many potters. I walked from pottery to pottery while Al drove alongside, until I spied salt glazed pottery at Westmoore pottery. I had read about them in Country Living magazine. This one was what I chose to keep. It reminds me of a happy trip together when the boys were young .


This is the whiskey jug my dad gave me. I don’t ever remember a time when it wasn’t at dad’s house. I believe it came from HIS childhood home. My grandfather was an alcoholic, my grandmother extremely religious. It must have made an impact because dad never brought anything to the house ,never drank, and never approved of anyone that did.

I hope I haven’t bored any of you—these things are important to me. I would survive if I lost them, they are much less valuable to me than my family, but they connect me to my past.

Have a warm day—Jan

frigid and photos!

Hi everyone!  I just came in from the workshop after staining a batch of folk art and it is frigid!!! BRRR!  I use an oil stain and it is not a good idea to stain downstairs in the basement  (where it is warmer ) because my work table is beside the furnace. KABOOM!!! But it is finished now, and another batch is on my painting table waiting for detailing. As I finish one group, I am starting the next. I thought I would show you some of my older pieces tonight because the ones I just stained won’t be dry for a couple days.





The first was an old carpenter’s tote I painted all the way around, the next two photos are an old train shipping crate partly done and then completed,( lady bought it for a coffee table) the fourth is an old cutting board I painted with a Terrye French design.


Above is a little cabinet I found at a flea market—it was that dry brown stain popular years ago,with a tin teddy bear repro front. I wish I had taken a photo of it before painting…it looked terrible Al thought I was crazy for paying a whole $4 for it. Smile


A little step stool-found in Virginia for $3 !!  It was SOOOOO ugly!! Sad smile


Old wood ironing boards.


A custom piece I did for a customer—it’s an old piano bench she found and brought to me—inside is another scene along with the family name and date. She uses it to hold mittens and hats for winter.


A penny rug design.

And I saved the best for last…………


…..our grandkitty Stryker!!! He is a really goofy cat…but we love him a lot.  Hope you are all snug and warm tonight-our son in Seattle is without power along with over 100,000 others. It’s going to be difficult for all of them—estimates of 3 days to repair.Keep them all in your thoughts. Have a cozy night!–Jan

Dan’s giveaway

Hi everyone! Dan of Yesterdayoncemore has announced a giveaway of a subscription to A Primitive Place magazine. It is a prim perfect beautiful magazine—don’t miss this great giveaway!!!

Thanks!!  Jan

Just testing

Hi Everyone! I just had my photo lesson from my son—hopefully I learned something.



Wow!!!  I guess I DID learn a little! Now I hope the knowledge doesn’t leak out while I sleep tonight!–Jan

Baby, It’s cold outside!

Hi everyone! Brrrrr! It has finally turned to winter. Hope you are all staying warm. Just as we have finished cleaning up after Christmas, spent days filling out show applications,(UGH!!!) and finished running dozens of errands so we can FINALLY buckle down and start working… has turned bitterly cold . My husband (Al) cuts and sands all my wood surfaces to paint out in the garage/workshop. The unheated, bitterly cold workshop.Now mind, I already have several substantial stacks of wood ready to paint, but we need to get way ahead of the game.He reminds me all the time how I am working snug and warm in the house and how he braves the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. Poor baby!! Maybe I’ll cut him a break for a few days!!

Speaking of applications, we are hoping to pick up a few new shows this year. I just hate filling out applications. Each show demands a different number of photos,different forms,some want resumes, some want shop photos,some want an SASE, some want insurance numbers, and on and on…and ON. The most I can do in a day is 3, and then I am shot for the day. If ANYTHING is left out or not filled out, it is returned or denied.I’m up to 51 show days so far for the year in 4 states. That’s a lot of driving and a lot of product!!

This is the time of year I really try to eliminate old product and replace it with new. I keep notes of new ideas and sketches I may want to do. Many pieces are a result of ideas from my customers. I truly value my customers—many have become friends that follow us from show to show. Some bring scrapbooks to our shows to show us how they are using our pieces or show us a spot they need a custom piece for.

I’m hoping to take a crash course of inserting photos this weekend from our son. I have some things I am eager to show everyone. He lives on the other side of the country so it all has to be done over the phone. He’s also a busy guy so I have to wait til he is free.

until next time, blessings–Jan