Overwhelmed…

ALL ORIGINAL FOLK ART COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY BUTTERMILK HILL FOLK ART–JANET SKIBO  2014    ….DO NOT PIN!   

 

                                                                                   Hi everyone!  Mea Culpa once again…truly I do try to post more often, but it just never seems to slow down here!  We have had two shows since I last posted….actually three weekends of shows.  We traveled first through West Virginia to the highlands of Virginia for a two weekend show. How I enjoy that trip!  I love mountains and the higher the better.  We were a bit nervous about the weather, but it cooperated and we safely made the trip.  What was interesting about this year’s trip was the number of deer we saw…literally probably close to 200 of them!   Deep deep fields line the roadway to the edge of the mountains and we saw herd after herd of deer, sometimes mingling with the cattle on the farms.  In one herd I counted 45 until I lost sight of them.  We always see groups of them, but never before have we seen this many!    Of course we also saw many tiny lambs and calves as well, but not as many as usual…perhaps because of the never ending winter?

Stunning Seneca Rocks…

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The valley in the Virginia Highlands…

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How I love barn quilts!  I missed getting a few more because to avoid a snowstorm we had to drive home a different route…

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My neighbor at the show made this GORGEOUS walnut pie safe…the tins are antique barn tin.

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The show ended up good, especially the very first day which was a record crowd…and a buying crowd.  Our second show was in Buffalo New York.  Everything went smoothly and we were happy to be up each of the three days.  Everything went smoothly , that is, until the wheel on our dollie broke during load up and we had to hand carry half of our stock.  Al has since replaced the wheel and we are good to go again.

Our business page on Facebook is doing better than I ever dreamed it would…I once again am overwhelmed by custom orders …and am so very grateful and flattered by such response to my work!  I just finished a group of vintage wash basins…I paint on the bottoms of them. While finishing orders, I try to put some stock away for shows.

A vintage enamelware pot…

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and a vintage basin…just finished four more basins today…

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and , of course, a couple more paintings…this size is so popular!  Smile

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I am preparing another group to put up on my page Monday….then I think I will take a short break…I have an urge to sew a few things for myself…and of course Easter is coming!  Brian will be coming home for a few days and it is always good to see him.  The only thing that would make it perfect would be if Craig could be here too….but we do always talk to him on holidays when he can’t be here.  Brian is doing OK right now medically, but has other issues stressing him.  Maybe being home will relieve him of that a bit. 

It feels so good to post again…hopefully I’ll be back soon!  Welcome to all my new followers!    I’m so flattered you are so interested in my poor neglected blog!  Thank you so much…and have a great weekend!  …Jan

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Time is slippin’ by again!

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Hi everyone!  First, I would like to thank all my new followers for taking an interest in my blog…welcome!   I really thought I would be back posting again before this, but you know how it goes…life gets busy and complicated.  I have been trying to get a business page up on Facebook, but ran into a problem, computer illiterate as I am!   Thankfully I have a computer expert as a son, and he wrote a program specifically for the problem which works like a charm. Sooooo….a week ago I activated my page and  within 15 minutes started selling…..a lot.  Smile   I’m kind of laying low lately so I can get things under control again before I post new paintings! But I am ever so grateful !!   Things suddenly started moving fast and furious here…a show is coming up so I have been trying to get enough product for that despite the frigid weather, my publisher has emailed three times in the past week wanting new work, and our Brian was due for an MRI today.  The latter always throws me off my work.  He called a few days ago, very subdued, because he realized it was the anniversary of his brain surgery…the biopsies.  Of course that put me into worry mode for this MRI.  Thankfully, he called today after it was over and the tumor has not changed…so we are good until August when he gets his next one.  Smile

I would like to share a big project I just finished…an old ammo box a good customer brought to me for painting. I just stained it, so I don’t have that pic for you, but here is the progression of the project. It is about 3 feet long…

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The staining will, and did, tone down the colors to age it.  I did use a palm sander on it too ,to age it more and distress it. It will be hard to part with!  I think I will have to go on the hunt for a few ammo boxes of my own!

Today it warmed up a bit…funny how 46 degrees can feel balmy!  We have had 78” of snow so far this winter…and we always get a St. Patrick’s Day snow.  So today, Al was outside working furiously cutting and sanding 12” wood for my paintings, taking advantage of the weather.  He finished 10 of them…for orders and a couple for show inventory.  Tomorrow we are heading out for more lumber…I need to prep pieces to paint while we are at our show. I like to do tedious pieces at shows because I am trapped there and can take my time on more detailed work. I don’t work at as fast of a pace there as at home. Hopefully we can get a lot cut and sanded while we have a few warmer days because they say we will be back into the teens next week.

I also finished these cuties…out of 8, I have 3 left…stained these after this pic was taken…a Terrye French design with my own minor touches. I’m so lucky Al can cut whatever I need.

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So, I’m off to work a bit more tonight….hopefully with Brian ok for a little while I will be able to sleep tonight…last night was a rough one!  I hope you all are well, and warm….Spring IS coming!  (eventually! )……………….Jan

Verrrrrry interesting!

Good morning ,friends!  Sigh….it has been awhile…once again time has escaped me.  We’ve been working very hard getting ready for a new show we picked up. Plus, Brian has been dealing with some difficult issues.  After many panic filled days, we finally had the issues resolved and all is quiet again…thank goodness!  We decided to pick up a new show near Pittsburgh…but this time it was a combination antiques and artists show put on by Whispering Pines Farm.  I have never been to an antique show so I was vey excited to see it.  It did not disappoint.   The family promoting the show did an awesome job preparing the area as you will see in the photos.  The farm was stunning as were the antiques.  Artists were scattered among the antique dealer booths also.  Enjoy…

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I met several Facebook friends here..like Robin…..

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Gorgeous dough box and bowls…and that ovoid tornado jug !!!

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Directly behind my booth…

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Lots of antique horses…and firkins…

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and crocks…

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Some of these pics are from set up day…hence the toolboxes and coolers…

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Antique hornbeams…

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Several pie safes!!   sigh…and a glimpse of my booth…thinning out a bit on the side!

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Huge trenchers were everywhere!

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Just look at the painting on that old dowery chest!

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OMG!!  30 years ago I passed up a wood shovel carved from one piece of wood…it was $20…but I had toddlers…I still cry over that one!!

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This trencher was about 4 feet long…amazing.

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This is Sierra…she was ridden from the west coast for a cancer awareness fundraiser….she was hanging out right behind our booth…we’re best buds now! Did you know I used to show horses years ago as a teen…eons ago!!

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make do chairs…

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I really enjoyed this show, and I think it has great potential.  We did fair as far as sales….but it is far different from an art/craft show, so we have to decide if it is profitable enough to return to it. I think we did as well or better than most, but we are used to much larger crowds. We’re keeping in mind this was a first time show. I do know the family is very willing to work very hard for it’s success and were always there to assist the vendors…that’s a very good sign!

I hope you enjoyed the show pics..it truly was beautiful!    Thanks for visiting….Jan

calming down…

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            Hello everyone!  I was so surprised when I saw it has only been nine days since I last posted…it seems like a month.  It’s been a difficult stressful nine days as we have had a couple of crisis concerning Brian.  As with most moms and dads, our boys are our world and that world comes to a screeching halt when something scary is happening to them. We are so blessed to have good, loving sons and of course, we want everything to go perfectly for them.  Finally , things are looking like they are settling back down for Brian and we just have to hear about one more thing before we can stop holding our breath. Craig seems to be doing well…at least that is what he tells us…I think he doesn’t want to add any more stress to us if he does have a problem. He’s so far away, but keeps in close touch with us in case we need him.  I worry about him too because it must be difficult being so far away when there are troubles here.

 

Anyway, I have been working hard..it helps keep me sane and not worrying every minute of the day. It also wears me out so I can sleep at night.  My big paintings and the vintage pieces are the fun work for me.  I love that moment when I stain over the paint and they come alive. But…to run my business, I need a lot of the somewhat boring things too…things I mass produce …our bread and butter pieces. I believe every booth should have something in it that ANYONE coming to a show can afford to buy.  They may not want that piece, but there should be a complete range of prices in a booth.  I paint MASSES of these things…and it is somewhat mindless work. I work on them while watching TV.   Here are a few examples…buckets of shoe signs…

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Stacks of small paintings…red houses sell best…..my next batch will be a group of mustard, blue, and tan houses…each one is different…a lot of people buy my winter ones to use as Christmas cards!…..

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Stars (and hearts)…I paint these by the hundreds…..again, mindless work that is great to do when I am really tired or want to paint through the night…

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These are the most mindless pieces…carrot snowman noses.  I’ll have to do a couple more batches (about 100 pieces ) like this before the season is over…plus, I have 100 tiny 1 inch ones to paint for an order of snowman ornaments for a lady in Dallas.   Each has to be painted, sanded on the edges, then stained and clear coated.  I can almost sleep while I paint these!

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But I also paint multiples of bigger pieces at a time…  I try to do at least six of each at a sitting…it goes much faster then!

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I wanted to show you a before and after…  A really ugly mirror I found at a flea market…

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Sanded and 2 coats of red, dried well…then waxed….

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Two coats of black over the red and wax…. sanded to expose the red…….then walnut oil stained and clear coated….

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Then fitted with a panel Al cut for me and I painted….  the colors are not as bright as they appear here.

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An old hat rack someone gave me…mirror discarded, sanded so paint will stick, and a panel cut to fit….painted black over red…panel painted…

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Voila!   We sell lots of things like this at Shaker Woods in August.

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Currently, I am painting more trowels, ice cream scoops ( ! ),  old wooden shoe forms, picnic baskets, more nail kegs, and signs…never have enough signs!!   I’ll be ready for my next show in 2 days, then will get busy preparing for a big July show…now, THAT’S when I really start cranking product out!   I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Happy Father’s Day…and Betty…..thank you…it helped these last 9 days immensely!!    Smile  ——-Jan

Mountain climbing

Hi everyone!  I’ve been a bit AWOL lately..hopefully I’ll be around a bit more from now on. The last two weekend we were in the highlands of Virginia at our first show of the year. Last year it was a wonderful trip as we traveled through the West Virginia mountains. Tree buds were popping open , daffodils lined the roads, and there were countless new lambs and calves in the pastures.  This year, just before we left, a major snowstorm struck the area. We were so worried about the conditions of the roads and especially at the higher altitudes. Luckily the roads were pretty good…there were only a few areas where we had to slow down because of snow on the roads…some areas were covered because of blowing snow.  The scenery was so different this year because of the snow. It outlined the ridges and made the mountains look so much more rugged. Distant mountains were a beautiful blue and each layer was a different shade. 

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Ahhh….so pretty…..but we still had to navigate those pesky hairpin turns!

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Hellooooo, way down there!!  

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We suggested to the show promoter that they install guardrails on those hairpin turns for the scaredy cat northerners.  Winking smile  Next pic is where we always stop to catch our breath and for Al to stretch his legs…..this is Seneca Rocks. It is a really gorgeous outcropping of rocks —very impressive.

                                                        

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Anyway, we arrived safely (6 hour drive ), set up, and went to our hotel.  Because of the snowstorm, many thousands of people to the east were still without power…thus the show attendance was down. Sad smile  Some areas very close to where the show is got 24 inches of snow and were still buried.  So what do you do when a show is not super busy? PAINT!!   I worked on Fall/ Halloween samples for greeting cards. Our winter ones were well received and will be offered for licensing.  The publisher emailed asking for more Winter ones and also Fall samples. These are not finished yet, but here’s a sneak peek…..

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After the weekend, we were able to drive home quickly because we are able to just cover our booth and leave. The venue is locked up and secured.  During the week we worked to replace everything that had sold, thinking the second weekend would be better…nope!   The weather was terrible…freezing cold , snow, then heavy rain, UGH!  We were allowed to pack up early because another snowstorm was headed our way.  We did OK with sales , but some did virtually nothing. One vendor sold three birdhouses over both weekends. Sad smile  This is just the way it goes sometimes and you have to roll with it. We ended the show down some, but overall it was fair—we will go back next year. Besides the Fall card samples, I worked on the lid to a wonderful round box I found at a flea last year.  I wanted to get the very tedious work done—saltbox houses will go in the middle.  I also got four other pieces almost finished.

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Along with all the painting at home, I also managed to sew a little. I miss it so much so it is a real treat when I can take some time for it. I did six bunnies using a Threadbare Primitives free pattern. ….

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Then the bad news…the last Sunday of the show, Al noticed a text message from Brian. We called…Brian was in a car accident…luckily no one was injured.  The other vehicle was just scratched, but Brian’s car was badly damaged. This is the first new car Brian has bought. Insurance will cover all of it, now up to $6000 in damage, except for the deductible. So, we’re upset, but grateful no one was hurt.

Now that we have one show under our belt, I hope to be a bit better at blogging.  I’ve missed you all and really have tried to keep up with my reading.  Another snowstorm is expected this weekend, so stay safe and stay warm!  Spring will be here eventually!  —Jan

starting the show season

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Hi everyone!  After a couple fairly decent weather days, we are back to snow again. Even I, who LOVES hibernating in the winter, am anxious for the warm breath of Spring.  Each warm, sunny day brings a burst of growth for my crocus and daffodils. I know I will have crocus, but who knows about the daffodils.  My neighbor tried to help me out by mowing down the leaves right after they bloomed. Sigh….

We have been working very hard lately trying to catch up on work after our sander died.  This was a very good sander …much better than the ones we used to get. We would burn up one of the old ones within 6 months with the amount of work we do—this one has lasted 6 years. Since we can’t get anything done without it, we were off and running looking for a replacement. Of course we couldn’t have even ONE YEAR without replacing a piece of equipment. Winking smile   We finally located one just as Al’s friend found our last sander in his storage building.  He replaced the motor on it, so once again, we are good to go!  Despite losing so much work time, we decided to take last Sunday off to spend the entire day with Brian. 

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After dropping off everything we took to prepare dinner, we took Brian shopping for a few things he was looking for.  Unfortunately, we found none of them in any of the stores we went in. So back to his place to start dinner. His apartment is really nice and bright and he had spruced up every inch of it. I s this the same guy, that as a teen, I would just sigh and close his door? We had a very nice time and he allowed me to get my fill of hugs.  Smile  It was so nice to enjoy dinner with him.

We have finally shipped off the batch of paintings intended for greeting cards.  The publisher emailed that they received them and like them, but that doesn’t mean they will use all of them.  I will be working on Fall greeting card paintings while I am at my first show of the year—which is coming up quickly. Today I will finish up product for it, then get on finishing orders that have been stacking up because of the sander.

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This is my favorite of all of them….we have to title each painting, date it, and then do a copyright search on each if they have a phrase on them.  This is titled “Silent Night”

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Al has stacks and STACKS of wood ready for me to paint…and I have hundreds of pieces ready to put hangers on…so I am pretty pleased how we stand at this point with product.  I’ll be ready early for my first show…that’s a first!!   But there are dozens of folk art waiting to be painted.   I have a few goals I want to accomplish this year as far as learning a few new techniques in my painting.   I tried one on a greeting card painting and loved the result…I try very hard to stretch myself in my work.

Well, I think my paint has dried, so back to work!!   I hope you have a creative day and come back soon to visit.  ——-Jan