Monday, October 24, 2011

Lovin’ this time of year!

Sometimes I hate it when I have a good idea.  It usually means lots of work and a big mess.  This one was no different and the mess still lingers . . .
crowned skull, southern style wine goblets and bird on maple leaf
I was struggling with my plans for my October displays I the windows.  I’ve already sold enough of my Halloween decorations that I couldn’t justify the  spooky theme in the window.  Then, it came to me—a few hay bales, saw horses and a door and I’ve have a harvest gathering scene in the making!
Cut to the scene where the guy at Lowe’s tells me to stand back from the trailer where the bales are stored, because the  other day he opened it and a rat jumped out at him!  Perhaps I’ll rethink the hay bales . . . nah!
No rats on my visit—thank you.  stained glass and skull
I lay the obligatory plastic on the back of “Flo,” my ancient, paint stains on the carpet Suburban, and we load the bales.  One is pushed over the collapsed back seat—into the front where, while it was merely for posterity, there is no plastic sheeting.  What cha’ gonna do?
I begin the drive to the shop with all four windows down—it was a lovely day.
southern style wine goblets and sugar mold votive holder
Thus begins the whirling dervishes of bits and pieces of hay throughout the vehicle.  (Thanks goodness I thought to lay that plastic sheeting!)  I look in my rear view windows—I look like I’m leading the annual harvest parade.  The only thing missing is Lil’ Miss Sweet Potato to wave at the crowds from my roof top.
hops, stained glass, mantel and table
So I make it back to the shop—with hay in my hair and everywhere else—unload the hay bales and deposit them on my “front porch” where they’ll wait until the next day to be placed in the window, as I still need to remove the former display and go grab my kid from gymnastics practice.
stained glass window, cowboy hat
Tuesday morning I carve out an hour after walking the dog and before a meeting with the County Mayor, to remove the current window display and set-up the table.  All is going well, until I get those huge saw horses in the window—they’re too wide; we won’t be able to get around the table.  Dang!  pumpkins, skull, southern style wine goblets and whip-stitched napkins
Then I remember the iron table legs I have stored on the third floor.  I grab those and the huge box where I’ve stored the hops garland and manage to carry everything back down to the shop in one trip (stupid, stupid, stupid).  I screw the legs into the door—they’re also too wide, but much more diminutive than the saw horses.  I flip the table upright, hang the hops garland and go home to shower.willow wine bucket, mixed silver plate flatware set/5, red river red wine goblet
At the meeting, I struggle to focus on what is being said—my mind keeps wandering back to my window!  Once the meeting is over, I call Patty to tell her I’m sorry about leaving such a mess and that I’m headed to another appointment, when she informs me that my appointment cancelled!  Normally, that would frustrate me, but . . . YIPPEE!  I can go back to finish decorating the window. mantel with wheat, branches, bookd and pierced pumpkin
It took a few more days of piecing together our ideas—trying this and that, hunting down pumpkins and corn stalks—but I finally shut the door on Thursday night and felt satisfied that we had done a good job.
cornstalks and watering can with sunflowers
I had been planning to use these vintage prints in a display for Christmas, but was pleasantly surprised to find a use for them so quickly.
vintage print and covered bowl
Here are some of the new burlap pillows I ordered at market.  They’re stuffed with a filling of shredded plastic and are stenciled with the original art work of the owner/designer.porch swing, burlap eco pillows, and mossy mushrooms
The hardest part of taking pictures of my display windows is the reflection.  (Any tips from seasoned photographers or other shopkeepers are welcome!)  But if you study the picture below, you’ll see I’ve incorporated my beloved branches.  (Ryan showed me the perfect downed tree limb in the vacant lot next to his house!)
porch swing, burlap eco pillows, and window screen
I hung these window screens against the window to give the feeling of being on the outside looking into a porch.  They’re difficult to see, but I’ve added a bunch of those magnetic spiders to the screens—just a touch of spooky.
porch swing, burlap eco pillows, and window screen
These “tattooed” bamboo floor mats just arrived.  They have non-slip backing and are very durable.tattooed bamboo floor mat
Our sole surviving harvest color velvet pumpkin.  (I’ve “hidden” it in the window, thinking perhaps I may take it home . . .)harvest plush pumpkin, chick and finial
I hope you enjoy virtually perusing our Autumn Gathering display window.  If you’re in town, please stop by for a gander.  On Sunday I’ll be working on our “Paint it Pink” window for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  More on that later!
Thanks for your indulgence,
ps—let me tell you a little about those beautiful stained glass windows.  We believe they are 19th century and have been re-leaded.  They are 60 x 37”.  They most recently hung in our local Pub—The Blackhorse Pub and Brewery.  They are valued at $4,000 for the pair, but we’re asking 3,000.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stampington & Company Obsession


My obsession with Stampington & Company continues with Somerset Life.  This isn’t my first issue of Somerset Life—oh no, I’ve already got several in my stacks.  (By the way, these magazines have their own separate “piles.”  They don’t join the slick cover magazines—the paper stock they use for these publications provides the tactile reason for their distinct segregation—their content, however, is the deciding factor.)

I enjoy these magazines so much, I started carrying a selection of Stampington & Company publications at the shop—so I don’t have to chase off across town to get them.  There is also the added bonus of introducing my customers to Where Women Create, Artful Blogging, Somerset Studio, Where Women Cook, Mingle and Somerset Holidays.

The only problem problems I find with these magazines is are:

(1)  I am so inspired, but I rarely find the time to attempt the things I find; and,

(2)  I feel completely inadequate—usually within just a few words into each article.

Mind you—I don’t allow either of these issues to prevent me from consuming each—cover-to-cover—like a starving child. Further, these issues are not, fundamentally, problems with the publications—I may be projecting . . . just a little.

In this issue (Oct/Nov/Dec 2011), I was particularly engrossed by the article Exploring Collaboration by Alexandra Cave.  She writes of her solution to desiring a few months off from her blog to spend with her newborn.  She solicited help from her readers by asking them to be a guest blogger on her blog.  You’ll be inspired by her enthusiasm and desire to continue these exchanges and explorations.  Visit her blog here.

There are many more articles, but this one truly opened my eyes to how many gifted and generous people are out there and all within reach, thanks to the blogosphere. 

I hope you pick-up a copy for your own collection.


(click on the table of contents above to view)

Thanks for your indulgence,


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seasonal Eats

My article for the Leaf Chronicle, originally published on Sep 25th—getting caught-up again!

I know I’ve been going on and on about how much I enjoy this time of year—the changes that take place are wonderful. For one thing, I feel as though I’ve got more energy; perhaps it’s the cool morning walks. But I don’t think it is just me. I’ve noticed it in others as well—smiles come easier and folks will stop and chat, without diving for an air conditioned space.

One thing I look forward to the most is the change in our menu planning. The kids have come to accept the fact that there are certain foods I will not prepare during the summer. For instance, I will not make spaetzle, chicken divan or lasagna until the temperatures cool down.


Beef Bourguignon became a new required fall recipe last year.Julia-Child-The-French-Chef-B0006VXMHG-L

(I had a short-lived recipe affair with Julia Child last year; “short” only because of time limitations.) I’m gearing-up for my first batch of the season. Also in waiting are the recipes for chili, wedding soup and gumbo.

Do you do this, too? Do you have seasonal recipes?

I hope so, mainly because I can’t really justify my reasons and it would be nice to know that I’m not alone in my seasonal menu edicts. It’s not as if I have to hang-out over a wood burning stove without the benefit of a/c. It’s not because I don’t eat these foods during the summer—Jane Burney’s Chicken Divan and soups are some of my favorite meals—year ‘round. In fact, I eat soup all summer long. Perhaps it is the “comfort food” status of most of these dishes; the fact that, in and of themselves, they imply cooler temperatures and cozy kitchens. Whatever the reason, I know my kids are looking forward to a change in the dinner menu offerings at the King Kompound.

I guess I could loosen-up a little and now that I think about it, I did fix gumbo twice this summer!

I’ve also found that with the change of season, I am itching to do some entertaining. It is difficult to squeeze in some time with family and friends, though. Darren’s new work schedule doesn’t have him home very many hours and we tend to fill-up our dance cards well in advance! I will have to put some thought into it, but we can probably get something on the schedule.

I’m looking forward to sitting outside, talking with friends (without “glistening”), bonfires and charades by firelight.

Do you have fall rituals? Are you a football tailgater? Perhaps you like to drive through the beautiful Smoky Mountains to take in the changing foliage. I hope you’ll take a minute to share some of your favorite fall customs with me.

Thanks for your indulgence,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

getting ready to get ready!

My article for The Leaf Chronicle for Sep 4th—sorry for the delay.
Now that everyone has their home adorned with branches and sticks, as put forth in last week’s column, I guess it is time to offer up a few other ideas.
Perhaps you’re ready to introduce a touch of fall into other areas of your home. Again, no need to go all out in one decorating frenzy, your transitional decorating should be exactly that—transitional. If you’re like me, you probably need to start with a good, thorough cleaning of the house. I think it’s time to prove that my base boards are, in fact, white. I’m also going to perform a serious assessment of the contents of my wardrobe; it’s time to make some donations to Goodwill! These actions will allow me to feel more comfortable about adding my fall decorations to the mantels and other surfaces. I’ll also be able to starting adding my fall clothing to our wardrobe—which is really our closet, as our “closets” aren’t deep enough to accommodate a standard hanger and are only as wide as the door. (Yeah, I’ll go toe-to-toe with someone lamenting their lack of closet space!)
Okay, so what I usually end up doing is cleaning as I decorate. I decide which room I’m going to tackle and I start cleaning as I put away anything I won’t be using for the new vignette. Many basics remain, but some things are set aside for the season. I use books all over the house—their titles are often related to the season, but sometimes they’re chosen for their color and size.
You’ll also find candlesticks and pillar stands throughout the house, but the colors of the candles will change. I have a plate stand that holds four tea cups and saucers—I change the china I display with the season.
halloween 2011 046
Here you see my tea cup stand, an unpainted ceramic pumpkin and several other accents for the mantel.

halloween 2011 074
Here is a tight shot of the of the amber bottles and an orange book entitled, coincidentally, “Hodgepodge,” (a gift from my dear friend, Taylor)—so it meets the title AND colors  requirements.  In the right hand corner you see and old Ferry Morris Seed ad I had framed.
During the summer I don’t use tablecloths, but beginning in the fall, I’ll usually drape something across the table. I also tend to leave the table top empty during the summer, but now I’ll add a centerpiece. I’ll start with our sugar mold candle holder, but I’ll elevate the display as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach.
halloween 2011 075
You can see from this pic—
the only thing I’ve left on my table this time is my beer!
Part of the cleaning process is shaking the dust off of the silk and dried flowers. This is when I have to really evaluate how much life is left in these items—especially the dried flowers. I prefer to dry without preservatives, but that really limits their display life.
halloween 2011 053
My all-time-favorite display—the perfect example of dried hydrangeas that have given their all and will be retired this year.
This is also a good time to take inventory of my glassware and dinnerware. As I prefer to use vintage items for my table settings, the search for replacements isn’t always a quick one. If I’m going to need a new turkey platter or gravy boat for my holiday table, I need to start looking now.
I like to make notes about those needs on index cards and stick them in my purse/wallet, that way I have it with me whenever I happen upon some possibilities. Notebooks are good, too, but they take-up a lot of room and I tend to get frustrated and toss them out of my purse. Chandelier prisms are another thing I am constantly replacing, so I trace them on the index card, so there’s no confusion about the style and size.
I figure, with my typical approach to cleaning/decorating and the amount of “free time” I’ve enjoyed lately, I’ll have my pumpkins out in time for the Easter Bunny to hide some eggs behind them! I hope your decorating efforts are quick and easy.
I wrote this weeks ago—the decorations made it to these locations . . . yesterday!  Just slightly before the Easter Bunny!
Thanks for your indulgence!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Paint it Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month


So, I was reading the facebook post of one of my friends, Oohlala Furniture , about a week ago.  In her post she challenged her fellow furniture painters to “paint it pink.”  She suggested we paint a piece of furniture pink, then auction-it-off to benefit breast cancer awareness.  I immediately thought of the friends I need two hands to count who are currently battling this heinous disease—then there are those in remission—then there are those . . . okay—I want to do this!

Here’s my contribution—a vintage vanity I painted (with the help of Kathy Owen and Caromal Colours).  My message . . .

The disease is ugly,

but you . . .

you are beautiful!

pink vanity for Breast Cancer Awareness month


I was sharing the notion with Kimberly Santiago who immediately chimed-in that she’d like to make something to contribute.  Her one-of-a-kind creation is this beautiful mixed media rose.  She used the subtle innuendo of contour maps in creating the rose.

pink stuff 057


Kathy Owen also wanted to donate something for the cause—she was quick to offer up an Angel of Reclaim which she made especially for this auction.  Kathy recycles all of the materials used to create these unique angels.

pink stuff 060


My sister, Kendall Thomas-Welsh, also wanted to make something to donate.  She has created a great new sign to help promote the importance of focusing on this issue.  001

‘nuff said, eh?

Most doctors agree and early detection is the key to combating breast cancer.  The Nation Breast Cancer Foundation has an early detection plan which you can view here.  Remember—YOU need to pay attention to your breasts!

This is going to be a silent auction.  You may place your bids at the shop or by calling the shop.  Bidding starts Oct 6th at 5 p.m. during Art Walk.

All proceeds will benefit the

Clarksville YMCA ABC (after breast cancer) Program.

During the 16-week program, participants receive full access to the YMCA, a customized exercise workout designed by a Pink Ribbon Certified® personal trainer, nutrition counseling with a registered dietician, along with encouragement and support by a caring staff and other breast cancer patients and survivors.

The services are offered free of charge thanks to donations and other funding.  I hope you feel this is worthwhile cause and will support the program by coming out to bid on these items.

If you have questions or (better yet) want to place a bid, please call us at the shop, 931.647.0444.

Thanks for your indulgence!


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