Monday, February 28, 2011

~Simply Primitives Sneak Peek~

We all know what happens to socks in the dryer. Now see what happens when they hang around my mending basket too long...

For sale on Simply Primitives. Hurry...two have already been adopted!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hello, my name is Rhonda...

...and I'm a picker. As you saw in my last post, I love treasure hunting. And finding vintage treasure usually involves lots of time spent digging through thrift stores and garage & estate sales.

I bought this transferware, luncheon service for six, from a sweet lady on Craigslist this week. Red "isn't her thing"...fortunately, it's mine.
A few of you asked where I find so much good stuff...I thought I'd share some of my best pickin' tips.

1. Go often. You will have to devote some time to treasure hunting if you want to find the good stuff. You might get lucky on your first trip to Goodwill, but it's unlikely. As Ben Franklin once said, "Diligence is the mother of good luck." The harder I work at finding treasure, the luckier I seem to get. Eventually you will learn which days to stop in which shops, what neighborhoods to shop, and you will even develop an "eye" for the things you like. Speaking of Goodwill...their stores are OK, but personally I love the little church thrift shops. Better pickin', better prices, and the proceeds usually support local mission projects.

2. The early worm gets the yellowware/hutch/firkin/etc. If you aren't a morning person, become one. I am not naturally gifted in this area, but I have been known to be on the doorstep of an estate sale at 5:30am with a cup of coffee and a book. Behave yourself and no one will mind. 

3. Which brings me polite. You don't need to grab, push or be obnoxious to get the goods. I'd rather leave empty handed than engage in rude behavior.

4. Be genuine and friendly. People like to talk and tell their stories...listen and be sincere. Don't try to get one over on people. It's icky and most people can sense it.

5. Don't be squeamish. Sometimes you will have to touch some grimy or unpleasant's inevitable. Take along some hand wipes or carry a pair of work gloves with you.

6. Utilize the local newspapers for sales information.  I like to get the newspapers and plan my garage sale route based on time, what is offered and location. Also note the time sales begin and end.  Please respect people who say "no early birds"...they have probably been working for days to get ready for the sale and would like to sleep until 7 am.  

I found these 1958 princess phone key-chains in a tattered old box at a garage sale last summer. They were under a table where some of the less desirable items had been stowed. I had no idea what they were at the time...but when something is so darn cute, how could I go wrong? Let's just say I made a profit. My point? Look closely and look everywhere.

7. Utilize online sites like, and Subscribe to these sites and have notifications sent straight to your inbox. Get to know the estate liquidators...which companies have good prices, who does a great job...which companies should you avoid? Whether buying or selling, please keep folks abreast of your intentions...and for heaven's sake, respond to emails. If you make an appointment, please, keep it! I am stunned at the number of people who are no shows on Freecycle. They are being GIVEN something and can't be bothered to show up? Always be safe when making contact with someone you don't know. Meet in a public place or take someone with you...they can even wait in the car, but never go alone. I always let sellers know I have someone with me and that I will need to find an ATM to get cash. If something seems off, it probably is...leave immediately.

I just love the old calico, ringers and stenciled porcelains and have been trying to collect enough of these buttons to make a sampler. Thanks to a sweet Craigslist seller this week, I'm ready to begin. 

8. Talk to people...especially people who you are already buying something from. Tell them what you collect. Ask questions. They might have what you need...but you'll never know if you don't ask. Never be pushy or pressure someone to sell something they aren't ready to sell. If you're pleasant, they'll remember you when they are ready.

A friend of a friend called me when she was ready to sell her mother's button collection. She had heard that I like old buttons. I bought 800 of the loveliest buttons I've ever seen from her...and we both went away happy.

9. Be prepared. Fill up your gas tank the night before your pick. Fold down or take out seats in your vehicle if you need to. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Have a GPS or map of the area you're going to. Get up early and dress for success...wear comfy clothes & shoes.  Make a list with dimensions of things you are looking for and bring along a tape measure. Take a snack and plenty of coffee along. Know where the clean bathrooms are. Pack hand wipes.  Head out with a smile and be nice.

10. Be patient and enjoy yourself. Half the thrill is in the hunt. Cross you fingers and rub your rabbit's foot. Today may be your lucky day!

Happy hunting! Until next time...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

~Tuesday Display Chain~ Bowls

Each Tuesday Misi, of Gable House Musings, chooses a theme and invites bloggers to play along with her "Tuesday Display Chain". This week we are showing off "bowls". 
I am a collector of bowls...big bowls, little bowls...bowls made of pottery, pewter, wood, china, glass...I love them all.  These are a few of my favorites...

~This tiny yellowware bowl was a garage sale find...just .25 cents. Isn't that great? OK, so here's the not so great part...see the spice box it's sitting on? Also a garage sale was $10 and had the original finish-including stenciled drawer fronts. I thought it was ugly, and not that I gave it a prim finish. Can you say young and stupid? Saw one just like it (before condition) in an antique shop for $150. *sigh* OK, moving on...~

~More garage sale bowls. Are you sensing a theme? My entire house is decorated in early garage sale.~
~I found this set of nesting yellowware bowls at the thrift store, four of them for $20. The two largest ones are pictured here on my $1 corner thingy. I think it might actually be a plant stand, but it works for me.~
~Red hutch full of primitive goodness~
~You guessed it...garage sale. Hutch, $50. Loading it into a minivan by myself, priceless.~

~Rowe pottery bunny, and a piece from my Dad's baby dishes, surround a wooden bowl filled with gourd eggs.~
~A redware bowl from Turtlecreek Pottery, a favorite gift from my Mother in love.~

~Wooden bowls rest on a dry sink.~

~A HUGE yellowware bowl from my grandmother. It measures 14" in diameter and makes a fabulous punch bowl.~

~An old trencher takes center stage in the buttery. The woman I bought it from said it was hand carved by her great-grandfather. I could she sell it?~

~Vintage Pyrex, colorful and fun. And no, this photo isn't staged. I bake outdoors all the time.~

Not my style, but of the prettiest bowls I've seen. 

It seems to me that one can never have too many bowls.
See the other Tuesday Display Chain participants at:

Until next time...

Monday, February 21, 2011

~Giveaway Winners Announced~

Today was one of those doggone lazy dayz, dreary, overcast and only fit for napping. And that's exactly what my trusty assistants did. So I had to find another way to choose the giveaway winners. 
 ~You snooze, you lose.~

 In order to do things in a way that is fair & square, I assigned each person a number in the order they commented. Next, I used used the random number generator at to select three winners. And the winners are:

Wendy at Ravenwood Whimsies, you have won the primitive heart, framed silhouette and the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings Magazine!

Becky Jean at Primitives n Stitchin', you have won the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings Magazine!

Conni at Cabin Fever Primitives, you have also won the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings Magazine!

Congratulations ladies, please send your mailing address to me at so I can get your prizes out to you!

 ~Did we miss something?~

Thank you to all who joined in the giveaway fun and most especially, thank you for your sweet comments! Until next time...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

~Early Work Mercantile~Updated February 15th

See what I've been working on...Early Work Mercantile.
Until next time...

Monday, February 14, 2011

I heart YOU~Giveaway

 I can't think of a better way to tell you how much I appreciate YOU...
I am truly thankful for each of you who reads along here and in the magazine...your kindness warms my heart. can I thank you for being so supportive of my efforts?
How about a giveaway?
ONE sweet follower will receive the items pictured above. I'll be sending you one of my hand-cut silhouettes and a fancy wool heart stitched with love, from me to well as the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings Magazine...filled with wonderful homes, stories, gardens, and projects. TWO additional followers will receive a copy of the spring magazine.

Here's what you must do to enter...
...first, you must be a follower of my blog. Next, leave a comment on this post telling me which of my blog posts is your favorite and why...kind of a, "I'd like more of this kind of post please". Last, please tell me if you are already a subscriber to Mercantile Gatherings Magazine (I'd hate to send you something you already have-I'll send you something else.)
I am truly thankful for each of you who reads along here and in the warm my heart.
I'll draw the winners on February 21st, one week from today.
 Until then, I wish you love... 

Regretfully this giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Perfect Love~ Tuesday Display Chain

Each Tuesday Misi, of Gable House Musings, chooses a theme and invites bloggers to play along with her "Tuesday Display Chain". The theme this week is "True Love". Here's mine...

I’m not one to be preachy about my faith. I am a huge believer that the way you live your life is a spiritual act…that you worship God in the way you approach everyday things. I have however, decided to be brave and share a bit of my personal testimony today in honor of LOVE. I hope you won’t run away or skip over this part, but if you do, that’s OK…we can still be friends.

(The following passages of scripture are written in italics and paraphrased by me from memory.)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Each time I read these words I am overcome with emotion. It overwhelms me to know that I am loved so absolutely…so perfectly. I didn’t always feel this way…there was a time that I believed love was earned. I believed that loved was based on merit, on accomplishments, on behavior. And certainly no one could love ME…with all my screw ups and flaws.
 I don’t think I truly understood love until I studied the scriptures and began to understand who God is. I came to know, and believe, that this perfect love is not about who I am, but who He is.

“My eyes are weak
I can only see a glimmer of Your gold
And through it all You've given me
A peace that overflows
Oh how I know that You are good
You're so good to me, so good to me, You're good
You are good.” (bleach)

One day I got a love letter from my Abba. It helped me get to know Him even better.

He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them. (1 Samuel 2:8)

And I began to get a glimpse of who God is…The foundation of the world BELONGS to Him…and he chose me.

I read...

Though your own mother may forget you, I will not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:14-16) 
He has my name written on His hand…a reminder that I belong to Him. And always will.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:38)
He wrote: Don’t worry, be happy. OK, that's not exactly how He said it... “Be content with what you have; for God Himself has said, "I will never, never let go your hand: I will never never forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) 

Never, never…under any circumstances. No matter what I do, or don’t do.

He has my back…just like he did with the Israelites in the desert, when they refused to listen and failed to remember His miracles. They became stiff-necked and rebellious. But He is forgiving, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and ABOUNDING in love, and even when they were ungrateful and whined “What? Manna, AGAIN?” He did not desert them. (Nehemiah 9:17)

The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with UNFAILING love. (Psalm 103:8)

Did you read that? His love never fails, even when I do!

Some days I’m a mess…I give Him a reason to get up in the morning.

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you. He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. (Isaiah 30:18) Some versions say, “He RISES to show you compassion.” 

Any goodness found in me, any love I show others, is the direct result my Abba's love for me. Without Him, I would not understand the sacrificial love of my husband, the unconditional love for our children, the generous love of friendship, or even the stewardship of nature and animals. Everything I know about love, I learned from Him.
 I leave you with these words from the book of Corinthians, some of the most famous, and beautiful ever written.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (Corinthians 13)
If you'd like to hear more about this amazing love, feel free to contact me at the email address on my sidebar.

See the other Tuesday Display Chain participants at:

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowy Tuesday Display Chain

Hello friends...I've missed you. We have so much catching up to do! I hope you have a cup of coffee or tea, and are settled in...this is going to be a long one.
~A sampler, stitched for me many years ago by a "true friend"~
What a pleasant surprise to return and find so many new followers here on my blog! A big welcome you to all of you who are new. I'm so glad you're here and hope you'll jump right in with your comments so that we can get to know each other. 

And to those of you who took time to comment on my last post regarding managing comments, a huge THANK YOU! It was so good to hear your thoughts on the subject. I've reached a couple of conclusions... first, there is no one right way to handle comments and second, that very few people really expect a reply to their comments. The most important thing I learned (thanks to you) is that I can have my comments sent to me via email...something I had not realized before. Silly me! So, that is exactly what I have opted to do...and I hope the discussion has helped some of you to manage your own blogger comments as well.

The last few weeks have been super busy. In addition to all my regular duties, I attended several estate sales, hosted a heavy metal band, kept dental appointments, celebrated birthdays and met a magazine deadline. I'm looking forward to a few snow days.

While I sit here at the desk, finishing up my summer article for Mercantile Gatherings, our region is experiencing a blizzard. The weather forecast is calling for two feet of snow in the next few days. Can you imagine?

I am looking forward to being snowbound, spending some time with my family and stitching up new goodies. It's nice to have an excuse to stay put and sew to my hearts content. I am thankful that my guys got in before the snow started...this mother hen likes all her chicks in the nest when the weather turns ugly. Plus, I can run the generator and slow-blower if I have to, but I prefer to bake and serve cocoa to those who brave the cold.

I'd prefer not to venture outdoors at all, but there are those who actually delight in the snow...and need my supervision.
~Edith, my snow baby~

~Ears back, FRAP!~
As I mentioned, last week I took an overnight trip to attend a fabulous estate sale in northern Illinois. Yes, I even got a motel room...the sale was just that good. It was the estate of an elderly woman who had a beautiful collection of old flow blue, quilts, sewing supplies and all manner of lovely "smalls" throughout the home. I drove up with a friend, and we met another friend there. It was a wonderful morning of discovering treasures, followed by lunch and lots of laughter. Oh...what did I buy? Lots of funny vintage housewares for my Etsy shop, some  little sewing goodies, and this...
~Handwoven Overshot Coverlet~

I was especially pleased to add this beauty to my collection...the weaving is exceptional. It's woven of black wool & creamy linen, and in pristine condition too.
In other news, Mr. Kattywhompus and I celebrated our birthdays last week. We spent time with precious family and friends and ate more than our share of desserts...but to have done otherwise would have been ungracious, no? Still, two cakes, three pies and a cheesecake might have been a bit extravagant.  

~Display Chain Tuesday~

During my absence these last few weeks, I've also missed participating in not one, but two, of Misi's display chains! Well, this week I'm ready with new things to show & tell, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has in store for us. It's always so much fun to see photos of each home and hear the stories behind each display.

Each Tuesday Misi, of Gable House Musings, chooses a theme and invites bloggers to play along with her "Tuesday Display Chain" by featuring items from their collections. The theme this week is "Displayed Sentiments". If I understand this theme correctly, we are to feature displays that give the reader a glimpse into who we are. Here's mine...

First is a quilt that hangs in our living room. To me, this represents my Faith and God's ever watchful, love and care over our family. Hubby's Mom has made us so many beautiful quilts over the years...this is my favorite.

~Stitched with love by Mary Bruce, 1993~

I love to sew and stitch and the next few photos are vignettes around the house that represent my obsession hobby.  I have a love for old sewing accessories, trims and my especial weakness...buttons. The wood sewing box below belonged to my Grandmother. It always sat on the dresser in her bedroom-ready to sew on a patch or a button. I feel so blessed to be able to use her things each day. My hands touching the things her hands hands moving the same way her hands moved. 
~Old sewing needfuls, a name tag, and Beulah's sewing box in the background~
~Bobbins, a little boot shaped pinny and a cabinet photo of two cherubic children~
~Fabric, sorted by color and ready to use~
~My overflowing project basket~

We were blessed to have our sons at home with us for school. Our youngest is seventeen and in his last year of homeschool.  This old fashion vignette represents that part of my life.
  As a young homemaker I became a weaver of both baskets and textiles. Thus began my love of handwoven things-be it a basket or a blanket.
~A handwoven basket perches atop a pile of coverlet remnants~
~Wool and flax mingle in a handwoven basket~
~Handwoven textiles soften an old hickory chair~

I have always dearly loved dolls, which inevitably led to me making my own. I like to say that I made this doll (below) "from scratch". This was my first attempt at designing a doll and hand-sculpting a papier mache head and limbs.
~Miz Kattywhompus~

And lastly, these next photos, taken in my studio/sewing room represent my love for anything pink & frilly. 
I am a girly girl at heart.
~Every corner of my studio lends inspiration~
~Old Lace~
~A pretty pink pinny, made from old feed-sack fabrics~
~A cotton dress, displayed on a turn of the century dress form~
Notice my gal has a little junk in the trunk...this form was designed at a time when women wore bustles under their skirts and dresses.
~Dreamy detail on dress~
Almost too good to eat, tiny bottles of shiny vintage dragees...a gift from a friend.

 This "vignette" represents our house, always full of music...and musicians. This just goes to show that even heavy metal guys can be lovable-and take their shoes off at the door.
I know, it's only Rock-n-Roll, but I like it, I like it, yes I do.

So, that's my life in photos. 
I'm a straight forward, what you see is what you get, heart on my sleeve kinda gal...

...beloved of God, wife, mother, teacher, artist, builder, dreamer, gardener, poet, student, and friend.

See the other Tuesday Display Chain participants at:

Until next time...