Sunday, January 29, 2012

last weekend, in the Catskills

 You knew I'd feel better after a weekend in the store, didn't you? I'd just been away too long. Doesn't it look like those ducks are racing? Like they're trying to get into the duck Olympics?

Oops, some of them are going their own way now. That is the creek that runs through Margaretville. It should be frozen but we're having a weirdly warm winter. Where do ducks go in winter?

I guess the race is over. Now they are just doing random charming duck things. Speaking of ducks...

I took the duck sleigh to the store.

And Smokey the Bear pencils, which I am giving away. 

If your life is not complete without a Smokey the Bear pencil, email me your address--jen (at) countryweekend (dot) net, and I will send you one. (International friends included.) It will take a while, because they're at the store and I'm not going back for a few weeks. But you'll forget about it, and then be all excited when you get real mail with a stamp and everything.


Friday, January 27, 2012


I appreciate your wisdom and kind words regarding yesterday's post. One of the primary reasons I opened the store was to help me feel more connected to the Catskill community and not just a weekender. I guess I could have joined a hiking club or done some volunteer work, but I like to complicate things.

Going there less often in the winter is good in many ways, but I definitely feel less a part of that community.
These pictures are some of my collection of nature-related books in our house in the country. I used to spend my weekends reading and hiking. Now, I have a life there.

                                    our driveway in the country

It's time for me to get on the road. I'll report back next week in a more positive frame of mind, I hope.

Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, January 26, 2012


looking out

Opening a store was a pretty crazy thing to do. Nothing in my background, except a tendency to act impulsively and the fact that my father had an antiques business, would lead anyone who knows me to think I would do such a thing. 

looking in

When I'm in the store it feels right. When I'm away from it, which I usually am, I often wonder why I'm doing it--putting all this effort into what boils down to perpetuating consumerism. 


I'm sure this is partly the winter blahs, and the fact that I've been going there less often. When I'm there the store feels alive and right. I hope this weekend, my doubts will be put to rest, and that I will find motivation to continue this particular journey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

mucking around

You may remember a while back I was experimenting with mixed media. The first few were pretty awful. But I liked this one.

I put it on my mantel to see if it was something I would want to look at on a regular basis.

I did, so I decided to make some more. Here are two of them. You can get a better look at them if you click on the pictures.

 I added pine needles to this one.

 Paint, an old fox picture, a vintage map of Canada, string and seeds.

It's an utterly absorbing process. Like taking a long walk or swimming. Maybe it's a bridge to painting, or maybe it just is what it is.

Monday, January 23, 2012

simple beauty

Yesterday morning I went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (above) and had the same experience I've had the last few times I've gone to large museums. I couldn't get past the dark and heavy European galleries fast enough. I needed the simplicity, the calmness, the breathing room of Asian art.

I felt the same way when I looked at flowers today, in the supermarket where choices are limited and bouquets are busy. Delicately colored tulips in my favorite rustic pitcher? Perfectly simple/simply perfect. 

Joining the always delightful and charming Flowers in the House here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

auction fun

I went to an auction Monday. That's where I got the paintings in my last post, and also a large framed photo of a canoe, which I cannot get an acceptable photo of because of glass reflections. (Photo tips welcome.) Also:
 A child's rocker. I've sold quite a few of these, in various styles, often to grandparents.

 Twig tables. This style is often called Adirondack, named for the wilderness region north of the Catskills, known for its camps, lodges, and handmade rustic furniture, mostly from the early 20th century.

Remember the duck sleigh I got a while back?

Now we have a rocking duck of similar vintage.

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

winter art

                 farm scene, recently purchased at auction

More and more I find myself wanting to completely cover the store walls with vintage art. I've been collecting store inspiration pictures on pinterest--look how many of them show that very thing.

                                       portrait, recently purchased at auction

Though we have had little snow this year it is bleak and cold. I want to linger in museums, study my art books, and take out my paints. I was a studio art major in college, and painted for pleasure occasionally after, but I never took myself seriously as a visual artist. Two winters ago I took it up again for a season, and now once more I find myself wanting to lose myself in color and form and inner landscapes.

I am going to the store less--there is very little business in the winter, and I need a break from the long drive. So for the next few months it will only be open Saturdays (except for holiday weekends) and I will probably go up every third week. For now, my weekends are better spent reading, visiting museums, and, for at least one more Sunday, watching football.

Friday, January 13, 2012

hello, my baby bumble bees

1912 sheet music (in case you're wondering...)

I was supposed to go to the Catskills this weekend, but we are worried the pipes in our Massachusetts house will freeze and burst (which happened last winter) since it's going down to 5 degrees, and also a few family things are going on, so here I stay. Have I ever told you that I'm afraid to stay in the Catskills house by myself? Something about being in the woods with no neighbors in sight... If that wasn't the case I'd be up there more, and this weekend could leave my husband at home watching for frozen pipes. Of course I can stay with friends but I only want to do that when it's really necessary. And it isn't, since Harriet can watch the store this weekend. So I'm going to watch football, and read, and maybe bake cookies--relax like normal people with semi-grown children do on frigid weekends. 

This is the deer I bought at the flower shop in Manhattan I wrote about last week. They (you know, they) say that things look better grouped in odd numbers, but I do like to break the rules.

In this case I don't think odd is better than even. Though perhaps it's this particular trio. The barnacle covered shell brings out the plastic in the pot (not in a good way). And maybe the deer is a little offended too. Thinks she and the primrose deserve something prettier.

And you deserve something pretty too. Thanks to a tip from Susan of South of Macon:

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

what lies within

What do you call a quilt that isn't quilted (like a duvet whose cover is sewn shut)? Anyway, I bought one along with a lot of vintage embroidered tea towels like these, which was probably a mistake. I find them whimsical and charming, but almost nobody who comes into my store seems to.

Back to the quilt that isn't a quilt. One side has this adorable fabric, which looks like it's from the 1940's or 50's. (edited to add: It's big enough to fit a double bed.)

The other side is covered with embroidered animals.

There are many more. Pretty wonderful, I thought. However, whatever it was stuffed with felt weird and lumpy. Raw wool? Old sweaters? Weird enough that I couldn't contemplate selling it as is. It took me months before I finally unstitched it to see what was within, fearing what? Fleas? Bad smells? Monsters? This is what I found:

 A lovely quilt, in great condition. The reverse side is flannel.

It's in the store now. I haven't done anything with the cover. I think I will sell it as is. Someone can use it as a duvet cover. It would look cute in a retro-style bedroom.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Friends--with the help of your comments, hundred of pictures on pinterest, and some long walks, I am close to working out my problems with the look of the store. I realized that it isn't just a matter of painting walls, or adding shelves, but more conceptual. And the vision I came up with is close to the original one I had for the store. But in the reality of setting up, stocking, and running a store (something I have zero experience in, and do much of from a distance) I got away from the vision in small but meaningful ways. So here's the vision, conceptually illustrated with pictures I've taken over the last year. Next I have to figure out how to execute and maintain it, but I think this will help me do that.

area one--the main room, now painted white with porch green floor.
lake, wildflowers, spring, watercolors, cottage, green, blue, white, touches of warm colors moving into summer

Area 2 : A transition space and the one I am having the most trouble with--white wall area from the desk to the red wall area---definitely need to paint this area
pond, farmhouse, ferns, summer, bay, mountains, sky, farmers market, landscape

Area three- red walls and wide pine floor
 rust, barn, workshop, autumn, forest, natural wood, cabin.

I am also considering whether to dedicate a wall or two to hanging art, salon style.

What do you think?