Friday, April 24, 2009
Patti and I have always enjoyed crafts - making them and buying them. When we moved to Texas in 1993 and Patti took a painting class at a local Michael's - that was a major 'dot'. As was the decision to sell our crafts at a Crafter's Mall. We proved that there was a demand for our items and that people were willing to buy them. But we rarely got to meet any of 'our customers' - something was missing.
While living in New York and starting around 2002, Patti began networking with Crafters from all over the country. This turned out to be a major 'dot'. We had experienced selling our crafts in a Crafter's Mall along side of other crafters and we couldn't keep up with the demand. We thought about doing Craft Shows or finding another store in New York where we could sell our Crafts. We even thought about having our own Crafts Store - and our house was zoned for a business. But it just didn't work out. We continued to make crafts - saving them for a rainy day and occasionally giving them as gifts to family and friends.
Then in 2004 we moved back to Pennsylvania (we're both originally from this area). A few years later we joined some friends and entered a Craft Show. There was still a demand for our crafts and people were still willing to buy them. In a way this turned out to be a 'dot' also. As some of you know, a 1 or 2 day Craft Show takes a lot of preparation: making a lot of crafts in advance, packing them and loading them, driving to the Craft Show, unloading, unpacking and setting up the display, and so on and so on. But at least you got to meet your customers.
So we didn't really like the idea of a Crafter's Mall or Craft Shows - although we learned a lot from both of them. We did enjoy the many Craft Shops and other businesses we visited over the years as customers and we knew that was the ultimate way to share our love of crafts.
We realized that we had the Passion for making crafts - for years we made them for the joy of making them - we weren't selling most of what we made. And all those Craft Shops, general stores and restaurants - all those places Patti and I visited over the years that I've been telling you about in previous postings - those were all 'dots' that we connected and assembled into our Vision of the Craft Shop experience we wanted to share with friends.
So somewhere between the time we moved to Millersburg and around March of 2006, after walking past our Summer Kitchen countless times we said 'This is it - this is our Craft Shop!' This was also going to take a lot of work just to get the building ready - the best thing the prior owners did for us was put on the Tin roof and the porch. But right inside the door, the floor was missing - so were most of the walls. And you could watch the sun set through the old siding. We'd need a lot of time, materials and tools to get this Craft Shop ready - but we already had the most important tools waiting for us - our Passion for making crafts and our Vision of the Craft Shop experience...
Thursday, April 23, 2009
What a beautiful weekend ahead for Central PA.
Friday, April 17, 2009
And this is what Dexter and Howie did today.....spending time enjoying the sun and fresh air in their kennel.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
At the end of my last Posting I said there is one more place and experience that I will share with you before I connect all the dots and complete the story of our Journey from There to Here. I gave you 2 clues about where that place is: 1) Patti already mentioned it in one of her postings and 2) this place has the following motto: 'That The Future may learn from The Past.' Did anyone figure out that I am talking about Colonial Williamsburg?
Our 25th Wedding Anniversary was in September 2004. I had planned our Anniversary celebration back in March of 2004. Patti and I always wanted to visit Colonial Williamsburg and we decided to spend our Anniversary week there. By starting to plan for this in March, I'd have plenty of time to reserve the perfect place to stay in September. When I checked out their website it didn't take me long to find the room where we would stay for our week in Colonial Williamsburg - and I mean IN.
If you've ever been to Colonial Williamsburg, you may know that they offer 'Authentic Historic Area accommodations' - Colonial Houses for the most part. They are described as follows: 'A rare way to experience the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia, the Colonial Houses offer 26 period accommodations in the Historic Area, where our founding families once lodged. Each with a unique history and appeal of its own, some guest houses are as small as one room within a tavern, others as large as 16 rooms.
Scattered throughout the Historic Area, many survey courtyards, charming gardens, or Duke of Gloucester Street, Colonial Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare. Furnished with authentic period reproductions and antiques, some Colonial Houses offer wood-burning fireplaces and canopy beds, others include sitting rooms.'
Wood-burning fireplace? Alrighty then. I told the person making the arrangements for me that I needed one of the Colonial Houses that had a wood-burning fireplace. He flipped a few pages in his book and said 'Chiswell-Bucktrout Kitchen'. I looked on the website and this is what I saw:
The Chiswell-Bucktrout Kitchen is located next to the Chiswell-Bucktrout House. It has one room with a queen canopy bed and a fireplace. It has a private, full bath. Eighteenth-century kitchens were detached from the main house to prevent the spread of food odors and extreme heat and to reduce the risk of fire.
OK - so we were set. We were going to stay in an old kitchen in Colonial Williamsburg for the week of our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
Once again, there is too much to tell you about Colonial Williamsburg - if you've ever been there you know what I mean. If not, just have a look at their website: http://www.history.org/. Patti and I were able to experience life in the 18th century for a week. We experienced a slower pace; a simpler time. We saw a printer using an old printing press to create pages for books and newspapers. We saw a blacksmith making tools from iron and steel. We saw a carpenter making chairs and tables. We saw bricks being made and dried in a kiln to be used for buildings.
We saw a lot of things being made by hand - with tools that were made by hand.
Patti and I had just moved into our old (1860) house here in Millersburg in September - the day before we left for Colonial Williamsburg. When we looked at the house and property before we bought it we barely noticed anything but the Brick house itself - of course we saw the separate building next to the house - we had to walk past it to get to the house - but with all the unpacking we had to do after returning from Colonial Williamsburg, we didn't really think much about it until after we'd been living here for a while. Once in a while we'd open the door and look inside - it was in pretty bad shape. But it had a cool porch that was in good shape. Patti asked me if I knew what this building was - I told her I thought it was a summer kitchen...
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Well the wind did not keep our customers away...we had an awesome day here at The Brickhouse. A big Thank You to our loyal customers and our new customers. We had so much fun in the shop today....started at 9:30 this morning when one of our customers/friend stopped by the shop..I was still getting ready for the day and the shop wasn't even open yet...I opened the shop for our customer and I excused myself and went back into the house to finish drying my hair! Today is the first day of trout season....we had a guy walk into the shop wearing waders and carrying a fishing rod in one hand and wet socks in the other. I was talking to some customers and Tim walked over to the fisherman. I finish with the customers and walk over to Tim...Tim says to me that this man needs a dryer....I am thinking WHAT? Did Tim say he needed a dryer? I am standing there just smiling and trying to figure out what Tim really did say to me...yes he did say "dryer"...I smile and say to the fisherman...ok I can put your socks in our dryer and dry them for you...he says well it isn't just the socks...his jeans were soaked..he fell in the stream. Ok, so now I am still smiling and thinking "sure I can dry your jeans too" But I am picturing this guy standing naked in our shop with just his waders on. We asked him what size jeans he wore..he tells us and yeah he wears the same size as Tim! Tim and I go in the house and get him a pair of Tim's jeans and a pair of socks. We told the young man to keep them! He could not believe that we were so kind to him...we did feel bad for him..he told us that he walked up from the stream which is probably a good mile walk..he stopped along the way at other houses and asked if he could use their dryer...everyone turned him down...not sure what made him keep walking to our shop but he did and we were glad we could help him out...Tim ended up driving him back to the stream so he could meet up with his buddies and continue his fishing. We hope he stayed dry and caught lots of fish. We did have a laugh about it today..it was funny. We are thinking of adding a laundromat onto The Brickhouse.....think how much money we could make..especially during trout season!!
Tim's mom, sister and brother in law stopped by to visit us today at The Shop...Chris my favorite sister in law helped me undecorate a tree and then redecorate it..it was a job I had been putting off... but having Chris help me it made the job much more fun! Some of the lights on the tree had burned out and I really needed to get new lights on the tree and we did it...THANKS CHRIS for your help!
Our email has been out all day..not sure if it is because of the wind. I really need to get some emails out to our crafters/wholesalers..lots of empty spaces in the shop today....busy busy day! I have a feeling I will be up late tonight working on getting orders out for new goodies for The Brickhouse..got to keep our customers happy and coming back.
I hope you all are having a great weekend. Stop by our porch again and we can chat.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Thought I would share some new goodies that we have here at The Brickhouse. In my earlier post today I mentioned about the pottery from Bob at Indian Trail Pottery....here are some pictures of it...LOVE IT!
Here are some pictures of stars and birdhouses that Tim made for our customers. The wood was saved from when we renovated the summer house into our craft shop. The wood is about 150 years old, some of the wood is from the siding, the lath and the floor. Tim's birdhouses are very popular. I love them and can never have enough of his birdhouses for my gardens!
Our friend, Tarrah, who is the wife of Bob the Potter made these amazing cinnamon eggs. They smell so good and they are great...I am sorry that my pictures do not do them justice. You have to stop by The Brickhouse and see them..AWESOME. Good job Tarrah! By the way, the bowl was made by Bob of Indian Trail Pottery...love his pottery!
We LOVE these carrots and so do our customers! Awesome carrots made by our friend and super crafter, Teresa. http://teresasprimtreasures.blogspot.com/ Tim and I told Teresa she can never retire...The Brickhouse would be lost without her talent...THANK YOU Teresa for being a big part of our Shop!
Thanks for stopping by the Porch! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
I love it! Great job Bob!
I better finish my cup of tea and get a start on the day. I hope you all have a great day. Come back to the Porch later today and we can catch up on the latest happenings here at our Shop.