Friday, June 26, 2009

To Paradise and back

Yesterday Tim and I had a date and it was so nice..nice and relaxing. We drove down to Paradise...a small town outside of Lancaster. We needed to pick up a few things at The Amish Trader, a wholesale store. Then we went next door to Cackleberry Antique Mall.After the antique shop we went to IN GRANDMA'S ATTIC in Kinzers..Love that store especially the barn out back filled with lots of goodies!
On the way to Paradise we drove off the beaten path...we do this a lot. We love taking the "scenic drive" and let me tell was scenic! We left our home and got on RT 501 to 322 in Brickerville...drove through that town! Then we decided to take Route 897 to Route 30...what a nice drive. I had my camera with me but I never did take any pictures. I was too busy just looking at everything and soaking in the beauty of the area. Tim and I were so impressed with how beautiful all the yards and gardens were. And the Amish were busy cutting hay ( I think it was hay!) and also planting. We saw an Amish family planting PLANTS of some kind in a big field. The dad was riding on an Amish piece of machinery driven by HORSEpower. It looked like this machine was making a hole in the dirt, then the Amish children were taking a plant and placing it in the hole. It was a hot day in PA yesterday and these kids had to have been hot and was a big field. We left IN GRANDMA'S ATTIC and got back on Route 897 and headed back to Ephrata. Tim found a restaurant in Ephrata on the Internet that he wanted to check out, LILY'S ON MAIN...SO glad he found it! It was so nice....
We were seated by a window which overlooked the Main Street of Ephrata.
We spent a couple of hours there....enjoying a bottle of wine, appetizers, salad, meal and of course cappuccino and dessert...It was SO GOOD. The owner Steve Brown came out to our table a couple of times to talk with us..nice guy. We found out that he was a drummer in a band as was Tim! We could have talked all day with him...really personable guy. AND the food was so good...that meal ended up being our only meal for the day...too full to eat anything else the rest of the day! We will make sure we dine there again when we are in the area.

After we left Lily's we headed to Espenshade's greenhouse. Every Spring my Mother-in-law and I take a day and drive to Espenshade's and fill my Jeep with plants and I am not kidding..we fill it!! Well this year we never made it down there so I told Tim I had to stop in and get some plants...Now I know why we go in the Spring...there was not much left to choose from...but I did get some good deals on some Perennials...Now I have to find some time today to plant them...find time before it gets hot again!

I need to get out in the gardens and do some planting and tidying up before it gets too hot...and I need to open the Brickhouse Craft Shop. I hope you all have a nice relaxing weekend.
Thanks for stopping by our porch.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hidden Treasures

Here are some of the treasures that we found hidden in the walls of our old summer kitchen which is now our Craft Shop. This is a piece of wood which we believe was part of a box.
One of the old shoes we found. This is a child's shoe...notice the patch at the heel.
Here is the other shoe we found..this is an adult's shoe.
The bottles we found...I love the little one...wonder what it was used for?

This bottle has the words WIZARD OIL...Hmmmmm?I hope you all are having a nice weekend and if you have some sunshine to spare can you send some our way? It is raining... AGAIN! It is really coming tired of this rain....yesterday was nice but today..UGH! I have a feeling The Brickhouse will not be seeing much business today. While I have been writing this post I have been dealing with a nasty Blue Jay...why the birds are picking on my sparrow family I have no idea..but I am getting tired of playing referee. I was sitting here in the kitchen and heard some birds yelling..birds yell don't they? I went to the porch and there is this big ole Blue Jay with his head in the hole of Mr and Mrs Sparrows home and he is ripping the nest apart..the Sparrows are yelling at him..I go out a number of times to chase him away...If you remember the post I made a few weeks ago about the BLUE Birds picking on the it is the BLUE Jay....Poor sparrows! And to think that BLUE is my favorite color!!!

I better get busy. Tim is out in the Splinter Shop busy making birdhouses for our customers and I have some that I need to paint and until next time...have a great weekend and Please stop by our Porch again.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

8 Door Kitchen

A couple of days ago I posted some pictures of our kitchen. After I posted the pictures I realized that I didn't share some pictures with you......Can you believe that our kitchen has 8 doors...YES 8! This is the first door...this is our "main" door into our kitchen. The door leads to our Craft Shop and the porch of the Craft shop (the porch on the header of our blog).
Doors 2 and 3. The door with the stocking is our pantry and the other door leads upstairs to my craft room.

Close up of the stairs.
And a little hiding spot under the one step!
The latch on the doors to the pantry and upstairs.

This is the 4th door that leads to another porch on the East side of our home. I love watching the sunrise from this porch and Tim and I eat some of our meals on this porch.
And now the WALL OF DOORS! The door on the left leads to our laundry room and bathroom, the next door leads to our basement. Then the next door leads to our hallway and the last door leads into our dining room.So there are the 8 doors in our kitchen!And now some other pictures from our kitchen.
This rug was made by my Grandma "Mom" Hunter.. I love it and I loved her and miss her so muchAnd this is an old chamber pot holding a bird's nest!I hope you enjoyed the tour of our kitchen.


It came!

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted that I won a give away on a blog?
Please check out Benedetta's blog..I love her artwork!
Well, today it came! It was wrapped in nice paper ( I love unwrapping presents!). I love it is

I had trouble taking a picture of this in the house so I ended up taking it on our porch. I really am so happy that I won this...Now I need to find the PERFECT place to hang it...Maybe I should have Tim build me a TROPHY case...since this is the first thing I ever won!

Thank you so much Benedetta.....I pray that you are on the mend and also that your Mom is feeling can be sure that I will be checking your blog OFTEN to see your new artwork.

It has been a very cloudy day here in Central PA. Tim and I were planning on going to Lancaster today and do some shopping at wholesale places and have lunch together....but when I woke up and saw the weather we decided to stay home and do some work around here. We are planning on going to Lancaster next week..can't wait! We found a nice restaurant during one of our trips to Lancaster and we are planning on going back there when we are in Lancaster.

We love this place and I am going to give away a don't tell everyone....when you go there ask to be seated in the WINE CELLAR...It is so nice down there! When we go next week, I will take pictures of our day in Amish Country! Speaking of pictures, I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to share pictures of some of the old items we found behind the walls of the Summer Kitchen. I will work on getting those pictures on our blog and hopefully by the weekend you will be able to see them.

I will be back later with another post and hopefully more pictures. Have a great day and if you have sun shining in your backyard could you send SUNSHINE to us here in Millersburg, PA...PLEASE!?!?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Porch sitting

I decided to take a vacation day today and I was hoping to sleep in..well Mother Nature decided to wake me at 4:30 a.m. We had a thunderstorm blow through with some wicked lightning. Today was a humid day and we just had another storm, hopefully that is the last of the storms.

I was tired of how the porch of The Brickhouse Craft Shop was I rearranged some things. When we have the Shop open we put some of our merchandise on the porch. It has been a windy year here and I am constantly picking up things that blow over and then when we open and close the shop we have to move so many things around. SO from now on all merchandise will be IN the Shop and the porch will be for PORCH SITTING only! I am going to encourage our customers to sit and relax on our porch.
Here are a few pictures I took today.

Thanks for visiting our Porch...please come back again. AND if you visit our Porch please leave us a comment...we have been telling our customers/friends about our blog so if you visit our Porch please leave us a comment..we would love to see that you visited us here at The Porch.


Friday, June 5, 2009

How we got from There to Here.. the conclusion.

Hello folks, it's Tim. Once again, I need to apologize for taking so long to write this posting. If you've been following Patti's recent postings though, you know that I've been a bit busy making bird houses for customer orders. In my last posting I told you how Patti and I finally took notice to the Summer Kitchen on our property and 'discovered' our Craft Shop. I also told you how we realized that it was going to take a lot of work to renovate the Summer Kitchen in order to transform it into the Brickhouse Craft Shop but that we had the most important tools we would need to get the job done: the Passion for making crafts and our Vision of the Craft Shop experience.

Yes, we had the Passion and Vision but so what? Many people have that same Passion and Vision but for one reason or another can't realize their dreams. Before I finish explaining how we got from There to Here, I want to talk a little bit about how we were able to realize our dream of having our own Craft Shop. As I've been telling you about our experiences and the places we've been throughout the years and now as I'm telling you how we got from There to Here, please understand that we're not bragging or showing off. In fact, Patti and I know that we've truly been blessed. First, we were blessed that this property came up for sale at the same time we were looking to move back to Pennsylvania and that we were able to buy it. It was a blessing that the Summer Kitchen was not destroyed. It was a blessing that the former owners put on a new roof and the porch to help protect the building. It was a blessing to find out that this property is zoned as Commercial, which allows us to legally sell items from crafters all over the United States. If it had been zoned Residential, we would have been limited to only selling crafts that Patti and I made on the property. When we decided we wanted to renovate the Summer Kitchen, it was a blessing to be able to find so many local professionals willing to work with us both on the renovation itself and the financing so that we didn't need to take out any long term loans.

So what exactly is our Vision that makes up the Brickhouse Craft Shop experience? This is where all those past postings (and a few other facts) come into play.

The first thing you might notice when you visit us is the building itself. We wanted the Craft Shop to look like some of the old buildings we enjoyed seeing and visiting over the years. I took the old siding off and knew I wanted to replace it with something similar. The old siding was Dutch Lap. This is not the easiest pattern to find in actual wood siding but after an extensive search I was able to find a supplier of Incense Cedar Dutch Lap Siding. Incense Cedar is the same wood used to make the old #2 pencils. It's quite aromatic and you may notice it as you walk into the shop. When you walk into the shop, one of the first things you might notice is the aroma inside the shop. This isn't really anything unique - most craft shops Patti and I visited had some sort of aroma when you first walked in. I would always say to Patti, 'there's that aroma!'. It may have been different in every shop but it was always calming and relaxing. As is the case in most shops, this aroma is a mixture of candles, soaps and other crafts - and now we have our own!

The next thing you might notice is the music. On any given visit, you will likely hear some music that Patti or I discovered over the years that we always thought would be perfect for a craft shop. Remember that music (Deep Breakfast by Ray Lynch) I told you about that we heard in a craft shop in New York? Or the Celtic music (several CD's by Jeomy Wilson) I discovered when we lived in Texas? Or the music (Ten Year Night by Lucy Kaplansky) Patti discovered in New York? This is just a sampling of some of the music you will hear and we feel that it, like the aroma, is calming and relaxing.

If it's a cold day outside, you may notice the gas heater in the one corner. It looks like an old stove and keeps the shop nice and toasty.
If Patti or I are already in the shop, we will greet you. If we're not there yet, just browse a bit and we'll eventually come out and greet you.

Feel free to look around but do take time to look at the wall at the front of the building where you came in. You will notice several old calendars, old receipts and other memorabilia from Masser's Store. And on the center of the wall you will see an old black and white photograph. The man in the center of the photograph is my great grandfather, S.R. Masser. He started Masser's Store and eventually my grandfather, Paul Masser took it over. It then went to my parents. I spent many years working there until I left Pennsylvania to go to a trade school. My grandfather taught me a lot about working in a store and how to treat a customer. Masser's Store was a General Store and was one of those stores where you could catch up with old friends and chat for awhile. You could buy just about anything there too, from washing machines to shoes and any groceries you could think of. I remember getting molasses from a barrel for customers who would bring their own containers. I also used to work in the 'deli' area where we sold meats and cheeses. I will never forget how my grandfather taught me to wait on the customers there. He told me, when you give the customer the meat they ordered, always say '...and what else can I get you?' - never say 'is that it?' - that sounds like you don't want to wait on them and you want them to leave. Patti and I have met so many nice customers, some were friends we already knew and some we met for the first time. We love talking to them and it has been amazing how much time people will spend just chatting. We have a sign outside by the door that says 'Come as customers, Leave as friends' and that is usually what happens. You may also notice that you will not find a clock in the craft shop - the amount of time you spend isn't important - how you spend it is.

Finally, you will notice all the crafts we have in this little shop. Much of this is due to Patti and her networking with crafters from all over the USA. Some of you follow our blog and to you we say THANK YOU! Brickhouse Craft Shop would not exist if the only crafts Patti and I were selling were the crafts we make. Our favorite shops were the ones that had a lot of different crafts that were handmade.

So that pretty much connects the dots for how we got from There to Here. All those mental notes we took over the years, the Passion for making crafts and our Vision of the Craft Shop experience. And to think Patti and I didn't know we would both end up here - we did have a vision I guess, but it needed to grow and develop into what Brickhouse Craft Shop is today. I have often told Patti, 'what we are selling is the experience, what the customer is buying is the craft.' We hope our customers enjoy the experience, whether it be the music, the crafts, or the time they spent chatting with us. We hope that they will do like Patti and I did and take if from Here to There...


Monday, June 1, 2009

Kitchen tour

Thought I would share some pictures of our kitchen. I recently took down the old wallpaper and painted the walls and trim. I also painted the cabinets. I wish I would have taken before pictures because you would not believe how different it looks. The trim and doors were an awful yellow color and the wallpaper was awful, too. The cabinets were brown and I repainted them an off white color. I still want to replace the counter tops and also remove the linoleum on the floors and expose the old wood floors.

The amber bottle at the window was found in the old summer kitchen. It was found behind the old horsehair plaster and lath when we were remodeling the summer kitchen into The Brickhouse Craft Shop. I did a search on the internet and found out that the bottle is an old anchor whiskey bottle. We found other bottles and also some old shoes. I will have to take pictures of those and show them to you.

The window at the kitchen sink looks out towards our herb garden and our Craft Shop. When the shop is open, I can work in the kitchen and be able to see when customers arrive.

I love this picture! See the pottery pitcher...I love it..made by Bob Miller, our potter at our Shop. And I love the lamp....made right here in PA by Irvin's. We sell their products in our shop.
The taller door leads to my craft room upstairs. The door next to it is our pantry. The rocking chair is where Tim's mom loves to sit when she visits. The quilt on the rocker was made by Tim's grandma..I love it!

I hope you enjoyed the mini tour of our kitchen. And for all of you that have been following Tim's blog story...he promised me that he is working on more of our story and will soon post come back to our porch again
and read the rest of the story. I can't wait to read what he writes..he always surprises me.