My Winterberry Farm Primitives Shop Blog

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Big Update on shipping and insurance! All prices for antiques and accessories will include insurance AND free domestic shipping on all items. Larger items will be shipped parcel post except for antiques and accessories like lanterns that have glass inserts unless you would rather have me ship priority mail. I will include a 'priority mail shipping option' for all items over 5 lbs that will appear in the shopping cart feature that can be added to your invoice. All items will be packed with either crumpled paper, air pockets, or styrofoam peanuts for safe shipping. International shipping will be discounted so everyone can benefit from my decision to offer free domestic shipping.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dried Goods Being Added for the Fall Season

Some of the dried goods that will be added to my website starting with the August Update at the end of this month. I hope to start adding bulk packages of pre-mixed potpourri and oils too!

My August 2016 Update!

My August update will be on August 31, 2016 at 3 pm EST. I used to send out emails to all of those on my email update list with pictures and information on some of the featured antiques in the update but I will be now using this blog to feature those antiques. Included in this post are just a few of the antiques that I found for you this month. They include a wonderful set of 18th century leather bound books from 1773 that would look wonderful in your home or add to your collection of early books. Next is a 19th century shoulder yoke in the most wonderful original blue paint. I have hung it on the side of an early grain painted cupboard that makes that blue color pop and look great. Next is a pair of Civil War era sunglasses with green lenses, turn pin style frames and solid beaver tail ends. These are not prescription lenses but were used to keep the sun out of the soldiers' eyes on the battlefields, were considered soothing, and were also supposed to soothe upset stomaches and ulcers. Their original case is included and they were made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Next is a mid 18th century deer hide small trunk or document box that has its original hinges, beautiful lock box, and the complete interior paper covering. The covering is covered in religious sermons and then a flowery vine was added over the sermons. It was made by Dudley Johnson who was a trunk maker in London, England and his advertisement is complete and inside the top of the trunk. For my early lighting fans out there, this is a circa 1800 tin double crusie fat lamp that would have been filled with animal fat for a smoky and not very bright light. These tin crusies were made well into the early part of the 19th century as inexpensive lighting. Finally, is this wonderful, amazing, small personal water pail or 'canteen' from New England in its original green paint. It has a top spout made of pewter with its original wood plug and the initials of the owner in black paint on the front of the canteen. It has a metal handle with those rounded 'ears' at the top and it very well may be a Shaker piece. Not shown in this post are a red painted Shaker covered milk pail with a hinged top and a many other wonderful offerings that will be available at on August 31st at 3pm EST. Starting with this update, all items will be sold with free domestic shipping. I will be shipping most items either priority mail or first class through the USPS. Insurance will be added to those items valued over $50.00 and a small handling fee will be added to each item's price. This will cover the cost of packing materials and, in some instances, the cost of the box.

Monday, February 15, 2016

More info on Winterberry Farm Primitives' new look!

Hello and welcome to Winterberry Farm Primitives' shop blog! I have spent the last 3 weeks changing host sites, updating, and improving my website. If you are not on my newsletter update list - you can email me at to add your name and email address. Once a month, I will send out my new Update Newsletter where I will show you some of the new antiques and accessories that will be in the monthly update along with some fun facts and information.
I love the new look for my online shop - Winterberry Farm Primitives - and how easy it is to now navigate the different categories! All of the antiques and accessories in my shop can now be seen as large pictures on one continuous page in each sub-category. No more clicking through to more pages, no more small pictures as the first two pictures in each offering, and an easy way to see all of the newly added items. If you scroll down the home page, you can see all of the items available in each category and all you have to do is click on the picture to be taken to that particular antique or accessory.
Once you decide to make a purchase and go to your shopping cart, the screen is much bigger and the information is very clear. I am now also accepting credit cards directly through my website through STRIPE along with still accepting PayPal payments, checks, and money orders.
As for layaways, the rules are the same as with my old website and I will list them here along with them being available on my website: If you would like to put an item on my 60 day layaway plan, please add that information to the comments box. I will send you an invoice with the first of three equally split payments. That first payment is non-refundable so if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to email me at: The second payment will be due 30 days after the first invoice has been sent with the third and final payment due at the 60 day point. I will add shipping costs to that third invoice and will ship as soon as I receive your final payment. These rules are also available under 'Offline Payments' in the Shopping Cart feature and in the 'About Us' category on the home page.

Paint, Paint, Paint continued...

It has been a while since I have had time to sit down and add to my blog but today is a cold and blustery day in February so time to update my blog and add some pics. I have been busy since my last blog painting and stenciling and getting my home ready for Christmas 2015. Yes, I know! It is now February 2016 but what a great time to take some time to hopefully inspire you to paint and stencil your home!
Here is my foyer after I had a chance to stencil a border around the top and sides of the walls. It took me a while to decide to paint the walls such a dark color but once I did, I knew that I would love it! I then added stencils in colors that were also bold and bright to add definition and drama to the entry into my home. This is the first thing you see when you walk into my home and I wanted to make you smile as soon as you walk in the door. Click on each pic to enlarge it in a separate window.
Make a right turn and you will see not only that picture of a young General Lafayette but you can sneak a peek up into my living room. The large country secretary in the corner filled with 18th century books and pieces of ephemera may have been found in the library of a late 18th century gentleman. Of course, this secretary is more primitive and from the early 19th century but I think it makes a statement and adds to the atmosphere that I hoped to create. The fact that I can have so many pieces of furniture in my large foyer was one reason why we bought this home. Yes, it is a late 1980's development home but the potential - even 30 years ago - was infinite! When we first walked into this home on a long day of house hunting all those years ago, we stepped on a vinyl linoleum floor and looked up the gold carpeted stairs to a living room covered in more gold carpet and bright, boring white walls. As you advance up the stairs, you will get glimpses of not only this main room but can see into my kitchen. That wall of 18th century chestnut wood draws your eye towards the back of the room and that makes it look larger than it is in reality. I know I have said this before but we were so lucky to have found this wall of 18th century wood but I just recently found out that the dealer who sold this wonderful paneling to me has passed away after a long battle with cancer. So it means even more to me every time I walk into this room. The paneling was in bad shape when we bought it with many different layers of paint on it because it was from one of the oldest homes in Amherst, NH but the back of the paneling is still unpainted and since it is nailed onto battens and not directly to the wall, we have preserved that side of the wood. I love decorating it and also that old 18th century door with its original latch. I think it also adds to the charm of the room and also gives you the mystery of what may be behind the door.
As you sweep your eye around the room, you see that large corner cupboard that raises your eye to the ceiling making the room seem even larger. When decorating for Christmas, I do not use real greens throughout my home as the resin from cut evergreens can harm the finishes on my antique furniture and will quickly begin to drop needles all over the floors. I love to decorate but also have decided in the last few years to simplify my decorations. Our idea of Christmas with our trees and ornaments only date back to the mid 1800s so I usually only decorate with greens, dried herbs and fruits, and in some instances, fresh fruit but this year decided to bow to convention and added that tall, skinny tree beside the 'door' at the end of the living room. Of course, there is a tree in my great room but that is for my grandchildren. Still no ornaments and a piece of homespun for the tree 'skirt' makes the room shine and come to life.
I've changed things again in this room and I am starting on a different idea of making it more of a woman's room by bringing my collection of early hetchels to the forefront and moving things around...again. The silhouettes have been moved to the foyer and I have added a huge early 19th century basket to my tavern table. Soon there may be a small flax wheel or other implement for working with flax on that table and the huge basket may sit on the floor under the table filled with raw wool ready for working into thread. I've also added a later 18th century ladder back chair and moved my bannister back chair to the great room (pics of that room coming soon!) This is just a first picture of what is to come but I am loving it already! What do you think? Oh! and that large game/fowl board that you see hanging over the is an early 19th century Pennsylvania piece and may be in my February 2016 Update...
More pics coming soon of this corner of the living room! I am working on my great room next and may be adding some antique barn wood to the walls this spring....

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Paint, Paint, Paint!

Good morning everyone! I have been busy lately painting rooms and repainting other rooms in my home. I have visited several historic homes this year with the idea of trying to make my home look more 'colonial' instead of 'primitive' and guess what I found? The colonists loved bright and vibrant colors on their walls to help brighten up their rooms so when we see the dull whitewashed walls or subdued colors in early homes - these are what they look like today 200 or so years after they were built. Williamsburg has a great take on all of this color controversy with their new finds on what colors were actually used back in its heyday with some great information and it is an eye-opener! So! here are just a few pics of my ongoing projects for this fall and winter.The large TV in my orange/salmon painted family room has many wires and cords that need to be disguised so some of the paintable cord covers are on their way and we are planning on adding a chandelier to get rid of the cheap floor lamps that are taking up much needed floor space (I'm always looking for ways to add more antiques!) and I have much more to add to the walls in there. I am also thinking about stenciling that back wall to make it more of a focal point and, of course, we need to add crown molding to the room. More pics will be coming of the family room as I finish it in the next month or so. None are complete yet with the orange/salmon walls in my family room inspired by the late 18th century six-board chest with its snipe hinges and original blue paint and the dark red color of my foyer inspired by one of my favorite Williamsburg colors - Nicholson Store Red. I am also stenciling in the foyer using two colors that are favorites of mine - green and mustard. I cut my own stencils and use waxed stencil paper for ease of cutting and use. I am using the stencils found in the book: "Early American Wall Stencils In Color" by Alice Bancroft Fjelstul and Patricia Brown Schad with Barbara Marhoefer, published in 1982. I am thinking of making that long wall with the painting as my 'focal wall' and hope to figure out a 'wallpaper' pattern using these early stencils. It may take me a while as I like to stencil a pattern and then take some time to 'live' with it before continuing to stencil. That's all for now on these two rooms and I will leave you with just a few pics of my living room and some of the changes in there! Have a great Halloween everyone and I'll be back soon!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MORE Fooling Around and What the Heck is a Milk Bowl?

It has been a crazy busy summer here at 'The Farm' with trying to work around all the rain we have had this year. Just keeping up with the weeding has been almost impossible and now that we are in the process of painting what is now our second guest room...we are exhausted! I do try and spend some time 'playing' and setting up little vignettes around my home as we paint and stencil and move things around. I am still working on making my great room into a tavern room so I have moved in another table to that room - which makes four tables in there now - with the addition of my mid 18th century tavern table. This very early table has at least five coats of paint on it and I have left remnants of all of the colors on it while still allowing the original mustard color to shine through the other layers.
Thankfully down through the years, past owners have not scraped it down to get to the original paint but left it alone to show it's history.It's back legs are heavily tilted - due to wear and tear - making the entire table look like it is resting on a little hill. All original and still sturdy, I think of this table sitting in a public house (tavern) where a gentleman would have sat to write out a letter or to work on some of his papers while he travels. There is still plenty of room on the table for his dinner and a nice glass of rum or wine while he works on his papers. This vignette sits next to the large fireplace for warmth in the winter and away from the hot areas around the windows but close to the coolness of the brick fireplace for summer.
I added an early 19th century chair in its original red paint and doesn't it look comfy? A nice wide seat with great support around the back of the chair would allow the traveler to either sit back and relax taking in the hustle and bustle of a public house or pull his chair in close to the table and work on his papers in relative peace. Then the question becomes 'What would a gentleman have encountered as he entered the tavern and wound his way to the table in the back?' Would there have been paper available? Would there have been an inkwell or master ink sitting on the table waiting for him? What about lighting? How do I set up my gentleman's work table vignette so it is as authentic as possible? Inkwells and paper may have been made available by the tavern owner - for a few pennies - or the gentleman may have had a traveling inkwell set or a traveling desk that he could use. I am using a Samuel Silliman master inkwell on my table and it has one cut down quill and two uncut quills ready to be used for writing. Samuel Silliman lived and worked in Chester, CT in the early to mid 19th century. He is considered to be one of the best (if not the best) inkwell maker in the United States during this time. All of his treen inkwells were made in his factory in Chester, CT and each one was then faux painted and stenciled with various stencils that include the small stylized eagle that is on this particular master inkwell. The two original glass inserts are complete with no cracks or chips in them and the inkwell itself is in fabulous shape. This fabulous inkwell is available on my website under my 'Early Antiques' button
Since this is an early to mid 19th century inkwell (with this one circa 1850), there would have been a pewter, redware, stoneware, or other treen inkwell used in the late 18th to very early 19th century available for the gentleman to use in the tavern. Lighting would also have been made available by the tavern owner - for a few pennies - and hogscrapers or other utilitarian candleholders would have been used if needed for extra light. Lanterns and other larger pieces of lighting would not have been used on tables or desks. As I continue to research my gentleman's writing table in a public house, items will change and maybe even the location of the table will change. Who knows! I may remove that dry sink in the corner and add another table to this room! How I love to 'play' in this room! As I continue to 'play around' in my tavern room, I decided to also make room for a small area where I can display some 18th and early 19th century forms of cooking and food preparation items. I used to cook in my fireplace several years ago when we first added this room to our home but in recent years, I have let that part of my winter fun to get away from me. Finishing my Masters degree and working on a PhD - both in Agriculture and then working in Ag Biotech for several years - changed my focus for several years but now that I have retired, I can get back to having fun learning about and experiencing life in colonial America. The second part of my title 'What the Heck is a Milk Bowl' is a question that I have had for many years. I can remember watching my grandparents working in their dairy in Cairo, WV when I was a little kid and loved watching and being close to the cows and other farm animals. Of course, now that I am older and collect primitive antiques, I have often heard about 'milk bowls' and 'butter buckets'. At first, I thought that this was just a name given to antiques by those of us who collect them today but of course, as with many other things, there is a reason for these names. A 'milk bowl' - be it redware, yellowware, stoneware, or pottery - is a common term when referring to deep bowls of this size and shape.
This redware milk bowl is sitting on a zinc lined dry sink in my tavern room with some butter churns and butter buckets sitting in front of it. It is available for sale here on my website: On family farms, milk bowls were kept in 'milk rooms' that were usually built in onto the northern sides of barns to keep them cool. These rooms had whitewashed plaster walls and stone floors because it was easy to scrub and clean the stone floors and lime-washed walls in these rooms. The milk bowls were placed on clean and scrubbed wooden shelves or benches and then filled with raw milk. Milk was allowed to stand at least over night in these bowls to allow the cream to rise to the top of the milk. A small elongated redware, treen, or pottery plate was then used to scrape off the layer of cream from each milk bowl, collected into a 'butter bucket' and then when enough cream was collected, it was poured into a butter churn to make butter. A good 15 to 20 minutes of rapid 'churning' would change the sound of the cream in the butter churn and once it started to 'thump' you could be assured that it was almost to the point of turning into butter.
If you have time and want to learn more about butter making and general housewifery in times past, a good series to watch from England is the Historic Farm series where two archaeologists and a historian take on living in different time periods for a year at a time. My favorites are called Tudor Monastery Farm and Tales From the Green Valley Watch them if you can, you will become hooked! That is it for now! We are heading to New England next week on a buying trip to find more goodies for my shop Winterberry Farm Primitives so keep reading and remember to watch the English Historic Farm series until my next blog!