My Winterberry Farm Primitives Shop Blog

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!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Who else loves to 'play around' in your home?

What a title for this blog! What else to you call it when you move around your antiques to make new little settings in your home? There are times when it is hot outside or it's raining - actually pouring down rain for a couple of days - and you just don't feel like cleaning or baking, right? So...what to do, what to do? I think it is so much fun to rearrange your rooms for a brand new look! I am so very lucky that we have not only antique accessories but we have many pieces of antique furniture in our collections so I can play around all day! Last week as I was getting ready for my June Update and was taking pictures of the antiques that I was adding to my website this month, I looked around my great room and thought it looked boring with everything in 'its place' so I decided to move things around. Now, I have three tables in my great room so when I host family dinners at the holidays we can all sit around antique tables and still all be together. I have to add that there are about 25 family members that usually come to these dinners so sitting around one table just doesn't work for us. I used to use three long 'catering' tables that you can buy at Big Box stores for these dinners and I would position them in a horseshoe so we could all eat at the same table. The amount of jockeying by family members to sit in certain seats around that table was crazy! So I had to do something and using three early tables - one sawbuck, one dropleaf, and one scrubtop table became my tables for the family dinners. When they were not being used for dinners, I would just push the two smallest ones against walls in the room. But! last week I decided to move things around and create some little vignettes and here are some of the results...
I thought that I would make this scrub top table into a working food prep table for my hearth and added some antique rye baskets (available in my June 2015 Update), covered with tea-stained cheesecloth, to the table along with an early 18th century covered tankard that may have held water or beer. That looked OK so I added some potatoes to one of the baskets...
That was OK for a while and I liked what I saw but then we found - and bought - this gorgeous circa 1800 Hepplewhite fall front desk that you see below on a antiquing trip to Lancaster County, PA. Problem was... we actually were looking for a short but wide corner cupboard for our family room that I have been working on since this past spring. We went to a great antique shop called the Old Mill Antique Store in Strasburg, PA to see if they had a corner cupboard we could buy. We found our corner cupboard (it is fabulous!) but then we were walking around waiting for the owner to finish with a customer and I spied what I thought might be a Sheraton fall front desk.... Right about that time, the owner came back and measured the corner cupboard. I was ecstatic! It would fit but we wanted to go home and double check our measurements. Long story short! It was a Hepplewhite desk and yep! you guessed it! We bought it too... When we finally got the desk home after waiting a week for hubby to have a day off work and then renting a U-Haul van to go up and get both pieces of furniture, I had to move furniture and change things around in my living room so we could get that fall front desk in a place of honor. I then added some someof my early pewter to the top and well...I LOVE that fall front desk!
With moving things around came the need to do something with a couple of antique chairs that were sitting in the living room. We had just added those chairs to the other furniture in the great room until this last week when I was bored again...taking pictures and working on pricing is not as fun as finding the antiques.... so I decided to change up the great room again and well...
Here is my early Hepplewhite drop leaf table set for dinner, possibly in an early tavern. The two chairs look great in this vignette so I used this picture to show off that circa 1820 redware charger in my update this month and it sold immediately! Since it is sold, I may add another little pewter plate to the table. Before I sign off, I have to show you the progress on my family room. More on it later but suffice to say - bright wall colors were used in colonial times to bring in the sunlight and brighten a room. You can see my antique corner cupboard and also the 18th century blue painted blanket chest on the right side of the picture and yes...that is my hubby's 60" TV over the blanket chest. LOL! As you can tell, the room is not finished. It needs crown molding and more things on the walls - and and more antiques in the corner cupboard since those blue painted grain measures are now sold but at least I am getting started! That's all for now but I will be back soon with more ramblings and fun stuff!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 12, 2015 - New Ephemera Added to my Etsy Shop!

I have been working on my Etsy shop for the last few weeks and I have added a few new pieces to my inventory. I have always loved early ephemera and books because they give us a view into our past. Late last month, I found a 1795 deed from Lancaster County, PA on early paper not sheepskin or vellum. As I was looking it over before completing my purchase, I saw the signature of a Michael Hubley on the deed.
This indenture, or deed, was for the transfer of land from John and Margaret Cunningham to Jacob and Henry Brenneman and Michael Hubley was the Justice of the Peace that oversaw and signed the indenture in at least two places. He is an ancestor of the Hubley family that opened the Hubley Manufacturing Company in 1894. This is the company that is famous for their cast iron toys. The Brenneman name is a well-known Mennonite family in Lancaster County and both Jacob and Henry Brenneman served in the Revolutionary War.
Michael Hubley was, in 1777, appointed by the supreme executive council a justice of the peace of Lancaster Co., and for some time was the presiding justice of the several courts of the county. His appointment as a Justice of the Peace for Lancaster County was passed in Convention on September 3, 1776 and was signed into law by Benjamin Franklin (President of the Convention). He was re-commissioned a justice of the peace in 1784. For some time during the Revolution he held the position of barrack-master of Lancaster Co. and was listed as a 'soldier' in the military roles of Pennsylvania. He was an acting magistrate of the county for the period of twenty-seven years. During the last 43 years of his life he served the Trinity Lutheran congregation as warden, elder and trustee. He died May 17, 1804. Adam Hubley, a son, entered the Revolutionary army Oct. 27, 1775, as first lieutenant in the First Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Philip De Haas. In 1776 he was promoted to the rank of major of another regiment, and on the 5th of June, 1779, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the "New Eleventh" Pennsylvania Line, to rank from Feb. 3, 1779. He retired from the army Jan. 1, 1781. He served in the Pennsylvania Legislature from 1783 to 1787, and was chosen a member of the Senate in 1790. In 1793 he was appointed auctioneer at Philadelphia, and died of yellow fever the same year. John Hubley, another son, was born at Lancaster on the 25th of December, 1747. He read law with Edward Shippen, and was admitted to the bar in 1769. He was a member of the convention of July 15, 1776, which framed the first Constitution of the State, and served during the same year upon the General Committee of Safety; was appointed commissary of Continental stores Jan. 11, 1777; and on the 5th of April following, prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas, clerk of Orphans' Court, clerk of Quarter Sessions, and also recorder of deeds, part of which offices he held for upwards of twenty years. In 1787 he was a member of the State convention that ratified the Federal Constitution. He died at Lancaster, Jan. 21, 1821. The descendants of the family were prominent in later years, and are still residents of Lancaster.
This deed is fragile and rare with all of its seals intact and signatures of several prominent men of Lancaster County. One little interesting pieces of trivia is the 'mark' of Margaret Cunningham that can be seen in picture #3. She could not read or write and could only make that little round mark. It is two sided and measures 16" x 20" when fully opened.
This is a very interesting piece of history and to find a piece of ephemera that is 220 years old is amazing in itself but to find one that has the added historical significance of the Hubley family is amazing. It is now for sale in my Etsy shop at

Friday, February 20, 2015

Today Friday, February 20th, is My February 2015 Update

Today at 2pm I will be opening my February 2015 Update with a mixture of early German Bibles, some very nice painted antiques, and a whole host of other items. I love early leather bound books and this month I have found some that are absolutely wonderful.
These early books include four songbooks, a Mennonite Catechism, a true 'Luther Bible", and a Catholic Guide to Heaven. Two of the songbooks are mid-19th century German Baptist Church hymnals. This people in this sect are also called 'Dunkers' because their belief in adult baptism that includes complete immersion for their baptism ceremony. Dunkers are an Anabaptist sect and immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1700's with many migrating to other states over the years. Another names for this sect are 'Church of the Brethren' and the 'United Brethren in Christ. These are two wonderful little hymnals.
Another German songbook that will be in today's update is an 1834 Mennonite Songbook for Children with both of its clasps intact and that wonderful raised spine. How fabulous for children to have their own songbook!
This songbook is 181 years old and is in fabulous condition. I love those clasps and to find these early books with their covers and clasps intact is amazing! There is an 1836 'Luther Bible' that is a word for word copy of the original Luther Bible that was a direct translation from the ancient Hebrew and Greek. The first copy was printed in 1534. To see the other leather bound books available in this update, please make sure to check out my website this afternoon - February 20, 2015 at 2 pm EST.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My stock of ephemera is moving to my Etsy Shop!

I have decided to move my stock of ephemera and Civil War era items to my Etsy shop that is called Plantdeva. I started this shop 6 years ago to showcase vintage items that would not fit in with my early antiques and leather books that are in my Winterberry Farm Primitives shop and it will showcase early American ephemera and Civil War antiques. I have almost finished transferring all of my ephemera to Etsy and you can visit that shop by clicking on the link at the top right of this Shop Blog. I will include information on the new additions to my Etsy shop when I send out my Winterberry Farm Primitives monthly update emails but you can always check it out since I add antique ephemera and Civil War items as I find them and won't be having distinct monthly updates. Here is the banner for my Etsy shop - so come on over and take a look at what I have for sale!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Beginning of a Brand New Year!

2015 is here and it has already been a very cold year! I am writing this post as I sit in front of my hearth enjoying the crackle and pop of the fire.
My dogs enjoy this time as you can see from their 'downstairs beds' that are sitting as close to the fire as they can get without burning themselves. We had a wonderful holiday season and are now ready for some changes here at 'The Farm' and will be painting and bringing in more goodies to add to our collections and to add to my shop's monthly updates.
The month of January was my sale month and we had a very good sale thanks to my wonderful customers. I have also re-opened my Etsy shop that will now contain most of my early ephemera that I find on my trips and I will post some of the new stock here on my blog as I find it. For now, just click on the My Etsy Shop link to the right of this post to check out what is listed today. Here are also just a few pics of how we are changing our living room.We have painted the entire room in a dark red to make it more 'formal' and we will soon install the wooden blinds. More changes are coming as I look for the right fabric for the valances for the windows. and finally, a few pictures of the living room with the red paint on the walls. Until next time! Keep warm and be sure to click on a picture to start the slideshow!