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Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Could use a Little Good News Today"

 I'm sorry for the long absence again.  I don't know if my chaotic lifestyle is really suited to blogging or not.  But I enjoy writing so when the urge strikes I enjoy blogging.  And life has been extremely chaotic recently.  Since I'm not particularly fond of online complaining by myself or anyone else I tend to avoid posting ~ I would hate to sound whiny or negative.  But when you avoid posting...sometimes you forget to post the good things too.  And there have been some really great things for our little business.  So I am going to get caught up with all the Good News.

Good News From North Country Rustics:

I've been carving again!  And it makes me smile!  Here are some of my latest projects out of the workshop.  Lots of photos...  That's what I get for not blogging enough!

Hand Carved, Hand Painted Screen Doors

Hand Carved, Hand Painted Wall Hangings

and Hand Painted Hand Saws

Our Facebook page has recently hit 700 Likes!!!  I can hardly believe the amazing response to our work.  

Maybe it's because I'm not the only one who has noticed that buying small, local, hand crafted just makes more sense than buying junk from big box stores and then buying it again in just a few months.  Even Facebook and Pinterest seem to be on the Hand Crafted Band wagon!
I'll post again....soon ~ I promise!  Next post will be about our first North Country Rustics Open House!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Lessons

Mother's Day has come and gone with the usually flurry of flowers and greeting card advertisements.  I'm sure most Mom's were just as happy with their gifts as I was with mine (Chocolate Breakfast in Bed! Heaven!!!) or the gift I gave my Mom ~ A hibiscus plant she'd been longing for.  But now that they day has past it leaves me wondering about the lessons we learn and the lessons we teach as Moms.

We all have this idealized thought of Motherhood.  The baby sweetly cooing in our arms.  The angelic faces sleeping in their beds.  Visits to Grandma for fresh baked cookies.

And sometimes you do get lucky and show up at Grandma's after baking has occurred.  But who could have envisioned Grandma playing Wii with the Grandkiddies?  Who could have understood the stresses that the Modern World would put on Mother's?

Okay, so maybe it's always been stressful.  Maybe we were warned.  I don't remember a warning... but Maybe.  So how do I as a Mom still teach the values I want my children to have, how do I as a child value the lessons my Mother taught to me?  It's a balancing act worthy of the Circus but it is something I attempt everyday.  Because being a Mother doesn't exclude anyone from being a Child.  I belong to my Mother (no matter my age ~ 37 for those keeping track) and my children belong to Me (no matter their ages: 9, 13, 16 ~ Whew!)

In the End ~ That is the lesson I want to teach.  Belong.  Find where your heart calls home and then Belong. It's so simple, and so indescribably difficult.  To Belong gives you yesterday and tomorrows.  To Belong gives you encouragement and protection.  To Belong is a constant challenge and an amazing reward.

I hope that you find your place to Belong.  Today and Everyday.

Today's Post was Inspired by the Fine Folks at Folk!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Jingling Bell ~ Cherished Inheritance

I've recently become very taken with all things over at Folk Magazine so I am super excited to join Folk Magazine's 2013 Community Journal Challenge.  As usual I'm a little late jumping on the bandwagon but... better late than never right?
This week's challenge: Cherished Inheritance.
Hubby and I have filled our little cabin on the hill with inherited items ~ some might say we've overfilled it!
So the Challenge here: Choosing Just One to Cherish!  Hubby has a Moon and Stars nick knack collection from his Grandmother that holds a special place in his heart.  He has all the saws, axes, and peaveys that his grandfather and his father handed down from their days of logging the Adirondacks ~ before the invention of motors and chainsaws.  He guards those tools like most people guard their money!  But those tools are connection to his roots that he treasures.  Some wives might get a bit irritated but I have just as many "treasures" as he does.

Like my rocking chair!  I rocked all of my children in that little rocking chair, just as my mother had rocked me, and her mother rocked her.  Generations of Love have been handed down in that chair and I guard it for the day that my grandchildren will be rocked to sleep in the comfort of that old rocking chair.  When I first thought of cherished inheritance it was my rocking chair I thought of... but overnight I remembered a tiny little bell that I had only very recently inherited and my eyes filled with tears yet again.
My Love Story with this bell begins when I was just a child.  My grandparent's house sat up on the top of the biggest hill I had ever seen.  When we would visit the uphill drive seemed like an adventure for our old car and the old farmhouse seemed like a castle to me.  As a child I was sure it had a hundred windows!  My grandparents raised 7 children in that large farmhouse including the youngest ~ my mother.  I would scramble out of the car and look at the barns and garages waiting to be explored with Grandpa and the garden in back looked like a magical fairyland to my curious eyes.  But as tempting as those adventures seemed I would always head for the house first...To hear the bell.

The bell hung over their entrance way door.  A parent's device to keep track of 7 kids coming and going.  Over the years each child had mastered the knack of opening the door in just the right way to stop the bell from announcing their past curfew arrival but I loved opening the door as quickly as possible to get the loudest jingle from that little bell. 
That bell sounded like happiness to me because I knew that just a few steps away I would be wrapped in the arms of my short and oh so sweet Grandmother.  Grandpa would tousle my hair and get me a few M&M's from his candy dish.  The kitchen was always warm and smelled like home cooking and inside the living room was a cupboard filled with games.  It was a magical place ~ and the magic started with the happy jingling of that little bell.
My grandparents passed, the farmhouse was torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart.  And the little bell was lost to me.  This past spring my Aunt Rosie became ill and passed very unexpectedly a few weeks later.  We were shocked and saddened by her death.  My mother set to the task of sorting through Aunt Rosie's cherished inheritances and finding homes for all of her treasures.  One day as I helped my mother sort through the keepsakes I lifted an old bell and heard that happy little jingle.  The sound filled my heart with such happy memories during a time of such heartache.  I held the bell to my heart as tears flooded my cheeks.  My mother was taken back by my reaction to the bell she quietly said, "I wasn't sure you would even remember that bell."  That bell was a symbol for me of our family's love for each other, of home, of peace.  While it represents my past it also represents my dreams for the future.  I hope someday that happy little bell will jingle over the door to a little North Country Rustics store.  I hope that it announces the arrival of Rustic Friends and Treasured Family, and the comings and goings of my 3 children.
Where Cherished Memories of the Past
And Dreams for the Future meet
You will hear my Happy Jingling Bell. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Best of 2012

It's that time of year...TAX TIME!  Yuck!  So I settled in yesterday with my pile of receipts and began the sorting.  However, it wasn't long until I was sidetracked.  Each receipt was a sale from my little "crazy as a loon ~ start a business in the worst economy ever" business!  Certainly Donald Trump has nothing to fear from North Country Rustics but I am definitely more proud of my sales that he is of his.  Each of my sales is designed and created by me or my talented hubby.  Each piece is crafted with our client's wishes in mind.  I was so overwhelmed by all the amazing clients we've had the privledge of working with last year that I've decided to do a photo journal of all of our 2012 projects.   Each project was special, some were so unexpected, some were really challenging, but all of them were so much fun.  Thank you my Rustic Friends!




Saturday, January 19, 2013

Common Sense Advice for Facebook Success

Success in Facebook is easy, right?  Sure if you have a large company and marketing department.  But small businesses are often 1 person operations and no single person is an expert at everything.  We all need help.  I've had a few people ask me to give them advice on how to be a Facebook Success.  I've also offered advice to those who haven't asked ~ but it comes from a place of best wishes.  I just want to share the things I didn't know when I started.  Help others to avoid some common missteps.  I don't know if everyone would consider my Facebook page to be successful but I have acquired a group of friends who actually like and care about my little business.  To me, that is success!  
So here are 10 of my Common Sense Advice Tips and Tricks:
  • Spelling!  People will actually unlike your page if you have misspelled words often.  It makes you seem uneducated and unprofessional.  We all do our fair share but are easily forgiven if it’s an obvious typo.  Too many misspelled or incorrectly used words are noticeable.  If in doubt Google the word it’ll ask you…do you mean? Then you’ll have the right spelling.
  • Welcome!  Yes, it does get repetitive but they took the time to like your page so appreciate it.  And their friends might see that you welcomed her/him and they might join too.
  • Like!  You probably have favorite pages that you’ve followed for years ~ Like that page through your business page.  And post on their timeline that you have.  Don’t get carried away and do 100 in a day.  My rule of thumb: 1 a day.  It keeps you looking sincere and not like a spammer.
  • Comment!  Chances are you’ve got something to say about posts from your favorite pages so “Like” the post and “Comment” using your page.  It’s an easy way to get Facebook links and to get noticed by people with similar interests to yours!  But remember; if you can’t say something nice…don’t comment at all!  You don’t want to become known as negative! 
  • Link! Link! Link!  Facebook has a great shortcut for links ~ when you type your business name you want it to turn blue so type @yourbusinesspage  ~ A box will appear offering you choices of different pages…choose yours and voila ~ the blue link you’ve been waiting for will appear in the post.  You can also do this when you welcome new pages to yours.  BUT you can only link once per page, per post.
  • Link with preview!  If you are leaving a comment and you want to link back to your page copy the entire web address of your page and paste it into the link.  It looks ugly but after you post it will display a nice sized page preview.
  • Post!  Why have a page if you’re not going to post?  3 times a day ~ that is the magic number.  Too many more than that and people will hide you from their newsfeed.  Also, they liked your page!  They want to see your product or service!  Not your Pinterest or re-posts of other posts/status updates.
  • Post about??? So what should you post about?  You and your products/services with PICTURES!  Post a picture or a link with every post.  It makes your posts much more likely to be seen.  Post Welcomes once or (if you’ve had a very busy day) twice a day.  Post about any events your attending, new products, sales or promotions, location hours, blog pages you host, etc.  It can sometimes be a challenge to find new things to say but remember you have new likes that didn’t see it before!
  • Albums!  Organize your photos in easy to search albums.  Use broad categories that you can add photos to later.  This was one area where I did it SO WRONG and then had to fix my mistakes!  I make custom rustic screen doors.  So I made a new album for every door.  This made it incredibly hard to find all the designs that I had to offer.  To fix the mistake I made one album titled Rustic Screen Doors.  Now all my designs are in one easy to browse location.
  • Patience!  You can rack up huge amounts of followers/fans/friends on Facebook but it probably won’t happen overnight.  More importantly are they really interested in your product or are they empty likes?  An “empty like” gives you nothing in return ~ no sales, no interaction, no feedback.  The whole goal of Facebook pages is to be a part of their “social networking”.  Remember, be social.
Good luck!  And be sure to let me know if this was helpful in anyway.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rustic Life

Have you ever made a comment to someone else and realized you've never said anything so true before.  I have.  The other day on Facebook I said ~ "Reminds me Why I love this Rustic Life!" ~ Suddenly I realized that I DO love my Rustic Life.  But how does one become Rustic?  For me it started when Baby #2 forced us to change our living arrangements.  We decided if we were going to build we wanted to build a log cabin.  After much planning and the birth of  Baby #2 we finally started building our Cabin on the Hill.

The Very Beginning
This was our first set of delivered logs.  As you can see they arrived flat on top and bottom but unpeeled.  My father-in-law (who was logging the Adirondacks at the tender age of 12) taught us all how to peel the bark off the logs.  A simple but time consuming task in warm weather...a nearly impossible task once the winter cold sets in.

Freshly Peeled Hemlock

We were so happy when we saw how pretty the Hemlock was once it was peeled.  And we felt so proud of what we had accomplished...Litte did we know that we'd have to repeat the process for a dozen more times!  And then log stacking began!
So what happens to a partially completed cabin when you run out of sunny summer days?  You Tarp it to protect it from the Northern NY Snow...
And then you spend the winter cleaning off the snow before it rips the "temporary" roof!
The Sunny Days returned with a Vengence in April!  Bringing temps in the 90+ range!  So Hubby took his vacation time and work resumed!  I was amazed by how much the skeleton crew got done in such a short time.
It wasn't long before they were ready to put up the 2nd floor joists...at least that's how it feels now.  Back then every accomplishment seemed to take forever.  But handcrafting every log is a time consuming process and it goes without saying... a ton of hardwork!
Of course, the ladies worked hard too!  Here's what we liked to refer to as "Another Peeling Party". 
I got to be quite handy with the boom truck!  And I have to say...I loved every minute!
Of course the log delivery is the easy part of the job... Not long after this picture was taken Hubby's chain on his chainsaw broke.  It flew up past his face parting his beard as it flew by.  After his brush with death Hubby called a lunch break, and then put a new chain on and went back to work. 
There are so many things wrong with this construction photo...safety violations everywhere but with my brother on one ladder and Hubby clinging like Spiderman the last of the logs were put in place.
Rafters made our log pile finally look like a home.
For those of you who don't know my Dad he is notoriously afraid of heights.  So this photo below is what Love looks like.  My Dad and My Hubby hard at work 32 feet in the air!
Add Windows, Doors, and a Metal Roof and Voila! You have a Cabin!  (By Voila I mean it took us 18 months of constant hardwork in every spare moment and tons of help from our family and our friends.  And Voila!!!)
That was the beginning of our "Rustic Life".