Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper....Slipcover blessings!

I just have to share this with you....and there's two points to this one but both have to do with the same thing.  Confused??  Well, hear me out.....

I love slipcovered furniture.  Love the way it just makes you want to dive onto the chair or sofa.  It gives a warm, comfy look to even the saddest looking piece. 
For awhile now, I have wanted a couple of slipcovered pieces in the shop, just for props.  Ever since I saw the Miss Mustard Seed tutorial ( last year I have wanted to slipcover a couple of wing backed chairs.  Love the look of bleached painter's cloth!!!
This past week, I was thinking maybe I could carve out some afternoon hours on the weekend to watch the tutorial again and get started on a chair I already have at home.  Well, the weekend came and went and I felt a bit frustrated because once I get a vision for something in the shop my mind doesn't rest until I do something about it.  What to do?'s the second point that will go with the first once I explain.  We have this precious and incredibly talented couple that makes things and sells them in our shop.  My husband and I marvel at their creativity and ingenuity.  I mean, they ooze talent!!
Last year, Rachel, the wife of this couple, made a couple of slipcovers from watching the same tutorial.  That's the difference....she actually acted on it after she watched it!  AND she has two little ones at home!  They turned out beautifully and I asked her if she would take orders for them if we put a piece in the shop.  Well, that's a tricky thing trying to custom make slipcovers and what about the hauling and, no, she didn't think so and she was right.  But....she is now making and selling in our shop these great pillow slips that she hand stencils, usually with some words of wisdom on them.  People love them!
Tuesday, I was in the shop thinking how I could find some time this week to make those slipcovers and while checking my email....I found one from Rachel.  She was excited because they had just scored a fabulous like new sofa from an online auction.  It was big and would I be interested in taking her slipcovered love seat and sofa to use in the shop!!!!!  I mean....what????  Well, of course I was elated and that night we hauled the two pieces up to the shop and the next day I spent rearranging and decorating.  What a blessing this is!!!
So, here's how things look now with the fabulously slipcovered by Rachel furniture:)
Sweet, huh? And then there's this one....

Love them!!!  Because this is long overdue....I want to post some photos of a few of the things this couple has done.  Well, for starters...see the photo above with the love seat? The coffee table in front of it was made by Chad, the husband of this couple.  We had the window and we said "this would make a great coffee table" and gave it to Chad.  When it came back it was the most fabulous one of a kind piece with an iron aged frame.  People loved it but it didn't sell until THIS MORNING when it was put in front of the new slipcovered blessing!!! Woo hoo! Way to go Chad!
If you look at the sofa photo you will see a coffee table painted by Rachel. Love it!!
And here are a few other items made by this fastastic duo.....



Well, you get the idea.  We are so honored to have their creations in the shop and now we have Rachel's slipcovers!!:) 
But the best thing about this couple aside from their insane talents is that they are very humble and humility is a character quality that the human race is short on these days.  Talent plus humility...a rare find. 
We are blessed with all that this business has brought us including this couple....and slipcovers.  To follow Chad and Rachel go to

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper - Our very first ASCP Workshop

Last night was Winsome's first Annie Sloan Chalk Paint are some highlights from the evening.
The very talented Debra Campbell of Wallartistry demonstrated many different techniques and tips...

Seven very sweet ladies attended and ......

I forgot my camera!!!!???? But Holly let me use her camera phone so we could record parts of the workshop.  Thanks, Holly!!

Debra left it to me to figure out a project for the workshop....I had these 12 x 12 tin embossed tiles, then fixed them to wood, put a hanger on the back, then drilled holes for a hook.  It was so fun to see each lady choose a beautiful color and begin painting.....

Debra continued demos and tips while we waited for the first coat to dry.....and waited....and waited!!  Because the tin wasn't porous the paint was taking extra long to dry:(   A call to my sweet husband and soon we had a couple of blow dryers.....the second coat went on, then we "rubbed back", then wax, then dark wax .....
So pretty!! Provence with clear and dark wax!  This one is going to the cabin:)  I can just see what's going on in all seven homes this week....creative transformations!!
Our next workshop will be April 19th from 6:30 to 9:00 another basic..........stay tuned for a scheduled advanced workshop in June sometime.

And now..........I said I would post our after photo of this little china cabinet.  Here's a reminder of what it looked like before....

And here it is now.....

Cute, huh?  We used ascp cream on the inside and ascp french linen on the outside.  A couple of glass knobs and some chicken wire and bah dah bing!
So, that about wraps up the week...thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper...we interrupt this regularly scheduled life..

We interrupt this regularly scheduled life to bring you a brief mini crisis!!  As a shopkeeper our business and personal life often intersect, become entangled or one just takes over.  Such has been my week so far....

Without going into too much detail I will give you some background info.  My dad lives with us.  He is 90 years old, very sharp but has become physically frail the last few months since my mom passed away.
He has enriched our lives in many ways and being a business owner himself in the past has cheered us on to start our own business.  He has gotten a "kick" out of watching us unload all sorts of industrial items that he just couldn't believe people would want and then gives us a "pat" on the back when he hears we have sold them.

Monday is my day off to do cleaning (sometimes), errands and run dad around.  In the back of my mind I had the day all planned out.  By 1:00 I figured we would be done with most everything and I could get started on some projects for the shop.  Then, I planned, my hubby and I would be up after dinner at the shop painting and waxing.  Great plan??  Ah, yes, those plans.....

Reminds me of the verse  "The mind of the man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Pro.16:9

Well, direct He did!  I won't go into detail except to say that early Monday morning a very scarey 15 minutes ensued, followed by a 911 call and trip to the ER.  Six hours later, dad was admitted for tests and an overnight stay.

 Tuesday, I'm usually open for business but not being able to get someone at short notice to work for me I ran to the shop, put a sign on the door and let go.....letting go involves realizing Someone bigger is in control.....thankfully!  Letting go involves trusting the One who has the whole picture in front of Him and who has my best interest AND my dad's at hand.  The shop could wait and all the things that were going to fall into place for the week as I so neatly planned would have to wait.

Tuesday brought more tests and nine hours of sitting and waiting with dad as the hospital decided to discharge him.....nothing conclusive, all tests negative.  My dad was safely in his bed by 8:00 Tuesday night grateful to be home.

It's now Wednesday a.m.....the "open" sign is on the door and I sit in the quiet of the shop thinking through the last 48 hours.  A good friend of ours has offered to spend the days with dad while I'm at  work.  He is able to work from our house on his laptop and enjoys being with dad.  My dad is comfortable with him and respects him......those plans...."the Lord directs our steps".

Yes, I missed customers, yes, I missed phone calls.....I missed the results of my neat little plans.  But the shop is still here and nothing can replace the time spent with dad, the "being there" for him when he was struggling and the huge blessing of a friend who has stepped forward to help us out.

A customer walks in. "I was here yesterday but you were closed" she says sweetly.  "I read your sign that there was an emergency. Is everything alright?"  "Yes, it is for now" I say," thanks for coming back."
I realize now that this little shop....this business that I've enjoyed so much will only exist for as long as
"the Lord directs my steps" in this direction and that no amount of planning on my part will ever compare to the richness and blessings that come from trusting Him with those "interruptions in my life."

"Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt...." the customer is saying as I'm ringing up a sale and I turn and smile.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper - one of the best kept secrets in Ohio

Winsome Cottage is located in the heart of Waynesville, Ohio.  A historic little town right off Hwy 42 about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati.  Established in the late 1700's, it still maintains a certain quaint, old fashioned charm.  With over 60 shops and restaurants, it is great day or weekend destination for shopping, dining and exploring.

It is here in Waynesville that I have had the privilege of owning a business since July of 2009.   I wouldn't change a thing.  It's smalltown USA to a tee.  Let me walk you through a typical day in one of my favorite little corners of the world....

It's 9:50 a.m. on a Thursday.  I'm heading up Main St. not a soul around. I pass "The Peddlar House on my right.  Debbie, the owner, is a friend of mine.  Her shop is always a wonderful experience and she is just a sweet person. I see her heading out to hang her open flag and wave as I pass by. The sign out front of The Village Restaraunt says "special....soup beans and cornbread".  "They'll be packed today" I think to myself.  The light is red at the first of only two stoplights on Main and as I stop the car and look to the left I see that the Fabric Shack is opening it's door for business.  Housed in two separate buildings in town you won't find a better selection of home decor and quilting fabrics and supplies anywhere around.

I turn left on Miami St. to park around the corner from my shop.  Across the street and down a bit is the post office.  I decide to check my p.o. box for mail before opening.  As I head to my shop I see Mary Jo, owner of Cheap John's, out front sweeping the walk.  We exchange "morning!" and I continue past Canada Goose Gallery to Winsome Cottage next door.  I'm just turning my key in the lock when Laura, owner of Canada Goose Gallery, pulls up front to park and open her shop.  She begins to haul in large framed pieces of P.Buckley Moss.  I'm thankful to have her right next door.

The "closed" sign has been flipped to "open" at Mad Anthony's across the street and I hear the church bell a block behind us ringing ten times.....the business day has begun....
Lamps and twinkly lights turned on, celtic music softly playing,  my first customer of the day walks in.  "Good morning" I say.
"I was here on Monday and no one was open" she began.  "Oh, I'm sorry. Monday isn't a good day to be here in Waynesville.  Most shops are open Tuesday through Sunday and, well, you know, everyone needs a day off." I say with a chuckle.  The customer isn't smiling or replying so I ask her if she is on the hunt for anything in particular today.  "No, it's just that I've been here since 9:30 and alot of the shops are closed" she complains.  Now, it depends on my mood but sometimes I just say "Well, I'm open!" and smile.  But, this time I get our pamphlet and begin to circle all the shops that open at 10:00 and tell her that by the time she gets through these the others will be open.  She takes the pamphlet and leaves and I know the day can only get better from here on.

It's now 12:00.  The door flies open and there is my landlord, Lee.  "Hey, kid, would you be interested in yoga classes on Thursday nights with some of us?  Lee is 77 years old and works circles around most of us.  She wants to take yoga to "get loosened up".  I say yes.  It will be fun to be with these ladies.  Most of them are  current or past shop owners and have been in Waynesville for many years.

I haven't brought a lunch today so I call Hammel House to see what the soup of the day is.  Marilyn answers and I am delighted to hear that Corn Chowder is one of the choices.  Hammel House has a wonderful menu and it's owner, Pam, is as genuine as they come.  I order my bowl of soup and Marilyn says "I'll have it ready in a few minutes for ya!"  Let me just say that this isn't your ordinary corn chowder, no, it's much more!  Thick and delicious.

As I'm walking the half block back to my shop with my lunch sirens go off and the fire truck pulls out of the fire house across the street.  Lights flashing and siren blasting, it turns to speed quickly down Main to parts unknown.  There are three ladies standing outside my shop and I apologize for being closed.  My little handwritten sign on the door says "Be right back" but I stopped to chat a bit with Marilyn while paying for my lunch.  The ladies are smiling and friendly.  Whew!

My message light is blinking on the phone as I walk in the door.  It's from Belinda, owner of Treasure Trove.  We use to be neighbors on a side street in Waynesville and have both moved to a new location.  I have missed talking with her on slow days out front of our shops.  She has some news.  She is moving her business across the street from me in the spring! Neighbors once again and I am really excited.  I think alot of Belinda.  She is an eternal optimist, not easily discouraged and runs her business with intelligence and perseverance.  Her easy going temperament makes customers want to come back.  I know her move will be a profitable one and I will love being able to wave and talk across the way with her.

It's now 3:00, the sun is shining and the day is mild.  Gary, from the antique shop around the corner is sitting on a bench across the street.  I decide to get some vitamin D and go out to sweep the walk. "Hi, Marykay!" Gary yells.  I wave to him and as a truck pulls up to the stoplight, Gary starts talking with the driver.  They seem to know each other.  My phone begins to ring inside.
It's Dawn from the Chamber of Commerce.  Did I want to put any specials for the shop on the website this month? A previous shopowner, Dawn, works hard to promote this little town.  We appreciate her efforts.

There is a comfortableness about this place along with the people that work here.  There are standards and values here.  It is the slower pace that draws people here and the friendliness of the shopkeepers that care.  There's a reason customers say they skipped work that day to come to Waynesville.

It is now after 5:00.  As I turn down Main I notice most of the shops are closed and there are a few stragglers wandering around hoping to find an "open" sign. Fifteen minutes ago the church bell chimed five times.   The parking lot at Village Restaurant is full..... yes, soup beans and corn bread.....only in small town USA:)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper, end of the week bits n pieces...

I can never judge how my day at the shop will go based on the weather.  Today promised to be a gloomy one: ALL day! And it was interspersed with rain and drizzle.  HOWEVER, the shop stayed busy with sunny dispositions:)  The winter has been a mild one to say the least here in Ohio and everyone is thankful.  Thus, the sunny dispositions that make my job so enjoyable.
This post is a bit random but still print worthy, I believe.  I just have to share a picture of this great piece I found this past Thursday while out running around for a customer.(yes, I actually had someone working for me!) It's in another shop in Columbus and by the way, if you haven't been to Chapel Hill Florist in Grandville, you're missing out on a special treat.  Run by two sisters, who I just love and who are so creative, it's not just a floral shop.  They have home decor and some furniture and some whimsy:)  Wonderful displays that I drool over and always great conversation. is the picture of this piece that I'm hoping will be in our shop by March.  The sisters are remodeling and need room to open a wall so how about if I just take that off their hands, hmmmm? I can think of a couple of places in Winsome that that would look really fabulous in.  What do you think?  Shouldn't pass that up, huh?
It may be hard to tell but it's the piece with the cubbies...that's the top piece and then the bottom is like a potting table with a center drawer.  I'll keep you posted on this one....

More new spring items in this past's just one of them. Ooooooo, so many ideas for these.  They are actually cupcake pedestals BUT, yes, I can hear your wheels turning AND do you love the colors??

Then.....our Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Workshop is filling up BUT there is still room.  How about it?  I used the paint for about five months before we decided to sell it in the shop and when I took the workshop I found there were some things that just made it alot easier to use that I learned.  Not necessary but helpful:)
So why not join us for a fun filled evening from 6:30 - 9:00 at the cottage on Thursday, Feb. 23.  For more info just email me @

Finally, we are working on this piece and are doing it in ascp cream on the inside and ascp french linen on the outside.  It's going to be very sweet when we are done.  Some ideas for the doors(they didn't have glass in them) but no worries:) So this is the before and stay tuned for the after.....soon, I hope.
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tales of this shopkeeper IV

"What was I thinking/" I said to myself as I looked over the order of 48 bluebird ornaments with sayings on them.  "By themselves they are cute but is this my aesthetic?"  I thought.  Every once in awhile I lose my way and give in to something that is not really a Winsome kind of thing.  Then I make a promise to myself that I won't do it again.....until "again" happens....again!
Those bluebirds have been in every spot in the shop even mixed in with Christmas on a tree, hanging on a birdcage chandelier, on a real tree branch in a pot, all gathered together in a pretty name it, they've been there!  It's not that they haven't sold because they have but they just aren't moving on a regular basis if you know what I mean!  Until.....three weeks ago, my sweet customer, Anna (not her real name) came into the shop.
Anna is in her early 70's and quick witted.  She is a petite little lady with a twinkle in her eye and  LOVES all the frenchy items we carry in the shop.  Last year, she went to France with her daughter and has shared lots of stories with me about her time there. Three weeks ago, Anna bought four bluebirds:)  They were for her friends and she thought they were cute.
Last week I was happy to see Anna stroll in again.  Her little 5 ft. self bundled up in a pretty red jacket.  She went straight to the bluebirds displayed in yet another way in the center of the shop.  We talked while she selected four more birds and brought them to the counter.  "These are for the ladies at the such and such club.  I thought they would each like one.  I don't go anymore but I just wanted to get them something." she said.......We should all be so thoughtful, huh?
Now I'm not kidding.....on Tuesday this week, Anna showed up again.  Three more bluebirds were purchased for "just in case" occasions because they're so cute......
If you're a shopkeeper you probably can relate to those certain items that you purchased and had second thoughts about.  We all know that when the big ticket items aren't moving, you better have some "smalls" to get you through.  There are times when I doubt that something will sell and find out I have to reorder it or the other way around....positive something will fly out the door and, hmmm, it sits.  So, this shopkeeping thing isn't an exact science, huh?  I guess that's why I enjoy it so much.  It's lots of things; definitely challenging in the buying area but, oh, when you do find something that your customers love??? Sweet joy!
Any shopkeepers out there willing to share their "misspent funds" stories??  Would love to hear from you!