Archive for the 'Country Friends' Category


Holiday Friends Arrive

Street Clothes

This year we had special guests come by car and by plane from Arkansas and Ohio to be a part of Booze and Cookies (actual event post coming soon). Some of the out-of-towners came in a few days early so we could get some visiting in.

And when these friends come, they never arrive empty handed – Lori and Felley brought mountains of food, including Miss Judy’s (Felley’s mom) cinnamon rolls (Jennifer called them Crack Rolls)  so I wouldn’t have to do all of the cooking.They brought fun paper dinnerware so I didn’t have to wash as many dishes, and even my favorite Caldrea dishwashing liquid and counter spray (Patchouli and Green Tea) and cutlery (Jennie read on my blog that I’d lost my paring knife). 

Jennie and J. talked two other friends, David and Jennifer, whom I only knew through David’s blog, which I love to read, into coming with them. They are so fun! And I’ve heard of host gifts before, but I teared up a little when they pulled THIS out of their bag.

Claire Painting

They took a downloaded picture of Claire from my blog and gave it to an artist from Box Turtle Imports and Gifts on Kavanaugh in Little Rock to turn into a painting. I told Jennie later that Jennifer and David were a joy to be around, but even if they’d turned out to be complete turds, that gift would have kept the welcome mat out for them (I know, love for sale, but try to tell me you would feel any differently).Visiting

Once we got everyone settled in, we had time to make a trip out to Duane and Todd’s and to stop into Country Friends (Julie had never been and wanted to go). I feel sure that the people who work at CF must whisper under their breath, “him, again?” whenever I walk in the door these days. Here’s that holly I talked about but didn’t photograph last weekend (not much left).

Good Holly

And I loved these vintage “Maggie’s Memories” collectables.  I bought the little Santa Clause.

Sweet Stuff

If I didn’t already have a front door wreath I would run to CF to buy this one. It is simple but inspired and would look great at either a traditional or a rustic entrance, and the price point was awesome – $59.00 I think (don’t quote me).

Christmas Wreath

Julie made the big retail score of the day with this 19th century crazy quilt that she’s going to back with velvet and make into a wrap.


Julie, send me pics when you get it finished. Our house isn’t big, so every bed and sofa was filled. We even had a pallet on the floor (after some discussion we realized that either northern folks don’t sleep on the floor or they have another word for it. Can anyone from Indiana confirm or correct me on this?). And our neighbors opened up their garage apartment for us, too. It must have seemed a little like camp, but with the exception of Jennifer and David, all the rest of us had slept in close quarters together before on church youth retreats, choir trips or even at actual camp.

I was wishing I’d hung out a little with Practical Pat when she was cooking huge breakfasts for Lori, Julie, and Jennie and the rest of their clan because I was slow! But never bored. One morning while I was cooking I could hear David, whose roots and accent are pretty heavily Ozark, sporadically yelling “PAAY-pur!” in the living room. Jennie brought a voice activated Brain Age game with her, which was keeping him entertained as he tried to predict as quickly as possible what would counter rock in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But he couldn’t get the game to work so he kept yelling “PAAY-pur” louder and louder (turns out it was in instruction mode).

Chocolate Gravy and Cinnamon Rolls

David (aka PAAY-pur!) using one of Duane’s Chocolate Gravy Pitchers.

From then on, any quiet moment would be filled with someone randomly yelling “PAAY-pur!,” which is just the kind of joke that this group is happy to take way too far. Fortunately, David understands the value of a good laugh whatever it costs.


Christmas Time’s A Comin’

Busy getting ready for the holidays, but wanted to show you a few finds. Mom, Dave and I went to the Country Friends Open House last Saturday. They had even more holiday stuff out than they did a week before. The holly and greenery at Country Friends is particularly good this year. I got this variegated type for our back porch chandelier because it had kind of a vintage look to it.

Porch Chandelier

I usually mix real with artificial, in this case with Frasier Fir remains trimmed from our tree. My mom got a more sage-colored, dusty green holly (sorry, I forgot to take pictures) that came in sprays as well as a garland. It was beautiful and more subtle than my garish taste usually allows me to get away with.

While poking around for Christmas I also found this red David Smith Windsor chair.

Red Chair
We just painted our mudroom from red to the same deep eggplant color that is in our kitchen and I was missing the red just a little. The chair scratches that itch and gives me something light to pull into the kitchen when we have more guests than chairs around Sam (our woodstove).

I kind of like the way it looks next to this sweet wreath Dave made us just in time for the holidays. Dave’s wreaths are normally more restrained.

He said he made a conscious effort to make this one look like it was about to whirl off the door (even used bird feathers) because he knows I like wreaths that , well, look like they are about whirl off the door. Not sure why, but I do favor spiral shaped wreaths. Though the one I have for the front door seems pretty subdued in comparison. Pam at J. P. Parker flowers remade this one from an old one I had.

Reworked Wreath

I was so glad my mom and dad came up this past weekend. They helped us get our tree decorated and mom helped me haul out and place all of the “stuff.” I really don’t mind doing it, but having help always makes it a lot more fun.


Power Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins
I’m not a big fan of getting up early on a Saturday to head to the farmers’ market, which is what you have to do here in Indianapolis to buy most any vegetable or fruit worth having. I like farmers. It’s just that I like sleeping in a wee bit more.

Point in telling is that I needed some pumpkins for the house. I tend to get bored with most pumpkins. We’ve accidentally grown more interesting varieties in the past by tossing our rotting ones on the compost heap, but I guess we didn’t “plant” any last year. Since markets weren’t an option, I’d just about given into the idea of stopping by Kroger for a few. Then, as I was driving by the Ace Hardware store on Westfield Blvd., I saw these!

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Aren’t they fun? I bought a few “Cinderella” pumpkins (seriously, that’s what the check out lady called them), and some plain ones for the front porch (they do tend to last longer outside than the fancy ones).

I put the Cinderellas on the buffet along with an arrangement made from the last-gasp of our garden’s hydrangeas (David painted the black, folk art-ish goose).


Fall Tablescape

Turd-nose Cat, a Country Friends find from a few years back (our name for him, not CF’s) seemed happy with his fall digs.

Speaking of Country Friends, the pumpkin folk in this picture are from this season’s collection.

Pumpkin Friends

I found the little skulls, which freak most people out, in a Taos, NM pawnshop. I think they are the bases of crucifixes (typically in religious art, skulls at the base of a cross are a reminder of our mortality or a reference to Golgotha, the hill where Christ was crucified). Anyway, Mabel Dodge Luhan, the NY socialite turned wild-west bohemian, wrote in her book Winter in Taos that a guest asked her about the collection of little skulls on one of her shelves. I imagine that these are those, and that the pawnshop owner didn’t just put another set out on his shelf as soon as I walked out the door.


Rumors Confirmed! Country Friends to Re-open.

I’m sure they just seemed like rumors to me because I’m not in the loop, but who cares? Just in time for the Holidays.



I Hope This Isn’t a Cruel Joke

Someone named Amy left this comment in my last Country Friends post:

“Country Friends is re opening the first of October in the 71st and Allisonville area. Just give them a call.”

This is close to where the “warehouse” used to be. I wonder…

Does anyone else have any more information?


Still Curious About Country Friends

I still affect a pathetic cry of despair every time I pass the empty Country Friends store on 86th Street in Indy.

I have two questions for my readers:

1. Where do you shop now for the things you used to buy there? I can’t think of any place else that has the selection of seasonal stuff that they had, at least not in this state. Batesville, Arkansas has Heritage House, but that’s a ways to go for Christmas decor. Then again, I do travel. Wherever you are, it would be interesting to know what your treasured home dec stores are. Please share.

2. Has anyone heard if Michael might be reopening another shop somewhere? I still have a gut feeling (call it retail intuition) that we haven’t seen the last of him.

Please share or give me a shoulder to cry on.