About Carole and her Country Store

I hope you enjoy the fruits of the internet as much as I do. For more than thirty years I have been traveling the back roads of the Brandywine Valley. A rolling green vastness brimming over with early America. This region surrounds historic me.jpgPhiladephia, cialis Pennsylvania our Nation’s original Capital. I love searching out the sights and sounds, the small obscure antique shops, observing the Amish of Lancaster County, peering over the fences and walls hoping for a glimpse of Andrew Wyeth at his compound in Chadds Ford, looking in the windows of long abandoned historic homesteads, and contemplating the historic grounds where George Washington fought revolutionary battles near my home. The Liberty Bell at Independence Hall and the home of Benjamin Franklin are within a half hours drive. But it is the country back roads that I truly enjoy. My website is my attempt to share all of this with you.

For most of those years I travelled with my trusty 35mm camera waiting for photos to develop; some good, some not so good, and film cost money. Then along came the digital age – viola! Lucky for me, my hubby, Bill, is Mr.Computerguy, so after watching and wondering how he could spend so much time on the computer, I decided if you can’t fight it, join it. So now I am all set up with my Canon Powershot A630 digital camera, my Apple G4 Powerbook computer, a blog, and my very own website “Carole’s Country Store” created for me by Mr. Computerguy. I love it.

Now, I put those many many years of photo practice to work creating the cards and prints I am hoping to sell on my site. You will also find simple, affordable antiques, collectibles, and country goodies for sale. Some of these hard goods for sale are from my private collection accumulated over the last thirty years, some are new finds from the old shops mentioned above. I love all of this stuff. I hope you will too.

I am not used to putting my bio out for public consumption, but since this blog page is called “about”, I thought you might like to know a few other things about the proprietor of Carole’s Country Store. I have been married for almost forty five years. I have two children , William and Melissa, and a granddaughter, Emily. I was born in Philadelphia and have lived in nearby Wilmington, Delaware for close to forty years now.

All along I have had a passion for all things folk, antique, primitive, and country. I started in my twenties transforming plastic flowers into faux aged arrangements dipped in secret blends of stains and paints and putting them in beautiful oriental containers and rice bowls. Even way back then, my friend, Carole, was my partner. We had such fun together. So many laughs. We did home demonstrations, like Tupperware, but dressed in long skirts, with the idea it would give our demonstrations an upscale feel. After our presentation, we would sit and wait for ladies to look at what we made, and hope and pray they would buy one of our arangements or pleace an order. Sometimes it seemed that we wouldn’t get any orders, and we would sit and write notes to one another, just to keep busy, while everyone socialized and drank punch and ate cookies. I still have that order book, filled with memories. I had surprising success selling them to neighborhood gift shops, and a department store, and got the bug for making and selling. I quickly left flower dipping behind, as the fumes from the paints and stains gave me headaches and a good notion that this would not be healthy work over the long haul.

From there, I moved to hand lettered wooden plaques and painted blocks. I would go to the lumber yard, get long pine boards cut into various size pieces, sand the edges, age them with TLC paint rubbing techniques then stencil or handletter them with “Welcome Friends”, Fresh Eggs, Bread 5 cents, and other homey things. They sold amazingly well. Before long I had a distributor clamoring for more. In those days, back in the early 70′s, “country” was really hot. Everyone was into it. The husband of one shopkeeper left his corporate job to rep for several artisians. I was one of them. This was great, because all I had to do was fill the orders, call UPS, and off they went. There were even orders from Japan. (of all places to find folky art lovers). I never intended to have a high powered business, so I slowly withdrew from the plaquemaking as I moved on to other interests like making floor cloths and fireboards, stenciling for Ethan Allen stores, one thing led to the next, and the next.

As it turned out, my many years learning color mix, creating color textures, painting primitive country imagery and loving the simple art of days gone by led to my discovery of American Folk Artist/Muralist Rufus Porter. You can read more about him here. It was a perfect fit for me. I sure did love simple whimsical folk art, I loved painting, and from there on out I was determined to turn all my years of fooling with art into a business painting folk art murals in the style of Rufus. Fortunately, my previously mentioned lifetime friend (also Carole) is almost a “real artist” as she has been trained in fine art and can paint a bird or a fox still life with the best of them. I prefer the offbeat whimsy of disproportionate trees and slightly surreal representations of things found in early country. Our skills are highly complimentary. Our customers tell us they love our creations. Anyway, our mural painting business “Carole II” is just about the right speed for me. I have been doing it for about 8 years. The jobs are many times physical – on ladders, up stairways, on a scaffolds from time to time. So the fact we keep low key while still managing to get five or six good paying jobs a year makes it more like fun than work. The sense of permanence, accomplishment, the joy in our customers hearts, is most satisfying. We even were commissioned to paint a folk mural at the Governors Guest House in Dover, Delaware. It was quite an honor, and Carole and I, of course, use that to promote our work. If I was younger, maybe I would be doing this fulltime as fast and furious as I could, but for now I like this laidback pace.

After all is said and done, I find my real calling is what you see in Carole’s Country Store. I really love discovering photogenic country scenes I can turn into what I think is art. I never get tired of hunting for primitive antiques and goodies to collect. Now I can share this passion with those of you who like these things too. I look forward to this new and very best chapter- life in country cyberspace! Now if I can just figure out how to get folks to purchase things at Carole’s Country Store . . . .hmmmm.