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April 2008

Primitive Wooden Trays


Dance In The Rain Plate

Today was a beautiful day - crisp and clear with just a little rain.  It is starting to stay light longer into the evening, and it just makes me happier!  Our friend Bob (the Builder) is downstairs working with Chris on finishing our basement.  Until that is done, I've had sort of a rotating desk.  When I have childcare, I get to be at the store.  When I don't, I've been all over the house, but lately have settled on the kitchen table.  Skilletwithstarl I really like it!  It is nice and bright, and right in front of a huge window.  Last weekend Bob brought is 4 year old son with him, so I used him as an excuse to buy some fun, bright colored melamine plates and bowls, and a matching oilcloth tablecloth.  Only $5 at Safeway!  It is my new favorite thing.  Seriously, I'm tempted to use nothing but oilcloth on my tables for the rest of my life.  It is thick, cute, and stays CLEAN.  I love it!

I added tons of new products over the weekend.  Highlighted this evening are some fabulous primitive style plates and trays from The Hearthside Collection.  We've had these a long time in the store, and I finally got several choice up on the website this weekend.  These are for decorative use only, so no food on these guys.  We have the Lord's Prayer Plate and the Serenity Prayer Plate at our house, and have given them as gifts too.  They're nice and heavy, and have a great folk art / primitive look about them.  Check out our Woodenware category for all the choices I have up so far!

Hope you all have a lovely evening!

God of Mercy Tray


I just love how the mind of a child works.  I got this email from one of my best friends, whose daughter is my goddaughter.  She'll be three in August. 

"The other day we were at The Weed Patch. She was looking at some new coasters, which, of course, she has loved since she was old enough to grasp one in her hand and gnaw on it. (Not that I recommend porous cork as a teether...eww.) She picked up one that she hadn't seen before and said, 'Oh, I love this rollercoaster!'  So there you have it...a customer product review. You have great rollercoasters! "

This motivated me to add Coasters as a new category to The Weed Patch Online Store.  We have quilted coasters by Victorian Heart, as well as my goddaughter's favorite, which are the cork type with full color folk art work, by Legacy Publishing.  Click here to take a look!

Cst3582_4 Cst3738_2
Cst3626_3 Cst3744  

Joys of Spring


I am very afraid of snakes and have always lived with the assumption that snakes only crawl out of their holes during warm weather. Consequently, I always get up early on summer mornings and get my yard work done in those areas where I suspect snakes could be lurking. This is the only way, in my mind, that I can enjoy my yard work and protect myself from those creepy crawly invaders. Boy, am I wrong!

On March 13th which was a chilly, windy, cloudy day I was shockingly thrown into a screeching run because I had just walked past a pile of snakes, (plural) tangled up together in a heap after emerging from their winter's den. A friend and I were taking my nine month old grandson for a stroll.

I've always tried to control my fear when around small children because I don't want to pass my fear onto them as someone else passed theirs on to me. So as I was running, screaming, pushing the stroller, I'm also singing a little too loudly so as not to frighten Benjamin and he might think this is a little game.


I am cat sitting while my daughter is in Japan. She left me with three city, house cats that had not been outside since she took them in as strays five years ago. They have been introduced to outdoors, and they love it. Yesterday, between the snow showers interspersed with hail showers and sun I felt completely safe among my weeds that were getting taller and taller and ready to spew their seeds everywhere.

Off in the distance I heard a meowing sound. Softly at first but getting ever closer. Eventually I looked up to see Oliver coming to show me her captured prize possession.  It was a snake hanging from her mouth and she was determined to share it with me. I immediately started yelling "no" and flailing my arms but that didn't make one bit of difference in her determination to get closer to me so she could share her gift.


I, of course, ran. I couldn't stop her. I thought of picking up a rock and throwing it at her but didn't want to hurt her in the process. The garden hose was close by so I sprayed her with water. This made her look for a different path to get to me. Her hesitation allowed me to run and close the garage doors because the last time this happened she took the snake into the garage. I don't know what happened to that one but I look for it every time I go out there.

I now am forced to change my gardening habits. I've been so careful in the past that I really don't know what changes I can make now for my own protection.

~ Esther Cunningham is an owner of The Weed Patch


I Love Cats Blocks, by Blossom Bucket

It IS easy being green!


Happy Earth Day!  You know, it wasn't that long ago that caring about our impact on the environment generally went hand in hand with wearing weird clothes, being a vegetarian or vegan, and being seen as a hippie, tree hugging flower child.  While that might be fun for some, it doesn't fit for all.  However, taking steps to reduce our negative impact on the environment can fit within any lifestyle, and are surprisingly easy to do!  Much of the time, it simply involves changing our habits.


One of our focuses this year at The Weed Patch has been finding ways for us to reduce our "carbon footprint."  I hadn't heard this term before a few months ago.  You might be hearing it a lot now.  In fact, there is even a website:  They define this term as a "measure of the impact our activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.  It is measured in units of carbon dioxide."


Some examples are gas and oil consumption in the use of delivering goods and/or supplies, or electricity used to heat and light businesses.  Companies are starting to take notice of this issue, and are pursing ways to offset their carbon footprint, either by reducing their carbon impact, or offsetting through measures such as planting trees.  Some of the things we've been doing here at The Weed Patch is switching all our light bulbs from incandescent to compact florescent (CFLs).  When unpacking all the freight we receive on a daily basis, we save as many of the boxes, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap as possible to reuse when packaging and mailing our Internet orders.  We are currently looking into options for planting trees with each Internet order.


There are things you can do at home, too!  In honor of Earth Day, here are 20 simple ideas for living green - most are cheap, and even will save you a significant amount of money, like with your heating and water bill.  If you have additional ideas, please feel free to share them with us by commenting or emailing us - we've love to hear from you!

1.  Unplug your cell phone charger, toaster, coffee maker, and other items you typically plug in - they do still use a surprising amount of energy.

2.  Turn off your faucet when brushing your teeth.  Gallons of waters are wasted every day with faucets running full blast while you brush and aren't even using the water.

3.  Opt for a low flow toilet.  If that isn't an option, fill a water bottle full of water and store in the
tank - it will fill up with less water.

4.  Switch all your incandescent bulbs with CFLs - they last longer and use a lot less energy.  I just read this information on Wal-Mart's website:  If every Wal-Mart shopper used one of these 13 watt GE Energy Smart bulbs in place of an ordinary 60 watt bulb, over the rated life of the bulb, we would prevent enough CO2 emissions to equal taking over 11 million cars off the road for a year.

5.  Wherever possible, choose foods that are grown and/or packaged locally - not only will you be supporting your local economy, the food will be fresher, and you won't be supporting the high amount of fuels taken in transporting food from faraway places.  This works for any item, really - the closer it is made to where you are purchasing it, the less the carbon footprint.

6.  Opt for soy candles.  Most candles are made from petroleum products, which are not a renewable source.  Not only is soy renewable, it supports American farmers, burns cleaner, and lasts much longer.

7.  Same rule applies above for handmade soap.  It is better for your body, generally supports local artisans, who often even grown their own plant materials to use in the soap.  Natural soaps and cleaning supplies produce less chemicals flowing into the sewer system, too.

8. Add more oxygen to the air by planting a tree!  You can breath easier knowing you're offsetting your own carbon footprint, while also providing for the local wildlife.  I got this fact from the Arbor Day Foundation:  Two mature trees can produce enough air for a family of four. Once acre of trees removes 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

9.  Keep your rechargeable batteries (commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys) out of the landfill by recycling them.  Find a drop off site here.

10.  Recycle, reuse, repurpose - When you need something, shop your local thrift and second hand stores, or even garage sales!  The hunt is half the fun (the savings is the other half!).

11.  When you do go to the store, opt to purchase items that use less packaging, such as a liter of soda rather than a 6 pack.  This is almost always cheaper, too.

12.  Become best friends with your slow cooker - it produces amazing results, and uses a lot less energy than your oven!

13.  Check out your fridge - if it is over 10 years old, consider buying a new one.  Old fridges tend to be one of the biggest energy hogs in your house, because the older it gets the harder it has to work to keep your food cold, thereby sucking up energy.  Look for the energy star label when choosing a new fridge.

14.  Insulate your hot water pipes and hot water heater.

15.  Take public transportation whenever hospital.  Even taking the bus once a month will make a difference.

16.  Go ahead and get a dishwasher.  You are to be commended for all that thrifty hand washing, however this uses tons more water than a dishwasher, especially if it has an energy star label, and is ran only when full.

17. Get a rain barrel.  Rain is free water that can be used to water your plants!

18.  Repurpose your used coffee grounds in your garden.  My mom has used them with her hydrangeas, which change color!  Here is a great article on using coffee grounds in the garden, rather than adding them to the landfill (and considering how much coffee we drink, you can imagine how much grounds end up dumped!).

19. Be sure all that junk mail ends up the recycle bin (shred anything with identifying info, first!), rather than the trash - then visit this site to see how you can stop all that daily waste called junk mail!

20.  Learn more about the Earth!  Chris and I recently purchased this DVD set, and it is absolutely amazing.  We are simply transfixed when we watch it.  It literally covers the entire earth, and it commonly thought of as the greatest nature/wildlife series ever produced.


Some fun sites for more info....

Perfect Egg Drop Soup


To most people, soup tends to be a wintertime comfort food.  Contrarily, I love soup at any time of the year.  It is my specialty, my favorite thing to cook and to eat.  Egg drop soup is one I especially love at springtime, when tender green onions are in season, and you can sometimes even find fresh peas at the produce stands.  I've experimented with adding the egg to this soup using a variety of methods, and have found this to give me the thin silken threads of cooked egg that I really like.

Perfect Egg Drop Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 cups good quality chicken broth, such as Pacific brand
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger, or 1/4 tsp dried
1/4 tsp chili oil (or to taste)
2 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 TB chopped fresh cilantro (or equivalent frozen)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1.  Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sized soup pot.  Add green onions, and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.
2.  Stir in water chestnuts, peas, ginger, chili oil, soy sauce, and pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
3.  Now it is time to add the beaten egg.  Turn the burner to the soup off.  Place a hand held strainer, fork, or flat grater over the rim of the bowl that contains the beaten egg.  Hold it about 10 inches above the soup pot.  Slowly pour the egg in a thin steady stream through the strainer or fork into the soup, using your other hand to vigorously stir the soup with a spoon.  The egg will cook instantly, forming thin, feathery shreds.  Serve immediately.

This is a really very versatile soup.  Experiment with the flavors, adding more or less soy sauce, fish sauce, chili oil or hot sauce, perhaps add some spicy Thai basil.  Vary or substitute some of the veggies, considering perhaps thinly sliced carrots, chopped shiitake mushrooms, or some bean sprouts as a garnish.  Serve as a starter to a stir fry dinner, or pair with an Asian cabbage slaw for a complete main course.  Yum! 

One of THOSE Days. And Primitive Wood Signs.

Tree FlowerHave you ever had "one of those days" where things just don't go how you thought they would? Today was such a day, for me. We were supposed to leave Union (Janene's parent's place) at 8am. Due to a "rough night" with Ben (yeah, we're pretty spoiled, actually) we didn't make it out of bed until 7:45. Finally pulled out of the driveway after 9:30am. Car, which we had repaired last week, was making a funny noise - so we stopped by the repair shop on the way out of town. Yeah, they fixed it - and did a great job - we drove out of town around noon. *sigh*

Trip north was nice, traffic was light, and it was a beautiful day. We stopped at the Re-Store in Ballard on the way home, as we're finishing our basement and needed to look for a bathroom door. The Re-Store is fantastic; if you haven't been there, holy cow - have fun! :)

King Of The RoostFrom there, headed north to borrow my parent's van, as there was a bunch we needed to purchase at Lowe's. Dropped Ben off (where he had a VERY good time, as he always does...) and went to Abbey Carpet, where we purchased our flooring for the basement (YAY!). Went to Lowe's, then back to pick up Benjamin, and then home for dinner...

So, why was this "one of those days"?

Well, I had a lot of work to do. A LOT of work to do. Including painting the basement, which has to be done before Wednesday. Yep. It's now 11pm, and I'm finally back in front of my computer. Haven't even started on the basement. THAT'S why it's been "one of those days". Hm. Now that I write that, it occurs to me how life circumstances can make me think today was "one of those days", when there are tons of people that would love to have a day like today...

Two RoostersSometimes, though, all it takes is a little perspective...and then having "One of Those Days" really isn't so bad. I have a lovely wife (who had a bummer of a headache all day), a beautiful baby boy (who's upstairs fussing all of a sudden), and warm and cozy home, fantastic extended family, a good job (even if it's a little rocky right now), close friends, food on the table... Life, as they say, really is good. Even through "those days".

Have you seen our signs? We've got a TON of fantastic wood signs, from "Always Kiss Me Goodnight", "All Because Two People Fell in Love", "Dance Like Nobody is Watching" to "Today is a Gift From God" and "Please Remove Your Shoes". There's some great sayings that really speak to how wonderful life can be. Whether you're having a bad day, a good day, or just "one of those days" - check 'em out now! :)

~ Chris Tindall is one of the owners of The Weed Patch.

Great Weather, Soy Candles, and Victorian Heart Bedding!

Union SunsetWhat a beautiful day, what a beautiful week! I'm sitting at Esther's home in Union, Washington working away. Janene is at her sister Julie's in Portland, and she has Ben. I was supposed to be on the men's retreat for our church, but I had to bow out as we had major car trouble ($1200's worth...sigh). Plus, I've got a new job, working with a friend, and it's not going so great - just taking me a lot of time to get ramped up. So I decided I needed to spend a focused weekend learning, working through my Weed Patch task list (which grows faster than I can keep up...), and learning some more. Now it's after 9:30pm on Sunday. I'm not nearly as far on my learning as I was hoping, but I did make some good progress; I also got several things off my tasklist for the store, and for our online country store website.

Union Sunset Back to the weather, for a moment. It was really nice today - it was an overcast, lazy feeling day, but still decently warm out. Not muggy, but comfortable. It was even sprinkling some for a while - absolutely beautiful. And a wonderful contrast to yesterday - when it was really warm (hot, even?), sunny, and summerlike. Last night a strong wind kicked up - it was perfect, and really snapped my brain into gear.

Isn't it funny how you can be trying to do something, for days on end, and then something shifts, your brain says "AHA" and off you go? I wish that happened more. I'm so much more productive when my brain actually works.

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...there are some GREAT changes coming on our website Keep an eyeout...

So, here at The Weed Patch we're working on simplifying the website, putting together some good online strategies (such as this blog, which is just fun to write..!), and generally moving forward. We've added some GREAT new products to the site, and we have so many more to come. In the near future we'll be adding a sales and clearance section, so all you bargain hunters need to keep an eye on the site for that. We're reworking the shipping, as it comes in (from USPS to our server) on the high side; we're almost always able to refund our customers something of what they've paid for shipping. We're also going to be adding a full resource section of the website, which we'll be populating with recipes, craft projects, home cleaning and making tips and tricks, gardening information . . . you name it, and if it's related to simplifying life or living a good, solid country life, it'll be in there somewhere. Got something you would like to share? Drop us a note, and we'd be happy to share it with others (assuming it's original and appropriate...) - both here on the blog (if you're willing!) and in our resource database!

... you love life ... you love friends ... ... you value home ...

Our customers are such a fantastic group. You love life, you like to be involved, you value a comfortable home, you love to give gifts and hang out with friends. We LOVE our customers, and we can't wait to see our customers get involved with us online. :)

Speaking of which, do you know someone who would love The Weed Patch? Send 'em to our blog here so that they can get a feel for who we are, and send 'em to our online storefront so they can see all we have to offer!

Here's a product that I truly love : Our NEW Soy Candles!
Weed Patch Soy Candles Cotton Wick

One more! *grin* We've been selling TONS of
Victorian Heart Bedding, Valances, Quilts, Throws, Aprons and more.... If you haven't already, check them out - there's a lot online at, and even if you don't need anything, maybe a friend does! :)

Being a Dad....

BenjaminWell, it's been almost 11 months since Benjamin came into this world, and boy - has he changed things! :)  In looking back over this last (almost) year, I'm amazed at how much has happened, and where God has brought us.  It's also incredible to have a child - it's more than I ever expected, and in a good way!  It has challenged my thoughts, my actions, my heart, my spirit, and my body (yeah, tossing a 25+ lb 10.5 month old around, crawling all over the place, being crawled ON... whoa boy!). 

This last year has seen so much, so many changes - mostly good, for that matter.  Almost a year ago we were able to take Ben on his first road trip (at 3 weeks!) back to Colorado - Ft. Collins, where I was born.  At the time, the trip was fantastic - it was GREAT to see all those things that I saw growing up, to visit not only Ft. Collins but all the things on the road between here and there.  But as great as it was, I can say - sitting here writing this - that I wish with all my heart to be doing it again.  The experience has grown in my heart, and in my mind, far beyond what it was at the time (and it was great then!).  We're still (wow...) working on getting photos up online - but those'll be coming soon, so keep an eye on our Flickr account...

...I've grown, from having Ben around... I see things differently.

We purchased a house, which we are in the process of making a home... (*grin*).  Our first order of business - which has taken several months - is to finish the basement.  That will be my office, Janene's art studio, and a family space.  I'm at the point in the project that while I'm still extremely excited about it I really just want it to be done.  Don't get me wrong - it's going to be VERY nice.  I've learned a ton of things, and even gotten some new tools out of the deal (YES!). 

Janene has quit her job at Children's Hospital to be a full time mom, to do art, to work at the store, and to generally live a good, mom-like life.  I've been offered an opportunity with a friend to get back into the web development world, and while it's taking me longer than I expected to get into it, I'm getting there.  I do miss working daily on store stuff, terribly - but in time I'll be able to get back to that.

BenjaminAnd through all of this is Benjamin.  I've watched him grow from an infant to a little boy, and he's not even a year old!  He's got 6 teeth (I think!), he's cruising around everywhere he goes, he's started saying mamamama and dadadada and all kinds of other cute but unintelligable things.  He eats solid foods - actually, he'll eat pretty much anything, including cords, the cat, or mommy's work stuff.  He laughs and giggles, and every single time my heart melts.  He LOVES outdoors, and I simply cannot wait until summer hits to do some camping.  I want to teach him to sit and enjoy a campfire, to appreciate nature more than he does now.  To breath the fresh air and to love the freedom we have. 

I've grown, from having Ben around.  I see things differently.  Things that never used to bother me do; things that I thought I was going to be fine with I'm now not.  I'm working a lot of hours - more than I want to admit.  And that's really, really tough - when Ben's around, I just want to hold him, to teach him, to laugh and play. 

Janene went to her sister's house in Portland this weekend, and she took Ben with her.  Every time he's gone away for more than the work day I have a hard time.  I want to hear him, to see his smiling face, and to have him grin ear to ear and crawl away as fast as he can when he sees me, knowing I'm comin' for him.

Family at Easter 2008

All that, and far more, in only <11 months.  Holy cow.  What do the next 40 years have in store?  All I know is that I look forward to every day, every step forward.  I know it's not always going to be peachy - he'll reach a point where the last thing he wants is to have us around.  I did.  But now I LOVE seeing my parents (which happens ALL the time, so it's good I'm so fond of them ... ).  I can only hope that I can be the dad that Ben needs, and that after those trying times, our relationship will blossom again.  Until then, he'd better watch out... 'cause here I cooommmmmmeeeeeeeeee.......

Dad & Son Fishing Print

Country Style Curtains and Valances

I was just working on our site and realized we have over 130 choices of country, primitive, and contemporary style curtains and valances by Victorian Heart!  Check it out, we've got stripes, florals, paisleys, plaids, lights and darks, fancy and homespun, dressy and comfy.  Here are a few of your choices:


Wiltshire Floral Valance or Curtain Panel


Walcott Valance


Brighton Floral Curtain Panels


Hathaway Hunter Floral Valance 


Tea Cabin Curtain Panels


Solids Collection, including Classic White, Pearl, Whispering Blue, Seashell, Shifting Sand, Aloe, Caribou, Almond Oil, and more...

Check them out today at The Weed Patch!

My New Career


It has been a while, but I never did officially annouce it.  My dream since Benjamin was born was to make my home and family my full time career - well, even before that, it's what I wanted to do.  At the end of last month, I was able to leave behind my full-time job in the Human Resources department at Children's Hospital, and devote my time and energy to those things I'm most passionate about, the forefront of which are my family, my home, and our family business - The Weed Patch.  I could write books and books about what this experience has been like thus far, but I need not put my entire life in one blog post.


My point in all this was to say that one of the enjoyable parts about working for yourself, is that you often get to choose the time and location of your work hours.  We have been spending the week at my mom's house (another Weed Patch owner), in beautiful Union, WA.  Many of our nature photos are taken here, right off their deck.  We regularly enjoy visits from bald eagles and really big cool looking other birds that I thus far can't identify.


Rooster Stoneware Pitcher

Working in my mom's kitchen is a real treat.  It's just so huge and open.  The living room, kitchen eating area, and the stove/sink/cooking area is just one big space, about the size of our first apartment.  The only sad thing about it is that it's sadly lacking in good cooking implements, like sharp knives and a garlic press that works.  My mom has the same measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisks, and mixing bowls that she's had as long as I've been alive, which for me is actually a wonderful thing.  They just don't make things like they used to, you know?  This stuff of hers has lasted forever, through three of her kids playing with them as their favorite toys, through my sister's two boys, and now our Benjamin.  And they just seem to work the best in the kitchen.


One of our products that I love (and kind of makes me laugh) are these measuring spoons by Gooseberry Patch, that are exactly like my mom's that she's been using for a million years.  I don't know if they were reproduced for the nostalgic factor, or because companies are figuring out that they made things right the first time.  We carry an exact replica of her old tin measuring cup that she always used to measure sugar - still does, actually - but alas we are out of those right now.

Am I the only one in my generation that loves kitchen tools that are older than I am?  Maybe its just me.  My mom thinks I'm crazy, she doesn't get it.  It's just same 'ol same 'ol to her, which I understand, because it IS the same old thing to her.  But I just love this stuff.  I love that companies are starting to reproduce the old designs.  And the new ones are dishwasher and microwave safe, thank goodness.

For instance, check out these great new dishes by Park Designs:


This is their Black Star Dinnerware.  These are strong, heavy stoneware pottery pieces, both place settings and serving pieces, featuring a primitive black star on a natural oatmeal colored background - they've got this black mottling that reminds me of od antique enamelware. They're hand-painted, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe.  They are just beautiful.  When I walked in the day that my folks worked up the display, I was just wowed.  Just look at this!


I wish you could see this in person, they are just so pretty.  The photos don't do them justice.  My mom says I need a bigger house, just for all my dishes.  I just can't help myself...