happy place: four dogs tavern/ marshalton inn

Don’t you just love this Chester County treasure? Four Dogs Tavern/Marshalton Inn?

Whenever another development is proposed in any part of the county, I think of places like this. You can’t create this out of Tyvec.

Marshalton is a happy place. Come visit and see the festive decorations and have a meal at Four Dogs!

off whitford road….again

I have written about this house a couple of times before – HERE and HERE.

Like many other forlorn old houses it captures my eye every time I drive by.

Must everything turn into “flats” and “carriage homes”?

Here’s hoping someone, some day shows this home some love before it’s too late…

flo the fox is home

The other day I wrote about buying art that makes you happy . So let me tell you about Flo the Fox.

Flo is an actual fox who lives at the British Wildlife Centre. She was captured first on camera then in a painting by a friend from high school who is an artist named Robin Sears.

I was so excited when I first saw her because I have been looking for a little fox painting for a few years. But every fox I saw just wasn’t my fox.

But Flo is my fox, and she’s perfect. She’s just a little painting at 9″ x 12″ and she is acrylic on board.

The reason I like Flo so much is we have very funny foxes that I like to watch in our backyard. Each has a personality.

Anyway Flo is a perfect British fox sitting in her bed of blue bells and ferns and moss.

She will eventually make her way down to Framers Market Gallery in Malvern to be framed.

Anyway, just wanted to share Flo with everyone!

Have a great afternoon and thanks for stopping by

chester county christmas memories: first stop gunkle mill in east whiteland

Circa 1976. Reader submitted photo.

Overnight I received an email from a friend:

I saw your post about Christmas. Sending you a converted slide (hence the poor quality) circa 1976. National Liberty Corp owned the Gunkle Mill in East Whiteland before it was donated to the township.

Arthur DeMoss opened up the small building adjacent to the Mill and created a manger scene. There were figures and real animals.  In this photo, you can see a critter (goat, ram??) in the foreground, but there were  bigger animals too. I remember a donkey who would come to the fence hoping you had food.

I think it lasted 5 or so years in the 1970s. Once we went over at midnight on Christmas Eve and it was snowing–it was magical.

Maybe others remember it too. And maybe they will have a better photo!

I think this is so cool and this is the first person to respond to the post I posted recently about my Christmas blogging idea.

It’s not complicated. In a time where so much of the day today world can be so ugly, I thought maybe we would throw back to holidays past in Chester County.

I have not lived here in Chester County long enough to know about all the celebrations continue today or are purely from the past. Parades, festivals, things that speak of the season and community.

So if you have memories of Christmas past and photos you would like to share. Please contact this blog via the blog’s Facebook page. Please tell me about the photos you’re sending and how you would like them attributed. I can attribute them simply “reader submitted” or put an entire name and so on. If you are sending things in for celebrations that still continue today and it something that requires public participation and donations, tell me who it is they are supposed to contact and when the event will occur.

And for those who love the historic mill, I do have a whole bunch of photos still to go through from Chester County Day which I promise I will post.

buy art that makes you happy

I found myself a small treasure today. “Society Hill” by Margery Niblock.

I have written before about family friend and artist Margery Niblock. She was a New York transplant who lived in Philadelphia for many, many years before heading north to Maine.

Margery has been a printmaker artist of woodcut and linoleum since 1958. The 1972 UNICEF Engagement Calendar had one of her woodcuts, “Fantasy,” chosen for inclusion, and her work was used as a cover and feature story in the then “Today Magazine” of the Philadelphia Inquirer She also taught private classes for both adults and children. (Yes, I was one of her students!)

Margery was commissioned by many organizations to do special pieces during her many years in Philadelphia — The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, Ars Moriendi, Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), American Friends Service Committee, Pearl S. Buck Foundation, Developmental Center for Autistic Children, and Support Center for Child Advocates.

In 1989 Margery moved to Maine, where she has had solo exhibits as well as illustrating quite a few books. In Maine, her drawings and woodcuts appeared in Greater Portland Magazine and the Maine Times. For a while she also produced beautiful jewelry made out of found beach objects – like shards of pottery and beach glass.

Margery, or Margie as I have grown up calling her, is a family friend. I have many memories of her and being in her home as a little girl which was across the street from St. Peter’s where I went to grade school. We are still connected today and I treasure her.

As I had already mentioned, she taught me how to do woodblock and linoleum cutting and printing. I still have the scar on my right wrist from when she warned me how to hold my tools when cutting and I did not listen. As a creative medium, I loved wood block and linoleum and I did some of it throughout high school.

To this day, Margery is still one of my favorite artists.  If I see her work anywhere (and it’s affordable), I buy it.  Her work represents very happy memories to me. (I see it and I smile.) I can still see her prints as well as the work of other artists fluttering on clotheslines held by clothes pins during the craft fairs of my childhood at Head House Square, known also as “the shambles”.

Circa 1974. That is me on the left watching a quilter at the Head House Square Craft Fair.

One time when we were little, Margie used my sister as a model.  My sister was sitting on the beach in Avalon playing with my mother’s wide brimmed straw hat and playing in the sand.

And during the holidays, Margie would also create these fabulous Christmas-y wood cuts. I have several of those framed and hanging in my home now as an adult. My mother saved them for me and a few years ago I framed my favorites.

When I stumble across her work now, it is referred to as “mid-century modern” . This inexplicably makes me giggle and I wonder since a lot of what’s out there was created when I was growing up, I guess that make me mid-century modern too?

Art brokers and gallery owners alike probably wouldn’t like me saying art doesn’t have to be rare or priceless to hold value to us. But that is a very simple truth. Art should make us happy, evoke a memory, provoke a memory, cause a new memory to happen. Or when all else fails, you just like something. And no one else has to like it. Only you.

So many people love art yet live with blank walls. Sometimes I think it’s because they do not know what to buy. Or are afraid. To them I say: what do you like? What would make you happy?

Living in Chester County, we have so many amazing artists living here among us. And the art these artists create are at so many price points, so there is literally something for everyone’s budget.

In Chester County we not only have galleries and studio tours, we have the Chester County Art Association. Their gallery in West Chester and their outpost in the Exton Square Mall. (You can find some of my friend and artist Catherine Quillman’s work there, for example.)

Art is everywhere around us.

My friend Sherry Tillman who owns Past*Present*Future in Ardmore, PA started First Friday Main Line years ago to literally put art in unexpected places. The whole thing was about making art accessible to everyone, and to make the process less intimidating.

Sherry is so right. So many are intimidated to go into a traditional gallery setting even if they should not be. But because art is everywhere, you can find art at consignment boutiques, thrift stores, rummage sales, fairs, and so on.

Today I stumbled upon the wood block I opened the post with. It’s one right out of my childhood years and the location is also right out of my childhood years. It’s value is I like it. It made me smile as soon as I clapped eyes on it.

I am literally really lucky that I have quite a few friends who are artists. I feel connected to their work in part because I know them.

Yet on the flip side, there is art I feel connected to just for the subject matter. I don’t know the artists at all.

So here we are in the season of giving so why not something homemade? Like art? Buy a piece of art even if it’s just a little print for yourself. And if you need something framed I will gladly direct you to Framer’s Market Gallery in Malvern. (They also represent quite a few local artists, so make sure to check it all out!)

Thanks for stopping by.

My perfect Thanksgiving card from my friend and artist Catherine Quillman