Spring Gardening

I absolutely LOVE this time of year for gardening. With all the rain we've had this year, my garden is looking so full and everything is blooming at once. I have hollyhocks coming up everywhere. I did buy some new black hollyhocks last week from Johnnye Merle Gardens. That's the garden behind the store that my oldest daughter owns and named after my Mom! I've never had black hollyhocks before.  On a post I did a couple of weeks about my hollyhocks and how they are growing everywhere, especially in really bad soil,  Maureen told me that is "why" hollyhocks grow so well. They love the poor soil! So, the new black hollyhocks went into a part of the garden that doesn't have the best soil! Only time will tell. Below are just a few of my favorite pictures. Everything is growing so beautifully right now and the roses are getting ready to bloom right now and day now.

I always love when my Mary Lou Heard rose blooms. Heard's Garden and Nursery was such a beautiful place. It is nice that we can carry on Mary Lou's memory with the rose that was named after her! Happy Spring to you all. And if you are looking for some really great plants, stop by the store and step out back into Johnnye Merle's Gardens. There is a huge collection of all kinds of plants to choose from including Annies Annuals, Native Suns, and just different plants that you don't see everyday. Happy Spring!


Our Stuff

When I'm working at Country Roads, I often forget how much great stuff we have! And it wouldn't be possible if I didn't have such a talented and creative group of dealers that continue to effortlessly put together killer displays, little vignettes and much more!

The pictures above are courtesy of Stacey, Betsy and Nicole. They all so effortlessly put together such great displays and vignettes. I always say this, but it's so true. . ."Country Roads, always your favorite, never the same". Stop by and see what I mean. See you soon.


Every Once in Awhile

You know, every once in awhile in this business, there is "something" you come across and it takes your breath away. I'm  reminded not only of "why" I love what I do, but "where" I have my business as well! I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA and still live here today. I watched over the years as Long Beach tore down such things as the old Pike, the great old library and courthouse. The Pike was part of Long Beach's history and the old buildings were just tore down and replaced with other regular everyday  buildings. I felt that as if Long Beach disposed of their history. My store, Country Roads, is located in Old Towne Orange, CA. What I love about being in Old Towne is that it is a historic little area. It's on the CA list of historic areas that have certain restrictions of what you can and cannot build or change. With that said, on to my story. Years ago, a little bit north of Buellton, CA there was a little restaurant built called Mullen's Dining Cars. I believe it was built in the mid 1940's. Two old trolleys were purchased and moved up to Northern CA from Los Angles or Huntington Beach depending on where you read about them.  And after that, the restaurant was built. It was great in it's day as you can see from the pictures below.

I love the neon "bow tie" light fixture on the ceiling! It looks like the lights next to the "bow tie" are also neon. I can only imagine how great this looked when it was first built!

Above are a couple of pictures of the "dining cars" and how they were decorated as part of the restaurant. I love the color of the old flooring! The white crackled paint and the pink colors on the doorways from car to car are pretty cool as well.

While reading about the "Mullen's Dining Cars" restaurant, I think, and I'm may not be entirely correct, the restaurant was sold in the early 1950's. It was sold a few times after that, but never could make a go of it since  Highway 101 had changes and moved further away from the restaurant than it use to be.  And since the restaurant was no longer near they highway, the business suffered. And sadly, back in 1958, this great looking little cafe that was constructed from historic pieces of the past, never reopened. And it slowly began to lose the charm and beauty that it once had back in its day!

Late in the 1980's, Anke Haas and her husband bought the land that the vacant diner sat on. It is below the land where the house is and they reside.

I love these pictures of the old neon signs. Many of the pictures on this blog post came from the internet except for the ones below. I would love to give credit to those that took the pictures, but was unable to find exactly who these people were. Let's fast forward to today, and the pictures below belong to us, as in my Country Roads family. Shawn and Jennie are part of this family of mine that I always so lovingly refer to. They also share that connection and love of our history, the past, and everything old. So, somehow Shawn was able to contact the owners of this property and purchased the two neon signs from them. Next came not only getting them to Country Roads, but taking them down while at the same time not breaking any of the old neon lighting.

Above is what the restaurant looks like today. It just breaks my heart to see a piece of history left to rot. Below is a picture of "the boys" beginning the project of getting the sign of the roof. Shawn, my son Bryce, and Mike tackled this project with great care.

My son Bryce is on the bottom left,  Shawn is on the right, and Mike is in the back.

Success! One sign down, and one to go. At least the next old sign was on the ground. Although not in as good as condition, it was much easier to get down, and it too still is an amazing piece of history!

Everyone was excited the day the signs came inside to Country Roads. The neon had been handled with great care. The sign on the roof was delicately placed on an industrial table in Shawn's space inside of Country Roads. The neon was put back into the sign very, very carefully and I remember standing there when the moment came to plug it in. I can't exactly put it into words what it means to see something like this sign, plugged in and watch it light up. A piece of history had been saved thanks to the "boys"!

After the great project was done, it was time for Shawn and Jennie to head to their new home in Iowa. They all had a mission to do before leaving.  The signs had to be saved, and with that done, now Shawn and Jennie were off to start another chapter in their lives. No worries, they will be keeping their space at Country Roads, and in case you are interested, the signs are for sale. What a great thing to own! You know, there are days at Country Roads that people push your buttons, you work so hard, and go home exhausted at night. But then, "every once in awhile", you are reminded why you LOVE what you do so very much!! 


A Beautiful Busy Saturday!

I had big plans today of taking a bunch of pictures while working at "the store". Those plans got derailed rather early in the day. We were very fortunate to be "slammed" today. I'm so appreciative when that happens. Country Roads does have, without a doubt, the best customers anyone could ever ask for. Here are a few pictures that I did have time to snap rather quickly. 

I was off yesterday, and I was able to put together a slide show on my new iMac computer that I'm beginning to know how to use much better. I had a pc before so it's been a bit of a change for me. I was impressed at how easily the slide show went together. I was able to add music from my iTunes to the it, and it is "saved" on my computer right now. So, I just need to figure out how to post "that" in my iContact program that I use for my Email Express. Does anyone have any clues as to how I could do that.? I would love to hear from you. And I hear there is some rain headed our way tomorrow. You know that you can always come shop with us and spend a good portion of your day "dry" while wandering around in about 10,000 square feet of great stuff!! See you Sunday!


This Post Is For You Mom

As I seem to mention quite often lately, I've been working a bit more than I normally do at Country Roads. And the one thing that has been really bothering me about that is I haven't had time to have my grandkids over. And not spending time with my little ones has been bothering me so much these past few weeks. Today, I finally got that long lost time with the kids. Although I only had Riley and Morgan, which are cousins, not sisters. But our family is so close, they are like sisters. I'm writing this post for my Mom tonight. I'm not sure why, she's been gone since August of 2006 right after Riley's birth. It's not a special day or date, but it was a day for me that warmed my heart and made me think of my Mom. I have two daughters and a son. And right now, I have two granddaughters and a grandson, with another granddaughter on the way and due at the end of July. My kids use to make my Mom crazy, and it still makes me smile. My Mom was from Texas, so off course the first pair of cowboy boots my son Bryce got were from my Mom. I've picked up Riley and Morgan old vintage cowboy boots, and Bodhi as well. I need to be on the look out for another pair for my new granddaughter that will arrive in late July.  I know my Mom is smiling on us at the girls in their boots! Below are some pictures that warmed my heart today! Did you notice that Morgan's pink boots that are also way too big for her are also on the wrong feet. Riley is the one wearing the red boots.

And the picture above? Bodhi arrived and all hell broke loose just like it did when Bryce joined in the fun when he was Bodhi's age!