Where It Began

Hello! In order to acquaint you with Thistle Cottage ‘HOME’, let me first introduce myself.  I am a mom, and a grandmother to 6 beautiful, and might I say, brilliant, grandchildren! We grandmothers know a thing about brilliance, don’tcha know?!

For many years now, I have enjoyed a career that has allowed me to use my sewing skills and design talents to create welcoming spaces for clients, near and far.  More than one friend has told me that ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’, and for sure, my mother left her mark on several of us with her passion for beautiful surroundings, love of color, attention to detail, and ability to create ‘ a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’.

What started with a Singer sewing machine class at the age of 13 ( I made a sleeveless ‘shift’ , with a hip-hugger waist and Peter Pan collar!) inspired me to sew most of my own clothes through high-school, including a velvet swing coat ( I paid no attention to the nap and had to cut one of the front pieces twice!)  Buying the materials for my creations was a true act of love and sacrifice on the part of my parents. With six other siblings, who were all involved in sports and other creative pursuits, we stretched their pocket book to the max as they tried to accomodate and nurture each of our particular talents . I had to learn early on to take great care whenever I started a project, and tried like heck to ‘do things right the first time’, so I wouldn’t waste their money on re-do’s!

In the early eighties, my husband and I built our first home , in the country , where I was soon to meet up with several multi-talented women who not only sewed the clothes for their entire families, but they gardened, and canned, and baked their own bread, and ran thriving businesses using the talents that God had given them!  Talk about being intimidated!  I wanted so much to learn how to do all of those things, and though the learning curve was steep, before long, by following their examples,  I began to develop talents and abilities I never knew I had! We typically learn from our failures what we are NOT good at, and for sure, I was not cut out for :

1) typing policies for an insurance company : I cried every single day till I quit! 

2) being a demure receptionist in a church setting ( I would get side tracked talking  about anything and everything to anyone who called!)

3) sewing clothing for other people ( While attempting to meet a deadline for my neighbors’  daughter’s choir concert that evening, I ‘forgot’ that I had put a chicken on the stove to boil.  When my young  daughter came downstairs to let me know she couldn’t go back UP stairs because ‘it was too smoky’, I bolted to the stove just in time for the pot to go up in flames!  With the dress still draped( unknowingly)  across my arm, I proceeded to snatch that pot off the stove and throw it out the back door into our yard, grease spattering all over me AND the dress! The local dry cleaners attempted to save the day, and got MOST of the grease out, but the whole escapade nearly cost me a friendship, and for SURE ended a seamstress career, in clothing, anyway!)

But from that church receptionist failure came my ‘lucky break.  From one of those chatty phone calls , one caller happened to mention she needed someone to help her clean her house.  Both of my girls were in school all day, and I was actually looking for something part-time, outside the receptionist position, to fill my days, so I immediately ‘signed up’!  This woman just happened to run a drapery workroom , creating bedding, draperies and home accessories for local designers , as well as for her own personal clients. The first day I showed up to clean, she was frantic, due to a commission to fabricate 15 pairs of  extra-long draperies for a local college…and the rest ‘is history’!  I never cleaned her house, but went on to apprentice with her for 7 months, until she felt I was ready to go out on my own. 

Today I look back on a career that has not only allowed me to fabricate lovely designs for the clients of other designers, but grew to include a discriminating clientelle of my own through consulting , designing and fabricating  for both new construction and remodel projects.  By taking advantage of design seminars and workshops, college courses in construction and business, both local and out of state, I acquainted myself with vendors and craftsmen ,techniques  and sources that could provide the resources necessary to bring our design concepts to life.  Each project came with exciting opportunities to research and to learn, and travel experiences  acquainted me with new foods, design trends, dress, and music that have enriched my life and trained me to bring more to the table with each successive project.

Now that my children are grown, and my husband has retired, it’s time to slow down the pace a bit.  And that is how the concept for Thistle Cottage ‘HOME’ came to be.  One can’t be in a business where one is constantly bombarded with beautiful things , not to amass some treasures along the way!  Add to that , both of my parents had antique stores: Mom, with more delicate glassware and collectibles; Dad , with more rustic ‘manly’ furniture and memorabilia.  It’s been much too easy to acquire more things than my own humble cottage can accomodate, but with so many of the things having sentimental value, it’s been near impossible to just pack them up and ship them off to thrift stores and consignment shops…and besides, I still have a need to decorate my surroundings, so a shop of my own seemed the perfect solution to all these ‘problems’!

It is my hope that Thistle Cottage ‘HOME’ will become a destination place for those who have an appreciation for the past with an eye to the future.  There are sure to be treasures to add to your own collections, and whimsical pieces that bring a sense of playfulness to most any room setting.  “It’s all in the details”, and I firmly believe that!

I look forward to meeting each of you, and sharing my passion for life, and for beauty,  in everything we choose to surround ourselves with!   Thanks for ‘listening’!
























include travel, new cultural experiences , from dress to food




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