Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As It Turns Out...

Success is full of promise till one gets it, and then
it seems like a nest from which the bird has flown.
-Henry Ward Beecher

I had a very particular look in mind for henrybella's. Very particular. But as the time came to open my Sweet Shop (in a quick two weeks, to be sure), I found I was too poor to decorate the place. Which was frustrating for me. I'd dreamed of my bakery looking a certain way and it simply wasn't going to happen.

But what has happened - the look of the place - is alright with me. Not my first pick... or maybe even my seventeenth... but charming nonetheless. And the bird's nest seems to be the theme. Sticks and nests and even egg shells were free. They were things I could, and literally did, pull out of my yard and kitchen. Fitting for spring, too, I reasoned. And so that's the look of henrybella's: sky blue and bird nesty.

Did I mention...? No. I think I've failed to mention. As it turns out, henrybella's shares a building with a pottery shop. The artist's name is Lori Ellyn, and she cuts dishes and pottery from clay, then paints, glazes, and fires her creations in huge kilns in the back of the building. Anyhow, Lori Ellyn came up to the front of the building one morning and, as she poured herself a cup of coffee, announced that she was designing custom dishes for henrybella's.

I gulped. I use white plates in the bakery... clean, white, sturdy plates, and like them. Besides, my style is completely opposite from Lori Ellyn's, and I was happy with what I already had. But then she brought these up front:

These are the dishes she designed for the Sweet Shop. They're each completely handmade and painted. No two are exactly alike. I have platters to serve and deliver sweets. I have plates to portion out pie. I have tea saucers and butter pat dishes and chargers. And I love them. Each and every one.

Trouble is, everyone wants to buy them off the tables. Which turns out to be no trouble at all, especially since it's helping Lori Ellyn, who's depended on her pottery income since her husband died of cancer three years ago. And it's giving me a little money to put back in the business, which is priceless right now...

So. Not coming to henrybella's Sweet Shop anytime soon? No problem. We'll ship a plate and a cookie to you if you'd like. Visit the Etsy Shop here for more information....

Birthday Suit and Battles

...or dress, rather. I have several yards of a dove gray fabric, purchased a year ago, that I'm hoping to shape into a dress similar to this, the Epilogue Blouson Dress from Anthropologie. (No way I can afford the $158 dollar price tag... even for this special occasion!) I even have the perfect shoes to pull this off. I'm thinking it's the perfect dress to turn 30 in...

The bakery's been closed for a week now. Last Tuesday as I was happily serving coffee and selling muffins, the Health Department walked in. Someone had called them, then drove over 20 miles to file a formal complaint against henrybella's. The inspector who came through apologized over and over again, then said our 1901 building simply wasn't up to code as it pertained to sinks. Yeah. The inspector sighed as she delivered the verdict: I had to give away the rest of the food, shut it down and lock the doors. It broke my heart.

But what someone meant for meanness, God meant for good. The building's owner was here when it all happened and was deeply outraged. She immediately called a contractor and told them to get their men here to make necessary changes. In a week, a commercial kitchen's been added at NO COST to me. Commercial equipment, including a stainless steel monster sink, a stove, bakery tables and shelves have all been donated. As in, given. (Some were birthday presents, but still!) I'm short a water heater and a big refrigerator, but at this point, I have no doubt they're on their way.

I'd like to say that last Tuesday, when my business was shut down, I was the model of faith and perserverence. Ha. I locked the door and sat in a chair and cried for a good five minutes. I called someone, bawling, barely coherent, and sobbed, Why is everything so hard? Why can't anything just WORK OUT? Why is everything a battle? Why does everything hurt? Why couldn't I at least have made enough money to catch up on my bills before they shut me down? What in the world... in the world?... am I supposed to do now?

Yes, I was upset. And then I was directed to this blog... this particular post... and felt all that anger and frustration dissolve into nothing. I have only to do three things and three things only, realized. I could do those. And it was another miracle to watch God part my Red Sea and hurry me across another deluge to solid ground again.

Man. Am I ever looking forward to putting on that dress and kissing these 20s goodbye! There have been battles, there have been wars, there have been defeats and there have been glorious victories. But I've learned the most important lesson a girl can learn: I have a Heavenly Father who holds my life in His mighty hand and keeps me with a fierce, eternal love. I might as well trust Him, then put on my dress and dance....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Rose, A Party, and A Surprise

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.
-Alice Walker

And there it was, blushing atop the trellis: the first rose of spring. I'd been keeping my eye on it for days... watching as pink filled a bulging green bud... watching to see how long the color could stand to be hemmed in before it burst its seams and wore its beauty for the peering sky. Then this morning I checked and there it was. How anyone can see an unfolded rose and not set her heart into the hands of the petal's Creator is beyond me.

There was much talk last night about my thirtieth birthday party. (Yikes. It's next week.) I always thought my 30s would greet me in the Cognac Lounge at Cool River in Las Colinas, or somewhere, with a handful of friends and news reporting buddies, crusty bosses and maybe a who's who type person or two, all bored to tears yet buying me Amaretto Sours and shoving wadded bills into my hands with a curt, I didn't get you a card, but happy birthday, kid. And then I'd take a cab straight to DFW airport and board a plane bound for the English countryside. Strangely enough, that's how I always wanted the beginning of my thirties decade to look.

But that was before I learned to live, frugally, on surprise. Instead, my 30th birthday is set here in this tiny town, and instead of a handful of wacky reporters, many of whom couldn't tell you my real name, much less spell it (hint: it's not Brin), I'll be surrounded by the faces I can't imagine my life without - people I couldn't love more if I tried. There'll be balloons. There'll be champagne. There'll be cupcakes. There'll be music, there'll be laughter, and there'll be hugs. (There will also be a little wagging brown dog named Millie.) And, best of all, there will be happiness. There will be the joy that comes with living the life you've dreamed of... being the person you were meant to be... and being surrounded by the people you adore who love you right back. There'll be nothing better.

Surprise, surprise.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


...if I sat down and wrote a thousand pages and pasted them between two covers and called it a book, it still wouldn't be enough to catch you up on what's happened here in the past four days.

Are some people born into messy, thrilling lives, specially hardwired and trained to cope with such drama? Or do we wander down a road less traveled and find ourselves here, destined to walk this road and live this life on account of choices?

I'm not sure. All I can say, with certainty, is I could not do this another day without a Savior who, every moment - without fail - gives me the grace to bear up under enormous things.

This is the same God who, while inclining His ear unto me, hours ago freed my friend Eddie from the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Eddie was captured and detained over the weekend while crossing from Kenya into Sudan to assist with mission humanitarian work. Apparently soldiers with the SPLA haven't been paid and are hungry and running out of water. They saw Eddie and another Christian as a bargaining chip, and captured and held them. While in custody these last few days, short on food, water, and hope, Eddie was able to tell many soldiers about Jesus. Almost 25 men called upon Him and asked Jesus to be their Savior, too. And this morning Eddie was released and driven across the border....

These past few days have been impossible. Life is hard. Life is so, so, so hard. But God is good. God is so, so, so good.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day of Rest

It's no secret to Christians that Sunday is intended as a day of rest. Some of the faithful observe this "time out" day because the Bible tells us God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, and then turned around and told His people to Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

That said, my parents were always strict about the day of rest bit. We didn't go out to eat on Sunday. We didn't have sleepovers or go anywhere... just to church and back home. Mom would make a huge Sunday lunch and we'd eat and then pass out on the couch or the floor and watch football - or baseball - whatever was on, with my Dad. We'd talk Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers and yell for Troy Aikman or Nolan Ryan until my Mom would rouse and hush us all, reminding us it was time to rest. Evening saw me and my four brothers and sister piling back into the car for a 7 p.m. church service, after which we headed back home and ate burritos. Every Sunday night we had burritos. I still remember Dad frying the refried beans in a little skillet on the stove while Mom made iced tea and one of us kids would grate cheese or slice tomatoes or pour salsa. One those those childhood memories I'll keep forever.

Although I still eat burritos on Sunday nights, I've gotten away from the day of rest bit as an adult. Too many things to do, you know, and experience. I mean, I'm pressed enough for time as it is, so lying back and resting on a Sunday seems unproductive (at best) and downright lazy (at worst). But in ignoring (disobeying) a clear command, I'm shooting myself in the foot. God knows we need a day of rest. For body and spirit. I think He told us to remember our Sabbath days because He knew how busy, stressed, burned out and exhausted we'd get the rest of the week.

Opening henrybella's has made me reconsider my Sundays. Aside from church, will they be a day of rest, or a day just like all the others?

I was still kicking the idea around two weeks ago when I (finally) went to get my haircut. This time I tried a new hairstylist, Jeanette, and appreciated her encouragement as we discussed the sweet shop and my plans for business. When she asked about which days and hours I'd be open, I hesitated. Well, I teach Sunday School and go to church on Sunday, but it sure would be profitable if I could figure out a way to be open later on Sundays.

Jeanette's scissors paused in the air and she leaned in over my shoulder. Look at it this way, she said, softly. You can either think about money, or you can think about Who your money comes from.

Turns out Jeanette is a preacher's wife, something I didn't know when I scheduled an appointment with her. And those words have stayed with me all week... that I can either think about money, or I can think about Who my money comes from.

My hours, then, are Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday I'm resting, and Monday I'll shop and clean and pre-mix doughs, etc. That will be my week for the forseeable future.

So today's my first day to "rest". I think I'm going to fold some laundry and read a little. And maybe do some cleaning in the guest room (pictured here with pillow cases I just got from my grandmother) since I'll have a visitor here all week. Also think I'll start making THIS little pretty from Alicia's book. (I'm still trying to come up with safe, non-toxic, natural games and toys for children who come to henrybella's and need something to do while their mothers visit.)

Things are so peaceful here today. Think I could really get used to this whole day of rest bit again....

(Update: I didn't fold laundry. Instead, I spent a shameful hour online stalking Rob Pattinson and listening to his I Was Broken 15 times. Yeah, I realize I'm not 15 years old, but I have such a huge crush on this guy that I can't help it. *blush*)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Bitty Break

So I've decided that my favorite thing about owning a sweet shop is being able to sneak in the back door on Saturday morning, cut yourself a chunk of Peanut Butter Pie, and flip through a magazine with the place to yourself. Heaven.

I'm still lousy about reading my emails. I've hardly opened my Freeman House email account in two weeks. I do know, however, that I'm still getting notes from people strongly urging me not to quit blogging on April 7th. And I hear you. I really do. It's just that I'm doing everything at henrybella's right now - all the shopping, all the baking, and all the shop keeping/selling/cleaning, etc. It's too much for one person, really, but I can't afford to hire help. Today, my day "off", I'm doing 5 loads of laundry, mowing the yard, cleaning my house, seeing after Millie, and shopping for ingredients. Then there's a party tonight. Tomorrow it's teaching Sunday School and then baking to fill a big order first thing Monday morning. Sadly, there's not much time here anymore for blogging....

Hope y'all understand.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sweet to the Soul

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul...
-Proverbs 13:19

After two days, henrybella's is... here. It really happened. I looked up this morning while pouring coffee and realized: this is my dream. This is my place. These are my customers and I am a boss and all this is here because of a desire accomplished. It was so sweet to my soul.

Can't say for sure yet what my favorite part of owning my own bake shop is. (Sleep would not be one of them. I'm getting about 3.5 hours a night. Yipes.) I do know this: after two days our bestsellers are clearly the Strawberry Sugar Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Candy Bar Cheesecake (to wit):

My gosh is it good. Southern Banana Pecan Muffins and Farmhouse White Bread are close behind. Yum.

I was afraid the place would be too girly, you know, but men keep coming in. Heck, give the boys a sweet treat and a mug of coffee and they crowd the tables, talking, reading, sipping, watching the day go by....

We're all having a ball, meeting new friends, and making our little town a sweeter place, all as we look toward tomorrow...

Yeah, it's all so sweet to the soul.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bakery opened. Line out door. Newspaper sent reporter to check out the commotion. Sold out in three hours. Too tired to move. What a day! Ready to do it all over again tomorrow. More later...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A chocoholic customer eating cake

Boy am I nervous. So, so nervous. I haven't been this nervy since I interviewed Martha Stewart that one time when I worked for CBS and said totally idiotic things. The sweet shop opens tomorrow and my stomache is in knots. Will I have enough food? Will I have way too much? Is the selection okay? Will the coffee be too weak? Am I starting too small? Do I need an employee already? These questions, and a million others, bounce around my head like pink rubber paddle balls.

Fortunately I have a hot bath, a bowl of Baked Potato Soup and a little brown dog to keep me company this evening. I'm looking forward to it all... especially Millie. Sure have missed that pup lately.

Tomorrow it is on. Tomorrow is the day. I'll save a Strawberry Sugar cupcake for you....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sneak Peak at Henrybella's

It's a beautiful morning at henrybella's bakery. Come on in and enjoy it with me. Here. I'll even get us some pink lemonade...

...and maybe a plate full of sweets, too. There. That's better.

I have a lot to do today in preparation for Wednesday's opening. I hope you don't mind if I work as we talk; I just can't seem to stop. The past 10 days of my life have been a foggy blur. I've hardly slept, hardly eaten and scarcely know where I am or what to do next. It has, however, been the happiest time I've had in years. And I do mean years. Like, since 2005.

Although my exhaustion is starting to tell on me. I picked up some chalk yesterday, while beginning to chalk up the menu board, and doodled this. And for some reason it made me giggle. And giggle and giggle and giggle....

This is the sweet shop. Or the beginning of one, anyway. I went with sky/robin's egg blue. And wood. And white dishes. It's quaint and homey and relaxing, I think. But let's not kid ourselves. It's all about the food:

This is obviously not it. Just a few things I made up for a little run-through on Saturday- a small gathering of about 15 friends and family. It was important to me to do that... to have a little food out and have everyone in and get opinions and suggestions and feedback. And I'm so happy I did. Apparently firing up three coffee/espresso machines at once throws the breakers. So I grabbed a hot pot, and hurried to tables, coffee sloshing. Who wants hot coffee before the breakers blow again?! I yell, grinning. White cups raise in the air and faces look back at me, smiling.

I wanted to cry I was so happy. Breakers and all.

The old place has an old Wurlitzer piano. It sounds like one you'd find in an saloon in Kansas City or somewhere. I kept it, displaying a sign that reads: If the music's short / Or if the music's long -/ There's a cookie waiting /For those who play a song.

And several people already have played. I have too, although I don't demand a free cookie when I'm done. Cuts down on overhead... and jean size, I've found.

I decorated the place with about $65. Total. That's why there are sticks and "trees" everywhere. They are free and I am broke.

But it's still a beautiful place. And you should see it first thing in the morning. Ooooh! And in the evening when the sun's setting. Ooooh! And in the afternoon when the breeze is wafting through, smelling like coffee and vanilla cupcakes...

I'm at 104 Webb Street in Daingerfield, Texas. Come see me sometime. For now, I'm hanging up my apron and going home to do laundry. And maybe sleep.

Be back soon. -Brin

(Special thanks this past week to: Mom and Dad, Maryanna, Lori B., Shelley, Kathleen, Stan, Angela, Holly, Sondra, Bro. Chad, Scott P., Aaron, Steve, Mike, Neal and Emily. Free dessert, coffee, and my undying affection/gratitude for life. A girl couldn't start a bakery without y'all. Also public acknowledgment to Jesus my Savior. You're my heart's cry and my soul's hope, and the Grace who sat with me until I could walk in it again. May this place, and my life, honor You.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Did Someone Say "Eating Local"?

When you've had all the organic broccoli from your garden that you can stand, here's an idea: make broccoli quiche for your bakery. Once you've done that, chop off the flowering broccoli stems and plunk in water. Position on bakery shelf with quiche, alongside a "This Is the Plant That Grew Your Lunch" sign, telling eaters where their meal came from.

Problem solved.

(P.S. - One problem not solved? Calendars. I've been unable to receive my order OR even a partial refund. Can't count the hours of sleep I've lost over this. My only solution - until I receive a refund - is to transfer the purchase price of calendars toward the purchase of a Freeman House Cookery Book, which I plan to Blurb in April. Something like these. You calendar folks think on that and let me know how you feel...)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Falling Pieces and Sugar Plum-Turned-Cookie Trees

The pieces of my life are falling into place. It's magical... breathtakingly spell-binding... to watch.

Henrybella's bakery is turning out to be exactly what it's supposed to be. It comes with an old Wurlitzer piano in the corner, promising a free cookie to anyone who will play a tune. (And also promising a chance for me to throw open the big glass doors and play Mozart while bread bakes.) It comes with tables, heavy and old, ready to hear new conversations and welcome new generations. It comes with tall ceilings and antique furniture and lazy, spinning ceiling fans. It, in a word, is perfect.

Of course, I'm adding my own things. Books, for one. (You know how I adore words.) And wooden checker boards from old U.S. Navy ships. And hand-hewn wooden bread bowls. And German water pitchers. And a cookie tree. Yes, a whole tree. Not a fake tree, mind you, but a real tree, fallen down and rescued and sealed and brought in. Close your eyes and think of the Sugar Plum tree, only with beribboned and wrapped cookies instead of plums. Um... maybe you'll have to see it. I'm thinking it's one of those things you have to see in person.

Put it this way: henrybella's is unlike any place you've ever been before. Or ever will be. Come once and you'll remember it forever. It's a dream. It's my dream.

I have so much to do before I open a week from today. So if I'm scarce about this place, my apologies. It's just that the pieces of my life are falling, supernaturally, into place, and it's breathtakingly spell-binding to watch. And I don't want to miss a second...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The country is making a big mistake not teaching kids
to cook and raise a garden and build fires.
-Loretta Lynn

A butter bean hatching and stretching in the Freeman House garden

My Dad told me Wednesday, the night before he had to go into surgery, that garden seed sales are up 30% this year in America. We smiled at each other, probably because we'd rather be in a garden than anywhere, and are thrilled others are joining us. We got the gardening gene from our fathers, both of us.

I heard it on the news last night, too - that home gardening is becoming all the rage again. That and sewing. I think it's wonderful. Not only because I love to garden and sew, but because it helps us become a tad more independent, I think. And we... well, we are a very dependent people. Growing and making our own gives us more say in what we eat and what we wear. Sure, it's more effort to sew your own dress and grow your own potatoes. But you'll never love a dress or a baked potato more than the one you helped create. At least I don't.

My Great-Grandma (not the one henrybella's is named after, but another one), was a gardener. I remember her tomatoes were so big I had to carry them with both hands. I can also remember her tying on an apron and cooking big lunches every day. Fried meat, usually - pork chops, chicken or steak - was served up alongside potatoes, cornbread and butter beans. Gosh was it good. I planted speckled butter beans two weeks ago from seed, thinking of her. The beans are doing nicely, and should be running up my stick poles any day now.

It may be the first week of March, but my garden's kept me busy. So far I have 200 onions, 100 scallions, 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 heads of lettuce, 15 leeks, 35 bulbs of garlic, 10 broccoli/broccoli raab, 50 green bean, 15 butter bean and 10 tomato plants growing. And I've only started; squash, okra, peas, pumpkins, corn, strawberries, more tomatoes, herbs and flowers have yet to be planted. Whew. From now on, when people ask me what I do all day, I'm going to throw my thumb over my shoulder pointed in the direction of the garden. (Or in the direction of my sewing machine. Or the bakery. Or Freeman House. Or....)

Almost a year ago I began putting one of those how-to posts together with hints, tricks, tips and resources for starting a home garden. I need to find it and publish it before My Messy, Thrilling Life goes away, don't I? The last post'll be a month from today. One more month and I'm home (garden?) free....

The Auction...

...ends in a few hours! If you've yet to check it out, scoot on over and take it all in by clicking here. Thanks in advance to all the bidders and watchers! -Brin

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I had to tell you. I just had to tell you this.

Not an hour after posting to my blog... after crying hot, salty tears and gritting my teeth and determining to embrace opportunity... someone knocked on my door. Which isn't unusual. Freeman House is a hub of comings and goings.

It was a lady who owns a building downtown. I want you to come see this, she said. Be at my shop at one o'clock.

I wanted to argue but didn't. At one o'clock, I walked past seven houses, the old jail, the railroad tracks, and past two shops into her building.

I just had the floors waxed, she said. Then, I want you to take the front of this building an open a little bakery.

We smiled at each other and then I said, slowly... thankfully... Thanks. Thank you. But I can't afford to.

Yes, you can, she said. I only want $50 a month rent. And you can paint or do whatever you need to do.

We talked for two hours. And by the time I'd walked home after three o'clock, we'd made a tentative deal.

That means this will be henrybella's, my little dream of a bakery. This means I can bicycle or even walk to work. This means this sidewalk will soon be dotted with tables, flowers, and sweets. This means I'll get my shot.

This means that even as I was crying my hot, salty tears, God was making my way where there seemed to be no way. This means that everything I've lost made room for the thing I wanted most.

And this means that soon you can come and sit in my little bakery and pull up a chair - for real, this time - and you can see for yourself. Together we can see what it means to soar....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Understanding that
heavy things can't fly,
she let go of what was weighing on her heart,
the things she could no more control than carry,

and she gave herself a chance,
a chance to reach into the unassuming blue,
to embrace the possibility of an open sky,
with an open heart.
She gave herself a chance to soar.
- Jodi Hills, An Imperfect Life

The Jeep goes tomorrow. I just took a drive in it, that dusty, crazy ride, and cried a bit. In the past three years I've put over 90,000 miles on it - my companion during endless headlights and highways. It's carried me from trips into adventures. But Jeep costs me over $700 a month, a price I can no more control than carry. Tomorrow it's gone.

This week has been littered with moments of culling. The power went Monday, prompting a frantic calling in of loans and I-owe-yous. It delayed cookie orders and deliveries, pushing my stomach into knots. I got it turned back on with $4 to spare. That's about the time my sewing machine broke, delaying orders and apron and market tote designs. Thankfully my Mom drove into town with my old one, swapped the machines out, and took the clattering, spitting one away. Then I had only to deal with the DVD player, which, after the power was cut off, wouldn't turn back on. No big deal, except it had a Netflix DVD in it which I need to return so they don't charge me for another month. I tried to unscrew it, planning to ease the movie out, but was shaking so badly I couldn't coax out the screws. I ended up outside, banging the thing against concrete steps until it flew to pieces and gave up the disc. Then I just yelled. I yelled and yelled and yelled until I sunk into a heap of sobs.

God, I prayed, these heavy things that can't fly - come get them. Please take them. Take the things that are weighing so heavily on my heart, and then give me an open, eager heart to embrace the new... to embrace possibility.

Perhaps, just perhaps - as I let go of what I'm holding and stretch empty hands into the unassuming blue - I'm giving myself a chance to soar.

She gave herself a chance to soar. And really, is there anything better?

(By the way, I'm still overwhelmed with emails, and now Etsy conversations, as people as have tried that as a "faster" way through. I figured that if, somehow, I can get through 100 messages a day I can get caught up in a week. It's the getting-through-100-a-day that I can't quite manage right now. I appreciate everyone's continued patience as I make an effort to get back with you all.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sale(s)

Thank you for all the encouragement. The sale went off without a hitch. I was awakened Saturday morning around 5:40 AM by a man pounding on the front door. He made me an offer on some of my furniture, threw it on his trailer, and made off for Canton. And so the day began.

I was sad that morning. You know, at first. But as people came - friends, neighbors, strangers - I got caught up in seeing my stuff drive off and wadded, crinkled bills coming in. And each dollar seemed to say, See? Don't give up on your dream yet. See? This life is worth fighting for. See? He can make old things new. Even for you.

I made enough to pay what was back-owed through February. So, slowly. Each milestone a hard-won victory in the furtherance of dreams I'm not ready to give up.

Several of you, and many more of you via email, suggested I place certain items up for auction on eBay or Etsy. I didn't consider it until a woman offered me $2 for a set of tea things, which I've adored for years and even blogged about here. I told her, politely, no way, and rounded up the set and several other cherished things. So I decided to take y'all's advice. (Yes. In Texas "y'all's" is a word.) Are you ready for this?

Okay. Up for auction from Freeman House, for the next five days, to the highest bidders:

A Fruit Harvest Tea Set, pictured above. My favorite cups for espressos and tastes of tea. I adore this set and use it often... usually with a good book and fluffy blanket. I'll only sell these to someone who's nice and will promise to love them. You can view the auction by clicking here. (And the set, again, was blogged about here.)

The Staffordshire. [sob] This is the beautiful set of dishes I used and blogged about beginning during my cabin stay in Colorado. (Remember the strawberry shortcake? That was the Staffordshire.) The set was purchased in a little mountain shop in Dolores, Colorado, and has since been used for lunches and teas at Freeman House. You can view, bid on, or watch the auction by clicking here.

The Leaf In My Cup cup. You may remember this mug from the fall of 2007. This, my friends, is my go-to hot chocolate mug in the fall. It is especially comforting along with a good book, a great movie, or an afternoon with someone you adore. It's been blogged about here. If you've been looking for the perfect fall/afternoon/reading/rainy day mug, view the auction by clicking here.

And last and least, it's my Imagine Magic Girl. With her vintage ribbon and silvery/antiqued tinsel, she's hung around Freeman House reminding me that the impossible is possible, and that there's a bit of beauty and a bit of magic in each day. View this darling by clicking here.

Wow. That was a lot of links and clicks. I'd like to thank those in advance who follow or bid on these auctions. So you know, all money will go toward paying the taxes on Freeman House so it isn't sold by the county. (I'm still about $300 short.) Certainly there are more worthy and pressing causes, but my thanks to any who are willing to take home a bit of Freeman House - and this blog! - in the name of saving this dream of a place.

Questions? Leave them here and we'll get them answered. In the meantime, happy eBay-ing! -Brin