Friday, January 20, 2012


   A while back we found an amazing curbside discovery: A heavy duty hardwood bunk bed that needed a little love to make it shine. BUT, that's another story! Under that pile of bunk bed and various other lumber we found a piece of an old door that included the antique knobs. This instantly intrigued us all and we had a number of discussions on the future of this interesting piece. Finally, we concluded that it couldn't be anything other than a shelf! That is what it was destined to be! Also, those dowels sticking out at either end had to be pegs for the shelf, right? Of course! When the chief Flander finished this beauty and brought it in to mount on the wall.....oh my! It is so wonderful! Rustic, functional and charming.

    But alas, all was not to be well. Because we had to share this with the world! After I selfishly kept the first shelf to be mine for all time, we went about making 2 more from old door jams we reclaimed from the landfill. These were embellished(this may be the problem) with antique silver forks for holding a picture or a note and sent off the Canton flea market to shock the world with their presence..... However, despite our confidence, these beauties did not even receive a glance much less an inquiry!?! How can this be? Are we the only ones who can be enamored with such rustic charm? Can it be that we tried too hard with the embellishments and the shiny finish that we ended up taking that special charm right out? I suspect this might be the case- that and the fact that it is SO hard to take good pictures of shelves. :)


Don't worry though, we Flemish artists don't give up that easily. Even now we are hatching plans on how to get this masterpiece out to the world.....or maybe we might be eating cookies and watching the Muppet's.....

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Egg: Part 2

What did we do with those first few eggs?

                                                                  Gorgeous golden creamy yolks!

                                                                          One for you and one for me!

Serve it With More Toast and Current Jam....Don't forget the Glass of Milk!

Added Bonus Game of:  I SPY

Can you find one farm fresh yolk hidden among the store bought eggs???????

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Egg

Thanks to our lovely Rhode Island Red hen appropriately named "Red"; we now have a working farm!
We were all so excited to hold this warm, brown wonder in our hands and ooh and ahh over it for quite a while.

All the care and cleaning of these funny birds is worth every minute and penny when we factored in the awe of seeing and feeling that first egg. Such a magical experience for both the adults and kids alike. We're hoping that finding the eggs never becomes a chore or something boring. Right now we
can't imagine a day when we won't jump up and down and celebrate when we find an egg tucked into a special nest that one of our "girls" designed for it.....


The Hen
Chicken needs me every day
I give her food and water
When I let her out to play
She prefers the teeter totter
She catches bugs around my yard
I run to catch them with her
I love her very much you see
We have such fun, my hen and me!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Well I have suddenly had a stunning realization. The kind that hit's you over the head and makes you sit down a while and ponder deeply....and here it is: Texas is HOT in the summer. Shocking right? So we strive on through heat exhaustion, dehydration and severe bouts of crabbiness at the Flanders Mercantile. Creativity is at a standstill, almost. However, there have been minor glimpes showing up when things seem to be at their worst. Check out the pantry!!!!

Who knew something excellent could come from all this blasted heat.

Just lovely, and so much fun! In fact I've decided to provide a step-by-step just in case anybody out there was interested in the creative process behind this spiffy cabinet......

1. Find shutter-style closet doors in someone's trash out by the curb.

2. Find discarded pegboard in your neighbors trash out at the curb.

3. Tell father-in-law of your plans to make found trash into pantry treasure.

4. Provide father-in-law with ice cold Cokes while he masterminds and makes base of pantry.

5. When father-in-law has to leave make plans to enlist dad's help in finishing the cabinet.

6. Provide dad with sage wisdom on the matter of hinges when he starts to suffer from heat

7. Find sweet husband with amazing painting skills and get him to turn ugly shell into a thing of

8. Help above husband put pantry in it's home on the wall and hold knobs while he drills them in place
    and therefore finishes off the pantry

And Voila! There you have it. Thanks to the 3 most amazing men who helped turn my little idea into a big reality!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You're The Lady

The Flanders Mercantile wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the Matriarch of the family. The wonderful mother who has to put up with all the Belgian waffle and chocolate jokes has not had it easy living life with the Flanders. Mom is the baby girl in a family with two older brothers. If she wasn't tormented enough by them- she married dad and they had one little! But this blog post is not about me(even though mom says I can bring ANYTHING back to being all about me :)  

Mom and me when I was a week old

Mom and her brothers(three stooges)

Dad and I adore mom, who can't make the motor boat sound with her lips-it sounds like psst and she gets slobber everywhere. And we will never forget the time she tried hard to keep up with us and "made a funny". Mom always had great creations from her cooking arsenal on the table. These included pickled beets, chili sauce, homemade jam, cucumbers in dill sauce, and her wonderful lasagna that runs all over your plate so you get to soak it up with yummy garlic bread. Mom says she is not creative but I get all my creativity from her. She is always trying new crafts and recycling new treasures from cool junk. She is a lovely homemaker and her house always smells like heaven. It looks great too -until my two crazy munchkins cyclone through. Mom's sense of fashion and decor is something I really admire(even if she tried to get me to wear a "bedspread" for a dress when I was younger)

Mom had a wonderful grandmother to learn from(more about her in the future). She has taken the wisdom and compassion she learned from her granny when she was a little girl and used it faithfully with the Flanders for all these years. She started out with dad by choosing a time for her own wedding that would not interfere with the milking life of dad's family who worked the Dairy.

mom with her granny

the wedding announcement that accommodated the Dairy folk

Mom is hardworking and strong. She is smart and generous. She does well with her champagne taste and beer pocketbook and she "never had a bad day in her life." Dad wrote her a song when they were around 17 and dating. We are in the process of recording it so check back for audio and lyrics because it is AMAZING! The title is You're the Lady and that about sums mom up perfectly. She is our lady, who puts up with us and loves us through all our crazy escapades. She is an amazing Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt and if I searched the entire world over I could never find a more perfect Grandmother to my little boys, I love you Mom!
mom with her daddy

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Timmy Becomes Yimmy: A Cleveland Rock Fight

Timmy about the age of his Goliath day...
   Dad lived in Cleveland when he was just a little tyke. Around age 5 he remembers that there used to be rock fights between the neighborhood kids. And that these rock fights, they could get kind of rough. One of these rock fights gave dad a souvenir he would never be able to get rid of.....

   The story goes that dad was behind his brother Mark who saw the rock coming. Mark ducked down and dad(standing right behind) was hit square in the forehead. The resulting scar making a perfect "Y". Just like the day when little David creamed Goliath; this was the day little Timmy took a stone to the head and became Yimmy.
50 years later the "Y" still stands

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Letters to Vietnam

   We have an incredible family member who saves important links to the past and in doing so helps to preserve our family history. Recently, I was very honored when given a pack of letters that Dad wrote as a little boy to his older brother Dick who was over serving in the Vietnam War. I love history. War history grips me in a deeper way. And having family members tell stories of their personal war history is an entirely different experience all together.
   We have a family history that intrigues and sometimes elludes us when we are searching for answers to questions of our roots. We are confident that the ones who have gone before us have shaped who we are-sometimes in a good and sometimes in an awful way- to help make up our true selves. The true selves who we are still looking to discover as we live our lives everyday as an adventure. Not ever really knowing what we will find around the bend.

Dad around the time he wrote his brother in Vietnam
    Dad wrote this letter when he was somewhere around 11 years old. Sometime around 1967 or '68. I'll transcribe it with my personal thoughts on the subjects in parenthesis:
                                               Hi Dick  How have you been? I've been fine. I got out of school June 11. Yea(it's faded as though he didn't want the enemy to know he was not a fan of school) We had a field day friday. I took the shoot put. It weights 8 pounds. I throw it 26 feet 3 inches.(GO DAD!!!!!!!) I won second place.(Wow! Great job!) The ribons in the letter.(This is where I get teary) I was competing against seven graders. Were're making a base-ball team. It's called the "farmer's league". Were're going to play the Detroit Tigers. We'll bet them    Love Tim

That's why he could throw the shot put 26'3"! Notice his brother Mark in the background.

    So precious and such a treasure for me to look back at now. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Seek out your own family history and even though there might be some better left under the the rug.. you will find great inspiration in the good that you uncover!