A purplish black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- August 2020

We have a few items to report-Three shell bead necklaces and a pair of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

First: Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams has brought in a new collection of her hand made jewelry. This batch has a very beachey feel- especially the shell necklaces pictured above and below:A white brown and black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

A purplish black shell bead necklace hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Two pearl beaded necklaces and two sets of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse
Pearls on the half shell-

This series goes quite well with my ocean-inspired pottery. The relish dishes, serving bowls and oyster-shaped spoon rests (pictured above) work just as well as jewelry holders and trinket dishes.Two turquoise beaded bracelets and three sets of earrings hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Continuing with the beach theme I’ve sewn one of my peculiar new sculptures to the wall of the store-

Full view of a fabric sculpture by MJ Seal that resembles a giant gray sea fan hanging on the wall at The Virginia Farmhouse
“Dormant Form/Winter Forest”- Original sculpture by MJ Seal. Sackcloth, jute rope, PVA glue and acrylic, 40″ x 51″. c. 2020

It looks like a cross between a dark gray Sea Fan and a patch of one of our local forests in the depths of winter. I’m not sure it really fits in with the theme of the store but it does look interesting- and since there is no free wall space left in my apartment it has no where else to go.Detail of a fabric sculpture by MJ Seal that resembles a giant gray sea fan hanging on the wall at The Virginia Farmhouse

Also: We are fully restocked on soaps from The Olive Oil Soap Company. We have just about every scent available and they come in literally every color of the rainbow.A selection of soaps in every color of the rainbow from The Olive Oil Soap Company available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

And: Another air plant has bloomed!A chartreuse green and coral colored air plant with violet flowers in an emerald green hand made flower bud vase available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

I noticed the leaves had started turning red a couple weeks ago and upon closer inspection realized there were little flower buds popping up. The coral, chartreuse and violet hues of the air plant go quite nicely with the pastel emerald green on the hand made flower bud vase it inhabits. We have several air plants for sale here which would make perfect gifts for any plant lover in your life- even novice indoor gardeners. Air plants are very low maintenance- all they need are regular spritzings, an occasional dunk in rain or aquarium water and bright diffuse sunlight.Close up of the pastel purple flowers of a chartreuse green and coral colored air plant available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

*Stay Safe- Stay Sane*

Close up of the pastel purple flowers of a chartreuse green and coral colored air plant available for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

two Face Masks made with dog and cat pattered fabrics for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- June 2020

We have some news and new items to report-Front entrance of The Fravel House in Historic Downtown Woodstock, VA after repainting in May of 2020

First and foremost: You may not recognize our building on your next visit after its dramatic (and much needed) face lift.

After a year of delays the facade of the Historic Fravel House (where we are located) was repainted and within the next few weeks will have brand new awnings.

Before:The Historic Fravel House in Downtown Woodstock is being repainted

After:Front view of The Fravel House in Historic Downtown Woodstock, VA after repainting in May of 2020

And with the Art Sale over  we’ve done a bit of rearranging-Some of the home goods for sale at The Virginia FarmhouseSome locally made gifts for gourmands-A selection of the locally made stoneware platters, plates and dishes for sale at The Virginia FarmhouseSome of the locally made hot pads, dishes and home goods for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

A plethora of Wildwood Hearts hand made from scraps of wood by Bruce Rosenwasser for sale at The Virginia FarmhouseI completely rearranged the jewelry display-Beaded jewelry by Sue Southee and hand made pottery by MJ Seal for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

I think the hand-knitted goods look a little more put together now-A selection of Hand knitted hats and scarves from Jill Gochenour and Clare Ellisfor sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

We have a few new additions to report like Sparkling Apple Wine from Widow’s Watch Cidery of Edinburg, VA. This is considered a wine not a cider- it tastes like a nice, dry champagne- which makes sense as it is produced a la methode champenoise. It does not taste apple-ey. We are tentatively planning on have an official tasting this July.Bottles of Sparkling Apple Wine from Widow's Watch Cidery of Edinburg, VA for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Also new: “Our Mountains- The View from Shenandoah County”. This guide from the folks at the Mountain Courier is full of helpful information about our regions geology. It also has full color illustrations and topographical maps.Copies of Our Mountains a guide to the mountain ranges of the Shenandoah Valley for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

We have Face Masks by Dawn 2.0- this batch of cloth masks are larger (they fit my face unlike the previous masks) and come in a variety of different fabrics- like the cat and dog patterned ones pictured below:two Face Masks made with dog and cat pattered fabrics for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

And with some wall space cleared out I had some room to display a couple new hand made (by moi) mirrors in hand made (also by moi) picture frames- like this gold and black number with an eggshell veneer which measures 11 3/4″ x 13 1/2″ on the outside of the frame- just $50 (!). That’s real 24 kt gold leaf on the corner ornaments to.A hand made mirror in a hand made frame by MJ Seal woth eggshell veneer and gold corner ornaments for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse Detail of the corner of a hand made picture frame by MJ Seal for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Back in Stock:

-Guacamole and Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from Nana’s Cocina.

-Ramp and Heirloom (Plain) Ancient Sea Salt from JQ Dickinson Saltworks

Bags of Guacamole Flavored and Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from Nana's Cocina for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse*Hang In There*Jars of various salts from JQ Dickinson Saltworks and stoneware pottery by MJ Seal for sale at The Virginia Farmhouse

Close up view of the bloom of an airplant in a hand made vase available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- May 2020

We actually have a few new additions to report in this strange season-Face Masks made by Dawn Steed with a plethora of fabric patterns available at The Virginia Farmhouse

First: We’ve just gotten in a batch of face masks hand made by local lady Dawn Steed. These 2 layer masks are made with a variety of fabric patterns and go for $5.00 a pop.Bottles of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin from Cave Ridge Vineyard available at The Virginia FarmhouseAlso New:

  • Cave Ridge Vineyard’s 2017 Chambourcin, 2014/2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Petit Verdot
  • Georges Duboeuf 2017 “Wildflower” Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Muse Vineyards’ 2018 Rose- on sale for just $15.99

three bottles of Muse Rose

Back In Stock:Bottles of Sake, British Beer and Ginger Beer available at The Virginia Farmhouse

Fuller’s London Pride

Jars of Plain and Ramp Salt from JQ Dickinson Saltworks available at the Virginia Farmhouse

Heirloom (Plain) and Ramp-Flavored Salt from JQ Dickinson Saltworks

Oh Yes- and we have plenty of options for Mother’s Day Gifts.view of the bloom of an airplant in a hand made vase available at The Virginia Farmhouse

Like this happy little airplant in a hand made flower bud vase by MJ Seal. The pastel lavender and coral hues of its flower go quite well with the verdant green glaze of the vase-Close up view of the bloom of an airplant in a hand made vase available at The Virginia FarmhouseClose up view of the bloom of an airplant in a hand made vase available at The Virginia Farmhouse

And there are plenty of other hand made and locally sourced goodies to brighten her day like these Wildwood Hearts from Bruce Rosenwasser-

Which reminds me- The Art Sale will continue through Mother’s Day and we still have a few prints of works by Shenandoah Valley Artists left like this one from Helen Jean Smith-Print of a painting by Helen Jean Smith depicting walnut gathering at the Mill of Forestville, VA

And please follow us on Instagram (@thevirginiafarmhouse) and/or on Facebook (@thevirginiafarmhouse) where you can keep up with all our new additions in real time (well almost real time:) and we are also posting daily (or almost daily) pleasant distractions- images of local scenery to help get your mind off of current events- like this:

Anyway-

*Stay Safe-Stay Sane*

Two wines from Shenandoah Vineyards that are available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- March 2020

We have a few new additions-3 hand kitted caps made by Jill GochenourIncluding these lovingly hand-knitted tamo-chanters from Jill Gochenourcolorful hand knitted tamochantersWe also now carry an assortment of her other  hand made and very functional outerwear like these “shawl-ettes”-2 miniature shawlsAnd these colorful scarves-

a large purple and pink scarf and a green and black infinity scarf

Also new: Shenandoah Vineyards’ Chardonnay and Riesling.Chardonnay and Riesling from Shenandoah Vineyards are now available at The Virginia FarmhouseThe Chardonnay is lightly-oaked and pleasantly buttery with a refreshing acidity on the finish. The Riesling is dry, crisp and citrusy.

And…..

The Art Sale will continue until the end of this month. We still have a few Helen Jean Smith prints left (framed and unframed) as well as an assortment of artwork from other Shenandoah Valley artists. A painting of a shady forest floor peirced by sunbeams painted by MJ Seal“Woodland Scene IV- Sunbeams on a Mossy Forest Floor”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 14″ x 11″. C. 2017

*This is my favorite of all the realistic woodland scene paintings I made- from a slight distance it’s like looking through a window into the cool shady depths of one of our verdant local forests on a mid-summer day.

Originally $115 this piece is now just $57! Including the beautiful, hand made frame it’s housed in.A painting of a forest in a black and gold Dutch-style reverse frame both made by MJ SealAlso….

Don’t forget: we will be CLOSED for most of the month of April for our trip to France (fingers crossed)- so stock up now!

Close up shot of two new wines available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- February 2020

We have a few new additions to the wine rack and the Art Sale continues-New wines from across the country and the world available at the Virginia Farmhouse

We scored some really great close out deals this month so the racks have been replenished with new offerings like:

  • Boet Le Roux Old Vine Columbard- This white wine from South Africa’s Swartland Region is light, crisp and citrusy with hints of pear and melon.
  • Fantini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo- A medium-bodied red from Italy with floral notes, a hint of spice and a pleasant acidity.
  • Figaro Tinto- a rich and jammy Spanish red with hints of black plum and tobacco.
  • Georges Duboeuf Cabernet Sauvignon- This full-bodied red hails from France- it is fruit forward with a spicy finish and velvety smooth tannins.
  • Siegel Special Reserve Chardonnay- A Chilean Chardonnay is crisp, light-bodied, full of tropical fruits and hints of citrus.
  • Uvaggio Vermentino- This Californian white wine has a very floral nose, bright, citrusy flavor and a refreshing acidity with some mineral notes.

Back in Stock: Guacamole + Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from Nana’s Cocina.A painting of a forest in a Wenge veneered frame both hand made by MJ Seal

And the Art Sale continues this month.

Pictured above: “Woodland Scene II- The Forest Floor in Late May”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 10 1/4″ x 8 3/8′.

This very textured and impressionistic view of one of our local forests is housed in a beautiful hand crafted frame. The frame is veneered with Wenge wood- a tropical hardwood from Africa that has an interesting cocoa and ebony striated grain pattern. With frame it is now just $40.00 (!).

Pictured below: “Winter Landscape- 2/26/18″ – Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame. 15″ x 10”An abstract winter landscape painted by MJ Seal

This soft, abstract landscape was produced through a painting process called “decalcomania” in which thinned out glazes of paint were spread across the board then wax paper was pressed into the still wet paint and peeled off. The resulting patterns left in the warm gray and white paints create the illusion of a wintery landscape with perhaps a field in the foreground and a forested mountain or hill in the background. Originally $150 this piece is now just $75.00.A painting of a snowy forest in a golden oak frame both hand made by MJ Seal

Pictured above: “Winter Landscape Study- Snowbound Forest”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 10″ x 14 3/4″.

This elegant and graphic view of a snowy forest is only $67.00. The golden oak frame provides a pleasantly warm contrast to the 10 cool shades of gray making up the painting (yes there are no true whites or blacks in this piece- only a handful of gray tints).

Pictured below:“Proudly We Hail”- By Elizabeth Strippy.

This print of an original watercolor depicts a snowy day in Downtown Woodstock. It is signed and numbered by the artist. Now only $15 it measures 18″ x 13″.Print of a watercolor depicting a snowy Court Square in Woodstock, VA

A detail of a framed puzzle map of the Town of Woodstock VA

Pictured above: A close up view of a framed puzzle map of Woodstock, VA. Just $30.00 this charming little piece of home decor measures 19 1/2″ x 13″.

In the print racks we have tons of illustrations like of these three chicken varieties pictured below- now only $3.00 each.Prints of illustrations of several chicken varieties

Also…. We will be closed for the month of April for our trip to France- so drop in and stock up now!

Detail of a print of Gregory Clairs painting of Cardinals

Art Sale!

Our Big Art Sale has begun-A painting of a Shenandoah Valley Landscape in a black and gold frame both made by MJ SealFrom Now until the end of March all Wall Art will be 40-50% off!

This is a great opportunity to add works of  Shenandoah Valley Artist’s -like Helen Jean Smith, Eric Schauer, R. Byram and KB Getz- to your collections.

*Framed prints from The Woodstock Gallery are 40% off- like this charming view of the Blue Ridge Mountains by R. Byram:A framed print of an original painting by R Byram depicting Virginia's Blue Ridge MountainsAnd this print of a watercolor by Elizabeth Strippy depicting a bird’s eye view of the Shenandoah River-A print of a bird's eye view of the Shenandoah River painted by Elizabeth Strippy*All original paintings, signs and mirrors by MJ Seal are 50% off- like this very textured, impressionistic view of a local Valley forest-Painting of a sun dappled forest floor in early summer by MJ SealThe black and gold cassetta-style frame it’s housed in was also made by MJ Seal-Painting of a forest in a gold and black cassetta-style frame both made by MJ SealSome of his more recent work is included in this sale such as this illustration of a red maple tree-

Painting of a Red Maple tree by MJ SealIt’s hand made, reverse-style gilt frame is both modern and classic-and really pops of the wall!Corner of a gold frame made by MJ Seal

This sale includes a variety of loose and matted prints like this stylized scene of walnut gathering at the Forestville Mill by Helen Jean Smith-Print of a painting by Helen Jean Smith depicting walnut gathering at the Mill of Forestville, VAAnd this print of a painting by Gregory Clair-A print of Gregory Clair's painting of Cardinals on a maple branch titled A Touch Of GoldAll prints are signed and numbered by the artist and depict local scenery, flora and fauna in styles from photorealistic to primitive to impressionistic- there are 3 large racks filled with them – so you are sure to find something to suit. And at 50% off there are no excuses for not adding to your collections!

Functional hand made stoneware pottery with complex metallic glazes available at The Virginia Farmhouse

Fresh Out Of The Kiln- Our Latest Batch of Stoneware Pottery

They Survived! And even better the (somewhat experimental) combinations of glazes I used came out beautifully-Stoneware pottery with metallic glazes available at The Virginia Farmhouse

So for this large batch of pieces I used a dark, red stoneware clay called “Brooklyn Red”. This clay is heavy, groggy and due to the iron oxide content will stain anything it touches (before firing of course). It’s actually the kind of clay used to make red bricks and in is incredibly durable once fired. It is great for hand building pieces as it has minimal shrinkage during drying and and attached parts really hold together.

I also love this clay as it gives you a rich, dark ground to work off of- perfect for the metallic glazes I wanted to use for these pieces-A tuliptree leaf shaped dish and other functional ceramics with metallic glazes hand made by MJ SealI used 2 different combinations of Potter Choice Glazes from Amaco. In group one I applied 2 thick layers of Saturation Gold to the piece. Then I coated that in a blotchy layer of Temmoku (a dark, translucent brown/black glaze) and Saturation Metallic. After those layers dried I applied a little more saturation gold to the edges and rims of each piece for a little pop of gold.A luminary, soap dish and various serving bowls hand made from red stoneware clay by MJ SealDuring firing the glazes melded beautifully. In the areas with a thinner layer of Saturation Gold the glaze developed a dark bronze coloration that flashes iridescent blue when viewed at certain angles. The splotches of Temmoku and Saturation Metallic gave silvery, pewter-like touches and in areas where the Saturation Gold pooled and dripped you can see these patches of rich gold with little coppery flecks.

Soap dish and serving bowls with an ancient bronze like finish available at The Virginia FarmhouseIn the second group (which turned out to be my fav) I applied a couple thin layers of Saturation Metallic glaze over the dried clay body then a splotchy layer of Temmoku with thick blotches of Saturation Gold.Metallic finish on a stoneware leaf made by MJ Seal at The Virginia FarmhouseThis combination of glazes developed a rich and complex black metallic finish with patches of pewter and ancient bronze. On these little dishes I made with torn edges (the clay had started to dry out and had become unmanageable) the finish almost makes them look like shards of a meteorite-Stoneware dish with torn edges and metallic glaze hand made by MJ SealClose up of a meteorite like finish on a ceramic piece hand made by MJ SealIt’s always nice when an experiment turns out even better results than you were expecting!

Functional Arts and Crafts- Making a Mirror

Easy as 1-2-3-

First I took a plate of clear picture framing glass and rubbed it down with alcohol to thoroughly remove any grime or oils. The glass’ surface must be  scrupulously clean- if it is not you’ll have issues with  peeling later on.

Then I drew up a little design for some corner ornaments on a post it note. I placed that under each corner and carefully dabbed on a thick coating of contact gilding adhesive. I used Pebeo’s Gedeo Mixtion Relief which comes in an easy-to-use tube with a fine-tip applicator. The adhesive is white when wet but dries clear. Remember you are reverse gilding/silvering- so you will be working in reverse on the inside surface of the soon to be mirror.

After the adhesive dried I cut up a sheet of 23 kt transfer gold leaf. I then carefully pressed the leaf (gold side down) into the adhesive. The parchment backing of the leaf was peeled back leaving the gold thoroughly stuck in place on the ornaments.

After the gilding size has cured for a few days I dusted off the excess gold leaf and sealed up the ornaments with a layer of raw sienna acrylic paint- which gives the overlying layer of gold a richer color and renders the ornaments opaque-

Next I turn the glass into a mirror with some handy-dandy Looking Glass Silver spray paint from Krylon-

The Looking Glass paint is easy to use- just make sure to apply it in multiple thin coats or the mirror with develop a blotchy appearance. Do this outside. Yeah note the weird reflections around the mirror-in-progress above- I did this in the parking lot against my car using a sheet of old plexiglass as a shield- hence the hubcap visible in the upper left.

After the spraypaint has dried (which only takes a few minutes) it needs to be top coated with something to protect it- I find Rust-Oleum’s Matte Clear Enamel works wonderfully. The enamel coating seals up the looking glass coating and it’s matte appearance makes the reflective finish more pronounced and brighter.

After the enamel has cured for a bit the mirror is ready to be framed. I placed this mirror in a cassetta-style frame I made a few years ago. The gilt ornaments beautifully complement this simple but classic molding profile.

A slightly closer view-

The Looking Glass paint gives a softer reflective effect than commercially made mirrors. It also has a slight texture to it (due to the droplets of paint) and with a dark board placed behind it takes on the appearance of an antique mirror.

Fresh out of the kiln 5/03/18

My first batch of pottery made with brown stoneware clay have finally been glazed and fired-

For this batch I applied an underglaze of Amaco’s Satin-Matte White and top coated that with their Satin-Matte Clear Glaze. Upon firing the white and clear glazes melded beautifully creating a creamy, grayish-white hue. The underlying khaki color of the brown stoneware clay really gives a wonderful depth to the finish. My favorites from this batch are these vaguely sea sponge-like luminaries which all miraculously survived.

Unfortunately only one of the bivalve-shaped napkin holders survived, and it shrank so much I think it works better as a sponge holder. The pieces I specifically intended to be sponge holders turned out nicely though.

All of the soap dishes survived- and I especially like how the clam shell-shaped ones turned out with the creamy white glaze.

A couple of serving bowls. The lip of these bowls undulates which gives them built in spoon rests.

Some oyster shell shaped spoon rests- the glaze looks perfect on these.

A cluster of miniature flower bud vases.

Some larger vases-

While these may seem purely decorative and very delicate these ceramics are both functional and quite sturdy.

Finally framed

My first batch of winter landscape studies are finally framed and up on the walls-

“Winter Forest Late Afternoon”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8″ x 10″. C. 2018-

 

 

For this piece I went with a distressed, dark pine frame I made from raw boards. The texture I gouged into the edges of the moulding compliment the expressive brushstrokes and texture in the paint surface.

“Snowbound Forest at Sunset- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13 1/2″ x 10 1/4”. C. 2018

For this painting I went with a walnut frame that I parcel gilt with composition leaf on the front surface. The bright gilt surface of the frame really makes the golden hues pop in this piece.

A clean, elegant walnut frame joined with keys and parcel gilt with composition leaf.

“Winter Forest at Morning- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8″ x 10”. C. 2018

 

The warm metallic gray of the silver leaf in this frame warms up the highlights in the painting and helps to tone down the blues of the shadow areas.

 

The rich dark brown of this frame helps to warm up this piece and compliment the purplish gray ground. The texture of the olivewood veneer blends in nicely with painterly tree trunks. This is the only frame in this bunch that I did not make myself.

“Winter Forest in a Snowstorm- 1/15/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board. 14″ x 10 1/4”. C. 2018

 

“Snowbound Forest- 1/16/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 14 3/4”. C. 2018

 

For this piece I went with a simple, “bump” profile moulding. The grain of the oak plays off the movement of the snow covered trees and winding grape vines. The rich, golden color of the finish cools down up the warm gray hues in the painting.

 

“Snowy Winter Forest- 1/19/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 7″ x 10”. C. 2018

For the last two paintings I went with a very clean museum profile that was painted black and gilt on the top surface with aluminum leaf. The cool silver tones of the aluminum leaf make the cool whites of the painting seem warm by comparison. The depth of the moulding and the contrast between the flat black of the sides of the frame and the gilt front surface really makes these pieces pop off the wall.

 

“Snowy Winter Forest- 1/16/18″- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 7”. C. 2018