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The Threads That Weave Us Together



“You only know one thing for sure in life- Where you’ve been, and the journeys you have taken. Our paths come together, and then break apart and you can only hope that they lead you back to those you love- the people you love, the families you have, and those that you will have. Today let’s celebrate the path that led us all here now”.
Excerpt from Chesapeake Shores

If you know me, you know I’m a Hallmark, Disney kinda girl. I actually do countdown to the Christmas Movie Season each year! I watch them over and over starting TONIGHT till the end of December. It’s Hallmark’s 10th Anniversary Season Premiere, and I’ve been watching since day one! Although my husband will not admit it in public, he watches with me with me and loves them, (sorry Jimmy- I had to let the cat out of the bag). When I think about all the things that fill my joy meter- Hallmark is one of them. Repetitive? Silly? Cheesy? Unrealistic? Simple -minded? Yep, and I love it! If I want real life, all I have to do is turn on the news or go to the mall. These days, I don’t like much of what I see in the 'real world'. Respect, integrity, and old-fashioned values just seem to be rare these days.


I long to travel back to days gone by. I cherish my fading memories of growing up in Brooklyn, New York and living in a small apartment above my father’s butcher shop. Mamma Jenny, my fraternal grandmother,  lived downstairs in the apartment behind the store, and all my relatives lived within walking distance. My Uncle Andrew and Aunt Sadie owned the bakery two doors down, and I had hot, fresh Italian bread, straight out of a one hundred and twenty-five-year-old, coal fired oven, every single day. I played with my cousins in the open lot on the corner from the second I got home from school, till the streetlights came on. I would wait and watch for my mom to get off the train on the corner subway from work every single night. My mom worked in Manhattan at ABC Studios when I was young- one of the few moms that worked back then. She was gorgeous- had that Marilyn Monroe vibe... a woman way before her time.  I was surrounded by family- never had a babysitter, never was left with a friend- always family everywhere you looked.

Here is my dad's butcher shop- that little boy is him! I just can't! My papa, and I believe a delivery boy next to him. The door on the right led up to our apartment. 

And here is my block, Starting from the left is Sadies Dry Goods Store, then my dad's shop, our neighbor's apartment house, and the bakery! If you look close to far right, you can just about make out that great lot we played in! Such bitter sweet memories. 


Hallmark reminds me of those days- especially the holidays. Everyone would dress up their store fronts and homes with those big, bright, old-fashioned colored lights. People brought special “holiday foods” to each other, and I would be cooking with my Mamma Jenny the entire month of December! We went shopping on 86 Street with our metal shopping carts, and the store owners would give the kids treats as the Nonnas and moms shopped. And yes, there was ‘real life’ in those days. My parents had continuous arguments, mostly about my mom wanting to move to Long Island to get us out of the “city” and into 'good schools'. My dad didn’t like change, and he didn’t want to leave his mother behind. She refused to move from the apartment and butcher shop that was built with grit by my papa, who I sadly never met. Well, my mom finally won, and we moved to her dream home on Long Island into a house my father had built for her, when I was sixteen. It was a beautiful home with a beautiful view, and the beach across the street. I was excited, mostly because I knew how much my mom wanted this.


It really wasn’t until I got older, and wisdom crept in, that I realized how much I missed that old lot, the fresh, hot Italian bread, a daily freshly cut Rib Steak, or my father’s handmade Italian sausage if I so desired. Not to mention my big, loud Italian family living so close. I didn’t realize the gifts I had like walking to my cousins to watch tv, play cards, walk to the stores, help make wine in the cellar or fresh pasta in the vintage kitchens. Oh, the cooking, if you know anything about Italians- its ALL ABOUT THE FOOD! (But I’ll save that for another post.) I often wonder if I would have my joy meter if I grew up in today's world with a phone in one hand and a video game in the other....... I believe not.


Without even realizing it, Tamara has created a ‘Makers Hallmark’ of sorts. From the papers she carries, to the projects she creates, to her beautiful farmhouse decorating style, we are drawn into that warm, cozy, old time joy. Even her little shop in the back brings me home. I was lucky enough to visit her and spend time in her house and the little warehouse in the back. I remember thinking to myself- Hallmark, this is Hallmark! Buffalo check, patinaed old doors, rescued dogs, beautiful quotes and family pictures on her walls….AND A TRACTOR!! MY TRACTOR!!!! What joy!

Which brings me back to the opening quote from another one of my favorite Hallmark shows- Chesapeake Shores. Our vast and different paths have brought us all to this place, this craft, this store owner and friend. I believe that’s what draws us here to Country Craft Creations. We all share that need of memories- longing of times gone by, wishing to have one more day with loved ones taken too soon, and just old-fashioned, Hallmark Days and Holidays.

We love the realistic, warm, cozy graphics and patterns that companies such as Authentique wraps us in. We now hurry to make the precious, small gift boxes that Tammy creates to give to a neighbor, the mailman, the girls at the salon, the custodian at your child’s school- or to put in your child’s lunch box to share with their friends… I loved when she suggested in that video to just leave a basket by the front door to hand out. Can you imagine the look on the UPS driver when you hand him one?



We, as scrapbookers actually hold a small key to changing the world when you think about it. For when our children go to school with a little box, decorated just for them, filled with a few chocolates, and simply hand them out for no reason, other than to say; “Hi, Have a great day, Thanks for being my friend, I saw you were having a bad day yesterday and I thought this would cheer you up” they become the givers of the world, the listeners, the kind hearted.   Imagine the life lessons our creations can foster. What a gift we as makers give to our children when we teach them how to give from our hearts… Simply priceless.


So today let’s celebrate the paths that led us all here- the friendships we have made, the laughs we are given, the concrete projects Tamra teaches us that hold dear the intrinsic memories that give us such comfort when needed. She has created a real Hallmark Neighborhood for us- and I am so grateful for it.


I urge to share the joy with some of these easy, quick projects Tamra has created.

This is the link to Dove Chocolate box. I loved this one because it holds more chocolate than most and makes the perfect gift.


This is the K Cup gift box, which is just gorgeous, and so different!

Did you all see the live she did yesterday showing the new Creatology papers!!! OMG !! GORGEOUS!!!  You will receive a full set of directions and everything you need to complete the projects as is or put your own spin on it, if you like. That’s what I did with last one. I loved the idea, but I had the time to add a few more things to it, and add my personality to it. Tamra loves when you run with her ideas, another special quality of hers.

Here is the link to the kit and the video!


I wish you all a great weekend that will fill your joy meters!


With Joy in My Heart,



October 26, 2019 — Sallie Phelan



Janice said:

I remember these days too Sallie. Everyone living in the same neighborhood. I think we actually had our own section in church. My mother was the 2nd oldest of 8 and my father the youngest of 7. I have 51 first cousins alone. When Jim and I first dated, we were walking home from school one day and as I passed a number of the houses along the mile walk home I would introduce him to different family members. I remember him asking if I was related to everyone on this side of the city. I had to laugh. My grandfather was an undertaker and the only one in the city who would take the John Does. He did it as a mission and to give back to the community. He was also the head of the city election commission so our family seemed to know everyone. My mother’s family owned a number of liquor stores in the city. They also did a lot of the city jobs. It was a fun place to grow up.

Brenda Crouch

Brenda Crouch said:

I too grew up in the ‘city’ Sallie, but after Rob and I married he moved me to rural Missouri and I must admit, I love it. So so different, so much quieter and such a slow pace to say the least. I especially loved being able to sit out back on our deck with no one around and being able to see a gazillion stars I never realized were there before. Simply amazing. It has grown since we moved her 30 years ago, but still isn’t a bustling city yet. My kids moved up this way as well along the way and have raised their kids in this neck of the world and are still raising them here. Life is good…. what a heartfelt post to the blog this time Sallie, thanks for sharing.

Michelle Allen

Michelle Allen said:

I love your posts. You are so inspiring in a world that is constantly trying to wear you down. Your words are “centering” to me, helping me to focus on what matters. I am so thankful to be part of this family. Thank you!

Cathy M Lee

Cathy M Lee said:

My dear, Sallie. I’ve lived in the heartland all of my life but it was the same with my family as we moved from the city to the country for better schools, big sky fresh air, and raising/planting our own food. It was hard work but I would never change it for the world. I guess you could say I grew up with a Hallmark life.

Even though you have only posted twice I’ve left with melancholy tears in my eyes but joy in my heart. I look forward to the next post. Keep up the great messages.


Margaret Naab

Margaret Naab said:

Sallie, you are truly a wordsmith. I love your blog posts as they give me a picture that I can live within while I read. I too love Hallmark, nothing like it. I like that they give us a little bit of fantasy with romance and real life added in. Well may be real life of days gone by. But nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed the post. And big thanks and hugs to Tamara for bringing us all together just like family and friends. What a wonderful community. Hugs to you Sallie. 💝

Linda English

Linda English said:

Beautiful words Sallie~you are truly gifted! We are all so blessed to have Tamra and CCC in our lives. She brightens so many of our days.
Thank you for brining back so many childhood memories and have a great weekend!

Lynn Heald

Lynn Heald said:

Oh dear sweet Sallie you just gave me so many of my childhood memories back. I too always spent time with the relatives. And oh how I loved the holiday meals. Speaking of meals : We always sat at the table as a family for meals which sadly is also leaving this generation. If only we could go back to those days . It is so hard to believe my Dad has been gone 56 years as of yesterday. If only there was one more day with him . Sallie I love your writings and all the pictures you post . From one New York girl to another : Keep up the great blog post!

Tricia Skinner

Tricia Skinner said:

Sallie, girl you should have been a writer. Love your blog.

Geri Alder

Geri Alder said:

Sallie, you write such great blogs! Thank you for your beautiful words!

Barbara M.

Barbara M. said:

Another post beautifully worded. I too have very fond memories of growing up in simpler times. And I just love the image of the chairs on the front porch. I used to help my Mom and Nana do laundry in a washer just like that!

Karen Welch

Karen Welch said:

Sallie this is a lovely reminder of just how important it is to remember the past while grabbing the future with both hands and making it better than yesterday. While I am a southern girl and geography changed the experiences of our youth, some things are always the same, love, appreciation and family. Indeed you do find so many of the best qualities of life in the Country Craft Creations experience. You have given those that have yet to “join the fold” at Country Craft Creations a wonderful idea of not only the creativity that they will experience there, but the joy of meeting people that are soon friends. You have written a lovely tribute not only for your related family but for the family warmth and caring experience at Country Craft Creations. Such a lovely article, thank you.

Bonnie Kandulski

Bonnie Kandulski said:

Sallie always love your words of wisdom. What Tammy has created is absolutely amazing. She shares so much of herself with all of us.

Tc Fergus

Tc Fergus said:

Beautiful Sallie. I truly enjoyed your blog post. Seeing Tamras home, craft room, and warehouse myself..I know exactly what you mean. She is a keeper, and someone I am blessed to call friend.
<3 Tc Fergus

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