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So this is happening. Unboxing, pricing, placing. I’m excited about this. The simplest things can bring joy to me.

Stop in and check out the new, sophisticated, and awesome Harney & Sons tea selection coming to the store next week!

The Stillroom will now have a small but well chosen selection of Harney & Sons loose tea among other goodies.

We now have The holiday teas which are the best on the market in my opinion.

Harney &Sons is now the permanent east coast supplier for The Stillroom for finer tea. It is a smaller family run business and this is my way of reeling in our spending dollars closer to home.

Don’t forget that Diamond Antiques in Tarentum is still having their 20% off sale through the end of August! This is a big deal for a small shop during a pandemic. We are all hanging in there with you. Misery loves company and a great sale! Lol

So, mask up for us and we will keep the good stuff coming your way! We truly love this community and beyond for the continued support in these troubled times. Escape life’s bs and come and hang for a bit. It’s a nice place!

What falls away

I’m going back in time to 1980 something.

My very first serious hobby of gathering what falls away at harvest time is what inspired The Stillroom Gift & Tea Shop.

Inspired once again to create something I haven’t done in ages, you will fall in love with my beautiful concoction of florals and spices and oils and wonder how does this magic even happen?

I’m starting out in small batches and will be cutting and sewing and aging fragrances in small crocks.

You’ll know it is there when you walk into The Stillroom space!

In production.

This has been quite a year for all of us. It’s all we can do to roll with the punches.

I think almost constantly about how I can make the shop better or fresh.

One of the conclusions I have come to is that over time it has become increasingly more difficult to get tea shipped from the west coast. Ugh!

Now, to the issue at hand. When I first started out as the local tea monger, (I prefer tea monger to tea lady btw) a gigantic box of tea, no matter how large, would ship for 20.00. Naturally, over time that has changed dramatically and without going into the gory details of small business ownership, ordering and shipping have become a bit of a nightmare. I was going to say hassle but it is a nightmare for such a teeny, weenie shop. (but 👏awesome).

So, with that, today I’m going to be working towards shifting my tea supplier to my favorite east coast family owned tea company.

I am not discontinuing our current brand just so you know.  Just expanding options for our tea connoisseur!

Can you guess which tea company this is?  I have carried limited flavors of their tea since I first opened the shop so it’s not too new to the tea clients we have.

I am looking forward to the addition! The shop will feature new flavors and the highest quality of tea because what else would you expect from Harney & Sons?

Because even in tough times we deserve small luxuries, no? Especially when they can be shared from a social distance and blanket us with some sort of comfort.

A different kind of hug altogether ❤️


His name is Gary L. Marshall. Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend. If you care to read about him, his name was in the Valley News Dispatch.

He departed this life and now we are all sad. Our family and community bade farewell to him yesterday amid the corona virus.

He “went” fast. We were sure he caught covid. One can only imagine the shock of getting the diagnosis of a rare, ravaging, fatal form of cancer. From the day that news was delivered to his last breath was ten days.


You don’t realize how many kinds of hugs exist and why each one performs a different function, for lack of a better term.

I guess I never really thought about the value of this simple gesture of affection until this week.

There are quick, how ya’ doin’ hugs with your buds, there are the quick squeeze hugs that say, “you are family and I haven’t seen you in a while but I don’t want to be weird hugs so we will keep it brief yet meaningful”.

If you are with a significant other there may be a rando hug as you pass through a room that says “I still love you even after a hundred frickin’ years”.

Then there are the hugs that say everything when there are no words to speak. The hugs that make you not want to let go of the broken hearted.


Where is the bright spot in all of this mess? My sister and niece found it when they were present to watch him take his last breaths. It was then they were grateful that they could be present when so many families have suffered not only multiple losses from covid, but could not be there to see them off to their great reward.

As I sit here on this beautiful Wednesday morning, figuring out what I should be doing now that I know this great friend and brother to me is no longer on this earthly plane, I think to myself I will water my garden, harvest whatever is ripe and go take some homemade almost vegetarian chili to my dad. Today is his 91st birthday and no one in our family is more sad that he.

I remember when my sister was married 49 years ago to Gary. When they were leaving the reception I started to cry. I was losing the sister that I fought over the fan with on hot summer nights in the 60’s. “Hey, you are getting more air than me!” Move the fan. Move it back. We were poor and didn’t have air conditioning and by this memory, no oscillating fan either. But then one of her bridesmaids, maybe Peggy Walters came over and gave me a comforting hug and said I wasn’t losing a sister, I was getting another brother. Then I felt much better. So our family really did lose a brother.

Just. Wow.

World keeps spinnin’

End of life

Today my sister has to make arrangements to put her husband in hospice tomorrow.

Gary was cutting down a few old bushes just two weeks ago. He cut the grass, went to Lowes, got gas, took my parents trash cans up for the next day pick up, came home and took a shower and had a lovely dinner with my sister.

The next day he just didn’t “feel right.” A week later he was in the hospital up on the hill. A few days later he was transferred to Hillman Cancer Center. Today he is fading away.

Just wow.

Within the course of two weeks cancer has ravaged every part of him. Without any warning. Without any signs. Without as much as a hint of things to come. This cancer has literally come out of nowhere.

We will gather around my sister. We will be her strength. We will love on her. We will carry her.

My sister was blessed to have known such a love. To let it go in such short order will be the toughest thing she will ever have to do.

I didn’t want to leave the readers of this blog hanging. This is the update.

Now, we are just waiting for the call.

This is why it’s nice to have a pet around the house. Even when times seem to be at their darkest, I can count on Bird for a diversion. Kind of hard to catch up on shop stuff. Hey, guess what’s coming soon? The Diamond Antiques early fall preview and sale! Details to follow😸

When tragedy strikes

Present Day-

What do we do when tragedy knocks on our door? I find there is not much action that be taken other than to get through the day hour by hour. Blindly, numb, half aware, fully aware, scared, brave, sad with dotted moments of happy while feeling the burden of a heavy, broken heart.

Tragedy visited my sister this week. Monday she was as happy as can be while showing me her latest project of painting her laundry room and adding a new washer and dryer and some pretty awesome decorating finds.

A few years ago she and my brother-in-law Gary enclosed a side porch that they never really used. The new space was built- in with windows all around to house a great first floor space right off of the kitchen for laundry, a freezer and a space to store things one uses just for holidays. Cookie sheets, trays, dutch ovens. You get the idea. The decorating discovery (she’s a retired real estate agent with a great eye) was this cool window cling that looks like window blinds. It was installed on the windows to hide the backs of the appliances from the driveway / walkway. Pretty neat stuff. Well, that was Monday. Fast forward to Tuesday evening when they ended up at the hospital.

My precious brother-in -law (and I really mean that, he is an awesome guy) was not feeling well for a few days. Just not himself and this was very unusual for him. Of course they immediately thought he had “the virus”. Tracing his steps over the past few weeks proved to be fairly simple as he was limiting his movements in public and being careful like most of us.

After a week of just not feeling right, he suddenly had labored breathing and he went to the hospital. Us, being sure he somehow contracted COVID, well, we could not have been more wrong as the tests results proved to be anything but that. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has spread to pretty much all of his vital organs.

We don’t realize how COVID affects anyone going to a hospital until you witness it. He could’t be admitted to the ICU (which was where he needed to be upon admission) until he had the COVID test and the results, which took two days. In the meantime, he is basically drowning with fluid in his lungs. I guess they can’t do much of anything to anyone until this COVID test is done with each admission because it is so contagious. (Too bad he’s not a professional athlete because I’m sure he would have had his test results Johnny-on-the-spot). After sitting in a chair trying to sleep for almost 48 hours, (he can’t lay down because the fluid blocks his breathing) his test came back negative so at this point we are just waiting for a room to open in ICU and to see how the doctors plan to move forward.

This year he was supposed to walk their daughter and only child down the isle for a grand wedding. Our family is very large and consists of about 30 people and we are all close. It was to be a family gathering that we all were looking forward to. Her grandparents who are in their 90’s and in reasonably good health would be there, in addition to the aunts, uncles, cousins, college friends and beyond. Now, she can’t even visit him. Only one designated person and that’s my sister. It is heart wrenching.

O.K. They handled that bummer news back in March as best as one can after being dealt that hand. (She was to be married May 1st). A year’s worth of planning canceled and reschedule for July of 2021 which will be my mom’s 92nd birthday if the universe sees fit.

Rewind to last year.

Last year I took my dad to the eye doctor and while he was waiting to be seen, told me a story about a death experience he had a few months before. He was coming up from the basement when he was suddenly out of breath and he laid down on the living room floor and passed out. (My mom was in the back of the house doing laundry). He said he died. He was pulled into a beautiful blue light. A blue so beautiful that he was taken by it and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Everything felt right. He wasn’t sure how long he was out but he said he really died and passed over into another realm that was welcoming. He suddenly took a huge breath and woke up. He remembers everything in that moment of unconsciousness and told me in no uncertain terms to not be afraid to die. But that was sudden. What do you do when you actually know death will be visiting you well in advance?

We bumble along through our new reality. A new reality of trying to stay safe while trying to do normal things that really are no longer normal.

Tragedy strikes us all. Life can be cruel. My mom can’t understand how she and my dad are still chugging along in their 90’s and Gary is a young, active 73 year old who was just starting to enjoy retirement. He loves to hunt and golf and managed to keep a trim waistline and grew a wicked garden every summer.

He shared his deer steaks, deer pepperoni, deer jerky, great tomatoes, lettuce, kohlrabi and cucumbers from his everyday hobbies and the kindness of his heart. He is a quiet and unassuming guy.

Now, we are just waiting. My sister and niece are devastated. This is the veritable punch in the gut that none of us will escape. As sure as we are born we also know we will check out. It is a matter of how and when. Some people have the “luxury” of dropping dead while others have the unfortunate knowledge of about when they can expect their demise. I guess the “about when” at least gives one a fighting chance for treatment options if they are “lucky” (I use that term loosely).

So, this is the week in the life of my family. It’s painful to witness the grief, the sadness and the heavy burden of knowing it’s going to be tough over the next months.

We will watch over Gary in spirit because we cannot see him. We will try to remain hopeful knowing it’s in the hands of fate.

Our hearts are heavy. The heavy heart club. It’s not a club anyone wants to be in but we all end up with a membership.

Life sucks and so does death so we need to find those moments of joy and run like the wind when they happen to us.

Jonathan Sings!

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That summer Feeling

Here are a few pics of the hand made vintage aprons. With kids staying home for the foreseeable future and everyone is baking and cooking more, why not look awesomely stylish! I also have a couple of beautiful one for little kids but they aren’t in the shop just yet. Probably by the end of the week!

Some daze

Some days all I gots is music. I will be taking some shop pics soon. Wait until you get a load of all of the awesome vintage aprons that are hanging around. Impeccable workwomanship in each and every stitch.