Saturday, June 17, 2023

Surviving a Power Outage

Surviving a power outage- 

Our area of east Texas was devastated with extreme storms this week. After the storm, with hurricane force winds, extreme lightning, and rain passed, our electrical provider had 97% of their service area without power equivalent to 47,000 meters. We are extremely thankful for their efforts to get electricity back as soon as possible, but in the meantime, we need to do things to stay comfortable and eat. 

As they were cooling off with us, I was showing our aunt and uncle a few of the things we have accumulated over the years that help us manage the outages. They had not thought about some of these items and she said  that I should share some of the ideas with others, so they could benefit from them, as well. Granted, some may not be available on the shelves at the moment, but are things that can be accumulated for future outages or ordered online. Considering we live in the Piney Woods of East Texas, trees falling on power lines will happen again. 

First and foremost a couple of battery powered fans. I have this first one that runs on 6 D batteries or electric. I keep it in my camper and we’ve used it on our checkout counter at shows. So far this week, it’s ran in the bedroom for two nights on the batteries I had in it and the dogs are using it to cool off some during the day. (Probably last used during the Yamboree in October.) It’s light weight, portable, and quiet. 

This small personal fan is something else I got while doing warm weather shows. It can hang around your neck or has a tripod to set on a table. It operates on 2 AA batteries. Both of these probably came from Walmart, but I’m sure you can find at many places. I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking the black one was $20ish, while the small one was $5ish. 

Several years ago, Jeff bought a set of Ryobi 18V tools - weed eater, blower, and chainsaw. He also got this “work fan”. I questioned the purchase at the time, but it’s my favorite during an outage! It comes in very handy during power outages, as we bring it inside. We’ve had it in our bedroom, but can be easily moved anywhere. I think these can be purchased at Home Depot, but a Google search would provide more info. Jeff said it also runs on ac power. 

Jeff came in from working on the roof and held the fan up close to cool off. 

About ten years ago, we were going to be out of power during an ice storm for several days and we were able to buy a generator. I think at the time it was $300-350ish at Tractor Supply. (A search today shows a comparable model for $329 online). Best investment ever. Ours is 3500 watts, while some can be bought in many different sizes and capabilities  

Can we operate the whole house? No. 

Can we run a window unit or fans, make coffee, cook, run a few lights, plug in refrigerator? Yes! Just NOT all at the same time. You’ll want to check your generator operating capacity, but you can be comfortable at home and cook with it. Jeff is the knowledgeable one about all the specifics and what can operate together. I’ll just say, consult someone who knows and calculate your wattage to safely use it. I’m not the person to ask. 

This morning, Jeff had the coffee bar set up in the living room. He ran an extension cord in the front door and we had breakfast as usual. 

I got the camper not long after we got the generator and when I went camping, I used it. I bought a single burner and it can be used with the generator to boil water for coffee, dish washing, heating water for bathing/hair washing, or cooking anything you’d normally cook on a stove burner. I think it was about $10 at the grocery store. One summer, I had a baby calf that required a bottle and I heated water for his bottle in the camper at the farm. 

I also got a toaster oven for the camper and used it on the generator as well. If I recall correctly, I didn’t run both the toaster oven and burner at the same time. 

We had “hot turkey surprises” - grilled turkey, avocado, cheese, with home grown tomatoes last night.

I believe an air fryer can also be used with the generator. I’m currently pondering what kind of supper to fix tonight - I’m thinking my 20 minute skillet recipe with fresh squash, peppers, onions, and sausage. 

With the smaller generator, the refrigerator can be cycled at different times, when not using other appliances. Keep in mind, the less you open the ice box or freezer, the better. 

We’ve set up simple lamps and one time we even had the printers hooked up to it, so I could print orders and shipping labels. 

We’ve got a couple of oscillating fans plugged in now and are quite comfortable in the house. 

Yes, I understand a generator is an expense, although for the price of replacing a full refrigerator and freezer, you can get an alternative power source. Likewise, spending a few nights in a hotel would be the equivalent of one. It has definitely been a worthwhile investment for us. Our house is all electric and we don’t have a fireplace or propane, so getting a backup power source has been beneficial. 

Jeff hauls it in his farm truck, while working remotely, as he can use an air compressor to air up tractor or truck tires, among many other chores, where electricity isn’t available. He’ll charge the batteries for the cordless tools and all kinds of things, while out and about working. 

We’ve also invested in an electric heater that we know the generator can handle. We’ve used it in winter storms. While it won’t heat the whole house, we can use it to make a living room or bedroom comfortable. 

Jeff’s dad was dependent on oxygen and a generator allowed him to use his oxygen machine. 

Someone told me, they bought bags of ice and put it in metal pans in the refrigerator, as it helped keep it cool overnight and we discussed the old-timey hand held fans - you know the ones with a pretty pic on one side and advertising on the other. Jeff and I were broke down on the side of the road one time and let me tell ya, I was thankful for one that was in the truck! 

I know several places are opening cooling stations with water and places to charge phones. The Gilmer Civic Center is open today and I’m seeing other communities offering cooling stations. 

One friend is grilling outdoors, using food from the freezer, others are using Coleman stoves. 

Do you have any other tips and helpful ideas for surviving the power outages, that you can add to the list? 

This is not an affiliate post. I am not getting paid or compensated for mentioning any of these items. Just things that we have accumulated over the past 10+ years, that I thought might be helpful to someone else, especially after sharing these ideas with family and they appreciated the ideas we had.  They were putting battery powered fans on their list of things to find asap and found a generator yesterday. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

A Little About Us!

Hey Y’all! We’ve had a few questions lately and lots of new faces, so let me introduce myself and answer a few of those questions.

•I’m Janice East. 11 1/2 years ago, I started this as a Etsy shop that I managed at night/weekends, while I worked full time at a flower shop. This coming Christmas will mark 8 years of being self employed and this has grown so much more than I ever imagined.

•I was one of the first to make a burlap and lace wedding bouquet on Etsy and that’s all I did for several years. I have 40+ colors of burlap and have shipped to all 50 states and multiple countries.

•I have a 1959 vintage camper, “Miss Gussie” that we use for some of our events. I thought Yamboree 2015 was a one time show, but we left there with an invitation to do another show and it’s kept going from there. We participate in some local market events during the year and will have several fall events. (Mark your calendar’s for September 24!)

•We have expanded to have our own website {} plus our Etsy shop (although I’m not adding much new stuff to Etsy.)

•I knew when I left the flower shop, I would have to diversify beyond burlap and lace, I just didn’t know it would be clothing and printing. We've also had some antique store booths and shows along the way. 

•We make all the shirts you see in our shops. I’ve taught myself about graphics, building websites, and pretty much everything it takes to run my business. This year we’ve added stickers, earrings, tumblers, water bottles, glass cutting boards, recipe towels, ornaments, and more.

•We have a large selection of our tee shirts in P20 / Nan’s place  on the square in our hometown of Gilmer, TX. (Name is changing to Nan’s, but it’s still the same friendly faces located at 100 Davis St.)

•Almost a year ago, I rented the back room of P20 and created a workshop there. So we have our boutique items in the front and create in the back. We love having a dedicated work space, although we still work from home some.  There’s a huge Live Gilmer mural painted on the side of our building and my side door is in the mural or you’re welcome to come in the front door. That's my door and my workshop is behind that Texas!

•Last September, my niece Brenna, started helping me tag shirts getting ready for the fall run and she now helps a few days a week. Prior to that, it was mostly a one woman show. Jeff helps with some things and we will let any of the kids that hang out tag shirts or model!

•When I left the flower shop, I didn’t intend to do fresh flowers, but you ask and referred me to your friends, so I do freelance floral design. I don’t keep flowers on hand all the time, but can get them for events, funerals, or weddings.

•Each day, I create motivational, inspiring, or fun graphics for our pages.

•We love to repurpose and have a very rustic gazebo (that was literally pulled from a trash ditch) and garden. It’s how many of you have found us! I did a tutorial on planting in a Rusty Bottomless Bucket and it got featured by some big bloggers and was a hit on Pinterest. Still my top blog post at

•It’s a lot, my schedule is crazy, and there’s never a time when there’s not something to do, but somehow it all works out! You’ll never hear me say “I’m bored.”  Some of my customers were recently told I wasn’t a “real shop.”  I may not work a traditional 9-5 way, but let me reassure you, we are very real. Everything has been built from the ground up - I didn’t even use my last name, city, or promote on Facebook for years, as I built all of this on social media. I believe in a strong work ethic, dedication, taking care of customers, and love getting to make pretty things for all of you.

•Oh, and we have a farm! ❤️🐮

Did I mention I have the best friends and customers? Well, I do! Thank you for being here! We appreciate you all so, so much!

Follow Along on all the Adventures - 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Guitars and Cadillacs

It all started with De Ann rearranging at the shop (P20) and I helped her move some furniture around. Then there was this decorative guitar. What to do with it? I looked at De Ann and her mom and about the same time, we all said that it needed to be painted. Let's be real, it was u.g.l.y.

What if we paint it turquoise? add bling... or fringe... Guitars and Cadillacs! We need a new tee design and a window display! Oh yeah! The ideas were flowing! Let's Channel some Dwight Yoakum, meets Miranda Lambert, throw in some Chris LeDoux and MoMo (De Ann's mom) said she was even thinking Dottie West. We painted the guitar for her and she is working on fixing it up! 

Yeah my guitars, Cadillacs, hillbilly music
Is the only thing that keeps me hanging on
-Dwight Yoakum
Road Trippin' Texas Window Display

Brenna comes to work about that time and (gasp) she doesn't have a clue about Dwight Yoakum or the Guitars and Cadillacs song. I key it up on my phone and she shrugs... Well, Ok, I'm most definitely taking the designing role on this design! Fast forward through the day and I have visions of crowns, wings, guitars, and old cars. A Spotify Playlist was born and put on repeat. I was busy with orders and Brenna was at the computer working on some other projects. I couldn't wait till after 9:00 to come around. After garden chores, supper, and dishes were done, I knew I could sit down and bring my ideas to the screen. It was more like 9:45 pm when I set down at the computer, but my night owl self loves working in the quiet of the evening, after everything else is done. 

Music is medicine... but here's the thing, it's about so much more than catchy tunes, guitars, Cadillac's, or hillbilly music... You know, all the best designs have a story behind them and this is more than meets the eye. 

Back in the day, I drove 70 ish miles, one way, to college each week. It was the same time Chris LeDoux's 20 Greatest Hits came out and the tape (yes, I had a tape deck in my truck!) would get me almost to PJC and mercy, did I jam out to that almost every week! Cadillac Ranch was one of my favorite songs from that album and ranks right up there at the top of my favorite songs of all time.

Well the well went dry and the cow did too
And daddy didn't know what to do
The banker came by the house one day
He said he's gonna take the farm away
Then mama came up with a plan
My brother and me started up a band
My sister put a sign on the roof
And daddy bought a case of 90 proof
-Chris LeDoux Cadillac Ranch

 It's more than just a family building a bar in an old barn. To me it is about a family overcoming obstacles that life presented them. It wasn't giving up or giving in. It was getting creative and making a living. As I always say, "when life gets tough, get creative" and "keep rolling on." Those two phrases have kept me going the last few years. Life has thrown us a few curve balls and we've had to look for creative ways to keep going. 

(Please note, I am wearing a large in both tees. The tank is a ladies, more fitted style, while the v neck is a unisex style.)

Heck, just last week, we should have had our second farmers market of the year, but sadly it's been cancelled for the year. There was another show I was hoping to do this summer and I couldn't get into it... I'm not gonna lie and tell you we haven't been a little concerned about that... I took off one weekend, wondered what was next, what to create going forward since we wouldn't have summer shows... but by midweek, we were back to creating, worked all weekend, and have several things going on and we are brainstorming on some new things to come. (The Texas Farm to Market tee in the window was/is our farmers market theme tee for the year. We already had a big stack of them made, when we learned the Gilmer Market wouldn't be happening this year, so you can find them online and in the shop.) 

                                                                  Sometimes these wheels
Get a little heavy
And I can't stay between the lines but I'm rocking steady
When I can't fly, I start to fall
But I've got wheels
I'm rolling on
And when I find a place to rest
I'll stay just long enough to catch my breath
This life with you will keep me strong
D**n these wheels
I'm rolling on

-Miranda Lambert, I've Got Wheels

Wings, a crown, flowers, glitter... we needed all that in this design.

Look around and see how farmers are diversifying- maybe they have a pumpkin patch and hay maze in the fall or a YouTube channel to subsidize farm income. I know Jeff watches plenty of them!  Maybe we take pictures of our farm animals and use them in designs or some turn an old barn into a vintage market or wedding venue... we create our own version of Cadillac Ranch. 

Now the only horns around here today
Are the ones up on the grill
Of a genuine '59 Coupe Deville

Of course the caddy needed horns on it! Jeff said we have a 68 model instead of a 59, but the cool thing is that I actually had a 68 Texas license plate that I was able to use on the car.  Just a little editing turned into a car plate, instead of a truck. 

10-4 buddy, come on back
A horse trailer on a cadillac
Yeah, we're talkin' to the cowboy
In the coupe de ville
Chug-a-luggin' up one side
Slidin' down the other
Well I'm a lover of the other
Side of the hill

- Chris LeDoux, Cadillac Cowboy
Anytime Jeff or I either one says 10-4, the other follows it up with...
come on back
A horse trailer on a cadillac... 

So what started with a guitar an ugly paint job, led to so much more!
We will update when Momo gets done with her transformation and we will have to add it to the window when it's done. 

 We were had a Texas Road Trippin' theme for our summer window and Guitars and vintage Cadillacs just right in there with it!

Come see us at P20 at 100 Davis St. Gilmer, TX 75644 (My workshop is located in the back room of the store.) Some items are online or you can always message me on social media or my website (I don't always get notifications of blog comments or they show up as "no reply" so I can't always correspond that way.) It's possible that we may pick up a couple of events this summer, we just don't have any confirmation yet, so stay tuned.