A love letter to old Country Living


      As a real-and-truly grown up, I have a subscription to Country Living Magazine and I love it. It is a beautiful magazine and I love it's fresh take on country style, and my generation's version of this classic decorating scheme. But you know what else I love? The old Country Livings. I'm talking at least 20 years old, or close to 30. Let's talk about this....surely I'm not the only one?

     I'm a notorious Antique Mall magazine hunter. You can usually get an old magazine for 50 cents or a dollar. So you can get a good stack of lazy lunchtime reading for the cost of one current volume. I always keep an eye out for Mary Englebreit's Home Companion, Early American Life and of course, Country Living.

   The old-school Country Livings are practically another magazine, with it's focus on more rustic and colonial Country style, and it has a lot more articles that are like short stories and how-tos on old timey skills. They are also full of women in denim jumper dresses with Dorothy Hamill haircuts, cigarette ads, and porcelain dolls available in just four easy payments. But something about them is so...comforting. It's like a time capsule back into my childhood where I would sit in the dining room floor and play with my mom's faceless Amish rag dolls while Dallas played on the living room TV.


    I am also really drawn to the Early American style of decorating. The salt box houses. The huge fireplaces and the stories about how normal people scrimped and saved and bought their dream home--- a nearly broken down 200 year old shack in a field usually, that they slowly brought back to it's old timey glory. Because I don't know about you....but I am sick to death of reading about rich New York City hipsters who up and leave the city and purchase a fairytale farmhouse in Vermont where they raise their equally hip children, Pinecone and Periwinkle. But I digress ;)

     Other than being drawn to the more rustic style, I am also drawn to how much it feels like home and childhood, but the best parts. There is no talk of recession. There is no talk of the latest thing for a mother to be afraid to feed or give her children or feel guilty about doing/being/not living up to. Sure, they covertly (or not so covertly) try to pursued me that cigarettes are chic, but the lady promoting this is wearing a 1980s business suit and using an awful lot of aqua-net, so what does she know?

   But over all they take me back to living at our little house on Shadow Lane when my mom went to Longaberger Basket house parties, summer was lovely and lasted forever, Santa Claus came every Christmas, and I wrote Little House on the Prairie style stories in reams of notebooks (completed with bonneted illustrations) and all was well in the world.

    So there you have it. That's my, perhaps odd, infatuation with old Country Living magazines. Do you have a favorite little something that transports you back to childhood? Or do you also have a love for a more rustic/primitive country style? I'd love to hear about it :)

   Well, I think I'd better get this day started! Hope you have a good one as well~
~H



11 comments

  1. I definitely feel this way about my mom's collection of late '80s/early '90s Victoria magazines. I love reading through those and remembering when there was a Laura Ashley store in 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City.

    I don't know that I've ever read Country Living, but I really like the whole Colonial New England aesthetic. That actually makes me nostalgic for old-school This Old House. We watched it every week.

    I would totally replace the couch, but other than that, I'm ready to move in to that house in the bottom photo.

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  2. I have some of my mom's Victoria magazines and I get the modern Victoria magazines now :) They are beautiful! And yes, I remember Laura Ashley! I think I had some Laura Ashley bedding as a kid, and I'm pretty sure the wallpaper border in my childhood room at my parent's house is Laura Ashley :)

    I love that living room too...I really want a huge old fire place like that. I think it would be awesome!

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  3. I remember those older covers of Country Living when my Mom would get them!I still like them now~
    I have all of the Mary Engelbreit's-still a favorite of mine I wish they'd bring back :)
    Have a super Thursday :)

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  4. I love the Home Companion too, Andrea. Sadly, I dont think it will be back. I'm on Mary's facebook feed and she announced the other day that no publishers were interested in the HC anymore, which is insane to me. It was SO good, and so geared towards artists and supporting artists. I miss it. And I cherish my old issues as well!

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  5. I used to love looking through my Mother and Grandmother's Country Living Magazines, loved everything but the frilly wallpapers and the teddy bears that seem to appear in many of the photos..oh the 80's. ;)

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  6. Many thanks to you for putting into words what I feel every time I open a new issue of Country Living. Don't get me wrong...I'll keep my subscription forever and a day but continue to skim over the glorification of Pinecone, Periwinkle, and their annoying families.

    Off now on a scavenger hunt to find the few tattered "vintage" issues I snagged from my mom several years ago. You've got me hankering for a good dose of nostalgia to go with my cuppa this afternoon!

    Happy Reading!
    nataalie jo

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  7. I can't tell you how many boxes of old magazines have moved around with me. (Country Living and Victoria mostly) I finally started chopping some up (cutting out the parts that I love and putting in my ideas/inspiration folder). But there are some issues that I just can't bring myself to tear up. Every once in a while I will sit down and flip through some of them. They are pretty neat!
    blessings
    ~*~

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  8. LOL, I am with you on the hipsters! I still get country living, but like you miss the gold old days.
    Lisa

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  9. Sounds like they were a lot of fun. :) I spy a really awesome chest/table. I really do love a rustic feel for homes. We try to have a nice cozy decor with lots of homemade wooden furniture (from the hubby) and indie-made arts and crafts. :)

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  10. I've never really even read this magazine, but reading your post took me back just the same. "When summer lasted forever"- Omg I remember that! Being a kid was awesome.

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  11. I first discovered Country Living in the late 1980s and became an instant fan! My favorite writer was a woman by the name of Jo and she wrote Simple Country Pleasures each issue. They were so heartfelt and beautiful and I loved her wit and perpsective. I agree with you that the current issues have many changes and a lot more advertising. The magazine has had to change with the times and demand or face extinction. But, the old format seemed more homey and less sanitized. Less formal and more inclusive of a variety of readers. But, then, I am in my 60s so perhaps I am not the best critic. Longaberger Basket parties?? I still am a Longaberger Home Consultant!~ Ha! But Longaberger has really changed their line with new demand just like Country Living. The new buyers demand the hipster stuff for sure!
    And I never knew anyone else who loved Early American Life! I just love that magazine and the colonial look!

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Each and every comment is appreciated! Thanks for coming to visit me :) ~Heather

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