New antique, gift shop is dream come true for owner NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

NEIGHBORS

January 21, 1993|By JUDY REILLY

On a recent cold and foggy winter afternoon I found myself driving along Old Taneytown Pike on the way to the library. But an eye-catching "open" flag distracted me from my original mission, and I backed up the car and followed a sign to the Countryside Farmhouse Antiques and Gift Shop.

When the shop's owner, Vicki Wisner, greeted me at the door, I knew I wouldn't be getting to the library for a while. Her enthusiasm and energy pulled me right in.

Her shop, opened last October, was a welcoming spot on a cold day. The wood stove from the adjacent family kitchen warmed the rooms. Rag rugs were scattered on the floor, and the walls revealed a happy chaos of wreaths, herbs, floral arrangements, teddy bears and stuffed animals. An opera on public radio filled the air, and Bandit, the shop cat, rubbed against my boots.

For Ms. Wisner, the shop is the realization of a long-held dream, made possible by the encouragement of her husband, J. B., as well as an allergy that forced her to quit the full-time job she had held as a fresh floral designer for 18 years.

She sells only hand-made items, most of them made in Carroll County. Her husband crafts the barn wood frames and other designs. She sews the stuffed animals and their outfits, and makes the wreaths and other arrangements. They plan to refinish and sell antiques this spring.

A specialty of the shop is custom-made dried wedding bouquets. Because of Ms. Wisner's extensive experience as a floral designer, she can dry the flowers from any special bouquet and then reconstruct it as a keepsake. Customizing items to your whim is her specialty.

Her goal is to expand her business into an interior decorator's shop, with "everything made by local people, from the curtains on up."

The Wisners live in the house adjacent to the shop, and they're renovating it to reflect simple country living. The old asbestos shingles are coming off now -- "It's easier to do this job in the winter," claims Vicki. They've bricked in a patio, and flower gardens will be planted this spring.

Countryside Farmhouse Antiques and Gifts is located at 3817 Old Taneytown Pike. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Information: 751-1558.

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If you've made New Year's resolutions involving self-improvement, you might want to check out the noncredit classes being offered this spring. Sponsored by the Carroll County Public Schools, a variety of class topics from personal finance to physical fitness, bricklaying and conversational Spanish promises to enlighten and challenge the persons who enroll.

Some of the classes are held close to home. For people who are intimidated by computers, Betty West's "Word Perfect for Beginners" might be a good class to check out. Her classes will meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Francis Scott Key High School.

Classes in floral design are being offered on Wednesday evenings at Northwest Middle School, with Anita Mann as instructor.

If you're all thumbs when it comes to cake decorating, you may want to try Deborah Newhouse's class, which covers the techniques necessary to turn an ordinary cake into something worthy of a special occasion.

Classes start the week of Feb. 16, but registrations are being accepted now. Fees vary from class to class. Call 848-3356 or 876-5734 to receive a complete listing of classes and information.

*

Carroll Diary, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Elmer Wolfe Elementary School gym: Basketball hoops are lowered to accommodate the heights of 7-year old boys (and a few girls). The tiny gym is crowded with kids in blue or red T-shirts, and they're running, dribbling, shooting, jumping and waving their arms in each other's faces.

It's peewee basketball at its finest. This mother, who took a novel along to fill up the hour, wound up being drawn into the action, absorbed and enthusiastic.

The kids run back and forth, from basket to basket, with solemn concentration and earnest effort. Once in a while, a kid forgets what basket to shoot at, and his teammates nudge him in the right direction. No one is left out of the action. At the end of the hour the score might be 14-6, but it's more fun than watching the NBA.

Frank Mastalerz, who organizes the basketball program for the New Windsor Recreation Council, has been coaching teams for three seasons. He has two sons who participate, and they were his initial reason for getting involved.

Why does he do it? For the benefit of the kids. "They learn so much, and do so well from the beginning of the season until the end. That's the big thing. And I've always enjoyed basketball. The kids like it, and that makes me like it even more."

Come to one of these games, and you'll see why.

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