Mary, Mary, Quite Quoteworthy

I love history and elderly ladies mostly because they both seem rich with stories and tell of a time when people had manners and didn’t wear sweatpants with words bejeweled across the bum in public stores and planes and malls. There was the whole savage slaying of innocents bit, but I like to look at that as kind of the angsty teen phase of humanity and not a testament to how we roll.


Recently I stumbled upon farmnflea, a sweet Etsy boutique of sweetly framed quotes, and when I struck up a conversation with owner Mary Petrzilka I knew we could be friends. She’s young and hip (two things I’d like to try). Smart (also considered trying this…briefly) . Soon to be married to a great guy. A dog mama. But the real deal clincher? She digs the vintage, too.

Mary1 mary2 mary3 mary4

Her quotes are hand-pecked by typewriter, ranging from custom requests to boozy Hemingway lines and plenty of those inspirational sentences that make you want to go scale a mountain and sing “We Are The Champions” and, yes, even carpe the hell out of some diems. I was smitten with the classic typewriter font, the simple beauty of just black words against plain white. Then I got smitten-er (the most smitten-est, even!) when Mary, a 29-year-old grad student penning her thesis on economic anthropology and flea markets, described how she came to start her business:

“I visit my Grandma every other weekend, to braid her hair for her and give her company. She spent the latter years of her life working in a thrift store, and has both a basement and attic filled with vintage wonders. One day I brought home a 1960’s typewriter from the attic, and while procrastinating on thesis work I put a piece of paper in and tested it out (reminding myself how lucky I was to be writing a thesis on an Acer laptop and NOT a Webster XL-500). “

I’ve never met Mary but I can safely say that I’m a fan because she braids Grandma’s hair and knows enough to love and treasure things which got here before her. And you should be a fan, too, because she’s about to share a special piece of her hand-typed pretty with you.

” Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

 It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” – Mary Oliver

This quote from poet Mary Oliver perfectly touched on what the Tiny Spark Series is all about & thanks to one retro typewriter and the generous hands who use it for good, one lucky reader will receive a fresh-from-the-Webster farmnflea print just for commenting!

Tiny Spark posts are an opportunity to take a pinch or a handful or just maybe a big old chunk of wisdom from another person’s history. It’s recognizing the past, using lessons learned to light up a future.  One of Mary’s favorite parts of running farmnflea is a similar amazement in how just a few, little words can be so big in a person’s world :
” It is fascinating to read what quotes and poems inspire certain people, and it makes you wonder what the story behind that quote is that holds meaning, represents inspiration or serves as a daily reminder of ‘good’ in other people’s lives.”

In the spirit of Tiny Spark, pretty prizes from Mary, and spreading some light, share a favorite quote that’s brought you peace or joy or inspiration or, most importantly, good. 

One lucky winner gets a treasure from Grandma’s attic!

56 thoughts on “Mary, Mary, Quite Quoteworthy

    1. Ha and also, I might need to work on this. I said awful, awful, sour, bitter things when holiday shopping yesterday. Something about a lady paying for her two carts of goodies with a stack of coupons and a s-l-o-w-l-y handwritten check makes me get all hostile.

    1. Haha! I was making grabby hands the whole time I was working on this post. I love the sweet idea that these quotes are typed on a little piece of Grandma’s attic treasure. Seems like a cool history in a little frame :)

  1. I love quotes and am struggling to keep it to just one here. I’ll borrow one from Winston Churchill that helped get me through a long difficult time: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

    I love the Mary Oliver quote and will steal it.

      1. I don’t know what kind of Smart Juice she drinks, but every single thing she writes is profound, the kind of words that make my eyeballs get so big and my tongue hang out a little.

  2. How cool! I love Etsy. I think I need to get my paws on some of those Hemingway quotes.

    On a related note, I really like the look and feel of your blog template, with the hyperlinks in blue. It’s very pretty yet ‘clean.’

  3. I’ll have to think about my favorite quote. I love finding just the right quote for what I’m feeling or thinking at any given moment. I love stumbling upon a quote that sings to me with its perfection or clarifies something for me that I didn’t even realize. The wisdom of times past cannot be ignored.

    You rock, Tori.

  4. I LOVE THIS! How perfectly simple and adorable. I love quotes and often hang on to hokey ones to get me through a particularly rough patch. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and intellects. Right now (because it’s bound to change!) I love his quote on self-image:

    I would prefer to combat the “I’m special” feeling not by the thought “I’m no more special than anyone else,” but by the feeling “Everyone is as special as me.”
    ~C.S. Lewis

    On a side note, I can’t believe I made it this far in my life without Mary Oliver. I am going to remedy this situation immediately.

    Thank you, Tori!

    1. Kaela, Oliver is brilliant. BRILLIANT. I have a notebook of little sayings and quotes I hear or read. It’s a compromise so I don’t cover our whole house floor-to-ceiling in giant quote prints. That might just be another reason I like Mary’s little framed quotes. I can get away with putting them everywhere :)

    1. Young and hip? Young and hip!!!!! I’ve NEVER heard that before. I’m the old poot in spirit, grouchy and hollering at kids for blaring the devils boom boom (rap) throughout the neighborhood.

  5. I’m a fan of Henry David Thoreau – even visited his cabin at Walden Pond – and I love his ideas about living deliberately and with intention.

    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

  6. I love the way you began this post and it evolved into a very inspiring message.
    This is my favorite quote from Henry Miller. He might not be a chick’s go to author, but I loved his writing style even if I didn’t agree with his “opinions.”

    “I have no money, no resources, and no hope. I am the happiest man alive.”

    I like this quote because it communicates that happiness is not in the material world, but in the world of “within.” For me it’s Lala Land that’s why I’m a crazy chick! :) Tweeting this now :)

  7. I love the little quote business! What a great idea. Super post about it as well. I’m cheating a bit because I love these TWO quotes and I think they complement each other well. I’m vying for the vintage from the basement!!

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off your bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover-” Mark Twain

    “I am not what happens to me. I choose who I become.”
    ― C.G. Jung

    1. Oh, you hit a sweet spot. I have a weird crush on Mark Twain despite his general state of un-living. I don’t know if it was the bow ties or the the twangy thing, but he’s always been a favorite :)

  8. I love great ideas and quotes. I think she is on to something here. My current favorite quote (post mild midlife crisis…) “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
    ― Mae West

  9. What a delightful find you’ve made! I love the way you start this post history and elderly ladies. At least the ladies aren’t as oblique as the history can be. I enjoy reading old etiquette books for much the same reasons. Don’t have a quote for you, but thanks for the smile!

    1. We discovered Internet, and color television, and fancy speaking phones, but we definitely lost our manners along the way. That’s why I love the no-fuss, straight-from-the-earth attitude of the older generations. They aren’t so impressed by a young kid’s iPhone that they’ll accept that he’s wearing jeans around his knees.

    1. Oh, Al. Can I call him Al? Whatever. Al was a smart man (with stellar hair, by the way). I love to think how he is known as a great philosopher, said so many amazing little life anecdotes, while working in such a black-and-white academic world.

  10. Oh, my father has a number of them, though most are oriented towards getting me off my duff – in language a good deal saltier than “duff”. But there was one, not his but often quoted by him – “Better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you’re an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”. For a motormouth like me, that was GREAT advice.
    Though I modified an old saying that fits my personality – “Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you get a wet shirt.” :D

  11. I love this post — and this artist!

    I collect quotes like treasures. They’re tucked in my blog, on magnets stuck to various things, in my journal, and on random pieces of paper I tuck in various places as I come across beautiful words in my reading.

    Rumi always makes my heart flutter. Two of my favorites:

    “Dancing is when you rise above worlds.
           Tearing your heart into pieces and giving up your soul’


    “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

  12. Oh, my . . . to pick one favorite quote. That’s impossible. But here are a few favorites:

    * Embrace all with joy, anything can be a gift of gold in disguise.
    * What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl. ~ Rumi
    * Let yourself be drawn by the pull of what you really love. ~ Rumi
    * We do not laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.

    1. I totally get it. The Typewriter text just looks like it has some history, some smudgy letter or slightly crooked part that reminds you a real person sat and pecked the keys. Things got a little more sterile and too uniform when we switched to computers!

  13. Oh, quotes. How I love thee! Oh, retro. How I ADORE thee. These framed quotes are absolutely fabulous, Tori– you’re finding such gems for this Tiny Sparks series!

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