Woman's dream to reach reality at Savage Mill


WHAT IS so rare as a day in June?

May's nights are sometimes cold, and the heat of July will soon wilt us all.

But June can be perfection itself: warm enough to barbecue, cool enough to savor. And now, here come the last of these perfect days.

Among the pleasures of the month is the opening of Folkways, a home furnishings shop at Savage Mill, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Owner Kathy Branch has worked at her shop since May 18, getting her stock in place, making sure that everything runs well.

Branch has been planning this for years.

A devoted craft show shopper, Branch has been looking at handmade items, deciding what she'd like to have in a shop someday.

Recently, her dream became a reality, when she and two friends decided to open a weekends-only business.

Branch would provide her homemade pillows; Stephanie Meise and Caryl Clubb would provide quilts and other decorative items.

But running a weekends-only shop turned out to be impossible, and Branch decided to run a full-time shop on her own.

The shop she has opened is full of country-style furniture, quilts, pillows, table-runners and other soft furnishings.

Branch carries furniture and prints from some of America's finest artisans -- some have been listed in the 13th edition of Early American Homes' Best American Crafters list.

Branch doesn't limit herself to nationally recognized names -- many of her pieces come from this area.

Robin Blackburn of Westminster provides quilts, including colorful table runners.

Branch met Matthew Gotwols, a maker of architectural items, at a Virginia crafts show. Impressed by his topiary forms, she bought some. Imagine her surprise to find out that he lives just across the Patuxent River on Gorman Road.

On a recommendation from fellow shop owner Margaret Vigneulle of Designated Fibers, Branch found Rosy Sullivan, who provides brass beds and quilt racks for the shop.

Sullivan in turn mentioned Rosalie Houghton, also of Savage, who paints decorative floor cloths that resemble the best Baltimore Album quilts.

Visitors are welcome to browse among the home decor items and prints at the store this weekend.

Branch's family will be there to help out -- her mother, Martha Hamil, her sister from California, Diana Hamil (who is spending the summer here), and daughter Lisa Branch.

Information: 301-490-5410.

Murray Hill's first year

Murray Hill Middle School has had a terrific first year.

Children, parents and staff pulled together to build a solid foundation from which the young people can make the transition from childhood to adolescence.

The most recent fund-raiser -- and generally enjoyable event -- was a Family Fun Night last month.

Among those who made this evening fun and profitable for the PTA was Principal Vince Catania, who allowed himself to get wet in the dunking booth.

The event featured other entertainment, too. The school staff put on a talent show.

Parents helped make the program a success. Thanks are due to Kathy Chiarizia, Judy Faudale, Pat Flynn, Carol Solomon and Lisa Nickell.

These hard-working parents received welcome assistance from Forest Ridge Elementary parents Maria Newcomb, Sheila Abram and Nancy Peters, who helped plan and prepare the first-time event. (Forest Ridge Elementary is a feeder for Murray Hill Middle.)

HTC Bill Peters provided balloons and tickets for the evening.

Thanks are also due to parents Donna Thewes, who sold popcorn, and Marilyn Johnson and Erick Baker, who assisted at the face-painting booth.

Ruth Price and Pat McDonough helped Robin Marton run a little auction.

Roy Newcomb ran a basketball shootout.

Thank you all for donating your time.

Thanks also go to the often unsung heroes -- the custodial and catering staffs.

And a special thanks also to cafeteria (at Murray Hill, it is called the "dining room") manager Lucille Harvey, who helped the PTA plan how much food to buy and how to store it.

Thank you all.

Pub Date: 6/26/98

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