Twigs Life Story
Primitive Blessings by Twigs n Sprigs
Tiffany Laine Wigginton Carnal
often ask me about how I got started in this business, along with
questions about my life. Since I tossed myself into this business
nearly 20 years ago, and took up many other adventures along the way, I
reckon it is time I shared my story and my life with my friends and
fellow readers. So grab yourself a cup of something and sit down for
its time for me to gab a bit.
Some might say it is luck to do what you love, others might say it’s a curse.
I can honestly say its hereditary.
you are a true primitive lover, you love the history that goes along
with the old stuff we love to collect, so here goes my life story the
history of Twigs.
the late 1800’s Rebecca Blackford Wigginton also known as Nannie would
spend her free time away from the children sitting with chalk, pencil
or paint and create wonderful paintings and portraits. She created the
most amazing chalk drawing of sheep that is simply divine. She had a
son named Holly Blackford Wigginton and in the early 1900’s he fell in
love with Miss Rebecca Clark and together they had a dream of becoming
entrepreneurs. They began peddling old time wares in the small town of
Williamstown, Kentucky. Before long they married and together raised
their children to help run the store. Their business had grown so much
that in 1923, they had built a huge brick storefront and named it
Wigginton & Clark. It was a wonderful building in its day, it
housed the most wonderful dresses and suits and textiles in town. Their
son Edwin Blackford was a wonderful man who had a heart of gold. He
worked hard to keep the family name and to help those in need.
towns over in Fagan, Kentucky was a wonderful country family by the
name of Neal. James Wilson and Olenice began selling feed and seed to
the farmers back then. They ran their general store out of an old
building with shotguns on the front porch. They helped the needy and
taught their kids how to work hard and make do with what you have.
Their daughter Sadie Mae was a hard worker, she worked the fields and
helped in the Mill along with making dresses & quilts.
*****The Neals General Store*****
*****My Grandmother Sadie Mae Neal Pelfrey*****
*****My Grandfather Robert Clarence Pelfrey*****
Little did both families know that they were building a dream for generations to come along with leaving behind wonderful handmade heirlooms. As love would have it. Edwin’s son William Raymond married Sadie Mae’s daughter Judith Ann and together they had 3 children one of them being me, Tiffany Laine Wigginton, aka Twigs
*****My Daddy Billy Rae Wigginton*****
*****My Mama Judith Ann Pelfrey*****
***Tiffany Laine, Krista Lynn, Ricky Allen Wigginton***
up, we lived on the 3rd floor of the Wigginton Building. Living in
town, I often strolled my dog, Parfait (Tea cup toy poodle), & my
many baby dolls, down the street. They often wore dresses I had made
from scraps of fabric or if I was really lucky, my Great Aunt Nancye
would give me children’s clothes from the children’s department store.
Later I ventured into making money with my lemonade stands or playing
storekeeper in the huge basement of my Grandfather’s shop. I remember
spending hours in the store cellar finding old treasures that Grandpa
had tossed away. My tin doll house being one of my favorite finds. So I
suppose that dumpster diving and retailing are truly in my blood.
Mitchell was a woman of great inspiration to me. She was my dad’s Nanny
all his childhood years. Idell was special, she lived by herself,
behind the store in her little white house at the bottom of the hill.
When she died no one really knew her age for she had lied about it. We
believe she was over 100, Every day I would venture to visit her. I
have fond memories of her baking me wonderful homemade cookies while I
pretended to make mud pies and cook them on the bricks she had made me
to resemble a stove. I would assume that my love for black dollies,
childhood dishes, pots and pans are of my memories with her.
mother had a busy life as I was growing up. She ventured in owning her
own clothing store in the family building, traveling around witnessing
to folks as a gospel singer & being a missionary when I was young.
She also worked for the local newspaper, then in my teenage years
became a travel agent. I always remember my mother writing in her
journals, singing & praising the Lord while working hard to support
father took on the family tradition of working in the family business,
& later ventured on his own in retail. He owned a ceramic shop
during my childhood years & I loved it. Oh, how I would sculpt
& paint & create things from my heart. My most prize possession
during that time was a child’s tea pot I created. Both of my parents
loved antiques & Daddy’s last business venture was an antique shop.
When I was 11 yrs old, Daddy became critically ill with Chronic
Hepatitis C. He had a life & death experience & lived the last
years of his life as a deacon of our church & raising his children
to know the Lord. He truly had a glimpse of Heaven’s gates & he
wanted everyone to know about the love of the Lord.
my life I recall tragedies that have happened to our family that have
made us stronger. When I was 13, my father became permanently disabled.
That same year my brother passed away , I witnessed the loss of a
sibling and how it broke my parents hearts to loose a child. That same
year my Sister, Krista got married and left the house. The fall of that
year, the Wigginton building the place we called home burnt to the
ground. With only the clothes on our backs, we had to start over. I
believe the only good thing to happen that year was I became an Aunt.
*****My Brother Ricky Allen Wigginton*****
after the fire, my parents bought a house not too far from town, and
moved my grandparents in with us to so we could tend to them as well.
Caring for my sick father and along with my grandfather who had a
stroke and could not talk or walk is what our family did, on a daily
basis. It was hard & the burden rested on my mother to make the
living for our family. We grew stronger from it & survived.
in the basement of our newfound home was a cellar room. Together my Dad
and I painted and put shelving and furniture in there to create my own
studio. I spent many hours pouring out my heart in that little room. I
wrote children stories & poetry. I was always drawing &
painting, as well as working on calligraphy. I loved working with
textiles & even designed my prom dress, which my mother made for
me. I had a passion for writing, art, & economics. I had 3 great
teachers that stand out in my mind, Tanya Poer, Jeannie Broyles, &
Ruthe Wyman. They all taught me things that I now use in my life &
in my business on a daily basis.
were always dear to my heart & it was at a young age that Tanya
Poer asked me to help her with the abused children in our community.
The impact of that experience changed my life forever. During my high
school years I began working in retail in a little clothing shop. After
graduating, I ventured on my own & started college, while working
as a retail merchandising manager. I then changed jobs & held a
clerical position in the emergency room of a local hospital.
wasn’t long before I was designing my own wedding gown, & making
floral arrangements for my wedding. I married & my husband and he
joined the Marines. We packed our bags & moved to the shores of
North Carolina, & I became a military wife.
loved treasure hunting and was always blessing me with antique gifts.
His last gift to me was a heartfelt surprise. He had gone treasure
hunting and came across a wonderful old looking child’s tea pot. When
he picked it up he knew it indeed was a rare piece. He wrapped it up
and gave it to me as a gift. I was excited to get a blessing from my
father and when I opened it, it looked familiar. I turned it over to
find my name was engraved on the bottom of the pot. It was one of my
childhood creations I had made in his ceramic shop. We have no idea how
it ended up at that yard sale that day, but God knew we needed it. That
was the last gift my Daddy gave me before he went to be with the Lord.
****My Tea Pot*****
away from my family, and the reality of Daddy in heaven God knew I
needed something to occupy my time. We decided to help the less
fortunate in the area & my heart was tugged to help children. We
became the foster parents of 2 little girls who were half sisters.
*Casie Meagan and Deven Leigh a few months after we got them*
purchasing a new home, it was time to decorate. Looking through
magazines, catalogs & browsing stores, it became evident to me on a
military budget that I had to be creative. It was then that I decided
to use my talents & make the things I wanted for our new home.
Before long, friends & family began asking for my creations. After
having the girls 3 years, they became available for adoption & the
excitement of having a permanent family was overwhelming & a joyous
time. My husband got out of the military & joined the local police
force. I ventured out into doing craft shows & selling wholesale to
shops around our area.
couldn’t have been more complete with the adoption drawing near. The
finalization week, one of the girls biological father came forward and
fought us for custody. We decided it was not fair to our children to
separate them nor to have them taken from the only parents they ever
knew or remembered. Something in my heart said "Protect her", & the
legal battle began.
began designing & doing home shows to pay the legal bills. After a
lengthy precedent court battle, we won custody of our beautiful little
girl. However, the stress caused my husband to leave us. The end result
being that our daughter at 6 and a half yrs old was sent off to live
with strangers. Separated from her sister & only parents she had
ever known, my heart was broken. I became a single mother & had to
find a way to put food on the table.
*****Just Me and Casie*****
sister introduced me to the World Wide Web and some would say the rest
is history but I suppose I can continue rambling on with my life story.
Designing & selling primitive & country crafts became the world
in which I surrounded myself. I made a new life for myself & for my
darling little daughter. I enrolled back in college with plans to work
in the teaching field, however that was short lived, for God had other
plans for me.
*****Me and my sister Krista Lynn*****
It was then that God sent me my backbone, the man I now call my husband, Bruce Carnal.
*****Msgt. Bruce A. Carnal*****
began working with me to expand my business of Twigs n Sprigs. Together
we peddled our wares to shows & shops in our area. I grieved for
the daughter we lost. Bruce encouraged me to never lose my faith about
having her return home some day. He picked me up when I was weak &
gave me the courage to continue to do what I loved. I am so thankful to
God, & blessed to have this man in my life and as my husband.
had always wanted a house full of children, so we began a family. Just
4 days after giving birth to our daughter, Lyndi Elaine, we discovered
after 16 months, my little girl, had been abused by her biological
father & step-mother, & had been living in foster care over a
year in Texas. We immediately began fighting to get her back. With the
help of God, a jury awarded us custody. She has been reunited with her
sister and has been home now over 7 years. We believe that God will
continue to protect her & provide the means for us to keep her
safe, loved, & nurtured with the family of her heart.
*****Our Daughter Lyndi Elaine Carnal*****
chatting with friends on the Internet & joining boards & groups
who chat about the crafting passion I so loved, “Primitives”. Folks on
the boards seldom used their real names, until they get to know you. I
shortened my business name and typed in “Twigs” before long it stuck.
It’s common now to answer the phone & hear folks ask for Twigs.
the mid 90’s, websites were becoming the thing for everyone to have to
peddle their wares so that was what I learned to do. With the help of
my friend Liz, she helped me build my site. It wasn’t long before I had
so much business that I couldn’t keep up with manufacturing my
primitive goods, so I decided to branch out & design one of a kind
wares & create pattern packets for primitive crafters.
a web designer, one needs graphics. It was then out of pure
determination that I taught myself how to create graphics. Shortly
after I figured it out, I began sharing them with the world, along with
designing custom logos for companies. I expanded my line of Doodles
& Designs into primitive stationery, notepads, cards &
rubberstamps. I have great plans to expand my collections into the
scrap booking industry.
husband had served 20 yrs in the United States Marine Corps & it
was time to retire & choose a place to call our forever home. We
packed our possessions and 3 girls & headed to the hills of
Kentucky, and landed in Henry County. We immediately fell in love with
this community & the ‘salt of the earth’ folks who would help
anyone out, even strangers. Most people just read about fresh-baked
cookies & breads being delivered to your home, homegrown produce
left on your doorstep by kind neighbors, & folks coming out of the
tobacco fields to lend a hand. You know, Mayberry, TV for some folks,
but for us it was reality. Port Royal/Lacie is a place of true kinship
& hospitality, a place we are proud to call home.
I began talking to primitive folks from all over the world, I opened up
an online board called Primitive Ponderings ("The Pond"). The place
where we go to share our lives, our hopes, our dreams, pray, & talk
about the things we hold dear to our hearts, & of course primitive
crafting & decorating. I began hosting primitive gatherings in our
home for local friends who liked to craft. Once a month they would come
& we would eat, craft & gab. I then ventured out to hosting
Twigs Gatherings where folks from all over, who loved primitives, could
come to our home, gather & create primitive wares, share what we
know, & help each other out. Before long, I had folks flying in
from as far as England (My dear friends Meryl & Hillary, God Bless
You) to craft and share with me.
pregnant with my last child, I nearly died of a deep vein thrombosis
& a hematoma. God blessed me to be the mother of a son, William
Alexander Carnal. Shortly after my long recovery, he became very ill
with muscular dystonic reaction, along with whooping cough. After
several weeks in intensive care, lots of prayers, & a miracle from
God, my son came home. With my strength coming back more every day I
knew it was time to get back to work. It didn’t take long to get back
into the swing of things and before long had several companies asking
me to design for them. It has been a wonderful adventure to see my
designs in textiles, resin, tin and stamps.
*****Our Son William Alexander Carnal*****
miles down the road from our farmhouse sat an old abandoned general
store in the ‘so-called’ town of Lacie. We passed this rickety ole
shack every day while going to & fro. Honestly, I never paid any
attention to it. I was with my friend, Darlene, one day, & she
said, “You need to buy that store in Lacie & make it your gift
shop”. It wasn’t long before I was the proud owner of that wonderful,
dilapidated building. I tell you God is soo good, he blessed me with
that store for $10,000. It has a history that I just love. It was
built back during the 1800’s. The old building housed the town store,
creamery, & the area’s blacksmith. Its old structure has hard wood
floors with old license plates to cover the mice holes. It has wooden
shelving, the original cash register, & 2 old amazing mercantile
counters. Tis heaven to me and primitively perfect for my shop.
*****The Lacie General Store*****
a lot of hard work & tender, loving care, along with help from my
family, friends & our local Amish friends, we began restoring the
old building. Before long, we were ready to open a few days a week for
business. Learning that there were 2 other businesses named Twigs
& Sprigs within a few hour’s radius, we decided to add “Primitive
Blessings” to our name. Primitive Blessings by Twigs n Sprigs was a
dream but now reality, it’s the place I go to design my primitive
goods, share my wares with folks, craft with folks, gab with folks and
eat with folks and putting the little town of Lacie back on the map. We
have resurrected the building, but still have more work to be done
& have even greater plans for it in the future.
*****Primitive Blessings by Twigs n Sprigs*****
after purchasing the store, it became apparent that we needed the
storekeepers house that was built right beside the shop. However it
needed a lot of work and Bruce truthfully wanted to just light a stick
of dynamite to it and start over. But I knew it had good bones and me
loving the things of old knew we could transform it into our forever
home. So 2 yrs ago with sledge hammers in hand we began tearing out
every lathe and plaster wall in the house. After years of collecting
magazines I began tearing out every picture that I loved and browsing
the websites of folks home to get ideas for my forever home. After
gathering up tongue and groove wide pine boards, old century color
paints and the help of our Amish friends they resurrected it into our
new homestead. Lord knows I have collected so many crocks, jars, jugs,
samplers and primitive wares to fill two homes but they are all pieces
of the past that are dear to my heart.
began writing again & sharing my life mishaps & happiness with
my online friends at the pond. Folks have told me several times over
the years that I should publish my works, or create a primitive
magazine, which I thought would be fun, but I couldn’t afford to do it,
& I did not have the time to invest in such a time-consuming
timing & dreams for me are more perfect than I could imagine. On a
summer day while designing in my shop, the phone rang & it was Fay
Stanfield, of Country Past-Thymes. She was in search of someone to
help her create a primitive magazine & was given my name by an
online friend. She wanted someone who had artistic abilities &
knowledge of graphics, along with writing skills. We immediately felt
like we were Kindred Souls. The passion we both had for this adventure
was exciting. I immediately became thrilled to help her & knew
there was a market for a primitive magazine. Together, we have been
working hard to make Mercantile Gatherings the best primitive magazine
around. I am so thankful for Fay, without her you wouldn’t be reading
this right now. She truly is a blessing & a person I treasure as a
*****Twigs n Fay*****
I began thinking of what I wanted to do with my life, I realized God
has blessed me to be an artist, designer & writer. To be able to
share my designs in textiles, tin, paper & rubber is amazing to me.
He gives me the ability to write about folks with an old time flare and
share primitives with the world.
feel so blessed that God chose me to be the mother of 4 beautiful
children, to be the wife of a wonderful, honest dedicated, hardworking
man & to be the owner of unique primitive store. I am so grateful
that He instilled within me the desire & the talent to design
creations to bless the lives of others., which truly is a blessing.
husband and I have dreams of growing old together we often snicker
& think about our favorite song by Tim McGraw. Of changed I changed
the words to my liking.
I want to live where the BLUE grass grows.
Watch my herbs pop up in rows. (sweet annie of course)
Every night be tucked in close to you.
Raise our kids where the Good Lord’s blessed
Point our rocking chairs towards the west,
And plant our dreams were the Ohio River Flows,
Where the Blue Grass Grows,
May God pour out his blessings upon each and every one of you!!