Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings

Hello friends,

It's been awhile since I've been present here.  These last two months have been full and tiring and a mix of both good and bad stress. I'm looking forward to slowing down this week, hopefully avoiding what feels like an oncoming bout of flu, and spending leisurely time with family.

I wish you all peace, joy, and love as we celebrate the change in seasons and the holidays.

Take care,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Candles, Candles and More Candles

Good evening!

First, I must thank all of you for your wonderful messages of support and your well-wishes for the new farm.  The responses you sent were so incredibly encouraging and I especially enjoyed hearing about how some of you have taken similar downsizing journeys.  If I wasn't already feeling good about this decision, your comments definitely sealed the deal.

This weekend I will post photos of the interior of the house as it was when we closed on the property.   My husband's been busy ripping out paneling and ceiling tiles, so it's already a construction zone, but at least you can see what we started off with.


So, tonight my kitchen counters are absolutely covered in candles.  I should have taken a picture, but I honestly didn't think about until now.  It's quite comical how every surface has candles or candle-making supplies on it. 

(Though I think my husband's developing a twitch from having to look at the mess for several days now...)

The reason for the sea o' candles?

I'm participating in two holiday craft fairs this weekend with my dear friend Sara, and I've been a busy, busy candlemaker in preparation for the events.  If you're local, here are the deets. I can't believe it's already time to be thinking about shopping!

Friday, November 16th - 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2nd Annual GatorGanza
Garrett Elementary, 3224 Old Hillsborough Rd., Mebane, NC 27302

Saturday, November 17th - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
4th Annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Bazaar
Hillsborough Elementary, 402 N. Nash St., Hillsborough, NC 27278

Also wanted to let you know that Wintergreen candles (a.k.a., Christmas tree in a jar) are now in the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy shop

I always look forward to making this candle because the fragrance is utterly divine.  It might not be Thanksgiving yet, but it sure smells like there's a Christmas tree in my house already!

If you'd like to order any, they'll ship out next week.  I have a feeling I'll be totally spent by Saturday evening. :)

Wish me luck and take care,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Introducing...Our New Farm

A week ago today, we became the owners of a 42-acre farm and this small, funky farmhouse.

I realize this announcement is completely out of left field, so let me share the back story:

Even though we've lived in our current house for a mere five years (and put untold hours into building it, decorating it, and most recently, landscaping it), my husband and I have come to the realization that this lovely log home of 2,200 sq. ft. is too big for our family of three.

Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful house and it seemed like everything we wanted when we built it in 2007:  3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, a dramatic living and dining area, kitchen, office, loft, separate laundry room, wrap-around porch, etc.

But when you boil it down, I've become a very practical person the older I've gotten.  And apparently I've become radically more practical in the last year or so because I now loathe the fact that out out of 2-1/2 baths in the home, we mainly use just one: the master bathroom.

Since both of our families and most of our friends are local, the guest bedroom, which is one of my favorite rooms in the house, goes unused 99 percent of the time.

The Cath Kidston-inspired loft?  So pretty to look at, but rarely do I go up there when I can just as easily lay on the couch or on my bed to read.

The gorgeous 10-foot deep wrap-around porch, which totals an additional 1,000 sq. ft., is a pain in my you-know-what to keep relatively clean and free of delightful presents from the chickens.  And confession: we've never really used the porch all the much. 

Such first-world problems I have!  :)

The other side of our situation is that we pined for more land on which to keep animals and garden.  To many folks, the acre-plus we have is a ton of space, but for homesteading and animal husbandry, it's not nearly enough. 

So, when an old family farm--only three-quarters a mile down the road from our current house--came on the market earlier in the fall for a very reasonable price, we found ourselves considering a big change: downsize on house and upsize significantly on land.

The farm house in color
A view into the far back pasture and the 20+ acres of woods beyond
We mulled this possibility over for several days, and my emotions alternated among:

-feeling totally loco for considering a move from such a new house (that I literally just finished landscaping!)

-recognizing how joyful and at peace being on the farm made me feel, especially when I walked across the nearly 20 acres of rolling pastures

-experiencing unexpected sadness at the idea of leaving this too-big house

-delighting at the idea of re-doing the dated mish-mash of a farmhouse and making it a cozy, bright, cohesive, and happy abode

-wrestling with, and mostly resisting, the idea of change in general

-realizing that this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I'd regret passing by

So, we took the leap, made an offer, and the sellers accepted it.

An old well house in the side yard

Over the next 6-9 months (fingers crossed), we'll fix up the modest, but perfectly-sized-for-us farmhouse, and then say goodbye to this log house we have called home for five years.

We're already in the midst of working on the farmhouse, and the DIY renovation will be documented here on the blog.

An 1800s homestead on the property - the previous family used it many years ago as a tobacco pack barn

I will end this post with a shot of the pastures that lie behind the house.  They remain my favorite part of this beautiful place so far.

"She needs wide open spaces..."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Country Living Fair ~ Atlanta 2012 Experience

Exactly a week ago, Stacey of A Sort of Fairytale and I were eating Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream--which totally lives up to its name--and resting our barking dogs after spending a day at the 2012 Country Living Fair in Atlanta.

What a fantastic weekend!

The fair's locale, inside of Stone Mountain Park, was simply gorgeous and serene.  Most of the vendors were situated in a pine forest, with tents and booths lining both sides of a winding, paved walkway. 

But the company was even better.
Me (in the stripes) and Stacey taking a brief load off Saturday afternoon.  Photo via A Sort of Fairytale.

Meeting and hanging out with Stacey was one of those situations where the comfort level was instantaneous and the conversation and laughter flowed easily. Spending time with her only made me wish we didn't live so far apart, and I couldn't have asked for a better or more fun shopping buddy!


The 150 or so vendors at the CL Fair were truly top notch, and offered quite an array of mouthwatering vintage ephemera and finds, collectibles, clothing, furniture, industrial pieces, art, and handmade items. 

I didn't buy much, but did bring home:
-a small piece of white, chippy architectural salvage
-several vintage English labels
-a vintage floral flour sack for a yet-to-be-determined sewing project
-a mini boxwood garland from McMaster & Storm
-an adorable mug from Tasha McKelvey, similar to the one below except that the mug is red and the bird is aqua


Being so caught up in the whole experience of the day, I took approximately three photos, so please visit A Sort of Fairytale to see Stacey's shots. She took some really nice ones!


Now, my two favorite aspects of the fair itself were meeting Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, the Fabulous Beekman Boys, and seeing the Sisters on the Fly vintage campers.

Stacey and I are both fans of Josh's best-selling The Bucolic Plague, and we had our copies signed at the meet-and-greet.  Since I've not seen their Planet Green/Cooking Channel show The Fabulous Beekman Boys (the first season is available on Netflix and it's now in my Instant Queue for watching soon!) or their stint on this season of The Amazing Race, I only "knew" Josh and Brent from their books.  In person, they were the epitome of warmth and graciousness, and happily posed for photos.

Josh, Stacey, Erin, and Brent

Something that made me laugh from the meet-and-greet was that Brent's Southern accent was immediately recognizable as being from North Carolina. Turns out he's from Randleman, NC, which is about an hour southwest of where I live, and also the home of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. I didn't realize until after the fair that Brent attended the University of North Carolina (also my alma mater--Go Heels!) and earned both his undergrad and medical degrees from there before going on to New York, where he later worked for Martha Stewart, and most recently created the Beekman 1802 brand. 


For all the Internet fawning I've done over vintage campers, I'd never actually seen one in person until the Country Living Fair.  And what a treat it was to visit not one, but four campers from Sisters on the Fly members!  (Again, visit Stacey and see her much better photos.)

The cuteness that's conveyed in photos of these campers is only amplified when viewed in three dimensions.  I couldn't get a shot of any of them without people milling about because the campers were such attention magnets. And for good reason!

A 1963 Shasta with a fishing theme - love the flower box beneath the camper's window!

A peek inside the 1963 Shasta - swooning over that hexagon quilt on the bed

Seriously, these campers are precious times a million and I may or may not have come home and trolled Craigslist for a few hours in search of one for myself that I neither need nor can afford right now.   One can dream, though, right?


So that was my Country Living Fair experience.  If you've ever considered going and get the opportunity to, GO.   Take a friend, or meet up with one, and I guarantee you will have a delightful time!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Decorating Around the House

Happy Halloween, everyone!

We're headed out shortly to go trick-or-treating, but before November officially arrives, here are some shots of the fall decorating around the house this year.

 Pumpkins are stationed at the back and front steps.

Mums in a chalk-painted chair.

The grapevine wreath that always hangs on the front door is embellished with fauxliage. :)

The old church pew stationed by the front door.

A close-up of the chicken wire banner I made earlier this month.

Moving inside...

I adore this framed page from The Little House, one of my all-time favorite children's books.

Hoo-hoo is this?  It's a new little friend picked up for just a few bucks at Michael's!

A full view of the top of the television cabinet.

A paper bag haunted house sits on the dining room windowsill.

The dining room plate rack is looking festive!

Even the wood stove--which will be fired up in the next day or so because it's getting really chilly at night--gets a little fall love with a leaf garland.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Country Living Fair or Bust!

First thing tomorrow morning, I'm headed out and will make the 6-hour drive down Interstate 85 to Atlanta to attend the Country Living Fair.


Though this will be a road trip for one--which is all good because my car's CD player has a date with several albums, namely Babel by Mumford and Sons--Stacey of A Sort of Fairytale is flying in and we're going to rendezvous tomorrow evening!

Stacey with her adorable Maggie

There will be more than 150 vendors at the fair, the weather forecast is outstanding, and besides looking forward to shopping (I'm totally ready to check out the booth of McMaster & Storm), I'm hoping to see the Fabulous Beekman Boys (a.k.a., Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge), who will be making an appearance on Saturday at a book signing for their Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.

Photo via Amazon

The cookbook is gorgeous...Santa brought a copy to our house last year...and I also loved reading Josh's The Bucolic Plague, which chronicles, quite hilariously and honestly, how Josh and Brent came to purchase Beekman Farm, return it to its former glory, and ultimately "become" the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

A wonderful weekend is ahead!  Anybody else going to Atlanta?

P.S.--I'd planned on doing a post this week of the fall decorations around the house. You know, since they've been up since September and I photographed them more than a week ago.  My timing is sterling, isn't it?

But...I managed to lose the camera's SD card for a couple of days in a total palm-to-forehead situation that involved misplacing the card between taking it out of the camera and putting it into the laptop.  In my defense, a certain five-year old distracted me at a key moment.  I know many of you can relate!

Fortunately, the card resurfaced a few hours ago. <big sigh of relief>  I'll have some downtime between the end of the first day of the fair and Stacey's arrival, so I'll edit the photos and put together a post then.  Yeah, just in time for November!  Again, Erin's timing = awesome.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Guest Posting Today at Primitive & Proper

Happy Friday, everyone!

It is such a gorgeous day here...I was driving home earlier and leaves were raining down in the sunshine.  Fall is very much here and I'm loving it!

Just a quick post to let you know I'm sharing a furniture painting project over at Primitive & Proper today.  It's been awhile since I've painted any furniture around here, mostly because I've taken a paintbrush to almost every piece in my house at this point! 

Many of you probably already know Cassie of Primitive & Proper and I just adore her to pieces. I was so happy to have a chance to guest post. Here's the before photo of the project I worked go visit Cassie to see the after photos!

Take care,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Decorating Peek

Good afternoon, lovelies.

I was hoping to take photos today of the fall decorations around the house, but it's a grey, rainy day.   This house is difficult enough to photograph on a sun-shiny day, much less when it's overcast!

Hopefully tomorrow.

However, since I'm really in the mood to post photos of fall decorations, it occurred to me to share a couple photos from a project I completed last month.

This year, I've been writing monthly craft articles for Alamance Magazine, a local publication. For the October issue, I embellished Dollar Tree pumpkins and made a candle ring featuring putka pods.

Here's a peek of one of the wee little pumpkins, wrapped in orange and white baker's twine.

Though I do like the way the pumpkin turned out, what I truly love is the vintage-style flash card.  It's from the Ella Minnow Peae Etsy shop.  I may have overused these flash cards whilst decorating the house; I can't get enough of them.

The part of me that's never gotten over playing with dollhouses and delighting in miniatures totally squee'd when I saw these pods that resemble tiny pumpkins.  They ultimately became part of a candle ring fashioned from a floral foam ring, burlap, and a bit of Spanish moss.

If you'd like to see what else I did with the pumpkins and read the full tutorials, you can view the article at Alamance Magazine by clicking on "Featured Articles" in the left sidebar.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Miss Mustard Seed Milk Painted Frame and Autumn Leaves

Last month I brought home two boxes of the new Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint (MMSMP) from the trip to Lucketts: Linen and Kitchen Scale. 

I haven't tried Kitchen Scale yet but here's an old, formerly brown frame, now bearing a gorgeous coat of crackly, chippy Linen.

flaking crackled

The frame came from my mom some months ago and cost just a few bucks.  It had an "alligatored" finish and I figured that would only assist in the natural distressing that occurs with the MMSMP.

The frame actually ended up crackling extensively--which was gorgeous--but didn't flake.  So with the assistance of a wire brush, that effect was promptly achieved.

crackled Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Today, I stapled some chicken wire to the back of the frame and collected a few brightly colored leaves from around the yard, which were then clothes-pinned to the wire.

The leaves are just beginning to change here so pickings were kind of slim...but red, orange, yellow, green and brown are all represented here. :)

(P.S.--If you want to make new clothespins look old, grey, and weathered run them through the dishwasher in the silverware basket.)

Simple, natural art!

The MMSMP was very simple to mix up.  I used equal parts hot water and milk paint powder (a tablespoon of each in this case since I was only painting the frame the day I tried it out) and any leftover paint can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

The paint is much like skim milk when in liquid form and two coats didn't full conceal the frame's brown color (which was fine by me!) so I imagine it would have taken at least 3-4 coats for full coverage if that's what I'd been looking for.

I love, love, love the chippy finish and authentically old look it produces.  I have a couple small pieces of furniture to paint so they'll be getting a Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint treatment very soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Anatomy of a Lovely Day


*Wake up at 6:30 a.m. perfectly rested and well after feeling on-the-verge-of-coming-down-with-something yesterday.  (Thank you, Benadryl.)

*Welcome the fact that it's a drizzly, chilly day and that the leaves are really starting to change color:  fall is truly here!

*Realize that my husband is off work, so there is no need for me to take Jacob to school.  #daddyduty

*With a cup of French vanilla coffee in hand, bid them farewell, then settle down on the couch and peruse Pinterest for awhile.

*Inspired by this lettered artwork by Mary Kate McDevitt, decide to try my hand at a fancy pants chalkboard design for the kitchen.  In honor of the first day of October... 

Perfect? No.  Love it all the same, though.

*Hang out at home with my husband and do a little crafting. Him: whittle a toy knife.  Me: make some fall buntings of burlap, paper, and chicken wire.

*Tidy the house and vacuum so the floor is clean underfoot.  (Clean house = happy momma!)

*Rock this tabata workout, along with the Monday series of these strength/cardio exercises, and feel both strong and pleasantly tired afterwards.

*Bake two loaves of pumpkin-chocolate chip bread.  Mmmmm...

*Make a paper bag haunted house with Jacob after homework is finished.

*Catch up on the season premieres of Once Upon A Time and Call the Midwife.

*Feel thankful for having an unexpectedly wonderful and ordinary day at home.