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!