Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Decorating Tips + Tricks

Decorating for the holidays shouldn’t be stressful—it should to be fun! In fact, you probably have everything you need to create a unique display strewn around your home and garden.  Creating interesting decorations from found and collected objects makes for great conversation starters and shows off your talents—here’s 6 tips to get started:

1. Make use of the beauty in nature's bounty. This time of year yields the perfect opportunity to collect dried naturals from the garden, fencerows and yard. Gather branches (those dripping in lichen are particularly appealing), dried blooms and vines. To add a touch of green, clip a few laurel branches. This popular bush stays green all year and clippings last for weeks in water, as opposed to fir.

2. Gather a collection of vintage, colorful Christmas ornaments in a rusty basket or container. Their shiny mercury glass surfaces stand out against the contrast of the rust.

3. Draw together a collection using unexpected objects, like this gathering of sliced tree branches paired with miniature trees (a great find at yard and estate sales earlier in the year), and sparkly vintage garland.

4. Shop for inexpensive decorations. Garland can be costly but finding a resourceful shopkeeper with a creative eye can be magic—I love these unique cotton boll garlands at the Tin Cottage in downtown Franklin for only $36.00.

Pinecones are another holiday design staple that can be gathered from the yard... but if you want to step it up a bit, these giant cones from Michigan make for a beautiful display in a bowl. Just $10.00 at the Tin Cottage!

5. Use everyday objects around the home in your holiday design. An antique dough bowl filled with deer antlers is a quick and simple way to display with interesting impact. Using garden containers for your trees—think buckets and cast iron or cement urns—creates the feel of bringing the classic green foliage back into their natural environment.

6. The holidays just wouldn't be magical without the twinkle of miniature lights. Traditional long sparkly strands are great but look for something outside the box like these LED-lit twig chandeliers. Just $85.00 at City Farmhouse.


Westhaven Holiday Home Tour

Wanna hear a great story that I'm sooooo excited about? About a month ago I was approached about being a designer for the Westhaven Holiday Home Tour (a very popular neighborhood in Franklin). Turns out, it benefits the Hillsboro Band--which my grandson just happens to be a part of. (He plays the trombone!) Therefore this project has been fun AND meaningful to me. I'm including some before photos here in this post so you can see some of the elements we are working with to compare with the after shots (yes, we'll take photos).

I just love the holidays and I’m starting to get in the spirit with this festive project. A total of six local designers were asked to assist the Westhaven homeowners in designing and decorating their homes for the holidays (can you believe I get to do this as my job?!). I am designing Robin and Patrick Evan’s home. Our inspiration? The great outdoors. So I’m decorating with many things that you can find in your backyard and using nature’s beautiful winter bounty such as—branches, greens, pine cones, dried flowers, nuts, leaves, pods, berries and other naturals to create a holiday inspired design that really anyone can do themselves no matter what their budget.

When guests see what we’ve done, they will be inspired to go try it themselves. It’s simple yet elegant and as always "City Farmhouse signature style"  - very unexpected. It won't be your traditional rope and bow that you see tied to the staircase, but there will be some traditional elements incorporated into the design too. And because we’re using natural elements, we’re also contrasting the art of the garden by using antique cast iron urns coupled with the more delicate pieces of ornaments and mercury glass to add a little holiday sparkle. I love a good juxtaposition yall!  There's even a backyard courtyard with a fireplace too! I can't give away all the details - I don't want to ruin that element of surprise. If you're local, or visiting in town, on December 6th and 7th (1-5 daily), be sure to come out, tour all the homes that are a part of this fabulous neighborhood, while helping to support a great group of kids! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Looking Back On The Pop-Up Show, And A Huge Thanks To Those Involved

Oooooeeee! Words cannot express how much fun we had at this year's City Farmhouse Pop-up Show. A big ole' round of applause and lots and lots of pats on the back to everyone that helped make it possible—it really does take a village, y'all! I am continually blown away by the amount of creativity and talent that exists in our little antique community. So, thank you for continuing to inspire me.

Most of the weekend is a blur of excitement, but I made a list of some of my favorite memories and highlights from the show. Comment on the post below and let me know your thoughts. What did you love the most? Did you find some gems that you're excited to decorate with? I know I sure did. Now I'm getting distracted, so back to my list...

  • The Burlap Carpet Event—Ted Clayton wooed the early guests with his witty comments. 
  • Rocky Top Singing Contest—several ladies were granted early-access passes to the show if they endured a little embarrassment. 
  • We had more than 150 vendors at the show—their booths were incredible. 
  • Folk & Folly exhibit—Buddy Killen's dilapidated mansion was transformed into a Southern gothic wonderland. 
  • Meet-and-greet with Country Living editor—what a treat!
  • Live entertainment—some of our favorite musicians serenaded the shopping crowd throughout the weekend. 
  • Food trucks—they were there for us when we needed a pick-me-up (a.k.a. ice cream and espresso, duh.)
  • Creative Stone transformed the gardens behind the house into a secret garden and built a firepit, and Franklin Stone donated the rock for the driveway—seriously dreamy additions. 
  • Luncheon—a special thanks to Nina Hartmann and Matthew Mead for joining us. 
My VERY favorite part of the show was seeing people get excited about a certain antique piece they found at our show. We can't wait for next year, friends! And look on for some amazing pictures from the show (many taken by some of my favorite bloggers!)...
Welcome to the Pop-up Show! Time to Facebook and Instagram in front of the Wall of Fame...

Mimosas to kick off the Burlap Carpet Event, from Discovering Franklin

Our Rocky Top Singing Contest winners!
Rows and rows of vendors, from Sassytrash

There's nothing quite like the smell of lavender, from Savvy City Farmer

Bed of roses in Folk & Folly, from I Am Friday

The perfect fall-themed table centerpiece, from French Hen Farm

The entrance to the secret garden, from Sassytrash

Just look at that fire pit! Created by Creative Stone

What a beautiful day for a Pop-up Show!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Preppin' for the Pop-up Show

The tents are going up, our cozy fire pit is finished and everything is really beginning to come together for the show! Catch a glimpse of what we're up to at the "lost in time" mansion this week + the process that goes into creating an AWESOME pop-up show in this video:

If you thought that was cool, wait 'til you see the finished product... in person. The anticipation is killing me. 

And as you can see, the transformation of the grounds doesn't just happen overnight. A big THANK YOU to Brian Costigan at Creative Stone Landscaping Design and Installation for his amazing work on the property. 

I'm completely captivated by this fire pit he built in front of the mansion for y'all to enjoy while taking a little break from shopping. In fact, I may need to get one of these in my own backyard (cough, cough) Brian. 

The overgrown gardens also got a face lift from Creative Stone Landscaping, so y'all can actually walk through and experience the beauty for yourselves. Brian and his helpers have been working so hard this week but I stopped them to take a quick photo and I'm SO glad I did... look at that light!

Learn more about Brian and Creative Stone here. Can you believe that next time we meet, it'll be showtime?! Until then...


A Performance To Tug At Your Heart Strings {No Pun Intended!}

I'm so excited to share with y'all a local group of extremely talented children who will be performing at the City Farmhouse Pop-up Show Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10-11 a.m.!!! They're called the Music City Strings, and I was blown away the first time I saw them perform. But don't take my word for it—check em' out in this video:

They've performed all over Middle Tennessee at festivals like the Williamson County Rodeo and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County's Dickens of a Christmas, and most notably, they've performed at the International Ensembles Concert at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minnesota.

What's even more exciting is the group has been invited on a concert tour of Europe for the summer of 2015 under the leadership of the groundbreaking string ensemble Barrage! Music City Strings is only one of four youth string ensembles in the nation to be invited on this tour, which has been developed by the League of Astonishing Strings.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to help fund every member of Music City Strings to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In addition to enjoying their performance Saturday, you can also make a donation to their campaign.

But that's not all!! On Friday, Oct. 17, we'll have performances by Eric Heatherly, Jamie Higdon and Grammy nominee Amanda Williams.

Kirsten Agresta Copely will be performing the harp at the ticketed celebrity luncheon Saturday, Oct. 18, at noon. Copely has performed at the likes of Carnegie Hall, New York City's Roseland Ballroom and our nation's White House (alongside Beyonce!).

Also on the roster for Saturday are performances by Robert Thompson, Eric Heatherly and Grace Gordon.

There's going to be something for everyone this weekend, from antique shopping and demonstrations to live music and book signings! See y'all there!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

City Farmhouse Q & A With Marian Parsons, a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint will be the center of attention Saturday, Oct. 18, during the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show at the demonstration tent at 11:00 a.m. for a how-to on the different uses of milk paint and the ever-popular hemp oil. AND, during the demonstration, two lucky attendees will win $250 of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint products!! How cool is that?! Simply hashtag the demonstration on Twitter and Instagram and you'll be entered to win. Hashtags will be posted at the demonstration, and attendees can also pick up information at The Ironstone Nest booth.

Two lucky shoppers will have the chance to win $250 of Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint products, including three quarts of milk paint, 16 oz bonding agent, 16 oz hemp oil, 7 oz furniture wax, 7 oz antiquing wax, 2 oz white wax, wax puck, handheld mixer, brush soap, look book one, color fan deck and an MMSMP apron!

Recently, we talked with Marian Parsons—the genius behind the line of all-natural paints, oils, waxes and more—about the company and why she's excited for the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show Oct. 17 & 18!

What's the story behind Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint?
Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint was an unexpected surprise almost from the moment it was brought up as a remote possibility. I thought for a while that milk paint was an amazing product, but not many people knew about it. I kept saying, "Someone really should rebrand it, come out with new colors and a fresh face and introduce it to more people!" It finally occurred to me that someone should be me.

The hard part was the how. I knew nothing about launching a brand, manufacturing, distribution, label laws, etc. I would have to partner with someone who did.

Homestead House Paint Company had reached out to me a few months earlier, sending me some samples of their paint to try. Once I took the opportunity to try it, I knew this was the open door I had been hoping for. I called Jennylyn, the president of Homestead House and pitched the idea for a milk paint line under my brand. The original idea was that I would buy the raw materials from them, mix in custom colors that I designed and I would package them and sell them online and in my retail space. We agreed that was a good plan and the wheels started turning to launch Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint.

Your once-small business originally began as you making paint in your basement. Now you supply your products to more than 200 retailers around the world! How did it grow from an idea to a booming business so quickly?
I announced that partnership with Homestead House Paint Company on my blog, Miss Mustard Seed, a few days after it became official and I was immediately overwhelmed with retailers who wanted to carry the paint. After much discussion, a few anxiety-induced tears on my part and planning, we decided to let the brand grow beyond our original idea, beyond my basement and single retail space, and offer it wholesale to retailers around the world.

The paint is now carried in over 280 retail locations in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, Dubai and more recently Malaysia.

Why do you think more and more people are beginning to use milk paint?
There is an excitement bubbling about milk paint. The current trend toward all natural, farm fresh, organic, chemical-free and non-toxic that is happening in other industries is also happening in the paint world. This paint goes beyond no VOC since it is made with only five all-natural ingredients and has been around for hundreds of years. We didn't invent anything new, we're just showing people how one of the oldest forms of paint is still relevant and one of the best paints on the market today.

What are you looking forward to the most at the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show?
We've relied on growing organically, through my blog and word of mouth, but we're so excited to take a step in marketing our brand through this sponsorship of the City Farmhouse Show. My love for milk paint started because of my love for antiques. It seems only natural for us to partner with a show that brings together other lovers of antiques and pretty things. There isn't a paint on the market that creates such an authentically old, beautiful finish as milk paint and we're excited to share that with all who attend the City Farmhouse Show!

Marian is such a warm and genuine person. We are so proud to have her as a sponsor. Looking forward to seeing you at the demonstration!


Monday, October 13, 2014

We’re pulling out all the stops

We’ve got a star-studded guest-list at this year’s City Farmhouse Pop-up Show, and we’re rollin’ out the burlap carpet (yep, burlap) on Friday morning for our early buyers!

Think of it as a red carpet pre-show event for the Oscars—you’ll get the latest news about the 2014 Pop-up Show, hot shopping tips, predictions, winners and of course burlap carpet fashion. And what’s an awards ceremony without champagne? We’ll be serving complimentary mimosas from 8-10 a.m.

Be sure to come early on Oct. 17 to have your picture taken in front of our “wall of fame.” AND there’s more! Early shoppers will have the chance to actually “walk the burlap carpet,” so make sure you wear your best blue jeans! Sophisticated Living Magazine Society Editor and celebrity emcee Ted Clayton will be there to host the pre-show event, as well as judge our Rocky Top singing contest.

What’s the Rocky Top contest? We’re so glad you asked. Hold on to your britches, because we love a little friendly competition around here! One lucky shopper will win the chance to participate in early buying, meaning they’ll get to skip the line and enter the show 15 minutes before anyone else—this fortunate individual will have access to the most sought after items, minus the crowd!

How do I enter? You must sing Tennessee’s favorite tune “Rocky Top” as loud as you can in front of the entire audience. The participant with the most enthusiasm and gumption will win this coveted pass.

Better start getting those voices warmed up, y’all. There’s nothing we love more than a fearless personality who’s willing to lay it all on the line and embarrass themselves for the sake of priority pickin’! Am I right?

For those over achievers, we’ve posted the lyrics to Rocky Top below so you can start brushing up. We’ll also have copies of the lyrics at the show, for those that need it.

Wish that I was on ole rocky top,
Down in the tennessee hills.
Ain't no smoggy smoke on rocky top,
Ain't no telephone bills.

Once there was a girl on rocky top,
Half bear the other half cat.
Wild as a mink, sweet as soda pop,
I still dream about that.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Once two strangers climbed on rocky top,
Lookin' for a moonshine still.
Strangers ain't come back from rocky top,
Guess they never will.

Corn won't grow at all on rocky top,
Dirt's too rocky by far.
That's why all the folks on rocky top
Get their corn from a jar.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.