HIDDEN TREASURE: Antique log cabin

It was Summer 2015 when Renaissance Man and I came upon this site . . .   We were looking at property, considering whether or not to purchase and restore its old farmhouse—to make it a NEW old house in the country.   Hidden in the trees was this small log cabin made of hand-hewn logs. This cabin—on the oldest farm in our East Tennessee valley. Could it be the original cabin from the 18th century?   We could tell it had been moved (and improperly rebuilt). It had also been used as a pig shed—and storage for junk—and the tin roof had caved in.   And yet, those antique logs called our names.     We didn't buy the property. The farm we already owned just across the valley had ... Keep Reading...

MY WINDOWS TO THE WORLD: Restoring antique windows—a labor of love

As I prepared this post for you, I came across pics taken the very first time we walked the land that is now our Wild Rose Farm. It was November 2011 . . . and we became its caretakers on January 6, 2012.     That was six years ago.   For the first five years, Wild Rose Farm provided an oft-much-needed respite a mere 10 minutes away from the old house we'd restored in town. It served as my "window to the world", in a sense, as I spent many hours here reading, journaling, praying . . . hiking, taking photographs, even tablescaping.   Over time, our hearts were drawn ever more often to this place of natural beauty, and we began dreaming about building a new "old" farmhouse.   Last week, we ... Keep Reading...

Things you probably expect to see in my Finally Farmhouse — but won’t!

Let’s play a game . . .   Which of these things do you think we will — or won’t — be including in the construction of our Finally Farmhouse?   Here’s a clue:  You may be surprised.  :-)   Claw foot tub Shiplap Shaker chairs Farm (or trestle) table Barn door Salvaged flooring Stained glass Subway tile Industrial lighting Antique logs Reclaimed windows Farmhouse sink Hex tiles Dutch door Bar stools Chrome Transoms Well . . . What do you think?     I hope you’re having a good week. We made it to Wednesday! I’ll see you soon with behind-the-scenes pictures. I promise!  I’m trying reeaally hard to finish a few non-construction projects so we can play! ... Keep Reading...

Our Finally Farmhouse — FINALLY!

Drum roll, please . . .   After 16 months of "tiny" house living (aka coziness in a 300 sq. ft. fifth wheel), yesterday we signed a contract to build our Finally Farmhouse! I hope you're ready, 'cause I promised a long time ago to take you along for the adventure.   You and I are going to have so. much. fun!   Ours is going to be a new "old" farmhouse. The sunroom will look like a centuries-old log cabin complete with gorgeous hand-hewn logs atop a rock base and windows that once graced a train station somewhere in the Northeast. Added on to that is a house with reclaimed tongue-and-groove plank walls and reclaimed wood floors —and vaulted ceilings in the living room and master bedroom. The kitchen island is an ... Keep Reading...

The END of Life as we know it . . .

This post first appeared here January 16, 2012. I've reposted it on occasion—to give myself a check-up on how I'm doing. For some reason, I feel compelled to reprise it again this year. How are you doing?   Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.   I can't help but wonder . . . Is the opposite true, too?   Is it possible that life in its truest and best form actually BEGINS the day we stop being silent about things that matter?   The day we give voice to someone who has none ...   When we value the life stories that came before ours ...   ... and let the generation after ours be born to tell ... Keep Reading...

SIMPLIFY: Five Minute Friday

  START   When we sold our big house over a year ago with plans to downsize, I thought it meant getting rid of more "stuff". But after living in this 300-square-foot fifth wheel while waiting to build, I've realized there's more to simplifying than simply getting rid of things.   Sometimes simplifying involves decluttering the mind.   Often it involves decluttering the mind. Rethinking things.   There have been times I've wanted something out of storage. Something I was willing to share with someone.   Perhaps . . . as long as my "stuff" isn't extraneous, packed away, and I'm willing to use it to bless others—or it blesses my family . . . perhaps its okay to keep it.   But if ... Keep Reading...

2018: In a word . . .

January 5: How’s 2018 treating you so far?   So far, so good here.   We made an after-Christmas trip to Texas to see family and attend the wedding of a longtime friend’s son—and missed the snow at home in Tennessee. I know some of you are covered up in it. Welcome to Winter!   As we traveled, I read a lot of blogs. Lots of 2017 recaps, New Years resolutions, and words of the year. You’ve seen those, too, huh?   I’ve chosen words in years past, but I wasn’t sure I would this year . . . except one keeps coming to mind. I guess it chose me.   MIDDLE   Yes, I realize MIDDLE is an unusual Word of the Year. It’s not easy to explain either! But I’ll try . .   You see, I’m ... Keep Reading...

Thankful to put 2017 behind us . . .

2017 was one of THOSE years. You know . . . the kind you’re really glad to see end. The one where putting an X on the last day and turning the calendar page to a new year brings relief—and hope.     Surely you’ve experienced one or two of those.   When January 1, 2017 arrived, I'd just written the goodbye letter to my old house—the one we'd restored and called “home” for 11 years—and was eagerly anticipating building our Finally Farmhouse at Wild Rose Farm. We were six weeks into our Big Adventure, living on our land in a fifth wheel so we could be onsite during construction.   We’d just spent Christmas back in Texas with almost the entire extended family, and I was on an emotional high. Life ... Keep Reading...

40-year-old Discovery: Marking the months

When packing to move last year, I rediscovered something in the back of one of my Grandma's old cookbooks. Something I'd forgotten was there. Something she tucked away 40 years ago when I was a junior in high school.   Do you remember when magazines included calendars that could be pulled out and enjoyed all year long?     I love the artwork in this series. I guess Grandma did, too.     My working calendar is on my phone, but every year I still buy a paper calendar—just for the pictures.   How about you? Do you still enjoy paper calendars? Is there a particular subject you like?   Here's mine for the year ahead. We live in hope!   Thanks for ... Keep Reading...

Last-minute thoughts: The Christmas Countdown

  It's Christmas! The Holiday Hustle's in full swing.   With decorating long-ago complete, the *twinkle factor* remains high in the background as the pace of the season picks up in its final sprint to Christmas Day.   Open houses, office parties, and holiday concerts have spread their holiday cheer.     Christmas cards and letters make their way to destinations near and far.   Santa Baby and Jingle Bells bring smiles—and a spring in our steps.   It's Christmas!   Little ones have whispered their wishes in Santa's ear—and parents act as elves as they wheel shiny new bicycles out of stores, preparing to find a hiding place until their big reveal on that magical ... Keep Reading...

DIFFERENT: Five Minute Friday

'Tis the season . . .   It's different around here this year. Last weekend's early Christmas with the grands and a few little packages already in the mail have allowed the quiet to settle in. As I sit in this tiny 300-square-foot trailer, I wonder what next Christmas will look like. Will we be in a new house a few yards away? I hope...   Will the lessons I'm learning during this adventure between the big old house we restored and whatever lies ahead truly make a difference in my everyday?   It's good we can't see the future. Never would I have thought we'd still be living in this fifth wheel 1 year + 2 weeks after selling our house . . . and that we wouldn't yet have signed a contract with a builder (although ... Keep Reading...

FREE OPEN HOUSE PRINTABLES — so you can keep a few doors closed!

Have you ever considered having a Christmas Open House  . . . but talked yourself out of it because you just didn't have time or energy to clean every.single.room?   Don't ever do that again!   If you have stairs, it's easy to keep the entire second floor off limits.     But there's another way to say OFF LIMITS. It's subtle, kind, and communicates—and I've used it on multiple occasions.  :-)   Print cute signs and put them on the doors you want to stay closed. Here are a couple of different styles.   RETRO CHRISTMAS MidCentury Reindeer Games   VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS   Victorian Santa's Workshop   These two images are available FREE for immediate ... Keep Reading...