We’ve been working on a really fun and personal branding project. One of my favorite parts about working with our clients-family, friends, or new acquaintances-is helping them visualize their dreams. Ever since I’ve known Jessie, Cale’s sister, she has dreamt of owning her own dance studio and we are so excited that she is finally moving forward with her heart’s desire. It’s been a bit crazy trying to get a full branding package out the door before baby #2, but we have been working away like busy little bees and coming up with some really fun ideas for the studio interiors alongside our standard branding package.
The first mood board we put together (featured above) is titled; Bohemian. Taking on a very yoga, free-style, feel it’s natural tones and materials are warm and inviting to all age groups. The graphics display a process of growth through movement that is not only physical, but mental and spiritual as well. The casual, family-centric, atmosphere created by the collage celebrates a community-wide love and appreciation for all dance forms.
The second mood board (featured above) is Classic Meets Modern. Through traditional creams, browns, blacks, and golds the rich history of classical ballet is displayed in contrast to bright pops of modern colors. The simple yet beautiful script fonts show movement without the need of a cheesy dance icon. Samples of the studio space are open, clean, and yet suggest that it’s ok to have a bit of sparkle!
The third mood board was personally my favorite to put together because it is truly about the art of dance! As Jessie and I talked through her branding “For the Love of Dance” kept coming up again and again as her tagline. It was perfect and something that just floated out of everything she said when she described her dream studio. For the Love… mood board is cheerful and modern. It’s simple shapes and graphics are playful, colorful, and truly celebrate the love of dance. A heart is such a simple symbol, and yet it says so much! The bright pops of hot pink and teal next to the stark blacks and grays are a perfect blend of the studios academic and recreational dance philosophy; that their students would grow-up in dance with a developed life long love and appreciation for movement.
After reviewing each mood board and deciding on which direction we should take the brand, the final product is definitely a combination of all three, but their was one that remained a foundational element in all our design decisions.
Of course, you’ll have to stay tuned to see how the whole thing comes together, but you can always checkout Ascend Studios’ Facebook Page to get a little sneaky peaky! Lots of great classes for little dancers if you live in the Midwest City, OKC and OKC area starting this fall, 2014.
Find the links to these images and see what else inspired our branding by visiting our Dance Studio Board on Pinterest.
Which mood board do you like the best?
From The Farm
It’s me, Meg’s crazy husband. You’ve heard of me and heard from me in the past. In-fact I was on here quite a lot at the beginning. I’ve been away working a 9-5, as you probably know. But it’s more than that, I’ve been growing, thinking and hopefully getting better at what it is I do. Architecture, design, and general creativity. When Meg approached me about writing again for Bringing Design Home I was thrilled. This is honestly one of the things I miss the most in the day to day of a 9-5. Something about sharing thoughts, hopes, dreams, and connecting to others is lost in that daily grind. You do what you need to do, what you have to do, you work hard and you focus. Beyond the surface, beyond the basic information that I’m married, have a little boy, and another on the way, and that I’m a hard working country boy, that’s all most of your co-workers ever really care to know. They aren’t looking for some deeper connection, because ultimately its just a job, its just getting things done to get home and enjoy the people that really know you.
That’s where this blog comes in. For Meg and I just the surface level info isn’t enough. We care, silly I know, but we do. We want to share, we want to connect, and we hope some day down the line, someone will come up to us and say; “Hey! “I know you, you write that funky family design blog. I just want you to know that I learned a great deal from that last post, thanks!”, or something like that. Those are the great moments for us, the ones where we actually feel like we could change the world just by being here, being honest, and having some fun along the way.
So here I am saying hi again, and looking to “share” once more. I’m hoping to focus on design and architecture most specifically. I hope to give some thoughts and pointers that might make building, buying, and remodeling your homes easier or at least more fun. I also hope to shed some light on that mysterious title “Architect” and what it is we really do. Why we are needed for certain things and why sometimes you don’t really need to consult us.
So watch for my future posts, and let me know if it gets long winded or too technical.
Thanks for listening…
From The Farm
Around Here: Skipping Church/Birthdays/Homemade Sandbox/Waiting for Baby/Fireworks/Pickin’ Peaches/Toddler + Baby Room Sneak Peak
Talk about the ultimate pregnant summer dream… 70 degree weather in July! In Oklahoma!? Believe me, I’m not complaining, I’m bragging and am so thankful. I’m enjoying everyday that my ankles don’t swell up like an elephant’s trunk. I just wish I could be picking blackberries right now! The extended family has banned me from the berry patches. Something about ticks and being pregnant just don’t go together I guess?! Talk about this being the PERFECT berry season though. Usually we only have a 2-3 week window because of the heat, but this year we could get 6 weeks worth of blackberry picking in!
Ok, ok… I gotta stop talking about it. It makes me sad.
What a beautiful summer we are having here in the midwest. It’s been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed slowing life down, even more, and taking in every last moment as a family of three. To be honest we’ve been skipping a lot of Sunday church lately just to enjoy being home and getting things done before baby #2. Although we are thankful for our church home and fellowship, there is something just so wonderful about a slow sunday morning. I love a good excuse to make a fancy brunch so I like having the morning to fix myself something a little special. I used to make enough for the boys (Cale and James), but they are just as excited to eat a bowl of cereal and drink the milk from their bowls.
We continued our Fourth of July tradition for the third year in a row by spending the morning picking peaches at the Wind Drift Orchards in Harrah, Oklahoma. It’s so perfect for the kids cause you can fill up your box or bag in about 30 minutes and spend the rest of the time frolicking and filling your bellies with fresh peaches and nectarines. We only picked enough for one box, but I can tell you it was gone within the week. We made a nectarine cobbler for a Fourth of July get together, grilled some for our favorite summer salad (we add grilled chicken too!), gave some away as the ultimate Fourth of July hostess gift, and saved a few to snack on throughout the rest of the week.
Typically, if I wasn’t 39 weeks pregnant, I would have canned some with honey and fresh basil, but I’ll have to save that for next year!
The summer is always full of celebrations from our anniversary to my birthday. As you get older there are some years where your birthday is a non-event and others, where it just seems to keep going on and on. For me, this was one of those years! I think it was because I’m pregnant, but it seemed like everyone wanted to spoil me a bit extra this year. Cale’s Grandparents gave me a stash of cash (apparently they are VERY excited that I’m giving them TWO Grand Baby Boys!), a girlfriend offered to take me out for pedis, Cale’s mom made me homemade strawberry shortcake, and then my parents visited from KS with a salmon dinner and homemade current wine. They did all the cooking and cleanup, and even helped us get on top of some of the lawn maintenance around here. I know that last part doesn’t sound too exciting, but with Cale working extra hours to meet a big deadline August 1st, we haven’t been able to keep up with some of the lawn maintenance around here. Not only did my parents spend three hours helping us get caught up on weedeating, but they sprayed most of the yard so that the grass would die in certain areas and we wouldn’t have to weedeat those particular areas for the rest of the summer!
It was completely overwhelming to get served in a such away and to have my family gather around us and help us out so selfishly. Just another reason why I’ve learned that the best gift is to be a giver. You just never know when life will pay it forward (see #5 on my 10 Things I’ve Learned).
I think my nesting is getting to Cale now cause he’s getting all the honey do’s that have been on his list for the past year or two completed! And this momma couldn’t be more happy about it! From cleaning out old barns and wood piles to making a sandbox, he’s been going at it hardcore. My favorite part was watching him and James out our kitchen windows dink around and create the sandbox together. Cale is such a great daddy and he just lets James get in there, even at 20 months old, and pickup the hammer and the level and carry em around. He doesn’t know what exactly they do, but he is daddy’s little shadow and is taking in every move he makes.
We kicked off our Fourth of July celebration with our Oklahoma family by making these DIY Firecracker T-shirts with all the kids. It’s hard to believe just a few years ago we didn’t have babies running around and now we’ve completely exploded! It’s so much fun, and a little overwhelming at times, but we love it. As you can see from the photo below, James’ shirt was completely covered in watermelon juice before the end of the night. :/
My friend Shelley took this photo of James and I just can’t stand the way it captures him so perfectly (checkout more of her work here!). We had bought several different types of kid-friendly fireworks, but as you can guess once we did the “firetruck” firework all he wanted to do was play with it for the rest of the night.
Never in my life did I think I would know so many different variations of trucks; dump truck. bucket truck, garbage truck, cement truck, firetruck, flatbed truck…
And lastly, I’m excited to announce that we have officially finished our nursery + toddler room!! Hear that baby #2!? That means you can come out anytime now?! We are ready to meet you! I’m working on editing the photos and can’t wait to share with you all the final design. Cale and I had many
fights discussions about the function, layout, and look. Overall, we are VERY happy with the finished product and feel like it’s something the boys can really grow into… at least until we move into our Modern Farmhouse someday!
We hope to share with you guys more of our process of designing and building our own Modern Farmhouse in the future. Look for more posts from Cale coming up soon.
Happy summer, happy berry picking and preserving, and happy birthday month to our baby boy #2!
From The Farm
Here’s to recipe #3 in our summer canning series! I have to be honest, I am a complete snob when it comes to salsa. It has to be not too chunky, not too watery. Spicy enough that you enjoy the kick, but not so spicy you can’t taste any of the flavors. No I’m not a Mexican, but I love my salsa and I’m picky about how it needs to taste. My father-in-law, Larry Lopp, put this recipe together years ago and it quickly become a summer staple in Cale’s family kitchen when he was growing up. Although I’m typically a traditional Cilantro & Lime Salsa girl, I have really come to love the robust and hearty flavors in this smoky salsa. Larry passed away a few years ago, but his recipe continues on every summer as we anxiously await to harvest our garden peppers.
Some of my fondest memories with Larry include three of his favorite things; family, fireworks, and good food!
This one’s for you Granddad. xoxo
If you have never made a canned recipe in the slow cooker let me tell you it is awesome! Salsa is so hard cause it can take you an entire day to cut everything up and then actually process the salsa. I really love that you can chop everything up, clean up while the salsa is cooking, and get ready for round 2 a bit later in the day. A lot of canning recipes–like jam–force you to be ready to can as soon as the liquid is hot. I love that this recipe allows you to break up the long process so you don’t feel nearly as rushed.
Also, a good salsa has to marinate for a while. With this recipe you can tweak it and add more spices or peppers as it cooks in the slow cooker. This process still gets the liquid nice and hot, but you can taste test it as you go. Just like our Cilantro & Lime Vinegar Free Salsa, this recipe is truly flexible and forgiving.
Smokehouse Garden Salsa
Yields: About 6-8 Pint Jars
- 20 tomatoes (1/2 peeled, 1/2 not, and then I hand diced 1/2 and used the juicer to chop/blend the other 1/2)
- 1 large onion
- 12 jalapeño peppers (without seeds)
- 2 large poblano peppers
- 4 large Anaheim chilies (2 with seeds for heat, 2 without)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 8 garlic gloves
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (gives it that smokehouse flavor)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 small can tomato paste for thickening (if needed)
STEP 1: Blend and chop the tomatoes, then add to the slow cooker. If you want it really chunky, chop more and blend less.
STEP 2: Blend and dice the peppers and onions together, then add them to the slow cooker. This is where you get a good idea of your thickness/consistency. Feel free to add more if you need too!
STEP 3: Add the salt, chili powder, sugar, garlic gloves, Worcestershire Sauce, and vinegar.
STEP 4: Cook on high for about 4 hours. I know you’ll be tempted to cook it on low overnight, but the salsa will have an overcooked/burnt taste to it. Do a taste test about an hour in, and see if it’s hot enough or needs more? You can always add in more jalapneos, habaneros, or even chili powder to bring up the heat. A good rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t smell spicy it probably isn’t hot enough!
STEP 5: Bring a boiling-water caner or large sauce pot, half-full with water, to a simmer (takes about 30 minutes). Fill a small sauce pan with 1 in of warm water. Keeping it on medium-low heat set the lids in the hot bath until you are ready to place on the hot jars.
STEP 6: Once the water is boiling place as many empty jars as you can (might have to do two batches of jars at a time) in the simmering water. This is a quick way to heat up the empty jars just before you fill them up with salsa. Remove the jars when your salsa is finished cooking for 4 hours.
STEP 8: Pour hot salsa into hot sterilized jars, within 1/2 inch from the top. Remove any air bubbles by moving a wooden or plastic (not metal!) utensil up and down the middle of the jar. Seal with hot lids and apply screw bands.
STEP 9: Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.
STEP 10: Remove and let the jars completely cool and seal for 12-24 hours. If a jar lid still pops up and down when you press on it, after the cooling stage, the jar did not seal properly. Simply place this jar in the fridge and eat first. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
So far this season we’ve shared with you our Cilantro and Lime Vinegar Free Salsa, Sugar Free Blackberries, and now our Smokehouse Garden Salsa. Both salsas are slow cooker friendly and super easy… as long as you don’t mind the time it takes to chop everything up! And, if you don’t have the patience just put all the tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a blender and you’ll be fine! Your salsa won’t be as chunky, but all the yummy flavors will still be there.
I’ve also found this salsa makes a warm and rich, almost BBQ flavored, chicken marinade! That’s only if it can surpass the chip taste test again, and again, and again…
What’s your favorite salsa recipe? In your eyes, what makes a good salsa?
Happy canning friends! You can do it!
From The Farm
Nothing celebrates a holiday better than dressing up your kids and cousins in matchy matchy outfits and taking blackmale photos for future birthdays, graduations, and weddings.
Or maybe that’s just our family!?
It’s true, we’ve started a tradition monster and it cannot be stopped! My sister-in-law is typically the brains behind these types of operations, but she always finds the cutest ideas online that spark all kinds of crafty creations. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the straw and pipe cleaner firework stamps via Pinterest, but we just decide to take that idea a step further and make them into t-shirts… with glow in the dark paint of course!
I’m not gonna lie, it was messy, and a bit crazy trying to “organize” three menions to stamp things that actually looked somewhat like fireworks, but they had a blast! And we had a blast creating memories with them as a family.
That we have saved and backed up on several digital files until the day we die!
- Plain T-shirts
- Straws (cut 6 slits in one straw at equal lengths to make your firework paint brushes)
- Fabric or Acrylic Paint
- Paper Plates (for paint pallets)
- Small Sheets of Cardboard or Card Stock (place inside t-shirt before painting to prevent the paint from bleeding on the back side of the shirt)
- Roll of Construction Paper (to protect whatever counter top you are doing the craft on)
- Make it Outside: As much fun as this craft is, it can be messy! We just stripped the kids in their diapers and panties and let them go to town outside on the patio. This way we were not worried about them getting paint on inside furniture or their clothes. Although, getting the paint off during bath time was a bit harder than we thought! Might want to make sure they don’t get too crazy and smear it all over themselves.
- Create Different Sizes of Firework Stamps: Your fireworks will be bigger depending on how far down you cut the slits in the straws. Mix it up by cutting some of the straws only an inch deep, and others two or three inches deep. This will add more variety and scale in the prints.
- Mix-Up The Colors: Instead of buying just one large bottle of red, blue, and black paint I purchased several smaller bottles of red, glittery red, black, gray, dark blue, light glittery blue, and even glow in the dark paint! This was just an extra fun touch that made each shirt a bit unique!
- Let the Kids Do It! I know this is hard because the designer/perfectionist will come out, but show them a few samples on their shirt, and then let them do a few on their own. They may not be exactly where you would have placed the stamps, but that is the point! For them to learn and experience being crafty. You can always come in behind them and clean up their firecrackers by adding outlines in glow in the dark paint like we did. This really added an extra depth to their shirt designs, especially for the areas that started to look like blobs of paint. Oh, and don’t freak out if they mix-up the paint cause it’s going to happen! You’re welcome.
I realize this post is a bit late since the Fourth of July was a few days ago, but give me a break I’m 39 weeks pregnant ok!? I still managed to buy all the supplies and actually make the shirts. This close to my due date, I’ll take it!
Here’s to fireworks, matchy matchy outfits, family, food, and a celebration that reminds us how precious it is to have all those things in our lives.
Best of luck on all your holiday crafts and don’t forget to pin this project away for next year!
From The Farm
If you don’t already know Ali, from Gimme Some Oven, is a good friend of mine. No, not the kind that you met via social media, but the kind of friend you’ve gone on ultimate road trips with, who has caught your tears over that boy who broke your heart, and even stood next to me at my wedding. Since we live states away we don’t get to see much of each other these days, but we do our best to schedule in a
girls trip work weekend when we can!
Ali asked me to narrow down the top 10 Things I’ve learned throughout my whole life thus far and share them with her readers! Ok, ok… it wasn’t presented quite like that, but that’s how it felt! I’m not gonna lie I probably stressed over this a bit too much (Cale is nodding his head yes…), but I hope you find some good tidbits and things to help you grow on your own journey. Plus, what is a good interview without a couple of fun stories about Cale and I from “way back when”.
Hop on over to read my 10 Things I’ve Learned and give my good friend some love! Who knows, you may even find a good recipe for dinner tonight as well. SCORE!
From The Farm
Grandpa and I have an on going love/hate relationship when it comes to the blackberry bushes on his 180 acres of land. It seems the blackberries have been planning a field take over for years and he’s constantly trying to slow down their progress by plowing em down with the tractor, spraying em, and even using sheep and goats to ward off their their attack. Although he’s won many battles, as he’s grown older, it’s gotten harder to win the war. I’m sure once Cale and I start maintaining some of the land ourselves we’ll have a good reality check when it comes to the battle over the blackberries, but until then… I love them soooooo much!
I love blackberries on top of yogurt, ice cream, in cobbler and pies, and even just plain in a big ole bowl filled to the brim! Every summer I count down the days and pray for rain till early July so that the berries are perfectly plump. Grandpa still doesn’t get my love for a fruit that only produces 2-3 weeks out of the entire year, but he enjoys watching me spend hours and hours holding back the cuss words as I reach in past the thorns and pluck out the most beautiful blackberries you could ever imagine!
For free I might add!
If you’ve ever been blackberry picking you know they definitely take some work. You have to dress up in long pants and long shirts in the heat of the summer. You also have to watch out for ticks, snakes, and bees, but other then that… they are so worth it! At least for me, I like that they take some work. It makes you truly appreciate each and every berry. Plus the scratches from the thorny bushes and stained purple fingers are mere battle wounds when it comes to the fresh flavor of hand-picked berries!
It’s true, I horde blackberries in the summertime like a squirrel collects acorns for the winter, and preserving my precious (insert Gollum/Smeagol Voice) berries is exactly what inspired this Sugar Free Blackberry Canning Recipe!
For me, its important to find canning recipes that are as flexible as possible when it comes to how I can apply my preserves to main dishes and desserts. This Home Canned Sugar Free Blackberry Recipe gives you just that! It cans plain ole whole berries in water only–not sweetened in a syrup–that you can then apply to any recipe. You can always add in a sweetness later, but you can’t take it out! Canning berries in water allows you to add sweetener to taste just before serving.
Picking fresh blackberries is a lot of work and finding ways to preserve them long after the summer months is what makes it all worth it! I’ve always struggled with freezing my berries because they Inevitability get mushy, take forever to thaw, and seem to bitter in taste from the cold temperatures. Canning your berries not only saves freezer space, but you can easily scoop out as many cups as needed without having to wait for the whole package to thaw. The Ball Canning Guide states that canning your berries in a sugar mixture helps maintain better color, shape and flavor. My results shown in the images of this post were canned last year. Overall I’ve found canning my fruit in water creates very similar results AND still gives me full freedom to add them to whatever recipe I want.
Plus, you can even use the leftover berry juice from the jar in your favorite summertime spritzer or on top of your morning yogurt!
Canned Sugar Free Blackberries
Yields about 6 Quart Jars
- 18 cups/9 lbs of blackberries (3 cups per quart jar)
- 12 cups of water (about 2 cups per jar)
STEP 1: Fill each jar with three cups of berries, or until filled 1/2 inch from the top. Gently shake the jars to pack the blackberries down without smashing them.
STEP 2: Bring a boiling-water caner or large sauce pot, 1/3 of the way full with water, to a simmer (takes about 30 minutes). Next, make a hot bath for the lids by filling a small sauce pan with 1 in of warm water. Keep the small sauce pan on medium-low heat with the lids inside the hot bath until you are ready to seal the jars.
STEP 3: In another sauce pan bring the water to a raging boil.
STEP 4: Ladle hot water into jars, on top of the berries until 1/2 inch from the top. If you run out of water just boil more as needed to fill all your jars.
STEP 5: Remove any air bubbles by moving a wooden or plastic (not metal!) utensil up and down the middle of the jar. Seal with hot lids and apply screw bands.
STEP 6: Process in a water bath for 20 minutes. Remove the canner or sauce pot lid, wait an additional 5 minutes.
STEP 7: Remove and let the jars completely cool and seal for 12-24 hours. If a jar lid still pops up and down when you press on it, after the cooling stage, the jar did not seal properly. Simply place this jar in the fridge and eat first. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
* The Ball Canning Guide states that preserving berries in water-only will yield a less flavorful result, eventually dull in color overtime, and struggle to hold their original texture and shape. The berries shown in the images of this post were canned last year and I was pleasantly happy with my results. As you can see they have remained plump, purple, and tasty!
** If you are still cautious about your berries spoiling overtime or loosing some of their wonderful qualities I would recommend adding a small amount of sugar to STEP 3. Dissolving a 1 1/8 cup of sugar to every 12 cups of water (or 1/2 cup to every 5 cups of water) creates a ultra-light syrup mixture that will guarantee the best in flavor, texture, and color.
Blackberry season hasn’t fully hit us yet, but we are watching the berries closely as they turn from green to red to black! Last year we had a really wet summer here in Oklahoma so we were able to get four or even five good batches of picking in before the heat burned up the berry patches. Since I’ll probably be right around 40 weeks pregnant when the berries have fully ripened, I don’t plan on doing nearly as much picking as I did last year. My hope is to send Cale out to do some of the dirty work for me! After six years of marriage I’ve found a little cobbler bribery goes a long ways!
Happy picking and canning everyone! You can do it!
From The Farm
Stay tuned for two more canning recipes before the summer is over: Slow Cooker Smoke House Salsa and Canned Three Pepper Jam.
When I started to reach out to different creatives about re-launching our Creatives Near You Series Jana and Vanessa were at the top of my list! I first met Jana two years ago at an evening party at Altitude Design Summit. We instantly hit it off, and although we’ve never been able to meet up since then, I’ve enjoyed watching Jana’s creative businesses grow and change from an Organic Soda Company to running The Vintage Whites Market with her best friend Vanessa. Over the past year I’ve been impressed and inspired with their beautiful blog posts highlighting their homes’, favorite vintage finds’, yummy recipes’, and of course the latest on their Vintage Whites Markets’. Through their love of antiques and the thrill of the “hunt”, they’ve created a truly unique experience that customers look forward to every year. Named one of the top 25 markets to visit in the United States by Romantic Homes & Flea Market Style The Vintage Whites Market is filled with live music, the best vintage vendors around, door prizes, and great food and family fun.
“The Vintage Whites Market started in 2010 in a garage with 5 vendors, and has grown to be one of the most well-known and attended shows in Montana, with over 100 vendors and markets in 3 different states.” – Vintage Whites Market
Planning an event at this scale, with both coordinators living in different states, can be quite the challenge. I asked Jana to share how they break down the different tasks between two best friends and business partners;
“Vanessa takes care of managing vendors, Jana takes care of marketing and managing the website, and we both decorate and brainstorm the pretty stuff!!” – Jana
Q1) How did the two of you meet and develop a friendship?
Jana: Vanessa and I met at church when we were very young. We grew up together! It wasn’t until I moved to Montana that we realized what a great team we make. I love being in business with my best friend!
Q2) What inspired you to start your own vintage market?
Jana: Originally, we were wanting to open up some sort of vintage business, but it was so expensive! Vanessa had a booth at an antique mall and it just seemed like we could do something that would be exciting and make us some money. We started out as a monthly garage sale…literally out of her garage with about 5 other vendors. It was so small, but right away we realized that people were hungry for that type of event!! Within a year, we had outgrown her garage and moved to the field down the road with about 50 vendors. This year, we’ve expanded to three states…over 100 vendors, and growing! We are so excited!
Vanessa: We both were into selling vintage finds. Jana mentioned she had heard of someone who transformed their garage into a store. I knew several vendors that I thought might be interested in selling at a monthly sale. Then the ideas just came spilling out.
Q3) What made you decide to organize a vintage market instead of running your own vintage shop?
Jana: The cost! Eventually we would love to have a storefront of some sort, but for now, the markets are cost effective and so much fun! We love the excitement that our markets bring. I think we really have some of the BEST customers around!!
Vanessa: Its so much easier! And I knew from having a couple of my own “shabby chic” yard sales that people will spend money so much faster at a yard sale…because it’s only there one day. Plus we could spend the time between markets rebuilding our inventory.
Q4) You two live in different states, what advice do you have for building a business with a long-distance business partner?
Jana: Communication! Transparency! Humor! My advice is just to talk. Have regular dialogue with your business partner on how things are going, what you can do to make your business better, and have fun with each other! Finding someone whose business strengths are your weaknesses helps a ton too!
Vanessa: We are always texting about everything. We know that the each other work hard on the market AND have busy lives, so we both know to pull our weight. And we know how to disagree. We voice our opinions, debate, and we each know when to give in a little.
Q5) What has been the best promotional tool you’ve used to get the word out and drive traffic to your events?
Jana: Well, it used to be Facebook! They’ve made it a little bit harder to reach our customers, but in the beginning we relied on that to get the word out! Now, we use Instagram and LOVE it. We post pretty pictures and tell people about our market. It’s so fun!
Vanessa: I think having very attractive promo materials in stores was a huge help. And in the beginning, word of mouth.
Q6) We like the art of bartering, what are some tips for doing it respectfully?
Jana: Be polite, and by no means insult the item hoping that you’ll get a better deal on it. I just don’t understand it when people say things like “well it’s not exactly the right color, and there’s some dirt on the bottom. You didn’t get the paint in ALL the cracks…will you take less for this?”
Q7) What is your all-time favorite vintage find, why?!
Jana: The hardest question ever!! I think for me, it would be this gorgeous wooden shoe mold rack that I found at our market two years ago! It fits in any style of decor that I’ve had, it is SO versatile. I’ve had everything from plates to shoes to clothes on it!
Vanessa: I’ve always heard of these amazing finds that people found for next to nothing or free. Well I finally found my own one day in a habitat for humanity Restore. It was a crystal chandelier for $25.
Q8) List a few ways you keep creativity fresh in your day to day?
Jana: I browse Instagram to keep my creativity fresh! Pinterest, blogs, magazines, music, and traveling also spark ideas. Vanessa and I have text conversations that just spiral into new ideas for shoots, blog posts, party concepts, you name it. They go on for hours!
Vanessa: I seem to get more creative when I have to…when we are brainstorming for something. I look at other ideas…on Pinterest usually, and something I see sparks an idea.
Q9) Describe a typical best friend date night?
Jana: I would have to say a movie, some kind of sugary treat, and a comfy couch! Give us a copy of Austenland and some ice cream anyday!
Vanessa: Shopping side-by-side at The Vintage Whites Market
Creative businesses come in all shape and sizes. It’s amazing to be me to see how an idea can spark from a monthly garage sale, into a full-scale event, on a national level, highlighting all kinds of local vendors and goodies.
Now, it’s time to pack up the gals and a big trailer for a weekend of treasure hunting! Mark your calendars for a show near you!
- July 5th – Downtown Somers, Montana
- Sept 6th – Downtown Somers, Montana
- Nov 8th – Fairgrounds in Kalispell, Montana
- Jan 9-10th – The Ranch in Loveland, CO
- March 13-14th – Utah State Fair Park in Salt Lake City, UT
Thanks for inspiring us Jana and Vanessa! Wishing you all our best as you continue to grow as creatives, business owners, and best friends of course!
From The Farm
One of my (other) major pregnancy projects has been the redesign of our master bedroom. After six years of marriage, an overly bright green accent wall, and decor we had kept around since college, it was time to give our tiny bedroom a much needed update! Our current old farmhouse is just under 1,000 square feet. With baby #2 on the way this momma was looking to create a little nesting oasis to truly call her own!
My goal for the room was to create a light and airy space with subtle moments of color. I think the color plum is sexy and used varying shades of it as the base for the room. What’s funny is that when we finished, most of the plum color was hidden. So the “sexy” is sorta our little secret. Another beautiful element to the room, that we intentionally pursued, was to find a wall color that changed with the seasons and lighting. After hundreds of color samples, and paint swatches we decided on “Smoked Oyster” from Home Depot. It’s perfect! The images don’t do it justice, but the room literally changes shades from morning to evening every day.
If you know anything about my husband you know that, like most architects, he would live in a completely white washed house, with white furniture, and white floors and white ceilings. I on the other hand, tend to like a bit more life and flare in my home. Our different interior design opinions and love/hate relationships with color have been a battle in our marriage. We are both designers and we are both very opinionated, but we have always tried our best to work through our difference and see eye to eye. Over time we’ve realize that marriage is truly about two people becoming one, and that doesn’t just happen overnight! It’s a lifetime of working through your issues, big or small, and striving to find a common ground. Although there are also times you have to agree to disagree, I’m happy to say our aesthetic is finally meshing into something we are both really proud of.
Cale and I are super mushy and we love, love. There are so many neat pieces of art and writings that we have made for each other over the years and it was important to pull those pieces out and actually display them. After narrowing things down to some of our favorites we put together a good collection of small, yet unique, elements that truly tell our story and the way we see love. From canvas artwork and poems Cale made for me our first year of marriage (when we were broke!), custom portraits and drawings friends and family have given us as wedding gifts, the first few photos of our babies, the wine cork from the birthday party we met at, and just quotes and inspirational prints that we have connected with over the years, each item in our new room truly reminds us of our love for each other and for family. Even the found objects are rocks from a river in Oklahoma and a volcano in California, to a tiny handmade vase from a street vendor in Panama. Each piece is part of a collection from all the adventures we have shared together thus far, and an inspiration to pursue more in the future.
I love being married, but there are days when love feels far away, and it is something you really have to work at. You have to choose love. You have to remember what made you fall in love with that person in the first place. It’s on those days when the house is a mess, everyone has been sick for what feels like months on end, and Cale is working late again, that you need a reminder of where it ALL started. You need to know that this is a season, and that not all seasons of your relationship have been this challenging! Our new master bedroom update is not only a little oasis, but more than that, it helps me feel connected when we are in a busy season. On a bad day I know I can spend time in our room soaking up remnants of our roots, our adventures big and small, and our commitment to constantly pursue and keep love alive no matter how hard this season may feel.
Unfortunately, that still doesn’t stop the sounds of little feet and a screaming child from getting through our old bedroom door. For those days, I just snuggle down in my sexy plum sheets and let a pillow drown out the craziness for few moments of mommy silence (Only when Cale is home of course… or until James finds me in a good game of hide-and-seek)! :)
What makes your bedroom special? Is it the colors, the furniture, the artwork, or something else?
From The Farm
Around Here: Mud Puddles/Road Trips/Building a Cob House/Spring Rain/Tools with Dad/Summer Canning/Lots of Naps
The first few weeks of summer have been jam packed full of family and fun. It seems we have been trying to fit in as much as possible before baby #2 makes his grand arrival in Mid-July. With each new day we welcome more and more of the summer’s heat and with that comes the inevitable pregnancy symptom; swollen feet! :/ It’s making it harder for us to get around and be active like we want, but we’re enjoying the slow pace and trying to get in as much rest as possible before we are waking up every 2-3 hours!
Overall we are very excited that our little family is growing and actually looking forward to our second home birth! Besides growing a human being, here are a few other things we’ve been up too:
From Oklahoma to Texas, Oklahoma to Tulsa, and Oklahoma to Kansas we’ve driven our little family all over the Midwest! We’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s Birthdays’, Confirmation for Meg’s little brother, IKEA pit-stops, and even a trip to an indoor waterpark!
No pregnancy is complete without having to squeeze yourself into a maternity swim suit at least once, right?!
We had the pleasure of meeting our dream client two years too early! Ever have that happen? No really, we had a couple reach out to us about building a modern farmhouse. It seems they are planning to build their own and heard, through our blog, that we were doing the same thing! We setup a Skype meeting and had a blast sharing ideas, hearing their current process, and what inspired them to build their own sustainable farmhouse in the first place. It’s so encouraging to meet other couples out there that are planning and saving and want the storta same simple life we are striving for. Not that everyone has to do it “our way”, it’s just neat to meet other couples in our shoes who are trying to figure it all out.
One of the amazing things that we found out about our new friends, Craig and Michelle, is that they actually built their own cob house on their land in Stillwater, OK! The photo above is an interior shot and you can visit their blog to see more of their process. You guys these people are legit! They don’t mind getting their hands dirty and although they realized, once the summer heat hit, that a cob house in Oklahoma just doesn’t hold up to the climate, it’s still amazing that they did their own research and decided to try it out!?
Better yet, they made it a family affair and managed to get the kids involved too!
The Midwest has had its share of rain this spring and we’ve enjoyed every little drop that Mother Nature has given us! Rainy days are a favorite around here and James is just starting to really appreciate the
mud puddles beauty of a good rainfall! There are moments where he is all little boy and then suddenly he becomes a little man, just sitting back taking it all in.
We love our little intuitive first born!
We had to share just one more photo of the Cob House built by Craig and Michelle! We look forward to keeping in touch with them and sharing our process as we both figure out how to design and build a custom modern farmhouse. Our vision for Green Couch is that in the future we primarly offer residential home design services. Right now Cale is pursuing his architectural license, working full-time so that we can get out of debt as soon as possible, and establishing the capital to fund our own home design. We want to gain as much knowledge in home construction as possible. In our opinion hands on experience and actually walking through that process is the best way we can learn and become experts from start to finish!
All in all our conversation with Craig and Michelle reminded us that our biggest passion is still family and design. Our hearts long to help families create spaces that they love and can ultimatly flourish in. We’re still figuring out what all that looks like; blogging, possibly consulting, to actually walking clients through a step by step process of design and home construction. Regardless, our Skype date was a refreshing reminder of our ultimate vision for home, family, and ultimately Bringing Design Home.
I know we keep saying that we are ALMOST done with the Nursery + Toddler Room Combo, but seriously we are ALMOST DONE!! After our pit-stop to IKEA we picked up a few last minute details and with the help of James, and Dad, we quickly had everything assembled.
Except that we hated how it all fit into the room!
Truth is, Cale and I got into a huge argument over the items we bought at IKEA. We thought they would be perfect, but once we saw them in the room, we realized they were over the top and that we had crossed the line. You know? The designer line? The modern elements balanced with the handmade/upcycled items were not coming together like we had envisioned. We didn’t go crazy and buy a bunch of stuff at IKEA, but it was obvious that the items we had purchased didn’t quite work with the existing layout and style of the room.
Meg’s been barefoot in the kitchen canning away! Ain’t no shame here, she’s obviously obsessed and has put together three amazing canning recipes that we will be sharing with you at the beginning of June, July, and August. Here’s a sneak peak at the recipes you can look forward to trying!
- Slow Cooker Cilantro and Lime Vinegar Free Salsa
- Slow Cooker Smokehouse Garden Salsa
- 3 Pepper Jam
Can you tell spicy foods have been a craving of hers for the last 9 months!?
And lastly, our little boy is going to be an official toddler at the beginning of September. He is so much fun and we can’t wait to give him a little brother to
terrorize love. We officially moved him to a toddler bed and the transition has been unbelieveably smooth! We just can’t figure out if it’s because he feels like a “big boy” or the fact that he can sneak and grab cars to play with in bed?! Either way, he seems to fall asleep on his own so we are letting him keep his “little secret” (at least for now!). You gotta pick your battles!
Next up, potty training a toddler while keeping a newborn alive and well! :/
Say a prayer for us…
From the Farm