Wednesday, December 09, 2015

This Past Weekend's Hugely Successful Open House at Leyden Glen Farm

Well, we made it through! We weren't sure what to expect, or even if anyone would come to our first Open Farmhouse/Open Studio Event here on Glen Road in little old Leyden in western Massachusetts. Last week was a whirlwind of activity, decorating the house in a Christmas theme, cleaning it up, making signs, pricing goods, thinking about the traffic flow through our house, figuring out what to sell and where to merchandise it. I was awake for several nights, trying to figure it all out over and over in my mind.

In between it all, I was still glazing pottery. (There is some left and I am working on getting it onto my Etsy shop.)

The kiln had to be unloaded Saturday morning because it was still cooling the night before. These mugs came out warm and pretty much flew out the door. 

I sewed tea towels made out of my own fabric designs. They all sold out by early Saturday afternoon - yippee! Next year I will increase my fabric order and sewing and hopefully schedule my time a little better. I had several late nights which I am still recovering from. I must admit - I am not as young as I used to be and late nights aren't as frequent.

I taught Julia how to use the Clover Pom Pom maker and she made pom poms to sell. She is still counting her riches. Pretty cute. I'm really proud of her because she hasn't been able to do anything like this before. I had to tie the ends so they wouldn't fall apart. And she vacuumed up all the colorful wooly mess in the morning.

My handpainted lampshades and antique lampbases looked fantastic at one end of the living room. 

My friend Deborah set up on our porch. It looked like a textile bazaar full of beautiful rich colors. 

And her incredible handmade jewelry. Exquisite. Across the street, Alicia was displaying and selling her art. I didn't get there for photos unfortunately. In fact, I barely had time to take many here.  

Outside, my neighbor Debbie and her grand-daughter Marissa were making and selling wreaths all day long. It was pretty cool - as people walked in, Debbie would be beginning a wreath. When they left it would be done and they would buy it. We are pretty resourceful here in the country, aren't we? 

At 10 a.m. the first guests arrived. Or should I say that they arrived before as I was still scurrying around and vacuuming. We had a steady flow of guests all day long on Saturday. Many were curious about the decoration of our home, asking lots of questions. I was so happy to be able to share my techniques with them and point them in the direction of my book Crafting A Colorful Home so that they too could replicate the look of our home. (Signed copies of Crafting A Colorful Home is available on my website for Christmas gifts - $27.95 + free shipping.  Makes an awesome Christmas gift if I do say so myself.)

I couldn't believe how far people travelled from. Two women came from California - planning trips around our Open House. Two women drove 6 hours from Syracuse, NY - they had discovered me on One woman came from Minnesota combining her trip with another event. Three friends (above) came from New Jersey. Many more came from CT. One woman came from PA and many folks came from northern VT, New Hampshire, Boston and eastern Mass. Many locals and further afield western-Mass'ers came too. It was great to meet many new friends and have the support of old friends too. 

In our farmhouse kitchen, my friends helped out with the purchases and wrapping. Here is Clara manning the kitchen island/aka retail sales space. She did a great job on Saturday and Gail and Stephanie were awesome on Sunday. Thanks you all. 

Outside, The Farmer sold our farm-raised lamb (we had to miss the opening day of the Amherst Winter Market - I will be there this Saturday though). On Sunday, The Farmer, Ness and Kate did a herding demo. There was so much interest in the dogs, the sheep, and what it is like to live on a sheep farm. We had several sheep farmers come too - I think they wanted to see what we are doing here. Many of our farming friends and lamb customer friends from the different markets we do supported us also. Here Nessie resting up in the morning before her demo. 

The "puppies" and collies were kept in a fenced in area so they didn't cause havoc. They were a hit and everyone went to see them and say hi. Aren't Beau and Sadie getting big? 

It was an awesome two days. We will probably do it again next year although we will not have the caveat of the Yankee Magazine article which is what prompted me to get this together quickly and do it this year. I know many people came because of the article and I cannot thank Yankee Magazine enough for running the story on our home at Christmastime. 

It was a festive atmosphere and everyone was happy to be here. Some of my yarn industry friends even came to support me. It was an awesome experience all around. And we couldn't have been luckier with the weather - it was sunny and in the 50's. Amazingly warm for early December. 

As I am thinking back on the weekend this morning, I thought - what a nice way for folks to do some Christmas shopping and leave inspired about decorating and color. Certainly beats the mall and all the sameness out there. 

I've been working on listing the remaining pottery on my Etsy Shop which is still on "vacation mode." It is a super time-consuming process but I am chipping away at the photos, the descriptions, the pricing, etc. I'm trying to get it all done by Friday. I'll announce the re-opening of the shop here on the blog, on FB and IG - hopefully sometime on Friday which will give me time to pack and ship orders next week before Christmas.

Tomorrow, I will share some of the easy holiday decorations I threw together for the Open House. Funny thing is, I never decorate this early but this event forced me into it. Except for the tree, we are all set now for the holidays. That will come sometime next week. 


Patricia said...

In all seriousness, next year I would be willing to help in anyway possible. Let me know ahead of time I am alway happy to help you.


Charlotte - said...

Love your colors and your spaces!

Sarah Z said...

WOW, what a fantastic summary of the weekend. I really wish I could have come, but I was in NJ celebrating an early Christmas with my family b/c my bro and sis-in-law were up from VA.
You are SO talented; your home is lovely, your art is inspiring, and you so graciously opened up your home to friends and 'strangers'. I continue to be grateful to know you and am thankful you invited us 'strangers' into your home.

Florence said...

I am so glad it was a great weekend for you and your friends and neighbors! I have been waiting for you to re open your shop so I can go take a look. I think all of us that are creative love colour. My home is definitely colourful and I love what you make! I am amazed at all you do, you are one busy lady! Rest up from all of your hard work.

Vermont Grand View Farm said...

We had a fabulous time visiting your farm. It is so awesome to see a family that is working together, supporting one another, and doing what they love. We cherish time spent visiting other farms, gleaning what wisdom we can from stories shared. Kristin-just spending time with you-in your home and space-was all I needed for Christmas! Your enthusiasm and energy for creating is contagious. Thank you for sharing your home, your farm, your family, and your gifts. Merry Christmas!

Gerri said...

I am so glad it was such a great experience! Sounds like hard work by a lot of folk but at least you can bask in success as you try to catch up on sleep. The work that was available looks wonderful.

Auntie Shan said...

So, take a DEEP, CALMING Breath whilst looking at something BLACK&WHITE for a moment. Then, binge on something CHOCOLATE!

Suzanne said...

It was so much fun seeing your house and the puppies. They were sitting under a tree when I was there and very cute. The sheep also looked so peaceful in the field. Your house is gorgeous. I love my pottery and everything was just a lot of fun and a nice day trip from CT. Your written directions were perfect.

Maureen LeClair said...

I am so mad at myself and my navigator for getting lost and not making it to the Open House and I'm also kicking myself for not calling for directions. Next year will be different. It was a nice trip anyway. I got to see a lot of the beautiful countryside. I am glad that it went well and you are thinking of having another Open House next year. Thank you.

Robin said...

I'm glad it went well and wish that I could have seen it!


bookagent said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad to hear of your success. Perhaps next year I can arrange a trip around the dates you choose. I would LOVE to be there.

NotThatKindOfFarmer said...

Great article, excellent idea! I appreciate your work.
And thanks for this great walk-through

Adaliza said...

What a massive achievement - for all of you at Leyden Glen. It sounds wonderful Kristin and I know what a huge amount of organisation that would have taken - well done. I think you're onto a winner with your open house - an annual event, no doubt! Have a wonderful Christmas.

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