I don't really know how to introduce this, it was so unexpected and totally happened within a split second. We moved. Again.
Though this move was unexpected, it has turned out to be a blessing. While battling a good bout of some serious depression this past fall up till recently, we found out we had to move. Knowing the housing crisis in our area after the Camp Fire I immediately started looking. We landed on this property in a way that truly shows me that there is someone out there guiding us.
Though moving right before Christmas was doubly as difficult as moving would be anyways with 6 kids, I saw the opportunity and gift given to us. There's a LOT of work to be done to get the land fire safe. Yes that's a huge concern here in Northern California. If you look up Helltown Ca you will see how heroically Helltown was saved by residents during the Camp Fire in 2018.
I spent the first 5 weeks on our land in a haze, going out only to connect with the earth and wondering what in the world I was going to do. This canyon has experienced so much pain and loss in the last 14 months I felt that here. I felt the heartbeat of the trees, the desire in the soil to give life once again.
With much thought and research on the matter, and what I could do to give back. I decided that with all this land, and truthfully, the fire danger in the area we needed animals to help tend the land, goats and sheep eat the leaves and debris. All these Oak trees leave behind dry leaves and there are a lot of non native, invasive plants and grasses that don't survive our hot summers and turn into nice little fire starters and spreaders, they also cut off life to our native plants which also help abate fire. And that's how the farm started. I had... have choices to make. What animals would I love to raise? What animals can not only work the land, but produce some kind of income? What would coincide with Old Barn Living? Sheep produce fiber, goats produce goats milk. I can make fiber for the store, and make soaps, lotions, and more with the goats milk!
I'm so big on our ancestry and heritage with my children's Icelandic roots that it was a no brainier that we'd definitely have to raise Icelandic Sheep. This sent me down the rabbit hole of Heritage breeds. The breeds that are best for fiber and my desire to join Fibershed. That led me to Jacob Sheep, the first sheep I purchased two gorgeous lilac boys, one 4 horn ram we named Hawthorn, and one sweet little wether Bea named Cocoa her fav winter drink.
On this journey of finding the best heritage fiber sheep, I met Elizabeth, owner and head ringmaster of her own beautiful farm in Butte Valley, Milk & Honey 1860. Here I fell truly in love with the notion of raising sheep and children together. Elizabeth gracefully homeschools her 6 children, a venture I briefly tried and failed miserably at. Her children are smart, sweet and kind. Elizabeth patiently listened to my super green ideas. Ideas that I know will change as I learn more about raising sheep and goats.
Today I sit on land I'm cultivating, proudly own sheep, goats, a mini donkey, and soon a family milk cow! We have 27 of the sweetest chickens and love collecting their beautifully colored eggs each day, it's like little gifts of joy they leave for us! We hatched 13 little chicks in the incubator and the children learned how chickens hatch. This lifestyle is a change for us all, it's a change for better, we downsized our living situation massively, but we expanded our lives. We have LAND and livestock and so much life flowing from our fingertips it's beautiful. I am so happy with where this journey has taken us. I can't wait to incorporate our farm into more products for Old Barn Living, products that are made straight from the farm!
Thank you all for your patience and understanding and most of all your support as you all saw something was up with me here. It's been a rough journey, but I feel like I can finally put down roots, finally call somewhere home.
I'm not an interior designer and this space is just all about what I like. I'm SO happy with how my bedroom has become a peaceful space that exudes positive energy. Everywhere my eye lands is something I adore and treasure, something that gives a little jolt to my spirit.Continue reading
Hey friends! I thought I'd take a minute today to chat about mixing milk paint! It is so incredibly simple and easy!
Looking back on my first experience mixing milk paint, I was so focused on not messing up I took all the fun out of it! Like many first timers, I wasn't even sure what consistency it was supposed to be and I got myself all stressed out over something that is just not that complicated at all! If you can mix up a glass of chocolate milk, this is really no different. Just imagine mixing chocolate milk with cream, this is the consistency I prefer for my milk paint and honestly guys I don't even measure anything anymore!
We do have general directions to get you started; mix equal parts milk paint powder to water, this is a great recipe to get you started, but I have some tricks to help you on your way to becoming a milk paint dilettante! For starters, I always pour my mp powder in my mixing bowl first, then instead of dumping all of the suggested water in I pour just enough to cover the powder, (for those just starting out it may be helpful to imagine I'm using 1 cup of powder and have 1 cup of water) I then mix this up like a rue and slowly add water until I have a smooth, creamy mixture. Our mini whisks work wonders for this and create a super smooth consistency. We don't want lumps and clumps so always let your milk paint sit for about 10 minutes before using.
You probably know how impatient I am by now and are wondering seriously, Chrystal, you just sit there an watch the paint dissolve? Uh.. not so much, I use this time to prep my piece, because of my lack of patience I have figured out some great quick ways to prep furniture that don't take all day long. Some pieces you will need to spend adequate time on to get ready to accept the milk paint and look amazing when finished, for this post I'm just talking about those pieces that need a cleaning and possibly a quick sanding! I love to use simple green to clean my furniture because it cuts grease, tobacco smoke, and spills plus it dries quickly and I have a nice clean surface to paint on!
Ok, now that we have given all those clays and pigments time to dissolve give your mp a quick stir, it has probably thickened a bit as it's sat there and that's completely normal just add a splash of water, and for those of you who may have mixed it too thin before it may be just the right consistency now, Yay! Just a heads up, your first coat of milk paint may look pretty janky, you might think to yourself what is this?!! What did I do wrong, don't fret, this is totally normal. You second coat will provide much more coverage and you will fall in love I'm sure!
There are many applications you can use milk paint for, the above is for general painting. If you want to learn how to mix milk paint to a stain, wash, or fabric dye, keep reading! I am still awed by the many different uses for this one amazing paint!
Mixing for stain: stains have to absorb into a porous surface, I mix no more than 3 parts water to 1 part milk paint powder. Let's say 2.5 cups of water over 1 cup of milk paint. Mix this up and allow the usual 10 minutes or so for everything to dissolve and check your consistency. This mixture should be a bit watery maybe like low fat milk. I don't know why all the dairy references when I'm talking about mixing and consistency, I don't cook, so I don't have many references there... we are all lucky I married a chef because I'm sure we'd all starve or survive off Door Dash! I can pour a mean bowl of cereal and make some great chocolate milk though!
With this stain mixture you can easily deepen the color by apply additional coats until you achieve the desired depth you are looking for.
Mixing a wash: Washes are great for a subtle hint of color over a darker shade, over wood, and also for a glaze. To create a wash I generally mix 2 parts water to 1 part milk paint powder. This creates a thin mixture that you can easily apply and get transparent "washed" look.
Mixing a DYE: If you haven't read about our Macrame + Milk Paint workshop we did at Anthropologie I'll link it here because this was one of the most fun ideas I've ever had and if you're reading this far you will probably enjoy it too! I played around with the idea of using milk paint for a dye after I painted my little black dresser. I used a wet distress technique on it and it completely dyed my cloth this gorgeous black color. The fabric had the same gorgeous velvety look that milk paint creates on furniture and I just knew I had to experiment. I figured out that about a cup of milk paint powder and about 4-5 cups of water would create a pretty decent dye. You can control the intensity of the color by adding more water and/or shortening the amount of time you let your fabric sit in the dye. I have not dyed large pieces of fabric in buckets and allowed them to sit so I don't have answers on how long to let the fabric sit in the dye. I have applied the dye with a paint brush and brushed it on applying additional coats to deepen the color if wanted. When we did the macrame workshop we dipped the ends in the dye and allowed it to soak for a short time and wrung out the excess liquid. When mixed properly this dye will not harden fabric and will maintain the texture of your original undyed material.
I am so happy to have shared this information with you. If you have any questions please leave them below in the comments!
Some of you may have watched our Instagram Takeover with Anthropologie a few week ago! I was so shocked and excited when I got the call to see if I wanted to do an IG takeover for my local Anthropologie store, I couldn't believe they wanted ME to do it! Of course I said yes, immediately and then started the planning for how I would do this successfully and ruin their whole feed and vibe!
I first stalked their feed even more than normal to see what I liked and didn't like about previous takeovers. I realized immediately I'd need to hire a photographer. I contacted a few local and eventually decided to go with Alycia from Love Grace Imagery, she is AMAZING! I was so comfortable and happy during the photoshoot I almost didn't even realize I was having my photos done! Almost.... I am so shy and there are not many photos of me in existence because I just get so nervous!
Alycia and I decided to do a color story for the takeover, I picked some of my favorite colors that i wanted to share and got busy! We had to paint our entire bedroom also so I could photograph by favorite black dresser..
I was so happy to be able to share some of my favorite plants and this adorable sign my friend Kristy at The Painted Nest made for me. I love affirmations and want to create a whole affirmation wall somewhere in our house! With so many kids I think it is a great idea also! A couple of our boys self doubt and criticize themselves regularly and I am constantly telling them to say something positive about yourself!
Do you see all of those lovely plants?! I have a serious obsession, and am always finding new plants to love and propagating from old plants to create new little plantlets! I don't think you can really have too many plants in your house! I have 35+ plants just in our bedroom and LOVE IT! I'll have to share more photos once we are done decorating, I am waiting for a huge macrame wall hanging I commissioned from a super talented designer!!
Before we starting shooting for the Antrho takeover, Alycia and I met at the store to pick clothes to go along with the color story. I have to admit I was slightly overwhelmed with the whole process and am grateful she was there to guide me and also get me to try stuff that I was all heart eyes over but too self conscious to dare pick for myself! Those outfits turned out to be my faves!
This dresser I found at my lovely friend Kathy's shop The Flower Theory she has tons of amazing pieces and her floral arrangements are so unique and gorgeous!! I have myself on a weekly flower arrangement schedule because I just love fresh blooms!
When I got this dresser from her she had this lovely reclaimed wood top on it. With a fresh coat of OBMP in Amaranth it looks stunning! I am smitten for sure! I usually don't paint in such bright shades, but to be honest I really wanted to pair this outfit with a nice coral and show off our new Boho colors!
We did most of the photos here at home, but I wanted a change of scenery so we moved down to Kathy's shop and did some shots there. I found this old metal tool box she let me paint and as usual it turned out to be one of my favorite pieces!
I love these little 30 minute projects, you can really apply Milk Paint to anything, just add Bonding Cream if you're worried about chipping and as always have fun, it's just paint!
I am so excited to continue to collab with Anthro, I adore the store and am happy to announce we are having a workshop on Sept. 7th at the Broadway Plaza location! So come join me for a fun milk paint workshop in an absolutely beautiful setting! I hope to see all my local peeps there! Be sure to follow me on IG to see more details and upcoming events!
Last month I did this incredible workshop at Anthropologie! I combined my love for macrame with my love for milk paint and came up with the Macrame + Milk Paint idea. I pitched the idea to the girls at Anthro and they loved it too! So I went to work finding supplies and of course refreshed my very limited macrame skills!
The first step of our project was to cut our material ( I had rope, yarn, and string available) to double the length of what we wanted our finished project to be. Since you start with a larks head knot which is essentially the yarn folded in half and looped through itself you want to measure each cut to twice the desired length. I showed everyone some simple macrame knots and designs and offered advice on how to get projects started and have a vision for the final piece. Everyone caught on really quick and had so many amazing ideas! I just love how creative and happy this group was! I think they may have been as excited as I was for this workshop!
Once everyone was pretty well established with their projects I started to see these incredible designs. Every single person had a different vision for their projects and it's one of my first experiences leading such a creative group! Everyone was so talented! As the group progressed with their projects we neared my favorite part, milk paint as a dye! YES!! I began to explain how milk paint works and all of the many different uses it has. As we know it is one of the first paints ever created and was used on ancient artifacts and works of art that are on display in history museums today. Since milk paint is a powder you can really decide how thick or thin you want it. You can even use different mediums to mix it with. You can mix with oils to create an oil paint as I've done in the past creating a beautiful glaze by adding the mp powder into our Oil+Wax. Mix it thick to create texture and use as a gesso, mix it thin to make a wash or a stain, or fabric dye.
Mixing milk paint as a fabric dye is really simple and uses the smallest amount of mp ever, you only need a teaspoon or so of milk paint powder. Just add a cup of water and mix till all of the powder is dissolved, if the mixture is too dense you can add more water. I like to make sure I have a drop cloth beneath my project and it's easiest to have it hanging for this. This is literally my favorite ever, you can dip the ends of your project in the milk paint, the longer you leave them in the darker they will become. This works so well for an ombre effect, start with dipping the bottom and allowing it to soak for a few seconds, then slowly lower more of ends into the dye and allow them to soak, when you get far enough up to your lightest shade, you just set it in the dye for a few seconds and then wring everything out. If you want a multi colored ombre you can apply the milk paint dye with a paint brush as well. This also works to dye pieces when you don't want the entire project soaked in dye.
Some of the girls used multiple colors for their projects like Farmstead and Letterbox and they made these super muted ombre effects I absolutely loved! I had so much fun leading this class and meeting these amazing women~ This was by far my favorite workshop to date and I cannot wait for out next workshop in December! I have some super fun project ideas! What would you love to see us create at our next Anthropologie workshop?! Let me know in the comments!