Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall vintage show line up

 Our first Mini Market last weekend kicked off our fall show schedule. It was so much fun to pull items out of our storage locations, dust them off and begin putting everything together before we hit the road.

This weekend was School House Market Days in Saffordville, KS. We enjoyed chatting with some of our fellow vendors and hanging out in a very cool old schoolhouse!

Between the weather, the trees turning and more and more pumpkins and mums showing up, we are starting to think FALL!

Here are a few more places to catch up with us over the coming weeks:

September 23/24
Fabulous Finds on 99
Westmoreland, KS

October 1Kansas Barn Sale
Hesston, KS

Augusta, KS

Up next - pour the floor!

 A quick building update:

The old floor is out and the new floor is formed.

We have some electrical and heating/air conditioning components to install and we should have a new floor poured by the end of the month.

The dirt work has helped to fix the grade. We not only had a slope from front to back, but also a giant rise in the middle. It took a laser level to show us the difference. With the concrete forms in place, we can see how we can accommodate the doorways at the back of the space and how the overall layout might take shape. My mind is racing with questions about check out placement and furniture placement.

Stay tuned, the next few weeks will show some rapid progress.

This view shows you the space from the front doors. What are we going to do with all of this space!?!

In other news, we bought a sink and toilet for the small bathroom on the main level. These purchases also led to other purchases and we should have gotten a bigger cart. Saturdays at home improvement stores - dangerous!
 Here are some of the finds from the main level - metal tools, parts and pieces. We are trying to think of a neat way to repurpose these into something that stays with the building. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our first Mini Market!

Saturday was our first Mini Market at the new location. As you know, renovation is underway on our new building. We are so anxious to be in the new space and have items tucked into every storage space, including our dining room!

This weekend was a great chance for us to give a sneak peek at the new building - a sort of "before" snapshot - and to pull our items out of storage to see what we might have in inventory before our big fall show season.

Our first show of the fall is next weekend at the Schoolhouse Market Days in Saffordville, Kansas, just west of Emporia. After that, we have a sprint to the end of the calendar year that includes some of our favorite shows and major progress on the building. Fingers crossed, we will be finished with phase one of the renovation and in the building by Small Business Saturday at the end of November.

We are really looking forward to our next Mini Market to be held in conjunction with Fabulous Finds on Highway 99, September 23-24.

Monday, September 5, 2016

It has to look worse before it looks better.

 In almost every project we have a moment where reality hits and we recognize that things have to look worse or get messier before they get better. Our renovation of  The Market on Main has hit this phase and hit it hard.

The main level is mostly devoted to retail space and we have a BIG dream to be open this fall. This means that we need to remove and replace the floor. We also want to install a geothermal heating/cooling system, which includes elements in the floor. So, it goes something like remove the floor, form it for concrete, install the geothermal elements, run conduit for the electrical, pour the concrete floor, and then on to windows, doors and other finishes. Did I mention that the floor needs serious re-leveling? There is a difference of about 10 inches from the front to the back of the space.

Progress has been made! We have moved two supports, including the very cool architectural beam. And, as of today, all of the old floor is removed!
 This photo was shortly before all of the concrete was removed. Our contractor had to pour new footings for the structural beams.
The architectural beam is not original to the building, but was installed by the previous owner. We moved it to accommodate our plans for the space.
 Progress, beautiful progress! The old concrete is all removed and the grade is being reworked for the new floor plan. Exciting times!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sweat equity is a thing, right?

Our latest project is wonderful and challenging, all at the same time. We have this huge vision and know that we have a big gap between the reality of our starting point and having a functional, beautiful space.

First on our list was the yard and future courtyard on the east side of the building. We knew that there were aspects of this portion we could tackle on our own and other portions that were beyond our skill set. But, we own clippers, trimmers and small handsaws and knew we could get to work. Jeremy eventually relented and borrowed my dad's chainsaw to tack some of the bigger overgrowth.

In full disclosure, the "we" in this statement is mostly Jeremy. I should also mention that this work was taking place in July and early August in Kansas. Sweat equity was quite literal.

After eight truck loads of small branches and overgrowth, we started to see a difference. We then knew we had to call in our "tree guy." Our tree guy is an arborist and we trust him to evaluate trees for condition and suitability. While we love, love, love trees, we had to agree that almost all of the trees had to be removed because of disease.

I missed all of the action of the two day process of taking down the trees. Jeremy was hands on for both days and learned a ton about trees and tree removal. We then got to share the firewood with friends and neighbors. For the mega-tree trunks left, we had to ask a friend to help remove them.

The end result is a virtual clean slate! We were able to save a few small trees that should now thrive since the way is cleared for them and they have less competition for water, nutrients and light.

We were able to save this large, established tree on the west side of the building. It did get a substantial haircut to keep the branches off the building. We lilac at the back of the property that I will anxiously watch for blooms in the spring.

We also were reminded of the joys of a small town. We rarely have traffic on the side street beside the building, but once trees started to fall, Jeremy and the crew had to stop traffic. Gawking in a beloved past time in every small town.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Alpaca MVPs

Prairie School Farms is about everything from alpaca farm visits to vintage, chippy furniture and unique home decor to hand painted signs and about a thousand other things in our dining room and tucked in storage until our building is renovated. No matter our adventures, the alpacas still are the MVP of our little farm.
 
One of our neighbors is a project leader for a local 4-H club. She had a small group of 4-H members who were working on fiber arts and they wanted to learn more about alpaca fiber.
 
She and the members were super gracious when our offer for a guided farm tour turned into a self-guided farm tour because Jeremy needed to be at the building to work with a contractor and Emily needed to be at work.
 
 From the tone of the sweet thank you card, I think the visit was still a success! We are hoping to see some of those alpaca selfies. We think Kobe was a camera hog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Plant geek: slight succulent obsession

This plant geek is firmly on the succulent bandwagon.

 Almost every style blog, retail outlet, and garden center has succulents as the star.

We are huge fans of the ease of care and the wide variety available. From the tiniest to the largest in all different shapes and colors, we love how they look.

We started a few cuttings from some of our existing plants. These cute little vintage clay pots are so sweet.
We also planted an arrangement in a galvanized container that we found. We have a whole collection of these galvanized pans and they are the perfect depth for succulents.
 Here is a better view of some of the plants we selected.
We were also surprised to see one of them blooming! Look at these delicate little blossoms.