Monday, November 14, 2016

The Market on Main: A soft opening

 We ran across this saying,

if you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts.

I am not sure that there is a more fitting way to sum up this season of our lives. The Market on Main is shaping up nicely and we are really, really happy and very thankful for all of the help and encouragement.

It is also fair to say that we have a ton going on right now - Jeremy is coaching basketball, he has to take classes to recertify for teaching, custom orders are rolling in for the holidays, my work schedule is about the same as usual, and we have some health stuff for us and family members that has been keeping us on our toes.

So, our hands are full!

Despite it all, we had some great help from family to set up The Market. We had the chance to unpack our trailer and some of the other storage locations where we have been tucking away inventory for the past few months. Everything needed a really good cleaning and then we had the fun of trying to find everything we had packed. The good news - we have some awesome stuff! The bad news - we are still digging out items and trying to find some of our fall and holiday items. It's a daily exercise in discovery and often some declaration of, "where the heck did we put that!?"

 Things are coming together! We have some great things that we are excited to share and have had some fun shopping with some friends and other small business owners.
 A constant work in progress, but we are finding some great things that we have been collecting.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, November 26. We had a soft opening on November 5 to just get some people into the space and to try out our set up.
The best part of what we do is getting to hang out with family and friends. Jeremy's siblings surprised him for the soft opening!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Market on Main: Phase One Update

 This project has come a long way!

Phase one has been both a marathon and a sprint with us often wishing things would move faster so we could get set up and then wishing things could slow down so we could make decisions and get a better grasp on all the options. We often would drive up to the building when we both got home from our respective activities and then shine the headlights on whatever progress we could see.

So, we are almost there! The concrete floor is just what we hoped. It has some variation in color and it is easy to clean. Electrical is coming along and geothermal is almost installed. But, we are complete enough to open the doors and had a soft opening on November 5. Jeremy worked it solo because of my work commitments and he loved seeing so many friends and family. It was fun to be able to show off the space and we were thankful that it was warm enough that heat was not required.

 Since this photo was taken, the supports have been wrapped in cedar.
The front windows have been wrapped. The natural light from these windows has to be one of my favorite things about the space.

We also have installed black pipe handrails to help keep guests from stepping off of the ledges around the ramp at the back of the space. It was a simple, industrial looking solution for the safety concern we had about the drop down.

 The geothermal unit looks a bit space age! Jeremy sent photos to me and I was sure it was a situation where maybe I had the proportion wrong or was confused about the set up. But, no, these components are pretty impressive. We look forward to having everything connected and running before the cold temperatures hit.

 Part of the reason the geothermal installation has been delayed is because we have a huge water table under our property. When the crew was drilling the wells, they ran into water - a lot of water. We essentially have a mud pit in the backyard. Jeremy keeps reminding me that we now have a blank slate for landscaping this spring. Until then, we are thankful for the plastic barriers that are keeping most of the mud in our yard and not in our neighbor's yard or the alley. And for the bit that is escaping, we are thankful for some grace.  Maybe by spring, we can make something beautiful grow in this space?
And, the windows! We wanted something that gave nod to the original windows and would be energy efficient and low maintenance. We are so very happy with this solution that honored that beautiful arch of the original design.

There is much, much more that has happened. For instance, we have a bathroom! More soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Market on Main - phase one gets closer

 A work in progress! The Market on Main continues to take shape and we are really excited that we are almost ready to move into the retail space.

Some of the major pieces have some together rather quickly in these last few days before our tentative "end of October" goal to be in the space.

The front of the building was one of the major pieces that needed to come together - new storefront windows, new double doors, new transom. The storefront windows had to be special ordered and took a little work. The existing frames were a little off square and that might be a kind way to say it. Our contractor worked to use the existing opening and to make the frame more square to accommodate the new windows.

The photo above will give you a pretty good feel of the "in progress" stage.
 Then, we had the transom and doors installed! We found these doors at an architectural salvage place in Wichita. Jeremy spent some time reaching out to Wichita and Kansas City area salvage places to see if we could find some reclaimed doors to fit in the space.
The installed, but unfinished stage. If you look to the left of the door, you can see some evidence of the work needed to make the doors more square.
 Perhaps one of the biggest transformations has been the west facing facade. We had several different things going on on this side of the building and we were able to removed a "door to nowhere," replace a window, replace some siding and remove and put siding over a section of the exterior that was covered with some fiberglass. There are funny stories with some of these aspects of the old building, best told during a tour so you can see for yourself.
Geothermal continues to be installed. We were so happy to see how the duct work was tucked into the beams. The industrial look of the duct work doesn't bother us a bit and we keep thinking about how nice it will be to be warm when we are open for shopping or working in the space during the winter. Yahoo for HVAC! Certainly not sexy, but important in the overall project.

Up next: we have update about windows and the floor and soon we will be moving in inventory!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kansas Barn Sale

 Our fall includes several favorite traditions, but none are as beloved as attending the Kansas Barn Sale.

A few years ago, we signed up as exhibitors and we have continued to count this show as one of our favorites. The setting is perfect, the people are happy, and the hospitality is unparalleled.

The Emma Creek Barn creates the perfect backdrop. We arrived early to finish the final set up and it was just a little magical with the lights on and the sky showing brilliant colors.
 Sunrises in Kansas are the best! The morning of the show, we had some great color and slow warm up to a beautiful fall day.
 We really enjoyed putting out some of our favorite vintage finds.
 The sign inventory was on point. Jeremy worked really hard in the months leading up to the show to have a great selection.
I loved this little collection - old books, pumpkins, positive vibes, and all things vintage.

We can't wait for next year's show!

Friday, October 7, 2016

An update on The Market on Main

 It has been a busy couple of weeks for the renovation on our building at the corner of Fifth and Main.

Dubbed The Market on Main, we have been anxiously awaiting the day when things started to take shape and we might seriously think about getting our inventory out of our house and every available storage space. We are still shooting for the end of October for phase one to be open. This means that we have a lot of work ahead, but plenty of positive vibes and great people on the project.

The most exciting BIG step forward was adding in the geothermal components, conduit for the electrical and pouring the floor.
 Since installing geothermal in our home, we have become true converts. We really appreciate the efficiency and comfort of this method of heating our home. When we knew we had to replace the concrete floor, we debated about the investment of geothermal, and eventually decided that this was the best option for us.
 As of two weeks ago, we now have a floor! We can't wait for it to be polished and sealed. It is just the simple look that we wanted.
And, we are so thankful for a creative contractor who helped us figure out the change in slope and how to accommodate the door at the back of the space. The ramps will be perfect.

Duct work is being fitted into the ceiling. Take a look at those beams - we are so glad that we left them natural.

The windows are here! We are excited to have the old windows out and to show off how we are honoring the original design of the windows with a wooden inset and the new, more energy efficient window.
The large doors on the west side of the building have been a labor of love! We have desperately wanted to save them, but also know that these beauties were showing their age. Our amazing contractor had a vision of how to retrofit them to the new doorway.
 The solution required moving the doors to the exterior and reducing their size. These doors in the original configuration were one door that hinged in the middle.
The original idea hit a snag, but we are not to be discouraged. A few adjustments to the design and we'll have the original doors in place - perfect for opening the space to the outdoors or an amazing backdrop for photos. Seriously, that arch above the door. We love the details in this building.

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.