Oh … it’s so bittersweet to have our fifth annual Days of the Pioneer Antique Show over with.  We work towards it all year long and as it gets closer I begin to anticipate everything. Just think of it – I get to throw a party at the greatest museum of all time, the Museum of Appalachia, and then I get to invite all my favorite people to come! We surround ourselves with the best American Country and Primitive antiques that are all for sale, and then we fill our tummy’s with down-home delicious food, listen to great Old-Time and Bluegrass music and have our likeness made with strolling reenactors. Honestly friends, can it get any better? Not in my book it can’t.


Our friends came out in droves this year – from across the country to see the very best antique dealers in our industry, who brought the finest inventory they could search out over the past year. It was our biggest show ever.



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We only had one slight hitch in our getalong – our wonderful photographer took some awesome photos but her camera card was corrupt and we lost them all! EEEK!  Our dear friend Jack Williams came to the rescue with some great shots and some of our dealers were kind enough to send some too. But if any of our friends out there have some to share I’d love to have them!  I will be working on our website in the coming days, adding the few that I have!

I’m terribly sad it’s over, and I had a lot of work waiting for me when I got home (our Winter issue is about to go to print!)  But for the next 350 days or so, I will relive all my fond memories while I wait to make new ones in 2017!   A HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thank you to all our awesome customers who came from near and far, a ginormous thank you to the best dealers we could ever hope to bring together, the biggest thank you on the planet to my Simple Life family who help put this together and put up with me for a week, a heartfelt thank you to all the amazing volunteers, musicians and reenactors, and the biggest thanks of all t0 our beloved Museum of Appalachia who does the lion’s share of the work and gives us the backdrop that makes this show the very best possible!












Preparation is underway here in the final days before our wonderful antique show at the historic Museum of Appalachia, we’re working hard to bring every detail to life so that your experience is the best it can possibly be. While I feel it is the best Antique Show in our Country (truly I am a tad prejudiced!) –  it is so much more than that. It is a family event and everyone in your house will find something they love about it. Please watch this short 10 minute video that shows all there is to do and see during The Days of the Pioneer !!!   Just 10 minutes north of Knoxville, TN on Sept. 9th and 10th – SEE YOU THERE !!!!

Market, Good Reads and Tunes!

Hello! Happy Friday to those of you have weekends! Around here everyday is pretty much the same no matter the name. But actually, Friday nights do feel a little bit different. Tonight is nacho night. That’s our go-to meal for something quick. Keep in mind in our humble abode that is not really a house but an office I have a microwave, hot plate and Crock Pot that my pal Josh gave me to save the day!

So tomorrow is pack day – I’m headed to Springfield, Ohio for Market Square’s Cash and Carry Wholesale show. Shop owners in the area – come see me! I’ll have lots of great Folk Art and great show specials on books!

Since I’m always telling you about the tunes I listen to on my trips – I thought I would show you that I don’t ALWAYS listen to Old-Time Music (although I really do most of the time!) But I have other tastes in music too that might surprise you. I’ll probably be listening to this on my way to O-HI-O, at least a couple of times ~

And quite possibly this:

A million years or so ago I promised you more good reads from my favorite book list. I’ve been remiss in giving you those so here are six that should be at the top of your list for the dog days of summer.  I absolutely, highly recommend all of them.

One of my all time favorites is “Fair and Tender Ladies” by Lee Smith. Smith is a superb Appalachian writer, and while I don’t like literally everything she writes, I do most. But this one is her very best for my taste.

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While I would guess that most of you have read “Widow of the South,” (it’s a must read if you haven’t) I doubt many of you have read Robert Hicks sophomore book, “A Separate Country.” I had the supreme honor and joy to interview Mr. Hicks for an article in the magazine and he is passionate, intelligent, intuitive, sensitive and creative. He can turn a phrase like no one else.

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Sandra Dallas is another favorite author of mine. She has written a lot of great books, although I have to say that I like her earlier stuff better. But her all time best is, “The Dairy of Mattie Spenser.” This one could easily go to the top of your must read list.

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And two more very, very good books are, “Jubilee Trail,” by Gwen Bristow   and “The Widows’s  War,” by Sally Gunning.


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This should get you through summer, and don’t worry – I have plenty more for you for the cool days of fall and cold winter months when you will want to snuggle up with a good read!

Come see me in O-HI-O !!!!






Fall 2016 Sneak Peek!

The Fall issue of A Simple Life Magazine will be going out on approximately August 15th! While the temps are soaring around much of the nation this time of year, it will be a welcome respite!

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As always, I’m so grateful to our wonderful homeowners who worked so hard to get ready for you all to have a look inside their homes and lives. Not only do they have wonderful photo opportunities, but I welcome you to read their stories and get to know them. The homeowners of A Simple Life Magazine are the heart and soul of everything we love in this industry! If you like what you see, drop them a note or email and let them know you enjoyed it!

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The Ohio home of Bob and Sherry Kersteiner is just wonderful. You will enjoy their early home filled with fabulous period appropriate antiques. Sherry has a knack for putting everything together.  Written by the newest addition to our magazine family, Heidi Dangremond.

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The West Virginia home of Seth and Amy Schoonover is full of Autumn inspiration. Fall is one of Amy’s favorite times of the year and it shows. Seth and Amy are truly living a simple life, surrounded by the antiques they enjoy collecting in a home they built with love.

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Our next home takes us to Ontario, Canada to visit the home of Bobby and Christine Kuus. Many of you are familiar with Christine – a leading folk artist and designer in our industry for many years. Their home is fresh and beautiful in nubby linens and many shades of off- whites and greys.

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You will learn a lot from the article by Kris Casucci on early stoneware in the Northeast  and  you’ll also enjoy seeing all the great photos.

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Our last installment on instruments brings us “Guitars and Cadillacs” by Thomas Queen

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And Kenneth Reid brings the second installment from the early diary he found, “Beech Hill Farm, Moseum, NH.”  Oh my goodness folks – this is a MUST READ. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first installment from the Special issue, go back and read that one first. This is a “true” early diary from the late 1800’s set on a farm in rural NH. Wendell, the author is a hoot to say the least. As you read, you have to keep telling yourself, “This is a true diary, not fiction!” I’m tellin’ you – you can’t make this stuff up!

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James Cramer joins us in this issue which is always a treat. Jimmie and I went to visit our friend Patsy Martin, as we often do when I’m up that way, and we did some fall decorating.

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There is all of this and so much more in our upcoming Fall issue friends! Coming soon to a mailbox near you!  Visit the many shops who carry A Simple Life and support our wonderful advertisers too!

Twin Bings & Wide Open Spaces

I’m back in Ole Virginny  (Bugtussle as a dear friend likes to call Galax) after a whirlwind trip to Western Nebraska over the weekend for A Simple Life photo shoot. My growing up summers were spent with family in Western Iowa, not far from the Nebraska border so Eastern Nebraska is a familiar friend – but Western Nebraska was new territory for me.

My gramma lived out on a farm about five miles from a teeny town, but in that town was a corner store. The treat of the summer day if we were good was “going up town” to get a soda and candy bar. The candy bar of choice was most certainly a TWIN BING – made just up the road in Sioux City at the Palmer Candy Company.   I have had a love affair with Twin Bings my whole life. As an adult, my mom always arranged to have family members send a case for my Christmas stocking because you can’t get them outside of Iowa and Nebraska for the most part.

So on this trip, I knew Twin Bings were in my future!

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And yes, I DID bring Todd one – albeit I had to sacrifice that one for the sake of the photo shoot but I did save him a bite.

So my destination took me an hour north of North Platte, Nebraska to the 13,000 acre Prairie Rose Ranch, and home of Duane and Sami McNutt.  No folks, I did not make a typo- that is Thirteen Thousand Acres (which is absolutely impossible to even comprehend.)

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Several times I was reminded of Greg LeFever’s article in our Spring 2013 issue on Sod Houses in Nebraska. Those woman were amazingly tough to live so secluded – with no neighbors, no women to fellowship with, under such harsh circumstances year round. Sami and I spoke of the conditions traveling across the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. This wide open expanse of country where you can drive for hours and never see a house makes that part of history a little more real after seeing it first hand.

But like those woman in the sod houses who yearned for beauty and made rag rugs for the floors – Sami too surrounds herself with things of beauty inside and out – even though nary a person ever travels out that far to share them with.

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She still grows flowers and grass and expertly arranges her antiques inside the home for her own sense of well being out on the endless prairie. So stay tuned for a future issue to see more of this Tryon, Nebraska home – along with a lot of other great ones we have in store for next year! And until then,    I’ll be dreaming of Twin Bings ….


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Dreams coming true

The time as arrived to take down our cabin and move it to our farm! A season of harvest is upon us and we are blessed beyond all measure. Aunt Cory’s log house came to us through divine intervention and we are so grateful to become her caretakers for the rest of the time we have on this earth.

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The kitchen fireplace is my very favorite part …

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The Master has His hand in every detail, watching over us …

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Home again, Home again, Jiggety-Jig

Well, after two weeks I’m happy to be home again. And my Ralph Stanley can claim the same – now home in Gloryland, singing at the Masters feet. While I am deeply saddened, I know where he is and I know I will see him there one day. There is shoutin’ on the Hills of Glory tonight Ralph.

After hearing of his passing the night before I was set to drive part way home, I turned up my speakers and listened to Ralph nearly the whole way. The majority of the songs were “sacred songs” as he liked to call them, and every single one was appropriate for the day.

I’m so grateful his high lonesome tenor will be forever available when I need to hear it.

So on a much brighter note –  Cheryl and I had a wonderful trip to New England. Here are a few sneak peeks of some of the amazing homes you will see featured in A Simple Life next year. I met so many new friends on this journey and got wonderful hugs from many long-time ones.

Between Massachusetts and Connecticut we found amazing homes and one wonderful General Store ~

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And now I better get back to work if any of you are going to be receiving your “Homemade” orders that you placed while I was gone!    see you soon …. Jill    P.S  BE SURE AND GET THOSE REGISTRATIONS IN FOR THE SIMPLE LIFE FOLK SCHOOL! We’re getting ready for you!

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