Hart Square

Fun times this weekend at Dr. Bob and Becky Hart’s – Hart Square festival in Hickory, N.C.  One day a year Hart Square comes alive with hundreds of interpreters among  100 log structures. Certainly a day we look forward to all year long and it never disappoints! A gorgeous fall day laid out before us and the leaf color was beautiful.

Getting some delicious pumpkin soup made over the fire  was one of our first stops.


And here is the recipe for you to try!


Probably my favorite demonstration this year was making straw bales in the apple orchard. This gentleman and his rare baler hail from Denton, NC.



Interesting people at every turn …


And log cabins, smokehouses, spring houses, barns, corn cribs, churches, and everything else you could possibly imagine abound.

Out of so many incredible log structures, I always find myself falling in love with this pig barn each visit. It truly is my favorite at Hart Square and I hope to recreate it here on Walkers Knob.


And at the end of the day – who doesn’t need a hornbeam drinking fountain?



Christmas Time’s A Comin’ !

Lands, as fast as time flies by, Christmas really will be here before we know it! And “A Simple Life” is ready! Our Winter issue will be shipping approximately November 1st! I got my bulk copies yesterday and I’m so excited to share it!


We visited three wonderful homes for this issue and I want to thank our awesome homeowners! Nancy and Don Hellweg hail from Lawrenceburg, Indiana and built a beautiful saltbox home. Then Nancy filled it with wonderful primitive antiques. It is even homier at Christmastime!

Tom and Candy Looker live in the farmhouse that Candy grew up in in Fredericktown, Ohio.  Candy is an amazing artist and also a wonderful decorator so her house is always filled with awe inspiring primitive vignettes and room settings.


win-16-5  win-16-3

Welcome to the Cape! Mike and Jerrilyn Mayhew make their home in Sandwich Village, Massachusetts – the quintessential setting for a charming Christmastide!


This issue is filled with holiday inspiration! Begin planning your menu with one of Cheryl’s delicious recipes!


                         And then join us for inspiration on how to set your holiday tables!


If Santa is wondering what to get the antique lover on his list – how about Anniversary Tin!


And if you’re looking for some holiday decorating ideas, Amy Schoonover has lots of inspiring things for you to try in your own homes!



You won’t want to miss this warm and cozy Christmas filled issue! It will be coming to a mailbox or shop near you in just a couple of weeks!

On the Road Again…

Yes! I’ve been here and there the last couple of weeks! LOTS of great homes coming your way in “A Simple Life” in 2017! I had the pure joy of visiting my friends John and Bettye Wagner in Alabama recently. Everyone knows Bettye – she is an icon in our industry. She had a shop in Marietta, GA for many, many years beginning in the 80’s, and never looked back.  She sold incredible American Country antiques there and at all of the best shows, as well as selling everything you needed for your home – custom curtains, her own line of custom upholstered furniture and fabrics, etc. She also styled many, many homes that have appeared in countless magazines over the years. She and John restored a wonderful 1800’s Virginia Tidewater brick home, and have just recently retired near Muscle Shoals. Bettye is a treasure and we had so much fun the day I visited her!











The next leg of my journey took me to everyone’s favorite decorator and stylist – James Cramer. Jimmie is a dear friend who has become like a brother to me. I was telling Todd yesterday that when I am with Jimmie I can laugh and laugh, relax and just totally be myself. We have so much fun. He is a rare and precious gift in my life. He was telling me that it has been 20 years since the book,  “Seasons at Seven Gates Farm” came out! Can you believe it?  It is certainly time to revisit it !



blog-4ee-2         blog-4ee-1

Of course we always have to go antiquing when we’re together and he took me to his “source” for old lye soap. Of course I bought the brown and he bought the white but because we are always acting silly we had our picture made and Jimmie said, “You’re making me go brown and I’m making you go white!”


Our travels together always include a visit with our friend Patsy Martin up in Pennsylvania. Patsy is so good to always take us to all the great spots near her and stopping for ice cream from the Amish Creameries is always a must!

Since we featured Patsy’s home at Christmas a few years ago, she has redone all three of her upstairs bedrooms and we will be bringing you those great additions in a future issue next year. Take a peek ~




The week ahead looks to be just as much fun because Cheryl and KC and our friends Lynn and Ruth are all coming down from Michigan to go to Hart Square on Saturday – Dr. Bob’s log cabin museum in Hickory, North Carolina for his festival.  Yipppeeee!

Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing sneak peeks from our upcoming Winter issue later this week as well!

For my book loving friends – here are a couple more good reads to add to your list!


“The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara


Also a good choice:

“Cane River” by Lalita Tademy, and the follow up novel, “Red River.”

blog-14-cc   blog-12-bb

Fall Cabins, Screenplays and Soundtracks

What in the world do fall Cabins, Screenplays and Soundtracks have in common?  They all roll around in my mind when I drive too far!  I spent an awesome day with my friend Donna Shepherd this week among her wonderful log cabins all decorated for fall.


She had wagons full of pumpkins and gourds, bittersweet and broom corn! It was  autumn in its glory everywhere you looked. You will love seeing much more from Donna in the fall 2017 issue of A Simple Life!



But on the long drive home, I had plenty of time to let my mind wander. I thought that if I ever wrote a screenplay, this would be on the soundtrack – a sweeping song that speaks of wide-open prairies and an earlier time. Of wagon trains, hardships, fall and log cabins.

And speaking of screenplays, just before I left on my trip I finally got to see “Free State of Jones.”  I didn’t make it to the big screen this summer to see it but it is out on video now and I highly recommend it.  It will give you plenty to think about on so many levels. I am going to watch it again, and probably again, to get some things right in my mind about how I feel about it all. As one video about the subject asks, “Was Newt Knight a coward, a traitor, a deserter of the Confederacy who became a murdering bandit, or was he a man of courage fighting for justice against an oppressive Government? What really happened deep in the Piney Woods of Mississippi over a century ago?”    It’s very deep and very well done. You’ll cry, cheer, feel ashamed of our history and question many things you thought were true and just. The Civil War is not a simple subject, nor were the reasons behind it. The beginning, and certain parts throughout, are not for the faint of heart so be prepared. It will leave you with many emotions. One of the songs from this screenplay is sung by a favorite artist of mine – Lucinda Williams:

So on my next long trip (which is to Alabama next week) I’ll continue writing my screenplay in my head and keep you posted on that! ha!           P.S  CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Charlie Cushman who won Banjo Player of the Year at the IBMA awards last night! And to his group, “The Earls of Leicester” for winning Entertainer of the Year!  Well Deserved!



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.



blog-310    blog-308

blog-313                     blog-315

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!  http://www.daysofthepioneer.com

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 who 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.

blog 6

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.

blog 3    blog 4

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.

blog 1

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

blog 2            blog 5

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 !!!!