Christmas at Sweetwater is for sure one of the biggest projects we've had at the farm to date. Our first one right out of the gate was our giant planting party in June of 2015, when we got all our lavender plants in the ground with the help of 65 of our friends and family, followed by my sister's wedding here this summer in July.
We dreamt up this event last holiday season when SO many people were stopping to snap a photo of our barn with the giant wreath on it. I recognized the need for a place that was convenient for our neighbors to grab a tree, wreath and a bit of holiday cheer. Plus, let's be honest, if you know me you are well aware that I am actually obsessed with making wreaths.
Matt and I started working on this project in August, which feels like it was approximately 3 days ago. We first had to decide the flow of this event and where our checkout space would be.
I knew that we wanted to have the trees / wreaths & decor outside in the yard space between our parking area & the barn, but I didn't want people having to fumble with credit cards and wallets in what could be some gnarly Northern Michigan weather. We thought of every possible idea: a farmers market type of tent, people could check out in the flower shed, people could walk up to the main barn entrance by our house, we could get a camper and people could come in to check out in that, we could build a shelter, we could blah blah blah - we just gotta clean out a scary part of the barn.
Let me preface this by reminding you that we bought a farm with a barn full of shit. There is no other way to explain this. And so, we decided that the cute little wood door right by the parking area that leads into an old animal pen that had become a trash pen for what seems like the last 30 years would be our retail space. I know, I know, nothing can ever be easy.
We got to work clearing it up. Here is a before shot, the piles of hay, trash, wood, and old grain sacks where 6 -7 ft tall in spots.
It took a few weekends, a lot of dust masks and podcasts but we got it cleared out around mid-October. Matt had thrown together a little partition wall with all the wood we found to close the space off and we went about ripping out the poultry netting in the windows and replacing them to just keep water and snow out.
If you know me, I do not handle the grit well. Messy jobs and shoveling old hay and tedious slow jobs are not for me. I am OBSESSED with instant gratification. This is why I love houses, because a coat of paint or moving the couch can totally change stuff. But spending your time just shoveling and raking with no change is tough. Matt is my biggest encourager and if anyone was with us during these work sessions you would actually laugh because he is literally my coach. "You're doing great honey." "You are doing amazing babe!" "Keep it up we are making progress!"
Alas! It was time for my FAV part, styling. My dear friend Kelly from Serradella Weddings came by and got to work with me on creating a retail space. We used our bar in the shop and started playing around with some cool pieces Kel brought from her warehouse.
Looking for a picture right here of it fully styled and perfect? Come on! I'm not giving everything away!
If you've been following this insanity for any amount of time you know that if I won the lottery tomorrow I would pay off the mortgage, buy Matt a brand new Toyota Tacoma and hire someone to be my professional lighting expert at the farm. If you ever wanna see Matt and I come to blows, just come on by when we have to hang lights somewhere. For some couples its the calendar, others its money, some its fantasy football, but for Matt and Kalin Sheick- its lighting.
It's so common that we argue while hanging lights that when we walk outside to do it I say outloud and very passive aggressively to Maple, "Maple, please remind Matt that after we hang these lights we are still married and I am the funniest most cool wonderful wife ever."
Good news: I was able to light the retail space on my own. #winning Hilarious News: Our biggest 'lighting' project for this event is getting our 8ft wreath up on the barn, which is literally happening tonight. So- god bless and I'll keep you posted.
This project literally could not have happened without Julie & Ryan two of our closest friends who not only prepped and trained us on Christmas Tree care but also got us the hookup on trees (Thanks Stempky Fam). Kelly from Serradella has been a godsend, my creative friends inspire me and encourage me every step of the way.
So we are ready for you! Pretty much! It all starts at 10am the day AFTER Thanksgiving. We run Friday, Saturday & Sunday for the following 3 weekends. Daily from 10am-4pm. Come early if you want a tree (limited number) and the wreaths and all the goodness will be cranking. RSVP on Facebook right here. Or more details can be found right here.
Matt and I CANNOT WAIT to share this with you!
PS- Someone asked me the other day if I'm nervous about this, I replied "duh" but I live for this kind of stuff. So, do stuff that scares you people.