the barn

happy barn

This? This is a picture of a happy barn full of beautiful, happy people. Amen.

Our family had a Hope*ologie event here this past Saturday. It was pretty much the best day ever with 40 people, a talk on each of the *ologies (fam*ologie–our dad, quiet*ologie–my sister & her husband, home*ologie–me) a craft, music with Reeve, warm dinner, and cats scurrying around. We had a major cold snap here in NC so we asked everyone to bring hats, coats and blankets. It was chilly y’all. Even with our wood stove. But it was so worth having.

Here are waaaaay too many photos of last Saturday, the setting up, the decor, the people and more…


This is a picture of a sad barn (one year ago)waiting to be used for its new purpose.

big wall decorating with what you have

The back doors of the barn have told me that they want to be the front of the barn when people are inside. So I listened. And there’s bad lighting and boring doors that don’t hold any attention. I had a big challenge.

How to decorate a large area with little time or money:

  • make an impact with a few large items (do NOT focus on a bunch of tiny things unless Anthropologie is paying you to create beautiful impactful displays out of small items)
  • use lighting (lighting brings a place alive: twinkle lights, candles, lamps–YES)
  • shop the house & beyond (I think I could work sticks into any theme–I’ve used them for weddings and gatherings for every time of the year–they are FREE and come in every size)
  • pick a theme but not a cheesy theme like “the beach, so we’ll have lots of plastic buckets in many colors”. That’s fine for kids. but step way back and go more general, it will be easier on everyone. Pick one color to highlight or a season or use one type of material (like book pages!)

I shopped the house and hung two 40 dollar hammocks that I had recently ordered to hang around the yard. Then I layered on every neutral textural soft item I had so they would mimic the feel of a super-sized weaving.

barn in the fall

I moved this light (only I clipped on book pages and doilies) in keeping with the neutral textural feel, and wrapped white lights around some sticks and wired them up to the doors.

We have another big sliding door that everyone used for coming and going–on the side of the barn right next to my office doors.



I spray painted a lantern (I accidentally broke the glass last year but kept the lantern part) filled with remote control battery-powered candles, fabric scraps and beads.

fill a wall with things you love

wood stove in the barn

feathers taped to a chalkboard


happy sofa

My sofa fulfilling its greatest purpose: holding people who are sitting and crafting and talking and drinking hot coffee!

This is what sofas dream about.

PS, this is my new slipcover from LS Slipscovers (I hugely recommend Laura, Nathan & Crew!)  Want to see it people-less?…

white sofa

Look at that fitted beauty! It was a such a joy (a joy I tell you!) to put this slipcover on with its velcro and just the perfect fit on every cushion. I keep my rabbit hides on the arms because they are so soft and I learned the hard way that this is the part of the slipcover that gets the dirtiest, cover this and your slipcover will last even longer.




A few people asked how I get my leaves to stick to the branches. Most of these branches were from trees Chad trimmed in the summer, so the leaves dried on them but they didn’t fall off, even after being dragged to the barn.

crafts at the barn

Our crafts all packaged up and ready to hand out. I’ll do a post about the craft on Monday.

craft it up


dad & reeve at the barn






Caroline flew down from Chicago on Thursday and stayed the whole weekend. She helped with everything from vacuuming the barn, packing up the gift bags, serving dinner, and of course petting cats. I’m so grateful for her friendship. Y’all we even learned how to start a fire in the wood stove! She and I made the fire each day. It’s one of my biggest accomplishments of the year!



The bosses. Bossi?

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 12.47.58 PM

At the barn. With @reevecoobs

A video posted by Myquillyn Smith (@thenester) on

More photos here at the Hope*ologie facebook page, we’d love for you to join us there, for time to time encouragement for your home, family & soul. Find out more about becoming a member of Hope*ologie here.

We’ll host more events in 2015–some for Hope*ologie, some for other things. I’m reminding myself it’s okay to take this new part of our lives slow. We don’t plan on moving anytime soon and this barn is here to stay. I hope to have craft days, host small day trips to the southeast’s largest antique mall & courses at the barn, and partner with artists to bring some casual, fun experiences that will leave us inspired.