That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca Farm

John-Marshall-Custom-Homes-Modern-Farmhouse-North-CarolinaModern Farmhouse – John Marshall Custom Homes via Hooked on Houses

So, there’s something I haven’t told you. We almost bought an alpaca farm. You might think this is something that happened, like, way, way in the past, but it actually was only about a year and a half ago. I didn’t tell you because I had just written a book about all the times I moved to my dream house (Love the Home You Have). I just felt like it was way too ironic and awkward that I would be considering buying an alpaca farm. 

But it is true, before we even considered a move to Seattle to live near our family, we considered an entirely different life. A life on an alpaca farm.

Our goal at that time was more family togetherness and in the process, we dreamed some pretty big dreams. We dreamed about ways we could expand what we do as a family and somehow, the idea of a bigger property seemed like a reasonable idea at the time.

When an alpaca farm came up for sale, we went to look at it. We fell head over heels in love with it … the farmhouse, the circular driveway, the big studio, the amazing barn, the rentable apartment, the property and the way the buildings were set up and … the alpaca.  We visualized our future there, living off the land, planning events and church gatherings and weddings in the barn and hosting craft days in our own studio.

We pictured how cute those alpaca would be running up to greet us when we would return home. That’s what they did when we came to check out the farm, they ran along the fence to greet us! It was so charming. They must have known we would be suckers for that.

Alpaca Farm

We were really serious about the farm. We couldn’t get it out of our heads. We dreamed of ways to decorate the house and imagined waking up every morning to make a farmhouse breakfast. We dreamed of looking out the window to see our doodles Jack and Lily frolicking through the fields with the alpaca. We dreamed of having chickens. We thought of great ways to use the property and figured out how it might impact the things we already do in positive ways. It was a dream in so many practical ways, as well as impractical ways.

It was a big vision, I’ll admit, but our entire family got on board with it. It wasn’t just me dreaming big this time :). The property was a dream. The potential was exciting. But fortunately, before we went off the deep end and bought an alpaca farm, we all came to our senses.

Not that the property or the dream weren’t worthy of considering, they were! We just had to stop and re-define what and where our true priorities were for that season of our life. My natural inclination when I have a big dream is to just be brave and to jump off the deep end to see what happens. And doing that is a good thing, as long as you’ve carefully considered what you are doing to make sure it aligns with your goals and you are ready to take the plunge.

As dreamy as that property was, we had to be honest with ourselves about what we could handle and what we actually needed in our life. We weren’t the right people to take it on, nor was it the right season even if we wanted to. We wanted to simplify life to have more time for our family, not complicate it.

As idyllic as it sounded to frolic around on a farm with chickens and alpaca, we had to get real with ourselves. We aren’t farmers. We aren’t big property people. We don’t need more to manage, even if we would laugh all day long just knowing we owned alpaca.

Turns out, we loved the idea of the alpaca farm more than we would have loved the work involved.

We could have become farmers if we put our mind to it and felt it was the right timing, but did we want to go through the learning process, time and expense that would be necessary to succeed at farm life?

The Alpaca Farm

We decided we really weren’t prepared to add alpaca to our life. We needed to pare down and focus our energy on less things, not more things.

As a big dreamer, I always have more ideas in my head than time or money to do them. In fact, I have always have more grand ideas of what to do with my time than is humanly possible to squeeze into a day! Being a dreamer gets me in over my head if I’m not careful. I can get easily swept away with the romance or the vision or the potential of anything and lose sight of what is more important to me.

To experience peace in my life and my home, I have to continually pare down, refocus and simplify everything we do to what is really essential if I want to succeed at what matters to me. I can’t do it all. I can’t keep it all. I have to be intentional.

If I don’t take the time to be more purposeful in what I do and what I invite into my life, I’ll be ALL OVER THE PLACE. Like, literally I could have set myself up to be wearing overalls, FEEDING baby alpaca, PLANTING wheat fields or DRIVING TRACTORS or whatever we would have to do to live off the land while trying to still keep up with everything else we already had going on. It could be a dreamy life, but it just wasn’t the right dreamy life for us at that time.

I just got sidetracked from my real goals for a minute.

I’m definitely getting better about reining myself in so I can focus my attention on the dreams and house and people and pets we want to commit to. Simplifying means letting go of all the extra stuff (even if it is good stuff like an alpaca!) that will just weigh us down and distract us from our our real goals.

Sometimes simplifying means I have to let go of the dream of owning an alpaca farm.

Sometimes I just have to let go of the clutter in my closet.

But saying no to one thing I really don’t need (even if I love it!) means I have room in my home and life for something that matters so much more to me, and that makes letting go worth it.

If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of my new book, Make Room for What You Love, word on the street is that Amazon already released it two weeks before the launch date ( and maybe even Barnes & Noble!)! In it I’m sharing the little ways I’ve learned to simplify my life and home and pare down to what really matters. Enjoy!

Christmas in Our Living Room {New Rug & Room Update!}

The Inspired Room Christmas

Hey friends! A little over three months ago we moved into this house here in Seattle. We are really happy to be here! Right as we were moving, I began writing and finished writing a new book (due out this spring!), prepared to launch my coffee table book (The Inspired Room) and as I mentioned in one of my last posts, since then I traveled back and forth the country three times! All fun stuff I really enjoyed, but it definitely didn’t leave me much time for thinking about, let alone working on, our house.

The Inspired Room - Leather Loveseat

In the last week or two my schedule started to slow down a wee bit (yay) and I am finally feeling like I can begin focusing more on things like how to arrange furniture in my house, paint colors and considering things like window blinds and all the details that will make us feel really at home here.

The Inspired Room - Winter Wonderland Birch Tree

Thanksgiving week we painted our hallway and entry (still need to paint the cabinets and trim, though) and then we moved on to paint our bedroom. I’ll have updates on those spaces in the coming weeks, but today I thought I would give you a little update on our living room! When you last saw this room, it was just exactly as it was when we moved in. We literally didn’t move a thing until now, ha! But this last week I finally took a good look at the space and decided to try something and rearrange the furniture, which led to me buying a new rug. :) The 8×11 size we ordered made a big impact for under $300. I got the rug here (which seems to be sold out, but it’s available now on Overstock!!

Simple Christmas Decorating - The Inspired Room Family Room Updates

The Inspired Room Simple Christmas Fireplace

Nothing else has been updated or changed in this room, I just added the rug and changed the furniture arrangement (plus moved our “entertaining cabinet” to the entry and our gold dresser from the bedroom to the living room, and of course, added a wee bit of Christmas!).

The Inspired Room - Christmas Tree

The Inspired Room - Gold Dresser and Gray Wingback

The Inspired Room - Joy to the World Canvas by Red Letter Words

Simple Christmas Decorating Idea - The Inspired Room

The Inspired Room Family Room Christmas

The Inspired Room Leather Loveseat

The Inspired Room Christmas Decorating

Jack the Goldendoodle - The Inspired Room

Even though there are plenty of things that we can and plan to do with this space, I already love it so much more than I did! I love that the room is inviting, happy, light-filled and cozy. Now it’s a really welcoming space that draws you in to enjoy both the wide open view out the windows and cozy nights curled by the fire. I know each new addition or change to this space will enhance it even more, but I’m also just really pleased with how it feels in here already, which is great because we have so many other projects in this house that need our attention.

The Inspired Room - White Velvet Stockings

The Inspired Room - Winter Wonderland Birch Tree at Christmas

The Inspired Room Living Room at Christmas

The Inspired Room - Gold Cabinet and Joy to the World Canvas

The Inspired Room - Living Room

The Inspired Room Fireplace at Christmas

Most importantly, I’m thrilled with this room now because I am so looking forward to time with my family over the holidays. Working on a house can cause so much disarray, it is a relief to have one room that feels pulled together enough to really relax and enjoy it.

While we keep our Christmas decor pretty simple (did you see our wreaths in the entry and dining room?), I also have a thing about wanting to keep the magical feel of Christmas alive. When you are moving or under stress in life or just plain ol’ busy, it’s natural to just want to simplify and cut back on extra things you feel obligated to do. Christmas decorating can be one of those things you just don’t feel like doing, at least I tend to start feeling that way!

But one thing that I’ve always felt was important is to really remember what Christmas feels like through the eyes of children. It’s magical. It’s beautiful with the sparkling lights. It is so special to them when we pull out those humble decorations that evoke such great memories from years past. I don’t want to forget that feeling, and I don’t want my son or girls to forget it either. Our boy is our youngest (even though he’s actually taller than everyone else in our family now) in the house and I’m telling ya, knowing we are just a few years away from an empty nest does something to my heart I cannot explain. I’m wanting to savor each season because they do fly by so quickly!

The Inspired Room - White Stockings and Candles in Fireplace

The Inspired Room - Birch Tree

In spite of my effort over the years to simplify our life and home, I also want to keep the traditions, the sparkle and the child-like wonder of Christmas alive in whatever way I can each year. Whether its cutting down our own tree because we have so many memories of that tradition, or focusing on other special experiences we can have with our family, it feels good to be intentional on what matters to us.

The Inspired Room Christmas Houses

The Inspired Room Winter Houses

When our kids were little, we always used to set up these little villages (we were given TONS of these years ago!) but when we moved to our last house, we stopped bringing them out because I felt like we didn’t really have a great place for them and I felt like they just took up so much room. This year I had a change of heart about those houses. I set up some of our favorites right here in the living room where we can all slow down to admire them and remember what it was like to be a kid. :)

The Inspired Room - Simple Christmas Fireplace

The Inspired Room - Lit Up Christmas Tree

The Inspired Room - Christmas at Night

The Inspired Room - Fireplace and Christmas Tree

Thank you for following along on our journey and move this year, I’m really excited to be able to share our progress with you each step of the way!

Sources:

Find my furniture and accessories in my shop or with the list below!

Blue and white rug // Leather loveseat // Teal tufted ottoman // Birch lit tree (another similar option here) // White velvet stockings // Glass cabinet // Wood mirror above glass cabinet // Dipped wood stool // Gold dresser // Joy to the world canvas // Gray nailhead wingback chair // Cable knit ivory throw blanket // “Gather Together” pillow // Blue, white, and brass swirl lamps // Basket/side table by leather loveseat // Leather pouf (similar)

Shop Christmas decor I love here and my gift guides here!

Christmas Decorating {Wreaths & Trees}

The Inspired Room Entryway

I can’t believe we are about to celebrate our first Christmas in our new house! It’s crazy to think last spring we just started seriously thinking about moving to Seattle and now we are here, getting settled in our new home. YAY! I think the experience of celebrating holidays and making memories in your house is one of the things that helps bond you a bit more to a new home, don’t you agree? Thanksgiving here with our family was wonderful and we just really enjoyed being in our home. I think Christmas will be even more special!

Even though I feel a bit behind on everything right now, my favorite Christmas decor is so simple it’s pretty effortless to pull together. I love using simple greenery as a way to gently incorporate the season. Wreaths, swags and sprigs of greenery here and there, plus of course some twinkling lights and a Christmas tree or two, is pretty much enough for me to feel like our home is festive and ready for celebrating!

The Inspired Room Coffee Station

Over the Thanksgiving weekend we got things rolling in the festive direction and it was so fun! We still don’t have our house put together completely, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying it. We went to a local nursery for a fresh tree and then came home and hung two pretty wreaths that I received from Harry & David (one of my go to holiday shopping sites online every year!). These wreaths smelled SO GOOD I could hardly wait to hang them in the house.

The wreath above our coffee station in our dining room is called the Winter Wreath and it is handcrafted at Harry & David’s family-owned Creekside Farms in California. The fragrant eucalyptus and fir base of the wreath is accented with other natural elements such as artemisia, tallow berries, pinecones, and thistle. You can hang it on your door or the wall and it should last all through the holidays and beyond!

The wreath above our entry cabinet at the top of this post is called their Lavender Herb Wreath. I’m sure you can imagine how divine it smells!  The lavender wreath is grown without pesticides or herbicides, which I love, and it is so pretty, too.

My family was in town and everyone was obsessed with the wreaths as I was unpacking them, they not only smell amazing but they are just gorgeous! They arrived in perfect condition and still look amazing!

The Inspired Room Christmas Coffee Station - Harry and David Winter Wreath

It was fun to hang the wreaths since we don’t have hardly anything hung on the walls yet. They really helped cozy things up a bit and of course, anything natural in a room adds so much texture and warmth.

Harry and David Winter Wreath

The Inspired Room - Gray Wingback - Harry and David Christmas Tree

We also ordered this adorable REAL CHRISTMAS TREE (above) and it arrived all decorated with lights and set in the cool pot. It’s so cute! Wouldn’t this make a fun gift for someone? It’s called the Classic Mini Christmas Tree. Every year I order gifts for family from Harry & David (a tradition started by my grandparents!) and this year wreaths and trees will be at the top of my list to consider (which also includes their delicious Pears and Moose Munch gift sets!). It’s so easy to order gifts from Harry & David, even at the last minute or when you have no idea what to get someone, you can easily find a tempting treat or pretty wreath or tree to send along with your Christmas wishes!

I recently had the opportunity to create a special holiday checklist for Harry & David, too, I hope you’ll go check it out! With so much going on this time of year I find it helps to have a list to focus our attention.

Next up at our house this week we’ll be decorating our tree! I’m excited about that. Can you believe how fast Christmas is coming up? Are you ready? I’m not :) but that’s OK. Some years I feel prepared early and some years not, this will just be one of the nots. :) I’m not stressed about it though, just really happy to be getting settled and giving myself the time I need for that.

I’m working on my next update post with our progress on setting up the house and I’ll be sharing our new painted bedroom, too (!!!). Even just from painting the walls, I can tell our bedroom is shaping up to be one of my favorite bedrooms I’ve ever had. :)

Furniture and accessory sources:

Herringbone wood cabinet

Wood and metal cart

Dipped stool

Hanging mug rack

Find more of my furniture, lighting, and accessories in my shop.

*This post was created in partnership with Harry & David, but all opinions are my own.

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