Welcome to the Other Side

Welcome to the new Farmhouse38.com : countrified city-living for the rurally-challenged.Well, if you are reading this, then I am one step closer to world domination. The blog migration is a success. (I think…) HUZZAH!!! (I think…)

This whole thing has been a real doozy. For everyone that stuck with me while I worked on this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s been torture to maintain radio silence while I’ve been migrating, and I have such a backlog of new posts and projects that I don’t know how I will ever catch up. But rest assured, there’s tons of new content coming your way. I gotta make up for a lot of lost time.

There will probably be bugs. Some existing content might be a bit glitchy. Some old content is gone; I purged a good portion of old blog posts that I felt were irrelevant. So if things don’t quite line up, let’s all just remain calm. It’s really all about the new content, am I right?

Also, I’m gonna change things up just a tad. I was a little direction-less before; aimlessly writing about whatever topic under the sun I felt like writing about. This is kind of the blessing, as well as the curse, of ‘Lifestyle Blogging’. But I’ve decided to reign things in a bit, tighten the focus. Focus is good. I lack it a little bit.

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah. The New and Improved Farmhouse38.com.

So how is the ‘new and improved’ Farmhouse38 gonna roll? Here’s what you’ll find:


Post-renovation farmhouse exterior at Farmhouse38.comFirst and foremost, I’m gonna dwell a lot on my love of farmhouses and farmhouse design. Not only am I going to continue sharing bits and pieces of our own farmhouse decor and renovation, I’m gonna start curating farmhousey goodness from ye olde interwebs (with proper credit, of course). Look for tours of other people’s amazing farmhouses coming soon. (And while I’m on the subject, if you or someone you know has a fantastic farmhouse to share, Please. Do. Tell.)


Reclaimed wood raised garden beds in the Farmhouse38.com gardens.Additionally, the farmhouse garden is gonna get a lot of love. Why? Because I’m pretty obsessed with it. I feel rather emphatically that a farmhouse is not a farmhouse without some sort of cultivated green space. I mean, if we’re being real here, the darned house should be sitting on an actual farm, but for some of us, a little patch of garden is as farmy as it’s gonna get. It’s no secret that I dream of being a flower farmer, so expect to see a lot about my attempts to grow them in between and amongst my vegetables, herbs, and pollinator plants. And of course, expect many flower-arranging adventures and tutorials. You’ll undoubtedly hear all about the chickens, seeing as how they simultaneously make a farmhouse garden, and destroy it. So let’s all look forward to lots of garden project posts and photos, and also, I’ll be heading out into the world (in person, and via the internet) to find inspiring outdoor spaces to share with you guys.


#frontporchdrinks in St. Maarten. Farmhouse38.comNext up: I’m introducing a new twist on my ongoing cocktail enthusiasm. We spend a lot of time enjoying our farmhouse front porch (and back deck), and I’m not gonna try to pretend like we’re not usually simultaneously cocktailing it up. What can I say? Front porches just beg to be filled with friends clinking great drinks together. So I am launching a little bit of hashtag fun in the form of #frontporchdrinks. What does this involve, exactly? On the blog, it means I will be sharing lots of fabulous cocktail recipes, as well as our adventures finding other people’s front porches to drink on (decks, patios, backyards, barnyards, beaches–we’re not picky, we’ll drink outside with friends anywhere). Out in social media land, this hashtag means you can join in on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and share your #frontporchdrink moments. Can’t wait to see what y’all are up to!


Glitter happens. Farmhouse38.comFinally: Crafts. Because: Glitter. I will never not be crafting things. So there will still be plenty of that going on. Stay sparkly, my friends.


So that’s kind of the gist of Farmhouse38 from here on out. A little bit different, but mostly the same: my own special, citified version of farmhouse life.

With plenty of boxer photo-bombing, of course.

Post-renovation stairs at Farmhouse38.com


A Little Change is Good, Methinks…


Hearts by katerichards.com via Farmhouse38.comIf you’ve been following me for awhile, you may have noticed I’ve slowed down a bit with my blogging. In fact, you may have noticed that there have been moments where it has come to a grinding, shrieking halt. Or maybe you haven’t noticed and I just think everyone’s been noticing. I’m a lot more important in my head. A LOT more important.

I know I’ve got some ‘splaining to do. So, it goes something like this: I’m an artist. Did you know that? I haven’t mentioned it much, aside from a little blip here and there in my profile, but so far, the art hasn’t surfaced much on my blog. There’s a reason for that…I’ve been on a prolonged, forced hiatus from the art. It’s the Farmhouse’s fault, you see. Sure, it’s been a real time-suck to renovate this house from top to bottom–I could easily blame it on that, right? But no–the real reason it has kept me from my art is that the garage renovation (err…studio renovation), was the very last on our kill list. It’s crazy how functioning kitchens and bathrooms and finished bedroom walls really take all the priority glory.

The Farmhouse38.com garage, pre-renovation.

The garage, pre-renovation.

The Farmhouse38.com studio, post-renovation.

The studio, post-renovation.

The farmhouse38.com studio all lit up at night (with a couple of guard cats keeping the look-out for wandering bands of art thieves).

The studio all lit up at night (with a couple of guard cats keeping the look-out for wandering bands of art thieves).

The studio at Farmhouse38.com

As you can see, it’s already quite well-used; those floors do not stay clean.

You may be thinking that this is a pretty weak excuse; this not-having-a-proper-studio baloney. I kind of agree (especially in retrospect). But my ‘artwork’ is a little off the wall (pun intended). It’s not as simple as setting up a temporary easel in the guest bedroom, because my medium of choice is actually metal (you didn’t see that coming, now did you??). So there is a lot of welding and grinding and metal shrapnel a-flying. I can’t do it in the house (obviously). I can’t even do it outside in the driveway because of the shrapnel (which becomes inherently dangerous to animal paws and crops when it’s lurking in the cracks and crevices and dirt). So I had to wait (rather impatiently), for my studio. And wait I did. For five years. But, in the meantime, I started a blog–so it wasn’t all for naught, right?

Artist Kate Richards of katerichards.com and Farmhouse38.com

Me welding up a metal ‘canvas’.

Artist Kate Richards of katerichards.com and Farmhouse38.com

Me being gravely serious at the easel.

Let me elaborate on the artwork. When I say ‘metal’ and ‘welding’ people tend to picture big, hulking sculptures–but no, that’s not what I do. My stuff is actually more along the lines of mixed media painting; my ‘canvas’ is metal, my ‘mixed media’ is a rather alchemic blend of patina, paint, and dye. Sometimes glitter. Sometimes a little dog hair. The latter two are kind of hard to avoid around here–they are in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Cheers! I digress. I grind a lot of pattern into that media, so the paintings all typically wind up with reflective ‘metal’ elements.

Ikat No.1, mixed media metal painting on aluminum. (The whitish areas are actually reflective, raw metal). Katerichards.com via Farmhouse38.com

Ikat No.1, mixed media metal painting on aluminum. (The whitish areas are actually reflective, raw metal).

So what’s my point here? For quite some time, I’ve been keeping the FH38 blog and the artwork completely separate…almost leading a double life, if you will. I was worried that, with so much stuff going on at Farmhouse38, the art would just further muddy it up–that the blog and the art would dilute each other, if that makes any sense. So I was gearing up to run two separate social media profiles…and you know what? I’m exhausted. I can’t do it, people, I just can’t do it. So after much deliberation and soul-searching (do I close up shop on one and focus on the other? How do I choose my favorite child?), I’ve decided to merge the two. From here on out, you guys are going to start seeing a lot of art on this site; all the rest of the stuff–the chickens, the garden, the crafting, the cocktails, the farmhouse projects–it will all still be here, just gently interspersed between the antics of my artistic ebb and flow. Eventually, my stuff will be available to buy on Etsy and other such sites, but for now, you can check out katerichards.com to see a straightforward gallery (I am going to leave that website up as a one-stop informational shop for just the artwork, but make no mistake, it will all eventually be found on Farmhouse38, too). Be sure to follow me on Instagram, because I’ve already been posting quite a bit of behind the scenes arting shots there.

Neon No. 1, acrylic on reclaimed steel. KateRichards.com via Farmhouse38.com

Neon No. 1, acrylic on reclaimed steel. This is a good shot of what a ‘metal canvas’ looks like. Kind of like a metal box lid with 1 inch or so edges so that it can just hang on the wall like a normal painting.

In addition to all this art, you’re going to be seeing a lot more flowers. The flowers have always been a part of FH38, but now that my mini, wannabe flower farm is hitting its stride, slow flower arrangements and arrangement how-tos are gonna hop to the forefront along with the art. Metal art and flowers, people. And probably a whole lot of metal flower art. You’ve been warned.

As part of this Farmhouse38 redirection, I will also finally (FINALLY!!!) be switching the blog from its current state to a self-hosted situation. That means that the new blog will be found at Farmhouse38.com (which currently redirects to farmhouse38.wordpress.com–no more farmhouse38.wordpress.com already! Geez!!). I’m working on it now, and since I have never actually done this before, I expect that there will be some hiccups. In fact, I expect that I will make a complete and utter mess of the whole thing–so please, please, please bear with me as I muddle my way through it. As I always like to say: it has to get worse before it gets awesome. :-) Don’t worry, I will give you all plenty of notice when I make the switch so we can all have a good laugh at how I’ve gone and mucked it all up. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…it’s harder to mess those up (believe me, I’ve made some valiant efforts).

Rooster. Patina, copper, and dye, on reclaimed steel. KateRichards.com via Farmhouse38.com

I can’t not have some metal chicken art. This is Farmhouse38, afterall.

Artist Kate Richards of KateRichards.com and Farmhouse38.com. As well as Gertrude the chicken.

There are almost always chickens in my studio. It’s just how I roll.

So there you have it: my blog midlife crisis in all its glory. Who’s coming with me?!!



Stalking OliveandLove.com

Stalking oliveandlove.com by farmhouse38.com

Look at that view. Now imagine it from nearly every room of your amazingly creative, light-filled, love-filled home. That’s just how life is at OliveandLove.com. I’m such a lucky ducky for getting to go visit, and Laura and Dan are probably regretting their hospitality because I’m already planning my next trip. And the one after that.

You might have seen me gush over Laura’s incredible dining room shutter wall. You may have also seen Country Living Magazine do the same in their April 2012 issue (see the online version here). Well, I was pretty geeked out over seeing it in person for the first time…so I took a lot of photos…and when I say ‘a lot’ I mean ‘A LOT’. I regret nothing.

The shutterwall at oliveandlove.com via farmhouse38.com

Their entry hall peeks into the dining room with all it’s shuttered loveliness.

Here’s a better shot swiped from Oliveandlove.com:

The oliveandlove.com shutterwall.

Oh, the fabulousness of that shutterwall glimpsed through re-purposed windows!

The shutterwall at oliveandlove.com

There is such beautiful light in this room–and I absolutely heart the color scheme Laura chose to paint these pretties. It would have been really ‘safe’ to paint them white. Safe is for sissies.

How about a few more shots just because I am obsessed?

The shutterwall at oliveandlove.com


The shutterwall at oliveandlove.com

More gorgeous.

Though The Shutterwall grabs you immediately as you enter, it is only the tip of the iceberg; the whole house is so fantastically curated that I could literally photograph every little nook and cranny and they would all look like magazine vignettes. No joke. Across the entry from the dining room is an equally light-filled room that is Laura’s lovely studio (did I mention she’s also a prolific artist? No? Well, she is also a prolific artist–see some of her work here).

The studio at oliveandlove.com

Where the creative magic happens.

Laura is kind of a freak genius when it comes to thrift store and flea market hunting. She’s got a special sort of spidey-sense that leads her to the most incredible finds.  One of my favorites resides in the studio:

Repurposed vintage card catalog being used to store craft bits at oliveandlove.com

I mean. Come on. Magnificent. A vintage card catalog, all filled with perfectly organized little crafting bits and bobs.

Right around the corner from the studio is another fun up-cycled masterpiece: the chair shelves. Or shelve chairs. Call them what you will.

Chair shelves at oliveandlove.com

I mean, who thinks of these things?!! Laura. Laura thinks of these things.

The living room at oliveandlove.com

The entry opens onto the livingroom, which is layered with light and color and texture, creative collections, and Laura’s original art. AND it looks out onto that incredible view of the mountains.

Some other Olive and Love moments:

Vintage WWII poster collection at oliveandlove.com

Vintage WWII posters. Awesome.

Guinea pig cuddles at oliveandlove.com

Guinea pig cuddles.

Hand-painted rooster by oliveandlove.com

My hand-painted birthday gift from Laura. A rooster with some gangsta swag.

The OliveandLove Mobile. oliveandlove.com

The Olive-and-Love-Mobile. A minivan. LOL.

Emma-dog, soaking up the sun. Oliveandlove.com

Emma, soaking up some warm sun.

Wide-planked wood floors at oliveandlove.com

I love these planked floors. I want them in my house.

Sunday morning chess at oliveandlove.com

My older brother got to drop in for a quick visit, too, and there was some very serious Sunday morning chess to be played with the Olive and Love crew.

Chartreuse adirondacks and an amazing view of Mt. Rose at oliveandlove.com

Another shot of those fantastic chartreuse Adirondacks looking out at that view. *sigh*

Valentine's day message board at oliveandlove.com

A little Valentine’s Day on a DIY message board.

Kitty-cat, Bella, at oliveandlove.com

A kitty-cat vignette.

The kitchen at Olive and Love headquarters is another favorite spot of mine:

The kitchen at oliveandlove.com

Lots of adorable vintage finds in this room…and check out the quirk of those awesome pendants. Those are upside-down table lamps, people. Love it.

I want to go on. Because every room in this sprawling house deserves a mention. But head on over to the official house tour at OliveandLove.com to see the rest. Be sure you check out the master bedroom and bath. And also the kids’ rooms. And the guest room where I stayed. Oh just go look at all of it. It’s all amazeballs.

The reason for my trip was, contrary to popular belief, not to sit and stare gape-mouthed at the Olive and Love house (even though a large portion of my time there was spent doing just exactly that). My birthday was a couple of weeks back, and The Texan bought me the ticket (no, it was not one way) as a gift so I could go have a fun weekend with friends. He works so much this time of year that we never really get to do anything fun for our birthdays (his is a week or so before mine) or for Valentine’s Day. So this year, I spent Valentine’s Day weekend exploring Reno (where I had never before been) with Laura. We filled our days with a little bit of snowshoeing, a ton of shopping (that thrifty spidey-sense of her’s really came in handy), and a lot of sight-seeing. Such fun!

oliveandlove.com and farmhouse38.com getting our snowshoeing on.

Laura and I taking in some fresh alpine air. It burns (when you’re used to breathing smog).

oliveandlove.com and farmhouse38.com up to no good.

Goofing off at The Nest Reno during their Valentine’s Day Terrarium Class (more on that fun time coming soon).

The biggest little city in the world.

I’m such a sucker for sparkly lights.

Thanks for a great time, Oliveandlove.com! And thanks for indefinitely storing all that stuff I bought that was too big to come home on the plane. I will settle my storage bill when I come back up in a few weeks. :-)

Caramel Bourbon Cake

Caramel Bourbon Cake from Farmhouse38In addition to the Cranberry-Lemon Squares, I went a little crazy and also made this cake for ‘First Thanksgiving’.  There is just really not much better than a cake with booze in it, is there?  No.  No there just isn’t.

The Caramel Bourbon Sauce is really quite insanely good.  This stuff would be so good in so many different applications, it makes my head hurt.  But that may also just be my bourbon hangover.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce from Farmhouse38

Jars of Caramel Bourbon Sauce: perfect holiday gift.  I’m just sayin’.

Sauce ingredients:

–1 cup sugar

–1/4 cup water

–1/2 cup heavy cream

–1-1/2 tablespoons bourbon (come on, you know you want to) (PS: we like Woodford Reserve, although the Texan about had a heart attack when I was ‘squandering’ it for cooking purposes.  It was worth it, I tell you.  No regrets.)

–1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

To make:

–Simmer the sugar and the water over medium heat, constantly swirling the pan for anywhere between 10-15 minutes, until your sugar mixture has reached a nice amber color.  Be real careful not to let it burn.  It’s easy to do.  Trust me.

–Remove from the heat and turn off the burner.

–Slowly add your cream, constantly stirring.

–Add bourbon and salt.

–Set the pan back on the turned-off burner and stir ingredients together for another minute or so.

–Transfer to a jar and let cool.  Keep it in your fridge until you’re ready for it.

Cake/frosting ingredients:

(instructions are for a two-layer cake.  I set out to make a four layer, so I doubled everything below…and then one of my layers bit the dust.  So three it is.  Three it is.)

For a two-layer cake:

–1-1/2 cups white sugar

–12 tablespoons softened butter

–3 eggs

–3 teaspoons vanilla extract

–2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

–2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

–1 teaspoon salt

–1-1/4 cups whole milk

–1 cup of Caramel Bourbon Sauce, cooled

–2 sticks softened unsalted butter

–4 cups powdered sugar

–2 tablespoons whole milk if your frosting is too dry

To make the cake:

–Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two (or four, whatevs) 8×8 round baking pans.  Set aside.

–In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.  Beat the eggs in, one at a time, and then keep beating on high speed for approximately 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and pale in color. Add the vanilla and stir.

–Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

–Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Try not to take out your pent-up aggressions on the batter by over-beating it.  It did nothing to you.

–Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon.

–Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the frosting:

–Cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time and beat until well-combined.  Add 1/3 cup of the Caramel Bourbon Sauce and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of whole milk if your frosting seems a bit dry (mine did not).

Caramel Bourbon Buttercream from Farmhouse38

Yep. That’s right. I stuck my finger right on in there.

Assembling the cake:

It all comes down to this.  Take a deep breath.

Take your Caramel Bourbon Sauce out of the fridge awhile before you start the assembly.  Warm the sauce a bit, if you need to, so that it isn’t too thick.

Place the first layer of the cake on a stand, and, using a fork, poke a whole buncha holes all over the top surface of the cake.  Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the sauce across the surface of the hole-y cake, just enough to coat it well and soak in a bit.  Top with a hefty layer of frosting.

Now place the second layer, and do the same with the poking and the pouring and the frosting-ing. Reserve the last little bit of sauce.  When you are ready to serve, drizzle the cake with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Dig the heck in.

**Cake recipe adapted from thebakerchick.com