We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Master Bedroom Christmas Update

For about a year, I’ve been contemplating updating our master bedroom a bit. This was the first room in our house that we completely redid, which included installing a floor (because there was only subfloor when we moved in), updating the ceiling, painting the walls and installing two new windows after covering up a patio door that led out to, well, a big fall down one story and into our deck. You can read all about that here and here. My design taste has shifted a bit since we did this room about five years ago, and I was ready to bring it up to speed with the rest of our house. Before the weather got really cold, I decided I wanted to knock this project out, and we just finished the last few updates in time for the Christmas season kick-off. So, I just decided to go right into a Christmas update, too.

Gift Guide 2020: Shop Small & Local | Upstate NY and New England Edition

It's important to shop small every year, but this year in particular, small business are struggling more than ever in the midst of the pandemic. There are so many shops and boutiques that are based right here in Upstate NY or New England that I love to support and shop from regularly. It's been a few years since I've posted a local gift guide because I tend to repeat a lot of the same things every year, but I thought now was a great year to highlight them once again. Some are old favorites, some are new discoveries, and some are shops that catch my eye every time I come across them, and have had them on my wishlist for years. I hope this inspires you to look around at your local business this year before clicking that "Add To Cart" button on Amazon.

1. Sugarfoot Upstate Sweatshirt. I received this as a gift from my mom one year for my birthday, and it's one of my favorite sweatshirts I own. I wear it all the time, and it's incredibly high-quality, comfy and cozy. I own a M, and it's a slightly oversized fit. The designer also has sweatshirts dedicated to other towns in Upstate NY, so if you're shopping for someone that lives in this area, or just loves Upstate, this is a great site to browse through. If you live in the Finger Lakes region, Skaneateles 300 carries a selection of these in their store. 

2. Hamilton & Adams Upstate & Chill Collection. Another Upstate-themed boutique! They have a shop right in Kingston, but I mostly shop from them online. They've trademarked their "Upstate & Chill" slogan, which I love so much, and they offer it in a few designs for t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and mugs. But, their website has a lot more to offer as well, including a nicely-curated collection of brands, some of which are also based in the Northeast. Definitely worth a visit to their store if you're local, or at least, pop on over to their site to look around.

3. KJP McCallister Sweater. If you're on Instagram and haven't come across images from the Rhode Island-based KJP, I'd be shocked. Photos from the husband and wife duo have been re-grammed by top accounts on the platform, and their images from their New England/Americana lifestyle are unforgettable in the best possible way. They have their own brand of clothing and accessories, and every year, I contemplate buying the McCallister sweater for Christmas. I haven't pulled the trigger just yet, but I will one day because Josh and I are huge fans of Home Alone. Reviews online speak of the high-quality of their merchandise, and I believe most everything is made right in New England. 

4. PCB Home Customized Pillows. I originally found this shop on Etsy, and I was delighted to see that they were based in NJ. They've since developed their own website with a beautiful display of farmhouse and shabby chic-inspired textiles and home goods. I especially love their customization options. I ordered a pillow from them and customized my font and text, and it came out beautifully. They offer custom options for tea towels and some other items as well. For something completely customized, their prices are very fair, and their website design system makes it so easy to do.

5. S. Lynch Knitwear Dorset Hat. I bought this a month or two ago as a little gift to myself after having it on my Etsy wishlist for a few years. And I'm so in love with it. Named after a town in VT we love to visit, the little pine tree design couldn't be more perfect for winter. The quality is spectacular and it feels like something I bought in a high-end boutique. If you know someone who would wear this little knit hat well, I can't recommend it enough as the perfect gift. And, if you're local to Kennebunkport, Day Trip Society carries a small selection of her knits for instant gratification.

6. Organic Bath Co. Drenched Body Butter. I feel like a broken record with this one because I've been using it and recommending it for years, but it's still a favorite. I love all of Organic Bath Co.'s products, but this one especially is always the one I recommend you start with. It would be a great addition to a little "cozy-themed" gift basket with some slippers or a bottle of wine (because let's face it, we'll be doing a lot of staying in this winter in particular). This is also a female, black-owned, New England-based company, and the owner, Gianne, is a delight to follow on social media. And good news, they just started their Black Friday weekend sale, which is 25% off the entire website. They only do this once a year, so now is the time to stock up. 

7. Local Flower Farmer CSA. We all know the importance of farmers, and flower farmers are no exception. This year, I was so happy to have found a flower farmer close to me, and started to buy bouquets of local flowers from her as much as I could. Many flower farmers offer CSA's, which would be a great gift to give someone who loves flowers because they would have a whole season of bouquets to look forward to. Local flower farmers are great because often, the bouquets offer different blooms than you're used to seeing in your local chain grocery store. Many of those stores will source their flowers from outside the country, and you'll see one too many gerbera daisy or tea rose in, let's face it, kind of generic bouquets. Local farmers grow and harvest so many different kinds of blooms that'll offer a much more unique bouquet for you to admire on your table.

8. Purple Rose Home. I featured one of the knit blankets offered on their site, but I wanted to include pretty much everything. Based in MA, this shop has a great online site, and also a brick and mortar store in Northborough. Owned by a mother and daughter team, they have a really nicely curated selection of farmhouse-inspired home decor pieces. They also have a strong/interactive presence on Instagram where they'll showcase their products more to show you different angles of the items, and are great at answering questions. I haven't yet been to their store, and I always mean to stop on our way home from the Cape, but I can't wait until I get to go someday. For now, their online shop is perfect for someone who loves little Farmhouse touches in their home.

9. Follain. I've been shopping at the Boston-based Follain shops for years, and they've since expanded into other other states. Their Beacon Hill shop is my favorite place to go in all of Boston, and it's always such a treat to pop in and browse. But, luckily for everyone not local to Boston, they have an awesome website. They specialize in green skincare, cosmetics and bath/body care, and I don't think I have ever bought something here that I didn't like. They now also have their own Follain-branded line of products, and I've purchased a few and have loved them (their eye cream is awesome, by the way, if you're looking for one - and I'm not an eye cream kind of person). Bonus, they also carry a small selection of Organic Bath Co. products if you want to kill two birds with one stone.

10. Farmhouse Pottery. I usually always have something from Farmhouse Pottery on my Christmas list and eventually, I hope all my bakers and mixing bowls are from them. These pieces are heirloom-quality, and handmade right in VT. The aesthetic appeals to me because everything is clean and simple (which is how I want our kitchen to be) and they just have some absolutely gorgeous pieces. I especially love the batter bowl (pictured), and this year, have their oversized soup mugs on my list. If these pieces would work for someone on your list, I can't recommend them enough. They also offer workshop sessions, where you can have your turn at one of their wheels in their VT studio, which Josh got me one year for Christmas, and it was one of my favorite gifts from him. In light of COVID, I doubt these sessions are currently be offered, but something to keep in mind once the world is back to normal.


Photography sessions. I plan to do a whole post soon about why working with local photographers during travel or any other time that's not a special occasion is so empowering and important. But for now, let's talk about how this could be a great gift idea for someone (or an entire family). Often, people forget local artists when it comes to shopping small, and photographers this year especially are struggling with all their cancelled weddings. I'm a firm believer in documenting your life and not needing a reason to celebrate who you are as a person or family at any given moment. Having professional and high-quality photos done with your family, group of friends, extended family, pets, your travels, or just you in your favorite place, is not something most people will buy for themselves. Giving the gift of a family session, or any kind of session, is a way to support your local artists. I have so much more to say on this, so stay tuned sometime next year for why this is so important to me. 

Whenever in doubt, gift cards to local restaurants or breweries/distilleries are a great option. For the people on our list who have everything, Josh and I often rely on this option because, let's be honest, who doesn't love a free meal on someone else's dime? It's universal to love food, and if you know of someone's favorite local restaurant, a gift card to cover the cost of a dinner is such a great gift. Josh and I actually love receiving these because we love our date nights, even if they're inside our living room these days. I know some of our local restaurants have already been impacted by the pandemic, so anything we can do to keep them going strong is a great step in the right direction. Local breweries and distilleries are also great places to buy gift cards, or growlers and such, for someone who has everything and doesn't ever want anything. I mean, we're all kind of drinking more these day, amiright? :) And also, they'll continue to stay essential if we all get locked down again, so you know they'll definitely get used.

Local bookstores are always fighting with Amazon to stay afloat, so if you have a bookstore in your town, or nearby, get your books from them. Josh and I love shopping at bookstores when we travel and supporting the local shops. Every trip we take, we'll pop into the bookstore, buy something, and then write inside the cover the month/year and the town we got it, so we preserve the memory of that day and trip. You can do the same for Christmas each year. In fact, we always try to gift each other books for Christmas every year as well.

What are your favorite local shops you want people to support this year? Let me know in the comments!