Wrap-up: Merlefest

A few months ago we attended Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC for the very first time.  We were quite excited to participate as our friends at Cloister Honey had spoken highly of it.   They were not wrong, it is definitely a good time – good music, good folks, and lots to do.

It rained almost the entire weekend, but that definitely didn’t deter the avid music lovers.  Below is a shot of the main stage brimming with attendees.


Close to the main stage is a plethora of tents including a section devoted entirely to the tiny Merlefest-ians.  I believe this particular tent was sponsored by Lowes and had all ages building small cars out of wood.


As further evidence of attendance of all ages in spite of rain (one of my favorite recent pics):


We hope to be back again next year and (pending better weather) hope to have significantly more pictures to share!


Wrap Up: The Maker’s Summit

Wayne and I were terribly excited to have the opportunity to attend the Maker’s Summit put on by Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC this past weekend.  The sold out event was held at a gorgeous space downtown and was filled with an amazing array of creative folks.

The speaker list itself was awesome and included Stephen Fraser from Spoonflower, Grace Kang from Pink Olive, and Kimm Alfonso from Etsy.  Plus there were two seperate discussion panels that provided the audience the opportunity to ask questions.

Throughout the day there were also experts set up in a side room to offer 10 minute one-on-one consultations.  We took advantage of the lawyer (because really?  free legal advice?) as well as a shop critique with Kimm.  Both provided great advice that we were grateful to receive.

I loved Kimm’s slide pictured below.  Really, it is remarkably easy sometimes to get so swamped in the minutia of the business that you forget the most important part.

As if all that wasn’t good enough, Finkelstein’s Center brought Barnum.  ‘Cause really, what’s a conference without a giant squid?

We came home with a fun bag of goodies and a new book purchased from Amy Flurry.  Wayne was particularly happy with his new monkey hat courtesy of Mailchimp.  He didn’t want to take it off.  At all.  Like all day.

The space had two long tables that were used for lunch and dinner.  Down the middle were black cards, white pencils, and stands – all the requirements for make your own centerpieces.  As Wayne and I are try-to-be-creative types with no artistic ability at all, we were in awe of all the cards folks were drawing at the tables and we had to take some pictures.  We’ve posted a few on facebook and instagram, but here’s a small selection that we had to share:


So we learned a ton, met some wonderful new people, and got to spend time in Greenville.  A pretty amazing weekend.  We’re hopeful that they hold the event again next year and would highly encourage any small business owners to take advantage of it.

Wrap-up: Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF)

In April of this year, Wayne attended our first ever Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) in Black Mountain, NC.  He enjoyed the experience so much that he insisted if they would have us back that we would go together.  And so we did.


We headed up the mountain last weekend with two car loads of stuff to set up the tent.  Although Wayne was versed on the experience, I had no idea what to expect and was in for quite a pleasant surprise.  Coming in, you can see all the folks starting to set up camp.  From a vendor perspective, the set up was pretty cushy.  We got to move all our furniture and product directly from the car into a trailer pulled by an ATV.  The LEAF staff pulled our goodies and dropped them off at our spot for set-up.  From the start, I was immediately feeling spoiled.


Basically the festival is a weekend celebration of music and together-ness.  Most folks camp on site and you can see smatterings of tents almost anywhere there is room.  There was an awesome mix of talented vendors including several we know (shout out to Metamorphosis Metals Lucky Accessories Marisol Spoon, and Deona Fish).  There is also a separate vendor area dedicated to the Healing Arts.  Need a massage? Acupuncture?  No problem.


Throughout the day there are multiple stages with music, activities galore (didgeridoo session anyone? How about paddle board yoga? A Zip line into the lake?), and food options including many veggie choices abound.



It doesn’t hurt that Lake Eden is absolutely beautiful.  The LEAF gods smiled upon us and our tent not only backed onto the water, but was also directly across from the stage.  Amazing.



These photos give you a peak into our experience and can be viewed in a larger slideshow size via our flickr page:




Our one regret?  Not camping ourselves. Driving off the grounds each night meant that we missed a lot of good music, events, and the drum circles. Next time, we shall stay.


So, good company, gorgeous setting, yummy food, and amazing music.  Not to get too gushy about it (too late, I know), but we adored the entire weekend and can’t wait to go back!

Wrap-up: Burnt Creative at Summer Solstice

Way back in June, Sara and I vended at Blackburg’s Summer Solstice festival through Burnt Creative.  The festival drew a huge crowd and we had a great time both representing Whispering Willow, and enjoying the sights and sounds around us.

Early in the show, we saw this and I literally had to run down the street to catch a photo….

Virginia Tech

…and yep, that scale is pretty close to right.  It was hot and he (she?) was on stilts and covered in metally-looking pieces. It was very hard not to continuously stare.  Apparently he/she is a regular fixture at the Virgina Tech games.

We were set up right across the street from Patina South.  Tracy and I have run into each other quite a bit over the festival season and it is always fun to chat.

Patina South

Another friendly face is Kiona from Lucky Accessories.  I see her at tons of shows and never seem to get a decent picture of her adorable jewelry.  This time?  Success!

Lucky Accessories

The High Fiber was also present.  She makes adorable tea towels and onesies.

High Fiber Arts

There was also a selection of vintage clothing..

Vintage Clothing

Plush owls (always a favorite of mine for some reason)

Plush Owls

And Merry Monsters!

Merry Monsters

How freaking adorable are they?!?

Merry Monsters

Not interested in shopping?  There was also Tarot Card Readings…

Tarot Card Reading

Face painting…

Face Painting

…and a Flea Circus (for real).

Flea Circus

Our favorite customer of the day by far was this fabulous little one:

Favorite Customer

Who took a minute to stop and shop.

Favorite Customer

Before Sara and I headed home, we had a chance to visit with Sara’s friend Colleen and her family.  Remember how Colleen was pregnant the last time we headed to Blacksburg?

Caroline & Family

Well, meet Carolyn.  Isn’t she something?



Wrap-up: Indie Craft Experience

The first weekend in June Wayne and I hopped in the fully packed car and headed to Atlanta for the summer Indie Craft Experience.  I had participated in the holiday show last year and had a great time, so it was exciting to be able to have Wayne along.  Plus, it was the first event we’ve been able to actually do together in ages AND it corresponded with my birthday weekend, so we decided to use the trip as an excuse to get all extravagant and have a great time.

As with any good event, there was food to be had.  The Good Food Truck was there serving their famous Poodles…

Good Food Truck

…while Ursa Minor provided coffee and and various drinks.

Ursa Minor

There were a few food options inside, one of which stood out hugely for Wayne and I.  Bookie Macaron served what were officially the best macarons we’ve had since Paris.  Really.  They were made with local ingredients and a slight twist, and were so awesome that they sold out part of the way through the first day.

Folks definitely came out.  Wayne and I were impressed with the fun mix of customers…

Crowd at ICE

…and vendors.  Some we knew from other shows, but lots of new folks as well.

Here’s the required photo of our setup.

Whispering Willow

In a happy accident sort of way, our lip balm containers apparently didn’t make the trip with us.  We substituted an antique wood tray instead and I rather liked the look.

Whispering Willow Lip Balm

Enough about us though…how about the other vendors?  This is only a quickie version of all the incredibly goodies that were available at the show:

I love Beautiful Briny Sea.  Not only is the owner absolutely the sweetest person ever, but her salt is amazing.  I’m a lavender fanatic, so anyone who wants to add lavender to salt is okay in my book, but the truffle salt is also highly recommended.  Try it with eggs or (if you’re feeling a bit naughty), just sprinkle it on some fries.  Yum.

Beautiful Briny Sea

At the last Indie Craft Experience, I spent a while chatting with Brooke from So She Sews.  I was excited to see that she expanded her line to include clothing.

So She Sews

I loved all the skirt fabrics and gorgeous colors.

So She Sews

Ester Lipscomb‘s soap dishes were fun.  The picture doesn’t do them justice, but each had a slightly different shape and design imprinted.

Ester Lipscomb

Another artist that I visited with at the last show was Jeanette Zeis.  She had small bowls this time that I loved.

Jeanette Zeiss

If you’re like me, you can never have enough canvas tote bags.  Really.  I use them for everything.  Moon Mud has some fun ones.

Moon Mud

A Stitch of Whimsy (another great name!) was present and selling their creations.  Something about them was just appealing.  Can’t tell you why…I just liked ’em.

A Stitch of Whimsy

Platypusfile was selling a variety of items, but I was attracted specifically to her drawings.


I also wanted to take home at least one of the adorable drawings from Katie Coleman.   Or how about a Kitty Unicorn?

Katie Coleman

 Blue Eyed Yonder sponsored a craft swap during the show.  Much fun…people brought a piece they didn’t want/need any longer and took something home in its place.

Blue Eyed Yonder

Several artists were creating during the show.  One of these was Noosh Studios who was printing t-shirts as people ordered them.  I wish I could have stayed to watch the whole process start to finish, but his booth was incredibly busy and I wanted to stay out of the way.

Noosh Studios
Noosh Studios

Fernworks jewelry is gorgeous and her display always makes me jealous.


My one (somewhat guilty) purchase at the show was a pair of earrings from Cameoko.  Wayne insists I own enough earrings.  Clearly, I disagree.


And our neighbors.  We had a few minutes to talk with them and quite enjoyed the experience.  On one side of us was Two Cardinal Day Press.  Her display was pretty genius – a huge fold out covered in chalkboard paint.  She put up her goods, and then draws/writes around it.  Infinitely flexible.

Two Cardinal Day Press

Plus, her stuff is fun!  The middle book (which came home with me) was entitled “Trade Secrets, Plans for World Domination & Probably Some Grocery Lists.”  Perfect, right?

Two Cardinal Day Press

The other side of us was Meg + Milo.  It was her very first show, and both her product and display was beautiful!

Meg + Milo

I was amazed by the colors of her hand painted silk tops and scarves…so very pretty.

Meg + Milo

And now, on to the slightly less grown up section.  I always love to check out the plush toys.  Such imagination!  Cellardwellars and Such was no exception.


Not sure why I love baby stuff so much.  No babies here and absolutely no plans for babies in our lives, but little baby garb still makes me smile.

Lil Fishy

Check out the onesies from Lil Fishy.  How adorable are they?!?

Lil Fishy

And the hand dyed socks from Willaby.


Finally, for the bigger little ones (or Wayne, who also took home a shirt) Chalkboard Tees are just kinda awesome.  You can write, erase, and start again.  They even have a tiny pocket to hold you chalk…

Chalkboard Tees

…and they come in these cute little containers.

Chalkboard Tees

But the cutest thing at the market?  How about this little one?  With hair like that, it seemed like the fitting final shot for the post.

Baby Hair

Hope to see you again soon Atlanta!

Wrap-up: Freshly’s May Market

Wayne worked Freshly in May while I was off on other adventures, but I showed up just in time to take a few pictures with my new (as in very lovingly used before making its way to me) camera.  It’s a Nikon D70 and was a birthday gift from my parents and Wayne.  So far, I adore it.  I doesn’t hurt that Shelli’s store always looks amazing and there are photo-worthy shots at every turn.

We are so very sad to report that in the past few weeks Shelli has made the decision to close the shop and their very last day was June 16th.  If you love the aesthetic though, Freshly will still be participating in local festivals/markets and they will be building custom pieces!  Keep up with them on facebook for details.  For more pictures, check out our previous Freshly post.

Freshy's Outdoor Market

Whispering Willow Liquid Soap

Patina South's Flying Pig

Freshly's Hidden Bird's Nest

Freshly's Dress Form

Freshly: Drawer

Freshly: Hanging Plant

Wrap-up: Spring Bada Bing

Back in April I had the lovely experience of vending at Spring Bada Bing in Richmond, VA.  The Richmond Craft Mafia holds two events each year – this one and a holiday market.  It was my first visit to Richmond, so we made the most of it.  My mom & dad drove up from NC, one of my sisters came with me, and my youngest sister who lives in DC drove in.  It was a rare occasion to have everyone together just for fun.  We had a great weekend hanging around the city, and ended it on Sunday with an awesome event.

First of all, I must say that the Richmond Craft Mafia knows how to spoil their vendors.  When we arrived, we were promptly met by several volunteers who unloaded our car.  Yep.  All of our product and displays pieces just magically appeared at our table.  After parking we walked inside to find that breakfast was available for us while we set up.  Vendors were invited to pre-order lunch at registration so it (again) magically appeared at our table around lunchtime.  Last (but definitely not least), the space was gorgeous!

Planet Zero, the location of the show, is an event space located in an industrial/former industrial section of Richmond.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is amazing.

Planet Zero - Richmond, VA

Toward the front of the building is the Planet Zero Cafe.  They provided all the ridiculously yummy food we ate during the event.

Planet Zero Cafe - Richmond, VA

The show itself had a great vendor mix.  I had the opportunity to visit with a few people that I’ve seen at several shows this spring including Metamorphosis Metals:

Metatmorphisis Metals

And Matt Butler (don’t you just love that print?!?):

Matt Butler

I also got to meet tons of new folks.  After wading through the million and one pictures I took, below are the standouts.

Just a few booths down from us was the Runny Bunny.  I was totally fascinated by Robin’s ceramic pieces and each time I looked, I found something else that made me smile.  I was surprised to find she’s from Asheville (one of our favorite places on earth).

The Runny Bunny

A few booths to the other side was Monkey Dog Studios peddling their Dangerous Animal Notebooks.

Dangerous Animals

TurnerBots are just fun.  ‘Nuf said.


 Illegible Ink‘s prints are beautiful and fun and I adore the back story of her name.   According to her blog, her fourth grade teacher gave her a C+ on her report card and noted that she was “taking liberties with her cursive, making it too creative and therefore, illegible.”  Oh, to have that level of creativity that it was shining in fourth grade?  I’m jealous.  🙂

Illegible Ink

The whole idea of Articipe is just plain awesome.  Basically, she makes recipe prints and they are gorgeous.  You can purchase from what she has in stock, or send along a favorite recipe and have her create a print just for you.


I saved two of my favorite booths for last.  The first is Terrariums by Rich.  I love the look and idea of a terrarium.  My youngest sister bought one for me for my birthday many years ago and it is still living happily on my mantle inside an antique canning jar.  It requires on a few drops of water periodically and still looks amazing – the perfect plants for people who tend toward plant neglect.

Rich takes terrariums to a new level.  They range in size from very small to the very, very large one in the middle of the table and each one is beautiful.

Terrariums by Rich

Here’s a close up of his creative display at the front of the booth.

Terrariums by Rich

And, last but definitely not least, is Found Studio.  I was drawn to the booth by the colors and simplicity of the designs.  Each piece could easily find a place in our house.  While I was admiring, I noticed a small sign that said “please touch.”  I was surprised, as that’s the last thing you normally see at a booth of paintings, but I am an instruction follower (just ask Wayne), so I did.


This close up shows it a little more clearly, but each piece is a mix of materials – a collage of sorts.  And each has tons of texture making it even more appealing for me.  I gazed for a while and am still slightly sad that I didn’t pick one to take home.


Oh, and I can’t forget us.  Below is my sister, Sara, who kindly stayed to help me with the show.

Whispering Willow

Out of all those amazing things, one of the highlights of the show was definitely meeting Sherry & John from Young House Love.  They stopped by for a few minutes to visit with various vendors and I (quite literally) squealed with joy.  They were incredibly nice, down to earth folks, and were even kind enough to include Whispering Willow in their post about the show.

The whole trip to Richmond was a great experience and one that I hope to be able to repeat in the future.